After very many years of campaigning, Gilbert Road at last has cycle lanes worthy of the name. Thanks to members of the Campaign’s Gilbert Road Subgroup who worked hard on this, and to the cycling officers at the County Council whose time on it has been considerable.
In February 2011 Cambridgeshire County Council had the broken white lines and double yellow lines painted onto the shiny new red-mac Advisory Cycle Lanes on Gilbert Road and by Valentine’s Day many cyclists were using the continuous, 1.70m-wide lanes, some even riding in pairs.
Observing the new cycle lanes in operation on the first days two problems became apparent:
- The original proposal for the cycle lanes on Gilbert Road included speed reduction measures and bollards to avoid cars going into the cycle lane. These measures were taken out by Cambridgeshire Cabinet. Unfortunately some drivers use the cycle lane for queue jumping. Is the broken white line inviting drivers to do this, or is it the increased width? The campaign will need to monitor the situation. While passing a broken while line to undertake is legal, Highway Code 140 states: ‘Do not drive or park in a cycle lane marked by a broken white line unless it is unavoidable’.
- As before the implementation of uninterrupted cycle lanes, many pupils coming from Gurney Way use the footway up to the pedestrian crossing at the entrance to Chesterton Community College. In the absence of speed reduction measures and traffic lights or a Toucan crossing at Gurney Way, this may even have been encouraged by their parents. However, cycling on the footway is illegal and, with cars reversing out from driveways behind fences and hedges, also dangerous. Cambridgeshire County Council needs to find a solution.
According to a report in the Cambridge News, Chesterton Community College has ‘held assemblies to discourage students from riding on the pavement’.
To celebrate the opening of the cycle lanes and to provide advice on cycling, Chesterton Community College held a Cycling Fun Day on Saturday 19 February 2011, organised by Cycle Cambridge.
The County Council is expected to carry out a traffic survey in a few months’ time and Cambridge Cycling Campaign is looking forward to an evaluation of the project and possible solutions for the concerns raised.
Cycling along Gilbert Road is now much more pleasant, faster and feels safer. It begs the questions, why did it take so long and why we can’t have more proper cycle lanes in Cambridge?