Cambridge segregated bike lanes postponed amid concerns over "kamikaze cyclists"

Councillor calls decision an "unnecessary cop-out"

by John Stevenson   May 28, 2014  

Cambridge_floating_bus_stop

Despite successful implementation across Europe and in London, and widespread approval during recent planning consultation, it doesn’t look like segregated bike lanes and ‘floating’ bus stops will be coming to Cambridge any time soon. Councillors yesterday postponed a decision on a implementing a £1.8 million bike path project citing concerns about  “kamikaze” cyclists.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s were debating plans for improved cycling facilities on Hills Road and Huntingdon Road, but called for revised plans to be submitted in July, despite warnings from council officers that Government funding for the scheme had to be spent by May.

Chris Havergal of Cambridge News reports that councillors expressed concern that the proposed floating bus stops, which allow cyclists to safely pass stationary busses, would be a hazard for pedestrians who would have to cross cycle lanes to board and disembark.

Red lights

John Williams, Liberal Democrat councillor for Fulbourn, said: “I can’t tell you how often I see cyclists disobeying red lights and not stopping at pedestrians crossings and pelican crossings.

“I don’t have any confidence cyclists will give way to pedestrians moving to the bus stop because of what I see going on in this city with cyclists.

“Unless we make pedestrians the priority at these bus stops, I have serious concerns there will be an accident.”

Kamikaze cyclists

Williams’ fellow Liberal Democrat, David Jenkins, councillor for Histon, said: “I’m concerned about cyclists’ behaviour. It’s only a small minority, but it’s a significant small minority of kamikaze cyclists in the city and they are intolerant of other road users, and there has to be some way of policing them.

“Simply allowing them to have priority means less confident bus users will be stranded on the island as these guys go past.”

However, Jenkins later wrote on his blog that he was nevertheless in favour of the plans. He voted against the postponement of the decision, which he described as “an unnecessary cop-out.”

Common sense

Independent John Hipkin, councillor for the Castle ward which includes Huntingdon Road, said bus users would be able to make sense of island stops.

He said: “No traffic scheme can entirely discount common sense and every traffic scheme relies on common sense to make it work.

“I think this is a project which, on balance, I support. I fully support some of the misgiving of my residents but on balance I shall support it.”

Frustrating

Cambridge Cycling Campaign described councillors’ decision as “very frustrating”.

Martin Lucas-Smith, the organisation’s chairman, had told the committee that floating bus stops had been used across Europe and elsewhere in the UK with no major problems.

He added: “These schemes are crucial if Cambridge isn’t to grind to a halt. It isn’t about giving cyclists favours, it’s encouraging more people to cycle.”

36 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

Quote:
“Unless we make pedestrians the priority at these bus stops, I have serious concerns there will be an accident.”

Stick with bikes having priority then and make sure the pedestrians have a good look before blindly stepping in front of oncoming cyclists.

KalaBlinds 'cos we all need our beauty sleep.

posted by don simon [156 posts]
28th May 2014 - 16:28

29 Likes

Also, you have to remember that on Hills Rd, there are already bus stops in the cycle lane on the shared-use path. The new design is just better for pedestrians and cyclists in every way.

posted by HKCambridge [140 posts]
28th May 2014 - 16:30

15 Likes

Quote:
let's hope no one wanting to use the bus needs to cross from the other side of the road

I went to school on one side of that road. Getting out well before the bus arrived at the stop on the other side of the road and seeing it leave, ten minutes later, still not having been able to cross the road, was fairly common. (There is a crossing with lights there now though.)

posted by armb [33 posts]
28th May 2014 - 16:32

18 Likes

jmaccelari wrote:
Once again, cyclists are their own worst enemies...

No, myths and prejudice are the enemy.

jaunty angle: bikes and communications
http://ragtag.wordpress.com

ragtag's picture

posted by ragtag [155 posts]
28th May 2014 - 17:21

36 Likes

jmaccelari wrote:
Once again, cyclists are their own worst enemies...

Hundreds of thousands of car drivers break road rules every day - sometimes with devastating consequences: they are responsible for almost all of the death and serious injury on our roads - and the rest of us have to live with the aftermath.

