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Mayor promises to reassess “risky” cycle route diversion on busy “unsafe” road – but says making cyclists use narrow pavement will not create conflict with pedestrians

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees also criticised a Green Party councillor for claiming that motorists are at the “bottom” of the road user hierarchy

The mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees has promised to “go back over” and reassess a diversion on one of the city’s main cycle routes, which redirects cyclists onto what councillors and local campaigners have described as a “risky” and “unsafe” main road, as well as forcing them to walk their bikes along a stretch of narrow pavement.

However, the Labour politician also insisted that the “temporary closure” of the Concorde Way cycle route – which will be closed for a year as work begins on a new railway station in Ashley Down – will not bring pedestrians into conflict with cyclists, and that the council is comfortable that “there is no better solution” to the current diversion.

Rees also refuted a Green Party councillor’s suggestion that private motorists belong at the “bottom” of the hierarchy of road users included in the Highway Code, claiming that the councillor’s language “betrayed” his attitude towards drivers and that “everyone in the road user hierarchy must share space in a safe way”.

> Cyclists call on council to reconsider “unsafe” cycle route diversion

Earlier this month, road.cc reported that a section of Concorde Way, a flagship cycle route which connects the north of Bristol to the city centre and is used by 1,000 cyclists a day, will be closed for at least a year to make way for the construction of the new station and a diversion put in place.

But Bristol Cycling Campaign has claimed that the plans are rushed and that the 500 metre stretch of Muller Road used by the diversion is unsafe.

The diversions at Ashley Down (Travelwest)

In a meeting with the campaign group, Bristol City Council recommended that cyclists should walk their bikes along the pavement instead of riding on the busy road, and told the group that the installation of temporary safety measures such a pop-up cycle lane or a 20mph speed limit “both appeared unlikely”.

The Bristol Cycling Campaign’s chair Ian Pond said at the start of March that the diversion was “rushed through and inadequately implemented” and will increase “the risk of incidents and injury during the closure”.

> “Crazy” plans to scrap key cycle lane – because of flash floods – shelved by council

Since then, the diversion has been criticised by Green Party councillors, who have argued that pushing cyclists onto the busy Muller Road “puts them at risk” and that the diversion fails to comply with the government’s guidance on cycling infrastructure.

Emma Edwards, the leader of the Green group in Bristol City Council, told Bristol 24/7 this week: “While the news of the works starting on Ashley Down train station is very welcome, there are sadly many concerns about the diversions put in place for cyclists to use Concorde Way. While we appreciate and accept that Concorde Way has to be closed in part for the duration of the project, we don’t accept and appreciate the diversions put in place.

“The diversion sends cyclists onto a section of a busy road, a lane prone to flooding, and in some parts makes cyclists dismount. Concorde Way sees over 1,000 cycling journeys a day. It’s a commuter route for Ashley Down, Lockleaze, Horfield, Southmead, Filton, and beyond. It serves Fairfield School and is used by pupils there.

“Pushing these cyclists, some of whom may be children or less confident cyclists, onto a busy road puts them at risk. This diversion is not LTN 1/20 compliant. This diversion is not for a few weeks or a few months — it’s for at least a year and likely more, and therefore should come under the same guidelines as any permanent cycling route would.”

> Council warned that removing key cycle lane would be “real PR risk” – but pressed ahead anyway

The issue was also brought up at a council meeting last week, where Green councillor David Wilcox claimed that the diversion – and the apparent need for people on bikes to dismount and use the pavement on Muller Road – was bringing cyclists into conflict with pedestrians, and called on mayor Rees to reconsider the diverted route.

“The cabinet member for transport has spoken in this chamber about how he and the administration support the concept of the transport hierarchy, with pedestrians and cyclists with the most priority and private motor vehicles at the bottom,” Wilcox said.

“But the plan is to mix pedestrians and cyclists on a narrow stretch of pavement, so there’s conflict designed into that. I need to make sure that the council has looked into every possible situation to avoid that, because it is creating conflict between pedestrians and cyclists.”

