Cycling news from Bristol and beyond

Vote Bike!

With election fever building now is the time to review what we know about each party’s position on cycling. The Guardian says “With a couple of honourable exceptions, the main parties show depressingly little vision or ambition in their election programmes” which is disappointing as if you followed the Big Cycling Debate, an event in March involving transport spokespeople from the three main parties, you’d be forgiven for thinking policies on cycling would at least be relatively prominent in the election. Sustrans have set out their response to the party manifestos. Meanwhile CTC…

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Cycling Trends in Bristol

There’s been quite a bit of interest in our article about Gloucester Road cycling (here, here and here for example). Our aim was to draw attention to a new set of data from DfT, and to make the point that even on a road where nothing has been done to make it better for cycling, numbers have risen to make this one of the most heavily used routes in the city. We think this is evidence that when really good ‘Triple A’ (All Ages and Abilities) end-to-end provision is provided, we can confidently expect dramatic, rather than gradual, growth.

We thought it might be helpful to share further data and graphs from Bristol Council about general trends, and the A38 Gloucester/Cheltenam Rd in particular (note that an upgraded permanent cycle counter network was installed in March 2015 here that will give much better information).

There is an excellent summary paper on the census cycling data, with useful headline figures about cycling in Bristol as a whole, 2011 Census Topic Report – Who cycles to work (and another one on walking, 2011 Census Topic Report – Who walks to work). The census provides a very robust measure. The Quality of Life Survey of 2014 shows 9% of people cycled to work in Bristol in 2013 (transport pages here Quality of Life in Bristol 2014 – Transport).

Bristol is also one of 7 cities working with Sustrans to produce Bicycle Accounts in 2015 and 2017 containing a range of statistics about cycling in the city. The first report is due to be released in October this year.
DfT and Council Counts
Let’s start with the differences between the sets of data from the Dept for Transport (DfT) and those from Bristol Council (BCC). Bristol has been recording traffic annually in a series of cordons around the centre for many years. Some of these are shown in the map below. For our purposes we’re looking at the BCC counts from the point on Cheltenham Rd just north of Arley Hill, while the DfT sampling point is just north of Claremont Road, about 700m apart.

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Cycle Sunday – this Sunday!

Our friends at Cycle Sunday have managed to get a large section of the Downs opened for bikes and families on Sunday (we helped with their application). We really want this to be a great success so that everyone can see this is the way forward for this icon Bristol leisure destination. Do make the effort to drop by, even if only passing through on your Sunday outing.  Here’s their latest update: Dear all, We can’t believe that Cycle Sunday is only a few days away now and wanted to send you all one last message before the big…

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Car free family cycling comes to the Downs

The excitement is building towards the first Cycle Sunday event on 19 April. It is hoped as many of us as possible can come and join in for a morning of car free cycling around the Downs. None of this would have happened without the 38 Degrees petition which 4,600 signed at the end of last year. It was clearly the thing that swayed the Downs Committee as it showed them what strong support there is for the principal of safer cycling up on the Downs. If you are coming, then please do sign up for the event (it only…

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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…

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Petition to extend the Strawberry Line

  Most Bristolian walkers and cyclists are aware of, and many have enjoyed, Somerset’s Strawberry Line route between Yatton and Cheddar. Like the Bristol and Bath Railway Path it uses level ground once used by steam trains and provides a perfect route for people who want a stress-free day out in beautiful countryside.   Strawberry Line September 2013 There have been plans for a long time to extend the route from Cheddar to Wells and generally to “join up the dots” between Clevedon and Wells and then on to Shepton Mallet.  The Strawberry Line Society has…

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Why are recent plans for cycling so awful?

We have now sent in our response to the consultation about the cycle routes around the south side of Temple Quarter. These are being called Temple Greenways and are for ‘connecting the city with the Bristol Arena’. They are companion proposals to the Temple Gate plans previewed last year. Both sets of plans show some innovation and welcome improvements, for example on the Q10 Promenade Quietway. However, they also show a failure to tackle the fundamental issues and barriers, such as linking the F6 Bath Road Freeway into the centre, or the 6,000 space cycling hub that…

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BCyC meets Deputy Mayor Mark Bradshaw

We had a useful meeting in on March 26th with Deputy Mayor (as he was then) Mark Bradshaw in his role as cabinet member responsible for transport. Also in attendance were Jodi Savickas (Strategic City Transport, Place Directorate) and Ed Plowden (Sustainable Transport Service Manger). We made use of our BCyC briefing for Deputy Mayor Mark Bradshaw which identified five key point for discussion. Issue 1: Safe Roads for Everyone – Road Danger Reduction. We have had a series of meetings with the Chief Constable and senior officers through our Road Justice campaign. The two recently published strategies from the…

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