This article was published in 2009, in Newsletter 87.
£500m of investment in Cambridge transport lost … probably
It now seems probable that the £500m investment which might have come to Cambridge with a congestion charge has been lost. Councillors have voted to submit a bid to the government which includes an over-vague agreement to introduce congestion charging but only after trigger points in the level of congestion have been reached, and not until 2017 at the earliest.
Those of us who have been involved in this issue are somewhat sceptical that the government would agree to such a bid, when its TIF fund requires a (real) commitment to congestion charging in any such bid. We will have to wait and see what happens … again.
Two committee members met recently with a police officer regarding policing of cycling-related matters in Cambridge. It was a useful meeting to understand each other’s position. We hope to have a full report on the meeting in the next Newsletter.
There remains a fair amount of discontent expressed by some members about the reporting of road safety incidents and the police’s handling of those reports they do accept. We have heard quite a number of reports of inability to report an incident, or of what seem to be relatively clear cases of road safety incidents being inadequately investigated or handled. Some members have proceeded with complaints. It was clear from our meeting that the police have limited resources and at times have a difficult job in dealing with a whole range of issues, not just cycling ones. However, road safety issues are not just ‘traffic’ offences but offences which involve real risk to individuals’ safety. Many rightly feel that a large vehicle driven in a dangerous manner is as much a weapon as any other, and should be treated as more than a traffic offence.
The police have recently run a campaign to encourage cyclists, and indeed motorists, to ensure they are lit up properly. We strongly support this and would be happy to see it being repeated more often. It is also good to see a balanced approach which recognises that it is not just cyclists who have defective lights at times. We want to see the whole range of cycling offences tackled in order to improve road safety. Encouraging offenders to take cycle training, as is currently proposed, is also a good way to improve safety on the ground, rather than merely penalising people.
In order to start resolving some of our members’ concerns about policing issues, I propose drawing up a manifesto which would outline what we regard as a best-practice approach in dealing with cycle-related policing matters. If you have views on this, please do get in touch. Personally, I think that police action should be in the context of harm prevention. This would mean that, while cycling and motoring offences are both problems that must be tackled, those that cause the greatest danger to other road users, or most anti-social outcomes, should command more police attention in the face of limited resources.
Martin Lucas-Smith, Co-ordinator
The date of the monthly general meeting for December was incorrect in the diary of last month’s Newsletter. It will take place on Tuesday December 1 (not December 8) – for more details see later in this Newsletter.