« Back to list of all 34 questions for this election

Question 4 - we asked:

We are keen to see more children being able to cycle safely to school independently. Ideas from our members to assist this include protected space for cycling, parking/pickup bans 200m of schools, cycle parking. What measures would you suggest?

We asked this question in these 12 wards: Abbey, Arbury, Castle, Cherry Hinton, Coleridge, King's Hedges, Market, Newnham, Queen Edith's, Romsey, Trumpington, West Chesterton.

45 of the 49 candidates (92%) who were asked this question responded as below.

Those candidate(s) which were elected are highlighted.

(Conservative Party)

Current provision of cycle paths is good but could be improved, and there should be greater enforcement against inconsiderate parking or stopping which endangers their use

Manas DEB
(Conservative Party)

Parents should send their children to road safety courses and once they are ready should encourage them to bike to their schools. It is scary for parents of young children to see that some cars don’t follow speed limits near schools and speeding cars at round about and near schools could be dangerous for young school going cyclist and if elected as a Councillor, I would like to see more slowing downs signs and cameras before round about and schools to build cyclists confidence.

(Conservative Party)

I support protected zones near schools and education programmes for school run parents - maybe starting with their children?

(Conservative Party)

Absolutely agree. I used to cycle to school. This is a health issue . Prevention of obesity comes to mind for a start. Loads of Chelsea Tractors clogging up roads is not good. However I think children could form small groups going to school together. I think parents have concerns about sex offenders and maybe a reason they don't cycle?

(Conservative Party)

I don't have kids, and am not an expert. I grew up in a different era, in a city much more conducive to safer cycling by children. The types of measures contemplated in the question don't strike me as likely to be practical in making a difference. There is probably a way of changing the culture, but it should be done gradually and by consent.

(Conservative Party)

Child safety on the road is essential. Protected space for cycling and cycle parking are important, though pickup bans may create congestion problems farther away from the school where students have less supervision. Overall though, a culture of cycle safety needs to be cultivated in schools - starting with educational programmes.

(Conservative Party)

I think it is important that the City Council should be working hard to make our roads safe enough for school-age students to cycle independently to and from school and for other travel.

I believe the biggest issue on our roads regarding cycling is poor education and that is where we should put our efforts. Educational talks for incoming university students should continue and be improved and social media campaigns would, I feel, help get the message across to Cambridge residents.

(Conservative Party)

Banning parents dropping off within a certain distance of the schools and
safer cycle lanes will encourage children and their parents to cycle to school.

(Conservative Party)

Please see my answer above regarding ‘permanent visible traffic force’.

(Green Party)

Our one school is on a busy main road that intimidates many adult cyclists and has a very small catchment area . Given the choice between a primary school child walking for ten minutes on the pavement and cycling for 5 minutes on the road, I think most parents would opt for walking. It may be better to focus on Abbey secondary school children who have to travel outside the ward to get to school .

(Green Party)

I would be strongly in favour of encouraging cycling to school as an alternative to journeys by car. Schoolchildren feature prominently among those who display the various kinds of ant-social cycling behaviours that you identify in your newsletter. I would encourage school based training to encourage a culture of safe cycling and thus to reassure parents that their children will be safe.

(Green Party)

The question of children's independence to be in public spaces is part of a broader question around community and trust. However, specifically in terms of cycling to schools, there are measures that can be taken - that start with the Schools offering support to parents to allow for those choices. Some research is worth doing by schools first and investigation needs to be made as to why so many cars are used and whether alternatives could not be found - perhaps even with a school bus. But there are other issues such as providing ample safe cycle parking and ensuring that bin trucks are not blocking traffic at these critical times in neighbouring streets as well as the schools' road itself. Each school should advertise its safest cycle routes and have them upgraded so that they are 'the instinctive choice'; schools should investigate the possibility of buses and promote car pooling where cars have to be used. Drop off points need to be carefully managed and schools need to be designated 'safe zones' at critical times.

