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"There's a car park 20 metres away": Cyclists slam cycle lane parking putting riders in danger

Locals say motorists park their vehicles in the bike lane "all day, every day"...

A cycle lane in Bristol has been rendered "completely pointless" by drivers who park their vehicles in it, local riders have said.

Speaking to road.cc, Phil Sturgeon explained how there are vehicles blocking the route along "one of the busiest roads in central Bristol", the hill up Park Row "all day, every day" and he is concerned the disregard for the infrastructure is putting cyclists in danger.

Highlighting the absurdity of there being a multi-storey car park 20 metres away behind the parade of shops, Phil said the cycle lane is "intermittent and already confusing" even without drivers parking over the wands "adding to that confusion and causing conflict".

Another local rider, Rob Bryher, called the situation an "absolute joke". "I've never been able to use this short stretch of 'cycle infrastructure' without it being blocked, forcing us back into traffic, or having cars drive straight towards me into it on the wrong side of the road," he said.

Phil added that he drives a van and rides a bike, depending on his journey, and does not want to be seen as a "curtain twitcher" but fears "somebody is going to die and they'll probably be victim blamed for not wearing enough high-vis."

The temporary lane will undergo improvements later this year as part of two walking and cycling upgrade projects, Ian Pond of the Bristol Cycling Campaign telling Bristol Live he has been told the works "won't be finished before February 2024".

"The cycling provision on Park Row, originally installed as part of the Covid measures in 2020, is poor quality, intermittent and urgently needs to be improved," he said. "It's good to see that there is an approved, high-quality and comprehensive plan to dramatically enhance the cycling and walking domain along this road. We all look forward to its completion."

Responding to the questions about drivers parking in the cycle lane, the city's council said the pop-up infrastructure is merely advisory and no parking could only be enforced with a Traffic Regulation Order.

The council did point out that parking in a suspended bay can be enforced with a penalty charge of £70, reduced by half when paid within two weeks, that Civil Enforcement officers can issue.

"I cycled up and down Park Row a lot when it first went in, checking on the traffic, it was great," the head of city transport Adam Crowther told the Bristol local news outlet in January.

"It's a little bit tired now, it has been parked all over, and those little plastic bollards can work — but they need to work in the right environment. This scheme will put hard starts and finishes to a lot of those cycle lanes, so it feels more like a cycle lane rather than someone's just put a cone in the middle of the road that you can drive over if you want to.

"The traffic signals will be replaced, the bus stops will be upgraded, and there'll be better pavements. It's a big scheme, really ambitious, and it'll be impressive when we get to a finalised permanent scheme."

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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38 comments

Avatar
brooksby | 8 months ago
3 likes

Just for reference: the Park Row lane was completely unusable this evening. Two cars at the end by the Dojo, three others at the other end.  Then on the second cycle lane further toward the Triangle, a van and car loading/unloading. F-ing ridiculous! It would be so nice if the council would ever bother to enforce the parking restrictions.

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neilmck | 8 months ago
1 like

What is the state of that Tarmac? Just how poor is the city of Bristol?

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hawkinspeter replied to neilmck | 8 months ago
3 likes
neilmck wrote:

What is the state of that Tarmac? Just how poor is the city of Bristol?

Well, not as poor as Birmingham.

Unfortunately, Park Row is not particularly unusual and there's quite a few roads in that state of disrepair.

At least it's better than the Chocolate Path:

//i2-prod.bristolpost.co.uk/incoming/article3780592.ece/ALTERNATES/s615b/2_Cumberland-Road-river-bank-collapse.jpg)

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chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 8 months ago
2 likes

Bloody cyclists, given them something and look what they do with it.

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brooksby | 1 year ago
4 likes

Park Row business owners respond to parking row saying cycle lane is 'killing' trade

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/park-row-business-owners...

Quote:

... ex-cricketer David ‘Syd’ Lawrence (Dojo nightclub? - brooksby) said that drivers stopping in the designated cycle lane literally have nowhere else to park. The former English cricketer and Gloucestershire County Cricket Club president has had a business on Park Row for over 20 years, and said there is no allowance for cars and vans which are dropping off or collecting.

“These cars which are stopping there are not random, they are connected to the businesses along the road. I have kegs and gas which are delivered,” he said, adding that should he double park, he would be in the path of any emergency vehicles going to the hospital. He said: “I don’t know where you are supposed to park, we pay our business rates.

“We could park in the middle of the road, but common sense must prevail. Anyone who parks there is generally connected to a business.

“Cyclists don’t take businesses into consideration. We are all struggling businesses and it’s about some give and take,” he said. He suggested a consultation needs to take place to find a solution, which could include specified delivery times allowed along that stretch of road.

I wonder how he coped when customer's cars from the other business were all parked there?  When it wasn't a cycle lane, it was pay-and-display parking all along there.  It was never kept clear for loading.

