The petition about the worsening of cycling on the London Road has now passed 1200 and will be debated at Council on Tuesday 18th February. However cycling representatives took the opportunity to present to Cabinet on Wednesday 12th February. I also made a presentation to Cabinet in more general terms about cycling issues on our roads. You can read this presentation below:
This administration has done much to promote off road cycling – support for Two Tunnels, the Odd Down circuit, Batheaston bridge, but if for instance the soon to be implemented “on street” hire bikes are to be successful our streets must be made more cycle friendly.
It is in “on street” facilities that investment is needed. It is not enough to point to money invested in off road routes and ignore the dangers to people riding bikes on our roads every day.
The London Road issue is just one of the areas where the safety of people riding bikes is very poor. I will not repeat what has already been said, but I hope the cabinet will look closely at the options put forward by officers and choose the one that is best for safety of cyclists. My own preference is not on the list, but would be for a bus lane all the way in from the Batheaston roundabout to the Cleveland Bridge.
The potential increase in journeys by bike in Bath is through general riding into and out of the city every day and that is mostly on our roads. I note too that Sustrans are looking at routes and links across the council area. Many of the improvements that Sustrans will recommend will be on road.
If we are to make streets safer for people on bikes it is inevitable that space will have to be taken from motor vehicles. The Cabinet must not shy away from this. For the long term benefits of reduction in pollution and congestion, better health and addressing climate change, they must be brave enough to reallocate road space. It is no longer acceptable to put “traffic flow” as the top priority.
In the 2014/15 budget we propose to spend nearly £10m on roads and in addition this year an extra £2m, so road repair and maintenance could be said to indirectly affect cycling, yet none of this goes into cycling infrastructure such as advance stop lines, protected (or even unprotected) cycle lanes and there is no reallocation of road space to cyclists. People on bikes are expected to mix it with motor vehicles or get off their bikes.
I will leave you with a quote from an architect who has worked on cycling strategies in Continental Europe, London and New York.
Jan Gehl, writing in cycling weekly said:
“In the UK the focus on smoothing traffic flows has left everyone else at the margins.”
It is time that people riding bikes were brought in from the margins.