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Detailed plans to double number of regular cyclists to be announced – once the snow has thawed…

Details of the “big plan” to double the number of cyclists in Britain’s first Cycling City are announced today alongside a public exhibition.

But councillors, journalists and staff from Cycling England suffered a delay and change of venue thanks to the paralysing effect of last night’s snow on Bristol’s transport network.

The launch was delayed by an hour-and-a-half and moved to the city centre rather than the half-way point of the new Northern route, in Ashley Down, Bristol, where construction is getting underway.

As well as doubling the number of cylists in the Greater Bristol area from 20,000 to 40,000 by 2011, the plans, which have been approved in principle by Cycling England – will create:

• 13 miles of new track
• 18 miles of improvements to the existing 73 miles of off-road track
• 21 miles of on-road improvements on major routes into the city

Cycling England awarded £11.4 million to Bristol and South Gloucestershire Councils which is matched by the authorities’ existing financial commitment to cycling bringing the total to £22.8 million.

If they manage to make it half way up Bristol’s famously steep Park Street, residents and visitors can see the plans for themselves at a public exhibition tonight, between 5-7pm in the Drawing Room of the Marriott Royal Hotel, College Green.

Other key elements include:
• new long distance routes to the north and south of the city centre
• two large 20mph speed limit pilot areas
• city centre improvements to provide better links from east to west
• options to improve sites with the highest number of cycling accidents
• a Connect 2 project to provide a new traffic-free link from the centre of Bristol to Ashton Court and onto Long Ashton and North Somerset.
£3.1 million will be spent on measures aimed at encouraging cycling in the community including cycle training for adults, facilities such as cycle parking, showers etc, loan bikes and community bike rides.

£ 2.7 million is to deliver support for schools, including enabling 72 of them to become ‘Bike-It’ schools under the Sustrans scheme.

Councillor Terry Cook, Bristol’s Cycling Champion, said: “We can be very confident when it comes to meeting this challenge. Cycling is a core element of our transport policy and we have a rich pool of talent and a lot of experience in delivery. We know we can encourage more people to choose the healthy, fast, economical travel-to-work option.”

Meanwhile a Bristol City Council press officer appealed to journalists to cover the story, despite the temptation of writing entirely about the snow. 

"There is a lot to say about cycling and snow, not least that it is still quite a practical choice in inclement weather so long as care is taken and appropriate clothing is worn," they said.

We agree, but be careful! See road.cc's guide to cycling in icy conditions, /content/news/1578-roadccs-tips-riding-ice%E2%80%A6-and-snow for some top tips on staying safe.