All the main candidates have now responded to our Space for Cycling Bristol Mayoral manifesto. However, the level of measureable commitment varies!
The next Bristol Mayor faces huge challenges in addressing our chronic problems of congestion and pollution. Support for cycling as a mass transport solution has huge public support as shown by the Bristol Bike Life 2015 report where 7 in 10 people want to see more spent on safer cycling infrastructure.
Recent experience from London shows that investing in Space for Cycling not only increases road capcity overall, but motor traffic moves more freely. The Mayor of London has just published HUMAN STREETS: THE MAYOR’S VISION FOR CYCLING THREE YEARS ON where he says: “Our original painted lanes were revolutionary at the time. But knowing what I do now, we would have blasted ahead with our new segregated cycle lanes from the beginning”.
The learning from the London Mayor applies just as much to Bristol “The key factor is political leadership. Everyone supports cycling – until it involves doing anything meaningful. … So for years in this country, we did half-hearted cycling schemes that upset nobody but also, bluntly, helped nobody and changed nothing”.
This is why everyone in Bristol is looking to the new Mayor to offer something more than words. Our Mayoral manifesto identifies two key priorities that are the key to unlock the potential for Bristol to become a true Cycling City. As you consider the statements of the candidates below, and at the mayoral hustings on transport tonight, 20th April, consider these questions:
Will you create protected Space for Cycling on the Gloucester Rd?
Will you support a Living Heart for Bristol by removing through motor traffic from Anchor Rd, Park St, Haymarket, Baldwin St and Prince St?
Kay Barnard – Lib Dem
I support the Space for Cycling campaign to improve facilities and infrastructure for cyclists in Bristol. I am myself a cyclist but rarely cycle in Bristol because of the poor infrastructure and lack of safety.Full statement from Kay Barnard [Lib Dem]
Tony Dyer – Green Party
It is my intention to rebalance Bristol’s transport network by improving public and active transport – the latter includes both walking and cycling. By providing a range of attractive travel alternatives to sitting in a car stuck in a traffic jam breathing in car fumes, I believe that we can deliver a far cleaner, less congested, much healthier, city. A city fit for the 21st century. Full statement from Tony Dyer [Greens]
George Ferguson – Bristol 1st
I am one hundred percent behind the cycling manifesto. In my first term we have continued to deliver an enormous amount, including cycling ambition funding for more segregation and are currently building new paths and increasing the number of cycle stands. Full statement from George Ferguson [Bristol 1st]
Charles Lucas – Conservative
I wholeheartedly support safe cycling for all including segregated cycle lanes where practical and possible, as part of an integrated transport policy but not at the expense of all other road users. A balanced approach is required at all times. Full statement from Charles Lucas [Conservative]
Marvin Rees – Labour
I support cycling. Not only does it have obvious health beneﬁts in keeping people ﬁt and improving the air quality, but it has social beneﬁts too, getting people out and about, talking to each other, experiencing life. I want to make cycling an ordinary part of everyday life. That means safety and space on roads. It also means developing the image of cycling and changing the nature of the conversation from competitive to co-operative. Full statement from Marvin Rees [Labour]
Whatever the current level of commitment by each candidate whoever gets in will need give greater priority to cycling infrastructure (as London is successfully doing), walking and public transport if the city is to reduce the congestion and future proof the city as its population continues to grow.
Does Bristol need a cycle share scheme? Apparently this is something that Mayor Marvin Rees is discussing with his transport supremo, Mark Bradshaw. We’ll be wanting to discuss the issue when Bristol Cycling Campaign meets Mark shortly.
There are good arguments that such schemes can be successful, but also much to learn from other cities and studies (here and here). For example, here are some points from a 2015 study from the Centre for Transport & Society at University of the West of England (Bike Sharing: A review of evidence on impacts and processes of implementation and operation)
The growing yet limited evidence base suggests that bike sharing can increase cycling levels but needs complementary pro-cycling measures and wider support to sustainable urban mobility to thrive.
The available evidence on mode substitution is established and consistent: rather than substituting for car journeys, bike sharing is predominantly used instead of walking and public transport.
