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News from the world of Bristol cycling. You might also want to look at the BristolCycling Reddit social news aggregation site.

Please take a look at our Blog for quick updates.


Between May 2013 and Feb 2015 there were 2976 cycle thefts in Bristol (LA area).  Only 3% of reported bicycle thefts resulted in a prosecution/caution/fine, so it was good to have news of the recent arrest of 5 people and recovery of £50,000 suspected stolen bikes.  

If you have ever wondered which areas are most vulnerable there's a useful map attached covering 2013 to 2015. Further information at See more at: http://www.betterbybike.info/bike-security/

Our friends at Stolen Bikes have an interesting blog using information from London looking at Bike Thieves – Who Are They? Recommended reading. No surprises that the answer to why bicycle theft is so attractive to offenders because it's a low risk, high reward crime.

Interesting that most thefts are during the day. They are possible because people rarely challenge suspicious behaviour. This astonishing video from Avon and Somerset Police of one of their PCSOs cutting various locks in every more brazen ways was filmed right in the middle of Broadmead. If you see something dodgy, do everyone a favour and ring 101 (or 999 if you're sure someone's beloved cycle is being nicked).


We've got a page on Bike Security with that may help you and your bike have a long and happy life together.

News comes through that there are now speed awareness courses for those caught speeding in 20mph areas. Drivers speeding between 24 and 31mph can now be required to attend the 4 hour 20mph Speed Awareness Courses at 8 venues across Avon and Somerset, South Wales, North Wales and Gwent Police Authorities.

This follows the adoption by the Police and Crime Commissioner of Road Safety as an additional priority (we prefer a Road Danger Reduction approach). The police are actively seeking to set up more Community Speedwatch schemes and their CSW June Newsletter is attached with details about how to contact them.

We have heard reports that this new course is highly effective at making the case and changing minds on why 20mph is such a good idea in residential and retail areas. We do wonder if those opposing Bristol's innovative city-wide adoption of 20mph might be offered places, without the need to get caught speeding first.

Bike Hanger - Windmill Hill (photo: Sam Saunders)Do you regularly use a bicycle? Are you frustrated that it’s sometimes difficult to find a secure and accessible space to store your bike?

If the answer is yes, then you’re probably not alone. Since 2003 the population of ‘greater’ Bedminster (Southville and Bedminster) has risen by 22% and the number of people regularly walking and cycling has also risen significantly. 

Greater Bedminster has the third lowest levels of car availability in the city. As many as 31% of households have no car (the Bristol average is 29%) and this area has the fourth highest proportion of people who travel to work on foot or by bicycle at 39% (the Bristol average is 27%). Source Greater Bedminster Neighbourhood Partnership Statistical Profile 2014, Bristol City Council http://www.bristol.gov.uk/…/NP10%20Bedminster%20Southville%…

Cycling is a convenient and healthy way to make short journeys to work, to the shops or for leisure. However, many people in greater Bedminster live in terrace houses where storage for bikes is limited and awkward. Some people have invested in secure bike storage boxes in their own gardens, but many people don’t have the space in their gardens or the resources for these. 

In 2015 a trial on-street ‘bikehanger’ storage box was installed in Eldon Terrace, Windmill Hill. The bikehanger is installed on the road and takes up approximately half a parking space. It can accommodate six bikes securely. The purchase and installation of the bikehanger was funded by a local transport grant and each bike space is rented to a bike owner for £25 a year (equivalent to about 50p a week). Local charity LifeCycle administer the renting of the bike hanger spaces. For more info. see http://www.cyclehoop.com/…/ma…/first-bikehangar-for-bristol/

If you would be interested in having a bikehanger near you or in your street please complete this short survey to help establish if there is demand and sufficient interest for more bike hangers to be installed in greater Bedminster.

Bike Hanger - Windmill Hill (photo: betterbybike.info)

As construction work starts on the various Metrobus routes we can expect considerable disruption to some key cycling routes through the city. In some areas this is a worthwhile inconvenience to get some valuable improvements. In others the outcome is less clear. There's a useful website with all the various projects at metrobusbuild.info.