(Green Party)

I agree with the above suggestions and your document “Making Space for Cycling” has many more useful suggestions. Proper planning is central to good cycle infrastructure and a full review of all routes to school for children in Cambridge is essential leading to a plan that would put in place safe routes to schools including Sawston Village College where many young people in Trumpington have chosen to go. There are gaps in the cycle provision to Sawston which means parents have concerns about children cycling to the college there are no off-road cycle routes to Shelford and the on road cycle path from the Shelford junction and the Rose Pub is none existent and crossing to the cycle path to Sawston form there is unsafe. In Trumpington the cycle route to Fawcett School has been well used over the years with majority of children cycling to school. However a holistic plan for children to cycle from the new developments in Trumpington to all the schools has not been considered in the planning process and some routes have missing sections.
The spine route form Addenbrookes Road to Long Road to the new primary means pupils will be cycling on the narrow road used by resident car users to access their homes and the 25 bus servicing the primary school and the GP surgery and community centre. This road also leads to the Secondary School and many parents are concerned about the crossing at the guided busway.
An off road route needs to be considered and marked clearly.

(Green Party)

Seems good.

(Green Party)

Yes to all those.

Covered cycle parking essential. Wet seats are horrible.

Parents should not be allowed to drive onto school premises at beginning and end of day to drop off/pick up their children. Some schools, astonishingly, allow this, and the cars are mixing with (small) children on foot

(Green Party)

As above, I think it would be great if cycling proficiency and bicycle maintenance courses were part of the Cambridge primary and secondary school curriculums. It would also be good if each school had their own bank of bicycles for students to use as needed in case some families cannot afford to kit their children out with bicycles.
Cycle safety such as wearing bright clothing, using bicycle lights, adhering to road safety guidelines and not using mobile phones must be stressed as part of any cycling course. Teachers and management of the schools should help to reinforce these guidelines in school assemblies and in registration. Also, extensive parking for bikes must be present (preferably with rain covers) to allow safe storage of students' bicycles and to discourage crime.
Entrances and exits to schools would have to be designed with multiple bike usage in mind and protected spaces for cycling, such as the cycle pathways on Radegund Road leading to Coleridge school, would have to be properly maintained. More signage close to schools alerting car drivers to the presence of children cycling to school should be put in place.

(Green Party)

I fully agree with the measures the cycling campaign suggests and would like to cooperate in making them happen.

I also think we need to increase the number of off-road protected routes for children to cycle so that parents can be confident their children are safe when cycling to school. I also think the council could be working more with schools to promote cycling through awareness raising of the benefits and possibly events where cycling is encouraged.

(Green Party)

I would suggest free cycle training for children in school so they can learn how to cycle safely. I strongly agree with the idea of a parking/pickup ban within 200m of schools, and this would have the added benefit of reducing the amount of car fumes that children are breathing in. Cycle parking is also a great plan. I also agree with the idea of protected space for cycling, off-road cycle paths are much safer for children than those on the road.

(Green Party)

I think an easier solution would be to start a campaign to encourage and allow children to cycle on pedestrian sidewalks - they are everywhere, and would ensure safe passage from all points A to B. Children at least should be permitted to do this in the absence of safe/separate cycle infrastructure. Us adults can risk our lives on the street with cars, although this isn't ideal either.

(Green Party)

School traffic is a huge problem in Cambridge and when I speak to parents across the city, many tell me that they want to cycle with their children but it does not feel safe. The message I receive is clear; if they could cycle to school without being on the road or on narrow paths, they would.

So the cycle solution seems to lie in segregated cycle paths. While it is a swift and cheap solution worth considering, a parking / pick-up ban only resolves issues around the school, not for the whole route. Each school definitely needs to consider whether or not it has enough cycle parking. For those unable to cycle, the City Council, County Council and private bus companies should work together to provide affordable school bus services.

(Labour Party)

This would be a great idea but ....
see http://romsey.cambridgelabour.org.uk/collecting_children_from_st_phillips
this explains about how we have double yellow lines outside St Philips School to make it safer for children. Parents park on them to collect or deliver their children. I have mounted facebook campaigns to stop this with photos put online to shame parents. Outcome - nothing changes. It is so frustrating.

(Labour Party)

My daughter has cycled to school since she was 6. She is about to start cycling without an adult present, and therefore the starting point for me is proper education for her….building on the work currently undertaken by Outspoken. She is having her first formal school based training at the end of Year 5, which I feel is too late. But I think the child's awareness does need to go with car parking restrictions. However, I do not think blanket bans would work (what is right for Newnham Croft, is different to the needs at St Matthews where my daughter goes to school, or Abbey Meadows where I am a Governor), so therefore individual site specific assessments should be carried out.

(Labour Party)

I used to cycle to my primary school each day and I wasn’t allowed to do so until I took a cycle safety course. I think schools should offer these courses to every child as they will save lives. It taught me a simple version of the highway code and enabled me to be a safe cyclist. Secondly, schools must have safe streets surrounding them and/or cycle paths which could have a school crossing patrols at busy crossings.

