Keep your distance!

The ending of our ‘lockdown’ situation – in the coming weeks – leaves Bath with an even bigger problem – according to cycle champion, Adam Reynolds.

cyclebath adam reynolds
Adam Reynolds who is Chair of Walk Ride Bath ( formerly Cycle Bath)

In a press release he’s sent out to local media, Adam – who is Chair of Walk Ride Bath – says continued social distancing is not going to be easy when the roads fill with cars again.

Here’s his letter in full:

‘When lockdown ends in the coming weeks, social distancing is expected to continue until 2022. Travel West is advising people to drive, walk or cycle to maintain social distancing, and, as an absolute last resort, use public transport. This advice is unlikely to change. At the moment social distancing is easy when walking, as you can step into empty roads and around each other, but after lockdown ends and our roads fill with cars and this will become next to impossible. 

How does the council keep the city moving and residents and businesses able to function effectively until 2022?

Councils around the country are recognising that our car-centric roads with narrow pavements make social distancing almost impossible. They are now introducing emergency filtering on rat runs, suspending parking and widening footpaths, and introducing cycle lanes and protected cycle tracks to enable residents to socially distance while walking or cycling. 

BaNES council now needs to ensure residents have safe routes they can use to walk and cycle to work, the shops, or for exercise. Roads need to be repurposed as paths for safe cycling and walking by removing our city’s rat runs and accelerating the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods programme the council committed to in the budget. Give the residents, especially our key workers, the space to practice strict social distancing while safely moving around the city by foot, cycle, or mobility scooter. The cars will come, and with them, the inability to socially distance ourselves while walking around this beautiful city.

This is a health crisis far beyond air pollution and demands immediate, decisive, and strong leadership from the council to assure the safety of residents until this virus is no longer part of our lives. 

Remember roads with traffic like this?

Our fume-filled congested roads with their narrow pavements are uncomfortable to walk along at the best of times. Now they will become impossible to walk along while maintaining social distancing as many more switch to the car. 

Will Godfrey (Council CEO) and Cllr Dine Romero (Leader of the Council), how are you going to keep the city moving and residents and businesses able to function effectively until 2022 while social distancing is in place? You have weeks, not months, to find and implement a solution.’


  1. Dear Richard
    The cycling lobby must not be allowed to take over the roads which need to be shared by motorised transport as well as cyclists. Taking exercise along the river tow-path to the west of the city yesterday, I found I was one of very few walkers and I had to leave the path for my own safety and distancing. Why was this? Because cyclists have assumed the right to make almost exclusive use of this route! I do not find this acceptable, especially when, at present, the roads are so empty.
    Kind regards

  2. It makes sense for cyclists to use roads when it is safe to do so – for example now, when motorised traffic is significantly reduced. However, I think Adam’s point is that the roads are not normally safe to use for either cyclists or pedestrians, when traffic in Bath was at its normal pre-pandemic levels. HGVs using Bath as a short-cut has made Bath’s streets even more dangerous and unpleasant. Maybe this is the time to formulate a new normal – where non-motorised users can share the space safely?

  3. This is about your ability to walk out of your front door to the shops along narrow pavements in Bath when cars fill your street. How can you negotiate around other people you meet while walking along? This is not about now. It is about the what happens in 4 weeks time. There are very few pavements that are 2.5m+ wide in the city.

    As to roads being ‘so empty’. No they are filled with drivers who are now speeding. In some areas of the country, speeding has doubled. I’ve had more close passes on empty roads and seen more people on their phones driving along since the lockdown.

    Mike, of note, you are not supposed to be using the towpath for exercise as per the Canal And River Trust’s own guidance. If you don’t live on the canal, please avoid it.

    Also Mike, it’s the walking & cycling lobby and we are very much opposed to shared space which the council continues to impose on our city.

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