The city of Bristol, led by cycling mayor George Ferguson, has unveiled a new cycling strategy that aims to “simplify cycling” with new, attractive, safe bike routes.
Mayor Ferguson, one of the founding members of Sustrans in 1977, says that the number of cyclists in Bristol could double again by 2024 – from a base which is already one of the highest in the UK. The strategy promises to learn from successful bike cities overseas:
“Learning from cities across Europe where high levels of cycling have made for happy and healthy citizens, such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam, our city will allowing citizen to move conveniently and with low impact… cycling will be an easy and normal option to get around.”
To achieve this, Bristol is promising to invest £16 per head in cycling each year by 2024 – a total of £7m per annum. Outside London, the average in England is just £2 per head at present: the All-Party Cycling Group called last year for this to increase to £20 over time.
But this in itself is no panacea. A similar amount was invested during Bristol’s Cycling City project, which was frequently criticised for not doing enough to help everyday Bristol cyclists.
The strategy sets out four overall aims: to make cycling simpler, safer, and more attractive, and to make Bristol a better place. This will be done by:
- Creating a comprehensive network accessible for everyone aged 8-80;
- Reducing vehicle speeds to create a safer environment;
- Creating cycle routes that are protected from trafﬁc on roads with high trafﬁc volumes and speeds, by reallocating road space, as achieved in other European cities; and
- Ensuring short journeys are more attractive by bike than by other modes, as more space is created for people to cycle.
The strategy borrows from the Bristol Cycling Campaign’s ‘Manifesto’ which mapped out 200 miles of proposed cycle routes, with 14 fast ‘freeways’ and 16 ‘quietways’. Bristol will also have its own cycling design guide, influenced by the acclaimed Making Space for Cycling design guide drawn up by the Cambridge Cycling Campaign.
Individual projects include a protected cycle lane along Clarence Road, a ‘cycle street’ on Kingsweston Lane, a 20mph limit across the city, an extension of the Whitchurch Railway Path, and the proposed new River Avon Path.
Ian Barrett, Sustrans’ local director, welcomed the strategy:
“Bristol has long been a leader and innovator in cycling – Sustrans’ National Cycle Network started here with our creation of the Bristol & Bath Railway Path in the 1980s. We warmly welcome Bristol’s commitment to continued investment in cycling and look forward to working with the Council to create a network of routes that makes cycling simple for everyone.”
The draft strategy is now out for consultation. You can read the document, and fill in an online survey, at citizenspace.com.