Sunday 19 June 2011

Tesco's plans to Walthamize the cycling city in the back.

We are impressed. Every day that one of the team members has been down to Cheltenham Road this week, there's been a vehicle or two outside Tesco. What was once one of the showcase "cycle city" and "Greater Bristol Bus Network" routes has been returned to the tax paying driver -and as vans and lorries pay more road tax, they deserve to use it first.

"Slug" sends a couple of Pics from 09:15 on Friday 17 June showing a security van outside tesco,
And right outside the credit union, another lorry, MX07GJV

As slug says " It can be very dangerous for a cyclist to cycle in the cycle lane because it is to the left of traffic turning left. So the lorry driver out of concern for the potential danger that inexperienced cyclists are putting themselves in, decided to park on the double yellow lines ... ignoring the no unloading sign.

Behind the vehicle you can see all the way to the security van that is also parked on the cycle lane -and in between the lane is completely empty! Mission accomplished! no cyclists Left Hooked at Ashley junction this morning.

Interestingly, we have a different video of the same stretch of road from someone else taken about ten minutes later. This video is interesting because it is from the perspective of one of the tax-dodgers, someone who is trying to get across the city "after 9am because the roads are quieter." See that? These people have deliberately chosen to commute outside "the rush hour" because they prefer it. But that reduction in road traffic creates an illusion of safety -and encourages more of such behaviour.

At 0:03 there's another cyclist on Freemantle Road -heading towards the university or Clifton, then our underemployed camera-enabled tax-avoider descends Nugent Hill, an option forbidden to cars, especially since they put that island in at the bottom to stop right turns, a feature few motorists have managed to deal with. Our troublemaker negotiates that island by abusing the contraflow bike lane on Arley Hill, then flips into the left lane to undertake the stationary traffic to wait for a green light.

While waiting we see important people in cars and taxis, some public transport users, and unimportant pedestrians, and another cyclist at 1:58 crossing over to the contraflow. Because The A38 here, it could unify or divide the city. The council wanted to make it a showcase for the cycle city program, encouraging people from Bishopston (out of town; to the left) to head into the city centre, down this very road!

That is something we need to stop, which is why we are grateful for Tesco and its support. Because as well as unifying the cyclists, it could divide them. It and Muller road are the two roads that anyone cycling around north Bristol has to encounter, and if we can only roll back any pro-cycling "enhancements" there, then we can discourage anyone not just from cycling on these main roads, but even get across them.

That is why it is so essential to fight them on the streets, and why the Tesco delivery process is helping transform this road, and hence the whole of north Bristol.

At 2:14 you can see the bicycle head in to town. Although they think they have a lane to themselves, at 2:22 you can see their mistake -the security van has moved on since 09:15, but another delivery van has taken its place. Then at 2:34, a car half on the pavement, half on the bike lane. That bike lane is considered unsafe anyway, which is why they and the next lorry are blocking it. What's changed since the photos earlier is that the lorry seems to be deciding to pull out now; it's flipped its indicators on. The tax dodger goes past, and at 2:47 you can see another paveparked van; a 2:49 a similar car. All it takes is one or two vehicles doing this, all the time, every day, and people will be discouraged not just from commuting along this road by bicycle, but across it.

At 3:04 our troublemaker does a U-turn and heads out of town, showing that the bike lane there is in its usual state: short stay parking for shop customers and staff. This bike lane has been reclaimed!

At 3:36, they are now waiting to turn right towards montpelier, where you can see that the row of vehicles blocking the left lane do actually turn it into a bikes-only lane, albeit because nobody actually wants to turn left. Anyone turning left will have to swing over from the right hand lane, which might be a surprise to anyone cycling down it, of which we can see a couple at 3:50.

Then, finally, at 3:54, our errant tax dodger turns right, and then left into Montpelier, where they can feel slightly safer.

You see that? How the quiet bits of the city, Cotham and Montpelier, can be made cycling unfriendly not by adding any anti-cycling infrastructure, but by making it unpleasant to cross the roads between them. We don't need to ask the council for special anti-bicycle features, the way they do in Waltham Forest, all we need to do is park our delivery vans where we want on the roads the cyclist have to cross. It only takes a couple of HGVs to set an example, and once it's begun, every else will copy. What was a bike lane has become a parking area, not just to achieve the tactical goal: park outside our destination, but to achieve a strategic one: to knife the cycling city dream in the back.

Whose streets? Ours! For parking in whenever we want!

No comments: