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Julian Huppert meets pensioner who was knocked over, calls for better infrastructure for bike riders

Cambridge MP Dr Julian Huppert has condemned “thoughtless cyclists” who put pedestrians in danger, but says better infrastructure needs to be provided so people to ride their bikes safely without posing a risk to those on foot.

Dr Huppert, who is co-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, was speaking after meeting a pensioner who was injured after a cyclist collided with him on a footpath in the city, reports Cambridge News.

The meeting with the man, who did not wish to be named since he is afraid of reprisals, also involved an official from the Highways Department at Cambridgeshire County Council.

The pedestrian fell down an embankment and struck his head on a parked vehicle as a result of the incident, which took place on a footpath between Brooklands and Trumpington Road.

He told Cambridge News: “It’s frightening and I was dazed and badly shaken. The female cyclist apologised but then rode away and I had to sit on the grass for a while before I felt able to get up.”

The pensioner claimed that he had been the victim of inconsiderate cycling on a number of previous occasions, leaving him with bruises.

Referring to one such incident, he said: “Another day I was walking back from posting a letter when a cyclist ran straight into the back of me.

“He insulted me and I was left with wheel marks on the backs of my legs and bruising from where the handlebars had hit me in the back.”

Dr Huppert said: “Clearly there is a major issue here and thoughtless cyclists are putting pedestrians at risk.

“We do need to build better infrastructure to encourage people to cycle safely and lawfully.

“However, it is clearly not acceptable for cyclists to put other people at risk in the way this man has been affected.”

The pedestrian said he had contacted Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Graham Bright regarding the issue, but no action had been taken.

Sir Graham said: “Whilst we wish to encourage more people to use pedal power, it is important they do so responsibly.

“Local officers continue to challenge cyclists in ‘cycle-free’ zones and also those riding without appropriate equipment such as lights.”

It’s not entirely clear whether the specific location where the incident giving rise to the meeting took place on a shared-use path or a pedestrian-only footway.

While cycling on the footway is illegal and punishable by a fixed penalty notice, official Home Office guidance, reiterated last year by transport minister Robert Goodwill, is that police should exercise discretion and only fine cyclists where they pose a risk to other users.

On shared used paths such as those managed and maintained by Sustrans including the Bristol & Bath Railway Path and the Taff Trail, cyclists are asked not to ride at excessive speed and to give priority to those on foot.

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.