News

Cycling news from Bristol and beyond

Bristol Transport Strategy Consultation – Our Response

Sharp eyed cycle campaign members will have noticed the new Bristol Transport Strategy (BTS), published at the end of September and out for consultation until 2 November 2018. The BTS is Bristol Council’s blueprint for defeating congestion, air pollution etc for the next 18 years; until 2036. If you were hoping for better cycling conditions than these people near the BRI, you may be waiting a while longer.

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AGM and Mingle, Wednesday 31 October 2018

When you ride a bike in Bristol you become one of the most visible parts of a campaign for a better future. It shouldn’t be this way of course, cycling should be completely normal and unremarkable. That’s what Bristol Cycling Campaign is all about, “a city where cycling is so easy that everyone does it”. BCyC is made up of activists and volunteers who’ve chosen to act together to get things done and make a difference, backed by thousands of supporters.  Every so often it’s good to pause and take a breath to share and acknowledge what’s been achieved, and that’s what…

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Tunnels, trains and a church

Our October rides take us into the Somerset countryside to enjoy varied sights and scenery, taking in quiet lanes and dedicated cycling routes to make the most of the crisp autumn days. For more information and last-minute changes please click on our diary page. For a printable programme please click on the link and post it on your favourite noticeboard: Bristol Cycling October A4 poster 2018…

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Critical Mass in Bristol

On the last Friday of every month there’s an an “organized coincidence” ride around central Bristol, with no leadership or membership. It’s one of the worldwide Critical Mass events. These rides have been happening in Bristol, on and off, since 4th Feb 1994 as reported in issue 11 of our membership magazine, with another report from 1997 in issue 25, as below). Currently the rides are going strong, supported by an active Facebook group. The next one is on Sept 28th at the usual place and time of 6pm for 6.30 on College Green. The August…

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The Downs. No Cycling? Or a car-free leisure route?

Why we need space for cycling on the Downs. The annual Cycle Sunday event is a brilliant way to demonstrate the huge demand for car-free cycling around the Downs to the Downs Committee, who manage this beautiful area. (To those unfamiliar with Bristol, the Clifton and Durdham Downs lie to the north of the city centre and overlook the ecologically significant Avon Gorge). We can expect between one and three thousand people to attend these family-friendly events (depending on the weather). People of all ages and abilities come to enjoy a stress-free cycle without the worry and ‘woosh’ factor of…

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Not long till Cycle Sunday!

Bristol’s family-friendly Cycle Sunday event, which we are supporting, is back on Sunday 16 September, 10am to 2pm. Now in its fourth year, Cycle Sunday attracts up to three thousand participants. Its success has demonstrated the huge amount of interest in the Downs as location for bike riding especially for children, who need plenty of space and a lack of hills to develop cycling skills and stamina. This year the route has been extended to include Ladies Mile, which along with Circular Road will be closed to cars so that people…

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Rise For Climate Rally – Sat 8th Sept

Bristol Cycling is supporting the Bristol Rise for Climate rally on Saturday. It’s one of hundreds of events in over 80 countries around the world. We hope there will be lots of folk there with bicycles, one of our most powerful tools to tackle climate change. Grassroots environmental groups under the umbrella of Bristol Environmental Activists Together are assembling on College Green to call for upon our elected leaders for urgent action on climate change. “No more stalling, no more delays: it’s time for a fast and fair transition to 100% renewable energy for all.” Speakers include Bristol Health Partners,…

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Metrobus opens up a new cycle route

With the opening of the M2 Metrobus route (Ashton Vale to Temple Meads) on 3 September, you can now cycle on the new car-free cycle track from Ashton Avenue Bridge to the Long Ashton Park & Ride, linking into the Festival Way.  We sent out our infrastructure terrier to check it out. On the whole we think it is decent, and provides a (mostly) well surfaced near continuous route from the Park and Ride to Avon Crescent without any interaction with traffic apart from the level crossing off Winterstoke Road.  However here are a few minor issues: The…

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20 mph and the Clean Air Zone

Bristol City Councils 20 mph review finishes today. In this consultation, the potential of 20 mph to help meet the National Air Quality Objectives (NAQOs) for NO2 and PM10 emissions, for which Bristol exceeds, has almost completely been ignored.

