Bikes and buses

This article was published in 2003, in Newsletter 47.

An assortment of (bike-related!) bus news…

We have recently discovered that, for cycling-related complaints about Stagecoach buses, the person to contact is Alan Woods phone (01223) 423578 e-mail

It is essential that you:

  • Provide some positive identification of the vehicle, either the vehicle number (5 digits painted on various parts of the bodywork front, side or rear) or the complete registration number. Be careful because a licence plate beginning AE51 could be any of around forty vehicles in Cambridge.
  • Provide exact location, time, service number, and if possible a description of the driver (male, female, white, black, old, young, hair colour etc). These all help to identify the driver so that they know who to interview.
  • Make certain it is a Stagecoach bus. (Blue ones could be Whippet or Huntingdon and District. Red ones could be City Centre sightseeing buses.)

We will soon be holding a meeting with PC Paul Stubbings, who is Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s Casualty Reduction Officer. This meeting arose from discussions about the hazards that some bus drivers cause for cyclists. We will be raising a number of specific issues relating to driver training:

  • Some bus drivers (and a few police officers) are not aware that there are some Cambridge streets which, while one-way for motor vehicles, are two-way for bikes (e.g. St Andrew’s Street, Sidney Street).
  • Incidents where cyclists have been forced off the road at Magdalene Street by bus drivers abusing the give-way system in the narrow section.
  • The need to give cyclists plenty of space on the road.

Over the years a number of Campaign members have suggested that bus driver training should include a day of cycling around Cambridge.

Please get in touch with the Campaign if there are any other issues you would like us to raise with PC Stubbings.

Finally, we occasionally get asked what happened to the “Think Cycling” stickers that appeared on the back of Cambridge buses in 2001. These were designed to discourage cyclists from going down the left side of large vehicles that might be turning left. (See Newsletter 39)

Well, in a rather ironic stroke of timing, just after these stickers were attached to local buses, about 40 new Stagecoach buses arrived in Cambridge – without stickers. It’s sad that all this work (and the hours we spent discussing the various sticker designs) all went to waste.

Complaints copied to the Cycling Campaign show that some bus drivers don’t know that cyclists are allowed to use some streets in both directions where buses can’t, and won’t give way to bikes when they are supposed to.

Clare Macrae