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The Bath Anti-Cycle Infrastructure Lobby (video)

Got alerted to this on the middle-aged/pensioner ranting app, NextDoor.  I feel cyclists are getting inadvertantly dragged into this 15 Minute City war!

https://youtu.be/YuLTNY8YLLQ

If you're new please join in and if you have questions pop them below and the forum regulars will answer as best we can.

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30 comments

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paulrattew | 1 year ago
4 likes

I'm local to this, living just up the hill from the Royal Crescent. I use this lane every weekday as part of my commute from central Bath to Central Bristol. 

It's not a great design to be honest. I would have much preferred them to stick a two direction bike lane on just one side of the road - wide enough that emergency vehicles could use it in emergencies (just like they use the Embankment cyclelane in london - actually allows for much faster transit by emergency vehicles). It's far too short - would be better used if it was longer - so in its current incarnation does not really provide a safe protected route for many (it would need to link the centre to the railway path to be genuinely useful, or at least to Locksbrook Road). 

Given I mostly see the lane when I am actually using it, I would say that it is lightly used, but that this is increasing. As the weather gets better I am seeing more people using it in both directions, morning and evening. More would probably use it if it was better designed, and there has to be an element of induced demand. Create facilities, and people will begin to use them, but it takes time. 

The park is not an alternative route - the road through the park goes in a circle and doesn't enable east-west transit. 

The river is not a great route, but is the most used one due to it previously being the only half safe option. It can be busy with pedestrians and is very narrow at points, so there is potential for conflict and danger. Large stretches of the river route are badly surfaced, and large stretches are unlit (if you are linking up with the Bath-Bristol Railway Path). 

Yes, there are some vulnerable residents along the Upper Bristol Road. There are just about anywhere. Having done polling along the vast majority of the road though, I know that the majority of residents are not elderly or vulnerable. A very large proportion of the residences, especially where the bike lanes are, are rented. The north side lane (running east) borders the park, is almost half B&Bs. There is a rear lane (admittedly narrow) providing access to all of these properties, including offroad parking for almost every property. 

The south side lane (running west) does primarily border houses. Again though, it is worth taking a look at a satelite image on google maps. Many of these have rear access lanes. A number of the housing blocks have rear parking. 

One final point - the turning from Upper Bristol Road onto Marlborough Lane. This was an accident black-spot, with vehicles turning in at speed ignoring pedestrians and then getting in to trouble as the road is pretty narrow (with cars parked down one side, two vehicles can pass as long as they are being careful and are not both very wide). Building out the pavements has made it much easier and safer for pedestrians to cross. Most large vehicles manage to make the turning without too much drama. It is not designed as a major thoroughfare (although it is quite busy) - it is a 20mph mostly residential road. 

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The Accountant | 1 year ago
0 likes

Any right minded, freedom loving person should be opposed to the concept of 15 minute cities. As a cyclist, I often empathise with motorists and the constant politically-motivated attacks on their liberties, but this despicable idea veers into dark, dystopian territory.

15 minute cities are a Trojan horse for population repression, forced surveillance and a totalitarian global government, and are a direct descendant of a Soviet centrally managed economy. It's hardly any surprise that some of the main cheerleaders of this plan are Anne Higaldo, hard-left socialist mayor of Paris, and Sadiq Khan, the pipsqueak populist responsible for the ghettoisation of London.

You can find out more about 15 minute cities on YouTube: I'd recommend https://youtu.be/-VH11YOwPY4 as a primer.

Well done to the brave residents of bath for speaking out against this threat to our entire way of life.

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Simon E replied to The Accountant | 1 year ago
17 likes

C'mon, you don't really believe that stream of utter bollocks you've typed/pasted there, do you?

There are so many dumbarse QAnon-type wacko conspiracy ideas in there that I'm not prepared to even count them. I cannot even begin take it seriously.

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David9694 replied to Simon E | 1 year ago
12 likes

Launching this week from Topeak...

