All the main candidates have now responded to our Space for Cycling Bristol Mayoral manifesto. However, the level of measurable 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 has just published HUMAN STREETS: THE MAYOR’S VISION FOR CYCLING THREE YEARS ON where he says: “Our original painted lanes were revolutionary at the time. But knowing what I do now, we would have blasted ahead with our new segregated cycle lanes from the beginning”.
The learning from the London Mayor applies just as much to Bristol “The key factor is political leadership. Everyone supports cycling – until it involves doing anything meaningful. … So for years in this country, we did half-hearted cycling schemes that upset nobody but also, bluntly, helped nobody and changed nothing”.
This is why everyone in Bristol is looking to the new Mayor to offer something more than words. Our Mayoral manifesto identifies two key priorities that are the key to unlock the potential for Bristol to become a true Cycling City. As you consider the statements of the candidates below, and at the mayoral hustings on transport tonight, 20th April, consider these questions:
Will you create protected Space for Cycling on the Gloucester Rd?
Will you support a Living Heart for Bristol by removing through motor traffic from Anchor Rd, Park St, Haymarket, Baldwin St and Prince St?
Extracts from candidate statements
Kay Barnard – Lib Dem
I support the Space for Cycling campaign to improve facilities and infrastructure for cyclists in Bristol. I am myself a cyclist but rarely cycle in Bristol because of the poor infrastructure and lack of safety.Full statement from Kay Barnard [Lib Dem]
Tony Dyer – Green Party
It is my intention to rebalance Bristol’s transport network by improving public and active transport – the latter includes both walking and cycling. By providing a range of attractive travel alternatives to sitting in a car stuck in a traffic jam breathing in car fumes, I believe that we can deliver a far cleaner, less congested, much healthier, city. A city fit for the 21st century. Full statement from Tony Dyer [Greens]
George Ferguson – Bristol 1st
I am one hundred percent behind the cycling manifesto. In my first term we have continued to deliver an enormous amount, including cycling ambition funding for more segregation and are currently building new paths and increasing the number of cycle stands. Full statement from George Ferguson [Bristol 1st]
Charles Lucas – Conservative
I wholeheartedly support safe cycling for all including segregated cycle lanes where practical and possible, as part of an integrated transport policy but not at the expense of all other road users. A balanced approach is required at all times. Full statement from Charles Lucas [Conservative]
Marvin Rees – Labour
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. 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. Full statement from Marvin Rees [Labour]
Whatever the current level of commitment by each candidate whoever gets in will need give greater priority to cycling infrastructure (as London is successfully doing), walking and public transport if the city is to reduce the congestion and future proof the city as its population continues to grow.