As winter starts to spread it’s mistic (!) thrall over us, now’s a good time to remember that Jack Frost (the cyclist’s Public Enemy No.1) is about (see the 2012 report on ‘Non-collision cycling incidents’).
We’ve already been on the case with the “Cheesegrater Bridge” (risky in the damp as well as the frost) thanks to Bristol Cyclists Facebook Group and a meeting has taken place between Mark Bradshaw (Assistant Mayor for Place) and the land-owners – we are pushing for an outcome!
Meanwhile people are having the usual problems on the Chocolate Path – chocolate and frost in this case don’t mix. This route is not gritted, unlike the Bristol Bath Railway Path which is gritted with a small vehicle in the event of hard weather. Here’s the severe weather plan along with the gritting map.
So please take care out there when it turns just the tiny bit slippy – think about getting some grippier winter tyres or letting the pressure down a bit on your regular ones – there are a few street pumps available now for when you need to pump them up again!
Here’s a reply to an enquiry to Bristol Council about the path:
Direct responsibility for safety of routes is with Bristol City Council, but I would recommend Jon Usher in the first instance as he is Area Manager for Sustrans, who keep this route as part of the National Cycle Network, and is seconded to Bristol City Council to manage the Cycling City Ambition Fund Project that had sought to improve the Chocolate Path.
As we understand it, the Chocolate Path is at flood risk and not stable enough to be worth improving (for cycling) without major, major expenditure. Jon is working on a project to add a bridge from the Harbourside across to Camden Road that will result in local improvements, but otherwise funding has been diverted to improving the route on the North side of the Harbour.
The Metrobus project has also had a significant impact on the fate of the Chocolate Path – initially they were going to improved it, but ultimately, they are not. However, they (currently!) plan to push a route through from the Ashton Bridge to Avon Crescent and with the proposals that are up before Development Control tomorrow
there will then be a link through to the Pump House and beyond.
Alternative surfaces were investigated, but it was expensive and there were “heritage considerations”.
In the current economic climate (and the continuing under-funding of cycling) – I think that we’ll be abandoning the Chocolate Path as a formal cycle route.
Perhaps we should be pushing the council to put up safety signs in the meantime – “Warning – slippery when wet” – but whether that would change people’s habits ahead of the alternative route I doubt. Typically this kind of signing is simply to cover Local Authorities against litigation.
You can find out a bit more about these changes via our website