Bristol road safety summit planned for next month

Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s top cop is a bike rider and unlike his London opposite number, he’s not afraid to take to the city’s streets on his bike.

Asked on Twitter by the BBC’s Tom Edwards whether he would ride in Bristol, chief constable Nick Gargan said he rides every week, perhaps showing greater confidence in his force’s ability to keep the streets safe than Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogen-Howe.

“I cycle in Bristol every week,” Chief Constable Gargan tweeted back. “And love it.”

Last week, Sir Bernard Hogen-Howe told the BBC: “It seems to be that if you get it wrong, or the driver gets it wrong, the person that’s going to pay is the cyclist.

“It seems to me that there’s a lot of traffic and personally I wouldn’t (cycle). But of course some people don’t have the choice; economically it’s not easy you know.”

“Some people, they’ve got limited money and they can’t pay for public transport. I understand why they take the choice. It wouldn’t be mine.”

Sir Bernard later attempted to clarify that he was expressing a personal opinion and that “the work the mayor and TFL have done to get people on their bikes as safely as possible is commendable.”

The role of mayor of London includes responsibilities that are elsewhere carried out by an elected police and crime commissioner, including the hiring and firing of the Metropolitan police commissioner.

Nick Gargan was appointed chief constable of Avon and Somerset in March 2013. He lists his interests as running, cycling and opera.

Chief Constable Gargan and Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens will host a question and answer session at Bath Guldhall on November 27, and with Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson will head Bristol’s first road safety summit at Bristol City Hall on December 11.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.