Key points at present include:

  • Ashton Avenue Bridge by Cumberland Basin will be closed for a year (a full 12 months!). We are told that "The diversion does not use the road. Cyclists and pedestrians will be segregated and protected from the traffic by safety barriers. Temporary cycling improvements to both Ashmead Way and McAdam Way will be provided to complement the main diversion whilst the bridge is closed." Further information on betterbybike.info

  • Work on the Centre will start mid-September and will include segregated cycle routes.

  • Redcliffe Roundabout has been resurfaced and widened, with barely a nod to helping cyclists across this difficult, and now faster, roundabout.  Nor any improvement to the congested and overused shared use Brunel Mile, already a point of unnecessary conflict between pedestrians and cyclists.

  • South Goucestershire has works at Stoke Gifford and Bradley Stoke way. Hambrook Lane will be closed to motor vehicles for 38 weeks from Wednesday 2nd September which could be very pleasant while it lasts. In other areas there's little evidence of benefit for cycling.

  • South Bristol Link road is also underway. This will improve some cycle trips, but the new road and the new traffic it generates is likely to make cycling in South Bristol even more challenging.

Of course there's also other things going on such as Princes Street Bridge closed to cars, and Strawberry Line temporary closure.

As an example of the kind of problems likely to arise the section of cycletrack/footway along Winterstoke Road was closed for several days for ground tests recently with no provision for those unfortunate enough to try to cycle there. This is a main route to Ashton Park School and will probably be closed again but for a longer when the main works begin. The working assumption seemed to be that it is not a cycle route at all, perhaps as anyone trying to use it now would be quite lost without pretty detailed local knowledge due to existing poor signing. As all the works are being lead by different contractors it's as if the everyday management of the road system live in parallel universes as far as walking and cycling as concerned.

We'll be doing our best to press for proper provision and alternatives for those cycling while these works are going on. Do get in touch if you spot something that can be improved or if you can help make things better for others.

A petition has been raised asking Bristol City Council to scrap most of the 20mph rollout claiming it is "ridiculous" and "ludicrous". Anyone who walks or cycles around the city knows this not to be the case. We need to counter such misinformed rubbish and urge you to sign the alternative petition here: Keep and extend 20mph limits

The petitioners' argument that 20mph has made the roads more dangerous is particularly weak: "We the undersigned are of the opinion that roads will only be made more dangerous with frustrated drivers and people watching the speedo rather than where they're going." This statement is actually an insult to Bristol's motorists. It seems to suggest the city's drivers have no self control or judgement and it must be a pretty bad driver who never takes their eye off the speedo, whatever the speed limit happens to be. We worry the signers of this petition have not properly thought through what they're signing up to.

Thankfully the council have published a robust response via the Bristol Post which accords with our vision of a liveable city. "There are tangible safety benefits of reducing speed to 20mph and research also shows that the real impact on journey times for drivers is remarkably small. The slower speed not only reduces the risk of injuries and fatalities, but it also encourages people to get out and walk or cycle."

Please forward the petition to everyone you know in Bristol. (Even if they've signed the other petition, show them the light as they can always make amends by signing this one thereby cancelling out the other!) And please drop a line to your local councillors and MP asking them to continue their support of 20mph.

We've issued a press release as attached which has been picked up local media here, here. The case is well set out in the excellent website "A little bit slower. A whole lot better." Find out how you can do your bit to help through Community Speedwatch. For a caustic view on those backing each petition have a look at Bristol Traffic.


A significant section of the Strawberry line is to close between 2 & 15 September to allow for the construction of a solar farm. The diversion takes you down a busy B road which should at least be signposted to warn motorists of additional cycle and pedestrian presence. More details hereThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you spot any shortcomings.

Has it really been that long since the National Cycling Network came about? Whilst we at BCyC HQ try to work out where the time went, please get yourselves to Queen Square on Sat 22 Aug to help celebrate with Sustrans at their Fair in the Square.

