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Cambridge gets UK's first No Entry Except Cyclists signs

Signage extended to four new locations after successful trial last year

Cambridge is set to become the first place in the UK to introduce new DfT approved ‘No entry except cycles’ signs on a permanent basis following a successful trial of the initiative last year – while. The scheme has been made possible by Cycle Cambridge successfully bidding for £370,000 of European funding under the 2 Seas: Bike Friendly Cities programme.

The new signs will replace current ones showing a motorbike on top of a car designed to show that the route is barred to motor vehicles, and are intended to make clear to all road users that bicycles are allowed, as well as increasing cyclists’ safety.

They will be used in narrow streets at junctions that are not wide enough for two-way motor traffic and will thereby save money on building ‘cycle bypasses.’ The new signs were trialled in February 2010 on Mawson Road with the approval of the Department for Transport and will now be extended to four other locations in the city.

Cycle Cambridge which has campaigned for the signs to be introduced says that the initiative is the first one to have been awarded funding under the 2 Seas: Bike Friendly Cities’ programme, which sees close collaboration between Cambridgeshire County Council and European partners in The Netherlands, Belgium, France, together with Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and the sustainable transport charity, Sustrans.

Martin Lucas-Smith, Co-ordinator of Cambridge Cycling Campaign said:

"We strongly welcome this much clearer signage, and the County Council and the Department for Transport are to be congratulated for this long-awaited measure to reduce red-tape. Allowing two-way cycling has consistently been shown to be one of the most cost-effective improvements for safer and more convenient cycling. It will help get more people on their bikes and thereby reduce traffic congestion. This arrangement has been common on many similar streets in other cities throughout Europe for many years."

Councillor Steve Criswell, Cabinet Member for Community Infrastructure, commented: “Securing the 2 Seas funding will help continue the improvements for cyclists being carried out by Cambridgeshire County Council. Working together with partners in the UK and across Europe will help to maintain Cambridge as one the leading cycling cities in the UK.”

Councillor Nichola Harrison, Councillor for Petersfield, added: "This is not just a technicality about traffic sign regulations, it's about safe streets and safe cycling – two issues that are very important to thousands of people all over Cambridge. After years of campaigning the DfT to get this change accepted, at last we have a victory for common sense."

As commenters have pointed out, No Entry Except for Cyclists signs have been around for a number of years in other UK towns and cities including London, Bath and Worthing, none though were approved by the DfT so in theory they are open to challenge – Bath's signs clearly apply to the cycle lanes that run against the flow of motorised traffic coming in the other direction on certain one way streets in the city.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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snibgo | 12 years ago

£370,000 to pay for changing signs at four locations? Please tell me the cash will also pay for something else.

Paul M | 12 years ago

What IS a first about this is that they are DfT-approved. The reason why local authorities don't use the Except Cycles plate is that it is arguably unlawful, not being a DfT-approved design. This has permitted motorists in the past to wriggle out of prosecutions for violating no-entry signs. The flying motorbike is a DfT approved design so can be used without that problem, even though it is seen by some as confusing or misleading. (Can't think why - a circle surrounded by a red border indicates prohibition or mandatory instruction. So a red circle round something means it is prohibited - there is a similar no-cycling sign and I'll bet not many motorists are confused about that! Perhaps motorists think it means "Eddie Kidd prohibited"?)

The City of London has introduced a number of contraflows in the last couple of years but the signage design has constrained them. With the Except Cycle plaque due to become approved this year, they will find it easier to introduce more contraflows.

The DfT Manual for Streets (I think) sets some rules for cycle contraflows which sadly mean that not all one-ways will open up. They authority has to do a survey of traffic volumes and average speeds which determine what type of line-painting or segregation is required - the faster or more numerous the traffic, the tougher the standards, and some streets will simply fail due eitehr to space constraints or cost.

Where we are hoping to get to in the City of London, over the next few years, is that every one-way street will be surveyed and every one which can be contraflowed with minimal measures like the Except Cycles plaque and the blue plaque indicating one way forward, cycles approaching ahead, will be.

jezzzer | 12 years ago

mike's right. definitely not the first. in fact here's one in central Bath  1

fluffy_mike | 12 years ago

Hmm, There've been a signs like this in Borough for months.... and ive seen plenty more in london.

def a good thing, mind.... one ways are crap and should all be removed

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