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Petition demands fixes to Bristol's dangerously slippery Cheesegrater bridge

Holey metal surface putting cyclists in hospital say cycling groups

A Bristol cyclist has set up a petition calling for a grippier surface to be applied to an award-winning bridge in the city that has been blamed for sending dozens of cyclists to A&E.

Meads Reach bridge by Bristol Temple Meads station has a metal surface, according to the Bristol Post, which cycling groups say has caused riders to fall off their bikes, sustaining injuries that have required stitches, dental work and treatment for whiplash.

Since being set up on Friday October 17, the petition has already garnered over 300 signatures. It calls on Bristol City Council to force the management company responsible for the bridge, GVA Facilities Management to improve the surface that has earned it the nickname "Cheese Grater Bridge - for both its aesthetic and skin grating qualities".

The bridge links the station and the Temple Quay Central area, and is part of the Sustrans National Cycle Network.

The cyclist who set the petition, Toby Bridgeman, said: “I’d really like to stop the injuries and have a sensible surface for a bridge on an official Sustrans cycling route in an official cycling city. Seems like a lot of other people feel the same way because the petition has had 200 signatures.

“I have seen a number cyclists have accidents whilst travelling relatively slowly across it and i myself had a nasty accident in January which resulted in a trip to A&E.

“An additional surface should be laid down to give extra grip to avoid future slipping and accidents.”

In his petition, Bridgeman writes: "The metal, cheese grater-like surface of the pedestrian and cycle path bridge next to Bristol Temple Meads station is extremely slippery and very hazardous when wet. People are consistently falling of their bikes, as is being documented here: Several incidents have required trips to A&E.

"The bridge is at the very beginning of one of the most popular cycling routes in the country and used by thousands of commuters and tourists every week. However, its surface is wholly unsuitable for bikes when wet - it becomes extremely slippery and results in nasty (grating) injuries when people fall. This is not a good introduction to the cycle path for anyone, and not a good introduction to visitors to Bristol.

"Requests to GVA for improvements have not resulted in any action. So we hereby call on Bristol City Council to force GVA and the Temple Quay Management Company to make the bridge safe for both cyclists and pedestrians immediately."

A spokesman for GVA told the Bristol Post that safety on the bridge is of paramount importance, and said the company had already looked at ways to improve the surface.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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