Cyclists Branded Anti-Social For Trying to Stay Alive


Sunday, September 30th, 2012. 4:56pm


Arrows show only remnants of indication this is the start of a shared use cycle/pedestrian path.

Arrows highlight the only remnants of markings showing this is the start of a shared use cycle/pedestrian path.

On Thursday the 27th of September 2012 councillors in North Cambridge set “anti-social cycling” as one of their three top policing priorities for the area. Councillors set the priority to apply throughout North Cambridge, but expressed concern about two particular matters:

  • Gilbert Road, where they want enforcement against cycling on the pavement following the installation of new on road cycle lanes.
  • Milton Road, specifically cycling on the pavement through the junction with Gilbert Road.

It is notable that this priority was set specifically to single out cyclists, and not tackle dangerous or inconsiderate behaviour by other road users. Cycling was targeted despite an increase in violent crime in the area being reported to councillors, and no priority being set related to that.

The North Area Sergeant, Jason Wragg, also told councillors that the signage indicating where cycling was, and was not, allowed in the area was very confusing, even to him. He admitted, as he had done previously to the committee, he had accidentally stopped people from cycling on the pavement on stretches where cycling was in fact permitted. Sgt Wragg also told councillors that a number of those stopped by him and his officers for so called anti-social cycling had complained about the police action, warning them that their decision would result in further complaints from the public.

Councillors were told that the police had been issuing Fixed Penalty Notices for anti-social cycling in the area, and councillors were being asked if they wished to see this priority continue.

All councillors present unanimously voted to set “anti-social cycling” as a priority. Those councillors were:

  • Councillor Mike Todd-Jones
  • Councillor Kevin Price
  • Councillor Tim Ward
  • Councillor Margery Abbott
  • Councillor Max Boyce
  • Councillor Gerri Bird
  • Councillor Simon Brierley
  • Councillor Susannah Kerr
  • Councillor Carina O’Reilly
  • Councillor Mike Pitt
  • Councillor Damien Tunnacliffe
  • Councillor Ian Manning
  • Councillor Andy Pellew
  • Councillor Kevin Wilkins

Cllrs Gawthrope and Sales were absent.

My Views

I am highly concerned by this police priority, it may well bring me, and many other generally responsible cyclists in the area into contact with the police and the wider criminal justice system.

Like many clampdowns on so-called anti-social behaviour I worry that this will result in lots of young people, particularly those who cycle to school, being criminalised and either having to pay fixed penalty notices or appear in court.

The move may deter cycling in the area, parents may be less likely to allow their children to cycle to school if they know they are running the risk of being stopped by the police.

The reputation of the police may also be threatened as those causing no harm to anyone are targeted, whereas burglary and violent crime in the area remains at unacceptably high levels, and there is very little policing of dangerous driving of motor vehicles.

The policing item at the North Area Committee was rushed, and chair, Cllr Todd-Jones did not take any contributions from the public on the subject of the priorities to be set (the public were allowed to raise questions on the report).

The priority came about as a result of a couple of elderly people attending a previous meeting complaining about cycling on the pavements. Often in Cambridge it is very unclear where cycling is and is not permitted, often the signage is not even sufficient for professionals such as Sgt Wragg, or bus and taxi drivers to rapidly determine where cycling is and is not allowed.

In the specific areas mentioned the signage is unclear, and in the case of south-bound cyclists on Milton Road mounting the pavement at the junction with Gilbert Road, this appears to me to be something cyclists do to stay alive as the road design is poor and cyclists often find the amount of road space reduced by traffic turning right, and if they were to stay on the road they would run the risk of being trapped between the traffic, often buses, and the railings at the roadside.

I would have rather seen priorities set to tackle, and further understand the impact in terms of injuries and costs, of violent crime and burglary, but had councillors decided to tackle road safety, I would have liked to see a broader priority not singling out cyclists as a particular group of road users, and also one which sought to address the deficiencies in the road designs and signage in the area.

I do not think the councillors properly balanced the degree of harm caused by small amounts of cycling on pavements (which I would assess as negligible), verses the potential harm from dangerous driving, violent crime and burglary (which I would assess as more serious). I would like injury and costs data provided to the committee to enable councillors to make judgements made on the basis of more comprehensive information. The question raised for me is that of is it more anti-social to occasionally mount the pavement as a cyclist, or to cycle somewhere where the risk of being killed or injured is greater. In my view seeking to avoid injury is not anti-social.

I note that on Maid’s Causeway the police are refusing to enforce against drivers breaching the 20mph limit on the grounds the signage is insufficient, but on Milton Road, despite there being signage they admit is confusing they are happy to issue tickets to cyclists breaching the rules.

Poor Cycle Signage and Road Environments

Milton Road is one of the areas where councillors have asked the police to target cycling on the pavement. Cycling is permitted on many stretches of pavement on the road but the road markings have almost worn off and signs have decayed so it is not easy to determine where cycling is allowed.

Cycle signage in North Cambridge

The above image shows the start of a shared use cycle and pedestrian path. The cycle painted on the pavement has almost worn off, as has the cycle symbol on the blue sign. There are no clear repeater cycle symbols further up the pavement, and despite regularly using the area I’m not sure if, and if so exactly where, cycling is permitted further up this path when it reaches the forecourt of the co-op supermarket and the junction. This wouldn’t have previously mattered too much, but now following the councillors’ decision and the police action, it has become critical to trying to avoid being subject to police action, and potentially a police and criminal record, not to mention a fine or other sentence a court might hand down should a fixed penalty notice be challenged or the specific offence not being one which can be dealt with by such a notice.

Cycle signage in North Cambridge
In this instance, at the junction of Milton Road and Oak Tree Avenue, the cycle signage is so decayed, all that is left is two patches of paint, which I think are supposed to separate the cycle route from the walk way. There is no cycle symbol either on a sign or painted on the pavement. In fact the strongest evidence on the ground this is in fact a shared use pavement is the fact there is a cycle route “end” sign on the pavement near Union Lane.

Cycle signage in North Cambridge
At the roundabout on Milton Road at the junction with Highworth Avenue there is what appears to me to probably be a cycle path marked on the road crossing the exit from the roundabout, this appears to match up with a dropped curb on the pavement on the other side of the road, which might indicate that cycling is permitted on that pavement, perhaps as far as the junction with Arbury road – there is no accompanying signage though so who knows what’s allowed and what’s not there.

Cycle signage in North Cambridge
Those cycling on the pavement having mounted it at the Highworth Avenue junction and then proceeding North are faced on the exit of the roundabout with the above shown markings indicating the emergence of an on-road cycle lane, but there are no signs suggesting that those on the pavement should get off the pavement and use it. The shared use pavement heading north may end at this point, but there are no “end” signs.

Cycle signage in North Cambridge
The cut through between Milton Road and Chesterton Hall Crescent is poorly signed. There is one side for cyclists, and one for pedestrians, however the clearest sign on the pedestrian side is a blue circle with a cycle symbol in it, suggesting that is the cycle route, you need to look especially carefully to see that this is not the case and below the cycle symbol there is a very faded word “end” and in fact the cycle route is the unmarked other side. For those approaching from the other direction the opposite side of the bollard pictured presents an even more confusing message, as there is another blue cycle symbol, this indicates, not as one might again assume, that cycling is permitted on the path up to the bollard, but instead that there is a short stretch of pavement on Milton Road adjacent to the cut through which is shared use for cyclists and pedestrians.

Cycle signage in North CambridgeCycle signage in North Cambridge
The above photo shows one of the areas where councillors specifically asked the police to take enforcement action. Vehicles waiting to turn right result in a narrow gap between them and the railings through which many cyclists are not prepared to cycle – given the risk of a vehicle, such as a bus, hurtling through and hitting them in while they are in the pinch point. Many cyclists take to the pavement in an apparent effort to stay alive.

