Frequently asked questions

We get asked a lot of questions on our stalls, by post and email and on the phone, including many from people who don’t like cyclists. Here’s some answers and some of the arguments. (Actually, the most common question on the stall is ‘where is the tourist information centre?’, but we’ll let that one pass.)

What is Cambridge Cycling Campaign?

We’re England’s largest cycling lobby group outside London. We are a voice for cyclists in the Cambridge area. We campaign for better, safer and more cycling in and around Cambridge. We spend most of our time lobbying “movers and shakers”, mostly the local councils, national Government, and business interests. More …

How do I join?

Use the membership form to join online.

How do I contact the Campaign?

If you’ve searched our website to try to find the answer to your question, get in touch via our contacts details.

What’s the best route from “somewhere” to Cambridge?

Please try our journey planner to find the quietest, shortest or fastest routes in the Cambridge area. If that doesn’t help, a cycle route map is available. We try to answer route enquires if we can, but can’t always do so rapidly. We will often point you back at an already prepared route stored in the journey planner.

Can I take my bike on trains to/from Cambridge?

In general, yes, and in general for free. But there are restrictions, especially at peak times. On London trains, put your bike in the doorway. On Cross Country trains from Peterborough and beyond you are strongly advised to reserve space in advance. For more details see our page about bikes on public transport.

Do you have a cycle route map for Cambridge?

Yes; we’ve worked with the City Council to help produce these over the years. There’s an online copy of the printed map and from that webpage you can request to be sent one. You may be able to find one at the tourist information centre. Can we help you with a particular route? However, you may find our interactive journey planning helpful in finding good routes.

Are child and adult cycle training available?

See our page on training for the Bikeability scheme for children (formerly Safer Cycling or Cycle Proficiency) and Bikeability for adults. These are run by the County Council. Well done for considering starting/better cycling!

Do you go on bike rides?

Unfortunately we do not have enough people to lead rides, so recently we have only been able to do rides on special occasions like Reach Fair on spring bank holiday Monday, and informally on Friday lunch times. See the Diary for details.

Where can I buy a trailer?

We have an information sheet on the subject.

I had a crash. What can I do?

We have an information sheet on the subject.

My bike’s been stolen. What can I do?

We have an information sheet on the subject.

Who do I complain to about road faults, bad driving etc?

Follow this link to our page on reporting problems.

How do I mend a puncture?

See this newsletter article for a step-by-step description. There are many other newsletter articles on maintenance and repairs that you might like to look out for as well.

Can you help me with a school project?

We regret that we don’t have enough time to respond to the many requests we get to help with individual student projects. However, we have a large amount of resource on our website, which you are welcome to draw on. If you use any of our material, we would be grateful if you would acknowledge the source.

What about pedestrians?

We think pedestrians are natural allies of cyclists, and share many of the same problems. Cyclists are often on the pavement in self-defence and we don’t think they should be forced into that position, which is why we are campaigning for more road space and safer roads. We don’t agree with the County’s common approach of putting cyclists into the same space as pedestrians as their first reaction, and have succeeded in improving the width and quality of newer shared space. Pedestrians deserve a better deal too, and the National Walking Strategy and newer local initiatives could be a great help to us as well as people on the pavement. On the other hand, we have little sympathy for those who drive into the City and then expect to have the City to themselves to walk in, without any cyclists around, and in rural areas and on the commons, where there is much less pressure and conflict, and higher traffic speeds, sharing is much more acceptable.

Why don’t you make cyclists obey the law?

Firstly, please don’t tar all cyclists with the same brush.

Please see our Position paper on responsible, legal cycling. The Campaign supports enforcement (applied in a fair and reasonable manner) of all traffic regulations, for all categories of road user, to reduce conflict and road danger.

Enforcement of the rules is important for all road users. However, the consequences of transgressions by motorists are likely to be far more serious than those by cyclists. We understand that pedestrian deaths caused by cyclists are about one every two years nationally (and that, in terms of injuries, more cyclists than pedestrians are hurt in cycle/pedestrian collisions). By way of comparison, 823 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles in 2001. Moreover, 53% of motorists do not obey the speed limit in urban roads with a 30mph speed limit; 95% of vulnerable road users survive a collision at 20mph; at 40mph only 15% survive. None of this reduces the need for enforcement against rogue cyclists, but it is important to put things into perspective.