In spite of this, drivers don't appear to have any trouble getting new infrastructure on which to drive (according to gov.uk more than 200 projects, the majority of them roads, are due to start construction in 2014 to 2015).

I've never heard of a local authority refusing to build roads unless drivers start to obey the rules.

posted by congokid [118 posts]
28th May 2014 - 17:29

41 Likes

There's a very cool and collected analysis of this on Rachel Aldred's blog.

http://rachelaldred.org/writing/cambridgeshire-councillors-block-space-f...

As she says, it's insane for a scheme like this, which is aimed at broadening the demographic of users who can cycle, to be axed because of a tiny few who already do.

posted by Mr Agreeable [142 posts]
28th May 2014 - 17:39

26 Likes

Fair play... If cyclists are making suicide attacks on the local populace, what can you expect?

nowasps's picture

posted by nowasps [253 posts]
28th May 2014 - 17:39

20 Likes

And another thing. It's maddening how frequently concerns over the safety of the disabled and the elderly are used to attack schemes like this, as was the case here. You've only got to look across the North Sea to see how cycle provision can give those with limited mobility their independence back.

http://aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/independent-mobility/

posted by Mr Agreeable [142 posts]
28th May 2014 - 17:47

13 Likes

Indeed, just replace the word Cyclists with Motorists in the councilors' comments!

So buses and cars will continue to be delayed because of the worry that bus passengers won't look before crossing back to the pavement? I suppose it's also cyclists' fault that the M25 is so often a carpark & petrol costs so much!

I love my bike's picture

posted by I love my bike [41 posts]
28th May 2014 - 18:09

14 Likes

I guess Cambridge will ban cars, and some of the things buses do....

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1116 posts]
28th May 2014 - 18:54

12 Likes

I can imagine been stuck behind some 5mph bearded CTC member, trapped in a segregated cycle lane...

Leodis's picture

posted by Leodis [213 posts]
28th May 2014 - 19:42

15 Likes
Username's picture

posted by Username [56 posts]
28th May 2014 - 20:20

13 Likes

Probably best they don't waste the money on cycle lanes and just move on to the next obvious stage and reduce the speed of motor vehicles in built up places to 20mph or even 10 mph.

I know this idea would not be popular with the petrol heads but it would be the correct way to reduce deaths and manage traffic in city centres.

My experience of cycle lanes is that they are restrictive to cyclist and dangerous to pedestrians.
Cycle lanes also give some motor vehicle drivers the attitude that you should be using the cycle lane at all times.

My experience is based on living in Brighton where the mixing of pedestrian walk ways and cycle paths are bordering on the insanely dangerous. (just my opion, maybe)

So why aren't we looking into ways to slow down the motor vehicles in built up areas ? In this modern world of technology would it be that difficult to fit all cars lorries etc with speed limiters which automatically reduce the maximum speed of a vehicle in built up areas ?

I am not against cycle paths as such but my experience of them does not give me confidence that they save lives or are cost effective in stopping accidents between cyclist and other road users.

The reduction in speed of motor vehicles in city centres has been proved to reduce accidents and when accidents occur they have minor trauma.
Also reducing the speed of motor vehicles in built up areas persuades people to choose the bike rather than the car for short journeys.

Lets not think that there aren't kamikaze cyclist on our roads, there are and they like speeding motor vehicle drivers should be dealt with by the law. But lets not let the smoke screen of supposed safety of cycle lanes stop us from thinking of a better way to reduce accidents and make cycling and driving safer.

I guess I am saying that the money used on cycle lanes could be used to calm the speed of motor vehicles rather than seemingly bit by bit pushing cycling on to pavements and less than viable cycle lanes.

Rupert's picture

posted by Rupert [90 posts]
28th May 2014 - 21:51

12 Likes

I was in Cambridge recently and shocked to see that all those cyclists were cycling in the gutter. I wonder if that's what the councillor meant?

posted by pique [18 posts]
28th May 2014 - 23:11

9 Likes

A lot of cyclists in Cambridge are total knobbers cycling with flat tyres, buckled wheels, no lights front or rear, wearing black at night with no lights, cycling whilst dialling and texting, jump red lights, ride through red lights at pedestrian crossings, ride the wrong way up one way streets, cycle on pavements causing peds to scatter, etc.,

Airzound

posted by Airzound [308 posts]
28th May 2014 - 23:24

7 Likes

Airzound wrote:
A lot of cyclists in Cambridge are total knobbers cycling with flat tyres, buckled wheels, no lights front or rear, wearing black at night with no lights, cycling whilst dialling and texting, jump red lights, ride through red lights at pedestrian crossings, ride the wrong way up one way streets, cycle on pavements causing peds to scatter, etc.,

The vast majority here aren't any of that.

