Thursday 22 January 2009

Welcome to Clifton Downs

One of the jewels in Bristol is Clifton Down, which is a lovely place to walk, climb, run or play football. But not cycle.

Because these paths are too narrow and it will endanger all the other users of the park.

We in Bristol are lucky that the Bristol Downs management committee has resisted attempts by these subversives.


Anonymous said...

Oh dear. And they can say that with a straight face? I can send you dosens of shared use paths local to us that are about the same width, and miraculously free of bodies.

On the other hand, that means any road under about 3m wide and without pavements should be car-free.

Anonymous said...

Most of the time I can just shrug off this sort of thing . . . but there's something about this one that makes me just want to shout, "Oh, for f***'s sake!"

Maybe it's the width of the path, it's apparent smoothness, or the view of that straight line under the trees. Or maybe it's the combination of all off them that just make me want to ride this.

In general I'm not a fan of shared bike / pedestrian access. The iPod zombies never hear you coming, and then get very tetchy when they wonder into your path. But this route is just sooo wide . . . .

Chris Hutt said...

The downs are a very extensive and largely flat open area stretching over 2 miles from Clifton to Westbury which could accommodate miles of useful traffic free cycling routes.

But in Cycling City attitudes remain set in the 19th century when the By-laws prohibiting cycling on the downs were drawn up. Perhaps one day people will recognise how appropriate the Downs are for carefree cycling.

Anonymous said...

The biggest joke is that, if you read the committees minutes, they are proud of the amount of money they spend on cycling: for signage telling you not to, for someone to drive around telling people off.

This would be an ideal place for a critical mass picnic in the summer -everyone cycles there, maybe to sit down and eat in the middle of the bit of the park they turn over to Zoo parking.

Anonymous said...

I love this kneejerk arrogance from a small minority of cycle fascists!

Why is it such a big deal that cyclists are not allowed on parts of the Downs? Do they really expect to be able to cycle absolutely anywhere? Why is it so unjust to allow pedestrians the run of the place?

I say hurrah for the ipod zombies!

Dru Marland said...

Nice to hear the voice of reason, Des. Except that the road that runs alongside this path is narrow and usually heavily-parked upon, so that cycling on it, at least uphill, *will* slow the cars behind you. Which is in itself no bad thing, but which can and does result in cars trying very hard to overtake the bicycles, often dangerously.

I had the pleasure two days ago (not here, but on another Clifton road) of having a Jaguar driving right behind me gunning its engine because the driver wanted me out of the way, but couldn't get past me because the road was too narrow. Does seeking an alternative to this sort of thing make me a fascist, then? Sweetness and light, sweetness and light...

Anonymous said...

1. I would like my small child to have the right to cycle along here, as he is not road-ready yet.

2. The road here has problems with parked cars, especially at weekends. If that could be fixed, on-road cycling would be safer.

3. The crossing at the end -with Suspension Bridge Road- is pretty dangerous for everyone, as cars come up the road at speed, with minimal visibility.

4. the downs rents out part of the park for zoo parking, using the profit to fund no-bike signs.

Personally, I don't want to cycle along here, though there are some other directions I'd like to get across the downs on, ones where the road doesn't go. What is irritating is the whole anti-bike policy of the downs (and to a lesser extent, the suspension bridge)

Chris Hutt said...

Des, cyclists aren't asking to be allowed all over the Downs, just on a limited number of suitably wide paths. Don't you think the Downs are big enough to accommodate that? There would still be plenty of space for a network of pedestrian only paths (if required), wildlife areas, etc.

The Downs are set aside for the recreational benefit of the people of Bristol. Why on earth can't cycling be part of the mix of activities, alongside football and jogging? The Downs aren't exactly crowded as it is.

James Miller said...

The downs management group have minuted that they were meant to undertake a study on cycling in the Downs area in 2007/8.
Unfortunately they were unable to complete this study and a new one is not scheduled.
See: for more details.