30th August – A Sunday of safe cycling in Bristol

Riders to benefit from traffic-free Ladies Mile

by Kevin Emery   August 6, 2009  

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Cyclists in Bristol will be able to have a relaxing ride in piece at the end of the month when Ladies Mile will be closed to traffic for five hours. The stretch will be car-free on Sunday, August 30 to encourage people to get on their bikes.

A long stretch of Ladies Mile on the Downs in Bristol will be made traffic-free to allow cyclists, particularly those that are less confident, to give cycling a try in a safe and supported environment.

In June councillor Jon Rogers, who is in charge of transport in the city, proposed that the A4 Portway be closed to motorists on summer Sundays following the success of Bristol's Biggest Bike Ride, which saw the road closed and around 7,000 cyclists take part.

Bristol was made the nation's first Cycling City last year and it is hoped the move will encourage cyclists and walkers to enjoy the area without worrying about traffic.

Dr Rogers, executive member for transport and sustainability, said: "Ladies Mile was designed as a leisure route for walking and riding and I'd like to see leisure and relaxation reintroduced into the mix. No one wants to banish the car, but most people would agree that in some places, on some days, it's nice to get away from it.

"The Downs are a favourite with residents across the city, providing fresh air and green space for everyone to enjoy. So it seems wholly appropriate that more is done here to encourage cycling – which is good for both our health and the planet.”

"This is the first time that Ladies Mile has been closed to motor vehicles - giving priority to walkers and cyclists. If the day is a success, and I am confident it will be, then we should certainly consider holding similar events on the Downs or elsewhere in the city, in future.”

There will also be a free Wacky Cycles activity for all ages, where riders can have a go on fun bikes and trikes and Bristol-based cycling charity, Life Cycle UK, will be offering free cycle-training taster sessions.

Those wishing to discover new places to cycle can pick up free maps and other leaflets from the information stall at the event, as well as information on what the City Council is doing to promote and encourage cycling. Owners of unusual bicycles or tricycles are also being encouraged to come along with their machines to show them off.

There is already a cycle path which runs from Bristol to Portishead on the opposite side of the river and Dr Rogers said that making the Portway bike only could mean people could cycle up one side and back along the other.
The road will be closed to traffic from 11am-4pm for the Sunday of safe cycling.