Friday 24 June 2011

Old Filton Road: this is what they give us

Old Filton Road is the road where cycling city money was wasted putting in a cycle lane "hint" on one side of the road, and a shit cycle/walk path on the other, purely so that the road could be re-opened as a rat-run, something the councillors were proud to take credit for. This is how South Gloucester council spent their part of the cycling city money, improvements which they say were "designed to improve the environment for cyclists and pedestrians". Exactly how turning a dead end road into a through route while giving a shit bit of pavement to the side for the walkers and cyclists to bicker over escapes us.

  1. A closed road with room for people to cycle in either direction on safely.
  2. No pavement, but no need to worry about rat-running cars.
  3. Room for pedestrians and lots of lunchtime runners.
  1. A road that cars can sprint along to avoid the traffic jam that is the A4174. Yes, it's left turn only at the end, but that gets you to UWE and the science park.
  2. A pavement that hasn't had any gardening budget spent on it since it was installed.
  3. Traffic calming in the form of some signs and one of those 30mph signs that lights up to remind people who were unintentionally -as opposed to knowingly- breaking the speed limit.

Say what you like about Bristol City Council, it didn't add something this awful and then stand up and be proud of it. Admittedly, S Gloucs council didn't either, not to the cyclists -they sold the entire scheme as "a road re-opens", with a sob story of how "drivers who had used the route were forced on to the already congested ring road instead.", missing the point that it was people choosing to drive were the problem, not the victims.

Some people are unhappy that not everyone cycles along this newly designated path. If the UKIP -the official party of the Association of British Drivers- got their way, it would be mandatory to cycle along the path.
That's the path that is getting slowly overgrown after two years of utter neglect; the trees overhanging the path while the vegetation curves back in. Of course anyone in their right mind would cycle on the road, such as the person vanishing into the distance.
Which raises the question: what was the fucking point in spending all this money on "cycle safety" in the first place. If you are going to build something so awful that nobody will use it, then neglect it utterly, it isn't worth bothering about.
Note that to reduce the risk of head on collisions on a cycle path so shite nobody uses it, there is a big sign on the west end of the path saying "No cycles". That just about sums it up for the entire S Gloucs council cycling plans: No cycles.

Given that the bollards are missing, this photo is probably going to become the official site logo.


  1. But surely, as the Evening Post report says:

    "Frenchay and Stoke Park councillor Trevor Jones said: 'The completion of this path makes Filton Road a safe link between UWE, Bristol Business Park and other employers and Frenchay both day and night.'
    His fellow councillor for the area, Bob Pullin, said: 'I'm sure families in Stoke Park and the other local developments will now find it much easier to walk or cycle down to Frenchay.'"

    Councillors Jones and Pullin then climbed onto their bicycles strangely putting their elbows on the seats instead of their arses.

  2. I'm lucky in that it's quiet when I use the road to cycle to Frenchay every evening, but I would dearly like to see some councillors and officials demonstrate the correct speed to safely use the on-road advisory cycle lane (dangerously screened from view by high hedges) in order to avoid serious injury from cars using the Holiday Inn entrances.

    The green paint should probably be red - and the "cycle lane" re-drawn appropriately.

    To my mind, cycle lanes are often only useful as a bypass around all the annoying steel boxes that ill-informed people choose to drag with them the few miles to work and back.

  3. I'm with you guys. I hate to say 'told you so' but several of us wrote to complain about the plans before they were implemented. Daily users who had actually practical experience who could see the faults in their plans. Did they listen? Did they fook!

    Karina and I were cycling down the hill at the 'peak hour' a few weeks back. We made the mistake of staying in the lane. Some moron overtook us so close (in the face of oncoming traffic) that his wing mirror touched my leg.

    I'm afraid that I did indeed rise to the challenge and shouted 'hey' at him, causing him to sound his horn has he continued on his way.

    I'm also afraid that I rose to the challenge again when we caught him stuck in the queue of traffic just down the road. Initially he refused to open his window. A gentle tap on it and he winds it down and lets rip a torrent of abuse "don't touch my fucking car" "get out of the fucking way" etc. etc. I said to him, as calmly as I could "do you realise how close you overtook us back there" "you were in the cycle lane, I was in the road, not the cycle lane"

    And there you have it. That white line on the road. To them it means 'cyclists are slow' 'cyclists get in the way' 'cyclists hold people up' 'there's another white line for cyclists they've wasted my road tax on'. They pass with impunity, Rule 163 of the Highway Code? Forget it "the last time I looked at the Highway Code was years ago when I had to take my test, I ignore it now thanks" so long as you are one side of that line and them the other. ok only one inch but they are still outside it. They can pass you as close as they like.