Bristol Cycling Campaign is working for a future where Bristol and the surrounding areas are alive with people on bicycles, because cycling is so easy that everyone does it. Our communities will be happier, healthier, greener and more civilised.

This strategy sets out why we need the Freedom to Ride through Five Principles; the Five Elements of what needs to be be done; and how Five Actions can make it all happen.


Bristol is already one of the best cities for cycling in the UK, but with cycling at about 8% of all trips we are far behind some of our European neighbours. There is huge suppressed demand as most people feel the city is hostile to cycling and they don’t feel it’s safe. The Cycling City programme from 2008-2011 showed that dramatic increases could be quickly achieved, and that for every £1 spent as much as £20 of benefit came to Bristol.

Some important measures are being taken, such as 20mph areas but, astonishingly, there is no ambitious plan for how we become a city that cycles. Now is the time for action in Bristol to make it safer and easier to cycle. Bristol can step up to being a modern, thriving, green and beautiful city.


Half a century of car-centric planning and investment have made many parts of Bristol polluted and congested. Children feel trapped and people struggle to keep themselves healthy. We can change this by following the five principles on which this Strategy is based.


The choice to cycle should be available to all, regardless of age, gender, financial circumstances, fitness, or need for non-standard bikes (e.g. trailers, tricycles, cargo). Many people and groups are currently denied this choice.
Safety: People on bikes should feel able to travel from where they are to where they need to go comfortably, conveniently, directly, in attractive surroundings and in safety. Good infrastructure will encourage safe and considerate behaviour. Consistent enforcement helps protect the vulnerable.


Cycling and sustainable transport bring prosperity to Bristol. Subsidies for car-use should be reversed so the city benefits from more people cycling. Reductions in congestion will benefit everyone, particularly those who really need to use motor vehicles. Everyone will experience improved health and wellbeing through more active lifestyles and better air quality. Bristol will attract new business as a fine place to live.


Bristol should be the benchmark city for outstanding and innovative cycling provision, with ambitious targets and committed resources. Pound for pound this will offer Bristol better value than any other public investment.


Bristol must become less dependent on imported energy, and is committed to a 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020. Achieving the cycling targets could contribute up to 25% of the necessary transport reductions.
The strategy is supported by five ‘spokes’ each of which is essential, mutually supporting and require complete integration with all other areas of city policy and implementation.

Cycling Neighbourhoods:

Every neighbourhood should have a walking and cycling plan linking residential areas and local hubs such as schools, parks, retail and leisure centres. The 20mph areas should be made more effective through use of ‘traffic cells’ to restrict through traffic while improving access for walking and cycling. Plans should set out to make every street a cycling street and must include cycle parking at destinations, workplaces and in residential areas with restricted indoor space.

Cycling Freeways:

The most direct route with the best gradient for cycling in Bristol is usually along a main road and they already carry the largest number of cyclists. They must be comprehensively adapted to become high quality, continuous routes for cycling. A Dutch-style matrix of infrastructure responses for each road type and condition should be used to determine suitable provision, with segregation on busy roads and junction treatments that favour cyclists. Priority must be given to preventing obstruction of the flow of cyclists. All measures must provide for future high levels of cycling.

Cycling Quietways:

Pleasant traffic-free routes that extend through the city and surroundings with clear signing. Significant progress was made in this area during Cycling City with routes such as Concorde Way, Frome Greenway and Festival Way joining the Bristol Bath Railway Path, Malago Greenway and Whitchurch Way. The network must be improved and extended.


Excessive and inappropriate motor vehicle use must be made less convenient, and fairly priced, e.g. through congestion charging and parking management schemes. Integration with public transport must be made as easy as possible. Development control policies must provide for high levels of cycling, and rigorously applied. A danger reduction strategy to make our roads free from fear and harm must be followed. Transport planning models must ensure cycling is properly valued. Enforcement measures must protect the vulnerable. Integrated signing, mapping and online tools must make the city easy to navigate by bike. All measures should also support walking.


Cycling City was effective at improving access to bikes, and giving people the information and confidence to cycle. As well as a sustained and well branded city-wide programme, every infrastructure project must include related encouragement measures. Every primary school pupil should receive Bikeability to Level 2, with Level 3 available to every secondary pupil. Adult cycle training should be easily available and affordable. Encouragement programmes will include events, marketing and promotion and work in particular with employers, schools and universities.

The councils of Greater Bristol must together take these fundamental actions to deliver the strategy.

Set a target to quadruple cycling to 20% of all trips by 2025, and 30% of those to work. Interim targets must be set in 4 year phases linked to the term of the Mayor.
Fix a Plan to deliver a comprehensive cycling network by 2025, with every road and street fit for cycling.
Commit investment to deliver the plan at European levels of £16 per capita (this is £6.5million per year for Bristol City Council). Further funding should come through major scheme bids and at least 50% of transport spend must be on cycling and walking.
Implement the plan through a multi-disciplinary team of experts to co-ordinate delivery of the action plan across all sectors and areas of the city. An Annual Bristol Cycling Report must report progress.
Engage an inspirational Cycling Commissioner to lead the transformation with full authority at a senior level. By bringing together the plans and people working in health, transport, planning, neighbourhoods, education and business the Commissioner will push forward cycling and promote Bristol’s vibrant cycling culture.

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