Search Results for: gloucester road

A Modest Proposal #6; Eight to Eighty cycling on Gloucester Road

Did you know that Gloucester Road was one of Bristol’s busiest cycle routes (Building on success – lessons from Gloucester Road)? What’s more, the number of people cycling has doubled in the last ten years whereas motor vehicle numbers have dropped by a fifth. These facts can be seen from Department for Transport Traffic Counts.

So what does this tell us? Bristol’s Cycling City money has been well spent? Not quite. Significant Cycling City money was not spent on Gloucester Road infrastructure as the end of project report makes clear. In fact people on bikes are using this route despite, not because of, its facilities for them.

As anyone who has cycled into, or out of, the City on Gloucester Road knows the only “cycling infrastructure” is, essentially, paint and bus lanes. And bus lanes are for both a human on a bike (100 kilos) and a double decker (15 tons) – hardly fair or equal!

Gloucester Road is popular because it goes where people on bikes want to go; travelling, often commuting, in and out of the City Centre from the

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Building on success – lessons from Gloucester Road

Who knew that Gloucester Road was a brilliantly successful cycle route? Numbers at peak times have doubled over the last decade while motor vehicle numbers have dropped by a fifth.

We know this because traffic flow data from an annual census published online by the Office for National Statistics allow detailed analyses and comparisons for cycling levels on major routes at a local level. About 100 census points around the city are monitored for a full day and all forms of traffic are counted. See Cycling Trends in Bristol for more.

If a road like this, with very poor provision for cycling, can show a steady increase in cycling over a sustained period we can be very confident that Bristol City Council is right in making cycling a significant part of its transport policy for the future. People are making a big effort to use bicycles, even on roads like this. This gives the Council an opportunity, and a responsibility, to respond in an even more confident terms than their new Cycle Strategy sets out.

Take a look at the table and the graph. The numbers are impressive and the graph makes it clear.

Changes in vehicle counts on Gloucester Rd 200 and 2013 Traffic count data taken from DfT

Bicycle travel has been going up steadily over ten years. It has doubled while car and taxi traffic has gone down by a fifth. Whatever the underlying causes, the message is clear: cycling can thrive in adverse conditions and if given proper space it could make a huge contribution to public health, to well being and to the economy of Bristol.

This is not just a “cycling” thing for “cyclists”. The fact that so many people have been using this route while other modes of transport dwindle suggests a strong trend that wants to run. Ten years is hardly a fad. Ten years’ growth is significant and we think Bristol City Council has every right to feel and act very bullish about the future of cycling as a much bigger part of a greener and healthier future for the City.

Petition: Uninterrupted Cycle Lane on both sides along entire Gloucester Road

There’s a petition running to improve cycling facilities in Gloucester Road that we think is worth supporting – please sign it.

It’s quite simple:

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No Road Justice on Gloucester Road

The Police Response to Incidents Involving Cyclists on Bristol’s Gloucester Road

Rob Harding (BCyC member)

Mid-morning traffic on Gloucester Road, Bristol

Early this year I was surprised to see in a local freesheet that a Bishopston Councillor had called for the police to make cracking down on cycling on the pavement one of their top priorities. Whilst an occasional nuisance, I didn’t think the problem was so pervasive or dangerous as to warrant a re-prioritising of police resources. I decided to take a closer look at the cause of road traffic incidents on the Gloucester Road near where I live. The road had already been identified as one of the six worst in Bristol in terms of incidents involving injury to cyclists (see Sam Saunders’ blog).

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Southmead Quietway – Cairns Road & Wellington Hill West Crossings

The Southmead Quietway is part of the £19m Cycling Ambition Fund to upgrade walking and cycling routes across the city. It links one of the busiest cycle routes in the city, Gloucester Road, through residential areas with high levels of cycle use, to the Southmead Hospital and north Bristol. It is identified as important ‘local link’ in the neighbourhood plans of Bishopston, Cotham and RedlandStoke Bishop, Westbury-on-Trym and Henleaze, and Horfield and Lockleaze.  Here’s our view on the two consultations for crossings on this route BCyCResponsetoSouthmeadQuietway-CairnsRoad.

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Our overall position on this consultation is: Support

Space for Cycling Does this measure provide for 1) Protected space on main roads; 2) Remove through motor traffic; 3) Safe routes to school; 4) Cycle friendly town centres; 5) Cycle routes in green spaces; 6) 20mph speed limits? Amber – overall neutral
Road Danger Reduction Does this measure seek a genuine reduction in danger for all road users by identifying and controlling the principal sources of threat? Amber – overall neutral
Triple A Quality (All Ages and Abilities) Will this measure be attractive to all ages and abilities using all kinds of cycles? Amber – overall neutral
Strategic Cycling Network How does this measure contribute to the development of Bristol Council’s planned integrated and coherent strategic cycle network? Green – overall benefit
Cycle-proofing How far does this measure provide for Triple A Space for Cycling in the future? Amber – overall neutral

Bristol Cycling Campaign has the following specific comments on this consultation, in three areas: Route; Cairns Road crossing; Wellington Hill West crossing:

