Cycling news from Bristol and beyond

BCyC conquers Birmingham

The long weekend of June 4th to June 6th saw intrepid members of BCC undertaking the scary BCC or Birmingham Canals Challenge.
Conceived, masterminded and led by the `Incredible Hub’ aka Chris Whitlock, ten Bristol people and two outsiders from Shropshire descended on Britain’s second city for a not-very-gruelling three day series of rides.
Maybe not gruelling in terms of length but quite a challenge in terms of scariness. Perhaps it’s my age but where once I would gaily swan up the Kennet and Avon from Bath to Dundas, scarcely pausing to go under the few bridges, the canals in Birmingham are somewhat more challenging. I missed the warm-up ride on Saturday afternoon but joined with other overnight arrivals at a café just off Broad Street, where nearby Gas Street basin is at the hub of the Midlands canal network.

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BCyC Dutch Study Tour 2016 – 7-9th June

Study tour cancelled. Get in touch to be on the mailing list for future

Would you like to see what Space for Cycling looks like?
Since 2006, many hundreds of transport planners, campaigners, cycling co-ordinators, politicians and interested individuals have learnt about cycling and infrastructure for cycling in the Netherlands on cycling Study Tours organised by David Hembrow.

BCyC organised our first tour in 2014, and now we’re going back. This is for anyone interested in learning what works from those who’ve already made most of the mistakes! It is particularly recommended for those wanting to refresh their energy and interest in how a focus on cycling as a mass transit system delivers benefits for everyone.
What do you get from it?
The tour is based in Assen with some of the best cycling provision in the Netherlands.  The final day is a visit to see how Groningen, a city very alike to Bristol, went from car choked in the 1970s to the cycling capital of the world.
In the late 1970s Groningen was much like Bristol is now, with cars ruling the road and cyclists condemned to the gutter.
Experience the bad as well as the good infrastructure, including ‘the most dangerous junction in the Netherlands for all users’. The Netherlands isn’t perfect, so learn from their mistakes — Bristol continues to repeat them!

Who is it for?
The short answer is, anyone with an interest in how Bristol could become more people friendly. It’s not just about cycling, nor is it just for those with a technical or professional interest. On our last tour there were a couple of cycle campaigners, a council cycling officer, someone with a particular interest in travel to school – and someone who just came along for the ride and didn’t expect to be quite as interested as they were!  We can promise you that everyone will get something, and most will get a lot!
The tour
David Hembrow says “Our tour really is a tour. A short presentation explains some aspects of what we look at and offers a chance to present questions in a more formal setting. However, because

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Avon Gorge Cyclepath – a neglected jewel

We strongly recommend watching the whole 14 minutes or so about the much loved Bristol to Pill path. Lots of separate issues are raised. As a one-person effort by Andy Price it’s pretty impressive and deserves a wide audience. We’ll be doing what we can to get the issues up the list of priorities of North Somerset Council, Bristol Council, and Sustrans.

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Space for Cycling wins Bristol Elections 2016

Following a hard fought campaign Space for Cycling emerged as the clear winner of the Bristol 2016 elections, securing not only the mayoralty, but also 63% of all the Councillors.

Mayor Marvin Rees (who also represents Labour) said “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.”

Following a very positive meeting with BCyC about the S4C Manifesto for Mayoral Candidates before the election, Mayor Marvin was absolutely resolute in saying, “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.”

Just like most of the tens of thousands of people who ride everyday in and around Bristol, Mayor Marvin said,

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Growing support for Space4Cycling by Bristol Mayoral candidates

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…

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Bike theft – impact on cycling

Bike theft is a huge issue in Bristol and there can few bike owners who don’t have a story to tell (Where are bikes being nicked, and who by?). This is a great infographic from Dublin Cycling Campaign that applies just as much to Bristol. Some of the key points from survey: 1 in 6 (17%) who have a bike stolen don’t replace their bike A further 1 in 4 reduce the amount they cycle following their bike being stolen Over 40% of stolen bikes were locked with a cable lock Underground car parks and homes are as bad as streets…

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Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy Announced (sigh)

When the government wants to announce something quietly, it has several weasely methods for ensuring that the media is looking the other way. It can issue the announcement on the Friday just as Parliament is closing, it can issue it when the Prime Minister is out of the country and unable to be questioned, or it can wait for an opportune moment like a terrorist attack to distract attention. What news could possibly be so bad that it uses all three, but even worse than issuing the news when Parliament is rising, it issues it on a bank holiday weekend?…

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Threat to walking and cycling on Prince Street Bridge

Worrying news from cabinet papers published yesterday that Prince Street Bridge, and the streets on either side, may become as congested and hostile for walking and cycling as before (which is to say ‘business as usual’ and a missed opportunity).

It is our view that this should be closed to motor vehicles so that two new iconic ‘plazas’, one at each end, can be established at the heart of the Harbouride (A Modest Proposal #3: Inner Loop Proposal). It’s plain to see that the level of use for walking and cycling, and the importance of the public space, mean that through traffic can no longer be accommodated.

The bridge has been closed for repairs since August 2015 and it’s been found the condition is worse than thought. An option was considered to “refurbish the existing bridge with a lighter deck only suitable for pedestrians and cyclists, [although] the potential cost saving is small as a percentage of the overall estimated cost of the work and [it] represents a good investment in network resilience”.

The decision has been made to return the bridge to its previous carrying capacity although the report says “this does not preclude a future policy decision on what traffic the bridge may carry if overall traffic conditions in the City were to change”.

The report says that “Prince Street Bridge forms a vital link enabling pedestrians and cyclists to cross the City Docks.”

No argument about that.

It goes on to say “It is also an important route for light vehicular traffic and the consequences of the bridge not being available for such traffic can be felt in several locations on the highway network”.  The level of use is apparently “6,000 pedestrians and 2,500 cyclists wishing to cross the City Docks at this location, along with well over 4,000 vehicles each day”.

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Two rail surveys, one local, the other a national bike-rail survey

We are strong supporters of Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways (FOSBR) and they have just launched an online rail travel survey to feed into the WEP Joint Transport Plan and inform their campaign strategy – see the FOSBR website or follow the link The national Association of Train Operating Companies is interested in learning more about travel by cycle-rail. Here’s what they’re after: The number of cycle-rail users is growing each year and so it’s important that the Association of Train Operating Companies, understand how best to provide you with helpful information when you’re planning a rail journey…

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