This article was published in 1998, in Newsletter 19.
Cherry Hinton Road Rage
I notice in Newsletter 18 under the article ‘Left in the Lurch’ that you cite the Robin Hood traffic lights as a junction which is difficult for cyclists.
Yesterday approaching these traffic lights on Cherry Hinton Road from Cherry Hinton Park side, I suffered a serious incident with a middle-aged man driving a red Ford Sierra. I was on the road travelling at about 15 mph (keeping up with the moderate motor traffic) and wishing to go straight ahead. At the point where the road widens (but before the lane markings start) I made my move for the centre of the road. At this point the man driving the Sierra decided that was ‘not on’ and accelerated harshly, overtaking me using the opposite side of the road, then immediately cut in to the left turn lane and braked to a crawl as he queued in the traffic. I had to brake, not too hard, but was surprised as I overtook him (in the straight ahead lane) when he stuck his head out of his window and shouted abuse at me. I don’t know what he said but it contained several expletives. I pointed out that I was in the correct lane to go straight head and noted that at no time had he indicated that he wished to turn left. This led to more expletives from him, so I decided he wasn’t to be reasoned with and continued on my way.
I was bemused and upset by the incident since, in the eyes of the irate motorist, I had done something wrong when I had not. The only reason I learned of his upset was that he was one of the more easily enraged of the motoring public. Perhaps these situations annoy a large proportion of motorists (most can control themselves) and I have to assume that it the design of the junction which causes these conflicts.
I think that your suggestions for the improvement of Murkett’s Corner are excellent. I use this junction daily and it can be awkward both as a cyclist watching out for less observant motorists, and vice-versa. This proposal could easily be applied to the Robin Hood traffic lights.
Is there anybody I can contact (preferably via e-mail) who has responsibility for either of these junctions?
The Cherry Hinton Road junction at the Robin Hood is one that alarms me too, and is one that features strongly in the ‘left turn lanes’ report just completed (see Taking Positions)
Speed cushions aren’t rare
Speed cushions aren’t as rare as you say: they are pretty widespread throughout Arbury and King’s Hedges, in particular on Campkin Road. I like them very much, both as a cyclist and a car driver. They are generally much more comfortable in a car than the normal humps, but you still have to slow down for them, and of course on a bike they effectively do not exist.
I think they’re the best sort of speed humps I have encountered in Cambridge, and the more people tell the council that the better. They do look as though they have been built with more care (and doubtless more expense) than many of the other types.
With regard to the article ‘One-way streets’ on page six of the June newsletter I would like to point out a danger which seems to have been overlooked. Although the one-way nature of Bateman Street (shown in the picture) is in theory an ‘excellent way of adding to cyclists’ convenience’ there is a major problem with this. Cars are allowed to park on the road at certain times and drivers leave their cars sticking out into the road, completely obstructing the cycle lane. This means that cyclists attempting to overtake these obstructions face danger from oncoming cars as the road is so narrow. I feel that this danger should be particularly highlighted as some of the main users of this cycle lane are children from the Perse School for girls and St. Mary’s School.
The problem of car-parking in bike lanes is cropping up more and more frequently in comments by members – a big concern.
I just wondered if the issue of the pinch stiles around Midsummer Common and the Cutter Ferry and Fort St George bridges has been raised at all. I have lived near the common for more than ten years and have always found them a complete pain. Besides the obvious inconvenience to cyclists (I’ve had a number of rapped knuckles and given my watch a good bashing) I have also heard a number of complaints from people with children in push-chairs. Furthermore I note in Newsletter 18 that cyclists with trailers can’t use them at all.
Every so often one of the ‘ears’ is ripped-off by some helpful vandal and I think ‘bloody good’… but within a few weeks the council have welded another one on.
Likewise there is a pair of gates under Victoria Avenue bridge. Now I can see the need for one to keep the stock in, but why one earth a second one five yards further on, doubling the hassle for the poor old cyclist?
The ideal would be to remove all of the pinch stiles and replace them with cattle grids like the ones near Cutter Ferry bridge and Elizabeth Way bridge.
We made all these points in our recent report to the County Council on the Newmarket Road corridor (see Newsletter 17). We hope we may make some progress on this in the next few months in the context of the ‘Newmarket Road corridor’. We will certainly be pressing the point. The cattle grids are one of the most helpful features for cyclists in this area.
I was not allowed to wheel my bicycle through Lion Yard. I was told by somebody else that it’s because it has been privatised and the security people stop cyclists from taking (not riding) their bicycles through. Do you know anything about it? Is there anything one can do?
I find it particularly useful to wheel it through the pedestrian areas to carry the shopping in the basket.
Despite opposition from a wide variety of groups, Cambridge City Council decided in its wisdom to change the status of Lion Yard. It is now no longer a ‘public highway’. This was done largely because of pressure from Barclays who own the buildings and want to revamp it, more in the style of the Grafton Centre. The issue is complicated a bit further now by the Grand Arcade proposals to redevelop the whole of the area bounded by Lion Yard, Corn Exchange Street, Downing Street and St Andrews Street into a big new shopping mall. Having encountered the soul-less shopping malls in the centre of Gloucester, Worcester and Norwich, I can’t say the prospect excites me, but at least they’ll be accessible to cyclists even if you have to park at the edge, unlike an out of town development.