And

Quote:

Yet another owner, who was busy offloading across the road in Park Row when Bristol Live visited the area (across the road is also an advisory cycle lane, with double yellow lines and no loading marks on the kerbs - brooksby) , claimed there were very few cyclists using that cycle lane as it's uphill, largely used by electric bikes. Another agreed, saying: “It’s a gradual burn, it’s all uphill.

“It’s taken away parking for anyone who came to get a sandwich, you have to use the multi-storey car park, so everyone loses except the electric bikes. No-one can park here, so no-one wants to use these facilities,” he said.

A staff member at another business said customers complained about being unable to park or having to park in the car park which was “too expensive”. The stretch of road affected by the cycle lane and suspended parking are mostly service-related including takeaways, cafes, hairdresser and beauty therapy salons and a barber.

So it seems that all these businesses on a busy city centre road next to a multi storey, claim that all of their customers must drive there and park right outside.

That rattling sound is my eyeballs rolling... 

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brooksby | 1 year ago
4 likes

Bristol mayor tells drivers to stop being 'selfish' by parking in cycle lane

And calls on both drivers and cyclists to be decent about sharing

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/bristol-mayor-tells-driv...

Quote:

Member of the public, Haydn Gill, quizzed the mayor about the Park Row Active Travel Scheme and with regard to drivers stopping in the pop-up cycle lane, he asked: “"Currently there is a driver, I can guarantee it, parked in the Park Row bollard scheme, what do you say to that driver parked in that scheme at the moment?".

The mayor responded: "Don't be selfish. Just like I’d say to anyone in a vehicle whether it be a car or a bike, behave as though there are other people trying to make use of the space that you are using - whether cyclists using shared spaces with pedestrians, or whether its cars using shared space on roads with cyclists."

Which is an odd comment, in that a protected cycle lane is not a shared space... 

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
2 likes
brooksby wrote:

Bristol mayor tells drivers to stop being 'selfish' by parking in cycle lane

And calls on both drivers and cyclists to be decent about sharing

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/bristol-mayor-tells-driv...

Quote:

Member of the public, Haydn Gill, quizzed the mayor about the Park Row Active Travel Scheme and with regard to drivers stopping in the pop-up cycle lane, he asked: “"Currently there is a driver, I can guarantee it, parked in the Park Row bollard scheme, what do you say to that driver parked in that scheme at the moment?".

The mayor responded: "Don't be selfish. Just like I’d say to anyone in a vehicle whether it be a car or a bike, behave as though there are other people trying to make use of the space that you are using - whether cyclists using shared spaces with pedestrians, or whether its cars using shared space on roads with cyclists."

Which is an odd comment, in that a protected cycle lane is not a shared space... 

He doubles down on that with

Quote:

He added that there was only so much the city could do as an authority with rules and segregated spaces. He said: “But some of the way the city functions comes down to human behaviour, decency and a decision to be caring and compassionate - or not - parking in a cycle lane is that. But that rule goes for car drivers and it also goes for cyclists and it also goes for people who ride their bikes at 30mph down the railway path, we need to behave as though there are other people living in the city.”

I would guess that an authority could maybe attempt to enforce the law and at the very least issue parking fines, but then I'm not the kind of transport expert that Marvin Rees is. For example, I would guess that situating a new stadium well away from the train station and without adequate public transport would be foolish and I'd also think that spending huge amounts of money on plans for an underground system that will never be built is wasteful.

But yes, us cyclists need to share the protected cycle lanes that are needed due to the dangerous driving in the shared spaces, so that drivers can just leave their car there for most of the day.

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Oldfatgit | 1 year ago
5 likes

Makes me laugh that the same people moaning about cyclists pointing this stuff out, will be the same people that moan that cyclists never use the cycle lanes . ..

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brooksby replied to Oldfatgit | 1 year ago
6 likes

The Bristol Post article about this has 148 comments (and counting) and are practically all playing bingo - why spend "our" money on cycle lanes cos they're just a luxury, cyclists never use the cycle lanes anyway so why are they complaining, why put a cycle lane there cos cyclists never stop at red lights, why put a cycle lane there cos cyclists all ride on the footpath anyway, &c &c.

But yes, I suspect that these people all also don't want cyclists to ride on the road.

Bottom line is, I suspect, that they don't want cyclists out in public at all.

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Owd Big 'Ead | 1 year ago
2 likes

If Bristol is anything like Derby, it would appear that double yellow lines and a continuous white line denoting a cycle lane count for nothing. Whether loading, or not, vehicles of all kinds are allowed to park wherever they like with absolutely no chane of enforcement measures against them.

It makes me wonder what the actual point of putting cycle lanes in at all, is all about. Are councils really that hard pressed that they will take any government funding available, whether needed or not, just so that they can go through the exercise of ticking a box or two and believing that they are doing their bit.

