Fitzroy/Burleigh Street anti-cycle measures

[ Anti-cycle Measures | News: ban to end? | How did the ban come about? | Follow-up ]

Anti-cycle Measures

These are similar to the City Centre ones and were introduced with minimal publicity in 1995. There is some justification in terms of protecting pedestrians from the many irresponsible cyclists who seem to be around the area. However the problems were no worse than in other parts of the City (e.g. cyclists on pavements on both sides of Mill Road), so this is another example of County Council excess.

News: ban to end?

BBC Look East reported on 16-Jan-96 that Cambridgeshire County Council has decided to abandon its cycle ban in Fitzroy Street/Burleigh Street - because it can't enforce it.

The previous day the Cambridge Evening News reported that the Transport Committee received a report recommending lifting the ban on weekdays as only 55% of cyclists comply with it.

On 19-Jan the CEN reported that the County Council had voted by 13-5 to make the Monday-Saturday ban permanent, against local wishes.

The County Councillor for Petersfield, Bachan Bhalla (Labour), pointed out that there was no evidence of a safety problem, the streets being wide enough for pedestrians and cyclists. Many similar objections to the ban were lodged by Cambridge residents and lobby groups such as the Cambridge Cycling Campaign.

In fact problems only arise when motorists, particularly taxi drivers, ignore the ban on motor traffic and use the streets.

How did the ban come about?

Chris Bradford, the Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Market Ward, asks this revealing question in a letter in the Cambridge Evening News of 26-Jan-1996.

He points out that the decision to make the ban permanent is wrong because it is:

The Labour Transport spokeman, Dave Kelleway (Fulbourn, Teversham & Fen Ditton), who proposed the motion to make the ban permanent, claims the situation before the ban was unacceptable (CEN 24-Jan) and cyclists are able to use an easy alternative route.

Chris Bradford goes on to suggest Coun. Kelleway has a "bee in his bonnet" about cyclists causing near misses, rather than pedestrians. He quotes the Conservative spokesman, Coun. Jane Brookes, as saying all cyclists should walk.

The Cambridge Traffic Joint Sub-Committee is supposed to make decisions about Cambridge traffic and in this case decided not to ban bikes. The Labour and Tory Councillors however decided to overrule that in the full County Traffic Committee of non-local Councillors.


Clive Bailey of the Regency Gallery in Fitzroy Street welcomed the ban as making movement easier for retailers and customers (CEN 1-Feb-96).

E.H.V. Syfret (Park Parade) also welcomed it: "to allow cyclists to weave in and out among [shoppers] is utterly absurd" (CEN 1-Feb-96).

Beth Morgan, a City Councillor, pointed out that pedestrians and cyclists are capable of coexisting safely given forbearance by both (CEN 1-Feb-96). She went on to say:

The bottom line is that there is no objective evidence of any problem with cyclists and pedestrians mixing between 1983 and 1995, yet some Councillors from many miles outside Cambridge have banned bikes anyway.

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