Hazards ahead!

This article was published in 2000, in Newsletter 29.

Kings Parade – near the Senate House. Take care to avoid the rising bollard when cycling through here, especially if you are following a City Centre Shuttle Bus – you won’t see the bollard until you’re upon it.

The devil is in the detail with cycle provision. We are worried about two seemingly small details in recent changes that may pose serious problems for cyclists.

A rising bollard has recently been installed near the Senate House, to allow City Centre buses to pass. This bollard differs from the ones in Bridge Street and Emmanuel Road, as there is no by-pass for cyclists in one direction. We already know of one elderly cyclist who was seriously injured when cycling over one of the Bridge Street bollards. I am concerned that a cyclist following a bus might find a bollard rising.

Elsewhere in Cambridge, several new cattle grids are being installed. We greatly welcome these, as they improve convenience, lessen journey times, reduce conflict with pedestrians, and open up new routes to cyclists with tricycles, child seats, wide panniers and child or luggage trailers.

Image as described adjacent
Cattlegrids are much better than pinch stiles, but take care to cross them at right angles, and don’t brake or turn on them – they are very slippery when wet. This one is being installed on Trumpington Road.

However, we are rather worried about the positioning of three of the new cattle grids: two on Fen Causeway and one on Trumpington Road. They are very close to the road and at an acute angle to it. Many cyclists entering or leaving the commons will have to make a sharp turn, part of which will inevitably be on the grid. The smoothness of the galvanised tubes provides little friction, and cycles crossing in anything other than a straight line are liable, we fear, to fall. We have written to the City Council to express these concerns, whilst stressing the importance of the cattle grid programme. The reply said that officers are aware that cyclists need to approach cattle grids with caution, and they try to design them to make this possible. However, as virtually all Commons accesses are located adjacent to relatively narrow pavements, it is usually impossible to achieve a straight approach from the pavement side, unless major changes are made.

Clare Macrae