This article was published in 2001, in Newsletter 36.
We’ve managed very happily for the last few years without a car, using our bicycles and – for longer journeys – public transport and the occasional taxi. We are expecting our first child in September, but want to continue a car-free existence if at all possible. We would be interested to hear from other parents of babies and young children who don’t have a car – can you pass on any advice? Especially if you, like us, live a few miles from the city centre, in a village where there are few facilities within walking distance.
Jenny Prince email@example.com (01223) 233510
The Editor’s family doesn’t quite qualify, because we do own a car – although we do not use it very much. Please write to the Campaign as well as getting in touch with Jenny if you do!
Capital Park, and the road to Fulbourn
I very much agree with Martyn Smith’s objective criticism of the Capital Park entrance. I cycle from Fulbourn to central Cambridge every day, and the new crossing is one of the few flaws in an otherwise excellent cycle path. I have been nearly knocked off my bike on one occasion by a turning car, have had a couple of ‘interesting’ encounters with other cyclists negotiating the chicane, and have had my eyes lashed by the hedge more than once. The old ‘straight-over’ crossing was far better.
By the way, I’ve noticed that quite a few cyclists prefer not to use the Fulbourn cycle-path. That’s their right, of course, but I wish they wouldn’t exercise it insensitively. Drivers held up by a cyclist plodding up Windmill Hill out of Fulbourn, and constrained by the traffic-calming island, the no-overtaking line and the brow of the hill might well feel that a point of principle can be stretched too far. Similarly, cyclists heading out of Cambridge towards Fulbourn, on the long straight stretch of road beyond Capital Park, cause a particular problem at night. Many drivers assume, if they see a red cycle lamp ahead of them, that the rider is on the cycle path. Suddenly, at 60 mph, with another car’s lights rushing towards them, they realise that the cyclist is actually on the road, and they have to swerve or brake hard. I’ve seen this happening many times (from the safety of the cycle path) and it’s a miracle no-one’s yet been killed.
Potholes fully filled
In your recent magazine you say you would like to hear about successful appeals for action.
About three weeks ago I reported three pot holes in Bridge Lane, Little Shelford. I never expected any action. True – nothing happened in the 24 hours indicated on the card I sent in, but a week later all the potholes were filled. So it did work after all!
Another point – you should be encouraged by the ‘out of the blue’ letter from a thoroughly selfish motorist who thinks she owns the road. The message must be getting across if someone as arrogantly greedy as that has been driven to react so strongly to the very suggestion that she should share the road. Obviously she is now ‘running scared’ because she is losing the battle. Keep up the pressure.
M C Powell