Over 2,000 bicycles are reported stolen every year in the Bristol area and less than 5% are recovered. Avon and Somerset Police have recently targeted the problem with two high profile raids on what they believe to be gangs of cycle thieves and a push to get cyclists to protect their bikes. In July five people were arrested and £50,000 of suspected stolen bikes were seized as part the year-long Operation Talisman.

Advice for cyclists on security from the police can be found in this useful summary Protect yourself from bike thieves this summer.

There's a consultation out on behalf of the Department for Transport to compile a set of Case Studies that exemplify high quality, high performing cycle infrastructure in the UK. The short list of 35 schemes provide variety of scheme types (in both urban and rural areas), and illustrate cycle designs for different situations. There is an online survey until 16th August to narrow this to a final selection by commenting on chemes with which people are familiar.


The next stage of the project will involve collecting more detailed data on the final selection from their promoters, with DfT planning to publish a selection of case studies on its website in Autumn 2015. The three local schemes are

- South West England: Bristol - Baldwin Street Two Way Segregated Cycle Track

- South West England: Bristol - Redcliffe Bridge and Welsh Back

- South West England: South Gloucestershire - Hambrook Junction on A4174, parallel signalled cycle crossing

One of our members has made the following responses stating that all three are 'Satisfactory, but...'  What do you think? Chip in on Facebook or Twitter.

South Gloucestershire - Hambrook Junction on A4174, parallel signalled cycle crossing

Compared to much of the other provision through South Gloucestershire this is not bad. It does help get across a major obstacle to cycling but it can hardly be called welcoming and is not going to make those who don't cycle feel they are safe and welcome particularly on the approaches.

Bristol - Baldwin Street Two Way Segregated Cycle Track

This is a short length of really quite attractive provision, including a well thought out priority crossing of a fairly busy side street. The question is where it comes from and is going. The junction at the top by Castle Park is congested, confusing and unable to cope with existing demand. At the other end you are dumped into bewildering routes around the centre. Net effect is marginal at best. Then there is the issue that the long term strategy for the city centre must be for a 'Living Heart' free of motor traffic, in which case Baldwin Street may well not need special provision at all. Looks like tokenism in the absence of strategy, but if you think that all that's needed is a few metres of good stuff then you might be pleased with this.

Bristol - Redcliffe Bridge and Welsh Back

This was done as a quick and cheap scheme during the Cycling City project and it was the only example where a short stretch of road was reallocated as Space for Cycling. It's not pretty and already feel congested and it does little to clarify the heavily used shared use paths and pavements through to Queens Square and beyond or on through to Temple Meads Station. Is it better than what was there before? Yes. It is a example of Triple A cycling provision (All Ages and Abilities) that will encourage more people to cycle feeling safe and comfortable? Only if your standards are low and you're feeling charitable.

Well, at least for 6 months whilst the bridge is being refurbished from mid-August. 

This will be a practical test of filtered permeability in the centre as a temporary scaffolding bridge is being put up for pedestrians and cyclists. It's only 3m wide however so probably only suitable for walking with bikes.

Now this is a chance to see the effect of closing the bridge to general traffic. Will Bristol grind to a halt? We very much doubt it.

We will be pressing for this to be a evaluated for a permanent measure. Just the kind of thing that should have been planned as part of Green Capital and disappointing that we're only now hearing about it, and as a temporary measure.

More information from Better By Bike

We’re excited about the return of Bristol's Bike Film Festival, Cyclescreen, to the Watershed from Thursday 20 to Sunday 23 August. Now in its second year, the festival will celebrate the social and environmental benefits of the beloved bicycle for the people of Britain. And it’ll explore the part Bristol and the southwest has played in Britain’s cycling evolution through the founding of the national cycle network.

The programme has something for everyone, with documentaries and talks exploring cycling’s history, its sporting dramas, its inspirational women, its affinity with adventure and creativity.

Films and talks with Bristol connections:

Bicycle: A Great British Movement (Thu 20 Aug 18:00)
A documentary exploring cycling in the UK from its birth in the Victorian era to today’s boom, with a look at the success of the Bristol to Bath railway path. Bicycle will be followed by a Q&A with Sustrans Founder John Grimshaw, Sustrans Regional Director for the South West Ian Barrett and cycling advocate and Executive Chairman of Aardman Animations, David Sproxton.

