It seems that Belgrade has already beaten Bristol to it on the Bike Lift front. As the picture below shows the Serbs, despite their reputation for intransigence, don't seem to be quite so hostile to new ideas as we Bristolians. This bicycle lift has been erected alongside the 'Brankova' crossing of the River Sava to allow cyclists to avoid a long detour on busy roads. Actually it took 8 years of campaigning by a dedicated individual, one Mirko Radovanac, to get it built, so perhaps if I persist we may have a bike lift in Bristol by 2017.
Not many details are available on the internet but it looks like the Belgrade lift rises about 15 metres to the bridge deck level, half the rise of the one proposed for Trenchard Street, so perhaps Bristol could still become the home of the highest dedicated bike lift in the World. The Belgrade lift gives some idea of how a Bristol lift could look and work, with entrance and exit doors on opposite sides so bicycles do not need to be turned in the lift. A 30 metre rise version could look quite spectacular.
Pedestrians as well as cyclists can benefit from such lifts, especially those with mobility problems, carrying shopping or with pushchairs. A lift is in effect just another element of a public transport system, providing a vertical rather than a horizontal displacement. Quite apart from the utility of such lifts they act as symbols of the seriousness with which non-motorised travel is taken and the value given to cyclists' and pedestrians' journeys. I wonder if Bristol is ready for such a culture shift?
The Brankova Bridge, Belgrade. Bike lift is just visible on extreme left.
Early indications are that our Cycling City still needs a few more decades to get used to the idea that serious investment in transport links for cyclists might be justified. Although Executive Member for Transport Jon Roger's has said the idea is "interesting" and that he is "prepared to consider all options, look at all ideas" there has been no further indication of interest from Bristol City Council.