(Labour Party)

With the challenges of insufficient child exercise and of obesity, schools working with parents are at the core of behaviour change, and schools also have to sign up to increase child cycling before parents will change their excess car drop offs. I think primary schools can do much more, and I have found several overly defensive of parents. As on several issues academisation, particularly of primary schools in Cambridge, and the ending of education authority powers and work incl previous high levels of road safety work in schools has been a big backward step on non-car travel to schools.

Clare KING
(Labour Party)

I have been a school governor and a Chair of Governors, a parent and someone who lived next door to a school for many years so congestion problems caused by parents driving children to school and insisting on parking as close as possible have always been very much to the fore. Schools have a real role to play in this as well and the lessening of local accountability through academisation has definitely been a backward step. Getting parents to take responsibility for their own behaviour is important though not easy to achieve. Schemes like Bikeability training for children need to have their funding protected.

(Labour Party)

I am also keen to see less children driven to schools and more encouragement of cycling to get children to and from schools. There is not a senior school in Abbey ward and therefore children do tend to cycle to Coleridge and other senior schools they attend, and they cycle to colleges as public transport is too expensive (I am campaigning for a "student fare" for ages 16-18).

Better cycle routes will help persuade more children to cycle to school safely. Pick up / drop off do need to be better and safer. Maybe where possible having a separate exit for cyclists from school could also be one option. Encouraging parents to park at park and ride sites would also help as less vehicles near to schools, and of course a better public transport service. We are THE cyling city and we need to encourage the next generation of cyclists to be able to achieve less air pollution, healthier outcomes and less traffic.

(Labour Party)

Reduce the numbers of vehicles undertaking the 'School run' which is a real issue all around the city - Area committees are always taking questions from the public about the very poor parking habits around and close to Schools: If it were possible stop anyone who lives within a mile of the School bringing a vehicle (unless there are medical reasons of course) to School: Govenors perhaps formulating a planned 'rota' system from willing parents who may be able to act as marshalls for children cyling to School in groups rather than every parent supervising every child - perhaps meeting at a 'Marshalling point' (just an idea): I would agree with the 200mt rule which may deter people who live very close to using the car when it was perfectly possible to walk. Secure cycle parking is a must for all Schools and indeed work places; people should be able to leave their cycle at School (or work) and know that it is in a 'safe' parking place with no public 'walk-in' possible.: Involvment from the Schools themsleves would help with perhaps a member (or two) of senior staff out by gates in good quality hig viz jackets (perhaps with the name of the School) keeping order and detering unwanted behavior at the start and end of the School day; and working closely with the local PCSO's in order to provide some joined up approach to the problem of Road Safety at these important times of the day.

(Labour Party)

I completely agree with parking/pickup bans close to schools. Not only do parents doing the school run contribute massively to congestion, the increased exhaust emissions around young people is dangerous. When I was at school I had to take part in a cycle proficiency course. I think a similar sort of scheme in secondary schools would be helpful as a reinforcement of principles of safe cycling. Crammers should also have to undergo some level of training. Organised cycle-trains where children can travel in a group possibly with some supervision might help safety and also reassure anxious parents.

(Labour Party)

- Cycle paths
- No parking
- Street wardens (?)
- Telling off wayward road users
- Safe crossings

Patrick SHEIL
(Labour Party)

Fixing pavements would make walking safer and more appealing as an option, especially if and when the distance from home to the school is under a mile. Also, it should automatically be 20 mph if not in some cases 10 mph speed limit in school areas. This would reduce risk of accidents and allow cyclists freer and safer access to the roads.

There should either be pinch points or speed bumps (possibly two sleeping policemen would work) in the lower part of French's Lane. Children cycling to and from St Luke's School will be safer as a consequence. Cars have been frequently spotted going too fast down that road. There might be a case for similar measures regarding Arbury Primary School; the views of parents, residents and teachers should be canvassed. As noted above, cars often go too fast down Carlton Way.

Temporary walkways should be provided when any new development forces pedestrians - be they parents or children (and parents and children who might be wheeling bikes) - onto the road.

Martin SMART
(Labour Party)

I would suggest using measures to encourage children and families to choose to use healthy, safe and sustainable modes of travel to school. These include cycling, walking, skating, scooting, skateboarding and any other similar such method. Using vehicles to transport children to school disempowers children, costs more, pollutes the environment, does not give children or main carers any exercise and runs the risk of hurting other public highway users like pedestrians and cyclists who are not protected inside a heavy steel box.