In response, Rees denied that the diversion’s design created conflict – while also lambasting Wilcox’s interpretation of the Highway Code – but later relented by promising to have a second look at the new route.

“There is no design to bring pedestrians into conflict with cyclists,” the Labour politician said.

“Everyone in the road user hierarchy must share space in a safe way. Nobody is at the ‘bottom’ as everyone is important. Your use of language betrays your attitude towards some road users.

“We’ve considered all the options for the temporary closure and are comfortable that there is no better solution.”

But when pressed on the matter again during the meeting, Rees responded: “I’m always happy to go back over. What do they say, ‘measure twice, cut once’? So I can go back. I’m happy to have another check over again and get back to you with the results of that.”

> “There is never a Plan B for cycling”: Cycle route diversion putting cyclists’ lives at risk, say Sustrans and Cycling UK

Earlier this week on the live blog, we reported that a similar cycle route diversion – taking cyclists off a popular Belfast towpath and onto a busy road with a painted cycle lane usually filled with parked cars – was criticised by locals and active travel charities as “not fit for purpose” and putting “lives at risk”.

Sustrans said the diversion, put in place to facilitate the installation of flood defences on the Lagan Towpath, is “not safe” and called on the government to implement safe cycling infrastructure in the area.

Meanwhile, Cycling UK noted that the closure of “one of the only safe cycle routes through Belfast” was exacerbated by the failure to deliver the proposed Belfast Bicycle Network, while the suggested diversion only served to highlight that “there is never a plan B for cycling” in Northern Ireland.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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30 comments

Avatar
Flintshire Boy | 1 year ago
0 likes

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A Lay Bah mayor. A LAAAAAAY Bah mayor.

.

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Seventyone replied to Flintshire Boy | 1 year ago
13 likes

Why do you keep doing this? If it is because you think road cc is a cesspit of pinko leftie tofu eating wokerati it rather undermines your point when you have to put this on so many articles I would have thought.

It's almost like road.cc is calling out poor decision making from a range of political parties.

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Rich_cb replied to Seventyone | 1 year ago
3 likes

There's a map review you might want to check out.

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Seventyone replied to Rich_cb | 1 year ago
0 likes

I'm not sure what i've missed here.  Can you give me a link or more details?

 

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chrisonabike replied to Seventyone | 1 year ago
0 likes

Reference to the scrap about politics prompted by a dig at the Conservatives made by a road.cc reviewer in this map review article.

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to Rich_cb | 1 year ago
2 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

There's a map review you might want to check out.

The map review didn't mention the labour party though, or show any support for the labour party. How is it relevant to this comment?

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Rich_cb replied to ShutTheFrontDawes | 1 year ago
0 likes

It had an, entirely unnecessary, attack on the Conservative party.

You'll see similar political angles in a lot of road.cc's content.

Flintshire Boy adds a bit of balance in the comments.

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Sniffer replied to Rich_cb | 1 year ago
9 likes

Rich_cb wrote:

Flintshire Boy adds a bit of balance in the comments.

 He adds nothing to the debate.

It would be fair to say that you bring a different view to the comments, but you are pushing it to support Flintshire Boys cerebal level of argument,

In reality many of the comments on this forum are highly critical of the Government and the Conservtive Party by extension.  As a few commentators, and I suggest you are on of these, see themselves as Conservative supporters you feel attacked.  In reality there are very few comments that are pro any political party on this website as opposed to those that are critical of those in power.

As someone with a strong interest in politics, but I have never considered joining a political party and wouldn't describe myself as a supporter of any party, I find the tribalism around politcal parties very hard to get my head around.

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Rich_cb replied to Sniffer | 1 year ago
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He provides the counterweight to the editorial stance of road.cc.

It's not exactly subtle but neither is John Stevenson and his attempts to crowbar his political views into unrelated reviews.

That's the point and that's why it works well.

I'm not actually that politically tribal, I've voted for all the major parties at some point or other.

Where I live most of the day to day government is Labour controlled so I find the idea that Labour would improve the UK slightly far fetched given the mess they are making here in Wales.

