The first of the new “Critical Mass” rides took place on Friday 27th September, with 15 cyclists, most on their way home from work, starting in Kingsmead Square. The “mass” was hardly “critical”, with 15 riders mostly on their way home from work. The short route was along Dorchester Street, over Pulteney Bridge, Bathwick Street, the Paragon, Milsom Street and back to Kingsmead Square via Cheap Street and Westgate Street.
Rides will continue on the last Friday of every month, meeting in Kingsmead Square at 5.30pm. The aim is not to disrupt traffic, which at that time last Friday was practically stationary anyway, but to demonstrate what the future may be like with many more bikes on the road. If there is a transfer from cars to bikes maybe traffic would not come to a halt as often. About 85% of cyclists drive cars so there would seem to be scope for more to leave their cars at home and take to two wheels.
There was only one unpleasant moment when a very impatient x39 bus driver hooted and tried to pass just to get one car’s length further up the queue. Would she have hooted at a car in front, or was it just because she didn’t want to be held up by people on bikes?
The balance is changing with more and more people riding bikes on our roads, so there has to be an adjustment in the amount of space provided. It seems that it is this that drivers find difficult to accept. There needs to be a greater understanding, awareness and tolerance of others from all road users.