New cycle map – mixed feelings

This article was published in 2000, in Newsletter 33.

‘Do you think including poor-quality cycle routes makes the map better – or worse?’

This autumn sees the publication of the second edition of the Cambridge Cycle Route map published by Cambridgeshire County Council. As with the first edition, most of the cycle route information, and most of the text on the back, was provided by Cambridge Cycling Campaign, and we’re proud that the County Council has continued to work with us as a partner in this new edition.

Perhaps the most noticeable change in the new edition is that it does not contain any advertisements – apart from one for Cambridge Cycling Campaign. This has made it possible to include information about cycle training and some suggestions for country cycle rides that we did not have space to include in the first edition.

The cycle route map itself is essentially the same as the previous edition, but with a number of small corrections. Perhaps the most significant change is that the shared-use pavements on Madingley Road and Long Road are now shown as ‘suggested cycle routes’.

Image as described adjacent
Long Road shared-use pavement. We don’t suggest this route, but the County Council does

Some poor routes added

When the map subgroup compiled the map for the first edition, we deliberately omitted the majority (but not all) shared-use pavement ‘routes’ from the cycle map because we did not think they were of good enough quality to warrant recommending as a cycle route. We were worried, for example, that showing Madingley Road as a cycle route would be very misleading to cyclists. There are no special cycle facilities on Madingley Road. All the council has done is make it legal to ride on the pavement. The resulting cycle ‘route’ is one of the poorest shared-use paths in the city: narrow, overgrown, blocked by parked cars, and of course with absolutely no provision to help cyclists cross side roads.

In the second edition of the map the County Council has chosen to show Madingley Road and Long Road as being ‘suggested’ cycle routes. We asked the council to omit them, but they disagreed. The council felt that they were not too bad, and that cyclists should be given a ‘choice’.

A large number of other shared-use pavements continue to be omitted. The County Council appears to accept our general point that some routes are so bad that they should not be shown.

Cambridge Cycling Campaign is proud of the new cycle map and especially of the fact that most of the cycle routes shown were contributed by campaign members. However we are disappointed that it now contains a small number of cycle routes that we cannot recommend you use. It is your choice, but we hope cyclists don’t see them on their map and unwittingly include them in their route when they would have preferred the alternatives.

What do you think? Do you think that including poor-quality cycle routes such as these makes the map better – or worse? Let us know.

20,000 copies of the new map have been printed. Thousands of copies have been distributed directly to students, to libraries and tourist information centres. For a copy of the map – which is free – call Cambridgeshire County Council phone (01223) 717385.

Nigel Deakin