Bath's community has a new Bicycle Mayor, Pete Dyson, a behavioural scientist at the University of Bath, researching policies to promote sustainable travel habits. The role of the Bicycle Mayor is voluntary, and it aims to facilitate the community's needs. The primary focus of this role is to find ways to make cycling more accessible, safer, affordable, and enjoyable for those who want to cycle in Bath.
Moreover, this position strongly emphasises collaboration with the community, local groups, and the government to promote all types of cycling, such as commuting, shopping, leisure, health, and well-being.
The latest change we have seen in our cycling community
Pete has been leading an active travel campaign: Re-surface North Road. The point of this campaign is to highlight the dangers of potholes and high-risk accidents, which can be easily preventable. North Road is a popular route used by those travelling to nearby schools, Wessex Water and the University.
Pete's campaign emphasises that these communities deserve certainty that the road is safe. After many attempts to get the council to cooperate, Pete and the fellow cycling community held a protest on Friday, 24th November 2023. This campaign succeeded because the council agreed to resurface North Road this year. Pete states he is "...feeling ambivalent as it's a great step forward and opens a wider conversation about assessing road surfaces safe for cycling, but a shame to resort to a protest, and injuries could still happen in the meantime."
A bit more about Pete
Pete earned his title of Bicycle Mayor by volunteering with Transition Bath and taking inspiration from Saskia Heijltjes, the former Bicycle Mayor of Bath. He has a great passion for cycling, being a competitive cyclist himself, and holds the record for the fastest cycle from Land's End to London in just 11 hours and 49 minutes! In addition, Pete has authored a book called Transport for Humans, based on his previous role as a Principal Behavioural Scientist at the Department for Transport.
Pete says, “I always enjoyed cycling as a child, but only started to use a bike for transport when I started a new job 15 years ago. It suddenly made sense as a great way to get around.
“If you see me cycling in Bath, wave hello! I might be on my e-bike that helps up the steep hills, or my road bike with the local cycling club, or a rideshare bike for the times it’s easier to leave my own bike at home.”
Although a culture change can be difficult, Pete acknowledges its importance. He points out that change is often scary and will require engagement with various people, including politicians, to find the right cycling solutions. Pete also believes that having a Bicycle Mayor is essential. This can lead to independence and creativity, independent of politics and promote the benefits of cycling in creative and fun ways.
Some of Pete’s priorities are:
- harness the potential of e-bikes to make cycling more possible for lots more people and journeys
- make e-bikes and e-cargo bikes available to try-out, rent and purchase, especially to make them affordable, inclusive and adaptable for more people
- make Bath more cycle friendly by championing the ‘small but big’ improvements we can make to road and pavement design, cycle storage, security, signage, local clubs and more
- get more people involved with Kidical Mass to give more children and young people a chance to show the power of bicycles in our city; it's a great initiative where children of all ages can ride together in Bath's brilliant streets.
Get in touch
Pete is interested in knowing how he can enhance the biking experience in Bath. He encourages everyone to participate, voice their opinions, and refuse to accept poor design. If you encounter issues such as unsafe cycle lane design, hazardous bollards, insufficient cycle parking, or other related problems, please don't hesitate to reach out and share your concerns with him.
Start your biking journey today
Embark on your biking adventure and explore the SU's bike hire programme, which offers free bike and equipment rentals to students. And the Tier e-bike rental service offers a 35% discount for University staff and students through the UK Access Scheme.
Additionally, staff members and postgraduate students can benefit from a two-week trial of an electric bike. These are just some of the ways that cycling is supported by the university – find out more about how you can enjoy an active travel commute.