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Cycling Farcilities

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We all know that many cycling "facilities" are farcical, put in by a local authority that wants to be seen to be doing its bit to encourage cycling without actually having to put any effort in, or simply designed by incompetent planners. This page is dedicated to cycling farcilities in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. For farcilities elsewhere, the links at the bottom of the page are well worth following.

To be fair, some of the cyclepaths round here are pretty good (although there are many that are too narrow and have poor lines of sight). A lot of them are just made farcical by the barriers put in to stop us getting our bikes onto the paths in the first place.

Avon Ring Road Path

Bollards on the Bath-Bristol Cyclepath - This isn't the first farcility I photographed, but it's the first I put on WWW. I pass between these bollards twice a day on my commute. Campaigning against them persuaded me that South Gloucestershire Council really doesn't care about the safety of cyclists - click on the picture for much more detail. (Picture taken 06/12/01)

Cyclepath along Coronation Road in the centre of Bristol - This was the first Bristol farcility I photographed. The picture speaks for itself. (Picture taken July 2001)

"Safety" gates on a cyclepath - Siston Common - A friend pointed these gates out to me after they appeared on his commute. They're at the bottom of a hill with no lights and no reflectives, near enough invisible after dark. This road leads from one cyclepath to another. It seems that the purpose of these gates is to slow cyclists down - terminally. (Picture taken 16/09/02)

"Safety" gates on a cyclepath - Siston Common - The only possible reason I can see for these gates is to force cyclists to stop when they reach the road. They were clearly not designed with family cycling in mind - I had quite a job getting Jenny's trailer through the gap. (Picture taken 02/03/03)

"Safety" gates on the Bristol ring road cyclepath - Muirfield, Kingswood - Going one way, you come round a bend and immediately encounter these. A bit further round the bend there's another identical set. Going the other way, they're at the top of a steep hill climbing out from a ring road underpass, just before a blind bend. I can see the need for something to slow cyclists travelling in the downhill direction, but what sort of idiot planner comes up with a blind bend on a steep hill when designing a cyclepath? I certainly wouldn't be able to negotiate these if I was towing Jenny's trailer. (Picture taken 03/04/03)

"Safety" gates on the Bristol ring road cyclepath - Tower Lane - A little further on you come to an underpass crossing the ring road between Tower Lane and Wraxall Road. And again, there's another set of barriers to negotiate to actually reach the underpass. (Picture taken 03/04/03)

"Safety" gates on the Bristol ring road cyclepath - Wraxall Road, Kingswood - To get to Cock Road from the ring road cyclepath, you go under the underpass pictured above and up a steep slope, to be met by these gates at the top (the cars in the picture are queueing to join the ring road). At least there's a slope there now - when I first moved to Kingswood, it was just steps and a cyclepath sign! Even so, I wouldn't want to meet someone coming the other way on that steep and narrow path.

I can only imagine that the gates are there to discourage pavement cycling, since the cyclepath comes out directly onto the pavement rather than onto the road. To join the road, it's simply a matter of hopping down a kerb into a busy road while going up a steep hill - a classic example of a cycling farcility that runs out right where you most need it.

Going the other way is no better. There's no dropped kerb, so the only way to safely join the path here without dismounting is to ride on the pavement from the top of Wraxall Road. (Picture taken 03/04/03)

Rejoining the A420 - Travelling East along the A420 (as I do every morning on my commute), a cyclist has two choices to get across the ring road. Because of the design of the junction pictured, the safer option is to go straight across the (very busy) roundabout. But in rush hour traffic, the quicker option is usually the underpass. The underpass cyclepath comes out on Deanery Close (the exit is marked with an 'X', just behind the tree). Deanery Close then joins Warmley High Street (the A420) at an acute angle. On the other side of Deanery Close, at the junction with the A420, is a petrol station. The danger is that motorists who have just left the ring road and are still travelling at speed tend to turn across Deanery Close into this petrol station without checking for traffic already on Deanery Close, which of course would have right of way. This is without doubt the most dangerous part of my daily commute. (Picture taken 03/04/03)

Update - Give Way lines were painted here on 18/04/05, taking priority away from vehicles on Deanery Close and giving it to those turning into the petrol station. At the same time a cycle lane was painted along the pavement, crossing both the entrance and exit to the petrol station. No, thank you, I'm sticking to the road.

"Safety" gates on Valentine's Bridge, Bristol city centre - These gates caused quite a stir on the Bristol Cycling Campaign mailing list when they first appeared. This bridge was built as part of a designated cycle route. Although it's a public right of way, the bridge is privately owned and the owners seem keen to discourage cyclists. They asked Bristol City Council if they would need planning permission to install barriers. The council said that they would, and that they would be unlikely to get it. So the owners went ahead and installed the barriers anyway. (Pictures courtesy of Farcycle, taken 18/11/02)

Cycle parking at Cribbs Causeway - These racks were installed early in 2003. I'm not quite sure how you're supposed to lock a bike to them. (Pictures courtesy of Farcycle, taken 31/03/03)

Narrower than a handlebar - This lane on Gloucester Road also has a yellow line down the middle for all the fun of extra slipperiness in the wet. (Picture courtesy of Shawn Pearson, taken 09/04/03)

I was informed on 02/10/03 that this lane has now been burnt off.

London Street, Kingswod - There is a contraflow cycle lane turning into this one way street, but once you've made the turning the lane disappears. This sign suggests that cyclists are meant to ride along the narrow pavement with cars parked along one side. I can't see that working, somehow. (Picture taken 21/04/03)

NCN 41, North Bristol - This rather challenging barrier... followed by this one. (Pictures taken 06/06/04)

Other Farcility Sites

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