Controversy over cycle parking at Cambridge railway station – or, rather, the lack of it – continues with reports that a new ramp giving disabled people improved access to the station was rendered impassable for wheelchair users due to the number of bicycles parked on it.
Earlier this week, speaking at the National Cycle Rail Awards, Cambridge MP Julian Huppert, Chair of the All-Parliamentary Cycling Group, had singled out the poor provision of cycle parking facilities at the station as an issue that needed addressing urgently, and that appears to be at the heart of this latest row.
After the disabled access ramp was put in place a fortnight ago, local taxi driver Adrian Maltby complained to station staff about the number of bicycles parked there, reports Cambridge News.
“When they built the ramp about two weeks ago, within about 10 minutes it was full of bikes blocking it up,” he explained. “They removed the bikes and put up yellow barriers but then the bikes were back.
“No way could you get a wheelchair up there and people with bags had to walk around it.
“They just turned the disabled ramp into a cycle park without any thought. It’s just plain selfish.”
The bikes were subsequently removed, with the station operator putting up a sign to inform cyclists that their bikes had been put in lost property.
City councillor Gerri Bird, herself a wheelchair user and campaigner for disabled rights, said: “I urge cyclists to think of others when they park their bikes. It is not just disabled people who are harmed but mothers with pushchairs and the elderly who need the ramp.”
Cambridge Cycling Campaign, however, which in September launched a petition to demand National Express to take action, said that the issue highlighted the urgent need for improved cycle parking facilities at the station, which is currently undergoing a £16.7 million makeover.
A spokesman for the group told Cambridge News: “Anything that looks like a secure structure that people can park their bikes to before using the train will have a bicycle attached.
“We do not encourage people to lock bicycles to structures that would block other people’s movement around the station. Cambridge Cycling Campaign has been calling for improvements to cycle parking for 13 years, and nothing has happened.”
In response, a spokeswoman for National Express East Anglia told the website: “We are working with the county council to explore opportunities to provide additional cycle parking spaces.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.