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Simon E replied to Sniffer | 1 year ago
5 likes

Sniffer wrote:

Rich_cb wrote:

Flintshire Boy adds a bit of balance in the comments.

 He adds nothing to the debate.

Unfortunately true.

Flintshire rarely provides anything but a self-indulgent line like this and I can imagine the self-satisfied smirk. That can be understandable on occasion but it's tiresome if it is the sum of a poster's contributions.

But I suspect Rich is still miffed that people are willing to disagree openly with his hardline neoliberal pro-Brexit views. I guess he must be well protected from the impact of the the cost of living rise and other hardships brought on by 13 years of Tory divide-and-rule. Many are not so fortunate.

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Rich_cb replied to Simon E | 1 year ago
0 likes

Does this comment break road.cc's own rules?

It seems deliberately personally antagonistic, adds nothing to the debate and is only an attempt to start an argument?

We hear many cries for more active moderation. I wonder if we'll see any?

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Rendel Harris replied to Rich_cb | 1 year ago
2 likes

Rich_cb wrote:

It seems deliberately personally antagonistic, adds nothing to the debate and is only an attempt to start an argument?

Less so than many of your comments. Feeling threatened with your ally Nigel being banned for the nth time?

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Flintshire Boy replied to Rich_cb | 1 year ago
1 like

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Easy, RIch, easy!

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They'll  be trying to cancel you next!

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to Rich_cb | 1 year ago
5 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

It had an, entirely unnecessary, attack on the Conservative party.

It had a purely factual statement. It didn't mention, suppose or imply that another party (of which the labour party is just one of many) would have done a better job.

If you think otherwise, it is you that is bringing your biases to the discussion.

The Road.cc team have been critical of the labour party in the past. I think the team do a pretty good job at being impartial and calling things good when they're good and bad when they're bad.

Their article on Fabian Breckels was pretty upfront.
https://road.cc/content/news/labour-councillor-slams-cycling-campaign-gr...

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Rich_cb replied to ShutTheFrontDawes | 1 year ago
0 likes

The Conservatives aren't responsible for 'UK minor roads'.

They're responsible for England's minor roads.

So, not factually accurate.

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to Rich_cb | 1 year ago
6 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

The Conservatives aren't responsible for 'UK minor roads'.

They're responsible for England's minor roads.

So, not factually accurate.

Who said the conservative party were directly responsible for it? I think you're bringing your own inferences and biases again...

Just to remind you, what it said was:
The UK's best cycling is on minor roads, because the vast majority of them have proper hard surfaces (albeit battered ones after 13 years of Tory neglect)

We have had 13 years of Tory governments, have we not?

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Rich_cb replied to ShutTheFrontDawes | 1 year ago
0 likes

The UK government is not responsible for UK minor roads.

It is responsible for English minor roads.

If discussing UK minor roads it is misleading to only blame the Conservatives. Welsh Labour, The SNP and Stormont all have responsibility for significant portions of UK minor roads.

Any 'neglect' in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland is not the responsibility of the Conservatives.

If you don't think that quote is designed to infer direct responsibility then I'm afraid your comprehension skills needs some work.

Anyway, I recognise when someone is deliberately wasting my time. Have a nice day.

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to Rich_cb | 1 year ago
4 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

Anyway, I recognise when someone is deliberately wasting my time. Have a nice day.

You do so much of it yourself, it would be sad if you didn't recognise it.

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mattw replied to Flintshire Boy | 1 year ago
1 like

This is the equivalent of The Woofumpuss from Vision On.

 

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ShutTheFrontDawes | 1 year ago
2 likes

Shock news: politician out of touch with reality. Good riddance Marv.

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hawkinspeter replied to ShutTheFrontDawes | 1 year ago
4 likes

ShutTheFrontDawes wrote:

Shock news: politician out of touch with reality. Good riddance Marv.

Hey, at least we got a stadium and underground system out of him...

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
2 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

ShutTheFrontDawes wrote:

Shock news: politician out of touch with reality. Good riddance Marv.

