This article was published in 2019, in Magazine 144.
Inclusive cycling and local highway improvements
An abridged version of the article from Newsletter 134 (October – November 2017)
Over the years, as Cambridge has grown, it has accumulated many cases of poor-quality cycling infrastructure. Often the problem is caused by something as trivial as an exclusionary barrier or a piece of inconsiderate guard-rail. Such obstructions make it very difficult or impossible for people on larger or adapted cycles to navigate through quiet streets and pathways. This poses a particular problem for families carting around small children as well as for people using specially adapted cycles that help overcome disabilities. We believe that cycling infrastructure should always be inclusive of all people and help foster pleasant and friendly surroundings. One way that people can help approach this goal, step by step, is to work on fixing each individual problem, case by case.
One strategy is to apply the Local Highways Improvements Proposals process through the county council. These LHI projects can be brought forward by local residents or organisations, and supported by local councillors. Then, the city council contributes 10% of the costs and the county council matches the other 90%.
Some work has been done in past years by this method, including some barrier removal in Arbury, but generally it has not been used as much as we would like it to be. This year we are attempting to work out how to use it more effectively. We have compiled a list of proposed improvements in King’s Hedges and Arbury and we are working with local councillors to organise the site visits with county council officers that will now be part of the process of bringing proposals forward.
Most of our current proposals involve removing or changing the way access is controlled onto pathways. Many of the devices currently used for access control are exclusionary and contravene the Equality Act of 2010. Any form of physical access control always poses a risk of collision and harm, so we will look for opportunities to remove access control entirely if at all feasible. Where some form of control cannot be avoided, we are recommending the use of bollards deployed in a thoughtful and safe manner. Towards that goal, we are preparing a guidance document for the safe and proper installation of bollards as access controls that prevent motor vehicle incursion on pathways while not excluding any legitimate users.