Why on earth should those of us that are responsible cyclists- and the potential cyclists that don't because eg Huntingdon road is a threatening main road- have to suffer poor facilities because of a minority of idiots? THere's no chance of the A14 upgrade being delayed because of speeders, texting drivers, drivers of rusting hulks, drivers with faulty lights, red light jumping drivers (and bloody hell there's a lot of them) etc. Hell one of the places I've been closest to be knocked down was whilst walking on a pavement- van pulled up to a shop, onto the pavement, seemingly without looking. Lets cancel all road building till that guy behaves.

posted by Al__S [547 posts]
29th May 2014 - 6:50

14 Likes

I'm in Flanders at the moment and there's loads of bus stops like this. I haven't seen any kamikaze cyclists or pedestrians lying flat on their back after being knocked down either.

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

badback's picture

posted by badback [267 posts]
29th May 2014 - 8:36

7 Likes

People behave as dictated by the environment they are in. When you create an "every man for himself" environment on the road you shouldn't be surprised when people behave in such a way. Using that behaviour as an excuse not to change the environment to a safer, more relaxed one that encourages more relaxed behaviour is stupid.

posted by teaboy [163 posts]
29th May 2014 - 9:46

13 Likes

badback wrote:
I'm in Flanders at the moment and there's loads of bus stops like this. I haven't seen any kamikaze cyclists or pedestrians lying flat on their back after being knocked down either.

It's a different cycling culture though. I suspect pedestrians have a different attitude towards bikes and an expectation that they'll be around which is lacking here. Similarly maybe cyclists don't tend to have that "sod you, it's a bike path so I'm not slowing down" attitude that you can get here. As Teaboy says above though attitudes like that are shaped by the environment people find themselves in.

posted by Chuck [381 posts]
29th May 2014 - 9:58

8 Likes

Rupert wrote:
Probably best they don't waste the money on cycle lanes and just move on to the next obvious stage and reduce the speed of motor vehicles in built up places to 20mph or even 10 mph.

I know this idea would not be popular with the petrol heads but it would be the correct way to reduce deaths and manage traffic in city centres.

My experience of cycle lanes is that they are restrictive to cyclist and dangerous to pedestrians.
Cycle lanes also give some motor vehicle drivers the attitude that you should be using the cycle lane at all times.

My experience is based on living in Brighton where the mixing of pedestrian walk ways and cycle paths are bordering on the insanely dangerous. (just my opion, maybe)

So why aren't we looking into ways to slow down the motor vehicles in built up areas ? In this modern world of technology would it be that difficult to fit all cars lorries etc with speed limiters which automatically reduce the maximum speed of a vehicle in built up areas ?

I am not against cycle paths as such but my experience of them does not give me confidence that they save lives or are cost effective in stopping accidents between cyclist and other road users.

The reduction in speed of motor vehicles in city centres has been proved to reduce accidents and when accidents occur they have minor trauma.
Also reducing the speed of motor vehicles in built up areas persuades people to choose the bike rather than the car for short journeys.

Lets not think that there aren't kamikaze cyclist on our roads, there are and they like speeding motor vehicle drivers should be dealt with by the law. But lets not let the smoke screen of supposed safety of cycle lanes stop us from thinking of a better way to reduce accidents and make cycling and driving safer.

I guess I am saying that the money used on cycle lanes could be used to calm the speed of motor vehicles rather than seemingly bit by bit pushing cycling on to pavements and less than viable cycle lanes.

1) Mixed use on the pavements - yes, the seafront setup is crazy and unusable except on the quietest of days.
2) The reduction of the speed limit to 20moh in many areas of Brighton HAS made a difference. I believe that's the way to go
3) The main route into the town centre from the northeast, with it's segregated cycle lanes, seems to work well. Of course that's in the "faster" 30pmh zone!

