Police crackdown – but where?

This article was published in 2000, in Newsletter 30.

On 28 March, the Cambridge Evening News ran an article entitled ‘Cyclists to face police crack down’ based on a police press release which said:

Officers will be telling cyclists to get off their bikes in the coming weeks during a purge by officers in the centre of Cambridge. Officers will be issuing stern written warnings to cyclists who blatantly ignore road traffic signs and stay in the saddle when they should be hoofing it instead.
PC Marc Rycarte, from Parkside Police Station, said: ‘People who cycle in the city centre are putting not only themselves but pedestrians at risk.
‘Some people cycle very fast and erratically and seem to have a total disregard for no-cycling signs.’

‘Cycling is permitted at all times in St John’s Street, Trinity Street, Green Street …and St Andrew’s Street’

Now, we have no problem with calls for courteous, considerate and legal cycling. However, this press release went on to say

Cyclists are forbidden from riding in busy shopping areas between 10am and 4pm Monday to Saturday.

This is a gross over-simplification and, frankly, misleading.

Cycling is prohibited between 10 am and 4 pm Monday to Saturday in Sidney Street, St Mary’s Street, Market Hill and Market Street. Cycling is permitted at all times in St John’s Street, Trinity Street and Green Street (though these are all one-way streets), and in St Andrew’s Street.

If you have encountered problems in St John’s Street or Trinity Street, you might like to pick up from our stall a wallet-sized copy of a letter from the County Council, confirming that cycling is indeed allowed in these streets. We asked for this letter a few years ago, after receiving reports of (cautious) cyclists being verbally and physically threatened by irate pedestrians.

Clare Macrae