Cycling interviews: Jon Rogers (Liberal Democrat candidate)

The last of the candidates of the major parties responds to our questionnaire. Jon Rogers is the Liberal Democrat candidate, and also a member of the councils cabinet. Here are his responses:

Q1. Do you cycle? If so, what sort of cyclist would you describe yourself? (eg commuter, wobbler, lycra-wearer)

I do cycle regularly, but I also walk, drive and use buses, trains, planes, ferries and taxis when appropriate. I am also a member of the City Car Club. I am a confident commuter. I wear working clothes including suits, but always have some waterproofs in my bag - Bristol weather can be unpredictable!

Q2. In general terms, what is your opinion of cyclists in Bristol? (eg congestion busting, eco-warriors; above the law bunch of *****; other)

I think the vast majority of Bristol cyclists are great! They are enjoying the benefits of a healthy, happy, friendly, environmentally sustainable, and economic way of getting from A to B... .. or even just meandering round from A to A! They each mean "one less car", which is a huge benefit on our congested city roads.

Q3. What in your view are the biggest problems faced by cyclists in Bristol?

That varies for different cyclists. Rain and hills may be seen as a problem for some, although my experience is that both can be eased by sensible clothing and route planning (or an electric bike?)! Road danger is a major concern for many, and even some of Bristol's cycle lanes can leave a lot to be desired. I was given an adult cycle lesson in 2009, shortly after I took over leadership of Cycling City and learnt that there was a lot that I could do to reduce road danger, by keeping visible, not hugging the gutter or parked cars, and generally travelling in a smooth and predictable way. As mayor, I will continue to deliver better infrastructure, training and awareness for all road users. Finally, there is a problem with antisocial behaviour by road users, including cyclists. I would like to see Bristol as a "Walking City" as well as a "Cycling City" and that includes developing mutual respect for and between every road user.

Q4. What was your opinion of Bristol as a Cycling City?

A great start, but a long way to go! When I took over the reins of Cycling City in February 2009 it had degenerated from a successful cross-party, cross-authority government major funding bid into an introspective and exclusive project. I re-introduced cross-party, cross authority working, and insisted that residents, voluntary groups, cycling groups and others had a direct input into the plans. Ed Plowden was appointed as project manager, and we worked well together with officers, stakeholders, councillors of all parties, schools and voluntary sector organisations, campaign groups and of course close links with Philip Darnton and his colleagues at Cycling England.

Q5. If there was one thing you could do to improve cycling in the city, what would it be?

More dedicated cycle routes. I have asked officers to look carefully at the plans for the major Rapid Transit investment around the centre of Bristol and consider whether we could introduce segregated cycle paths.

Q6. 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. They are challenging, but if we can help people to feel safe and secure cycling around the city, it can be done. Our 20mph plans will help, as will the improved maps and road signing, showing quieter routes. The improvements to the Concorde Way and Festival Way will also help with more off-road commuter cycling, linking Bristol with Filton, Bradley Stoke, Ashton Court and Nailsea.

Q7. 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?

Yes. I led for Bristol on Transport and Sustainability in the negotiations around this strategy, working with my transport colleagues in North Somerset, South Gloucester and Bath and North East Somerset.

Q8. Will you endorse the Times Campaign 8 point manifesto

Yes. I signed this on the day that The Times campaign started, and contacted the reporters to congratulate them on their important campaign. Here is a link to my comments, http://thetim.es/Az57Pd which said, "The speed with which politicians have signed up to the Times cycling campaign suggests that there is real capital to be gained. Ten of the biggest cities in Britain have signed up to our cycle safety manifesto. Jon Rogers, the Bristol City Council Cabinet Member for Cycling City, said: “I’m certain that the Times campaign can help push the importance of cycling and road safety to the top of the national agenda.”

Q9. 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 am currently supporting a campaign by Bristol Older People's Forum to stop antisocial pavement cycling. I didn't choose the title at http://bit.ly/DrJonEP1 but I am keen to see all road users respect and care for each other. I would like sensitive enforcement against anti-social cyclists and indeed all anti-social road users. One of my main manifesto commitments is to seek an Integrated Transport Authority for Bristol. This is long overdue, and my colleague Cllr Tim Kent and I have been working for some time on how to make it happen, and what the costs and risks are. As your mayor I will want "Transport for Bristol" powers in the same way that Boris Johnson has "Transport for London" powers.

 

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