At a local election hustings in North Cambridge organised by local residents associations to discuss transport matters UKIP candidate Peter Burkinshaw appeared to be having some fun challenging views which have become accepted by those running our society.
Here are some of Mr Burkinshaw’s contributions:
Peter Burkinshaw (UKIP) : On the whole cars which burn petrol, especially if they are maintained, are not producing very much in the way of pollution. That is unless you are one of these people who think carbon dioxide is a pollutant whereas I can assure you its an essential part of the biosphere.
Peter Burkinshaw (UKIP) : I’m particularly interested in the transport question mainly because I keep getting knocked down by cyclists on the pavements who shouldn’t be there. I think our current policies are far too much of the way of reverse animal farm, two wheels good, four wheels bad. I think we have far too many under-used bus lanes in various places for example Newmarket Road if you’re trying to get into Tesco’s you’re all in the outside lane and you sort of have to sweep into the inside lane to actually turn into Cheddar’s Lane. The other places where I’ve seen bus lanes, if you look at, its the avenue that the number two bus goes down, Victoria Avenue, there’s a bus lane in Victoria Avenue, the bus drivers never drive in it. A few cyclists ride in it but buses on the whole ride in the middle of the road and that’s a public waste of road space there’s far too much waste of road space in Cambridge.
Peter Burkinshaw (UKIP) : I wish I could get some of the larger members of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign to come and stand on any of the street corners around the bottom of Union Lane and try to persuade the cyclists on the pavement that they should be on the road. Now actually I’ve tried this and I’ve been threatened with physical abuse and verbal abuse but the fact is there’s no room on the pavements for both cyclists and pedestrians around that area.
Peter Burkinshaw (UKIP) :
Well I’m a bit of a libertarian here; I’ve never taken a view that somebody who lives somewhere has more right to park in the road outside their house than anybody else has. The road is a public utility and it doesn’t belong to the people who live there. I would like to encourage people who have front gardens to convert them into parking space rather than parking on the road. If they have to park on the road then people should have to pay for it, regardless of who they are.
Peter Burkinshaw (UKIP) : The other thing I’d like to ask; a lot of these people are so fanatical keen on cycling, if they’ve ever tried to collect weekly groceries for a family of six people on a bike or a bus because I have for many years. Can’t be done.
Peter Burkinshaw (UKIP) : Yes, well. I think my views are fairly uncompromising on bus lanes, there is no need for a bus lane between King’s Hedges road and coming into town all the way down Milton Road, I have quite often walked the length of Milton Road and have never seen a single bus. It’s just a waste of a third of the road space. I’m quite happy to have the busway further out of King’s Hedges road and similarly Newmarket Road we don’t need a bus lane until you get past Cheddars Lane because it just takes away valuable road space which is otherwise very much underused.
Peter Burkinshaw (UKIP) : Congestion is here to stay, it is caused by the number of people who work in Cambridge. We should be grateful that its such a prosperous town that you actually can have the jobs that people like there. Coming from the North of England I’ve seen many places where rows of houses are empty because nobody has any jobs any more, so and given the choice between that and congestion, I’ll vote for congestion any time and I will not support congestion charging because I think that is unreasonable and there are many people who need their cars to get to their jobs and possibly what we need in Cambridge are more central car parks, thank you.
Peter Burkinshaw (UKIP) : I’m pretty happy with Milton Road the way it is actually. I think we could… after I have got rid of the bus lane and coming down from King’s Hedges, I might just snip a bit off the verge at the top of Union Lane so people could turn left there without obstructing traffic apart from that I’d be quite happy with the trees where they are.
About 50 people attended the hustings event on the 28th of April which was run by the Milton Road Residents’ Association (MRRA) Hurst Park Estate Residents’ Association (HPERA) and the Friends of Mitcham’s Corner (FMC).
I’ve already published my views on Milton Road (I’d like cycle ways down the full length segregated from motor vehicles by trees) and on a congestion charge for Cambridge (I oppose a congestion charge or other road use charging).
I question if those who say they regularly get knocked down by cyclists in Cambridge are accurately describing their experiences or if they’re exaggerating. If I was a councillor I’d be asking for reported incident/injury statistics to be presented to show where injuries are being caused on our roads. The deaths and serious injuries are pretty much entirely down to motor vehicles colliding with more vulnerable road users – cyclists and pedestrians. Mr Burkinshaw is not alone in making this kind of comment and we’ve regularly seen councillors ask the police to make tackling anti-social cycling a priority as a result, recently following public reaction councillors have expanded this to all road users. It’s not clear if Mr Burkinshaw is talking about cyclists legally on shared use pavements, those lobbying councillors using public speaking slots at council meetings tend to be similarly unclear.
Cambridge does have a particulate pollution problem associated with the bus station and major roads. We should address this by supporting the conversion of diesel buses and taxis to electric (or hydrogen) power, as well as making cycling and walking as safe and attractive as possible by providing segregated, low traffic, and traffic free routes. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are a global issue, and one we need to consider as a species. I think Cambridge’s contribution is primarily in science and technology, in better understanding our planet and developing new technologies.
I think Burkinshaw has misunderstood the role of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign, far from all cyclists are members and the campaign has no particular role in policing the behaviour of cyclists, though it can, and does, join in publicity for things such as campaigns to get more cyclists using lights at night.
Burkinshaw says: “I have quite often walked the length of Milton Road and have never seen a single bus.” There are Park and Ride buses using the road, guided busway buses from St Ives and beyond and a bus to Ely, the road is well used by buses already, there may be even more buses in the future when developments in Waterbeach and Northstowe are built and more services are put on to serve them. I hope such additional services are kept to a minimum by providing other attractive options, including the train.
I agree with Burkinshaw that our roads are public and ought be for the benefit of all, and those who live adjacent to a road ought have no special right to park on it. If parking is to be restricted on certain roads that should be a decision taken strategically and the views of immediate local residents ought be just one factor taken into account and they shouldn’t be given undue weight.
While I don’t think we should be actively encouraging people to convert gardens to hard-standing, there are many areas of the city where people park on the public grass verges rather than on their own properties and I would like to see that tackled.
Cambridge’s city centre public car parks, and the management of queues into them, are a cause of city centre congestion. While lots of people moving around is a sign of a thriving city, congestion in the city, and unreliable journey times on the A14, A10 and other main routes outside the city risk making it a less attractive place to work, study, or base a business; to support Cambridge’s contribution to our society through health, technology, education, and culture we need to elect representatives who will enable people to move around the city reasonably easily.
Cycling Campaign Surveys
Burkinshaw’s views on how to run Cambridge have previously risen to prominence following his responses to Cambridge Cycling Campaign surveys, a 2009 classic saw Burkinshaw state: “…motorists are the people who pay to use the roads whereas cyclists are “freeloaders”. They are entitled to use the roads but not disproportionately. If everyone cycled, as you suggest, there would be no roads to ride on.”