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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. Our Blog has opinion pieces. The best way to keep up to date is to subscribe to our e-News mailing list. Past issues can be found here

BCyC imageThe Bristol Cycling Campaign is proposing to organise a 2016 study tour this June (7th-9th) with the world renowned Hembrow Study Tours. We will again be making use of the very detailed and insightful tours from David Hembrow, taking in the Northern Dutch cities of Assenand Groningen. These locations boast some of the best cycling infrastructure in the world (and also some that would not look at all out of place in Bristol 5 years ago).

As with the first study tour in 2014 you we'll help with travel options but you're free to make your own  arrangements. The price of the tour itself will depend on the number of participants but should be around £250* per person including accommodation. Travel to Assen is additional but will be £150-£200. Bike hire is very convenient and cheap from the station.

The Euro currently low against the Pound so now is a great time to take advantage of such favourable rates.

For the moment we would like to get an idea of the numbers of people interested. Therefore if you would please quickly fill in the following Doodle poll (no login required) with either Yes (interested), [Yes] (maybe) or No (not interested) that would be extremely helpful: http://doodle.com/poll/x63429kc4fkypb43

Anyone considering what might be learned should start with this video How the Dutch got their cycle paths. And then follow that up with this 5 minute summary of a 3 day tour.

We are strong supporters of Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways (FOSBR) and they have just launched an online rail travel survey to feed into the
WEP Joint Transport Plan and inform their campaign strategy – see the FOSBR website or follow the link https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/LWQBS7T

The national Association of Train Operating Companies is interested in learning more about travel by cycle-rail. Here's what they're after: 

The number of cycle-rail users is growing each year and so it’s important that the Association of Train Operating Companies, understand how best to provide you with helpful information when you’re planning a rail journey with a cycle.

They want to make your cycle-rail journey as simple as possible with the view to clarify information around station cycle facilities, hire schemes nearby and cycle restrictions on board trains.  Take their short survey which will take between 10-15 minutes to complete. As a thank you for your time all completed surveys will be entered into a free prize draw where four lucky winners will win £25 worth of Amazon gift vouchers each. The survey and prize draw will close on 31st January. Details of how to enter can be found at the end of the survey.

The link is: http://bit.ly/PlusBike5

We had this interesting response to the article A Modest Proposal #4: Clanage Road Roundabout and the Festival Way. It goes to the heart of the main dilemma of cycle campaigning.

Do we press for what's achievable and encourage/enforce use of less desirable routes and facilities?

Or should we always insist on full Triple A standards (All Ages and Abiltities) providing proper Space for Cycling?

Come along to the monthly meetup, or join one of our actions groups to be part of the debate.

I have read the proposals for the proposed improvements around Clanage Road and Ashton Park School and thought I would give my opinion on this.

Brace yourselves!  A absolute blizzard of major consultations is here.

This is a big shout out for your help!

If you have views to share, or want to be part of the discussions, you need to get stuck in right now.

Here's the plan:

  1. You help tell everyone what's going on and ask them to comment

  2. We put comment together into a pithy response, using our famous Red/Amber/Green rating

  3. We publish the response with a call out to our thousands of supporters to send responses supporting us 

Your chance to help make a difference to cycling in Bristol - find out how, bring ideas and enthusiasm to the ideas and planning meeting for Space 4 Cycling Bristol campaign 2016 –– Boston Tea Party Park Rd, upstairs, Mon 7 Dec, 5.30pm

Fed up with:

  • Cycle lanes that just stop, vehicles parked in cycle lanes,
  • Having only 1 mile of dedicated cycle lane (compared to nearly 600 miles of road in Bristol city),
  • No dedicated space for cyclists on ‘shared ‘paths e.g. centre of city, getting to Temple meads
  • Trying to find somewhere to park your bike

Do you:

  • Want your kids to be able to cycle safely on the roads?
  • Want to be able to ride safely to get to mountain bike tracks?

If you want any of these then here is your chance to help make change.

BCyC imageIt's very good news that the planning application for a cycle route along the Avon Valley through Crews Hole at the ‘Conham Gap’ has now been approved. We were strongly supportive of the proposal as it received a rare 'five green' score against our five criteria.

It's been two years since the last proposal was rejected following angry, misinformed and disappointingly managed meetings where BCyC members felt intimidated for advocating that walking and cycling should be enabled on this important link. 

This now leaves the small problem of funding the works. We hope it will form part of the programme for the Cycle City Ambition Fund 2 funding

At the Bristol Cycle Forum on 19th Nov we heard about proposals for finally starting to open up the Downs for better access by people walking and cycling. At the moment due to the dominance of cars there is limited space and inadequate provision for the growing numbers wishing to travel to and use the downs by walking and cycling.

Vicki Cracknell (of Cycle Sunday fame) spoke to urgently ask that we comment on on the Place and Movement Framework for the Downs (10.6MB PDF! Full of pictures and ideas but takes a while to download). This is being presented at the AGM of the Downs Committee for 'consideration' although detailed proposals are a way off yet.

