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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.


Bristol council debate our Cycling Manifesto

Today (22nd July) there is a full council debate on cycling, thanks to 4,125 people who want to make Bristol better for cycling and signed the Bristol Cycling Manifesto (keep signing!). We've been told our 20 mins are likely to be at 7pm in a meeting that starts at 6pm.  You can watch the debate live, or later, at www.bristol.gov.uk/webcast.

Sadly, the landmark event and positive news story is unlikely to get the coverage it deserves due to another petition about residents' parking. The campaign however continues under the Space for Cycling heading as we move towards 2015 and the next elections.

Read more here

How good is the Bristol Council Cycling Strategy?

BCyC is hosting an event in City Hall from 5:30pm - 7:30pm on Weds 9th July to prepare the way. Come along for a concise overview of what's going on in Bristol and summary of what to expect over the coming years. This will see the opening of consultation on the official Bristol Council Cycle Strategy which will set out the response to our Bristol Cycling Manifesto.  Read more...

Penny on Discover Bristol rides during the cycle festival

The lovely Bristol Cycle Festival folk have interviewed our Penny (looking very summery) about our rides to Discover Bristol by bike.  

Can't wait! 


Neighbourhood Cycling plans

Having spent last year focussed on the Strategic Cycle Network for the Bristol region which formed the basis of the Bristol Cycling Manifesto routes, we're now moving onto the next stage: Neighbourhood Sustainable Transport Plans.  

Our aim it identify the local links needed to connect the strategic cycle network to where people live, work, shop, study and play. This is very much in keeping with the Space for Cycling campaign. We will be building local plans with the aim of shaping the thinking and priorities of neighbourhood partnerships (NP), councillors and communities, in the same way that we have been successful at council level with our Freedom to Ride manifesto.

Bristol neighbourhood partnership areasThere is now a section on our site for each NP in Bristol, with similar areas covering South Glos and North Somerset. This shows the strategic cycle routes through each area and we'll be adding in local links over the coming months perhaps starting with safer routes to school.

We have been making use of the experience of other campaign groups around the country on this, in particular:

Get in touch if you are able to help with this more local work.

Bristol Cycling Campaign Dutch study tour

The Bristol Cycling Campaign is organising a study tour to the Netherlands, home of the cycling capital of the world: Groningen.

The tour will take place from September 22nd to 26th. You must confirm your place by June 27th.

An information sheet is available here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B71pyjvMEOqcT1ZsT3VmenliLTg/edit?usp=sharing

More detail about the tour is available on David Hembrow's website

Please use this sign up form to register your interest. We need to know possible numbers!





London Cycle Campaign interviews George Ferguson

There's a three page spread in the June 2014 "London Cyclist" magazine from London Cycling Campaign. Some interesting things here and much that's encouraging (we like the quote that "80% of people (and rising) in Bristol think cycling to work is ‘normal’ compared with only 66% of people nationally").

The Mayor of Bristol is fast becoming the country’s most prominent cycling advocate as Mike Cavenett finds out 

George Ferguson with bikes outside City Hall. From LCC June 2014You have an ambitious plan to double cycling in Bristol from 7% to 14% over the next ten years. Readers in London might be unfamiliar with Bristol, can you tell us what’s been achieved so far to increase cycling?

According to the 2011 Census, Bristol achieved the highest growth outside central London between 2001 and 2011 with the number of people cycling doubling from 8,108 to 16,211, and the modal share of people cycling to work now at 7.7%. This is still a long way off continental levels, but is a pretty impressive figure for any major British city, especially as cycling levels have remained relatively unchanged nationally.

The three key lessons are that, firstly, Bristol has been promoting cycling for a long time (with the first cycling officer in the UK in the late 1980s), and an ongoing sustained effort really does make a difference. You have to be in it for the long term and keep at it.

The second is making sure that you choose carefully where to invest, so it successfully gets more people on bikes. The Bristol-Bath Railway Path now sees millions of journeys a year. More recently we have seen up to six times as many people on the Concorde Way, one of the key investments of the Cycling City programme, chosen because it has employment sites at each end (the city centre at one end and the M4 corridor at the other).

The third is being innovative. We trialled contraflows and advanced stop lines in Bristol in the 1990s and they are now widely accepted. I am frustrated at how difficult the centralised rules are to be able to innovate more.

Looking ahead, what are the top measures that will help achieve your target in this electoral term?

Firstly, keeping at it. With a variety of different funding streams we are continuing to invest significantly in cycling, and making sure that other investments, like our Bus Rapid Transit system that will be coming on line in 2016/17, also benefits walking and cycling.

Secondly, Bristol is European Green Capital in 2015, so we really aim to create a bit of a buzz around sustainability for that.