I believe that Brighton is very progressive towards cyclists and are least making an effort.

Extra bike? What extra bike dear?

goggy's picture

posted by goggy [96 posts]
29th May 2014 - 10:37

7 Likes

teaboy wrote:
People behave as dictated by the environment they are in. When you create an "every man for himself" environment on the road you shouldn't be surprised when people behave in such a way. Using that behaviour as an excuse not to change the environment to a safer, more relaxed one that encourages more relaxed behaviour is stupid.

......hope that's not ©teaboy....spot on

since the solution is always more signs how about a prize for a sign that graphically describes the phrase "would you run your old mum over?"

now I know the answer for some people will be yes but I'd rather see a few more campaigning cyclist awareness posters / flyers around than countless "cyclist dismount" and "slow" signs

posted by antigee [152 posts]
29th May 2014 - 12:14

8 Likes

Leodis wrote:
I can imagine been stuck behind some 5mph bearded CTC member, trapped in a segregated cycle lane...

The great thing about these plans is that the proposed cycleways are 1.8-2m wide, plenty of room for getting around dawdling beardies!

posted by Cantab [60 posts]
29th May 2014 - 13:40

6 Likes

Cantab wrote:
Leodis wrote:
I can imagine been stuck behind some 5mph bearded CTC member, trapped in a segregated cycle lane...

The great thing about these plans is that the proposed cycleways are 1.8-2m wide, plenty of room for getting around dawdling beardies!

Think you mean 2.8! 2.1m if segregated, but officers have rejected that option, despite consultation revelling it was the preferred public option.

posted by HKCambridge [140 posts]
29th May 2014 - 13:54

7 Likes

Chuck wrote:
badback wrote:
I'm in Flanders at the moment and there's loads of bus stops like this. I haven't seen any kamikaze cyclists or pedestrians lying flat on their back after being knocked down either.

It's a different cycling culture though. I suspect pedestrians have a different attitude towards bikes and an expectation that they'll be around which is lacking here. Similarly maybe cyclists don't tend to have that "sod you, it's a bike path so I'm not slowing down" attitude that you can get here. As Teaboy says above though attitudes like that are shaped by the environment people find themselves in.

True it's a revelation cycling over here. No pedestrians or parked cars in the bike lanes, an infrastructure that we could only dream about in the UK and none of this then and us attitude from any parties involved. My wife works teaching bikeability and says that she would be out of a job if the roads were like this in the UK.

The other big difference is that cycling is an accepted mode of transport rather than seen as something that the minority do as a pastime.

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

badback's picture

posted by badback [267 posts]
29th May 2014 - 19:55

5 Likes

“I can’t tell you how often I see cyclists disobeying red lights and not stopping at pedestrians crossings and pelican crossings." At least he's honest; if I didn't know something I couldn't tell you about it either! Another posturing local politician.

posted by Legin [38 posts]
30th May 2014 - 8:25

1 Like

Chuck wrote:
badback wrote:
I'm in Flanders at the moment and there's loads of bus stops like this. I haven't seen any kamikaze cyclists or pedestrians lying flat on their back after being knocked down either.

It's a different cycling culture though. I suspect pedestrians have a different attitude towards bikes and an expectation that they'll be around which is lacking here.

With 58% of the Cambridge population cycling once a month, and 30% commuting by bike, pedestrians bloody well ought to expect cyclists in a cycle path in Cambridge!

posted by HKCambridge [140 posts]
30th May 2014 - 12:20

2 Likes

Rupert wrote:
Probably best they don't waste the money on cycle lanes and just move on to the next obvious stage and reduce the speed of motor vehicles in built up places to 20mph or even 10 mph.

There is already a phased consultation and roll-out of 20mph across Cambridge. North area already is, east area will go next. However, A and B roads, which include this one, are exempt except by special request, as residents of one A road have now done.

But 20mph doesn't encourage people to cycle. It reduces the chance of collision, and the results of the collision, which is what is good about it. But if someone is afraid of mixing with motor traffic, they're not going to think "wa-hay! I'll definitely cycle now I'll only be hit at 20mph by an HGV, assuming they obey the law!"

And the experience in Cambridge is that police are very, very reluctant to enforce 20mph, despite repeated public outcry.