At the Bristol Cycle Forum on 19th November there was news of two big and important topics. Firstly, finally, there seems to be some movement on opening up The Downs for more walking and cycling. Secondly, James Coleman of Bristol City Council took us through proposals spending the next round of Cycling City Ambition Fund (CCAF2). This is the main source of government funding for the next couple of years. It is now proposed to be spent on:

Bristol Cycling Campaign Logo transparentPNG w250pxWhat’s the issue?

The Bristol regional cycle network is almost entirely made up of shared space with motor traffic, or shared use with pedestrians. Both are essential and useful where appropriate, but otherwise can create conflict and anxiety about safety from more vulnerable users, whether perceived or actual. The Bristol Bike Life 2015 Report rated shared pavements and bus lanes as the least popular measures.

Concerns about safety is the major factor preventing more people cycling. A safe, direct and convenient cycle network is the key factor in making cycling so easy that everyone feels able to do it.

BCyC position

Cycling, walking and driving need different networks with specific design requirements. These may overlap and be shared in specific circumstances. While comprehensive and suitably separated networks exist for walking and driving, there is little real Space for Cycling for a city with aspirations for 20% of trips by cycles.

Download this file (BCyCPolicy-SharedSpace.pdf)BCyCPolicy-SharedSpace.pdf[BCyC Shared Use and Shared Space Policy]86 kB

So, the Bike Life 2015 Report for Bristol is out. Inspired by the Copenhagen Bicycle Account, this is an assessment of cycling development including cycling conditions, new initiatives and satisfaction with various aspects of cycling. 

Overall this is an interesting and useful report which will be of great value in making the case for cycling improvements. It's no surprise that the lack of safe and comfortable cycle routes is the main thing that stops more people riding. When asked what measures will help them cycle more, people say they want real Space for Cycling - protected lanes and traffic-free routes. It appears they weren't asked about 20mph and slower speeds but we know these are very popular and already cover 80% of Bristol streets.

Bristol people also have a very positive view of cycling with nearly three quarters already thinking positively about people riding bikes. There is a big mandate for change across the city. The survey of 1,100 also confirmed strong support for more investment (70%).

We are particularly pleased to see that it's now been calculated how much cycling is worth to Bristol. For every mile cycled instead of driven there's a benefit of 62p in savings to the individual and local economy (wipe that annoying smug look off your face, just feel it inside). This works out at over £26 million every year at current levels of cycling. Then there's a further £28.5 of benefits to health in the city, every year. 

There are a number of Community Speedwatch groups helping to make the 20mph areas in Bristol more effective. The group in Greater Bedminster is made up of BCyC members and they have shared the results of their observations. Figures from 2014 showed that 20mph limits were having an effect but with some specific problem areas.

In 2015 over a thousand vehicles were checked with 14% going over 25mph (including one at 46mph!). There is a noticable improvement over 2014, however the threshold for recording has increased in 2015 from 24 to 26mph. The group is not going to monitor Raleigh Road any more as a new speed table appears to have had a significant effect.

There are occasional training sessions run by the police for those who wish to join or set up a Speedwatch group. You can find out more from the police website.

Date Time Duration Location Total Vehicles Speeding % Average of speeders
31/03/15 09:05 30 North Street 113 20 18% 27.7 mph
15/05/15 15:30 30 Duckmoor Road 107 26 24% 28.8 mph
02/02/15 09:00 30 Duckmoor Road 80 19 24% 28.3 mph
27/04/15 09:25 15 Duckmoor Road 123 9 7% 27.8 mph
15/05/15 15:30 30 Duckmoor Road 107 26 24% 29.0 mph
29/10/15 09:00 30 Raleigh Road outbound 43 4 9% 26.3 mph
05/11/15 09:05 35 Duckmoor Road 82 21 26% 27.6 mph
26/11/15 08:50 35 Bedminster Parade 136 11 8% 27.4 mph
12/12/15 09:45 25 North Street 176 6 3% 29.3 mph
17/12/15 09:15 30 Bedminster Parade 114 7 6% 26.9 mph
        1081 149 14%  

On 25 October four BCyC members joined campaign groups from across the country to share ideas and hear from professionals and politicians at the 2015 CTC-Cyclenation conference in Liverpool.

It seems the UK is waking up to the benefits of cycling for all, albeit very slowly. And it's up to us to keep pushing that message to politicians and policy makers. We need to be framing the message in broader terms than just cycling. To get their attention we need to be arguing that making our streets better for cycling makes them better spaces for everyone.

Here's a running story of the day. Presentations can be found here. Don't miss the astonishing Propensity to cycle tool', or Building high quality space for cycling (including junction animations), or Brian Deegan on the  pace of change in London. Finally, everyone interested in cycle campaigning should reflect on Matt Turner's Effective Campaigning.  There's also a detailed report of the conference from Birmingham Push Bikes.

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.

Top tip from the course (yes, we know someone who's been on it)? Never go above 3rd gear when in towns. The sound of the engine naturally keeps your speed down.

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. 

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.

Opinion pieces and musings. Note that views expressed may not be supported by Bristol Cycling Campaign.