Fitzroy/Burleigh Street anti-cycle measures
[ Anti-cycle Measures
| News: ban to end?
| How did the ban come about?
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.
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.
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.
- against the advice of Council officers;
- against the wishes of the Police
(who have no resources to enforce it anyway);
- against the advice of local Councillors;
- against the decision of the Cambridge Traffic Joint Sub-Committee;
- contrary to the findings of government research;
- in conflict with the evidence of injury accidents which shows
- only one injury to a pedestrian in seven years
- 208 injuries to cyclists on alternative routes in three years;
- in conflict with the County Structure Plan;
- in conflict with the Cambridge Local Plan.
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.
- The committee's voting was on party lines: Labour and Conservatives for the ban,
Liberal Democrats against.
- Six out of the eight Conservatives are from Peterborough, Huntingdon or Fenland
- The other two are from Histon and Trumpington
and as far as Coun. Bradford knows they don't ride bikes in the City
- Only one of the five Labour members represents a City ward
- Two of the five Lib. Dems. represent City wards
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:
Our county politicians, whose very own structure plan talks of encouraging
cycling, make a decision to ban bikes from Burleigh and Fitzroy Streets, a key
route into the city centre.
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.
Yet their own officers can find no safety justification for such an act, the
police are not mad enough to use their scarce resources to enforce the ban, and
local representation is against it.
I would not dream of suggesting that this decision was made by village
councillors who expect to gain a few votes because their electorate drive into
Cambridge and are irritated (certainly no more) by cyclists.
Our system could not possibly be so undemocratic - could it?