The third thing is demand management — for example after 20 years of talking about it we are now rolling out residents’ parking, the last of the major English cities to do so. I am pleased that people will no longer be able to drive within a short distance of the city centre and leave their car outside other people’s homes all day.

Fourthly, we are rolling out 20mph speed limit areas with a very ambitious city-wide programme; the closer to the city centre you get, the more comprehensive the limit area becomes.

Lastly we are already seeing that people are encouraged in some areas by the numbers of people already cycling to take to the pedals themselves — ‘safety in numbers’ — but I also think that drivers are becoming more sympathetic and accepting of bikes on the road.

It is also important to remember it is not all about cycling, it is about creating cities that are fit for people to live and get around in without being dominated or intimatdated by single occupancy cars.

Bristol Cycling Campaign supports a similar policy platform to LCC: local streets without through motor traffic and reduced speeds, along with a safe, protected network of main road cycleways. Do you support these Dutch-style measures in Bristol?

The local campaign is doing some good work and I support this idea. I am rolling out a very ambitious 20mph programme on residential streets. Some of the areas where we are introducing residents’ parking also creates space for reallocation — for example, Clarence Road (near Temple Meads) used to have nose-to-tail commuter parking, but will now have a segregated bike lane instead.

What kind of street designs do you think will persuade parents that their children are safe on the roads on their bicycles?

I accept that there are conditions in Bristol that make cycling to school difficult, which is why we are focusing on active travel rather than exclusively cycling. As far as I am concerned, I am happy if a large majority of children arrive by foot or scooter as well as bike. I am also cautious of prescribing any infrastructural panacea; different conditions provide different opportunities and challenges.

Before the abolition of Cycling England, Bristol was the UK’s only ‘Cycling Demonstration City’. Have you found the national government helpful to your efforts to encourage cycling? Have you invited Eric Pickles over to see how sustainable transport can benefit urban areas?

Bristol has been very successful in persuading the DfT to allocate cycling funds, and we are very grateful for the opportunity to show what can be done. Analysis of the Census results shows that Bristol (and some of the others that targeted the journey to work) really did well on any measure, including comparison with the other Cycling England demonstration sites.

I do think that the government should do more to give us local flexibilities to try new things: we have the most centralised system in Europe and that makes it very difficult to trial different approaches that we are confident will work. IhavesaidIwouldbehappytobea test bed for innovation and I will also be watching what London is up to.

My own belief is at odds with Eric Pickles and I have already been publicly pulled up for my quotes about how our views differ. I believe there are dozens of examples in Europe that show limiting car traffic makes for much more civilised cities, but also that it takes bold leadership to change the status quo.

Car parking takes up a huge proportion of our street space, so what have you done to address this problem, to provide more space for cycling —and did you manage it without your popularity suffering?

Some of the resulting space from our programme of residents’ parking is being given to cyclists. Time will tell about how this will be judged, but we have already seen widespread support for it where it has been rolled out, with traders asking for it to be extended to the weekend. Change is always difficult, and the scheme has made me unpopular with some people, not least some of the local party politicians.

We also have a large and comprehensive car club provision in Bristol and, with technology, I think there are all sorts of interesting innovations around ‘demand responsive transport’ that will be appearing in the next few years.

Most evidence points to increased cycling benefiting all of society not just a minority — reduced congestion and pollution, improved public health, etc — but many people don’t understand this. How do you sell cycling to what is still a largely non-cycling electorate?

Everyone benefits from cycling, even those that do not cycle, and it has been gratifying recently to see cities in America, home of the automobile, really understanding this and making some impressive progress.

We have been doing tracker surveys of attitudes to cycling and we are showing that in Bristol there is increasing acceptance of cycling: over 80% of people (and rising) in Bristol think cycling to work is ‘normal’ compared with only 66% of people nationally. We need to do much more to ‘normalise’ cycling, and this needs to happen through soft and hard measures.

In 2013, a London coroner said that blue paint on the Mayor’s Cycle Superhighways was liable to confuse cyclists and motorists. From where do you take your inspiration when planning high-quality, protected cycle lanes?

I’ve just been to Copenhagen where the system is stunning, along with many Dutch cities. We have quite a bit of catching up to do! This will take time and long-term effort, but I do think that there is still a place for paint-based interventions.

Does your architectural background help you in examining the fine details of proposed schemes?

As I regularly cycle around town I’m interested in the fine details, but this is as a cyclist rather than as an architect. As an architect I’ve always been focused on people and how they use places and spaces, so I am interested in a broader palette rather than the minutiae of individual schemes and how it all fits together.

Some architects say that cycling is the transport mode that is most suited to the scale and road layouts of European cities, do you agree?

Yes, although with the hills in Bristol I do accept that some people may wish to use electric bikes, which seem to be taking off significantly on the continent.

