Category Archives: Uncategorized

The knock on effect of just making infrastructure for cars – the Marksbury A39 example

Myself and some of the people in the Timsbury Cycle Group has been writing to BANES and various parish councillors – Timsbury, Corston, Marksbury, and Compton Dando to try and get some help for vunerable road users for the works that will affect the Marksbury dual carriageway.

Adam asked me to write a piece about it so here goes.

Hopefully many of you have experienced ridden the A39 Marksbury dual carrisgeway in rush hour. Its pretty horrible, however it is the most direct route to get from Marksbury to Keynsham. Many cyclists who commute to Keynsham and Bristol ride through Marksbury, then have to brave the dual carriageway for about half a mile to then turn off to Keynsham.

The dual carriageway is a 70 mph speed limit, so you often have a speed differential of 50mph+ between bicycles and cars/vans/lorries. If someone decides to punish pass you. It is utterly terrifying.

Should a driver be distracted by their mobile phone and not see a cyclist, I don’t think it will end well for the cyclist.

At peak rush hour however, this dual carriageway grinds to a halt, and often a bicycle is the fastest way to proceed along it.

BANES is proposing to adjust the junction at the Two-headed man, to include two lanes. I quote “peak time queues will be substantially reduced. Cutting the queues will speed up journey times, reduce emissions and alleviate pressure on minor roads which currently experience rat running.”

Over the years I have written to BANES, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Timsbury Councillors about how I have been seeing more and more cyclists using the dual carriageway. I’ve seen children cycling down it.

I thought with the plans for this junction and how it will speed up journey times, the council would surely have considered the knock-on effect on vulnerable road users. I wrote to them again. I was wrong.

BANES keep telling me its “out of scope”. Even though changing the junction will affect the speed of traffic, and turning the road into two lanes will surely mean more danger and the continued difference in speed between bicycles and vehicles.

Anyway, myself and other Timsbury cycle group members and also Somer Valley CC have been writing to as many councillors as we can think of to get at least some kind of safety consideration for vulnerable road users along that stretch. We’ve written to BANES, Marksbury, Compton Dando and Timsbury councillors, plus a councillor in the Chew Valley Area who rides the junction each day.

Ideally there would be money for putting the dual carriageway on a road diet. There are several hundred metres of unused pavement that could be slightly widened and made dual use.

The huge central reservation could be slimmed down to make the road usable for cars and bicycles to be separated completely.

We’ve been told again. There is no money. And the dual carriageway is “out of scope”.

So, it feels like we are clutching at straws. I’ve asked for at least some signage telling drivers to watch out for cyclists and to share the lane. I don’t think we will get any, even though the junction is costing £500,000 to alter. They won’t even pay for signs. It is quite depressing to be faced with such an attitude, especially as the councils of Bristol and South Gloucester have a much more cycle-friendly approach.

I just hope I am wrong and nobody gets seriously injured or killed along that stretch.







Lessons from Amsterdam: How to make cycling easy and fun

Moving Beyond the Automobile

At home in Toronto, I ride my bike all the time. I ride for commuting, for leisure, for travel, and for shopping. Most of the time I wouldn’t dare ride without a helmet, and most of the time I ride by myself. I often wear more athletic clothes when I cycle, and many others do the same. I can even hear my mom’s voice ringing in my head when I leave on a ride “make sure you wear a helmet!”.

So, imagine my surprise when I arrived in Amsterdam and saw Dutch cyclists riding without helmets, side-by-side, and in normal clothing.

20170624_150354704_iOS (2) What is this strange world? No helmets, and no Lycra!

My three weeks in the Netherlands has dramatically shaped the way I think about cycling, and in particular, my perspective on the way we talk about cycling. I’ve come to realize that in its current state, public messaging…

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A bit of cycology

There does seem to be a step change in the quality that is being delivered in London. I just hope this translates to the rest of the country.

Subversive Suburbanite

Enfield’s cycle infrastructure is coming along nicely in the form of bike lanes, re-modelled junctions and better public realm along the A105. Since this road – also known as Green Lanes, Ridge Avenue and London Road depending on which bit you’re on – connects my own street to Enfield Town, I cycle up and down it at least once a week. Watching it take shape is fascinating.

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Micro-consolidation centre in Oslo

Now this is thinking about freight consolidation in the right way!



Next month DHL will begin using cargobikes in Oslo city centre aided by a micro-consolidation centre.

Rather than using three vans, DHL will be using one van, drop the parcels at the hub and the last mile will be taken care by cargobike riders.