Dummy Jim (Sun 23 Aug 17:00)
A recreation of deaf James Duthie’s journey from Scotland to the Arctic Circle and back starring Bristolian deaf actor and filmmaker Samuel Dore.

The Printing Bike Project (Sun 23 Aug 13:00)
The story of Nick Hand of Bristol’s the Letterpress Collective and Robin Mather of the Bicycle Academy riding their custom-made bicycle to Mainz in Germany, the spiritual home of the printing press, and carrying out their trade along the way.

Also particularly recommended:

Who is Dervla Murphy? + Come on Eileen (Thu 20 Aug 20:30)
A double bill featuring the hugely inspiring travel writer and explorer Dervla Murphy and a first-hand account of pro-cyclist Eileen Sheridan’s remarkable story, including her epic journey from Land’s End to John O’Groats and on to take the 1,000 mile record that stood for 48 years.

This year's AGM was so packed with updates and future plans we ended up overrunning and had to ask Carlton to wrap things up rather quickly!

Before Carlton treated us to a preview of his upcoming book, discussions were had around our development and how we can further influence change in the city. The revival of Space for Cycling this year will take us into the mayoral and full council elections in 2016. We need to put inspiration generated by our Top Tube map to action on the ground. This means getting more involved in Neighbourhood Partnerships to influence local decision making and moving forward with Road Justice.

We continue to work closely with our partners especially in our response to consultations. We are planning a study tour in the Netherlands on 23-25 September to which are inviting council officers along with anyone keen to see how things are done in cycling 'Nirvana'. However we still need to work more closely with other partners such as public transport providers and environmental groups. Our consultation responses now use a traffic light format to make them quicker and easier to understand.

Our communications need to be more effective, including setting up an events team to communicate directly with the public. There was some consensus to say that we have lost something by no longer having a paper magazine. Any ideas on how we might revive some form of printed messaging would be appreciated.

Our Road Justice campaign continues, as Rob Harding described: however we are slowly slipping down the Police's priority list and things are not getting done. Road Justice needs to be enforced. Recent statistics showed in Bristol 128 cyclists annually are admitted to hospital needing treatment including 17 due to 'dooring'. An FoI request showed only 10 people were prosecuted as a result. Mark Brough and Sam Saunders continue to work on the statistics to help push things at Neighbourhood Partnership level. A brief discussion ensued from the question: should we continue to use reasoned argument or more radical means? We need to hear from people involved in incidents with the Bristol Cyclists Facebook group being a good source of news. We also still need a system for taking action based on near-miss incident reporting statistics (which is about to go live). Is this something the Campaign could do by adding a page on our website?

The Metrobust campaign has been involved in detailed consultation with the council, having identified a possible bus/cycle conflict at the Create Centre. Plans for lighting have been removed from large sections of the Metrobus route, which degrades the cycling facilities alongside. The Centre (by the fountains) is to be redesigned extensively, but no-one is sure which agency is actually leading on this, so consultation is proving difficult. There has been success with saving the footway on Bedminster Parade, but overall there is a perception of indifference for needs of cycling on behalf of the Metrobus scheme. We're hoping to get the deputy mayor for transport to give more resource to council officers to help implement cycling improvements within big schemes.

Chris Whitlock gave a detailed presentation on our Rides programme, which over the last year has been given a boost with help from the council's Active Neighbourhood Transport Grant. In February 2014, we applied for the grant to run rides to actively encourage novice and irregular cyclists and to make greater use of social media and websites (such as Better By Bike) to publicise the rides. By May 2014 the grant was approved and funds of £1,410 were received on condition we started monitoring our rides.