You’ve mentioned creating a ‘cycling champion’ in Bristol. Why not simply appoint a cabinet member for cycling?

My Assistant Mayor, Mark Bradshaw, is the lead for transport and he and I take cycling very seriously — in fact Mark, as a Labour cabinet member, did a great deal of positive things, including winning the Cycling City funding in 2008. As an independent, I have put together a ‘rainbow cabinet’ with the parties represented proportionately to the number of seats on the Council.

On my behalf the Green cabinet member recently went on a study tour of Holland with my Director of Transport, but I am determined that it is about the holistic view of the city rather than just cycling where our focus needs to be. 

Download this file (LCC 30_JUNE14_LC Interview with George Ferguson.pdf)Interview with George Ferguson from London Cyclist LCC June 2014[Interview with George Ferguson from \\\'London Cyclist\\\' LCC June 2014]2021 kB

Bristol Cycling Campaign response to TRSGD consultation

The rules setting out what can and can't be done on our roads are set out in a document called Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD). These change painfully slowly and are a real constraint on innovation and straightforward changes to provide properly for bikes. There is a consultation out for some very beneficial changes to come in 2015.  

Here is the response of Bristol Cycling Campaign.

For details see the CTC site.

Our New Committee

A new committee was elected at our AGM in April - the following committee members were re-elected:

- Andrew Gough
- Benn Woodward
- Chris Whitlock
- Eric Booth
- Martin Tweddell
- Martin McDonnell
- Penny Partridge
- Terry Miller

Adam Semenenko, a very active member of our Infrastructiure Action Group and regular attendee at Cyclie Forums and other cycling meetings, has subsequently volunteered to be on the Committee and has been accepted by a quorum.

Grateful thanks to Anneke van Velze, Tessa Fitzjohn, Martin Parkinson and William Baker for their help on the Committee last year.

The Committee appointed roles at our May meeting as follows:

Chair - Eric Booth
Treasurer - Benn Woodward
Secretary - Martin McDonnell
Rides & Social - Chris Whitlock & Penny Partridge
Campaigns - Eric Booth
Infrastructure - Martin McDonnell
Communications - Martin Tweddell
South Gloucester - Andrew Gough

Space for Cycling - Big Ride in Bristol

A good crowd turned out today for our Big Ride in support of the Space for Cycling Campaign. We only decided at the last minute to put on a ride to coincide with others around the country, so many thanks to all those who responded so quickly to the call to make space for cycling so that many more people who want to cycle can choose to do so.

Thanks to Assistant Mayor Mark Bradshaw for cutting the ribbon on the new Dutch-style cycleway on Clarence Road (not quite finished as there were manufacturing problems with the lane separators ("Toby"s)) - this is a major step forwards in "8-80" cycling provision here in Bristol.

After a relaxed ride around the City Centre we ended up "sliding" down Park Street to hand in our Freedon to Ride petition with over 4,000 signatures - thanks to Assistant Mayor Gus Hoyt for receiving it on behalf of the Counciil - Full Council debate in July.

The organisers did an amazing job in the short time available and our marshalls were superb at providing a rolling "Space for Cycling" as we cycled through the City. It seemed like everybody, young and old, enjoyed having the Freedon to Ride around Bristol City Centre.

A fuller article and some better pictures than these quick snaps are here.

2014 AGM with Roger Geffen

I can’t remember an AGM of any kind in any organisation that rattled along quite as briskly and purposefully as this year’s BCyC AGM at Roll For The Soul. Well done Committee!

Before the main event we had 2 minute reports in PechaKucha style wherein Bristol’s 20mph roll-out, Our Road Justice Campaign, Cycling Infrastructure, Planning Consultations, South Gloucestershire, Rides, Communications, Membership and The Cycling Manifesto (Freedom To Ride) were flashed before our eyes and ears. The Treasurer, with probity in mind, was more detailed and the election of Committee members was a little less furious, but we finished all that essential business with plenty of patience left to hear what Roger Geffen, Campaigns and Policy Director for the CTC, had to say in the headline slot. Eric Booth's final words on our Cycling Manifesto had suggested that the Bristol Freedom To Ride campaign was about to become the national Space For Cycling Campaign. The same message, but bigger. The challenge was there for Roger Geffen to take.

He started by recalling that only five years ago the outlook for putting cycling on the national agenda had been looking pretty gloomy. Things are very different now. Since Kaya Burgess's Cities Fit for Cycling campaign everything has changed. That campaign, particularly because it had been launched in the Times, made an immediate impact in Parliament. It was the catalyst for the formation of an All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group which initiated a remarkable debate in Westminster Hall where 73 MPs were listening avidly, as well as speaking, in a serious discussion of cycling. The transport minister Justine Greening was sympathetic and gave responsibility for following the initiative up to Norman Baker. Baker, said Geffen, despite his relatively weak position as a Liberal Democrat in a less powerful Department, fought hard to get some money to get cycling established as a part of national political scene.