On the other side of this junction many cyclists, even when the lights are red, mount the pavement to join the north-bound shared use cycle and pedestrian cycleway. I have no idea if this is legal or not, it may be legal if you bounce up the curb before the lights, but not if you pass just the other side of the light so as to make use of the dropped curb? Again this is something which either needs to be corrected, or preferably we need to see more sensible police priorities so this is not considered a problem.

Cycle signage in North CambridgeCycle signage in North CambridgeCycle signage in North Cambridge
There is no signage at the start of the pavement on the west side of Milton Road, southbound, at Arbury Road indicating the pavement is shared use for cyclists and pedestrians, however at the end of the stretch at Highworth Avenue, there is an “end” sign. This route is particularly popular, like many of the shared use pavements in the area, with pupils cycling to school, as well as many others.

The problem is that if you routinely mount the pavement to legally cycle on a shared use path where there is no signage; it isn’t clear at all that in some other parts of the same road, the lack of signage really does mean that cycling on the pavement is not permitted.

Cycle signage in North CambridgeCycle signage in North Cambridge
Cycling on the pavements of Gilbert Road is another of the specific things councillors asked the police to tackle. Again, this is something which is very popular, and to those not very familiar with cycle signage, the sign pictured above might suggest it is in fact permitted; the sign doesn’t as is usual, show the cycle lane. I suspect it is a sign which pre-dates the cycle lane and is merely suggesting the use of the road as a cycle route? Given its location in the pavement, and the lack of reference to the cycle lane, one could have some sympathy with someone interpreting it as permitting cycling on the pavement.

Cycle signage in North Cambridge
The idea of a cycle by-pass to allowing cyclists to pass to one side of a pair of no-entry signs and then proceed up a road was one I had no idea existed for the first five or more years I lived in Cambridge, it was only by starting to follow the work of the cycling campaign that I was introduced to the concept and had my attention drawn to the cycle by-pass at the Market Street – Sidney Street junction. The above pictured junction with Victoria Road and Garden Walk shows an arguably even less clear example (especially for cyclists approaching from the South East, and seeking to turn right into Garden Walk), the lack of a cycle symbol on the pavement means it is not obvious the coloured path is for bikes, particularly as the symbol on the sign has almost worn off

The above are just a small handful of the poor and confusing cycle related signs in the area. I have not even comprehensively covered all the issues on Milton Road; one question I have is how is one, traveling towards the city, supposed to legally get onto the cycle cut-through straight across the one way system at Mitchem’s Corner?

Traffic Regulation Orders

In addition to poor signage, there is no assurance that the signage actually reflects the traffic regulation orders in-force. Cambridgeshire County Council don’t make it easy at all to find out about the traffic regulations in-force, but one local resident, Ben Harris, has been using Freedom of Information law to try and compile a list. There is one famous area, the Green Dragon Bridge, where the County Council have put up a sign saying no-cycling, on “their” end of the bridge at the junction with the highway, but at the other end, on a common owned by the historically more pro-cycling Cambridge City Council, there is no such sign and a cyclist friendly cattle grid.

Background Documents

96 comments/updates on “Cyclists Branded Anti-Social For Trying to Stay Alive

  1. Richard Taylor Article author

    Where the issues are ones of maintenance, or omitted signs, I have reported them via FixMyStreet:

    http://www.fixmystreet.com/report/280994
    http://www.fixmystreet.com/report/280996
    http://www.fixmystreet.com/report/280997
    http://www.fixmystreet.com/report/280998
    http://www.fixmystreet.com/report/280999
    http://www.fixmystreet.com/report/281000
    http://www.fixmystreet.com/report/281002

    I also submitted the Arbury Road / Milton Road junction to the list of projects to be considered for improvements using developer taxes at the last two North Area Committee meetings.

  2. Richard Taylor Article author

    I’ve also posted my photos on the Cyclestreets photomap where they are available in large form and under a licence which permits re-use:

    http://www.cyclestreets.net/location/45256/
    http://www.cyclestreets.net/location/45257/
    http://www.cyclestreets.net/location/45258/
    http://www.cyclestreets.net/location/45259/
    http://www.cyclestreets.net/location/45260/
    http://www.cyclestreets.net/location/45261/
    http://www.cyclestreets.net/location/45262/
    http://www.cyclestreets.net/location/45263/
    http://www.cyclestreets.net/location/45264/
    http://www.cyclestreets.net/location/45265/
    http://www.cyclestreets.net/location/45266/

  3. John Lawton

    Hi Richard, a very comprehensive survey of the cycling ‘facilities’ on offer. It’s disappointing that the councils can’t get to grips with the maintenance requirements of the facilities that exist.

    I suspect councillors tend to go along with police suggestions over cycling crackdowns rather than challenging them to do things they don’t seem to want to. After all it’s cheap work for PCSOs isn’t it, so they like that. It is very poor that they won’t seriously tackle the far more important dangers caused by speeding and dangerous/aggressive driving.

  4. Wookey

    Except in this case the Policeman made clear to the councillors that this was a bad idea due to lack of clarity, and that it would increase complaints. The police are in fact required to not give fixed penalties to children using pavements, or adults who are doing so in a considerate manner, this was part of the rules under which fixed penalties were brought in.

    This is terrible example of victim-blaming, rather than actually dealing with the problems of a poor road environemtn. All those nasty anti-pedestrian (and cyclist) barriers in the photos should go for a start. They take up valuable pavement space, can be lethal for cyclists, and make life awkward for pedestrians. They are a horrible throw-back to the days when car was king and pedestrians were an annoyance to be corralled.

  5. CrankyAcid

    If the police could be trusted to only target irresponsible cyclist who may well be endangering older pedestrians then perhaps this action would be justified. Unfortunately quota and over enthusiastic new recruits will inevitably mean unjustifiable convictions or fines for cyclist behaving responsibly but unaware of the rules of the fixed penalty notices.

    Far more important would be the improving of not only the signage but the woeful provision for cyclists shown in the pictures.

  6. Richard Taylor Article author

    Cllr Ian Manning has tweeted to say:

    I didn’t call anything anti social cycling. Were you at the same meeting?

    The title of the priority he voted for was: “Anti-social cycling issues across the area”.

  7. Richard Taylor Article author

    Wookey has said “The police are in fact required to not give fixed penalties to children using pavements, or adults who are doing so in a considerate manner”; I suspect this refers to the often quoted letter from a then Home Office Minister which reportedly states:

    The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of traffic and who show consideration to other pavement users when doing so. Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road, sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required.

    There is no authoritative source for the letter, it is quoted in a parliamentary fact sheet but that in turn merely references the fact it is widely available online.

    We don’t know how our local magistrates would view that letter; especially as its provenance is unclear.

    I would like to observe how these cases are dealt with by our local magistrates, but justice is done effectively in secret in Cambridge as it is all but impossible to find out when cases of interest are scheduled to be heard. (More on my campaigning for greater transparency from our courts)

  8. Cllr Steve Tierney

    Many of the residents of Gilbert Road did not want those cycle changes. They were forced upon them against their wishes and in the face of much protest.

    Since the cyclists got what they wanted against the will of many local people it is quite right to prevent them abusing the path (if they are doing so.)

    How irritating to be a resident who gets forced to take changes you don’t support and then watch the paths flouted anyway?

    1. Elspeth Nicol

      I regularly see cars parked in the cycle lanes on Gilbert Road. How irritating to be told to use the cycle lanes, then find that one can not, because there’s cars parked in them!

  9. Martin

    @Cllr Steve Tierney

    Do residents own the space outside their properties? No. Can you explain why you think they do?

    It is galling that the private interests of residents, virtually all of which have two off-road parking spaces, should trump the safety of the vast number of children (and adults) using this key route, which is public space.

    The County Council failed to include the (modest) traffic calming that would have reduced speeds and improved the feeling of safety. Predictably, some kids are still cycling on the pavement, because the Cabinet failed to protect their interests fully.

