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"There's a car park 20 metres away": Cyclists slam cycle lane parking putting riders in danger

Locals say motorists park their vehicles in the bike lane "all day, every day"...

A cycle lane in Bristol has been rendered "completely pointless" by drivers who park their vehicles in it, local riders have said.

Speaking to road.cc, Phil Sturgeon explained how there are vehicles blocking the route along "one of the busiest roads in central Bristol", the hill up Park Row "all day, every day" and he is concerned the disregard for the infrastructure is putting cyclists in danger.

Highlighting the absurdity of there being a multi-storey car park 20 metres away behind the parade of shops, Phil said the cycle lane is "intermittent and already confusing" even without drivers parking over the wands "adding to that confusion and causing conflict".

Another local rider, Rob Bryher, called the situation an "absolute joke". "I've never been able to use this short stretch of 'cycle infrastructure' without it being blocked, forcing us back into traffic, or having cars drive straight towards me into it on the wrong side of the road," he said.

Phil added that he drives a van and rides a bike, depending on his journey, and does not want to be seen as a "curtain twitcher" but fears "somebody is going to die and they'll probably be victim blamed for not wearing enough high-vis."

The temporary lane will undergo improvements later this year as part of two walking and cycling upgrade projects, Ian Pond of the Bristol Cycling Campaign telling Bristol Live he has been told the works "won't be finished before February 2024".

"The cycling provision on Park Row, originally installed as part of the Covid measures in 2020, is poor quality, intermittent and urgently needs to be improved," he said. "It's good to see that there is an approved, high-quality and comprehensive plan to dramatically enhance the cycling and walking domain along this road. We all look forward to its completion."

Responding to the questions about drivers parking in the cycle lane, the city's council said the pop-up infrastructure is merely advisory and no parking could only be enforced with a Traffic Regulation Order.

The council did point out that parking in a suspended bay can be enforced with a penalty charge of £70, reduced by half when paid within two weeks, that Civil Enforcement officers can issue.

"I cycled up and down Park Row a lot when it first went in, checking on the traffic, it was great," the head of city transport Adam Crowther told the Bristol local news outlet in January.

"It's a little bit tired now, it has been parked all over, and those little plastic bollards can work — but they need to work in the right environment. This scheme will put hard starts and finishes to a lot of those cycle lanes, so it feels more like a cycle lane rather than someone's just put a cone in the middle of the road that you can drive over if you want to.

"The traffic signals will be replaced, the bus stops will be upgraded, and there'll be better pavements. It's a big scheme, really ambitious, and it'll be impressive when we get to a finalised permanent scheme."

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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38 comments

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mctrials23 replied to Surreyrider | 11 months ago
5 likes

Think the offical term is "park anywhere lights". 

All they need to do is fine people in these lanes £500 a pop and it would stop overnight. Even easier, you just let people upload a photo of video of a car parked there and they get a nice fine in the post so you don't even have to pay someone to ticket. 

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Steve K replied to mctrials23 | 11 months ago
5 likes
mctrials23 wrote:

Think the offical term is "park anywhere lights". 

BOLAs - Blinking orange lights of absolution.

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chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 11 months ago
4 likes

"I wasn't parked, I was loading / delivering mate.  There are no double-yellow flashes on the kerb to prohibit that."

"OK - I say that, but I meant I've just stopped to drop someone off."

"Yeah, OK I know there's no-one here now but my car has actually broken down.  You can see I've got my flashers on.  I mean ... the satnav is playing up."

"Alright that's a load of cobblers, but in your parking guidelines it says that having only one wheel on a double-yellow counts as breaking the rules.   l don't have any wheels on the lines, they go right underneath the car!"

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brooksby replied to chrisonabike | 11 months ago
10 likes

I spoke to a woman who pulled over against the flow of traffic, drove over the wands, and parked up facing me, a couple of weeks ago (the stretch of the cycle lane in Phil Sturgeon's videos above).

I congratulated her "wonderful" parking, and she said she was taking boxes into the Greek pastry shop and where was she supposed to park?

I just replied, "Not there!" and carried on my way...

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chrisonabike replied to brooksby | 11 months ago
9 likes
brooksby wrote:

...she said she was taking boxes into the Greek pastry shop and where was she supposed to park?

She sounds a flaky type and I know you've had your fill o' this - but there are many layers here...

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brooksby replied to chrisonabike | 11 months ago
0 likes
chrisonatrike wrote:
brooksby wrote:

...she said she was taking boxes into the Greek pastry shop and where was she supposed to park?

She sounds a flaky type and I know you've had your fill o' this - but there are many layers here...

laugh

Avatar
brooksby replied to brooksby | 11 months ago
6 likes
brooksby wrote:

I spoke to a woman who pulled over against the flow of traffic, drove over the wands, and parked up facing me, a couple of weeks ago (the stretch of the cycle lane in Phil Sturgeon's videos above).

I congratulated her "wonderful" parking, and she said she was taking boxes into the Greek pastry shop and where was she supposed to park?

I just replied, "Not there!" and carried on my way...

I've just noticed - I'm pretty sure that the black SUV on Mr Sturgeons first twitter clip IS the one from the Greek pasty place.

It's a pity: their pastries are really nice, but based on the several conversations I've had with them since the original wands were installed I took the decision more than a year ago to boycott them. They don't care that they force cyclists out into the road - and have told me that to my face - so why would I give them my money?

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Sriracha | 11 months ago
12 likes

"Park Row" - maybe it's nominative determinism?

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