There is one 20 metre contraflow section in Derby city centre that is constantly full of private hire taxis every Friday and Saturday night, where you are already dodging pissed up revellers then turn a corner to find the cycle lane full of cars and a bus coming headlong at you with nowhere to go.

I've queried this lack of enforcement with the groups of police that wander the streets keeping the pissed up yobbos from scrapping and all you get is a shrug of the shoulders or "try walking if you don't like it"!!

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pete666 | 1 year ago
7 likes

Perhaps we could invite Danny MacAskill to ride over the offending vehicles?

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IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
6 likes

Re: loading and unloading, popping a couple of shopping bags in isn't supposed to count, it is supposed to be of significant volume or weight, of a commerical nature.

Pick up and drop of of passengers is not loading and unloading, so the general public shouldn't be loading and unloading except in exceptional circumstances, such has heavy furnishings.

Another piece of law that has faded into disuse, so we now have yellow lines that don't work so they've invented red lines, but they don't work either (see central Birmingham as an example).

People don't understand clearways either, people regularly park on the clearway just south of M42 J5 for example.

 

Grumble.

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chrisonabike replied to IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
1 like

Usual arms race.  Put up a scarecrow, now the birds perch on it.

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eburtthebike | 1 year ago
8 likes

"There's a car park 20 metres away"

Twenty metres?!  You expect me to walk twenty metres?!  Quite, quite mad.

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perce replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
4 likes

Same here - at our local ghetto there is a handy car park, yes, twenty metres away, that hardly anyone uses. Most drivers would prefer to wait directly outside the shops for a parking space and contribute to traffic congestion.

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open_roads replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
4 likes

WALK 20 METRES?!?

If the council hadn't wasted £eleventy-billion on cycle lanes that cyclists never use they could have built an expressway for us road-tax paying motorists right to the front door.
 

Click here to sign the petition to protect motorists rights from attacks by the cyclist mafia.

 

etc etc etc.

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chrisonabike replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
4 likes

One of them 20m neighbourhoods, innit - if you're further away you might not be able to get to the shop at all!

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Capt Sisko replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
7 likes

Walk 20mtr! I'd forget where I'd left the car and with these glasses I'd never find it. And what was that you said, you expect me to carry this shopping that far. The arthritis in my hand means I can barely grip anything and due to complication with the diabetes I can't feel much in my feet either. But don't worry lad, I'm safe to drive.

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ribena | 1 year ago
6 likes

Who are you supposed to contact about this sort of thing??

The police website says it's the councils problem.

Councils website says it's the polices problem.

??

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open_roads replied to ribena | 1 year ago
2 likes

And after that they both blame lack of resources - despite the police having an all time record number of officers in most forces.

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griggers replied to ribena | 1 year ago
0 likes

Exactly. I tried to report this guy for persistently sitting in his suv with his engine running - police pointed to the council, Council said try the police. 
maybe one of those exhaust bags of shame would be more satisfying ?

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brooksby replied to griggers | 1 year ago
1 like

...or a hose from his exhaust pipes round to his window?

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festina replied to ribena | 1 year ago
4 likes

I had a similar problem recently; neighbour would park his works van completely over my drive all weekend. It's a drop curb so it's a police matter but not urgent so it will be 3 or 4 days before they come to check on it. Council doesn't work weekends so their parking team won't do anything about it till next week. People park wherever they feel like it because they can get away with it. Clean air zone is just as bad, majority or drivers just don't pay and council don't have the resources to chase them all. It's bandit country out there now because all services are cut to the bone.

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mattw replied to ribena | 1 year ago
1 like

Your MP, because proposals about this were put forward last in 2019 and the Govt are sitting on their arse.

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HoldingOn | 1 year ago
5 likes

There are several cars parked on the solid line cyclelane on my route to/from work every day. It really bothers me when nothing is done about it. People I've spoken to about it usually respond with "I didn't know you weren't allowed to park in a cycle lane"

Ignorance is not an excuse to break the law, however I do think Bristol council could help remove any form of doubt, by putting a cover over the parking meter so drivers don't see the parking sign on its side and think its okay to park there.

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dubwise | 1 year ago
0 likes

Didn't realise we're now in the USA

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cmedred replied to dubwise | 1 year ago
1 like

I don't know. Some places in the U.S. are hiring people specifically to police bike lanes. The idea looks like it might pay for itself in Bristol, maybe even turn a profit. 

https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/broke-in-philly/bike-lane-par...

Though, admittedly, given the UK love of video surveillance, that would seem a cheaper approach. 

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dubwise replied to cmedred | 1 year ago
1 like

Um, it was on reference to the spelling of metres, that my tongue-in-cheek comment was about.

Originally meters, it has now been corrected.

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hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
6 likes

I'm doubtful that no parking can't be enforced - there's double yellow lines there so surely that counts for something?

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Surreyrider replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
11 likes

Ah but the flashing lights of absolution mean laws don't count.

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