Campaign update: Safe Junctions

This article was published in 2021, in Magazine 153.

Did you know that Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Road Safety Partnership (now the Vision Zero Partnership) aimed to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries to cyclists by 40% between 2015 and 2020, but it actually rose 2% instead?

The last few weeks have been some of the most terrible we’ve known for cyclist injuries and deaths in our region. A man in his 50s was killed cycling in Royston. Chris Mardlin was killed near Huntingdon Jubilee Park. A young physiotherapist, Anna Garratt-Quinton, was killed on her way to work at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge. Several other people have been left with life-changing injuries, and a pedestrian, Kathleen Pitts, was killed on the southern section of the Busway path, close to the spot where Steve Moir was killed while cycling home in 2018.

It’s time to ensure no more lives are needlessly cut short, no more families are left suffering.

In memory of Anna Garratt-Quinton, Camcycle placed a white ghost bike at the Addenbrooke’s roundabout at 8am on the morning of 14 October, one week after her death. We also launched a new campaign for Safe Junctions, calling on those who make decisions on transport in the region to take rapid action on dangerous junctions across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Ghost bike near the Addenbrooke's roundabout dedicated to Anna Garratt-Quinton

We want to see problems at locations that have seen recent collisions immediately addressed and safety issues removed for people walking, cycling and using other active travel modes at junctions across the county.

The Vision Zero Partnership must lay out its plans for all 45 of the current ‘collision cluster sites’. The Police and Crime Commissioner Darryl Preston, who has already declared road safety to be one of his priorities, must make clear how he will eliminate deaths and serious injuries on our county’s roads. The Addenbrooke’s roundabout must be immediately reviewed, with conflicts between motor vehicles and vulnerable road users designed out and priority given to buses and emergency vehicles. The principles of safe, healthy and accessible transport must be urgently integrated into every aspect of local transport and planning policy. All local authorities must work together on an audit of junctions, based on the latest government standards on inclusive cycle infrastructure design, LTN 1/20, to identify urgent improvements and make active travel safe.

Since we launched our Safe Junctions campaign, over 600 people have signed our petition, many leaving pins on our map or comments about the junctions they would most like to see improved. The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) has added the Addenbrooke’s roundabout to decision-making on its ‘Cycling Plus’ scheme for the A1134 North-South (Perne Road, Mowbray Road and Fendon Road) link, when previously this lethal junction was marked as ‘out of scope’. We spoke at a recent meeting of the GCP Joint Assembly calling for high-quality junctions at this roundabout and the Catholic Church junction (part of a proposed scheme for Hills Road). It is extremely frustrating that both these junctions have been changed in the last decade using active travel money, but safety concerns – raised by Camcycle and others – were ignored. In 2013, the county council’s cycling champion, speaking about the Catholic Church junction said: ‘We can’t go all the way this time’. In memory of all those hurt or killed while cycling in Cambridgeshire, we must go all the way now.

Sign our Safe Junctions petition and write to your local county councillor about safety concerns on routes you use.

Busway changes long overdue

Roxanne De Beaux on the BBCWhile junctions are amongst the most dangerous locations, the campaign for safety doesn’t end there. Following the death of Kathleen Pitts on the Busway path south of Cambridge station, we spoke to local media about the safety improvements needed and will be meeting with local councillors in the coming weeks. After Steve Moir was killed, nearly 4,000 petitioners called for the speed limit to be reduced from 52mph to 20mph. It was cut to 30mph and white lines were painted along the path. These changes did not go far enough then and are still not enough today. As we made clear in an article in our Winter 2019 issue, the path needs widening to cope with the huge number of people walking and cycling here.