Update: Tim Bowles (Conservative) is our new West of England Regional Mayor (results). We look forward to working with him to enable everyday cycling, for everyone, everywhere in our region.

What will the West of England Metro Mayor do for cycling? Given the level of excitement it’s possible turnout will be low – meaning that those who DO vote can really make a difference. The bookies are putting the Tories and Lib Dems as equal favourites. If you’re undecided, you might want to know what the candidates say about cycling, and then Vote Bike!

Working with Cycling UK, we sent our Cycling Manifesto for the Metro Mayor to all candidates, asking for their responses. We had responses from five of the six candidates, as below. These are also published on the Cycling UK website Vote Bike: West of England.

What we’re calling for:

  1. Champion the West of England’s cycling and walking culture
    Will you prioritise walking, cycling, and public transport as the key to optimising the capacity of our transport network? Will you set a target to double the number of trips made by cycle in the West of England by 2025, while upholding the target of 20% of commuting trips in Bristol city by 2020.
  2. Seek the funding to achieve your aims
    Will you create a dedicated budget and team for cycling and actively seek the necessary funding to build your network to a high standard?
  3. Establish ‘MetroCycle’ on the same basis as MetroRail and MetroBus
    Will you set out a vision and plan for a high quality and coherent cycle network? This should connect our homes with our places of work, education, shopping and play. The starting place should be our Bristol Cycling Manifesto, and the Bristol Cycle Strategy. Will you set up and chair a powerful group bringing together councils, business groups, universities, advocates and transport businesses?

Candidates

Q.1

Q.2

Q.3

Comments

Tim Bowles
(CON)

I have long been a supporter of improving cycling facilities. I was pleased that our work in South Gloucestershire was recognised by the National Highways and Transportation Public Satisfaction survey when we were ranked as the top performing local authority for the provision of cycling facilities and infrastructure.

In my own ward we secured significant funding to improve the facilities for cyclists at junction 1 of the M32 motorway at Hambrook, which benefits commuter cyclists along the A4174 ring road corridor. As a council we also introduced more extensive gritting on the cycle path network.

We are shortly to start essential maintenance work on the Bromley Heath Viaduct on the A4174, one of the busiest roads in the whole region. As part of our commitment to improving cycling facilities we were keen to use this opportunity to build a new cycle path across the viaduct as we recognised this is a pinch point for cyclists and is one of the most well used parts of cycle path in the area and I am pleased that this will now be included in the works.

As a member of the leadership team on South Gloucestershire Council I feel that it’s important to connect all of the authority with a strong cycling network of infrastructure. We have just finished consulting on Yate-Dodington-Westerleigh cycling spur path. I see the Westerleigh spur as an important part of making that happen, allowing people a continuous cycle path from Yate to Emersons Green.

I hope this shows that I have a real track record of providing improvements to the cycle network and please be assured I will continue to do so if elected as the West of England Regional Mayor.

Aaron Foot
(UKIP)

[Statement given 3/5/17]

YES

YES

YES

I like many support improvements that can help cycling. We all need to work together and solve the issues that arise.

We can work together by using my proposed E-Democracy system which will let you tell the Metro Mayor what’s not working and how it should be improved. For example we have a patchwork of cycle lanes that don’t join together. Let’s work on connecting cycle lanes and improving the surface you cycle on.

By working together we can go someway to solving the transport crisis in Bristol, BANES and South Gloucestershire.

I will also look into the idea of a MetroCycle.

Darren Hall
(GREEN)

YES

YES

YES

It is absolutely essential that we prioritise cycling as one of the be solutions to solving congestion and air quality issues. It makes economic sense, it makes sense for health, and it makes sense for families who are struggling to get themselves to work, and their children to school.

As a keen cyclist myself, both for leisure and commuting, I wholeheartedly support this agenda and if elected will do all I can to make sure that the aims of Bristol Cycling, Cycle Bath and Cycling UK are prioritised.

Despite evidence that proves the economic benefits of cycling, it is clear that the UK has failed to implement a coherent strategy, and as a consequence we continue to lag behind many other areas in Europe. Last year, I was lucky enough to live in Strasbourg for 3 months, where the transport infrastructure made cycling a much more pleasurable and safe activity for commuters as well as children & families all using the dedicated cycling lanes as their preferred way of getting round the city.  

We also need to tackle the belief that cyclists are the enemy of car drivers when in fact more people cycling would be one of the most effective ways of tackling congestion. Cycling can significantly improve health outcomes, both directly though exercise, and indirectly by improving air quality. 

I believe I am the only candidate in this election who will properly prioritise cycling as part of an integrated transport strategy. With your vote, and that of your friends & familly, I can win this election, and in doing so, put cycling, alongside public transport and walking, at the heart of my West of England Active Travel Plan.

Lesley Mansell
(LAB)

YES

YES

YES

One of my top priorities for transport is to invest in active transport. In my manifesto I have committed to promoting cycling by reviewing, maintaining and improving cycle lanes. Furthermore, I aim to a build a connecting network of high-quality strategic cycling routes and will appoint an Active Travel Commissioner reporting directly to the Mayor on progress towards my  target of 40% of all journeys to be made by foot and bike across the West of England Combined Authority by 2025.

In addition, I will ensure all new developments are connected to active travel and public transport networks with high-quality infrastructure to reduce reliance on single occupancy car journeys. You can find the rest of my pledges and policies here: http://www.mansell4mayor.org/lesleys-pledges-and-policies/

John Savage
(IND)

YES

YES

YES

For much of my adult life I have been an active cyclist. Furthermore, I understand that cycling is a critical part of the solution to the transport challenges that our region faces. When we plan for the future we must look at providing innovative forms of public transport and meet the infrastructure and safety needs of cyclists.
I am committed to increasing the number of cycle trips and will make sure that every development has cycling links to get people to and from key locations. I have huge ambitions for transforming transport in the West of England. I see cycling as a vital part of this and will make sure that it is safe and we invest in new routes.
As Mayor, I will use devolution as a chance to make sure the desires of local people are reflected in all of my policies. That is what devolution is about after all. As a supporter of more investment in cycling and with great public support – I can commit to advocates and ambassadors being part of my team that seek to find solutions to solving our region’s transport problem.

I am supportive of a Metro Cycle idea, but I would also like to know more details on what would be expected.

Stephen Williams
(LIB)

YES

YES

YES

Cycling is a sustainable and healthy way to travel. By encouraging more cyclists and integrated transport we can tackle two of the biggest problems our two cities have and improve life for those living in Bath, Bristol and the surrounding areas as well.

Air Pollution is an environmental disaster we need to tackle right now. By reducing fossil fuelled transport we can make a large impact now for the generations of the future. Cycling also tackles congestion which all to often sees our cities and main roads grind to a halt. More cycling reduces the problem of congestion which in turn reduces our big issue, air pollution.

As Metro Mayor I will encourage our councils to continue enhancing cycle routes. I will press the government to ensure that the devolved transport budget includes sufficient resource to introduce cycling improvements.

I will work with Sustrans and others to double the number of trips made by bicycle in the West of England by 2025 and uphold the target of 20% commuting trips to Bristol by 2020. I will also set a realistic target for Bath and explore combination journeys, for instance cycle and ride. I will work with our councils, business groups, universities, transport businesses and advocates to steer our walking and cycling priorities.

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