  10. miles

    As usual, the voices of a few miserable pensioners (who seem not to know what else to do with their time other than complain about cyclists at every possible opportunity), trump the silent vast majority who are too busy to attend these meetings. I bet not one of the complainants has been in a collision with a cyclist and yet they view them as an existential threat! It’s pure phobia.

    We need less nannying/authoritarianism and better infrastructure. Perhaps throw in better leisure facilities for the elderly too so they have something more constructive to do with their vast amounts of free time.

    As for the councillors’ votes – I’d like to hear why they think it is more important to criminalise people cycling on pavements than people who engage in violent crime… trick one!

  11. Cab Davidson

    Wow, Steve Tiernay, you really don’t get it.

    So we’ve got slightly better cycle lanes. So what? You’ve STILL got speeding traffic going well in excess of the speed limit passing within an inch of the edge of the cycle lane. Many folk, especially old timers, children and inexperienced cyclists are terrified of this. As a result they end up cycling on the pavements. In acknowledgement of that fact when FPN’s were introduced for pavement cycling the home secretary at the time specifically stated that they should not be used in such circumstances.

    The fact that people still choose to ride on the pavements there (and on the more frightening Arbury Road) is a damning statmenet about the failure of you, our County Councillors, to get cycle provision right. There is a real, huge demand for top quality cyclist provision across Cambridge, how DARE a Conservative County Council permanently in opposition to successive Labour and Liberal City councils constantly fail to provide what the people of the City of Cambridge want?

  12. cobweb

    Indeed it was a largely Tory County Council that removed the traffic calming element from this scheme (partly because residents didn’t want it) and so made it more likely that cyclists would continue to use the pavement.

  13. Paul Lythgoe

    Cambridge has the highest proportion of regular cyclists in the country. Our councils should follow the the example of the more than 50% of the poulation that regularly cycle within the city and prioritise cycling within the city and its environs. Clearly the Tory controlled county council are at odds with the City and its residents.
    The biggest danger to both cyclists and pedestrians are cars and their drivers. Yet Councillor Tierney focuses on punishing cyclists. I and every other regular cyclists can give examples of daily being pushed of roads and into gutters by cars, of near misses at roundabouts, and in my case as the owner of a silver wing mirror from a car that hit me on the Quy road and drove on. I will of course return the wing mirror if the driver wishes to make themselves known!

  14. David

    This story reminds me of an incident in 1997 when a man was arrested and fined £120 for riding “furiously” in Sidney Street. Despite cycling within the speed limit he was prosecuted under the 1847 Town Police Clauses Act.

    Now we have ‘anti-social behaviour’ instead – what progress we’ve made over the last 15 years! Is this kind of campaign really the best use of police resources?

  15. Desmond Phillips

    I was alarmingly shouted down by a PCSO on Sept. 6th at junction of Milton Road and Arbury Road. I had nipped on to the empty pavement briefly to get a safe headstart. At first it seemed like a road rage attack.

    Being legally lit up like Blackpool Illumination made me an easy target for an extremely unpleasant and venomous telling-off which left me rather shaken up. I am a generally law abiding cyclist trying to avoid hospitalisation of myself and/or others.

    I subsequently complained officially and got a verbal apology from an Inspector.

    If the alternative to so-called anti-social cycling slowly on empty pavements is risk of death or injury on terrible roads, then I choose the former for the sake of me & my family.

    Those setting police priorities sound like they are in a parallel universe.

    I had expected better. How disappointing.

  16. David Hembrow

    I take no pleasure in this, but find it amusing that Steve Tierney now says that cyclists “got what they wanted” as it’s exactly the response that I predicted we’d see after the recent works.

    That Steve is able to make such an assertion is the inevitable result of a campaign by cyclists which did not ask for enough to be done and rubber stamped the inadequate result that was achieved.

    The only reason that people still cycle on the pavement is that the cycling infrastructure provided is hopelessly inadequate and there is still not nearly enough subjective safety to attract people to cycle confidently along Gilbert Road.

    Conflicts are removed by building good quality infrastructure. Until Cambridge starts to build the sort of infrastructure which is successful in the Netherlands and has all but eliminated pavement cycling, these problems will continue to occur in the city.

  17. Cab Davidson

    Can’t say that I always agree with David Hembrow (his evangelical reliance on cycle infrastructure to the exclusion of any reason – yes, they’re important, no they’re not the whole picture) he’s spot on here. ‘Cyclists’ did not get what they wanted. They got what Cambridge Cycling Campaign were willing to settle for because they saw such a situation as a pragmatic compromise. Thats right, they compromised on cyclist safety rather than show willing to change the politics of the situation by withdrawing support and opposing this and all such inadequate facilities. The evidence that it is not good enough? Simply that many cyclists still choose to use the (bumpy, uneven, cramped) pavement.

    So, come on Councillors, you want cyclists to behave? Don’t make doing so contrary to the best interests of cyclists remaining safe. It. Is. That. Simple.

  18. CLlr Ian Manning

    I’d appreciate it if all people who experience problems because of this priority would write to me and the other Councillors.

    My email is above. If there are problems we can then take them up with officers.

    Despite my view that the Tories at County don’t understand the principle in making cycling equal with other road users (and preferably more than), I think you are being a little unfair on what Steve is saying: he is referring to cyclists who speed down the pavement, rather the (I believe) majority who might cycle responsibly to avoid the perceived danger on the road.

    Before you ask, I don’t drive and cycle down the roads mentioned semi regularly.

    What Richard hasn’t mentioned in this article is that there were only 3 priorities mentioned (I proposed one, going after dangerous drivers on Fen Road).

  19. Richard Taylor Article author

    >I’d appreciate it if all people who experience problems
    >because of this priority would write to me and the other Councillors.

    I can see this might be useful, but even better would be Cllr Manning and others setting the priority getting together all the objections and comments on the policy from all sources – for example as I suggest in my article properly investigating the details of the complaints made against the police in relation to their enforcement.

  20. cobweb

    David, it was the _councillors_ who removed the traffic calming. Not the Cycling Campaign. We could still be here wondering if we’ll ever get any kind of cycle lane if we’d taken the view that unless we got Dutch standard lanes we weren’t going to bother.

    1. Alan Braggins

      > We could still be here wondering if we’ll ever get any kind of cycle lane

      Which would at least have been an improvement on the previous situation, where the lane was clearly worse than useless, but councillors were making excuses why it couldn’t be removed.

  21. David Hembrow

    cobweb: To be arguing over traffic calming on a busy street like this is really to miss the point. It’s barely relevant at all if the infrastructure is designed properly.

    As for the rest of your comment, you’re simply aiming low. This is no way to achieve progress. Look at how successful campaigns work – they never focus on minimum change because it’s not effective. Did Gandhi ask for lower taxes on salt, or did he campaign for something more than that ?

    Aiming low and offering a rubber stamp to the council for a hopelessly inadequate design may make you feel like you got a result. However, the actual result is that cyclists continuing to ride on the pavement become a “top policing priority” while a councillor can accurately say that “cyclists got what they wanted” in this location.

    This is, sadly, just about the worst possible outcome. It is also exactly what I warned you would happen as a result of not standing up for decent standards in the first place.

  22. cobweb

    Ok. Put it like this then. We have councillors ‘who don’t get it’, we have residents who would hate having trees cuts down and perhaps members of CCyC too (I know I wouldn’t have been happy) and further cost a good deal more than there was in the pot at the time. Do you really expect the CCyC to campaign for years and years and years more than it already took for something that councillors most likely would have slung out at the earliest opportunity potentially at the detriment of other stuff the CCyC might want to lobby on elsewhere in the city? I’m sorry but I find that delusional.

  23. Cab Davidson

    David, with respect I’ve read a lot of what you’ve written, and I agree with much of it; your contention that dedicated infrastructure is the only thing that works is such an enormous oversimplification as to be almost useless. I approve of high quality infrastructure, I don’t approve of your evangelical zeal in rejecting almost everything else of value to cyclists.

