Council’s current policy branded 'inadequate' for cyclists

21-September-2012
21-September-2012 8:00
in General
by The Bristol Post

Researchers have called for improvements to cycling conditions in Bristol, which they say could solve the problem of cyclists using pedestrian walkways.

Speaking at a council meeting yesterday, they argued that safer cycling networks in the city will help to discourage cyclists from mounting the pavements.

Judith Brown, chairwoman of the Bristol Older People’s Forum, which has been campaigning against cyclists using pavements, attended the  Sustainable Development and Transport Scrutiny Commission meeting.

After the meeting she told the Post that the council should listen to what had been said and change its “inadequate” policy.

Five experts addressed the public meeting and backed an investment in infrastructure that would pull cyclists away from the pavements and avoid conflict.

Dr David Horton, a sociologist focusing on cycling, said that his research showed how potential cyclists were put off by “terrifying” road conditions.

He said: “Too often words like ‘petrified’ and ‘terrified’ crop up in surveys when people are asked why they don’t cycle around town. “In urban Britain, at the moment, we are really struggling to provide for cyclists.

There’s a real mismatch between policy and practical work leading to improvements.”

Jim Davis, chairman of the cycling embassy of Great Britain, said that planners should look to examples in Europe, where the provisions for cyclists make travelling by bike more “normal”.

He added that the changes abroad had also led to less conflict between pedestrians and cyclists.Leading the debate, Adrian Davis,  a public health and transport consultant, said: “There’s no doubt that the debate in the city is often very polarised. We want to move on from this by looking at the harsh realities.”

Following the meeting, Mrs Brown told the Post: “I think the council has to think seriously about its inadequate policy for all.

“As Bristol is a cycling city, the council must think how it accommodates them properly.

“What countries have done in Europe looks promising and it’s certainly worth thinking about how they can make life safer for everybody. “I’m going to take this away to digest and tell my members.”

Mark Bradshaw, a Labour councillor and chairman of the cross-party commission, said: “What we are trying to do is get a bit more recognition and understanding about the cycling debate.

“Whether you are a cyclist or an elderly person, your views are just as important and valuable.

“As a commission, we want to share this with the rest of the council and with their officers.”

Comments

Read comments below or add a new comment below.

Simon Hunt

I'm a keep cyclist I've ridden quiet a lot in Europe. And the way I see it is there's three fundermental problem with cycling in this country. First one is that the roads are to narrow. The cyclist very often feels they are "getting in the way" of traffic because there is not enough room for drivers to over take weather it be on urban roads or country lanes. This leads to the feeling that perhaps I/ we should be riding on the pavement to let traffic pass or ideally a shared cycle path ( which in my opinion is flawed in UK ) The basic problem here is that we are driving on the the wrong side of the road. Its natural for most people to walk / drive / ride on the right like in Europe. If you are riding / walking toward someone over there is no confusion over which side of the track / path to be on. What happen here is that one person remember to ride on the left but very often the person coming in the opposite direction will do what is natural and go to there right,this of course puts both onthe same side. If you do this in Europe you'll probably get shouted at! And I think my last point is that the cycle ways are not lane marked as they are in Europe. This would get around the left side/right side problem. But of course this just brings us back to the problem of width of cycleways in UK. Another problem we cyclist face is that some drivers think we belong on the cycle paths and should get of the road. We don't even know if we can ride at speed along a shared cycle path? What happens if you hit a car pulling out of his drive? Or hit a pedestian. So basically we don't know where we are supposed to ride?! And I think most people don't even realise because they they've not ridden in Europe. One interesting thing I'd noticed in Europe. We were riding around a theme park in Prague and no one batted an eye lid! I come back here and I'm very disheartend by the whole thing...and I really don't know what the answer is. I think I've realised they haven't done anything special over there,it just the the way things are! Basically I believe cycling here is never going to be like it is in Europe because we don't have the room and we are on the wrong side of the road. Yours, Simon Hunt.

Simon Hunt

I'm a keep cyclist I've ridden quiet a lot in Europe. And the way I see it is there's three fundermental problem with cycling in this country. First one is that the roads are to narrow. The cyclist very often feels they are "getting in the way" of traffic because there is not enough room for drivers to over take weather it be on urban roads or country lanes. This leads to the feeling that perhaps I/ we should be riding on the pavement to let traffic pass or ideally a shared cycle path ( which in my opinion is flawed in UK ) The basic problem here is that we are driving on the the wrong side of the road. Its natural for most people to walk / drive / ride on the right like in Europe. If you are riding / walking toward someone over there is no confusion over which side of the track / path to be on. What happen here is that one person remember to ride on the left but very often the person coming in the opposite direction will do what is natural and go to there right,this of course puts both onthe same side. If you do this in Europe you'll probably get shouted at! And I think my last point is that the cycle ways are not lane marked as they are in Europe. This would get around the left side/right side problem. But of course this just brings us back to the problem of width of cycleways in UK. Another problem we cyclist face is that some drivers think we belong on the cycle paths and should get of the road. We don't even know if we can ride at speed along a shared cycle path? What happens if you hit a car pulling out of his drive? Or hit a pedestian. So basically we don't know where we are supposed to ride?! And I think most people don't even realise because they they've not ridden in Europe. One interesting thing I'd noticed in Europe. We were riding around a theme park in Prague and no one batted an eye lid! I come back here and I'm very disheartend by the whole thing...and I really don't know what the answer is. I think I've realised they haven't done anything special over there,it just the the way things are! Basically I believe cycling here is never going to be like it is in Europe because we don't have the room and we are on the wrong side of the road. Yours, Simon Hunt.

Simon

What fantastic news. Well done to the Forum.

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