Councillors and the city centre cycling ban

18th August 2005

We would be delighted if Jon Green’s analysis (Letters, 8th August) of “disinterested” Councillors on the Area Joint Committee were correct.

Whilst it is the case that a small number of the Councillors on the transport committee are indeed personal members of Cambridge Cycling Campaign – and we are delighted to receive their support for our overall aims – those (and other) Councillors have on several occasions made decisions with which we strongly disagree.

Proposals to force cyclists onto the pavements of Milton Road, refusal to install traffic lights at the Royal Cambridge Hotel (which has a very high casualty rate), installation of dangerous cycle lanes next to parked cars on Trumpington Road, and addition of cycle lanes on Coldham’s Lane narrower than required by national minimum standards, are amongst many decisions which Councillors on the Committee have made which we have campaigned against.

Rather than claiming that Councillors are not impartial when making decisions such as the recent experimental suspension of the city centre cycling ban, Mr Green would do better to argue on the facts of the issues at stake.

On the matter of the city centre cycling ban, for instance, government guidance to Local Authorities states clearly that “there are no real factors to justify excluding cyclists from pedestrianised areas”.

Cyclists and pedestrians already co-exist in the city centre on Sundays, the second-busiest shopping day of the week, and so clearly will be able to on other days as well. We support council suggestions that pedestrians should retain priority over other vehicles (including cyclists) between 10am and 4pm. Furthermore, we support enforcement action against illegal cycling such as riding on the pavement or the wrong way down one-way streets.

Lastly, we note that many members of the transport committee are no doubt members of motoring organisations such as the AA, which campaign for higher speed limits and on other transport issues. Should Councillors’ membership of such organisations not also be disclosed?

Martin Lucas-Smith
Co-ordinator, Cambridge Cycling Campaign