Q. What is regional government proposing?
A. The West of England Combined Authority (WECA), the region’s transport authority adopted plans (in Jun’20) for walking & cycling in its Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan – LCWIP – through to 2036 (see LINK). The cycling plan consists of a number of primary routes (Freeways) following Bristol’s major arteries with secondary routes to connect through local neighbourhoods (Quietways), building upon those cycleways that exist today (Malago, Downs, Festival, Wesley, etc).
Q. Are you a new cycling advocacy organisation?
A. No. We simply represent the views of businesses that are speaking up publicly for the right of their staff to cycle safely to work. Organisations that want to get more seriously involved in cycling advocacy in Bristol should contact Bristol Cycling Campaign.
Q. Who is behind this initiative?
A. CyclingWorks Bristol was established in 2018 led by David Callaghan and Ann O’Driscoll. The lack of clear local government plans at that time meant that it was challenging to focus on clear proposals for delivery. In 2020, with the WECA LCWIP adopted, combined with the urgency required to address public transport challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, the campaign was restarted under the leadership of Ian Pond, who stood down in Feb’22 , when he was appointed Chair of Bristol Cycling Campaign.
CyclingWorks Bristol is coordinated by steering group made up of volunteer representatives from Partner & Supporter organisations.
Haydn Gill – Moved to Bristol from Cardiff in 2021 and in January 2023 became Chair of CyclingWorks Bristol. He now lives and works in Bristol and campaigns for safer streets for those walking and cycling around Bristol.
David Callaghan – David would not describe himself as a cyclist, but as someone who believes that the best way to get around this fine city is by bike.
Ann O’Driscoll – Ann helps run North Bristol SusCom, a group of employers based in North Bristol working together to enable more of their staff to commute to work sustainably. Ann works mainly from home but cycles for fun and often to business meetings in North Bristol. She also walks, takes the bus, uses the train, car shares and is enjoying trying out the new WESTlink service.
FOR BIKE COMMUTERS
Q. I can’t get hold of our managing director to back this, can I still reply?
A. Yes! You could choose to write to the local & regional government leaders in a personal capacity to demand the immediate implementation of the plans. However, we think that if you could coordinate with other bike commuters at your organisation and get the business to support the plan this may have a greater impact.
Q. What objections might I hit internally?
A. Firstly, let us stress that the best way to approach this is to talk to others at your workplace who cycle and then approach your managing director together. This is an employee safety issue and managing directors care about employee safety.
Some common objections that you may encounter as well as some appropriate rebuttal are listed here:
• It’s too political – Not true! The LCWIP is from WECA and has broad support throughout the three councils of the region – Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire. The plan also has been open to public consultation. This is an employee Health and Safety (H&S) issue, as well as an environmental one. It may be worth looking at your employer’s H&S policy, its Sustainable transport policy and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) statement to see how it links into these goals.
• It’s not a company issue – Actually, this is very much a company issue! Given the number of staff who cycle to work, you need this type of infrastructure to get to work safely.
• I’m a cyclist and I don’t need cycles lanes – Some cyclists in your company may feel super confident about cycling in heavy traffic. There is a mountain of evidence that most people don’t want to cycle in these conditions or feel concerned for their safety if they do. The plans are about making cycling more accessible and safer for everyone.
• “We are not going to endorse a new business group” – We are not a new business group. If your organisation prefers, it is welcome to put a statement up on its website showing its support and need not associate or contact us.
FOR BUSINESS LEADERS
Q. Why does my business need to get involved?
A. Whilst the LWCIP is a great start in order to make commuting by bike safer and more attractive to more of your staff, three things need to happen
• Fully protected high-quality direct cycle routes (see our goals ) that allow easy cycle commuting across the city need to be prioritised to make a greater impact.
• The commitment of decision makers to early delivery is required
• The allocation of funding
With your business supporting these specific priorities, along with many other like minded organisations, it will help galvanise local government into action.
Q. My organisation is not a business, can I still write in?
A. Yes! Any organisations are encouraged to get involved! Any organisation in Bristol & South Glos, business or otherwise, will be affected by these plans, so it’s important that you speak up! Is your employer a hospital, non-profit, school or university? Have your chief executive or similarly senior official write a letter. This is not a party-political issue! The WECA have adopted the LCWIP and with input from the business community it can be encouraged to prioritise safer commuting by bike.
Q. What else can my organisation do to become more cycle friendly?
A. See our 10 point guide