Hey, at least we got a stadium and underground system out of him...

In his head I bet he thinks he's delivered those things too!!

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eburtthebike | 1 year ago
6 likes

I used to live in Bristol and used the Concorde Way frequently.  Muller Road is extremely busy during commuting periods, especially at school run times, and Mr Rees' comment is plainly wrong

"There is no design to bring pedestrians into conflict with cyclists,........”

Part of that section of Muller road is on a fairly steep slope, and the pavements are narrow, so the potential for conflict between pedestrians and cyclists is clear and obvious, so he is wrong.

This is also clearly not true "“We’ve considered all the options for the temporary closure and are comfortable that there is no better solution.”

Have they considered a temporary cycle lane up the hill, a 20mph speed limit and road markings to show that cyclists have priority?  Yes, they'd slow down cars for a short distance, but it's only for a year, and if it's good enough for cyclists, it's good enough for drivers.

I have to say, I'm extremely surprised by Mr Rees' comments, and can only think he's being so combative and obstructive because the Greens are threatening so many labour council seats.

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hawkinspeter replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
2 likes

I'd settle for nothing less than a ski-lift up Ashley Hill (it's not pleasant going up there as it's too narrow for cars to pass easily).

The Muller Rd pavement is definitely too narrow to cope with cyclists and pedestrians during the morning rush and especially when kids are going to and from the school. As it suffers from way too much vehicle traffic, there's a good case to make it a single lane for motor traffic and have segregated bike lanes along it (with some well placed ski-lifts too).

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eburtthebike replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
2 likes

I well remember Ashley Hill, not sure how I survived the many years of pedalling up and down it, but it would definitely benefit from a 20mph speed limit.

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hawkinspeter replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
2 likes

eburtthebike wrote:

I well remember Ashley Hill, not sure how I survived the many years of pedalling up and down it, but it would definitely benefit from a 20mph speed limit.

I wouldn't bother pedalling down it and I doubt that I'd be hitting 20mph going up it.

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Bmblbzzz replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
0 likes

Doesn't Ashley Hill have a 20mph limit already? I'm not sure about Muller Rd though. In any case, Marvin declared back in 2016 that he would not introduce any more 20mph limits (or RPZ areas) and so far, he's kept his word on that.

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hawkinspeter replied to Bmblbzzz | 1 year ago
1 like

Bmblbzzz wrote:

Doesn't Ashley Hill have a 20mph limit already? I'm not sure about Muller Rd though. In any case, Marvin declared back in 2016 that he would not introduce any more 20mph limits (or RPZ areas) and so far, he's kept his word on that.

The bottom part does, but don't know if it applies all the way up. I've decided to use Ashley Hill now rather than the Concorde Way detour as it's more direct for my journey.

I don't think Muller Rd has a 20mph limit on it.

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hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
4 likes

I'll repeat what I put on the Live Blog.

I fell foul of the diversion last week as I tried to use Concorde Way, but it was properly blocked off (I did manage to use it a week before when someone had cheekily moved the barriers). My big issue was using the path by the allotments as there's a chicane barrier (presumably to stop motorbikes) that caused me to stop. Unfortunately, it's on a steep uphill bit and I almost fell off as I tried to get going again whilst my rear wheel found some wet mud to have some fun on (being dark and rainy didn't help).

The Muller Rd bit of the diversion is poorly thought out. I don't usually have an issue with using Muller Rd and dodging the traffic, but the diversion dumps you out with no easy way to join the flow of traffic on the road (when it's flowing, that is), so I had to use the pavement until I reached the end of Concorde Way that goes back to Station Rd.

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Doctor Darabuka replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
1 like

I didn't fall foul of the diversion, but I have fallen foul of Boiling Wells Lane in the past.

I decided to explore it as a shortcut on my bike between offices some years ago.  I was in it was my best business suit when I hit a lake of slurry at some speed by the farm. Sh*t when everywhere.  Yes, I did notice the smell when I sat down in the meeting at the city centre.

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