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Cycle campaigners urge council to STOP building cycle lanes

Camcycle says pop-up infrastructure in Cambridge makes roads more dangerous for cyclists and does not meet government guidance

Camcycle, the cycle campaign group for Cambridge and the surrounding area, has called on Cambridgeshire County Council to stop rolling out temporary cycle lanes which it says provide make the roads more dangerous for people on bikes and encourage close passes by motorists.

Describing the pop-up infrastructure on Milton High Street and Girton Road in Cambridge as “tokenistic,” the group is urging the council to consult with its own cycling officers as well as with Camcycle itself before any further temporary bike lanes are introduced.

It says that involving campaigners and council cycling officers in the development of emergency infrastructure would “ensure that improvements are correctly designed to be safe for all users and achieve the goals of reducing car journeys and creating healthy streets as we emerge from lockdown.”

> Pop-up cycle lanes: what’s happening near you?

The cycle lanes in question have no physical barriers separating cyclists from motor traffic, and are delineated by broken white lines, making them what are termed ‘advisory cycle lanes’.

That means that unlike ‘mandatory cycle lanes’ which are separated from the main carriageway by a solid white line, which motorists must not drive or park in, vehicles are allowed can be driven or parked in them but only when “unavoidable,” according to the Highway Code.

Camcycle points out that the cycle lanes deviate from the government’s own statutory guidance for emergency infrastructure, which was published on 9 May and says:

Facilities should be segregated as far as possible, i.e. with physical measures separating cyclists and other traffic. Lanes indicated by road markings only are very unlikely to be sufficient to deliver the level of change needed, especially in the longer term.

The campaign group adds that “Narrow advisory painted lanes, such as those added in Milton and Girton offer no protection from motor traffic and are potentially more unsafe than no lanes at all, encouraging drivers to treat the cycle lane marking as the edge of the carriageway and pass dangerously close to riders. The new lanes are also beginning to be blocked by parked cars.”

In a letter to the county council, Camcycle has requested that work be stopped on measures which do not comply with government standards, which it says “will need to be undone at unnecessary cost.”

Instead it says the council should concentrate on creating a temporary network of cycle lanes on key corridors within the city, drawing on the expertise of both campaigners and its own in-house staff.

It points to schemes such as one introduced in Leicester which uses so-called Rhino barriers to provide physical segregation, with similar initiatives under way in cities including Manchester and London – the one in the image below is King Street in Hammersmith – as an example to follow.

King Street, Hammersmith

Camcycle executive director, Roxanne De Beaux, commented: “Suggestions gathered from Camcycle members, supporters and our partners across the region as part of our Spaces to Breathe campaign helped the county council draft their original list of options for temporary schemes, but to date we are not clear on what progress the county has made with our ideas.

“We call on them to continue to collaborate as they begin to install experimental measures. The county’s own cycling officers have already completed significant work on the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan which would make an excellent start for identifying corridors that should be prioritised.

“It’s vital that we move forward with the most critical and cost-effective initiatives and avoid wasting further time and money on unsafe narrow cycle lanes,” she added.

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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Gelphyn | 3 years ago
1 like

The lack of enforcement negates the provision of 'white line' separation, accepting excuses like "Sorry Officer I only parked for a few minutes" increases the probablity of accidents.

If a barrier cannot be used to separate cycle lanes the consideration needs to be given to routing traffic separately. This would create much disent and discussion, but there is absolutely no point in wasting money on a false sense of safety

David9694 | 3 years ago

A own goal, or close it - predictable comments in relation to a helpful, responsible  suggestion.

andyp363 | 3 years ago

As well intentoned as my councils cycle lanes are.. they are a double edged sword

Complete novices will benifit - which is great!! dont get me wrong - but if you have the slightestest road confidence the old layout is far superior.... ie near my home practically unused bus lane 0 space problem..

Dual lane segregated cycleway is coming in with half a dozen give ways, couple sets of lights where the cycle lane crosses the road and then back again and couple zebra crossings arround a roundabout at the end.

Safe if you doing walking speed but on a hill,   nobody gonna use it going down, and now there is not going to be 2 lanes for safe overtaking. even uphill you are going to end up slower due to stopping for crossings/going slow for zebras.

More dangerous to use it and far slower...

eburtthebike | 3 years ago

Or stop building crap cycle lanes?  We already have quite enough of those.

Dao | 3 years ago

Would the council build roads without first determining the best place to put them, the cost benefits and efficiency of travel? Would they not get qualified professionals to undertake the work to that they meet all legal requirements?


So why don't they do the same with cycling routes? If you already have the people and the research... CONSULT WITH THEM before wasting taxpayers' money on deathtraps in the making that will serve only to aggravate drivers and lead to more motorists trying to press cyclists into the 'place they belong'??

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