Bristol and South Gloucestershire cyclists are staging a protest ride at 4pm this afternoon at the junction of the A38 and M5 where ten cyclists have been injured in the last seven years, to try to get South Gloucestershire council to provide for cyclists.
The council plans to rebuild the junction to accommodate the projected increase in traffic from new local developments, but local and national cycling groups say the planned changes will make it more dangerous.
Safety at the A38/M5 junction is particularly important because, as CTC Right to Ride spokesman Richard Burton said in an email to the People's Cycling Front of South Gloucestershire: "This is a very important junction for cyclists, with alternatives requiring a detour of four or five miles."
In a statement Burton added: “The council ignored its own policies, government guidance, the consultation, a petition and our MP. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience to other road users, but this is entirely the council’s responsibility. We aren’t asking for anything radical or bizarre, we just want the council to follow its own policies.”
Campaigners claim that the relevant council policies say that cyclists and pedestrians should have been considered at every stage in the planning and design process, but this did not happen. They also allege safety audit did not follow Department for Transport guidelines.
A spokesman for the Bristol Cycling Campaign said: “The safety audit guidelines are explicit about including pedestrians and cyclists, but the audit doesn’t mention them even once. This is gross incompetence and if any pedestrian or cyclist is injured or heaven forbid, killed, we will hold the council liable. The injury figures are bad enough, but they are very much an underestimate and the real figure is many times more.”
Campaigners say that many of the new roads in the new developments do not follow council policies, including Hayes Way, which was constructed during the council’s participation in the Cycling City project, but has no facilities for cyclists.
Mr Burton said: “We can’t understand why we have to raise petitions and have protest rides to try to get the council to follow its own policies and government guidance, and after 18 years of council failures, we call on the government to hold an inquiry to find out why this council fails so badly so often.”
The ride starts from the Aztec West roundabout at 4pm today, October 24.
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson 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 CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com 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 TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.