This article was published in 2000, in Newsletter 33.
Hazards and safety
With reference to Ms Tokens’ letter in Newsletter 32, I contest most of her observations as lacking experience of current UK highway culture. From these misguided ‘observations’ I recommend some enlightenment:
1 Read, learn, and implement the latest version of the Highway Code.
2 Consider the real hazards on the road, and the real causes.
3 Target the guilty (road planners) not the innocent (cyclists fleeing intimidating motorists and road layouts).
4 Consider the majority of cyclists. For every ‘Lycra lout’ you find, there will be at least ten mothers with children struggling through hazardous, piecemeal cycle-transport implementation.
5 Surely, even the worst of cyclists is better than having another motor vehicle on the road?
6 Just because there are a few rotten apples, don’t chuck out the whole barrel.
I reckon, in all probability, like most UK motorists, Ms Tokens doesn’t notice the ‘good’ cyclist at all.
Milton Tesco parking
Tesco at Milton does have cycle stands now but only enough space for six bikes and it’s quite a squeeze, as it is a ‘comb-style’ cycle rack, very close to the front wall of the store. Often people have to leave the bikes chained to the signs and other street furniture.
I frequently stop at Tesco to pick up some shopping, on my bike as it is between my work and my house. I think it’s quite hazardous for cyclists. The roundabout before the main access road to Tesco does not have any signs to indicate that a cycle route is on the other side and it’s badly lit. Most of all, I have noticed that the roundabout forms a ‘cross-roads’: Milton High Street is on the left and right hand sides, the entry road (a cul-de-sac) to an industrial estate and Milton Country Park is at the ‘top’ and the ‘bottom’ is Tesco. The cycle route from the A14 interchange into Milton crosses the entrance into the industrial estate but to get access into Tesco or to The Rowans housing estate, you need to use that roundabout.
Most drivers treat the roundabout as a T-junction and do not allow for vehicles coming out of the industrial estate or cyclists who have to leave the cycle route to get to Tesco, or to enter the village on the correct side of the road. In many cases they are simply not looking, and frequently they fail to indicate, making it even harder for a cyclist to negotiate the roundabout.
The reason I feel so strongly is that I have had two ‘incidents’ there last winter and although neither I nor my bike was hurt, I did feel quite shaken. I know that other friends in the village have also been struck or carved up. Incidentally, when I went to the exhibition for the new Milton cycle bridge I saw a map detailing road traffic accidents in the area involving cyclists. There have been five accidents at that roundabout in recent years and none at the A14 interchange following the route of the proposed bridge. So, as far as I can see, neither the proposed cycle bridge, nor the current traffic calming measures in Milton will resolve any of the problems at the site where accidents are most likely to happen.
Incidentally, my colleague who catches the bus from Waterbeach has precisely the same problem getting into Tesco on foot, as the bus drops her on the far side of an increasingly busy road.
Horrid railings in underpass
I’d like to follow up Colin Stewart’s letter about safer routes in Newsletter 32. I agree with him almost entirely on his alternative route except for using the underpasses at the Elizabeth Way-Newmarket Road roundabout. I loathe these because the horrid metal railings force either a dismount or a precarious wobble through two 90-degree bends at each entrance or exit from the underpass. In addition the ramps often have broken glass scattered on them. There is no way I would go through the underpass late at night, having to dismount twice in a less than savoury area.
With a bit of practice I’ve got used to just using the lane system and cycling around the roundabout with the cars. Changing into the straight-on and right turn lane on Elizabeth Way bridge can be a bit hairy occasionally but a bit of care and patience accomplishes it every time. Does the Campaign know what the justification is for the railings in the underpass, as they are the single big deterrent for me using the cycle facilities at this roundabout?