This year so far the focus is on a spate of 'accidents', often resulting in nasty injuries to cyclists. First there were large numbers of accidents caused by ice on the Path (and elsewhere - see pic above) during the cold weather. It turned out that the Council had no arrangements in place for gritting cycle paths although main roads are systematically treated well in advance of freezing weather. This contrasts with the practice in truly cycle friendly countries like Holland and Denmark where cycle paths are treated in just the same way as any other strategically important route.
Now crashes are apparently being caused by inadequate marking of 'roadworks' being carried out on the Path to repair root damage (below). Path users have been asking for the root damage to be repaired for many, many years and it was only after the city was awarded Cycling City status in June that the Council finally decided they couldn't shirk their responsibilities any longer.
So cyclists are pleased that the root damage was to be repaired at last, but the sting in the tail is that works are being left in an unsafe condition overnight, especially on the unlit sections of the Path around Fishponds and Staple Hill. Hindsight suggest that a condition of any contract let for such works should specify that the Path should be reinstated by the end of each day. It should be perfectly practical to cut open the damaged section, dig out the root and reinstate the surface within a few hours.
Comments posted on the online Post article are telling.
"I raised this issue with the cycling team at BCC a few weeks ago, they referred me onto the person in The Parks Dept who was responsible for the contract. I left a number of messages with them, to date, I am still waiting for them to 'phone me back."
"I was really annoyed by this as well. I very nearly came off my bike but managed to balance myself at the last second. However the impact on my bikes wheel caused me to get a puncture which meant I had to walk all the way home from Fishponds to Hotwells....On a freezing cold night this was not fun!! My colleague wrote to the council a few months ago informing them that this part of the cycle path was pitch black and that she did not feel safe, she is still awaiting a reply."Once again the competence of the City Council to manage the Path (or anything else) is called into question.
Questions also arise about the recording of cycle path 'accidents'. Unless injuries are quite severe it's unlikely that any the the hundreds of injury accidents that occur on cycle paths will be recorded by the police. This gives the impression of cycle paths being much safer than they are and perhaps that leads to complacency when it comes to safety management.