The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) – remember them, Metro Mayor, Tim Bowles? – have shown scant interest in active travel. But they have now put out a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) for a consultation which closed on 15 March 2020. This is important as the LCWIP is the only game in town for cycling improvements in Bristol and the surrounding area. It’s a mixed bag – quite a few protected cycleways proposed, but many shared paths etc. Also lots of “explore” this and “consider” that; very tentative. We expected this plan to set…
Every cyclist in Bristol will have their own strategy for coping with the James Barton roundabout, one of the worst in Bristol and the subject of our Modest Proposal #5: The Bear Pit / St James Barton Roundabout. Particularly as the Gloucester Road is one of the busiest cycling routes in the city, with its own Modest Proposal #6; Eight to Eighty cycling on Gloucester Road. Most of us make use of Jamaica Street, but it can’t be called pleasant. It also boast some of the oldest and most idiosycratic ‘cycling facilities’ in Bristol. How about this ‘Modest Proposal’…
Did you know that Gloucester Road was one of Bristol’s busiest cycle routes (Building on success – lessons from Gloucester Road)? What’s more, the number of people cycling has doubled in the last ten years whereas motor vehicle numbers have dropped by a fifth. These facts can be seen from Department for Transport Traffic Counts.
So what does this tell us? Bristol’s Cycling City money has been well spent? Not quite. Significant Cycling City money was not spent on Gloucester Road infrastructure as the end of project report makes clear. In fact people on bikes are using this route despite, not because of, its facilities for them.
As anyone who has cycled into, or out of, the City on Gloucester Road knows the only “cycling infrastructure” is, essentially, paint and bus lanes. And bus lanes are for both a human on a bike (100 kilos) and a double decker (15 tons) – hardly fair or equal!
Gloucester Road is popular because it goes where people on bikes want to go; travelling, often commuting, in and out of the City Centre from the
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…
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).
There are two main sources of information on road traffic incidents causing injury and involving cyclists; both have their strong and weak points. Police incident records, known as STATS19 reports, give a specific location for the incident and a brief, sometimes too brief, narrative on what happened. In many cases, from reading these reports, it is possible to work out who was at fault in an incident. We however know that there is a degree of underreporting and the police themselves have some concerns as to the accuracy of reports. They are used by the Council’s Highway and Transport Management department to plot the location of incidents on their mapping website, analyse trends and rank contributory factors. The Council’s Directorate of Public Health also produce figures for emergency admissions of Bristolians to hospital due to transport related “accidents” (their use of the term). Whilst these figures only cover Bristol residents and cover their travelling anywhere in the country, the findings are considered to be representative of incidents occurring in Bristol. Whilst thought to be more comprehensive than the police’s reports, incidents are not identifiable by street location and, while the STATS19 records identify the types of road user, they don’t identify the factors causing the road traffic injuries. So what do emergency admission stats tell us about cyclists and road traffic incidents in Bristol?
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…
There’s a petition running to improve cycling facilities in Gloucester Road that we think is worth supporting – please sign it. It’s quite simple:
The Police Response to Incidents Involving Cyclists on Bristol’s Gloucester Road
Rob Harding (BCyC member)
Mid-morning traffic on Gloucester Road, Bristol
Early this year I was surprised to see in a local freesheet that a Bishopston Councillor had called for the police to make cracking down on cycling on the pavement one of their top priorities. Whilst an occasional nuisance, I didn’t think the problem was so pervasive or dangerous as to warrant a re-prioritising of police resources. I decided to take a closer look at the cause of road traffic incidents on the Gloucester Road near where I live. The road had already been identified as one of the six worst in Bristol in terms of incidents involving injury to cyclists (see Sam Saunders’ blog).