Circus Leaves Midsummer Common

Monday, April 17th, 2017. 9:49pm

The safety of lorries driving on Midsummer Common in Cambridge has been extensively discussed in the last couple of years.

In November 2015 a cyclist was seriously injured when they went under a dodgems lorry. The council then cancelled the 2016 Midsummer Fair funfair on safety grounds.

In light of that background I was surprised to see circus lorries and vehicles, some with trailers, moving on Midsummer Common in the fading light of the 17th of April 2017. The exodus of vehicles crossed an open footpath being used by cyclists and pedestrians. One lorry was even moving without lights.

My view is we should learn lessons from injuries and deaths; our inquest system should be more transparent and we should expand our system of detailed reviews of the circumstances of deaths to cover serious injuries too.

We have to act proportionately though.

I hope my full video is of interest to councillors and council officers who can check if the safety improvements they’ve put in place are being followed. The circus leaving was certainly quite a spectacle.

Now the circus has moved out perhaps the “cows” will return.

4 comments/updates on “Circus Leaves Midsummer Common

  1. Richard Taylor Article author

    The Health and Safety Executive Improvement Notice issued in June 2016 was described as follows:

    Improvement Notice issued as the company failed to organise Midsummer Common during the set up and breaking down of events that the company manages, in a way that allows pedestrians and vehicles to circulate in a safe manner.

  2. Richard Taylor Article author

    The vehicle which moved with no lights on (perhaps to move out of the way of another vehicle, or to prepare to hitch up – it didn’t move far) is, unsurprisingly, hard to see on the video. I’ve tried to mark where I think it is; I saw it and reported my observations live as I was recording.

  3. Richard Taylor Article author

    The council have written to me saying the circus did not follow the safe working method agreed with the council. The safe working method agreed has not, as far as I know been published so I can’t make my own judgement on that; I am just reporting what the council have written to me. The message I have received from the council stated:

    Dear Richard,

    Thank you for videoing and alerting us to the recent departure of the Circus from Midsummer Common.

    We will now formally investigate the matter and have written to the Circus operator to this effect. We had agreed a safe method of working with the Circus in the lead up to the visit and I need to understand why this was not followed.

    Many thanks

    Alistair Wilson, Streets and Open Space – Development Manager, Cambridge City Council

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