So far we’ve had responses to our cycling based questions from mayoral candidates George Ferguson and Mr Corrupt Self Serving Lying Thieving B’stard, now Daniella Radice, who is standing for the Green party, has given us her views on cycling. Read her opinions here:
Do you cycle? If so, what sort of cyclist would you describe yourself? (eg commuter, wobbler, lycra-wearer)
Pretty dedicated everyday cyclist, commuting definitely -excellent for catching trains, once did home to temple meads in 14 minutes, but it was at 5 o'clock in the morning. We have a kids' cycle trailer (Kid2Croozer for those interested) and still use it a lot, particularly for shopping and not always with children. Two children are now over the weight limit for it. (I did a sprint triathlon in May, so have done a minimal amount of serious cycling).
In general terms, what is your opinion of cyclists in Bristol? (eg congestion busting, eco-warriors; above the law bunch of *****; other)
Cyclists are people and there are good ones and bad ones. Having said that, there is no doubt that cycling is a zero-carbon form of travel, which gets you fit and healthy. It is good for the individual, good for the atmosphere, cuts pollution, cuts congestion and even good for business (cyclists, being healthier are sick less often!). Unfortunately, there are cyclists that give other cyclists a bad name. Near where I live there are lots of young men riding on the pavement.....who should know better.....need I say more?
What in your view are the biggest problems faced by cyclists in Bristol?
Intimidation, sometimes deliberate, by cars
What was your opinion of Bristol as a Cycling City?
The Cycling England targets for the project (doubling cycling in 3 years) were absurd. Increasing levels of cycling by 40% (25,000 to 33,000) is a good increase in three years, but I don't know how much was down to the project and how much would have happened anyway. The project did deliver various pieces of infrastructure (eg Festival Way) which are welcome, and will help increase levels of cycling in the future. I have been told that some of the infrastructure isn't of a great quality. (For example, there already was a cycle lane on Hartciffe Way, which had one crossing point. The project installed another cycle lane on the other side of the road, with three or four road crossings.) However, I understand that the team that was set up for the project has now been dismantled, so the expertise gained has now been lost. I have also been told that the start of the project - the first several months of the three years it ran - were taken up with employing a team and various arguments between different cycling groups - the project got off to a slow start! All of this makes me think that we need sustained investment in cycling over a long time period to maximise levels of cycling, which is based on a thought out and agreed cycling strategy, but not on a 'dash for growth'.
If there was one thing you could do to improve cycling in the city, what would it be?
The long term aim has to be provide a separate cycle network, and we need to invest in this. However, that is not realistic in the short term, so we also need to take a range of softer measures - such as giving all children cycle training, as well as those adults who need it, finding ways to encourage different groups in the city (eg families, older people) to cycle, lobbying for motorists to be trained to respect cyclists and understand the problems they face and the like. I’d also like to see the law changed to that similar in Holland where if there is a collision between a cyclist and a car, its always the car's fault'
The Greater Bristol Cycling Strategy 2011-2026 has targets of 20% of all journeys by bike by 2026 (with an intermediate target of 9% by 2015). The baseline figure was 4% of all journeys in 2008 Do you endorse these targets?
Yes, I endorse the targets
The same strategy suggests that funding should be allocated at £11 per capita across the strategy area, rising to £20 in target areas. If elected, would you commit this level of resources to cycling?
Will you endorse the Times Campaign 8 point manifesto?
Yes. I endorse the Times campaign.
What other measures would you seek to introduce which either directly or indirectly will promote cycling? Do you have any other comments about cycling, walking or other methods of sustainable travel?
I have been told of someone involved in the Cycling City project who said this. They visited Stoke on Trent (a cycling town), which had masses of cycling infrastructure, but hardly anyone cycles. They visited Cambridge which has about the same level of infrastructure as Bristol and loads of people cycle. This made them think that the biggest thing you need to get people cycling is to have a 'cycling culture'. I'm sure that is true, but equally sure that it is very hard to achieve. It has to involve lots of people encouraging their mates to cycle or leading by example. It is something that the council is probably not well equipped to do, so there is a role for business, charities and communities. There has been a remarkable increase in cycling since I first started commuting by bike in Bristol over 10 years ago. It would be great to have some way of people being able to build up their fitness as I think many people find Bristol's hills intimidating to cycle up, and find it difficult to start.
Would you be willing to attend a cycle hustings on Tuesday October 30th, 7.30pm, YHA?