Media Watch

This article was published in 1996, in Newsletter 5.

For the past six months or so, I’ve been clipping cycle-related items from the Cambridge Evening News and making them available for the CCC meetings. From this month, I’m sticking them on pages to make a permanent file of local media coverage, and hope to provide Jonathan with a regular feature for the newsletter. If you’d like to clip from the Cambridge free papers and/or other local papers please send them to CCC.

This one covers the period mid-December to mid-March.

CCC has had several mentions in CEN. On 15/12/95 our involvement in the county council’s Cycle-friendly Employers’ Scheme (as reported in the last newsletter) made the front page. In the same issue there was an editorial which gave the motorists’ point of view. This prompted a letter from CCC/David Earl which appeared on 22/12. On 18/12 David was reported on WAGN trains policy on cycle provision, with a supportive editorial. There was a full-page feature on the Cycle-friendly Employers’ Scheme on 9/1/96, including a comment from David (see elsewhere in this newsletter). Letters on 4/3 from “cycle bashers” prompted a further letter from David published on 12/3.

There was one cycle death reported on 16/1, on the A14 between Brampton Hut and the Spittals interchange; and a cyclist was injured by a car on the B1411 at Little Downham on 30/1. The Town Crier reported on 16/3 that a student cyclist was fatally injured on 9/3 in collision with a coach outside Fitzwilliam College.

The Burleigh Street cycle ban was reported on 19/1, followed by letters from Coun. Chris Bradford (25/1), E. Syfret and Beth Morgan (1/2). A small news report on 1/2 reported the Fitzroy Street Regency Gallery’s support for the ban. The 18-month trial Magdalene Street traffic ban, due to start in the summer, made the front page on 1/3 and resulted in an editorial which concluded by saying “A good idea must not be put at risk just to satisfy the self-righteous who smile smugly as they put on their bicycle clips.” [They wouldn’t be in the pay of car and garage advertisers, would he?].

News stories included Coun. Kelleway’s idea for traffic wardens to give on-the-spot fines to cyclists breaking pedestrian-only rules (12/12), police warnings to cyclists’ danger from muggings on Cambridge commons (13/12), the go-ahead for 50 high-security bike parking spaces at the new Madingley Road “Park & Ride” (16/1) and the planned revamp of the Newmarket Road/Elizabeth Way pedestrian underpass (19/1). I noticed a Quy parish council report on new cycle paths (11/1) and thought it would be good if CCC members in the villages could liaise with parish councillors on such topics, in future [Any offers?]. South Cambs. District Council (12/1) is maintaining its cycleway spending at £120,000 in 1995/96 and £130,000 in 1996/97. Coun. Taylor (9/2) warned of dangers for cyclists using the new Hills Road/Cherry Hinton Road filter lane.

There were ten Letters to the Editor during this period, including Elizabeth Court (29/12), who counted 21 out of 101 cyclists without lights passing the police station, and Robin Green (26/1) a lorry driver who nearly killed a child cycling without lights. [Why don’t we cheaply produce leaflets which we (and others) could give to cyclists we see riding without lights. It would improve our media and public profile overnight]. Edward Boland (17/1) suggests why schoolkids are being driven to work instead of cycling and Anne Bromley (24/1) asks why the path across Christ’s Pieces has a cycle ban.

Cyclesense, in the CEN Motoring Section [sic], has mentioned CCC a few times recently, and (15/12) mentioned a CTC report (£10) which features Cambridge. A news reporter, Dan Jackson (16/2) used the part of the Motoring Section called “Driving Me Mad” to complain about cyclists crossing in front of him from a footpath or on pedestrian crossings.

If you want to see any item come to a main meeting and look at the ringfile – or I could photocopy it for a small fee (contact me via CCC). Letters to the CEN editor may be sent by email to Oliver Merrington