Instead, a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) has been proposed to tackle this as part of central governments Clean Air Framework. A CAZ would attempt to reduce air pollution by encouraging residents and businesses to purchase a cleaner car. A scrappage scheme has even been mooted as a way to kick-start this.

A CAZ might encourage some people to leave their car at home but it would have nowhere near the benefits of 20 mph limits.

One of the key infrastructure requirements for a CAZ is Auto Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras. These are the same yellow cameras used along the M32 to enforce speed limits. They are one of the most effective measures for speed enforcement, ensuring drivers stick to the speed limits within the zone. Surely it would make sense to simply install these cameras to enforce the 20 mph speed limits that are already in place?

From Bristol Cycling’s perspective, 20 mph zones are only positive for Bristol. We recently highlighted the key benefits of 20 mph. In summary, 20 mph limits:

Reduce Collisions and lessen their severity when they do happen. A driver seeing a danger travelling at 30mph would have travelled 9 metres before they even pressed the brake pedal and another 14m to come to a stop. At 20 mph the overall stopping distance is half that. This makes a collision less likely in the first place. The kinetic energy of a 1419kg Nissan Qashqai car travelling at 20 mph is 15.7 Wh. If the vehicle didn’t stop in time, this would be the energy felt by the object it hits. Increase this speed by 50% to 30 mph and the kinetic energy goes up by 125% i.e. it more than doubles to 35.4 Wh. To put this in comparison, the energy of a 90kg cyclist at 20 mph is 0.9 Wh and a 70kg jogger at 5mph, 0.05 Wh. This video of an appalling collision in Wales demonstrates the huge amount of energy in a moving car.
A car braking from 30 mph to a stop puts more than double the energy through the brakes, tyres and roads than the same car stopping from 20 mph, increasing particulates (PM) from the brakes, tyres and road, contributing to poorer air quality. It also puts more strain on the road surface making damage and potholes more likely.
20 mph has also been shown to reduce noise from vehicles. A car travelling at 20 mph instead of 30 mph can emit almost 10db less noise. 10 db is perceived by the human ear to be a halving of noise. Studies in Sweden, Germany and the UK, have consistently found 2—5 db noise reductions at the roadside from 30 kph (20mph) limits.
20 mph Improves traffic flow and reduces journey time. Countless studies have found 20 mph reduces the concertina effect of traffic and reduces congestion.
Acceleration is the most energy-intensive stage of driving. Lower speed limits mean less time on the accelerator pedal and reduced fuel consumption. Considering a hypothetical a 16km journey with 25 stops and starts a car only accelerating to 20 mph will spend nearly a minute less on the accelerator than if it reached 30 mph. Although this does not directly correlate with emissions, a detailed study in London found (unenforced) 20 mph limits reduced NO2 air pollution concentrations at the roadside.

Over the past few weeks, Bristol Cycling has been campaigning hard to raise awareness of the 20 mph consultation. The criticism we hear time after time is that 20 mph isn’t enforced* and that “no one really travels at 20mph”. This isn’t a reason to scrap it, it is a reason to do it properly and see what the real benefits could be.

We’ve not heard anyone suggest the CAZ could be left to chance police patrols to enforce, so why has 20mph?

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The world, and Greater Bristol, needs more cycling champions

For all those campaigning for Space for Cycling, Brian Deegan is a hero, being the transport planning engineer who has delivered top quality infrastructure in London. But he says that without a ‘big gun’ cycling champion even skilled and committed council officers can’t transform our streets to make them more suitable to cyclists (and everyone), they can only deliver tinkering half-measures (The world needs more cycling champions). Is a cycling champion of the standard of Andrew Gillingham or Chris Boardman possible in Greater Bristol? Deegan says ‘if you can’t find one then you must make one… You will never get out…

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