  24. Cab Davidson

    Cobweb, so if we’re not going to demand top quality cycling facilities, here in Cambridge, right now, then Cambridge Cycling Campaign must andswer where and when such will be the case.

  25. Cab Davidson

    Councillor Manning, for what reason do you imply being told here, in public, is insufficient for you to take criticisms on board?

  26. Ben Harris

    Re traffic regulation orders, it’s worse than it looks. Cycle tracks beside roads aren’t actually created by TRO. Instead they’re “constructed” under Section 65 of the Highways Act 1980. The guidance I’ve read suggests that this “construction” need not have any physical manifestation, and that it’s only good practice that it be noted in official minutes.

    The Cambridge TROs do tend to mention cycle tracks, but only because that’s necessary in order to ban motor vehicles from using them.

  27. Richard Taylor Article author

    “Cycle Track” is defined in the Highways Act 1980 as:

    cycle track ” means a way constituting or comprised in a highway, being a way over which the public have the following, but no other, rights of way, that is to say, a right of way on pedal cycles with or without a right of way on foot;”

    So it appears the above comment number 29 applies to shared use pavements – they don’t need to be signed???

  28. Richard Taylor Article author

    The problems I reported have all been entered onto the council’s system, and all closed, eg:

    http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/CMSWebsite/Apps/Highways/TrackProblem.aspx?ref=NM-26972

    In addition to many automated emails saying the reports have been received, categorised, and “closed” I’ve had the below message:

    Dear Mr Taylor
    The various issues you have reported on cycleway signage and road markings in the north of Cambridge are being investigated by both Maintenance and Traffic sections , on the outcome of these investigations we will order any defect that meets are intervention level / policy requirements. This process and works could take 13 weeks to deliver. This covers our insights 164552,164554,164552,164556,164557 and 164558, it is possible that you will recieve a automatic email from our contact centre to say that the issue has been resolved and cleared. Please take this as we are still investigating your enquiries .

    Regards Evan .

  29. Cllr Ian Manning

    Councillor Manning, for what reason do you imply being told here, in public, is insufficient for you to take criticisms on board?

    I don’t see where I said that. But I have no idea who you are, or where you live – which given I’m meant to be setting priorities for residents is important.

    Further, I’m asking you to write to all Councillors, not just me, as I’m not the only one of votes on it.

    1. Cab Davidson

      Councillor Manning, sorry for my belated response but are you quite serious? How terribly evasive of you.

  30. Richard Taylor Article author

    Sgt Wragg of the police has issued an e-cops message about to enforcement action related to the priority.

    The message states:

    To this end, I’m sitting at my desk, looking at a pile of 20 issued fixed penalty tickets. My colleagues in the Special Constabulary, spent one evening, in the Arbury Rd. area, issuing these. It is sad to note that most of the receipients of these fines are not criminals,

    Taken literally that suggests to me that all the tickets issued by the special constables were issued in error; to people who were not committing offences (hence were “not criminals”).

    I suspect however, from the context and tone, this may not be the case.

    There are other odd elements to the message, including:

    Recently our public have been quite clear at the North Area Meeting and other forums, that they feel this is a policing priority. I must say, that this is supported by statistics from Road Safety.

    This raises questions including: What other forums are expressing views on police priorities? Is the North Area Committee reflecting what councillors “feel” is already a policing priority, or so they set the priotities and hold the police to account for their performance against them? What are the “statistics from Road Safety” and what do they tell us?

    1. Cab Davidson

      Awful. Arbury Road is not fit to cycle on – speeding cars keen to squeeze cyclists out into parked vehicles. We’re punishing cyclists for being too terrified to use an obviously dangerous road while doing sweet FA about criminal motorists driving them on to the pavement? We’ve got this all wrong. Our councillors have nailed their colours firmly to the motoring lobby flag.

  31. Philip Shore

    Does anyone know where I can see the “statistics from Road Safety” referred to in the e-cops message by Sgt Wragg ? I am intrigued because this statement would go against the annual figures published by the DfT, but is being used to objectively justify the PCSO operation.

    Quote e-cops: “We have always received a steady flow of complaints about cyclists with no lights, on pavements, ignoring road signs etc. Recently our public have been quite clear at the North Area Meeting and other forums, that they feel this is a policing priority. I must say, that this is supported by statistics from Road Safety.”

    The DfT report that in 2011, in the East of England region for all vehicle types there were 56 cases of “Not display lights at night or in poor visibility”.

    For comparison “Impaired by alcohol” has 826; “Uncorrected defective eyesight” has 57. There are all sorts of interesting contributary factors with larger numbers such as “Careless Reckless or in a hurry”, 1751.

    http://www.dft.gov.uk/statistics/tables/ras50013/

  32. Richard Taylor Article author

    Cyclist David Arnold has been convicted in court for cycling on the pavement on Arbury Road. Reportedly he was one of 40 cyclists caught at the junction of Arbury Road and Milton Road.

    http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/News/Cyclist-in-court-for-riding-on-pavement-06122012.htm

    As I’ve noted above, the signage is poor, and inconsistent, in this area.

    The police have defended their actions, citing the policing priority set by councillors.

    I would be interested to know exactly which bit of pavement Mr Arnold was convicted for cycling on. Mr Arnold is quoted as saying:

    I have cycled along that bit of pavement on what must be 500 occasions. I am not the only one who is confused by this.

    There must be better signage so people know when they can cycle on pavements and when they can’t so this does not happen to anyone else.

    The County Council are quoted as having said:

    Shared use footpaths are clearly marked and our advice to cyclists would be that unless the footpath is clearly signed as such they should not use it as a cycleway.

    The photos I have included in the above article show this is not the case.

    1. David

      The Cambridge News story says he now has a criminal record. Is that accurate? Have the consequences been more serious because he chose to go to court rather than accept the fixed penalty notice?

      How does this compare to being prosecuted for exceeding the speed limit when driving a motor vehicle and choosing to plead not guilty in court but losing the case?

    2. Richard Taylor Article author

      I oppose the way our courts give credit to those to plead guilty early and conversely penalise those who maintain their innocence, even if they have reasonable grounds for doing so.

      I have written about this previously. eg.
      http://www.rtaylor.co.uk/cambridge-magistrates-court.html

      There are many aspects of the system which encourages people to admit guilt, and in the case of FPNs just pay up rapidly.

      There are other anomolies too, which reward those who don’t turn up to court in traffic cases, only evidence they have been informed of can be presented, so magistrates get a brief summary rather than details. (Based on my experience observing Cambridge magistrates)

  33. Philip Shore

    I’ve yet to get a clear answer from my original FOI request to the Police.
    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/request_for_statistics_from_road

    The statistics from road safety that helped to justify a pavement cycling priority in the North area of Cambridge have narrowed to “information specific to Michum’s Corner, in the form of accident reports from Road Safety”. This is slightly puzzling as there is a fair amount of shared use pavements in this area. Even so, cycling on the road in Mitchums Corner is awful, bring us right back to the theme of this page “Cyclists Branded Anti-Social For Trying to Stay Alive”.

    For what its worth, I’ve put in a follow up FOI request to the Road Safety Engineering Team to see what data they hold.
    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/request_for_statistics_from_road_2

    1. Philip Shore

      After my FOI’s, I cannot yet find any evidence that support the Police priority. I was given the following link in one FOI as a source for the stats:

      See Accidents on a map: http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/transport/safety/accidents/mapped+accident+data.htm

      The stats mentioned by Sgt Wragg in an E-Cops message narrowed to information specific to Mitchum’s Corner when asked to clarify in my FOI. This is an accident cluster site clearly marked on the page in the above link. Of the 25 collisions marked, NONE were cycle/pedestrian. The only pedestrian injury had a bus or coach involved. 17 injuries were cycle/motor-vehicle collisions.

      I had a look at all the accidents up Milton Road and Arbury Rd and found no pedestrian/cycle injuries. Again, cycles/motor-vehicles were most of the dots on the map. I cannot find any statistical backup for a crack down on pavement cycling.