I pay my road tax, why should any of it be spent on cyclists?

Firstly, there’s no such thing as road tax.

Secondly, every motorist should remember that every cyclist is potentially one fewer car and one less in the traffic jam in front of you, so more cycling is a direct benefit to motoring.

The amount spent on cycling is generally pitiful. Compare the much more than a billion pounds proposed to be spent on the A14, or the £100 million which was spent on the Newbury bypass with the £300,000 or so the County spends each year specifically on cycling. Cycling provision is paid for out of local funds, which come from Council Tax, and Income tax etc, which we all pay. Vehicle Excise Duty is a tax on a luxury item, like alcohol, and fuel tax acts a disincentive to drive for environmental reasons – and even so vehicle owners do not pay the true cost of their motoring when the cost to health service of injuiries/health and the environment is taken into account, so in effect we cyclists are subsidising the motorists with our taxes. Driver’s of the smallest cars don’t pay car tax either.

Why don’t cyclists have to have insurance?

Many do, through their house insurance. For those that don’t, we used to offer third-party insurance to our members, but have since found it impossible to source a supplier. Membership of the CTC or London Cycling Campaign (both much larger organisations than ourselves) does include third-party insurance. The cost of this is tiny, compared to 3rd party car insurance because cyclists are hardly ever judged to be primarily at fault in a collision where there is anything other than superficial damage except to themselves.

Why aren’t you on the (b****y) cycle path?

[Exit irate motorist without waiting for an answer].

Because it’s bumpy, narrow, slow, full of pedestrians, bendy, full of obstacles like lampposts, wheelie bins, parked cars etc, makes me give way at every side road. I have a right to use the road, and I’m exercising it.

Which streets can I cycle in Cambridge city centre?

We have a comprehensive map and list of streets in the City Centre which describe the rules.

Why don’t cyclists walk in Trinity Street “like they’re supposed to”?

Cyclists are allowed to cycle in Trinity Street and St John’s Street (southbound) at all times. See also our comprehensive map and list of streets in the City Centre which describe all the rules.

Why do I always have to give way at side roads on cycle paths?

Because the Council says motorists can’t be trusted to stop, and it would mean cars waiting on main roads blocking the traffic. This is despite this not being a problem on the continent, and despite the more kindly drivers who already do this safely, and despite the incentive this gives people to use the road instead.

But I’m safer on the pavement aren’t I?

Evidence from Milton Keynes suggests this is not necessarily so. You are much more vulnerable to cars pulling out of driveways, and are brought into more conflict on side roads – in effect you have to deal with more junctions and it is junctions where the majority of collisions occur. Few collisions occur just in normal progression along the road. Also, because you think you are safer, you are less on guard and alert to hazards. Cyclists who cannot cope in traffic are hemmed in by what footpaths they can legally use, which is why we are advocating adult cycle training. Those collisions on the road that do occur are often speed related, which is why we think traffic speed, traffic volume and traffic calming are so important in cycle safety. The Council cannot, in any case, afford to build cycle tracks along every road even if they didn’t suffer from width, fussiness or giving-way problems.

What are you doing to promote helmets?

We aren’t. While wearing a helmet offers some protection in a collision, it does not prevent collisions (indeed may add to a sense of less vulnerability and therefore lead to more risk taking). We prefer to put our time to the primary aim of accident reduction. There is evidence (from Australia, for example) that compulsory helmet wearing, which is where the well-meaning road safety departments are headed, would reduce cycling, and actually have an overall significant negative effect on health because of the reduced exercise. See our main helmet information page.

What other cycling organisations are there in Cambridge?

See our list of local organisations.

Can I cycle across Cantelupe Farm (Grantchester – Haslingfield)?

Cantelupe Farm is a private road which links Cambridge via Grantchester and Haslingfield, avoiding the busy A10 road or the racetrack which is the minor road between Barton and Haslingfield. The owner, Richard Pemberton, is usually content for residents of Haslingfield and Grantchester to use the road for commuting purposes providing they ask for written permission and disclaim any liability, keep clear of farm traffic and go around the farm yard using the old railway track aligned with the radio telescopes, not through it. Contact Church Farm, Trumpington CB2 9LG for permission. See full details and conditions, including a map.