News / cycling

Viral video proves how much quicker cycling on roads is compared to new cycle paths

By martin booth, Tuesday Dec 3, 2019

As the end is finally in sight for the Temple Gate roadworks, many people who use bicycles to travel around Bristol have realised that cycling through much of the area is actually worse than before.

To prove this theory, Toby Wells filmed himself cycling from Bath Bridge to Temple Street, comparing the journey on the new cycle paths and shared space to cycling on the road.

What he discovered was that it is much quicker using roads than cycle paths.

“I think it’s important to explain to everyone why cyclists may not be using cycle paths,” Toby told Bristol24/7.

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“For people who don’t cycle that’s sometimes difficult to understand so I wanted to illustrate it for them. It highlights the need for investment in good quality cycling infrastructure so people can get from A to B safely and in good time.”

The 28-year-old aeronautical engineer from Bishospton said that the comparison was exactly as he expected, saying that the new road network has been designed for the convenience of motorists “with some token cycle infrastructure thrown in”.

Toby said that the reaction to the video “has been great. I’ve heard from people with similar issues across the country, and from all around the world (Ireland and the USA in particular).

“There are some great examples of councils getting it right, but also so many where they have gone badly wrong. I hope the video makes it clearer to others why people riding bikes make certain route choices.”

He added that the new road network and cycling provision “has been a real missed opportunity”.

He said: “Fitting cycle infrastructure on existing roads can be challenging. It’s rare that a complete ‘clean sheet’ redesign for an entire area comes up like this, where good quality routes for all would have been achievable.

“Now it’s done it’s hard to go back and fix it.”

Bristol City Council has been approached for a comment.

Read more: ‘Cycling in Bristol has never been so frustrating’

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