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News from the world of Bristol cycling...

Please take a look at our Blog for quick updates.


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 photos on our Flickr site - please send us any more that you have that we can add to the set and share any thoughts or memories of Adrian with us and we will add them here.

Strange Cylindrical Objects Appearing around Bristol

Weird looking objects are starting to appear around Bristol.


Maybe to do with the demolition work going on across town?

But the "Bikes" sign next to it is a clue - yeah, we're getting some on-street cycle pumps - available 24/7 - so no excuse for flat tyres now or having to walk your bike home. A real bit of positive cycle promotion from Bristol City Council and one very happy looking customer.

Expect them to be turning up in other areas too (this one is outside Roll for the Soul), hopefully to include: Clifton Down,Temple Meads, M-Shed, Watershed/Cascade Steps, Ashton Court Cycle Centre, Stokes Croft Green Space and maybe more depending on popularity.

More info on Better By Bike


AA Launches "Think Bikes" Campaign

The AA has launched a new campaign on the back of polls which suggest a vast majority of drivers find it hard to see cyclists and motorcyclists.

In a recent AA-Populus poll of 17,629 drivers, 93% of respondents admitted they sometimes find it hard to see cyclists and more than half (55%) were often ‘surprised when a cyclist appears from nowhere’.

In a previous AA-Populus poll relating to the visibility of motorcyclists, the corresponding figures were 85% and 57% respectively.

As a result of these findings the AA, with support from British Cycling and The Motorcycle Industry Association, has today (7 March) launched a national “Think Bikes” awareness campaign.

Initially one million free stickers will be distributed to drivers as a reminder to do a ‘double-take’ in their mirrors for cycles and motorcycles in their blind spots. The AA suggests that the cycle sticker is placed on the passenger’s side and the motorcycle one on the driver’s side.

The campaign also includes a short youTube film titled 'Now you see it', which features a naked cyclist.

The campaign was supported at its launch by the Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman, who is also British Cycling's policy adviser, and 20-time Isle of Man TT winner John McGuinness.

Free stickers will be available from all Halfords outlets and distributed by the police and directly to AA members in renewal and joining packs.

Complete article at roadsafetygb.org.uk , other comment from CTC , road.cc and others can be found on the web.

BBC Radio Bristol featured the campaign on yesterday's John Darvall Show with comment from Bristol Cycling Campaign, Sustrans, local politicians etc during the first hour.

"Other Things Being Equal" A Spell That Binds Us To The Past

In the first of an occasional series of musings, BCyC member Sam Saunders explains why the Department for Transport could be misleading us into thinking that an exponential growth in car use is inevitable.

"Other Things Being Equal" is a phrase I first heard from economists in the Latin form "ceteris paribus". It's a note of warning that (for example) when the price of umbrellas goes up, sales of umbrellas go down, other things being equal. It explicitly does not rule out the possibility that extra rainfall could make sales can go up, despite the price increase.

The need to remember the "other things being equal"rule can be seen in some of the muddled reactions to the recently published Road Transport Forecasts 2013: Results from the Department for Transport's National Transport Model (DfT 2013).

The headline figure from the DfT's 35 page document has been that motor vehicle traffic on the strategic road network will increase by 45.6% by 2040. The non-strategic roads (the ones paid for by local authorities like Bristol) will have to cope with an increase of 41.5%. These numbers have been subjected to some pretty strong criticism in cycling circles.

The forecasters working on the National Transport Model (NTM) did explain that their projections are based on economic and demographic variables that are known to have influenced the growth in motor vehicle use over recent decades. It must be said, though, that they also explain that their predictions assume a number of other things staying the same. Changes in these "sources of uncertainty" would affect the predictions. Figure 9 gives the picture:

(copied from DfT paper p.15)

Six things in that scenario could change and each of them has the potential to make the prediction unreliable. So what the NTM report actually does say is not contradicted at all by the following statement:

"If Government policy changes, the trend in traffic growth could be reversed."


New law urged for dangerous driving

(from the BBC Democracy site)

"MPs from across the political spectrum have appealed for tougher sentencing of people who cause death or serious injury by dangerous driving.

Conservative Chris Skidmore called for a new offence of causing death by dangerous driving while disqualified, as he led a backbench debate on the subject on 27 January 2014.

He said this would mean families whose loved ones die at the hands of a banned driver do not have their pain worsened because the culprit gets a short sentence.

Mr Skidmore has campaigned on this issue since two of his Bristol constituents, Ross and Clare Simons, were killed exactly one year ago after being knocked from their tandem bike.

The man responsible, Nicky Lovell, who had previous convictions for driving while disqualified, received a ten year sentence. Mr Skidmore said he could be freed in six years.

The Bristol MP argued that such a law change would act as a deterrent for persistent driving offenders and also ensure they are in prison for longer."

The BBC article and video are at http://www.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/house-of-commons-25917669

If you want to jump to the substance of the story it beegins at 06.55 in the video which is stored at:

Jan'14 Bristol Cycle Forum Update


Cycle Eye

From the Council

Cycling Partnership

The Bristol Cycle Forum, held on Thu 16 Jan at City Hall, began by collectively wishing Councillor Mark Bradshaw the very best wishes for a quick recovery after being diagnosed with cancer. We hope to see him back at work at the earliest opportunity. Meanwhile the Mayor and Councillor Daniella Radice will be picking up Mark's responsibilities.