      Looking at cyclist casualties, perhaps the lack of lights on bikes justifies the Police priority? You cannot tell this from the council’s mapped data so I cross referenced with a beta feature on cyclestreets that maps and lists the same STATS19 data.

      Drawing a line around Chesterton/Histon/Kings-Hedges/Milton Roads, I found 198 collisions with cyclist as the casualty 2005-2010. 161 were in Daylight; 36 Darkness – lights lit; 1 Darkness – lighting unknown. It is not quite clear if this means the lighting on the bicycle/casualty but given that one option is “Daylight – lights present” it seems safe to assume this does not mean streetlights. I am reading this as just one cyclist who was unlit was a casualty, but it would be useful to have an officer clarify what this data actually means.

      The cyclestreets dataset does not say which other vehicles were involved, but from the council map it is clear an extremely high percentage are cyclist/motor-vehicle. Whatever the cause, preventing cyclist/motor-vehicles collisions would be a far worthier priority.

  34. Cab Davidson

    Response to ridiculous policing of Arbury Road/Milton Road junction:

    http://cambridgecyclist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/cambs-police-arresting-cyclists-for.html

    Councillors who stated that this should be a police priority? You. Did. This.

    You were told that this cycle lane was badly labelled. You were told that this would happen. You went ahead and instructed the police to target cyclists who, it transpires, are merely trying not to die on roads you’ve mis-managed to the extent that they’re viewed as too dangerous to ride on.

    This is your fault.

    Fix it.

  35. Richard Taylor Article author

    Cambridgeshire County Council have added to the confusion by stating on Twitter that the cycle path on Milton Road stops at Highworth Avenue ie. at the roundabout.

    This raises the question of what the signage, and road markings, at the junction are expected to show, and if they are at odds with the “true” situation:

    I have sought clarification:

  36. Philip Shore

    http://bjh21.me.uk/traffic/areac.html
    SCHEDULE 22 DUAL USE CYCLE TRACK (see Articles 2 and 149 to 150)

    MILTON ROAD The footway on the north west side from its junction with Gilbert Road to a point 50 metres northeast of its junction with Highworth Avenue

    The document mentions 2004 but I cannot confirm this is still current, but it concurs (give or take 50m) with what the CambsCC are saying on twitter.

  37. Richard Taylor Article author

    50m North East of Highworth Avenue takes you just off the roundabout, as the road starts to straighten; just past the point where the on-road cycle lane starts (marked with a cycle symbol) where there is a dropped curb.

    There are no start or end signs present at that point.

    In relation to speeding offences the state of the signage present is considered by the courts to be key to if someone can be found guilty. I don’t know what the situation would be in relation to a cyclist faced with unclear signage as on Milton Road.

    Based on the TRO another key place where signs are lacking is 16m North East of Kendal Way – there is no indication on the ground that the whole stretch of pavement there from Kendal Way up to Green End Road, is not a shared use cycle path.

    There are also, conversely, stretches of Milton Road, signed as shared use cycle paths, but not listed in the linked TRO (which of course might not be the only relevant TRO) one such example is the section of pavement by the path through to Chesterton Hall Crescent, mentioned in the article above.

  38. Richard Jennings

    The patchwork of TROs seems a complete mess to me.

    On Milton Road the horrid shared use path between the underpass to Cambridge Business Park/Cowley Road and Green End Road is well used but according to the TRO the shared use path ends 190m north of the junction with Green End Road (http://bjh21.me.uk/traffic/areac.html), which seems to be approximately at the Toucan crossing. There are no signs indicating an end to the shared use path at the crossing. At the other end (emerging from the underpass) there is a shared use sign http://goo.gl/maps/5L339.

    If I can be prosecuted for cycling on the pavement when the signage is missing or lacking can I also be prosecuted for cycling where the signage says I can but there is no TRO? I also find it odd that parking regulations are considered unenforceable when signs are missing or unclear but it’s different for pavement cycling.

    1. Richard Taylor Article author

      I agree, this appears to be another missing “end” sign; and as pointed out this is a very popular path used extensively by cyclists traveling to the science and business parks; and to the city from Milton; those who’ve not read the TRO would have no reason to realise they are breaking the law and potentially risking a criminal record.

    2. Rad Wagon

      I’ve been looking at the TROs listed (http://bjh21.me.uk/traffic/). Do you know how up to date they are? After a quick skim I don’t see that the majority of the Trumpington Road Cyclepath listed. As I say, it’s a quick skim, not a detailed read, I’ll save that for later! I’m focussing on the Milton Road – Arbury Road issues and have just videoed the section in question with some interesting results.

    3. Richard Jennings

      Whoops, looking at the maps from RadWagon it seems I have made a mistake estimating the distance from Green End Road and so the entire shared use path up to the approach to the underpass is covered by the TRO.

  39. Richard Jennings

    Reading the same list of TROs (which may not be current) apparently there is a mandatory cycle lane “[on the] southeastern side [of Milton Road] from its junction with Green End Road to a point 41 metres south of the access to the Science Park”. There is a MCL from the end of the underpass to the Green End Road junction but I’ve never know of one north of there and the old Google streeview photos from before (during) the busway works seem to confirm that (see previous link). Presumably motor vehicles on this stetch of Milton Road could face criminal prosecution for using the unmarked MCL? The underpass is a shared use path so I presume the TRO can’t refer to that.

    The section of Milton Road between Cowley Road and the south end of the underpass does need a cycle lane, since a TRO (may) exist perhaps it wil be easier to get one put in place — maybe one good thing can come from this mess!

    Anyone have any ideas how to sort out this problem? Bombarding CambsCC with requests for clarification on TROs and demands for signing is going to cost us taxpayers a lot but prosecuting people when the situation on the ground is (at best) unclear isn’t tenable.

    1. Ben Harris

      The standard Cambridge phrasing for MCLs is: “No person shall cause or permit to be caused any vehicle at any time to enter or proceed in the cycle lane marked on the roads or parts of roads specified in Part 2 of Schedule 23 to this Order …”, where “cycle lane” is defined as something like “the area of carriageway bounded by the kerb line of a road and by a longitudinal white line 150mm wide in compliance with diagram 1049 of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 1981 and placed on the said carriageway 1.5 metres from the said kerb line;”. I think this means that if the lane isn’t marked on the road (or is marked with the wrong width — the required width varies across the city), then the restriction has no effect. Even if that weren’t the case, there’s a general rule that TROs have to be adequately signed in order to be enforceable.

  40. Richard Taylor Article author

    Having been pointed to the above linked TRO I went to look again at the cycleway on Milton Road North East of Kendal Way. There is, if you look hard, some remnants of what I suspect was perhaps in the past a solid white line indicating the cycle path turns the corner towards the crossing and does not continue up the pavement. As it is on the ground now though there is almost no sign of this; I only saw it after having read the TRO and when standing looking specifically for any signage:

    Milton Road Cycle Path - Near Kendal Way - Photo with arrows pointing to remnants of white paint.

    Remember Cambridgeshire County Council have stated:

    Shared use footpaths are clearly marked

    1. Richard Taylor Article author

      Having been pointed to this article by the Cambridge Cycling Campaign’s election survey Labour’s candidate for Kings Hedges, Fiona Onasanya has said:

      I feel unable to agree or disagree with the statement that “the shared-use paths are in general highly unsatisfactory” as this is a subjective question and without having specific responses from frequent users (both cyclists and pedestrians) of the paths in question it would not be fair or right to comment.

      I disagree; I think the photos included here show that the signage is insufficient to show where it is and is not permitted to cycle, I don’t think that it is a subjective matter when the signage is as poor as it is. I would expect someone standing for the county council to have a good understanding of the highways related problems.

