Cambridge Cycling Campaign has accused some of those who drive vehicles for a living in the city of intimidating cyclists after figures released by Cambridgeshire County Council showed a 14 per cent rise in the number of cyclists killed or injured in incidents on the county’s roads during 2011.
Cyclists accounted for nearly one in five of the 337 people killed or seriously injured in Cambridgeshire during the year, in which levels of cycling rose by 8 per cent in the county and 12 per cent in Cambridge itself, reports Cambridge News.
The total number of cyclists killed or injured during the year stood at 64, reflecting the high levels of cycling particularly in Cambridge itself, but Michael Cahn, co-ordinator of Cambridge Cycling Campaign, told the website that there were concerns about the behaviour of some drivers in the city.
“Statistically, Cambridge has a very good safety record. As we have so many bicycles on the road, there will be more collisions involving cyclists,” he explained.
“Pedestrians and cyclists are very vulnerable road users. Vehicle speed is their greatest enemy and 20mph zones will make us all safer.
“Nobody wishes to harm a cyclist, but some professional drivers in Cambridge seem to try to teach cyclists a lesson and intimidate them.”
Mr Cahn continued: “We remind all drivers that the cyclist in front of them could be their daughter or son or their own parent. Treat them with respect and look after them.
“We also want to remind cyclists not to be distracted, to follow the rules of the road and to keep their bike in good working order.”
Councillor Tony Orgee, cabinet member for transport at Cambridgeshire County Council, insisted that any incident was “one too many,” saying: “There are a number of measures we and partners have and are introducing to combat this, ranging from better training to more cycling facilities and enforcement, as well as the introduction of a cycling champion.”
That appointment of a cycling champion is in line with the manifesto of The Times newspaper’s Cities fit for Cycling campaign, with Cambridgeshire County Council appointing Martin Curtis, its cabinet member for adult services and Olympic co-ordinator, to the position in March.
According to Cambridgeshire County Council’s annual traffic monitoring report published the same month, bicycles now account for nearly a quarter of traffic in the university city, which has the highest levels of cycling anywhere in Britain.
“Cycling remains a relatively safe way of getting around and the council is committed to encouraging more people to use their bike for the health and economic benefits it brings,” added Mr Orgee.
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.