There are more cyclists using the Bristol Bath cycle path now than ever used it when it was a railway. That fact alone suggests that, we mustn’t forget the role that the humble bike can play in helping us to tackle Bristol’s twin transport related ills: congestion and poor air quality.
Now, no one is suggesting that encouraging more cycling is a panacea for all our transport problems. Clearly there are many who, because of their circumstances, cannot cycle around our City. And of course many journeys are just too long to be done on a bike.
But, encouraging more cycling must be a key plank of the transport revolution Bristol so desperately needs.
There’s very clear evidence that London's new safe, separated, cycle lanes are highly effective in helping people get around the urban environment. Recent monitoring data shows that central London segregated cycle lanes are moving five times more people per square metre than the main carriageway. The London super highways have caused a 50 per cent increase in the total mileage cycled.
Segregated cycle lanes are also (compared to the alternatives) very cost effective and relatively quick to build: re-opening train lines can costs billions and take a decade to come to fruition.
But do people in Bristol want better cycle routes? Well, in November, the results of the UK’s biggest assessment on cycling in cities showed that 77% of Bristolians want more protected bike routes built to make cycling safer. Even people who said they never ride a bike still overwhelmingly support these bike routes. Overall, residents in Bristol think more space for walking, cycling or buses, is the best way to keep their city moving, improve people’s health and air quality.
The Lib Dems in Bristol championed cycling when we led the Council and we continue to do so.