Saturday, 28 June 2008

Scared of cycling

Me, that is. I can do parks and the cycle path, but negotiating Temple Way roundabout is completely beyond me. But given Bristol's new status as a cycling city, I have brought my bike out of (semi)retirement today.

First stop was to call in at Mud Dock on the way back from the Veterans Day event at the Ampitheatre and arrange for the punctures to be repaired. Impressed by my spur of the moment decisiveness, I popped home to get the bike, only to discover that the tyres were fine. Bemused at first, I then remembered I'd lent my flat to my sister and family a few weeks ago. Her partner is a cycling fanatic. He'd pumped up the tyres. One would have thought I'd have tried that first before assuming they had punctures. Surely?

So apologies to the guy at Mud Dock who is probably still wondering where I got to. And a plea for someone to sort out the cycle lane markings round Temple Way roundabout so that the likes of me can understand what we're meant to do and where we're meant to go. Until then, I'll stick to jumping off and pushing when I get to the difficult bits. (Also, can pedestrians in Castle Park please stay out of the cycle lanes? Thanks.)


Chris Hutt said...

You're not the only one who's scared of cycling in Bristol, Kerry. Most sane people are. It takes a lot of confidence to hurl yourself into the maelstrom that is Bristol traffic and that confidence comes with experience, so a bit of a catch 22 situation.

The problem is that the Council don't recognise the need to make the existing road network safe for cycling by slowing and calming the traffic (which will also benefit walking and the urban environment). Alternative cycle routes will never substitute for the existing road network, although they can provide a brief respite from time too time.

Kerry said...

With the cycling city money - and of course Sustrans' win in the People's Millions contest - we have a real chance to do something.

Presumably Sustrans, as well as having a map of new cycle routes it would like developed, which I've seen, has also given some thought to this? I'll have to try and sit down with them over the summer.

Happy to lobby for changes on specific routes. For example, the Feeder has a (narrow) cycle lane running towards St Annes from Cattle Market, but cars are forced to drive in it because oncoming traffic is in the middle of the road. And that's because the car showroom opposite parks its cars in the road, (which can also make turning out of the side roads quite dangerous). If a driver is faced with the choice between a head-on collision with an oncoming truck (it's full of delivery lorries along there) and veering into the cycle lane, the possibility of knocking over a cyclist isn't going to enter their head.

Actually the delivery lorries are another issue. The wholesale fruit market told me a while ago that a lot of the lorries making deliveries to them get lost around the city centre because of poor signage from the M32 - which of course means more trucks on the road for longer, going round in circles. The previous administration on the council weren't interested in doing anything about it - they said it was a commercial concern so it wasn't their job to advertise its location. 'Though we did get one new sign in the end, from what I recall. But might be time to raise it again.