The Hub is a shipping container provided by the City rent free for the duration of the pilot until 2018.

The Department of Transport will analyse the results of the project and evaluate the costs/benefits.


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A continuum of mobility

Something I feel BaNES Council and particularly councillors do not get. You think you are slowing down speeding cyclists or making exits safe, but every damn time, you’re just excluding people with really bad mobility issues.

As Easy As Riding A Bike

The way debates around the division of space in urban areas are framed – how much space we should allocate to private motor traffic, to public transport, to walking, and to cycling – presents walking as an ‘essential’ mode, one that all of us engage in, while by contrast cycling is almost always an optional extra, something that’s nice to have, but not all that important.

For example, we wouldn’t dream of building a new road scheme without footways that are suitable for the children or the elderly to use – or without footways altogether – yet it’s extraordinarily common for new schemes not to bother including any cycling infrastructure at all, even in places where cycling is already a relatively established mode of transport, despite the conditions.

A brand new road scheme in Westminster, London. No cycle space included.

What this means in practical terms is that cycling as…

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Cable Cars as Urban Public Transport in Medellin

I think, from the context of Bath’s proposed idea for a Cable Car, the one thing we can learn from Medellin’s cable cars is “it has encouraged people to walk and use public transit”. It is important to stress that Medellin’s cable car was built as an integrated public transport solution first that became a tourist attraction. For Bath, once we know the final proposal, this must also hold true. It must be an integrated cheap public transport solution that supports cycling first, a tourist attraction second.

seeds of good anthropocenes

How can cities grow in ways that promote social inclusion?

The city of Medellín, Colombia, built a cable car system to provide a new type of public transport that connected poorer people, living in rugged areas, to Medellin’s public transport system.  The cable car system, Metrocable, was part of an integrated investment in new public transport and neighbourhood infrastructure.  It began operation in 2004, and the success of the first line lead to the construction of several other cable car lines that transport tens of thousands of people daily.

Medellín: Colombia’s Sustainable Transport Capital from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

Medellin was the first city to use gondola technology, originally developed for tourism, as a type of urban mass transit.  In Medellin, the increased mobility provided by the cable cars, combined with investment in community schools, housing, community projects and other infrastructure, helped increase employment and decrease crime in areas that…

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Viral van driver video offers an insight into the failure of UK transport policy


The video of a frustrated van driver deliberately driving his van into a cyclist has achieved cult status. It has attracted outraged comments on twitter both from cyclists, for whom such dangerous punishment behaviour from motorists is all too common, and from motorists fuming about the cyclist being in the “middle of the road” for “too long”.

Meanwhile, twitter is also alive with angry complaints from the motoring fraternity (and much less often from the motoring sorority) about money spent on cycleways and other cycle infrastructure which is blamed for allegedly worsening congestion and pollution.

British transport policy is in a self-created vortex of conflicting objectives.

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The blogger and traffic engineer, Ranty Highwayman, put his finger on the essential point in a tweet:

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Prescription: Bike Lanes

Robin Mazumder

Some context: I am writing this blog post after spending three weeks travelling around Europe visiting numerous cities, including the urbanist mecca of Copenhagen. I had the privilege of experiencing the delight of biking the complete streets of that glorious city. So, I’ve returned to Canada feeling both inspired by what I saw there AND irritatedby what I don’t see here.The reverse culture shock I am currently experiencing mostly involves gettingacclimatized to the brutal (and brutish) car culture that is pervasivehere.

My Eurotrip kicked off in Moscow. I was invited to speak at their International Cycling Congresswhere I joined city builders from around the world to discuss cycling infrastructure and culture. There is a rapidly growing cycling culture in Russia and this conference was a way to bring changemakers from across the country together to equip them with ideas they could bring back to their cities. I’ll save my…

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Driving…an extinction event

WMP Traffic

The golden age of driving….the beginning of the end

This blogs all about the current state of motoring, not only in our region but nation-wide, and is a wake-up call to all those who think that the golden age of motoring has a future. It’s hard to admit, especially for the likes of ourselves, after all most traffic officers have an emotional attachment to driving and the internal combustion engine in at least one of its inceptions, but the writings on the wall, we are living in the last generations of driving, and with it the last generations of Traffic Officers, at least in their current inception….so grab a brew, a few biscuits and dunk and read away, or drop a few crumbs if you prefer not to dunk. Oh and the soundtrack to read this one to should be a Black Sabbath track as Aston’s finest have called it…

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