Calls For Regular Path Gritting


Scores of bicycling mishaps in the Bristol area have led to calls for councils to apply grit more diligently on local thoroughfares.

More grit is needed
Many recent accidents involving cyclists have been due to the formation of black ice on paths and roads during the cold spell of the past few weeks.

Accidents Are Common

Medical teams have attended 2 people, with dozens more believed to have sustained minor cuts and bruises. Collisions and spills have been common, particularly along the Bath-Bristol former railway (BBRP), which is believed to be used by 3 million people every year.

Frequent accidents have also occurred on Prince Street Bridge, Ashley Vale and a path often used by children close to the Whitehall Primary School.

Campaigners' Concern For Council Shortcomings

A local campaigner for cycling safety expressed dismay over the lack of grit or salt on the paths. Ollie Mouland, of the pressure group Cycle Pledge, said he spotted several riders entering a bicycle path then losing control due to the icy surface.

"There were a few collisions and about 10 people came off while I was there," Mr Mouland said. "On my way to work I probably saw between 20 and 30 people who had been involved in accidents on the cycle path.

"At the end of the path on Midland Road one person was waiting for an ambulance at the side of the road. He wasn't wearing a helmet and had blood pouring down his face."

Issue Widespread

According to a recent survey by NHS Bristol, more than 25% of all non-collision cycling accidents were caused by slipping on ice.

The problem has come to the attention of Sustrans, the nationwide cyclists' charity, with area manager Jon Usher tweeting: "Could you explain why the BBRP and Castle Park weren't gritted this morning in accordance with the winter maintenance plan?"

"Not ideal" Admit Council

A local councillor responsible for transport said the authority was working "on options for gritting" and admitted that the present situation was "not ideal" for the public.

"When significant snow is forecast, our plan already involves gritting 2 of the busiest routes," Mark Bradshaw said.

"It's not an easy or cheap process given the specialist vehicles and amount of manual labour which is involved, but it's an area where we're keen to improve."

Councils Can Do More

Local authorities which fail to make safety provision for the public in wintry conditions are operating a false economy, according to legal experts.

"If cyclists are hurt because of a council's failure to grit a road or a path, they will almost certainly be entitled to seek compensation," said Emma Ginley, who specialises in cycling and personal injury claims for Simpson Millar LLP solicitors.

"Given that such payouts can often total thousands of pounds a time depending on the injury sustained, it makes absolutely no sense for a local authority to cut corners in this way."

Report An Area For Gritting Now Via Street Repairs

If you know of an area in need of gritting you can report it directly to Street Repairs using the simple map here:Report an area for gritting

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