Impassioned plea from Cambridge cyclists: ‘Please stop killing us’
Cyclists calling for changes to junctions in Cambridge have sent a heartfelt message: “Please stop killing us.”
The plea came in response to the Cycling Plus consultation by the Greater Cambridge Partnership, which has asked the public for its view on how it should spend up to £20million to improve ‘active travel’ routes for cyclists and pedestrians.
The consultation asked for thoughts on 13 routes that had been identified as missing links in the network.
The emerging recommendations include walking and cycling upgrades along the A1134, including improvements to the Addenbrooke’s roundabout, and on Hills Road from Hills Road Sixth Form College to the Regent Street/Gonville Place/Lensfield Road junction.
The Addenbrooke’s roundabout is now home to a ‘ghost bike’, a reminder that it was there that hospital worker and cyclist Anna Garratt-Quinton, 22, died following a collision with a petrol tanker on October 7.
Cambridge cycling campaign Camcycle representative Matthew Danish told the GCP’s joint assembly ahead of its debate last Thursday (November 18) that now was the time to make changes.
He said: “Camcycle welcomes the additional investment proposed as part of the Cycling Plus project and the addition of the Addenbrooke’s roundabout in light of the recent death of Anna Garratt-Quinton.”
Mr Danish continued: “It’s time to finally make this safe for the thousands of pedestrians and cyclists who use it each day. No more lives must be lost or families left suffering.”
The consultation found that 91 per cent of respondents felt junctions in the city need improving. Mr Danish says this is backed up by the 614 people who have signed Camcycle’s petition calling for safer junctions.
“Many signatories have witnessed or experienced collisions,” he said. “This is a sample comment. I’ve personally witnessed, quote, ‘the aftermath of three serious collisions involving cyclists on Cambridge roundabouts all around 7.45am-8am while on the way to work, the latest one resulted in the death of a colleague. Enough is enough. Please stop killing us’.”
The petition calls for the police and crime commissioner, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor, county council, the Greater Cambridge Partnership and the city and district councils to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
City councillor Daniel Lee (Lib Dem, Queen Edith’s) added: “Simply, improvements to this route cannot come soon enough. Already it is questionable whether the existing structure is fit for purpose, recently with tragic consequences. This is a golden chance to improve the approach from Fendon Road to the Addenbrooke’s roundabout and to build in safety, so no one else needs to lose their life.”
More than 1,000 people responded to the Cycling Plus consultation, with safety, lower traffic levels, more direct routes, and segregation coming out as key factors in people’s decisions to use active travel modes. The Hills Road corridor was the top preference among respondents. Further routes have been identified for investment including in Cherry Hinton Road, Trumpington Road and Queens Road.
Latest data shows there have been 229 incidents involving pedal cycles in Cambridge from 2016-21, with 52 serious and 179 slight. There were 68 incidents that involved a pedestrian being injured.
A report presented at the meeting said that 67 per cent of respondents said they would be more encouraged to walk or use a mobility aid if routes were made safer. And 74 per cent of people would be encouraged to cycle more for journeys currently made by car if there was more segregation.
Isobel Wade, assistant director of sustainable inclusive growth at the GCP, told the assembly: “Responses to the consultation suggest there are high levels of support for further investment in the Greater Cambridge active travel network. Continuing to develop and deliver the Cycling Plus network in light of the consultation feedback and wider policy developments is therefore a key part of creating an attractive and cohesive sustainable transport network.
“At the same time, we currently have a £20m allocation for further active travel improvements and delivery of the whole network is likely to cost substantially more.”
She said the plan would be to move forward with the A1134 and Hills Road corridor improvements and explore the possibility of a “future revenue stream” funding further work.
County councillor Alex Beckett (Lib Dem, Queen Edith’s) added: “I want to make sure that these schemes are lost along the way – the ones we aren’t taking forward.”
Business representative Christopher Walkinshaw said: “I think we need to be really bold. The city needs those routes to work for all sorts of traffic but particularly to be safe for active travel and easy for public transport.”
Claire Ruskin, who also represents business on the GCP, said she would like to do all the schemes.
“I would like us to remain evidence-based where we can rather than he or she who shouts the loudest,” she added. “I cycle whenever I can. I also have to travel along Hills Road and Regent Street a lot. I see many of the accidents and very near misses are actually due to cyclists going phenomenally fast along the inside lane of cars and vans in particular turning across them.”