Route and General Points

  1. The Southmead Quietway is a useful route linking one of the busiest cycle routes in the city, Gloucester Road, through residential areas with high levels of cycle use, to the Southmead Hospital and north Bristol. It is identified as important ‘local link’ in the neighbourhood plans of Bishopston, Cotham and Redland, Stoke Bishop, Westbury-on-Trym and Henleaze, and Horfield and Lockleaze.
  2. We are however concerned that the entire quietway concept of using quiet roads in built-up areas will only make a marginal contribution to encouraging large numbers of people to cycle in Bristol. We feel that they demonstrate little real ambition for cycling in the way that must surely be intended for Cycle Ambition Fund projects.
  3. Parallel zebras are a new concept and a number of concerns were raised in national discussion of the concept (, These included possible enhanced risk for mounted as opposed to dismounted cyclists, continental models for vertical give way signing, and using stripes for the whole width ( and as used at Wade Street on the Frome Greenway). The design inserted in circular TSGRD 2016 does not appear to include either the vertical signing or the overall stripe concept ( The enhanced risk arises from the greater approach speed for cyclists compared to pedestrians, combined with driver unfamiliarity. The parallel crossing is basically an attempt to create a crossroads without marking it as such.The underlying, existing, contradiction in all this comes from the divergence between the law (on zebra crossings, ‘Every pedestrian, …., before any part of a vehicle has entered those limits, shall have precedence’, and practical official advice: ‘cyclists will be urged to slow down’ (Hackney) ‘Zebra crossings. Give traffic plenty of time to see you and to stop before you start to cross.’ (Highway Code, rule 19). The contradiction will become worse in situations where drivers will see someone who is not a pedestrian, acting as though they will be treated as a pedestrian, but moving much faster, and unlike a pedestrian, not able to jump backwards if they misjudge drivers’ intentions.
  4. The crossing designs are particularly inconvenient. The parallel zebra concept is designed for parallel dual foot-cycle crossings. It becomes complicated and difficult to design when the crossing is actually triple: foot-cycle-car. This is the case at both the Southmead Quietway crossings. In contrast the first in the country, in Hackney, provides a straight foot and cycle crossing only, for both directions. ( improvements/supporting_documents/Richmond%20Road%20pedestrian%20cycle%20improvements.pdf, and and-cyclists)
  5. Entrance to Southmead Hospital grounds from Kendon Drive. This is a most unwelcoming entrance for pedestrians and cyclists.There is a locked dilapidated gate, and a driveway normally occupied by two parked cars, leaving a narrow way in through a side gate. This is the responsibility of Southmead Hospital,  The Sustainable Travel Co-ordinator at Southmead Hospital tells us that “With regards to Kendon Way, the Trust are aware of the issue with this entrance and have development plans to improve it once funding becomes available (in the new financial year at the earliest). This entrance is part of our Path to Wellbeing walks at the hospital so we are really keen to make it more accessible, as well as look a lot nicer.”   The highway immediately outside could be improved as well.  Is the CAF team liaising with Southmead Hospital about a joint approach to improving the entrance?

Cairns Road Crossing

  1. We welcome measures to control motor vehicle speed on Kellaway Avenue / Coldharbour Road. We are however concerned that this measure does nothing to improve the situation for those cycling on this well used route. In fact the narrowing may make the situation worse in the short term and do little to ‘cycle proof’ for future measures. Note that this is a key part of the proposed ‘Universities Link’ as set out on the Stoke Bishop, Westbury-on-Trym and Henleaze page of our website (“Linking Bristol’s Universities through the heart of residential student-land. From Bristol Uni Queens Road to the Railway Path in Fishponds via the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Downs and UWE Frenchay, Glenside and St Matts”).
  2. The proposals are likely to be confusing for cyclists to use due to the complex layout and interaction with pedestrians when hopping on and off pavements. We also have concerns about ambiguity and conflict with pedestrians.
  3. There should be cycle exemptions on the right turn bans into Cairns Road, and onto Coldharbour Road.
  4. We wonder whether the real need would be best served by a simple arrangement placing a conventional zebra so that its boundary lines up with the Cairns Road kerb, with a contraflow allowing straight across cycle movement, and the zebra available for walking across by less experienced cyclists, or at very busy times. There are similar situations at two crossings of Falcondale Road (Great Brockeridge – Westbury Road, and Abbey Road – Lampeter Road).
  5. In order to have a clearer and more direct cycleway, which is more welcoming and useable by all ages and abilities, then there is a case for a parallel crossing, but it should be moved NE to have the cycle part on the desire line, straight across from Cairns Road. For comparison, Lambeth Council claim to have installed the first parallel zebra, across what appears to be a road with less traffic, and this crossing carries the cycle route straight from one side to the other, for both directions. See links above and

Wellington Hill West Crossing

  1. It is unclear how as a cyclist you get from the pavement on to the road after crossing Wellington Hill West.  In particular, going north, parked cars will block the view of motorists travelling south down Kendon Drive of a cyclist crossing on to the road.
  2. The nature of the route signing will be important as many cyclists may prefer the direct Cherington Road crossing
  3. The parallel zebra is intended to serve low usage situations, with unanswered questions about safety. The range between usage too low to justify a crossing and too high for the crossing to be safe is probably small.
  4. It is not clear who the target users are. The natural gently curving cycle routes are blocked by build-outs creating dog legs, and the dog legs may also hinder sightlines by making part of the SE approach to the crossing oblique.
  5. The pavement routing for cycles, which does not appear to be marked as such, will produce conflict with pedestrians that would not raise from a road routing.

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