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chrisonabike replied to Simon E | 1 year ago
2 likes

The more thoughtful / amusing grouch and contrarian bikesnobNYC (a LOT more amusing than our "right-thinking" provocateurs) has musings on why some people are getting twitchy about this and also why they may feel those in favour of 15 minute cities are hypocrites who're full of it.

https://bikesnobnyc.com/2023/02/28/you-cant-spell-conspiracy-without-con...

Also - unusually for the topic - some good BTL comments on that!

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perce replied to The Accountant | 1 year ago
13 likes

I've finished counting the cobwebs in my shed. I think I'll go and count them again. It's dark but I don't mind.

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perce replied to The Accountant | 1 year ago
17 likes

Talking about conspiracies I watched a documentary with Donald Sutherland the other day about aliens taking over our bodies. What happens is you go to bed as you but when you wake up you are not you, you're a looky likey. you look exactly the same but you are not you. Eventually everyone you know has also been turned into a looky likey. If you see someone who hasn't been turned into a looky likey you have to point at them and go "Waaargh!" And then everybody starts chasing them. It's all true. Probably.

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David9694 replied to perce | 1 year ago
7 likes

Co-presenter Leonard Nimoy. 

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chrisonabike replied to perce | 1 year ago
3 likes

I think you're on to something with this lookey-likey thing.  But maybe it can happen in other ways?  For some reason I can't explain found myself wanting a picture to post on the theme of "Khan!" here.  But it turns out that now the famed Star Trek villan looks a lot like Benedict Cumberbatch.

I guess that's a case of the name staying the same but the person changing.  But could the opposite happen?  The name changing but the person staying the same?  Would that be called lookey-likey or something else?

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perce replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
9 likes

Ah. It could be Nigel-likey.

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giff77 replied to The Accountant | 1 year ago
13 likes

Thanks. I've had a really long day and needed a laugh. You've cheered me up with all your bollix. 

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Boopop replied to The Accountant | 1 year ago
8 likes

The Accountant wrote:

Well done to the brave residents of bath for speaking out against this threat to our entire way of life.

The Dutch have been living like this for decades, and we used to live like this before everyone had a car.

I hope you didn't get your accountancy qualifications from Youtube too.

Social media encourages outrage, which means lots of misinformation. Still it also means lots of $$$ for the content creators, so all good...right? /s

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chrisonabike replied to Boopop | 1 year ago
5 likes

We all used to live like this.  In some places, in some nations, for probably a maximum of 4-5 generations - things changed.  But things are still not completely changed for everyone in the UK.  I'd say that most people would be pretty happy living in a neighbourhood like this.

To me it looks like 3 sources of complaint:

1) People who just don't want a change.  Life's complicated enough.  And change is extra painful when you've built your life around a very convenient (to you) mode - driving.
2) ...overlapping with some folks genuinely worried about increasing government centralisation and power.  Of course governments and rulers need continual watching and rights need to be maintained.  However it really varies globally.  If in doubt about motives follow the money.  A cheap, fundamentally decentralised technology like bicycles is less likely to be a trojan horse than, say a more intensive and pervasive tech.  Such as motor vehicles (with number plates!) and reliance on large amounts of electricity and digital connectivity.
3) Some rather powerful interests who are keen on the status quo - the motor lobby, energy companies, builders / developers - and the politicians that they have been funding all this time.

My paranoia - there are definitely departments of smart, well-funded and connected folks in category (3) who may be tasked with seeing off any challenge to the status quo.  Those in category (2) are ripe for hearing "the cycle-fanciers are trying to taking your rights!"...

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David9694 replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
2 likes

Cyclists want to send us back to the Stone Age.

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chrisonabike replied to David9694 | 1 year ago
4 likes

Iron age, please! I'm not Barney Gravel Rubble!

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HollisJ | 1 year ago
3 likes

Well of course the residents would object - if something doesn't benefit them then they're hardly going to be praising it. Plus they are all old and old people don't like change (based on my limited anecdotal research).