      Liberal Democrat Candidate Neale Upstone has stated:

      I think Milton Road bus lane should be removed and replaced with dedicated cycle lanes both sides.

      and Independent Ian Tyes has stated:

      The absence of clear signage here as elsewhere means that Police involvement is heavy handed and unfair. … [The council] should resolve the issues of clear markings before prosecuting people for not understanding the absurdities of the random nature of which bit is legal and which is not.

      Full details at:
      http://www.camcycle.org.uk/elections/2013maycounty/kingshedges/

      Interestingly Cllr Manning, one of those who voted for police action prior to signage improvements, is standing for re-election and now takes the view:

      Police should only police when there is a problem: not just because someone is making a minor transgression.

      Cllr Manning has never called for such an approach to-date when setting police priorities; the East Chesterton electorate will have to decide if to judge him on his actions or on what he says he’ll do if re-elected.

  41. Ben Harris

    I’ve added a note to my TROs page giving the date to which I’ve updated the consolidated versions, which is 1st January 2012 at present. I’ll update them to 1st January 2013 early in the new year (How early will depend on how fast the County responds to FOI requests).

  42. Richard Taylor Article author

    Councillors renewed this priority in January 2013 but, at the request of Cllr Wilkins:

    • Noted their original priority was focused specifically to city-bound cyclists going on the pavement at the Milton Road / Gilbert Road junction and other specific areas where pedestrians had reported conflicts; it was not intended to be a broad clampdown.
    • Councillors asked for the approach to include improving signage and the road environment not just enforcement.
  43. Richard Taylor Article author

    The Policing report to the North Area Committee on the 16th of May 2013 notes a priority was set of:

    To address anti-social cycling and cycling without lights, including liaison between the police, County Council and other stakeholders to address any signage or road layout issues

    The update states:

    As indicated by the priority, efforts have been made to start improving road conditions for cyclists, by looking at signage and other factors (such as the width of cycle lanes). On two separate occasions, Sergeant Wragg took a local cycling enthusiast out on patrol with him. This was used as an opportunity to highlight areas of concern to cyclists regarding road layout.

    This is is not what I hoped for. What I wanted to see was Cambridgeshire County Council being prompted to sort out the poor cycle markings in the area; especially if councilors are going to demand enforcement action, as enforcement action without comprehensible signage is in my view unfair.

    1. Richard Taylor Article author

      The police are recommending councillors drop the priority relating to both cycling related enforcement and cycling related signage at the North Area Committee on the 16th of May (p11 of PDF report).

      I think given the state of the signage it would be wrong to continue to push for enforcement. Councillor should though hold the police to account for what they asked them to do last time.

  44. David

    On my way home from work today I witnessed two police officers on bicycles riding on the pavement on the south-east corner of Coldhams Lane and Cromwell Road.

    Normally I wait for a space in traffic before cycling across from Coldhams Common to Cromwell Road as I believe that a red bicycle light on a toucan crossing is only advisory. However, after reading this article I didn’t want to chance that belief, and I had a reasonable expectation that the officers wouldn’t know the law anyway.

    The toucan light never turned green and instead the policemen rode across Coldhams Lane from south to north on the pedestrian phase. Having missed my space in traffic I did the same in the opposite direciton, to the annoyance of pedestrians who were trying to cross east/west at the end of Cromwell Road at the same time.

  45. Richard Taylor Article author

    At the North Area Committee on the 3rd of October I raised the fact it is now a year since I reported the problems with cycle signage listed above yet nothing has been done.

    No councillors said anything on the subject; I was disappointed that none committed to ensure the problems were addressed.

    Worse than not correcting the problem councillors asked police to focus on dangerous cycling; the police did though commit to not trying to catch people out where the signage is poor:

    I have made all footage I took at the meeting available.

  46. Richard Taylor Article author

    At the top of p6 of the proposed minutes there is confirmation there was no response from councillors when I raised this issue at the North Area Committee on Thursday, 3 October 2013:

    Richard Taylor: Raised concern that a lack of signage and road markings in the Milton Road and Arbury Road area had still not been addressed. It was felt that people should not be targeted in this area for anti-social cycling until the signage had been improved.

    It was also suggested that issues such as the cost of crime and burglaries and violent crime should be agreed as priorities.

    The Neighbourhood Policing Sergeant agreed that signage continued to be an issue in some areas but confirmed that the police took a fair, even handed and proportionate approach when dealing with cyclists.
    This was evidenced by the recent light campaign where cyclists had their tickets rescinded upon the purchase of a set of lights.
    The Neighbourhood Policing Sergeant confirmed that burglary featured as a central priority and would not sit at a local level.

  47. Richard Taylor Article author

    I chased this up at the November 2013 North Area Committee:

    My local councillor in Kings Hedges, Fiona Onasanya, agreed to chase up the repairs; she stated the County Council have told her they are going to survey the area and see what needs to be done. I think a survey is a good idea as I have just shown some examples of the problems; there are many more. eg. the markings, signage and surface for the shared bus/bike lane on Milton Road.

    Cllr Onasanya has written to me to say she wrote to council officers while she was sitting at the committee meeting table and obtained a response the following day from Cambridgeshire County Council officer Evan Laughlin which states:

    I know Dugald was looking at this and was going to issue a works order to replace/ renew as necessary, I will chase those works

    Cllr Onasanya has promised to keep me up to date with progress and Cllr Pitt has promised to ensure it doesn’t fall off the North Area Committee’s action list again.

  48. Richard Taylor Article author

    Cllr Onasanya reported to the North Area Committee on the 6th of February that County Council officers have been out to survey the area but only found one minor problem.

    The officers suggested adding a new stretch of shared use cycle path between Union Lane and Elizabeth Way.

    1. Richard Taylor Article author

      I videoed Cllr Onasanya’s contribution:

      Cllr Onasanya Thank you chair, in respect of the cycle signage I agreed I would look into this and take it further.

      I spoke on the 16th of January Donald Peabolds (phonetic) came back to me to say that he had:

      reviewed the cycle signage and the only defect he could see in respect of the signs

      and I’m reading this as a quote from him

      are on the corner of Union Lane and Milton Road and he is liaising with the cycle team for comments.

      He then came back to me on the 30th of January and said the cycling team were going to look into whether Milton Road and Union Lane as a junction there and also going all the way to Elizabeth Way bridge should have some form of shared use path and he also wanted to look at the cycle signage on the corner of Milton Road and Arbury Road because he said he didn’t think there was a need for signage there and I disagreed with him and said the signage was actually inadequate and actually there was certain things which need to be taken into consideration such as the repairs to the shared use path. He said that he was taking the cycle team there to review it, that was on the 30th, and I sent him a chaser today and he hasn’t yet come back to me but if this can also be an ongoing one for me to be brought back at the next North Area I think then I’ll have more information from him on what they’re going to do and what remediation works if any are going to be put in place.

      The only signage on the Milton Road – Union Lane corner is the end of the North bound shared use path on the pavement; and there is an end sign.

      It’s astonishing that the County Council think the other cycle signage on Milton Road, and elsewhere in the area, is fine.

      I wonder if the officers failed to take a map of the traffic regulation orders out with them when they conducted their survey, and if they were completely unaware of the shared use cycleways on those stretches of the road where the signage and paint has deteriorated almost entirely.

    2. Richard Taylor Article author

  49. Richard Taylor Article author

    Cllr Onasanya has sent me the following update, which suggests Cambridgeshire County Council has reversed its stance and is no longer claiming there is only one issue with cycle signage on Milton Road:

    From: Davies Mike (ES)
    Sent: 07 February 2014 09:24
    To: Onasanya Fiona Cllr; ‘Mike Pitt’
    Cc: Peebles Dugald
    Subject: Cycle signage in north Cambridge

    Dear Fiona and Mike

    I have been following the North Area Committee’s discussions about cycle signage and lack of clarity etc.

    Dugald Peebles has been talking to a colleague of mine, and I have given the matter some further thought.

    It seems to me that to look into this properly is quite a large piece of work, and indeed Cambridge Cycling Campaign and various bloggers have created a large resource of information that we need to review, as well as inspecting on site and comparing with what we believe is shared use and what isn’t.

