Ian Nimmo-Smith – a former mayor of Cambridge, and an expert in artificial intelligence and brain sciences – has grown so tired of drivers parking in cycle lanes that he has taken to offering them parking lessons. The 70-year-old now routinely leaves his mobile number on inconsiderately parked vehicles, offering his services – but hasn’t yet had any takers.
Nimmo-Smith, who represented East Chesterton for the Liberal Democrats, told Cambridge News that his most recent encounter with bad parking was on East Road.
"You'll be surprised to learn that the offer of my services has not yet been taken up but my offer of training in considerate parking is still open.
"It is dangerous for cyclists, particularly along that road as there is a dodgy moment when you have to move into the cycle way and if there is a car parked there it is very dangerous.
"This is not the first time I have offered lessons. I have put notes on cars offering inconsiderate drivers lessons in good parking practice but I have never had any comeback or calls."
The note reads: "Obstructing the cycle way like this is ILLEGAL and DANGEROUS. For free lessons…" followed by Nimmo-Smith’s phone number.
Cambridge city councillor George Pippas recently said that he was "surprised and distraught" that people had been parking in cycle lanes near Addenbrooke's, but a Cambridge University Hospitals spokesman said its security contractor had now received permission from the private road owners to manage the stretch and would be issuing fixed penalty notices on their behalf.
Nimmo-Smith said: "I did see that Councillor Pippas highlighted the problem in his ward so clearly this is a widespread problem across the city. Just as drivers will park on pavements they will park on cycle ways and must think that pedestrians and cyclists are the lowest of the low."
When Cambridge cyclists started posting pictures of vehicles parked in bike lanes on a website back in 2010, no fewer than eight police vehicles made it into the hall of shame.
In 2014, Toronto cyclists started placing stickers on cars to shame drivers into thinking twice about doing so in future. However, while some welcomed the idea, others worried that it could lead to conflict between motorists and cyclists.