(Labour Party)

Trumpington has six state schools and seven private schools, and so cycling to and from school is a real prospective growth area in Trumpington. My focus is the stretch of road south of Alpha Terrace, for families with children at Trumpington Meadows Primary School.

There are a few other places within Trumpington that should likewise be a focus of campaign activity. Hobson Avenue, where a road crosses the guided busway, is a dangerous intersection that requires a two-pronged approach: it needs changes to the signalisation and road users need to be educated about the dangers inherent in the junction. As a resident of the Novo estate pointed out, many of the roads in new estates in Trumpington have not been adopted, and as a result see high traffic speeds and are becoming rat runs. That said, the whole of Trumpington should be assessed for vulnerability, so that we can build resilience into the design of the city.

(Liberal Democrat)

I would be very keen to see greater facilities for cycle parking in schools locally, as well as more support and training opportunities for young cyclists. When I was at school in Spain, all children received free cycle training and advice, in a similar scheme to cycling proficiency, and I would look to encourage more of this to happen locally. I am sure spaces like Romsey Recreation Ground would be perfect for training courses for children, from the likes of Bikeability.

(Liberal Democrat)

I support all of the measures proposed.

In addition, i would support schools coming up with formal travel plans for students. This would include cycle trains enabling students to travel in groups to and from school and cycle maintenance lessons.

Separately, i would in to enhancing the safety on the roads used by students to travel to and from school (based on the school travel plan).

(Liberal Democrat)

This is a key issue in West Chesterton, with a large number of schools in the area, including a high concentration of pupils on Gilbert Road. This has led to many residents noting issues during the school drop-off, especially when cars wait on double yellow lines creating significant dangers for other road users. With further expansion of the local school, it is very important that proper enforcement helps resolve the issue, with enforcement of double yellow restrictions at key times. This would hopefully improve safety and therefore encourage more pupils in the area to cycle into school.

Cycle parking is also an important factor for making it as easy as possible to cycle to school and it’s obviously very important that we ensure that plans for new or expanding schools include ample space for young cyclists to park up.

As well as providing a safe route to the school and easy place to park, it’s important that we help build knowledge and confidence through schemes such as Bikeability. Also, lots of research shows that parental engagement is key to outcomes in school and I believe the same is true for cycling; I would keen to support schemes that support and encourage parents in cycling down to school with younger pupils so that they can build the confidence to travel independently in the future.

Daniele GIBNEY
(Liberal Democrat)

These sound like good ideas. Also engage with schools (we have quite a few in King’s Hedges) to get a sense of any particular issues affecting the routes their students use (or would use, but feel they can’t). It would also be worth engaging with parents, to understand and, hopefully, address their concerns.

(Liberal Democrat)

I am too, and I would go further: all children should be able to cycle to school safely. The most practical strategy for seeing to this is to work with the schools. The best tactic is then again to take a user-first approach: look at each cyclist’s route to school and make it safe. At present, we have instead gaps in the cycle network that make it impossible for some children to cycle to school (even with parents, sometimes): my examples above show we are to some extent wasting excellent cycle paths on Shelford Rd, Lime Avenue and elsewhere because the gaps on the system deter use by cyclists.

(Liberal Democrat)

I like the idea of encouraging cars away from school gates. In addition to promoting cycling it would improve air quality for children as there would be fewer engines running.

(Liberal Democrat)

Car parking on the road and pavement around all three primary schools in Queen Edith's has come up time and again with residents. All three have zig-zag lines outside but parking enforcement here is poor. This is an issue councillors of all parties agree on and has been raised repeatedly to the police at area committee.

(Liberal Democrat)

​More separated cycleways need to be built-such as the one along Barnwell Rd/A1134​, or the admirable "Tins " route to Cherry Hinton .Further, cycling proficiency needs to enter the standard school curriculum at a far earlier stage than it does at the moment.

Cheney PAYNE
(Liberal Democrat)

As a teacher myself, in a rural area, I know that cycling to school can work really well in an area where the 3 stages of the journey are well-resourced: people need to have space to keep their bikes at home safely; the main routes require safe cycling provision; and the drop off point needs to be car free with safe cycle storage again.

Firstly, while some of the roads in Castle have secure front gardens with space to store bikes off the road, this is not the case everywhere, and so I think creation of safe cycle storage areas in places like Oxford Road where there is less space would enable more families to see cycling to school as an easy option. Shared cycle storage with protection for bikes mean parents are more likely to buy their children a bike if they know they have somewhere safe to keep it that does not involve carrying it through their front room several times a day.

