Cycling is a freeing, liberating and fun-filled experience (just ask any of our Bristolians on Bikes) and we want to make it better for our city, but do you sometimes feel powerless to make a difference? Here are five productive ways (in no particular order!) to make your voice heard.
Ask your employer to support the CyclingWorks Bristol initiative
CyclingWorks Bristol is mobilising local employer organisations to express support for better cycling infrastructure in our area to help enable their staff to travel safely to and from work by bike. The concept is proven in other places, notably in London where the voice of business galvanised local government decision maker’s to prioritise cycling infrastructure. In our area, the campaign asks for priority to be given to aspects of the region’s existing, adopted policies in relation to continuous bike lanes and secure bike parking at transport hubs and Park & Ride locations.
What can you do: Talk to current and aspirational cycle commuters at your workplace. Together, ask someone who can speak for your organisation to voice their support. Employee safety issues are taken seriously by company directors and business opinion counts for a lot in local government. For more information, head to the CyclingWorks Bristol website.
Add your voice to transport consultations
Our local & regional government bodies (Bristol, South Glos. & West of England) frequently share consultations on transport changes that affect our region. Whether you are a resident of the area or just a visitor, you can add your thoughts and use the opportunity to endorse a cleaner, healthier Bristol.
What you can do: Add your voice for cycling. We try to highlight these consultations as soon as they appear on the relevant website – join our Facebook discussion group to get alerts. If you have the time to lend your opinions then go for it. They really do make a difference so keep an eye out on our emails and social for the next one.
Share our bike hangars report with your councillor
Alongside safety, bicycle theft is a real and present issue in our city. Our own surveys find that it is one of the biggest barriers to increasing cycle use and ownership. If you can’t securely store a bike at home, you can’t have a bike. Bike hangars are lockable steel pods for up to six bikes and provide secure, on-street bike parking for people who don’t have any outside space to store a bike at home.
What you can do: Bristol currently has only 15 (oversubscribed) bike hangars whilst the demand for residential bike-parking spaces is likely to be in the tens of thousands. With Bristol’s recent successful award of £0.5Mill in Zero Emission Transport City funding, there is now an opportunity to deliver on our demand for 1,000 across the City. If secure bike parking could make a difference on your street, then email your councillor to highlight this and please include:
- Our BCyC Proposal on Bike Hangars
- A request to add your street to their list of streets where there is demand for a bike hangar.
- Just how beneficial a bike hangar would be for you
Contact your councillor about other key issues
We often hear that councillors would like to make greater changes but either people don’t speak up or the more vocal groups are opposed to increasing cycling provision. To create the pressure and demand needed to spark positive action, we all need to express our preference for a city that is safer for cycling loud and clear.
What you can do: Write to your local councillor and tell them about the things that affect your ability to cycle safely. We heard about many of them through our survey and these included many quick wins for them too, like fixing potholes, clearing debris and enforcing parking restrictions on existing bike lanes. Make sure your councillor knows that these issues are a priority for you and encourage others to do the same.
Get out there and ride!
Lastly, lead by example. It’s proven around the world that Cycling has the power to generate its own virtuous circle. The more people who cycle in an area, the safer cycling becomes for all cyclists there. And as more people use their bikes to commute, to get their kids to school, to go to the shops, to visit friends & family, the need for safe space for cycling for all becomes more and more visible.
This all leads to a point when travelling by bike becomes an everyday activity by people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, using safe, protected bike lanes, and in turn reduces the perception held by many of it being “not for me” or “not safe”.
What you can do: Get out there and ride as much as you are able. After that, join Bristol Cycling (it’s free) and stay informed of cycling developments and other ways that you can speak up for cycling in Bristol.
Thank you for helping to make Bristol a cleaner, safer and more vibrant place to live.
Main Image credit: Matthew Price