Therefore over the one year period of the grant the £1,410 was used as follows:

- £270 on regular leafleting

- £585 on Ride leader training

- £320 on design work for promotional material

- £172 on Ride leader equipment and clothing (e.g. high viz jackets, first aid kits)

- £63 on extra printing and prizes for family event

Rides were length divided between short urban 'themed' rides (interesting and informative, but also sociable and entertaining) graded 'Easy', at a gentle pace and very inclusive, making them appealing to those who may not otherwise consider cycling; medium rural rides (out-of-town rides of medium grade and length) designed to provide cycling in good company, exploring attractive rural routes; and long 'challenge' ride (full day rides for experienced cyclists or for those seeking a more challenging ride).

The grant has allowed us to produce a monthly rides poster distributed to 84 sites around the City by a team of a dozen volunteers and we received extra publicity this year via a Guardian cycling supplement. For the coming year we're working on a bright new poster to promote our Rides programme. The grant also funded a Ride Leader training day to improve the comfort, safety and enjoyment of our rides. Hence ten people were invited to a comprehensive full day of training given by Lifecycle UK and Ride Leader packs were provided for those who have taken an active role in the last year.

Analysis of the statistics produced some predictable and some encouraging results.

- rides attendance is 70/30 ratio of men to women

- 77% are attendees are in the 31 to 60 age range

- 35% are in the 51 to 60 age range

- 22% come from BS3 (Bedminster/Ashton/Southville)

- 13% come from BS7 (Bishopston/Horfield/Lockleaze)

- 13% come from BS4 (Brislington/Knowle/St Annes)

- 10% come from BS6 (Cotham/Redland/St Andrews)

So are our rides encouraging people to cycle more?  Our stats show 65% of attendees confirmed the event will encourage them to cycle more, with many of those ticking "No" commenting cycling was already their main form of transport. More on Chris's presentation here (opens a pdf).

Finally, nominations to the committee were: Eric Booth, Andrew Gough, Terry Miller, Penny Partridge, Martin Tweddell, Chris Whitlock, Benn Woodward, proposed by Rob Harding, seconded by Martin Tweddell and the vote to re-elect them was unanimous. Their roles will be determined at future meetings (please see About Us)

Carlton Reid's presentation was fascinating and informative. His earlier book Roads Were Not Built For Cars sold out extremely quickly and also did very well in US and he hopes his latest work in progress, Bike Boom, about resurgence of cycling since the 1970s will do just as well.

However before talking about Bike Boom, Carlton reminded us of some key points from Roads Were Not Built For Cars which, of course, forms the context for the 1970s resurgence. In the 1890s across the US and Europe it was cyclists who created roads and it was only when the automobile was invented that the same innovators then moved on to create motoring. These innovators led the way for road improvements in the 1880s when also the first segregated cycle lane appeared in Utrecht (Netherlands) for high wheeled cycling. In 1900 the US 'Sidepaths' movement came into being to promote high quality segregated routes. By the 1930s the UK had 600 miles of cycle paths, but these were badly designed and maintained which led to the CTC's stance at the time to keep cycling on the roads with general traffic. Meanwhile since the 1880s the Netherlands had got good at 'canalising' (segregating) traffic streams.

So cycling was off the political radar between WW1 and 1970. The town of Davis, California, started installing paths in 1960s and this continues today, helped by the fact it has a large student population. Meanwhile back in the UK the Buchanan report was published, which though full of warnings about car domination, only the auto-centric recommendations were cherry picked by government. Stevenage became the exception, with a 'phenomenal' system, but no cyclists! This confirmed that a healthy cycling culture is not just about infrastructure. Amazingly the Dutch were coming to Stevenage in the '70s to see how WE did things. The resurgence of cycling only happened where politicians allowed it, such as in the Netherlands after the fuel crisis and Stop de Kindermoord campaign in the early '70s. (The Netherlands wasn't always cycling utopia, as photos of Dutch streets from the 1950s & '60s show, with cars dominating city streets). By the end of the 1970s and into the 1980s the UK needed campaigns such as Cyclebag (which evolved into Sustrans) to push for better cycling provision, which continues to this day.

We'll have to wait for the publication of Bike Boom to see what conclusions Carlton reaches, about where this boom is going and warnings for the future of cycling if we don't take the right path.

Keeping you abreast of what the Campaign is up to.