Secondly, providing off-road cut throughs for cyclists is essential to ensure children can cycle to school safely. It is very easy for schools to provide maps and guidance of the best cycle routes to school from the different parts of its catchment area as part of their induction packs to new students. In some of the smaller primary schools, it is also possible to make cycling to school a part of a students’ induction activities: for example, arranging for members of staff or an engaged parent to meet students in a central part of the catchment area and lead them along a safe cycle route to school for the first few days of term quickly ensures children are confident to cycle independently, and learn the best routes to take. This would also help parents to feel confident in allowing their children to cycle, knowing they have been given the appropriate guidance. This is something my school has done as part of our year 6 induction process and it has worked really well to create little groups who then cycle in daily throughout the school year. For this to work, such cut-throughs have to exist of course, which should be a priority of future planning.

The final step in this process is providing a safe drop off point and bike storage. I was really disappointed to see that a LHI bid for double yellow lines around the Mayfield Primary School was rejected recently: providing space around schools is key to ensuring students can arrive safely, get off their bikes and get out of the road quickly. Clear directions for parking around schools ensures that cyclists can get to the bike storage easily without fear of conflict with vehicles, and also aids those dropping children off in a car by giving them fewer cyclists to navigate around at the busy school drop off.

(Liberal Democrat)

As above, safe cycling education needs to start sooner, and include details about the highway code. Recent cuts to County Council funding mean that some children in Abbey will be finishing primary school without any cycle training provision. Obviously, parents have a responsibility to teach road awareness as well, but safe cycling is such an important life skill, it should be taught at primary school.

Most schools already have double yellow or no stopping zones outside them, but cuts to policing budgets mean these are no longer policed. I know that the area around Abbey Meadows is chaos in the morning. This needs to be addressed so that children can safely approach by bike. Additional provision of safe cycle parking would also help at all of our schools.

Lindsey TATE
(Liberal Democrat)

The location of schools should always be considered when reviewing planning for new cycle lanes and routes and where possible cycle routes to the school from multiple directions should be provided. At a minimum, busy junctions near schools should have clear and explicit provision for cyclists.

Where off-road cycle paths are available near schools, it is important that they are well-lit and overlooked, so parents can feel more confident allowing children to travel independently, particularly in the winter months.

(Liberal Democrat)

The measures already suggested seem a reasonable starting point, along with perhaps some more police priority (see Q3) given to things like parking in the new cycle lanes on Arbury Road outside St Laurence School ... but perhaps this has already been actioned, as I have seen less of it recently than used to be the case.

The city wide 20mph project which I led whilst a councillor was in part aimed at encouraging higher rates of cycling to school.

(Libertarian Party)

I too am keen to see more children cycling to school independently. I think the most effective way to achieve this would be for every parent to make it so.

I am glad that you have sought suggestions from members as to how to achieve this. I note that your emphasis is on making the journey safer. No sane person would seek to make it more dangerous. Moreover, if, in fact, it were made safer it stands to reason that more parents would be nudged to let their children cycle to school alone which would in itself be good. I wonder, however, if it might be more effective to write to parents with the evidence setting out the actual risk faced as against the benefits thereby derived?

As a primary school pupil I walked to school (I did not cycle) without a care in the world. No doubt some of my contemporaries somewhere in the country suffered some mishap from doing so and I imagine as a proportion more than would do today. But I wonder if, perhaps, a little less wrapping of children in metaphorical cotton wool might not serve too.

Above I suggested that putting cycle lanes on pavements was perhaps not always to the good but I much prefer to see a child bicycle making its way along the pavement than I do to see it making its way along the road. Given how light foot traffic is along many of our pavements and how much slower accidents are when they occur on a pavement than on the road I tend to the view that moving cycle lanes off roads onto pavements is, subject to cost, generally a good thing and particularly so with cycling children in mind even though this does run against my not always favouring lanes at all on pavements.

I am not crazy for, in particular, parking pickup bans. An inebriated maniac 20 year old driver on a cocaine high is going to be dangerous in front of a primary school anyway but I am doubtful that it is the naturally careful parents whom one should focus on controlling in order to minimise road accidents next to schools.

Camcycle is a non-partisan body. All candidates are given an equal opportunity to submit their views. Information published by Camcycle (Cambridge Cycling Campaign), The Bike Depot, 140 Cowley Road, Cambridge, CB4 0DL.