Two-way cycling in one-way streets: petition


Crossing directly into Kingston Street is a much safer option
than mixing with this traffic

Sometimes making things better for cyclists is like wading through treacle. It took years of effort to get four one-way streets off Mill Road made available for cyclists to use in both directions (as is commonplace in Europe and applies to many other streets in Cambridge).

But after the mess the Council made of signing them, the way this was done is being reviewed.

New signage proposals

The City Council has published details of the review of the signing (of Kingston Street, Mackenzie Road, Covent Garden and Mawson Road).

Official survey from the City Council

Please fill out the official consultation survey from the City Council.

Please also make clear, when filling it out, if you support the principle of two-way cycling.

In terms of the details, the Mackenzie Street proposal is the more-or-less standard way of doing things. The miserable planter at the end of Kingston Street has been used as a reason not to do it properly there – you may or may not agree.

Public meeting on 18th December – please attend

There is also to be a public meeting at St. Barnabas Church, Mill Road on the 18th December at 7.30pm. Cycling Campaign members (especially those who live locally, but anyone else who uses these streets) are urged to attend because the opposition whipped up by Labour councillors previously to the whole idea is being revived.

Petersfield Labour Party leaflet

Petersfield Labour Councillors have delivered this leaflet to houses in Petersfield:

You may wish to make contact with those councillors to politely make clear support for two-way cycling if you use those streets, especially if you live in the south-east of the city.

The e-mail addresses of the three current Councillors and the other prospective Councillor are:

Councillor Kevin Blencowe <>,
Councillor Ben Bradnack <>,
Councillor Lucy Walker <>,
Natasha May <>

We find it ironic that illegal driving is being turned into a reason to stop legal cycling. At no point in the leaflet is the illegal driving condemned, despite the existing signs (which we agree could be improved) being in the Highway Code.

The leaflet is, however, correct in stating that some Liberal Democrat Councillors opposed two-way cycling for some streets in New Town (Trumpington), a matter which the Cycling Campaign also deplores.

Key points about two-way cycling

  • Our area needs cycling solutions to ease the parking shortage and reduce traffic.
    Cycle-friendly proposals reduce the need for people to own and use cars. Councillors should be actively supporting cycling as a key component of solutions to ease road congestion and free up car parking spaces in Cambridge.
  • Government guidance favours two-way cycling in one-way streets.
    Cyclists need direct and convenient routes. A great deal of evidence has accumulated that two-way cycling in one-way streets can be safely accommodated. Draft government guidance issued in 2004 states: “Cyclists should be exempted from … one-way orders … unless there are overriding safety considerations that cannot be resolved.” [Local Transport Notes 1/04].
  • The evidence demonstrates lack of danger.
    Official Safety Audits for these schemes show no record of poor safety, despite heavy existing illegal contraflow use. Many nearby narrow streets allow two-way cycling without problems. Crucially, the proposals enable cyclists to legally avoid more dangerous roads.
  • Current arrangements simply have the effect of criminalising many local cyclists.
    Illegal cycling cannot be condoned. However, many ordinary people who live on or near these streets choose to cycle in the contraflow direction because it forms a natural desire line for them.
  • The Kingston Street route forms part of a key route for cyclists across Cambridge.
    Petersfield streets are used by people across Cambridge, not just local residents.
  • Pedestrians are not harmed by cycling in two directions.
    Two-way cycling (or traffic generally) is the norm in most streets. Streets nearby are narrower yet allow two-way car driving also!

Our earlier petition – 277 signatures in one day


The Councillors’ leaflet mentions that there were two petitions against making these streets two-way. However, their leaflet fails to mention that our own petition had many more signatures than these two small petitions put together.

This map makes clear that there has been much local support for our position. Note the very heavy bunching of signatories in the Mill Road area. There is also support from the many people around Cambridge who use the streets:

Petitioner map

Earlier info

Our archived page from 2007 on this issue is still online.