Another action day in support of Kidical Mass Bath’s campaign for safe streets for everyone is planned for this Sunday the 25th of September, at 11:00 from The Orchard, Broadmoor Lane, in Weston.
Kidical Mass Bath wants B&NES council to prioritise people, including voices rarely listened to: children, women, families, ethnic minorities, young and old, and disabled people.
This gentle thirty-minute ride through Weston will end in Royal Victoria Park where families are invited to stay for a community picnic.
Kidical Mass Bath say they are an apolitical, community-led campaign, and continue to demand the council deliver what they promised for residents.
Organisers say the council’s only attempts to address their complaints have been to offer secret meetings, excluding other groups, and always to offer up purely political reasons why they refuse to deliver the promised, critical, and publicly supported schemes.
Kidical Mass Bath says it supports the council’s Liveable Neighbourhoods vision but calls for a strategic map for through traffic with protected cycling infrastructure, a critical but missing element. Delivering ad hoc infrastructure as per the present active travel schemes on Upper Bristol Road and Beckford road fails to connect communities or complete routes essential to making cycling a safe and practical option for all.
Kidical Mass Bath say they were disappointed to see the cycle ride removed from the Climate and Biodiversity Festival that B&NES Council is holding from 24 September until 2 October 2022. This festival is advertised as a “collaborative programme of events that showcase, inspire and connect organisations, residents and communities across Bath and North East Somerset” and includes other similarly vocal community groups such as the Climate Hub.
The Kidical Mass Bath cycle ride was initially included in the festival programme, but it was removed – say organisers – because “it is considered a political event” an, ironically, political decision to exclude and silence hundreds of ordinary families because they demanded the council itself stop playing politics and start keeping their promises of safe, healthy, streets for all residents.
Saskia Heijltjes, founder of Kidical Mass Bath, a campaigner for good cycling infrastructure, and the first Bicycle Mayor of Bath, recently asked B&NES Cabinet Member for the Climate Emergency and Sustainable Travel, Cllr Sarah Warren why Kidical Mass was removed from the Climate and Biodiversity Festival the following response was given:
“On reviewing the proposal, it was found that Kidical Mass bike rides are currently operated under registration with Avon & Somerset police under the category of ‘Protests and Marches’. As such the event proposed does not hold the appropriate licence for inclusion in the festival programme this month. The council is keen to support inclusive cycling for all and would welcome a conversation with Kidical Mass about how we can support future community cycling events.”
Kidical Mass organisers say they were surprised by this response as:
- There is no such permission as “operated under registration” with Avon & Somerset Police, we only give notice of our cycle ride as required by Section 11 of the Public Order Act 1986.
- There is no “appropriate licence” requirement for Kidical Mass and other participants have not been asked to purchase one either.
- The current council leaders have made clear they wish only to hold secret meetings to justify purely politically motivated decisions, we have always refused these as undemocratic and unfair. Our demands are transparent and simple, that the council stop blocking and delaying the schemes they have already promised but u-turned on.
Kidical Mass Bath is asking that all councillors step up and start listening to the community. Listening to children, young adults, and families, showing the leadership and delivering the cycling infrastructure, to clear government standards, that we need. This was promised by the Liberal Democrat-led council, and central government has legislated they do this and is trying to give B&NES council the money to improve walking and cycling stating:
“England Will be a Great Walking and Cycling Nation.
Places will be truly walkable. A travel revolution in our streets, towns and communities will have made cycling a mass form of transit. Cycling and walking will be the natural first choice for many journeys with half of all journeys in towns and cities being cycled or walked by 2030.”
Kidical Mass cycle rides show a better, healthier and lower carbon future for young and old alike is possible and easily achieved. Improving how we travel will only happen if all generations feel safe on foot, or by wheeling or cycling.
This will be the 9th time Bath’s Kidical Mass will meet to ride the streets of Bath since its first event in May 2021, with over 100 people of all ages taking part each time. The first protest was organised after local families and residents got angry and frustrated by the current B&NES council’s abrupt U-turn on creating promised safe cycling routes for all people. This U-turn directly impacts children and families.
Kidical Mass gives young people a voice and a presence in the public realm. Our cities and streets belong to them too! The rides are designed to be inclusive for all ages and abilities, they’re fun, safe environments for families and friends to cycle together. Kidical Mass say their rides highlight the need for safe, protected routes that enable children to walk, scoot, wheel and cycle in their local neighbourhoods.
They will be meeting at 11:00, on Sunday 25 September, at The Orchard, Broadmoor Lane in Weston, and will enjoy a gentle, thirty-minute ride through Weston and end in Royal Victoria Park.
The event page, with route details and promotion images, can be found at:
Editor’s note: I have asked the Council for comment.