Why bikes and cars need to go their separate ways on city's streets 🚲

Welcome to another midweek briefing!

Why bikes and cars need to go their separate ways on city's streets 🚲
The Kidical Mass family bike ride takes place in Chapelfied Gardens on Saturday. Photo: Derek Williams

Greetings from The Seeker!

It's Shaun here with another midweek briefing. A massive thanks to all of you who responded to our recent survey. We're mulling over the results to get a clearer idea of what you like and what you would like more of, and intend to use the findings to shape our future plans.

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📰Today's Edition

  • Ghost rides
  • Consent confusion
  • Patient care
  • Logo Rewind
  • Climate stories
  • Innovative improvisers
  • Out and About

Let's get going!

Ghost rides

Fresh calls are being made to create safer streets for cyclists in Norwich in the wake of recent deaths on our roads.

This year has already seen six cyclists killed in Norfolk - compared to four deaths in 2022.

A coalition of campaign groups including Norwich Cycling Campaign, Car-Free Norwich, Kidical Mass Norwich, Living Streets, Friends of the Earth, XR Norwich, and Green Party councillors are staging a ghost bike event outside County Hall on September 30 featuring six white bikes to mark the deaths.

Meanwhile, families are being encouraged to take part in the Kidical Mass family bike ride in Chapelfield Gardens from 10.30am this Saturday.

This Sunday is also Car Free day with six city streets temporarily closed.

Transformed city?

Norfolk County Council is in the final stages of implementing its £50m Transforming Cities Fund to make it safer and easier and safer to get around the city.

And current road safety campaigns, such as Norfolk Police's Vulnerable Road Users operation, which started this week, places the emphasis on changing the behaviour of motorists.

But Peter Silburn, chair of the Norwich Cycling Campaign, said separating cyclists and cars was the only answer for creating a safer city.

"There needs to be protected cycleways on roads above 30 mph," he said. "You don't need cycle lanes on every road but in residential and urban areas you need to reduce speeds and the amount of traffic.

He added: "It’s not enough just to say 'We’re sorry about it'. We need action from Norfolk County Council at a political level to stop these deaths from happening.

"People are getting killed or seriously injured. You need protection from motor vehicles. There's quite a lot of cycling infrastructure in the city but it's not the best as there's a lot of shared use."

First priority

Graham Plant, the county council's Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Transport, said safety was at the heart of the council's Local Transport Plan and was also behind its new Road Safety Community Fund which is seeing numerous safety improvements around Norfolk. Councillors can also use their Local Member Funding to prioritise and support local improvements.

“We are saddened by the deaths we have seen on our roads," he said. "We are constantly working to improve highway safety and it will continue to be our first priority."

Norfolk Police said incidents often occur when a motorist fails to slow down sufficiently or allow enough space to go around other road users – a particular issue with cyclists riding on urban roads as well as pedestrians, motorcyclists, and horse riders.

When overtaking a cyclist, motorists should allow at least 1.5m between their vehicle and the bicycle to pass it safely.

Chief Inspector Jonathan Chapman, Head of the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: “Pedestrians, cyclists and riders have as much right to be on the roads as anyone else."

Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner, Giles Orpen-Smellie, said better education was key.

We seem to see road deaths as a routine occurrence as opposed to other fatalities such as knife crime.  I would very much like society to be more concerned about this - Giles Orpen-Smellie

You may have seen the headlines about Russell Brand this week.

But if you think that the issues raised only concern far away celebrities – think again.

Norfolk charity The Sue Lambert Trust got in touch this week to point out its own research which makes for disturbing reading.

The survey, featuring 300 responses from people in Norfolk, revealed that 73% of people had experienced a non-consensual sexual act.

Of those only 25% said they believed at the time they had been the victim of a sexual assault.

But with the benefit of hindsight 63% said they now felt differently about the experience.

Almost a quarter (24%) believed what happened was partly their fault and 20% were confused.

