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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.


Tell the Treasury we need #funding4cycling

Tell the Treasury we need #funding4cycling

The Government has put out a consultation on what the UK would like to see in the Autumn Statement 2014, which will take place on 03 December.

We'd like to tell the Treasury that cycling needs at least £10 per head per year invested in order to create the "cycling revolution" that the Prime Minister has called for.

 Fill out the form via the link below with your details and click 'go to next page', where you'll see an email ready to send to the Treasury.

 Time is short: the submission deadline is Friday 17th October.


 (The £10 is a MINIMUM and needs to build up to Euro levels of c£20 as more and more people choose to cycle - Our Bristol Cycling Manifesto calls for £16 - coincidentally it appears that is being achieved from the DfT one-off funding schemes - but only for another year and beyond that there is no commitment - just a promise.)

Railway Path Closure at Teewell Hill Bridge 6th Oct for 8 weeks

Railway Path Closure at Teewell Hill Bridge

Message from South Gloucestershire Cycle Forum

Dear Cycle Forum Members

The railway path at Teewell Hill in Staple Hill will be closed from Monday 6 October for approximately eight weeks.

The essential closure has been scheduled so that our engineers can carry out the foundation works to widen the existing road bridge above the Bristol to Bath cycle and walking route. Last month we closed the same stretch for one day while an old footbridge was removed which had reached the end of its life.

During the upcoming closure, we will construct temporary platforms for the piling rigs to sit on which will allow the foundations for the new bridge widening works to be constructed. The widened bridge will provide new footways once the works are complete.


Clarence Road "Dutch-style" Cycleway - update

Many of you may be wondering what on earth is going on with the much trumpeted Clarence Road "Dutch-style" cycleway. The last we heard it was due for completion at the end of August, but anyone passing by will have noticed the Water Works and the River Avon wall subsidence. These have resulted in significant delays to the scheme.

As of Monday morning, the plan was that the Water Works would finish and installation of the "Toby's" separating the cycleway from the roadway up to Langton Street Bridge would start on 13 October and then from the wall excavation site to Bedminster Bridge.

The wall excavation is still live and the wall stabilisation works are unlikely to be finished before February.  Once they have finished the remaining bollards will be installed.  So by March we should have the Clarence Road scheme finished.

By that time other works in the area (the second Langton Street Bridge, some kind of cycle crossing of Bedminster Bridge, shared use cyleway on Commercial Road, etc) should be underway - or even complete! See our article on the Avon Promenades for the overall vision.

Bristol Post article "53 tonnes of stone being used to stabilise River Avon walls in Bristol after high tides"



New Cycling related Consultations and Planning Applications

A number of schemes with cycling impacts are under way and now being consulted on either through the consultation or planning processes.

We've started a list on our Consultations page to help keep on top of things.

Please make your comments on these schemes as every comment counts - and share your thoughts through our various forums/groups and social media.

How the Draft Bristol Cycle Strategy can be better

We submitted detailed response to the draft cycling strategy from Bristol Council on 18th Aug 2014. Overall we consider this to be a large step in the right direction, making some very clear commitments. However other areas are not so clear. We compared the draft strategy with our cycling manifesto to identify gaps. The table below compares the two:


RGB rating

Key pro

Key con


20% work/school

20% ambition is good

Overall missing: leisure missing


Detail needed

Network is in strategy

Very top level (at present)


£16 a head

Sustained commitment

May fall in real terms


To follow?

Implicit expectation?

Not mentioned


To follow?

No clear ‘advocate’ role

Delivery leader needed

Read more

National recognition of BCyC Road Justice campaigning

The CTC have used our work in a national case study to help other groups.

Of course the secret of our success has been the small group of committed individual (as always - "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead link).

Read more...Our Road Justice campaign used as a national case study

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

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