Quote:
My experience of cycle lanes is that they are restrictive to cyclist and dangerous to pedestrians.

Surely the exact opposite of being dangerous to pedestrians? This is a segregated path, replacing, on Hills Rd, a shared use one.

The lanes are designed to be wide enough for overtaking. More width would be better on Huntingdon Rd, but it is possible. The hybrid version preferred by the council means cyclists can exit at any time.

Quote:
I am not against cycle paths as such but my experience of them does not give me confidence that they save lives or are cost effective in stopping accidents between cyclist and other road users.

And the experience of the Dutch, who cycle more than anyone else, is that they do. We need to do cycle paths better.

posted by HKCambridge [140 posts]
30th May 2014 - 12:28

3 Likes

The hypocrisy here amazes me.

Replace the words 'pedestrian' with 'cyclist' and 'cyclist' with 'car' and we get, for example: "Stick with cars having priority then and make sure the cyclists have a good look before blindly riding in front of oncoming cars.". What bollocks.

The rule is simple (as in Europe): cars give way to cyclists, cyclists give way to pedestrians*.

The problem is that a lot of cyclists get onto a bike and the arrogance levels rise, so their rule of the road is: pedestrians give way to me, cars give way to me.

Until this attitude is eradicated, cyclists will continue to have a (well deserved) bad reputation.

*I'm not talking about the idiots who wander into the road on a red man, totally oblivious of the traffic because they're talking on their phones. I'm talking about the poor OAPs or families with small children trying to cross a busy cycle way after having just stepped off the bus with cyclists flying past with their '**** you, I ain't gonna stop attitude'. The type of situation envisaged here...

Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

jmaccelari's picture

posted by jmaccelari [155 posts]
4th June 2014 - 15:37

1 Like

jmaccelari wrote:
Replace the words 'pedestrian' with 'cyclist' and 'cyclist' with 'car' and we get, for example: "Stick with cars having priority then and make sure the cyclists have a good look before blindly riding in front of oncoming cars.".

Ok.

jmaccelari wrote:
I'm not talking about the idiots who wander into the road on a red man, totally oblivious of the traffic because they're talking on their phones.

Right.

jmaccelari wrote:
The hypocrisy here amazes me.

Erm...

jmaccelari wrote:
Replace the words 'pedestrian' with 'cyclist' and 'cyclist' with 'car' and we get, for example: "Stick with cars having priority then and make sure the cyclists have a good look before blindly riding in front of oncoming cars.".

jmaccelari wrote:
I'm not talking about the idiots who wander into the road on a red man, totally oblivious of the traffic because they're talking on their phones.

posted by farrell [1457 posts]
4th June 2014 - 16:40

3 Likes

jmaccelari wrote:
The hypocrisy here amazes me.

Replace the words 'pedestrian' with 'cyclist' and 'cyclist' with 'car' and we get, for example: "Stick with cars having priority then and make sure the cyclists have a good look before blindly riding in front of oncoming cars.". What bollocks.

The rule is simple (as in Europe): cars give way to cyclists, cyclists give way to pedestrians*.

No, the rule is actually more often "person making a straight-ahead / continuous road journey has priority over someone turning".

We're talking about cyclists going straight on, on a continuous road, having priority over someone who is changing direction to access a bus stop. We're talking about cyclists, going straight-on, on a continuous road, having priority over motor vehicles turning left into a side road. You know, normal road priority, of the sort cars have, and cyclists currently only have if they act like cars.

We're not talking about cyclists leaving the cycle lane to make a right-hand turn having priority over a motor vehicle in the main lane or opposite lane. We are not talking about a cyclist making a left-hand turn ploughing into a pedestrian already crossing a side road. Because that's turning, and you give way to manoeuvre.

A cyclist going the full length of the road, as many do, would have to give way 3 or 4 times without priority at the bus stops. The person accessing the bus stop only has to give way once.

Incidentally, I would like to see the same applied to pedestrians: we should have much tighter turns into side roads and continuous pavements across side roads to give continuous journeys to pedestrians too. Willing to bet the councillors stating how obvious it is the pedestrians should have priority over cyclists would baulk at the idea of them having priority over cars.

posted by HKCambridge [140 posts]
4th June 2014 - 17:03

0 Likes