City centre cycling

In the past some bus drivers and police have not understood that cycling is allowed in both directions in St Andrew’s Street.
Image as described adjacent

As long ago as February 1998 (Newsletter 16), we reported misunderstandings over the exact details of the city centre cycling restrictions after a flurry of reports from cyclists riding legally along St John’s Street and Trinity Street who were berated by pedestrians accusing them of breaking the law. These streets are not included in the 10 am-4 pm Monday to Saturday cycling ban, but they feel the same as other streets where cycling is restricted.

The number of incidents was enough to prompt us to distribute a wallet-sized copy of a letter from Cambridgeshire County Council confirming that cycling along St John’s Street and Trinity Street (in the direction of the one-way street, of course) was legal all the time. That letter is still available online.

It’s not just members of the public who sometimes get this wrong: in March 2000 a police press release muddied the waters further by stating that ‘cyclists are forbidden from riding in busy shopping areas between 10 am and 4 pm Monday to Saturday’ without mentioning the exceptions (see Newsletter 30). During most years we receive at least a couple of complaints from cyclists who have been told, wrongly, by a uniformed police officer that that they should not turn right from Market Street into Sidney Street (near the Next shop which has replaced Woolworth’s). And then there are the few bus drivers who are convinced that contraflow cycling on St Andrew’s Street (in front of Bradwell’s Court) is wrong: it isn’t.

More recently, now that contraflow cycling is permitted on Bene’t Street, we received a report of a police officer telling cyclists (again, wrongly) that they were breaking the law.

Map of Cambridge city centre cycling, November 2003

When Simon Nuttall in his role on the Cycle Theft Reduction Project at Parkside Police Station heard about this last incident, he designed a very useful pocket map and guide showing where and when cycling is permitted in the historic city centre. He produced the guide for use by police officers and traffic wardens, but we thought it was so useful that it was worth distributing much more widely.

We are reproducing it here, for people to photocopy, and if you receive a paper copy of the Newsletter, you should find it as an insert. As with the Trinity Street letter, we hope you don’t need to use it (for the education of shoppers, police or even bus drivers), but it might be worth carrying a few spare copies around just in case.

Clare Macrae

1 The letter can be found at www.camcycle.org.uk/resources/map/streets.html .