I actually tend to use the river path in question but there are two important things to note here: that section is joined up which makes it more convenient for me to get from the Bristol to Bath path to where I work in town. If the road section was joined up infra I would probably opt for that route all the way until the Bristol to Bath cycle path starts. Everyone's use case is different though, and for other people I'm sure taking the upper Bristol road is more convenient than the river path. Jesus, do drivers only have one road to get from A to B??

Why would I choose to use the less convenient route for me? This leads me to my next point: the river path is shite. Yes, there's a nice relatively new section with loads of room, but otherwise it's narrow, bumpy and dangerous and the lighting is non existent. I've lost count of the number of peds dressed all in black that I've almost hit and launched into the river because they're walking in complete darkness. Also dogs wandering across the path. Sigh.

Final point - I'd love to know how the residents know no cyclists use the path? Have they done a count over the course of a day, week, or month? Have they done anything? Even if what they were saying was remotely true, there's the old saying: 'build it and they will come'. That said, until the city gets properly joined up infra this might not  be enough to encourage more people to cycle. 

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TheBillder replied to HollisJ | 1 year ago
1 like
HollisJ wrote:

.Everyone's use case is different though, and for other people I'm sure taking the upper Bristol road is more convenient than the river path. Jesus, do drivers only have one road to get from A to B??

They've got a Lower Bristol Road as well. Perhaps that's a bit infra-dig.

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Bmblbzzz replied to TheBillder | 1 year ago
1 like

TheBillder wrote:
HollisJ wrote:

.Everyone's use case is different though, and for other people I'm sure taking the upper Bristol road is more convenient than the river path. Jesus, do drivers only have one road to get from A to B??

They've got a Lower Bristol Road as well. Perhaps that's a bit infra-dig.

It is. In Bath as in Bristol, vertical height represents social height.

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chrisonabike | 1 year ago
1 like

Had a look on the map.  From OSM (not the best check...) Bath can't be said to have a cycling network at all (Compare with Assen, NL - of similar size).  For a small dense place it looks like careful management of motor traffic would be vital.

Formerly, Upper Bristol Road (which this is) appeared to have quite a bit of on-street parking (for the park presumably), it's a bus route in two directions, has terraced housing / flats on one side.  Further East - houses set back (small gardens) on one side, houses opening onto the street the other (no drive / garage space).  This road appears to be part of a main corridor from the west side of Bath (A4) - passing a couple of parks (hmm... how are those kids going to get there to ride their bikes?) and possibly being part of a route to the hospital.

The river path - doesn't look like I'd be cycling there.  Looks like "dismount if there's a pedestrian" territory.

The park - it has a bike-friendly road (!).  There's actually a fence round most of the park so it's not a free-for-all for routes.

200m north there's Weston Road - listed as a "bike friendly road" which streetview suggests may be full of cars, parked and moving.

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David9694 replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
3 likes

The river path is an accident waiting to happen every time you use it. 

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peted76 | 1 year ago
3 likes

Bath seems to have a far better quality of NIMBY/CAVE than I do.. you lucky bar stewards!

In all cases I can't help but be reminded of 1) 'Down with this kind of thing' from Father Ted and 2) "Help! Help! I'm being repressed!" from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. 

 

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brooksby | 1 year ago
3 likes

I got as far as the woman saying, 'No cyclists use this road - they've got the park if they want to ride around, or the path along the riverside', and then I gave up 

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marmotte27 | 1 year ago
2 likes

The number of people incapable of any joined up thinking... getting motor cars out of cities, making them walkable, cyclable, 15 minutes, - howsoever you want to call it - will make them livable for all and sundry.
I don't want to change my habits for anything or anyone, that's their baseline it seems.

P.S. : the way the say "cycelists", is that the Bath accent ?

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 1 year ago
3 likes

NextDoor is a virulent forum for cycle hatred. I deleted my account years ago. It's unbelievable how much stupidity and vitriol there is against cyclists on NextDoor. I don't understand why it's permitted. It's supposed to be a forum recommending local tradespeople etc. but if anyone mentions a cycle lane then bingo - it's just an endless list of posts targeting people who cycle. 

