Making Bristol better for cycling

Look out for yourself – because motorists often won’t

Motorists often don’t look out for cyclists and pedestrians. And research has revealed that millions of motorists suffer with eyesight below the legal standard. So it is to be welcomed that Avon & Somerset Police have published advice this winter to encourage cyclists to make sure they can be seen in the dark.

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Police and Crime Commissioner Election 2016 – who should get your vote?

Reading the manifestos of the candidates for the position of Police and Crime Commissioner, it can be difficult to distinguish between them. All candidates want to reduce crime, build better links with communities and support victims. We’ve picked out some of the key issues which might interest cyclists and help you weigh up who to vote for. We’re also considering their responses to our PCC Space for Cycling Manifesto where we set out the key questions they need to answer about cycling. Remember that Cycling UK (used to be CTC) is plugging away nationally on the issue…

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Police Near-Miss Reporting Figures to April 2016 Released

Action to tackle near-misses is being seen as an increasingly important part of a strategy to reduce road danger. The aim is not only to reduce the rate of injury of cyclists by motorists but also to improve cyclists’ experience of the road and encourage less risk-tolerant travellers to “bike it”. Dr Rachel Aldred of the University of East London, who has led the way with her pioneering studies of the issue, recently addressed the Bristol Cycle Forum on the Near Miss Project. She pointed out that cycling was a relatively safe form of transport with riders typically experiencing…

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Manifesto for Police & Crime Commissioner Candidates – May 2016

We have produced a BCyC Manifesto for 2016 PCC Election candidates setting out key questions for the elections on May 5th. This is part of our Space for Cycling campaign. You can add your voice to the campaign by signing the petition. See also our manifesto for candidates standing for the Mayor, and as Bristol councillors. Statement from PCC statement – Mark Weston – Conservative Statement from PCC statement – Chris Briton – Green Statement from PCC statement – Sue Mountstevens – Independent Manifesto for Police and Crime Commissioner Candidates Every week two people…

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Road Justice meeting with police: 450 near miss reports, victim blaming, speeding complaints down

The Bristol Road Justice Group (BRJG) has again met with the police and representatives of the Police and Crime Commissioner. The Group was set up in 2013 to promote the agenda set by CTC’s report Road Justice: The Role of the Police. Formed by local members of CTC, Bristol Cycling Campaign and Road Peace, it was joined at this meeting by Amy Aeron-Thomas from Road Peace’s national office, Kate Cooke from BCC’s Public Health Team and Ben Barker representing the recently formed Bristol Walking Alliance. The purpose of the meeting was to review progress in implementing Avon and Somerset “Policing the Roads Strategy”. The Strategy’s aims and objectives include, amongst other things, reducing road traffic casualties, especially among vulnerable road users, and reducing concerns about road safety.

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London Assembly review into road traffic crime 11/02/2016

We have been following with interest the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee review into road traffic crime. We fully support the joint submission from CTC, London Cycling Campaign, RoadPeace, Sustrans, 20s Plenty for Us and Living Streets. The issues and recommendations apply just as much in Bristol as in London. Illegal and anti-social behaviour involving vehicles should be treated as other types of illegal and anti-social behaviour. This is not the case at present. Treat road crime as crime and include in crime statistics. Adopt a harm reduction approach with the focus on reducing danger posed to vulnerable road users…

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Are cycle lanes in the ‘door zone’ better than nothing?

Our Road Justice group has been working with the police on the issue of car doors and cycling incidents. Up to 20% of road traffic incidents resulting in injury to cyclists are the result of motorists carelessly opening vehicle doors.

We had a question from an officer working for Bristol Council saying that there had been only one incident in the past five years at three of the most notorious locations: opposite the BRI on Maudlin St (pictured), Midland Rd and the recent one on Bath Rd. There was a collision in September 2014 on Upper Maudlin Street opposite the BRI due to a passenger exiting a queuing vehicle, not a parked one.

This raises the question of how the painted cycle lanes that form the bulk of what passes for ‘cycle facilities’ in Bristol are being used.

Could it be that Bristol cyclists already understand the contrary and subtle meaning of these lanes? They are not in fact ‘cycle lanes’, but prompts to motorist to be aware of cycles.

The message to those riding bikes is of course ‘Don’t Cycle Here’

Our more reasoned response to the Council is as follows:

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Why Near Misses Matter – Rachel Aldred at January Bike Forum

Rachel Aldred attended the Bristol Bike Forum on Thursday 21st Jan 2016 to give an update on The Near Miss Project. She was last here in November 2015 briefing officers of Bristol Council and we were invited along. Some of her key messages were: Near misses matter Near misses may predict at least some types of collision risk Growing evidence that near misses strongly affect cycling experience Clarify relationships between ‘perceived’, ‘experienced’, and ‘objective’ risk Near misses are very common Comparing injury and non-injury incident rates  Type of Incident  Rate per year, regular UK commuting cyclist  Death…

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Road Justice – tolerating the intolerable

Every week in Bristol someone is either killed or seriously injured in road traffic incidents. If this happened on a building site it would be closed down. If one or two people were killed or injured at an amusement park there would be a HSE inquiry. On our roads these figures, and the pain and loss they represent, are accepted as the result of inevitable “accidents” rather than the predictable and avoidable incidents which they are.

Why do we tolerate this?

How can it be that 9 out of 10 cases will not be prosecuted, even when the police say the driver is at fault?

Our Road Justice group has recently provided evidence to the parliamentary Transport Committee enquiry on road traffic law enforcement.

This is following the Committee’s launch of the enquiry scrutinising the government’s policies to improve road safety. One of its items of reference “The impact of road traffic law enforcement on the safety of cyclists and pedestrians” is of obvious concern to us.

Despite very short notice, the Bristol Road Justice Group has made a submission to the Committee which can be viewed below. Our evidence drew on the work we have done highlighting the lack of enforcement in relation to incidents on the Gloucester Road and in relation to injuries caused by vehicle doorings (please see our Gloucester Road and Dooring articles).

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