Our Right to Cycle in Cambridge Bus Lanes

This article was published in 2006, in Newsletter 65.

The draft Cambridge East Area Action Plan is a framework document drawn up by Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council relating to the proposed development of land at Cambridge Airport, land north of Cherry Hinton and land north of Newmarket Road as a major urban extension with some 10 000 to 12 000 dwellings,
www.cambridge.gov.uk/ccm/content/policy-and-projects/cambridge-east-area-action-plan.en .

Newmarket Road: for exclusive use by a very frequent bus service?
Image as described adjacent

Last year Jonathan Larmour drew our attention to a worrying clause in the Plan which could in future limit the right of cyclists to use bus lanes within Cambridge. The Campaign has put in a formal objection. The clause (paragraph 7.16) states:

‘Bus priority improvement measures will include:

  • Conversion of the existing bus lanes to a busway of around 7.5 m width for exclusive use by a very frequent bus service, [our emphasis] which could be in guideway or employ some other means of tracking;
  • Traffic signalled crossroads with bus priority to replace the Elizabeth Way roundabout;
  • Bus priority along Maids Causeway; …
  • Bus priority along East Road’

In the first bullet point ‘the existing bus lanes’ presumably refers to those along Newmarket Road.

In our objection we said:

‘If this means that cyclists may be prohibited from cycling in bus lanes (which they never have been in Cambridge) we strongly object. More generally we object to any bus priority measures which put pressure on on-road cyclists to cycle off-road. We also object to bus lanes which narrow traffic lanes (including those in the opposite direction to the bus lanes) to such an extent that motor vehicles have insufficient space to overtake cyclists.’

We await details of what the procedure for handling our formal objection will be.

James Woodburn