The Cycling City Ambition Fund was the immediate consequence and eight cities, Bristol included, got money to spend and there was an increase in the activity of local campaign groups as a result. This marked a significant change in the zeitgeist. A Parliamentary Enquiry was set up and the Government took it seriously (in part because the Times was supporting it) and a summary report was published in April 2013, outlining 18 recommendations: Get Britain Cycling.

Against this background Roger gave us an overview of the CTC’s Space For Cycling (http://www.ctc.org.uk). It is, he said, a concerted effort to get political support at local and national levels for focussed spending on the transport infrastructure to bring about that big increase in cycling that will bring benefits to all. The principal themes are: Funding, Cycle Proofing (a term that covers all aspects of design and integration with planning and maintenance work on all transport infrastructure), Safety and Leadership.

The key message that the CTC want to get out to Councillors and MPs in the first phase is that cycling is for anybody, anywhere, for all kinds of journey, and that increased levels of cycling will bring benefits across the board.

The campaign brings a set of practical solutions that politicians and the general public can relate to three objectives:

- Protected space for cyclists on busy roads
- Reduced motor traffic volume and speeds
- Cycle routes free of motor traffic

With the general shape and rationale set out the meeting was opened up to thorny questions and spirited discussion. It was clear that Bristol Cycling Campaign has already anticipated and moved on a lot of the themes in the CTC's agenda. We might also note that many on Bristol City Council, as well as Mayor Ferguson are more or less ready to sign up for the whole package as soon as the funding is made available.

May 17th has been designated as a day for nationwide rides in support of Space For Cycling and hopes were raised that Bristol would be making a big contribution to the event. Confidence and political courage would be needed.

Are we ready?

Sam Saunders

Productive meeting with Chief Constable

Three Bristol Cycling Campaign members from the Road Justice sub group recently met the Chief Constable again to review progress on an action plan agreed at our last meeting. At the meeting we discussed evidence-based policing, officer training, 'near miss' reporting, and the response of Avon & Somerset Police to the CTC Road Justice pledge.

This was a wide ranging discussion that noted that progress had been made in some areas, but there was much to do. A further review of progress will be in October.  Here's a summary of key points:

Adrian Hill

We are very sad to pass on the news that Adrian Hill passed away last month. Adrian led many of our rides, fixed hundreds of people’s bikes, made a big contribution to the cycling community in Bristol and was an all-round nice guy – he will be much missed. We plan to celebrate his life in a joint ride with other cycling groups later in the year.

Meanwhile here's a selection of photos showing how we'd like to remember Adrian.


More Articles...

  1. Strange Cylindrical Objects Appearing around Bristol
  2. AA Launches "Think Bikes" Campaign
  3. "Other Things Being Equal" A Spell That Binds Us To The Past
  4. New law urged for dangerous driving
  5. Jan'14 Bristol Cycle Forum Update
  6. Decision time for Crew Hole / Beaufort Road
  7. Media Interest Escalates
  8. Manifesto Campaign Makes National News
  9. Reprieve for Colston Street
  10. Barriers Likely to be Removed
  11. Cycle Parking at Home
  12. Colston Street Bike Lane Reprieve
  13. Cycling Excluded From Local Transport Plans
  14. Neighbourhood Forums
  15. Bike Forum Update
  16. Justice for Ross and Clare Simons
  17. Baldwin Street Cycle Safety Consultation
  18. Third Round of Funding for Active Transport
  19. Bee Ride Goes Down a Swarm
  20. Freedom to Ride Leafleting
  21. 3 Important New Consultations
  22. Rideable Bristol July 2013
  23. Stop the slaughter on our streets
  24. The future of Britain’s transport? More roads
  25. Green Week Finale - A Taste of Things to Come?
  26. Sensible contraflow diversion on Nelson Street
  27. Stop Pinching Bikes - New Campaign
  28. Bristol Cycling Campaign Supports Tackling Congestion in Central Bristol
  29. Bristol Cycle Forum - Thursday 16th May
  30. Cycle City Ambition Grant
  31. The world's most bike friendly cities
  32. Probably the best day for British Cycling since the war - but still a way to go!
  33. Roll For the Soul Announce Venue
  34. Lovely Census Stats
  35. Councillor Against Air Pollution
  36. Infrastructure Ride Reveals New Link
  37. Boris Johnson's £1bn Vision for Cyclng in London
  38. Most Motorists are Not Criminals but Most Criminals are Motorists
  39. Tesco's Contractors Don't Ride Bicycles
  40. Traffic Free Bristol Comes a Step Closer
  41. Super Lorries Arrive in Bristol
  42. Poynton Regenerated
  43. Brompton Dock