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kil0ran replied to BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 1 year ago
5 likes

Nextdoor is a virulent forum for hatred. Twitching curtain dictators

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chrisonabike | 1 year ago
4 likes

Well I don't know Bath but it does rather sound like "I drive a car, and the've made the (what is clearly a busy) road a bit narrower and now there's lots of traffic!  Also not being able to park exactly where I want is really inconvenient".  Well... yes.

The talking heads here all seem to be car drivers so I imagine they're not fussed about the polution.  Or rather (since they complain about the road noise) they'd be happy with less if they didn't have to change or if all the other drivers went away.

Notes:

Totally inadequate consultation, they sneaked it in during Covid!  (I ... er... only found out about it because they put notices up on the lapposts...)
Ambulance blocked!  (Because... cars and buses.  But that's because the road's been narrowed a bit to accomodate bike lanes...)
Air pollution and noise!  Because... cars can't overtake buses.
There are no cyclists!  Anyway they could go down to the river or the park.
Coach trips have to wait until there's lots of space!

Again - I don't know this area.  I'm sure that as always there could be better consultation - but then reaching people with planning announcements is hard.  As a Covid-era change it's unlikely to have been the most brilliant and integrated design.  But possibly not just "using up the cash and plonking it there" or "leaving things we don't need now".  In my own Council's case they already had a "hit list" of places that they were looking at for better active travel infra (some in more detailed planning I think) and made use of that knowledge.  (They have pulled some out also, under pressure of "look ma no lockdown!").  On the "look - here are cyclists not using the infra" that is actually really a question, is it not?

I don't know the answers - neither do the residents it seems but that's not important to them.

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slc replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
4 likes

I use the lane in question from time to time on weekend rides. I feel guilty if I ignore it, even though I cycle along narrow sections of the same road to get there and leave. I hardly see any cars: they must be using the motorway just 20 mins away and heading in a different direction. The main problem with the lane is that I have to look out for people crossing to the floating bus stops (or I would if there were any buses) which means that I might need to stop and then eat more cake to get started again, causing untold environmental woes.

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dave atkinson replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
8 likes

I use it all the time. i mean, it ain't perfect. For example the pub has a loading bay outside that's directly in the lane. and a couple of the floating bus stops aren't really floating, you just get on and off from the bike lane. but what it definitely is is a load more civilised on a bike than it used to be. Traffic, so far as i can see, is unaffected: gridlock every rush hour except when schools are out, fine otherwise.

the main issue, as ever, is that it doesn't go far enough, both in a very literal sense (all the way to the windsor bridge lights and past them to locksbrook road) and in a figurative sense (thought-through loading bays, options for turning across the traffic on busy junctions)

 

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Shades replied to dave atkinson | 1 year ago
1 like

Agree; that section of road was previously never that cycle friendly.  At least someone is trying to change the narrative (and Bath needs it) rather than the 'do nothing; too difficult' approach.  I always hear the 'plausible' objections and hear "I want to use my car whenever, wherever and however I wish".  I would say 99% of drivers on there couldn't give a stuff about the locals concerns but they'd be happy to get behind them if it mean't they could rip down that road unimpeded by cycle lanes.

I thought #together was some social media tag; I then discovered it's an anti-government control libertarian movement (stuff about lockdown effects).  The demographic of the audience at an event said it all.  Governments run the country and set laws that say what you can and can't do; welcome to planet earth #together.

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Bmblbzzz replied to dave atkinson | 1 year ago
0 likes

This section looks a bit tricky: 

https://goo.gl/maps/Udm8mwuNHkmDuvxf9

If you're coming towards the camera and want to turn right into Nile Street, you've got to either cross both lanes of traffic, the first while having your view blocked by the parked cars, or leave the cycle lane early – possibly before you realise you're at the turning – while avoiding the little plastic 'orcas' and possibly receiving the wrath of aggravated drivers. Looks like a bad place to allow parking, especially as it's not been allowed on the rest of the road.

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