The boss of bus company Stagecoach Cambridgeshire says plans to improve bike paths in Cambridge that include ‘floating’ bus stops are “absolutely ludicrous”.
Plans for a major overhaul of bike lanes in Cambridge include bus boarding areas on traffic islands, with a bike lane between the footway and the bus stop. A similar design has been included in the recent extension of London’s Cycle Superhighway 2 and is in common use in Europe.
However, artists’ impressions of the proposed design show the cycle lane passing between a bus shelter and the island, and this is worrying Stagecoach Cambridgeshire managing director Andy Campbell, according to Cambridge News’ Chris Havergal.
The proposed floating bus stop layout
Mr Campbell thinks people will be so excited at the prospect of getting on one of his buses they will leap, lemming-like, into the path of oncoming cyclists.
He told a meeting of the city council’s north area committee: “People, when they see a bus coming, will just walk towards the bus and they will be walking across a cycle path.
“To me that’s absolutely ludicrous. If you’re going to put a cycle lane in, put it behind the bus stop.”
Bus stop on London's Cycle Superhighway 2 extension (CC licensed image by diamond geezer/Flickr)
That’s how the floating stops on the recently-completed extension of London’s Cycle Superhighway 2 have been positioned. Bus stop and shelter are both on the island so bus passengers don’t have to cross the bike lane to board.
The plans show the bus stopping in the main traffic lane rather than pulling into a lay-by, which has raised fears of more queues on routes into the city.
Mr Campbell added that cutting down on road space to slow traffic down would only make congestion worse.
But Cambridge Cycling Campaign co-ordinator Hester Wells says the floating bus stop design is better for both buses and cyclists.
She told road.cc: “Andy Campbell of Stagecoach cited the difficulty of driving among the volume of cyclists in Cambridge. This design removes interaction with cyclists.
“Also, the bus just stops in the road. There’s no waiting to pull into the stop because of cyclists, and no waiting for traffic to pull out.
“Plus there’s the obvious point that congestion is what holds up buses. If cycling is perceived as safer, that can reduce car journeys.”
The plans were unveiled as part of a consultation exercise into new, segregated cycle lanes along Huntingdon Road and Hills Road.
A county council spokesman said: “The feedback of the bus operators as well as comments of hundreds of others has been very useful and will help us shape the final proposals.
“Floating bus stops have been used successfully by the Dutch for decades and have also been introduced in the UK. The idea of the stops is to improve safety for both the bus drivers and cyclists.
“In any detailed design of the stops we would look at the best ways to make them work for all users including where possible keeping traffic moving around stationary buses and the best way to help bus passengers.”
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.