The AGM 2005

Councillor Julian Huppert
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The tenth annual general meeting of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign took place on Tuesday 1 November 2005. Thanks to the many members who attended.

Speaker: Councillor Julian Huppert

Our speaker this year was Julian Huppert, Cambridgeshire County Council Member for East Chesterton and leader of the Liberal Democrat group. He is also a long-standing member of our Campaign.

Julian is Chair of the Cambridge Traffic Management Area Joint Committee (often known as the ‘AJC’), which is the main Council committee involved in decisions which affect cyclists in Cambridge ‘on the ground’.

After giving an introduction to the way that the system works, Julian spoke on some of the issues which Councillors have had to deal with over the past few years, including the bridges, one-way streets, and more. Julian also discussed the way that the AJC was not a policy-making body as such, but instead was charged with implementation, on a scheme-by-scheme basis, of policy decided ‘higher up’.

Julian told us how the transport budget is allocated between different modes of transport. For 2006-2011, £668 million is allocated for capital expenditure on transport in Cambridgeshire (that’s combining the County Council’s Local Transport Plan and promised changes to the A14 trunk road). This works out as:

  • £514 million for roads (77%)
  • £150 million (22%) for (£27M rail, £37M ‘other integrated’ and £86M guided bus)
  • £4 million for cycleways, footpaths, safer routes to school etc. (0.6%)

A question and answer session followed.

One of the questions put to Julian related to the serious lack of data which accompanied (or rather, didn’t accompany) proposals a few years ago for bus lanes on Hills Road and Milton Road, lanes which – in our view – would force cyclists onto the pavement. Julian assured us that councillors will now be much more vigilant in ensuring that reliable and valid data will be supplied for future proposals. We will be sure to hold him and his colleagues to that.

Julian congratulated the Campaign on the quality of many of its letters to councillors on the AJC. We aim to write to councillors in advance of each meeting, setting out our views on those agenda items which affect cyclists.

Pedal power people
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Sadly, on many occasions, a number of our suggestions are not even discussed at the meetings (despite, we feel, being well-researched). At other times, they are taken up.

Another question which arose was in relation to the lack of cycle parking in public areas across the city. Levels of cycle theft have increased and bikes continue to litter pavements across Cambridge. This is an area which Julian felt could be pushed forward by the AJC.

Minutes of the meeting, including notes from the talk, are available from the Campaign via our usual contact details, thanks to Beverly, our minute-taker (who has steadfastly and accurately taken our minutes for the last two years).

Many thanks to Julian for his time preparing and giving his talk.

Review of the year

Outgoing Co-ordinator, Martin Lucas-Smith, presented a review of the year. Copies of his notes are available on request, and this has been circulated to the members’ e-mail list for those who are on it (all members are welcome to join it and should let us know if they wish to be added).

Themes this year have included:

All things considered
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City centre cycling ban: it will be interesting to see on what basis this will be made permanent, or not. The reaction in the media and the general public to the suspension of the ban has been very muted, which is perhaps a sign that there aren’t major problems, and that most cyclists have been respecting the needs of people walking in the area.

Road traffic policing: there has been much correspondence behind the scenes between the Campaign, the Driving Standards Agency, the Police (who seem to believe that entering a mandatory cycle lane to pass inside a stationary vehicle is generally acceptable) and the Department for Transport (who have said quite clearly that the Cambridgeshire Constabulary are wrong on this). We hope to be able to release into the public domain much of this correspondence once further progress has been made.

Bridges: some progress on bridges again this year. Indeed, when we met council officials almost three years ago on a tour of the seven or so bridges of interest to cyclists, little did we think that practically all of them would be made cycleable in one way or another so soon. The cycle bridge at the station is being cleaned and refurbished.

The Fort St George bridge changes seem to have bedded in well.

The Cutter Ferry bridge can now be cycled over, although problems with the ramps remain. The construction of the new Riverside bridge will start early next year and through-traffic will be banned along Riverside. Less positively, the proposed replacement of the Newnham Bridge has been a debacle which is not yet resolved.

Promotion and signage: Bike Week had a fallow year this year, although the Sustrans 10 in10 event took its place, celebrating the 10,000th mile of the National Cycle Network. Also, the new Signage scheme is, at last, starting to show results.

Signing what is now a very extensive network of cycleways in Cambridge is a surprisingly complex exercise, hence the delays.

Nationally: Debate continues about helmets, with the British Medical Association taking a new stance in support of compulsory use of helmets, despite much evidence that this would lead to an overall decline in national health due to the inevitable reduction in cycling which would result. The Campaign needs urgently to take a formal view on the helmet issue, and a draft of a new Position Paper on this topic will be issued shortly.

Organisationally: We celebrated our 10th birthday this year, so this is a good opportunity to review some of the ways the Campaign operates. We plan to hold a Strategy Day shortly. We need to get more members, and offers of help with a membership drive (to include ideas such as handing out membership information some mornings at the station and elsewhere) would be much appreciated.

Media: We need to make much more use of the media. We’ve had little coverage this year. We also need to put more pressure on Councillors who make decisions which we feel are not in cyclists’ interests.

Membership rates and finances

Following a unanimous vote at the AGM, membership rates will stay the same for another year.

Finances remain in a healthy state, and the accounts for the past year were accepted unanimously.

New Committee

The new Committee, as elected at the AGM, is:

Co-ordinator Martin Lucas-Smith
Liaison Officer Jim Chisholm
Membership Secretary Dave Earl
Newsletter editor Mark Irving
Treasurer Clare Macrae
Stall Officer Paul Tonks (currently co-opted)
Press Officer James Woodburn
General campaigners
(Officers without portfolio)
David Hembrow, Simon Nuttall,
Richard Taylor, Lisa Woodburn

A few long-standing members of the Committee stood down this year. Thanks to David Dyer, our Treasurer for the last three years, and Nigel Deakin and Wookey, general campaigners.

One position vacant

We welcome Simon Nuttall back onto the Committee, and Clare Macrae returns (after about 9 years!) to the position of Treasurer, having been Liaison Officer for the last few years, a position now filled by Jim Chisholm.

There is one general campaigner position vacant, and the Stall Officer is currently co-opted. An election for these posts will take place at the December monthly meeting (Tuesday 6 December).

Committee members can be contacted via the contact details.

Thanks!

‘thanks to everyone who has helped in any way this year with the running of the Campaign’

Lastly, thanks were given to everyone who has helped in any way this year: the Committee doing its various tasks and co-ordinating the campaigns, people writing to their Councillors, members for being members (thus keeping us one of the largest and most effective cycle lobby groups outside London), those helping organise events, people on the Newsletter team, minute-taking, those running the Stall and many other things besides.

Two heroes of Newsletter production, Mike Smith and Clive Rumble, who did the page design which makes this publication look so good, have retired.

Martin Lucas-Smith, Co-ordinator