    I therefore propose to give this ‘project’ to a new member of staff who is due to start here in March. I would hope that a report with recommendations and details of new signs and markings needed will be ready by July. We will then work with maintenance colleagues to put new signs/markings in place and we’ll work to deploy new areas as shared use or indeed to take away shared use provision in other places.

    Where Milton Road is concerned it seems that there are different ‘eras’ of signage there, and as one scheme has gone in the older scheme has not been reviewed.

    This probably sounds like a long way away, but at least the whole issue will then be wrapped up and dealt with properly.

    Regards

    Mike

    Mike Davies
    Team Leader – Cycling Projects

    I hope the new member of staff is prompted to look at the development behind 231-247 Milton Road in Cambridge construction of which is underway, but permission is conditional on a “road safety assessment”, which according to the published documents does not yet appear to have been discharged.

  50. Richard Taylor Article author

    If the cycle provision on Milton Road is to get a shake-up I don’t think putting a few more cycle symbols up and designating the footways as shared use is the way to go; I think we should be looking at the segregated cycleways proposed for Huntingdon Road, Trumptington Road and Hills Road and bringing that idea to Milton Road too. Currently the longest of cycle way is good compared to other provision in the city; but when there are segregated lanes with priority over side-roads elsewhere the flaws in the provision on Milton Road will become starker.

    While I think there needs to be excellent cycle provision on Milton Road; as one of the city’s major routes; I we need to be improving the traffic free, or minimal traffic alternative options too; such as creating a clearly signed cycleway to the new station via Brown’s Field Community Centre, and making Union Lane and Church Street safer for cyclists (reversing the decision to add more car parking to Church Street on cycle safety grounds).

  51. Richard Taylor Article author

    Cambridgeshire County Council have published proposals for improving the Gilbert Road / Milton Road junction:

    http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/transport/projects/cambridge/milton_road_gilbert_road_cycle_safety_improvements.htm

    They appear to have identified the key problem here which, in my view, is cyclists on Milton Road heading for the City Centre feel at risk if they wait at the lights as on setting off they are often trapped between the railings and vehicles (sometimes busses and large lorries). This leads to cyclists mounting the pavement in an effort to stay alive, and coming into conflict with pedestrians.

    The proposal involves removing the railings; which should make cyclists feel safer, and provide an escape route for those being pushed off the road.

    The removal of the railings elsewhere will allow pedestrians to make more direct progress across the junction rather than being forced to walk out of their way. (It’s not clear if all the railings in the area are to go).

    Other aspects of the proposal include:

    • Removing the right turn lane from Milton Rd to Gilbert Road
    • Resurfacing the cycle lanes; in red.
    • Extending the cycle lane markings towards the junction.

    My views:

    • The proposal does not remove the islands from the middle of the road. When motor vehicles are overtaking cyclists when there is an island in the middle of the road the cyclist and motor-vehicle are forced into a smaller space. I’d like to see consideration given to removing the islands (I expect there will be pros and cons – I’d like to see the council’s experts set them out).
    • I would like to see proposals such as this publicised in the area, including at the North Area Committee. I’d like to see some of the debate and discussion occur in public to, be that at a meeting, or online, eg. on the County Council’s Shape Your Place website.
    • Could the red cycle lanes be continued across the junction?
    • What’s the broader plan for cycle provision on the whole length of Milton Road – are these proposals compatible with, or working towards, that plan (should they wait until there’s a broader plan?).

    While the consultation webpage invites comments it doesn’t say when and where a final decision will take place and which elected councillor, or councillors are responsible.

    I oppose the council stating the works:

    will be funded by contributions from local developers.

    The wording suggests the money is being given voluntarily; however it is probably money raised via development taxes.

    1. Richard Taylor Article author

      Further comments via Twitter:

      I agree, widening the “pavement” to allow a raised cycleway protected by a curb south-bound on Milton Road might be possible given the extra space obtained by getting rid of the right-turn lane. To get more space on the other side of the junction it might be necessary to remove, or move, the island.

      I’m not a fan of cycle lanes crossing the main carriageway in this way.

  52. Richard Taylor Article author

    There has been some discussion on the Union Lane / Milton Road junction:

  53. Richard Taylor Article author

    Cllr Onasanya has supplied the following update:

    ______________________________________________
    From: Davies Mike (ES)
    Sent: 23 June 2014 15:11
    To: Onasanya Fiona Cllr; ‘Mike Pitt’
    Cc: Peebles Dugald
    Subject: RE: Cycle signage in north Cambridge

    Fiona

    William Rayner joined the team as a Technician in early March. Since he joined us 2 other members of staff have since left. We are now advertising the 2 vacancies. Our priority is the schemes for which external funding has to be spent by 1st April, specifically Dft funded Cycle City Ambition projects such as Hills Road and Huntingdon Road, and Dft funded LSTF (Local Sustainable Transport Fund) projects. However, William has now undertaken a review of the signing. Attached is a plan of his findings and recommendations.

    We now need to discuss this with Dugald, and we then need to ascertain a schedule of changes to signs and road markings.

    I hope that this reassures you of some progress being made.

    Regards

    Mike

    Mike Davies
    Team Leader – Cycling Projects

    The information in this email is confidential and may be legally privileged. It is intended solely for the addressee. If you receive this email by mistake please notify the sender and delete it immediately. Opinions expressed are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Cambridgeshire County Council. All sent and received email from Cambridgeshire County Council is automatically scanned for the presence of computer viruses and security issues. Visit http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk

    I have made the attached document available.

    proposals on a map

    The proposals :

    Shared use path ends at roundabout. Sign needs to be made clearer.

    The arrow shows this relates to the signage at:
    Milton Road Elizabeth Way Roundabout

    Here the signage is showing the cycle route continues across, rather than along the pavements of, Highworth Avenue. While the signage could be improved this is not addressing the key problem with signage in this immediate area which is the lack of “end” signage North of the roundabout meaning people unwittingly cycle on the pavement past the shop forecourts thinking this is permitted.

    Add sign & refresh cycle symbol indicating to cyclists turning left out of Gilbert Road that the pavement is a combined cycleway/path.

    I agree the signage here needs improving. A new sign would be good. However the real improvement here would be an ability for cyclists to legally turn left onto the shared use path while the traffic lights are red. Currently mounting the curb to cross the grass before the lights or going through the lights for a meter or so before turning onto the shared use path are common options for cyclists.

    Junction with Kendal Way: remove cycle ‘give way’ signs painted on pavement, remove ‘cycleway ends’ sign.

    This relates to the area shown at:
    kendal way
    What needs to be done here is surely the white lines repainting – not removing. The proposal here appears to be to remove the shared use facility which allows people to safely cycle using the crossing to go from Kendal Way to Woodhead Drive.

    Opposite Woodhead Drive: painted cycle ‘give way’ signs for crossing Milton Road need removing.

    This isn’t clear but my best guess is it relates to the crossing which is not quite opposite, but near, Woodhead Drive junction:

    cycle crossing Woodhead Drive / Milton Rd

    It’s not clear where the demand to remove this facility comes from; it’s certainly not something I’ve suggested.

    Junction with Fraser Road: remove ‘cycleway ends’ sign, ‘cycleway’ sign and painted cycle ‘give way’ sign. Remove ‘cycleway’ sign seen when leaving Fraser Road.

    This relates to the area at:

    It appears the intent is to remove the remaining shreds of signage for the shared use cycleway/pavement from Fraser Road to Kendal Way. There’s no indication of any intent to repeal the underlying TRO so this would leave this as a completely unsigned, but legal, shared use pavement and exacerbate the situation I was seeking to correct by reporting these problems.

    Junction with Union Lane: remove ‘Cycleway’ sign, ‘Cycleway ends’ signs x 2 and ‘Cyclists dismount’ sign.

