Saturday, 15 August 2009

Another Ghost Bike for Bristol

We now have details of the cyclist killed on Tuesday as a result of a collision with a van at the junction of Winterstoke Road with Brunel Way (below). He was 52 year old Bristol University professor Stephen Morris from Backwell. The Evening Post report gives us some idea of the tragic consequences of such an untimely death on the victims family, friends and work colleagues, especially close family members who suddenly find themselves without a partner or father.

View Cycle and ped injury incidents in a larger map

This is the second cyclist death in Bristol this year and there have been others on the urban fringe beyond the Council's boundaries including one on this same road (A370) at the other end of the Long Ashton bypass last December. We should not of course speculate about the causes of this collision and consequent death when so little information is available to us. However it is I think appropriate, while minds are focused on this tragic event, to note certain circumstances which may or may not turn out to be contributory factors.

The most obvious point to note is that, in common with the most other cyclist deaths, this occurred on a road with a higher speed limit than 30mph, in this case 40mph. In practice that means that speeds significantly above 40 mph are normal and largely tolerated by the authorities. Such speeds are simply incompatible with safe cycling. Where cyclists have no practical alternative but to share such roads a 30 mph limit would be more appropriate and might possibly have avoided this latest tragic death.

Sustrans have cobbled together some plans for a convoluted alternative cycle route which is now being developed by Cycling City but the route proposed will be of little use to utility cyclists and commuters who want to follow a fairly direct and fast route. So let's not accept for one minute that Sustrans type 'recreational' routes are any sort of solution to the problem of excessive speeds on main roads. Besides we've already waited 30 years for new infrastructure and the highway engineers have consistently failed us. We need determined action on excessive speeds now before more cyclists are killed. Two Ghost Bikes in Cycling City are enough.

Tribute to Nick Abraham, 29, killed by a motorist while cycling on the Portway in January this year.


Anonymous said...

Did you get a rants for a week!!

Sideburn Magazine said...

click HERE for James Purssell's London Ghosts Bikes. A sad tribute made sadder by the council who removed some of them within days...