Guided busway: Speed slashed to 30mph on further Cambridge section amid safety review
Speeds have been reduced on a further section of the guided busway in Cambridge weeks after the death of a pedestrian.
Cambridgeshire County Council confirmed that a 30mph limit is in place on the city-bound track all the way from the Long Road bridge to the Hills Road bridge. Previously buses could travel at 56mph. Signs will be “installed shortly” say the council.
It follows the death of pedestrian Kathleen Pitts, 52, of Ravensworth Gardens, Cambridge, at Sedley Taylor Road on October 26, which has prompted the council to appoint an independent expert to conduct a safety review, who has begun work and will visit the site in December.
Cllr Peter McDonald, chair of the council’s highways and transport committee, said: “We looked again at the busway and have decided that there may be some benefit in moving back the start of the 30mph zone to Long Road bridge on the southern section. This action is separate from the incident on October 26, 2021 which is still the subject of review and investigation.”
Cyclist Steve Moir, 50, from Sawston, died in a head-on collision with a guided bus on the same stretch when he fell in its path in 2018. A Health and Safety Executive review into that incident is still incomplete, three years on.
Fellow cyclist Brian Robertson called for a physical barrier to be installed on the busway in last week’s Cambridge Independent.
There have previously been calls for a 20mph limit on the stretch, with survival rates seven to 10 times higher, and stopping distances halved between 30mph and 20mph.
A spokesperson for Cambridge cycling campaign Camcycle said: “Busway drivers are not able to swerve off the tracks if a person or obstruction falls in front of them, so a lower speed limit is essential for busy sections where there is no verge between the busway track and active travel path to keep everyone safe.”
Traffic counts from Camcycle conducted in 2019 found 678 cycles and 541 pedestrians used the busway in one hour on a 3m-wide path with a post in the middle. “They weren’t designed for what they have become, and certainly not for the levels of traffic that parts of them handle,” the group said.
The council said safety on the busway is regularly reviewed, with inspections and assessments for maintenance or improvements.
Cllr McDonald said it is important the independent “review is thorough” but promised: “We will be working with the expert to ensure that it is completed as soon as possible, and we will update on progress when we are able to.”