Perhaps the most significant consideration to be drawn from the all reviewed evidence, on impacts and processes, is that bike sharing benefits from, and is dependent upon, clear political, policy and public support to sustainable mobility and cycling in particular.
Would a bike share scheme help raise the profile of cycling further? Is there a sufficiently clear and well signed cycle network that people want to use? What kind of bikes might be suitable for a city with hills? Is this the best use of limited energy and funding to get more people cycling?
We’d like to hear your views.
In May 2017 people living in Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset (BaNES) and South Gloucestershire will vote to elect the first Mayor for the “West of England metropolitan area”. This newly created role will chair a “combined authority” comprising Bristol’s mayor and council leaders from BaNES and South Glos., and will have powers over Transport, Housing & Planning, and Education & Skills.
Cycling is great for the economy & people’s health and the election of a new Mayor represents a huge opportunity to improve cycling facilities in the area. The Mayor must have a transforming vision for transport and the political will to take bold action. We are calling on candidates to:
Support a CycleWest Strategy by expanding the the Bristol Cycling Strategy commitments to the wider West of England area.
Bristol Council has already committed to £16 per head investment in cycling, an ambition of 20% of commuter trips being cycled and the progressive delivery of an attractive, safe cycle network. We must see these measures expanded to the whole of West of England.
We need the following:
REDUCED THROUGH-TRAFFIC on residential streets making streets more pleasant and liveable for residents
PROTECTED SPACE – Lots of high quality, protected, continuous, cycle lanes.
SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL so that children can to cycle to school safely helping them be more active and independent
PEOPLE-FRIENDLY CENTRES – Prioritising walking, cycling and public transport makes public spaces more pleasant places to work, shop and relax.
TRAFFIC-FREE ROUTES – Open new routes for cycling, giving safer options for recreation and commuting.
LOWER TRAFFIC SPEEDS – Design streets to naturally encourage lower speeds
We are writing to the candidates to understand their position and are sending them the following questions:
1. Will you champion the West of England’s cycling and walking culture?
2. Will you commit 10% transport budget for walking and cycling in response to the scale of the challenge and potential benefits to health, wealth and
3. Will you establish MetroCycle on an equal footing with MetroRail, MetroBus?
General Questions for Candidates
1. How do you plan to Get Bristol Moving?
2. Will you prioritise Funding for Cycling with sustained investment of £16 per head, and an aspiration for £25 per head?
3. Will you open up our Streets for All through a ‘good transport plan’ in every neighbourhood?
4. Will you take every opportunity to create Space for Cycling on busy or fast roads and junctions, with ‘Triple A’ standards for All Ages and Abilities?
5. Will you plan for Living Hearts for the centre and our neighbourhoods?
6. What would you prioritise in your attempts to improve levels of Active Transport in the area?
Cycling in Bristol is quick, cheap and improves people’s health so why don’t more people do it?
Shifting from cars to bikes cuts congestion and is pollution-free so why is investment so low?
Leading European cities make it easy to cycle so where is the cycling network for Bristol?
“Cycling already benefits everyone in Bristol with thousands of people out on bikes every day, more than in any other large UK city”, said Martin Tweddell, Bristol Cycling Campaign. “Tens of thousands more would like to join them, if they felt confident that it was safe and easy”.
The Bristol Cycling Manifesto is affordable and can be delivered in just 12 years. It will offer independence, health and mobility for all of us. Every street can be a cycling street, linked by 200 miles of Cycling Freeways and Quietways.
We call on the Mayor and local councils to take five actions to make it happen:
We’re calling on everyone who would benefit from more people cycling in Bristol (and that’s everyone, not just those who ride) to support the Bristol Cycling Manifesto. Contact email@example.com if you can help.
The Manifesto was launched on 17 June 2013 during the Bristol Cycling Summit at Armada House. The then Mayor George Ferguson updated us with his plans for cycling in Bristol and key speakers talked about why cycling is important for Bristol, including the new Strategic Director of Public of Health, Janet Maxwell and the Manager of Bristol Green Capital, Darren Hall.
We’re calling for investment of £109 million over 12 years to quadruple cycling and for everyone who would benefit from more people cycling in Bristol to support the Bristol Cycling Manifesto.