Leading the 20mph rollout is Helen Wiggington who gave us an update on progress in advance of the first post-pilot rollout on 20 January. There will be a launch event with the Mayor at Colston's Primary Junior School on Tuesday 21st, to which anyone is invited.  

The rollout will be in six phases, starting in the Centre/North area, progressively working northward, eastward and southward until completion in March 2015. In the pilot areas they found 82% of residents supported the scheme, there were significant increases in rates of walking and cycling and a 65% reduction in mean average speed of motor vehicles. This bodes well for future rollouts, though as Helen commented getting buy-in from drivers will be more challenging the further out they go. We can only hope that the arguments around the public health benefits of more people walking and cycling will help.

The scheme is designed to be self-enforcing helped by changes in places to the 'look and feel' of the roads. Along with a social marketing campaign, driver education and community speed watch (organised via local neighbourhood forums) they hope that very little police enforcement will be required (though we at BCyC are working with the police to take enforcement seriously, amongst other measures as part of our Road Justice campaign).


Decision time for Crew Hole / Beaufort Road

We have submitted a statement in support of Bristol Council proposals for this truly awful stretch of road. 

There is a meeting of the St Georges Neighbourhood Partnership on Tuesday 10th Dec 2013 at which councillors will consider the options. 

There has been a strong campaign against the proposals by some local residents with strong views expressed. A Bristol Cycle Campaign member who attended a previous meeting felt it was simply not possible to express views in support of the scheme. They were also concerned that the councillors would be so intimidated that they would be unable to evaluate the proposal on its merits.

We are strongly of the view that the proposals will have very wide benefits through the area. They will open up a lovely level route all the way in from Keynsham to the the centre. This is the Q10 Promenade route on our Strategic Cycling Network.

UPDATE: The proposals for Beaufort Road were accepted but the much more significant ones for Crews Hole / Conham Road were rejected by the SGNP on 10th December (link). However, we note that revised plans are in the pipeline, in line with our statement about the strategic importance of this route, and the likely funding sources.

"It should be noted, that whilst the one way proposals for Conham Road and Crews Hole Road are not being progressed at this time, these proposals have not been scrapped altogether as requested. This road forms part of a wider network of routes associated with the Enterprise Zone and a recreational route in Bristol that require improvements. Bristol City Council are now considering all possible options for this section of road. Any feasible options, along with the deferred existing one way proposal, will be presented to the Neighbourhood Partnership Traffic & Transport sub-group for comments in due course. Any revised scheme will not be funded by money under the control of the Neighbourhood Partnership and as such the Partnership will not be making the final decision." (link)

Download this file (Statement to St Georges NP 9Dec2013.pdf)Crews Hole Consultation Statement[Crews Hole Consultation Statement from Bristol Cycling Campaign]102 kB

Media Interest Escalates

With the recent spate of horrific deaths in London and in our area (see blog), cycling and safety is attracting a lot of media attention both locally and nationally. Martin McDonnell has appeared on BBC Radio Bristol to robustly defend the rationale some people use for crossing a white line at red. Not wanting to condone illegal behaviour, Martin explained that in many circumstances it is safer to be ahead of stationary traffic at the lights in order to be better seen, which is why we have Advanced Stop Lines here and why the laws in other countries allow for turning traffic on red. Sam Saunders appeared on national ITV News to put forward the point that future generations will look back and ask why didn't we act to do more to prevent carnage on our roads? If you haven't already, please support the CTC's petition to Boris Johnson to do more for cycling safety in London, which will have a positive knock on effect to the rest of the UK. Meanwhile we are due to meet with the Chief Constable of Avon & Somerset in December to seek ways in which we can work to improve the reporting and prosecution of people where there is a clear case to prove they have caused danger and injury to cyclists, as well as to other vulnerable road users.

Manifesto Campaign Makes National News

A very upbeat article has appeared in the Independent celebrating Bristol as "Britain's cycling capital" and highlighting our Manifesto Campaign work with the City Council on a strategic cycling network composed almost entirely of Dutch-style cycle lanes. Not quite accurate, but the article does paint an optimistic picture of the future of cycling in Bristol. It's just a shame that when the BBC's Breakfast programme picked up on the story, the City Council's press office poured cold water on the idea saying the Independent's article was not factually correct. This is in spite of Councillor Mark Bradshaw's earlier tweet saying of the article "the shift we need to encourage yet more people to cycle, more often! Less confident cyclists especially." So as ever, watch this space to see what emerges.

Reprieve for Colston Street

The ill advised new parking bays on Colston Street have now been removed, after this was raised with the Council by BCyC as part of our Stop Pinching Bikes campaign, with help from the Bristol Traffic and wheelsonthebike blogs.

Barriers Likely to be Removed

There is strong indication from Council officers that the Gaol Ferry Bridge chicane barriers will be removed for a 12 month trial following the Greater Bedminster Community Partnership's unanimous decision to support this.

Details on how this will be managed need to be discussed, so please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to be involved. Suggested measures include improving the signage to reinforce the message to 'slow down' and 'share the bridge'. Also something is needed to clearly indicate no motorbikes, as there is nothing to say this right now.