When asked if they had ever experienced a non-consensual sexual act which could have been considered sexual assault – 73% also said yes.

Clive Evans, CEO at Sue Lambert Trust, said: “Tragically, almost three quarters (74%) of those people who told us they had been the victim of a sexual assault in their past did not tell anyone about it at the time.

“It’s very common for survivors to blame themselves for what has happened to them, and to live with that ‘guilt’ and trauma for years. That is simply not right.”

Call Sue Lambert Trust on 01603 622406 or email info@suelamberttrust.org

Patient care

Members of the Vulnerable Adult and Inclusion Service. Photo: Submitted

The work of a specialist health team supporting some of Norwich's most vulnerable people could be in line for a national award.

The city's Vulnerable Adult and Inclusion Service (VAS) works with patients who are often homeless, living in hostels, or in at risk accommodation - as well as an outreach team for people seeking asylum.

Staff's work in public health and prevention has been shortlisted for the Clinical Improvement Award at the GP Awards in London on December 8.

Alex Stewart, CEO of Healthwatch Norfolk, said its research showed the team's work was invaluable in helping those with no fixed abode or leading a chaotic lifestyle get the care they need.

Wensum Valley Medical Practice in Earlham is holding a 'know your neighbourhood' event between 1pm and 3.30pm on Friday to give patients a chance to find out about different types of medical, voluntary and community support available in the area. Participants include Age UK Norwich, UEA, and Norfolk Citizens Advice.

Logo Rewind

Norwich's medieval merchant marks will feature in the Logo Rewind book and exhibition. Photo Darren Leader

They may well have been the first logos of their kind - in a era far removed from today's modern branding.

And now the stories of Norwich's medieval merchants' marks - many of which can still be seen in the city - are being told in a new book and exhibition.

Logo Rewind: Trademarks of Medieval Norwich explores a era when these emblems were stamped onto goods and carved into the facades, beams and windows of buildings across the city in medieval times.

Designer and researcher Darren Leader has digitally recreated more than 200 of them as part of the UEA Publishing/Creative UEA project alongside biographical details and essays from design experts and academics.

Each logo had to be different from its competitor and distinguishable by a mostly illiterate population. You can still see some examples in Colegate, Cinema City, St John Maddermarket church, Museum of Norwich, and Strangers’ Hall.

Climate stories

Businesses can share stories and ideas about how to help tackle climate change and work towards Net Zero at an event on October 2.

The Business of Climate Stories at Norwich Theatre features guest speakers and panel discussions to explore how people in the city can find sustainable ways of tackling the climate crisis.

The half day event starts at 9.30am.

Innovative improvisers

Hard Edges trio will be joined by special guests at Anteros Arts Foundation. Photo: Supplied

Jazz lovers have the chance to hear a three-part concert series with a host of innovative improvisers starting this month.

Brass trio Hard Edges featuring Chris Dowding - trumpets and flugelhorn,
Dave Amis - trombone, and Ben Higham - tuba, trumpet and flugelhorn, will be joined by pianist Matthew Bourne, vocalist Brigitte Beraha, and flautist Neil Metcalfe for separate monthly performances until November.

The first Hard Edges Plus concert takes place on September 29 at Anteros Arts Foundation in Fye Street.

Out and about

🎨This weekend marks the start of the two week Norfolk Open Studios event where you can see first hand where and how our local makers and creators work, with many offering additional demonstrations and workshops.

🎸Experimental Norwich rock band Red Mar are performing at Voodoo Daddy's Showroom on Saturday night. Local post punk art rock heroes Magnolia will be providing the support.

🦆The popular Grand Norwich Duck Race returns on Sunday. Starting at 10am there are two races at the Break Charity fundraiser, the amazing Duckorated ducks and the little Ducklings, both launching from St Georges Bridge and racing to Fye Bridge (the Ribs of Beef).

Thank you for reading The Seeker - don't forget to click on our new Buy Me A Coffee page to show your support 🙏

See you Saturday!