Guest Blog from Wheels On The Bike about traffic on The Downs. Plans to improve this very problematic and unpleasant route have been dropped. What does this say about making Space for Cycling in Bristol? Reposted with permission from https://wheelsonthebike.wordpress.com/2015/12/01/roman-road-its-a-bit-better-oh-no-it-isnt/ Roman Road is one of many car-sick roads in Bristol. It’s a odd one-way road, that cuts a corner of the Downs. It’s simultaneously a rat run that avoids traffic lights at the end of Stoke Road, a long thin car park, a bus route, and a cycling route, created against a backdrop of the green leisure filled Durdham Downs. What’s wrong with Roman Road, and how could it be better?
Brace yourselves! A absolute blizzard of major consultations is here. This is a big shout out for your help! If you have views to share, or want to be part of the discussions, you need to get stuck in right now. Here’s the plan: You help tell everyone what’s going on and ask them to comment We put comment together into a pithy response, using our famous Red/Amber/Green rating We publish the response with a call out to our thousands of supporters to send responses supporting us
It’s very good news that the planning application for a cycle route along the Avon Valley through Crews Hole at the ‘Conham Gap’ has now been approved. We were strongly supportive of the proposal as it received a rare ‘five green’ score against our five criteria. It’s been two years since the last proposal was rejected following angry, misinformed and disappointingly managed meetings where BCyC members felt intimidated for advocating that walking and cycling should be enabled on this important link. This now leaves the small problem of funding the…
At the Bristol Cycle Forum on 19th Nov we heard about proposals for finally starting to open up the Downs for better access by people walking and cycling. At the moment due to the dominance of cars there is limited space and inadequate provision for the growing numbers wishing to travel to and use the downs by walking and cycling. Vicki Cracknell (of Cycle Sunday fame) spoke to urgently ask that we comment on on the Place and Movement Framework for the Downs (10.6MB PDF! Full of pictures and ideas but takes a while to download). This is being presented at the AGM of the Downs Committee for ‘consideration’ although detailed proposals are a way off yet.
At the Bristol Cycle Forum on 19th November there was news of two big and important topics. Firstly, finally, there seems to be some movement on opening up The Downs for more walking and cycling. Secondly, James Coleman of Bristol City Council took us through proposals spending the next round of Cycling City Ambition Fund (CCAF2). This is the main source of government funding for the next couple of years. It is now proposed to be spent on:
What’s the issue?
The Bristol regional cycle network is almost entirely made up of shared space with motor traffic, or shared use with pedestrians. Both are essential and useful where appropriate, but otherwise can create conflict and anxiety about safety from more vulnerable users, whether perceived or actual. The Bristol Bike Life 2015 Report rated shared pavements and bus lanes as the least popular measures.
Concerns about safety is the major factor preventing more people cycling. A safe, direct and convenient cycle network is the key factor in making cycling so easy that everyone feels able to do it.
Cycling, walking and driving need different networks with specific design requirements. These may overlap and be shared in specific circumstances. While comprehensive and suitably separated networks exist for walking and driving, there is little real Space for Cycling for a city with aspirations for 20% of trips by cycles.
When thinking about reducing risk on our roads and Road Danger Reduction, it’s helpful to draw from the experience of engineering and construction. These used to be highly dangerous occupations but years of steady focus on eliminating risk have established a culture that tolerates zero casualties.
What might we learn if we were to take a ‘Vision Zero’ approach to danger on our roads?
An interesting blog by Alistair Marshall A Health and Safety Perspective of Cycling Safety discusses the Hierarchy of Control approach to health and safety at work. National guidelinesset out the necessary sequence of actions through adopting the ERIC model (an acronym for Eliminate, Reduce, Inform and Control). ERIC Approach to Risk Management – extract from construction-design-management-regulations-2007.
Reading these six points (there are two more on protective measures and PPE, personal protective equipment, which means helmets and hi-viz for example), what becomes clear is that the approach followed on roads, and specifically as regards cycling is almost exactly back to front.
How can we reverse this to a more rational evidence based approach?