    It appears the intent here is to remove the remaining signage for the shared use cycleway/pavement between Union Lane and Oak Tree Avenue.
    There’s no indication of any intent to repeal the underlying TRO so this would leave this as a completely unsigned, but legal, shared use pavement and exacerbate the situation I was seeking to correct by reporting these problems.

    1. Richard Taylor Article author

      Quite what’s happened here I don’t know.

      It’s notable that the senior officer isn’t clearly supporting the proposals from the junior officer who has now left the council, just passing them on.

      I wonder if the officer who came up with the proposals was aware of the stretches of shared use cycleways/pavements on the South-East side of the road which can be used for traveling North East. The proposals would result in these cycleways becoming more poorly signed than they are now.

      I would like some simple maintained straight away (new paint, replacing a handful of £20 signs); and then proposals drawn up for bringing the road up to the standards for segregated cycling we will be seeing on Huntingdon, Hills and Trumpingdon roads, learning from the experience of the transformations there.

    2. Richard Taylor Article author

      I think it is clear from the context (this is an update to be provided in public at the North Area Committee), which ought be published on the Cambridge City Council in the next three days that the confidentiality notice present in the update provided above has been inappropriately applied by the officer and can be ignored.

  54. Cab Davidson

    Have just sent this to Cllr. Onasanya:

    Hi Fiona,

    Just had a look at this here on Richards blog:

    http://www.rtaylor.co.uk/anti-social-cycling-north-cambridge.html#comment-100704

    I have to say I don’t get why those changes are being implemented. In many places the plan seems crazy – by all means re-paint the route to make it clear whats legal, but its apparent that this goes further and starts removing cycle access (e.g. the intent to say, erroneously, that the shared use facility Northbound ends at Highworth Avenue – this is untrue).

    Can I suggest that rather than make a complete pigs ear of things, it would be a good idea to step back and look at how this might pre-empt later improvements to the route?

    Cheers,

    Cab

  55. Neil Matthews

    I am from the countryside north of Cambridge and drive into Cambridge to work every day.

    A minority of cyclists seem to deserve the targeting by authorities, as they appear to have a desire to consistently put themselves in danger.

    Here are two examples.

    17th July 2014 around 15:20 on Arbury Road. Cyclist, no helmet, earphones in, no hands on handlebars, texting on his mobile device, jumps the 2 traffic lights on red just north of the secondary school. I was behind him in my car. Beyond those traffic lights , still no hands on handlebars and texting, he proceeds to veer to left and right obstructing the road.

    Now, the Highway Code allows the horn of a vehicle to be used to notify other road users that ‘you are there’, but a quick toot on the horn elicits nothing more than the continued erratic riding and an interesting finger sign.

    18th July 2014 around 6:50am, turning off the A14 Histon Road about, to turn left onto Kings Hedges road. On this junction the cycle path continues straight across the Kings Hedges junction. A cyclist is about to cross that junction going straight on, and several car lengths behind, another cyclist has just turned off the Histon round about and is coming down the hill towards the junction.

    I am moving behind the first cyclist indicating to turn left. She, at the junction, stops pedalling and begins to slow down. No helmet, and no looks to observe what is around her on the junction. Seems unaware that a car is behind her waiting to turn left, and is slowing quite rapidly. The other cyclist in the meantime is catching up, and although I am indicating to turn left and have started to cross the cycle lane behind the now slow moving first cyclist, the second attempts to undertake me.

    Again, using the horn in one short hit to indicate that I am here (as it seems obvious that there is a lack of observation from the other 2 road users) elicits the same poor verbal and signed response.

    I am both a cyclist and a motorcyclist, and have used training in both areas to help me anticipate situations where I or other road users might be in danger, but the two examples above are ones that I see every day from arrogant, ill mannered and poorly trained cyclists in and around Cambridge, who take no accountability for their own safety or actions and believe they can use the roads in any way they like.

    I know that users of other vehicles are just as bad, but if we forget the laws and rules for a second and consider survival, these individuals seem to either believe they are invincible, or have a death wish. They seem to forget that sooner or later an incident will occur, and unfortunately, whoever is to blame, it is the person sat in the metal box on wheels who will carry on living.

    Anti-social behaviour? it might be the minority, and other vehicle users are just the same, but absolutely. Get trained, follow the rules, use common sense, anticipate danger, and act graciously when another road user indicates that there is possible danger present!!!

  56. David

    @ Neil

    You raise some valid points as I notice similar behaviour when driving or more commonly cycling around Cambridge.

    However, you do undermine your arguments by throwing in casual comments like no helmet (not a legal requirement and little evidence that helmet wearing reduces injuries) and wearing headphones (not something I’d do personally but no different to listening to music in a car).

    You’re also slightly missing the point – we all agree that cyclists are more vulnerable road users and what this article is about is the lack of safe facilities and how that contributes towards some of the behaviours we see. Not a complete excuse, but sometimes it’s actually safer to jump a red light for example than move away from a junction at the same time as all the traffic.

    1. Neil

      Thanks for the response!! The comments regarding the helmets and earphones are not undermining the arguement but are observations! They may or may not contribute to the situations described. Clever to raise them, but as you say later, you are somewhat missing the point.

      The discussion mentions the police clamp down on anti-social cyclists, and the point here is highlighting how a minority put themselves in dangerous situations and then respond poorly to other road users impacted by and responding to those!!

      I do agree that in exceptional circumstances a road user may choose to run a red light to remain safe, but these circumstances are extremely exceptional, and in the incidents I observe on an almost daily basis, they appear more related to a disregard for personal and others safety often followed by anti-social behaviour if the behaviour demonstrated impacts others enough to create a response!! I make the same point again! Reflect on the survival statistics should an incident occur regardless of fault!

  57. Bob

    As a city cyclist of over 40 years experience I can see no justification for going through a red light. I agree with the comment about helmets although there is some evidence that in low speed impacts they offer some protection. I often wear one on the basis they do no harm although they might change a motorists perception. As for headphones, it is just plain stupid around town. It is not like a car radio as cyclists rely on sound to be aware of danger far more than a motorists. Staying safe on a bike is down to experience and the awareness of drivers. Stupid, reckless cyclists give us all a bad name and make stupid inconsiderate drivers even worse. I would like to see more prosecutions of such cyclists along with far more prosecutions of motorists who drive dangerously and put cyclists at risk.

  58. Neil Matthews

    Thanks Bob, you make the point far more succinctly than I did.

    There is no doubt about the stupidity and poor driving of many car users, and prosecutions for this should happen. The point here is that a minority of cyclists, who ride wrecklessly, and respond in a rude and ill mannered way to other road users, should also be dealt with in the same way. Noting the good observations and thoughts on signage, road markings etc, I wonder if this would make any difference to those who choose to be wreckless.

    Although I use several different modes of transport, I can somewhat see a car users point of view, that a cyclist riding badly and putting themselves at risk, should they cause an incident, will come off worse injury wise, but the responsibility seems inevitably to fall on the car driver. Even if only property (car and bicycle) are damaged, where does the car user get recompense for the damage done to their property by the wreckless cyclist?

    I did a review of the Highway Code this morning just to brush up rules and laws. Helmets ‘should’ be worn (no law), but signs and signals ‘must’ be followed (Law in Road Traffic Act). I did note that cyclists ‘should’ ride a maximum of 2 abreast, and single file on winding roads and corners, and have questioned the wisdom and common sense on occasion when groups of riders take up the whole road. Patience should prevail of course, but the risk is increased.

  59. Richard Taylor Article author

    A further update has appeared in the North Area Committee papers for the August 2014 meeting:

    Update from Cllr Onasanya post meeting
    I was advised that information had come back to confirm the Traffic Regulation Orders in place on Milton Road, in other words this tells me where you can legally cycle on the footway. Armed with this information, they have advised they now need to double check what is on the ground and then to tweak our proposals for improving signage. They have apologised that this is all taking a while, but advised that this is because it has to compete with other issues that , given certain funding deadlines, have taken priority at the moment

    Source

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