The County Council has launched a consultation on pedestrian and cycle arrangements on Queen Ediths’ Way and Cherry Hinton Road.
The aim is to address safety concerns over the shared use pavements, whereby cyclists may legally ride on the pavement. Many do so to keep out of the way of heavy – and sometimes fast – motor traffic. This is entirely understandable – but ironically, in avoiding cars and vans, cyclists themselves pose a hazard to an even more vulnerable class of traveller – the pedestrians who use the pavements. It is a particular problem for people with disabilities, especially the visually impaired, who cannot see bikes coming or report incidents easily.
Cambridgeshire County Council conducted a trial of the shared use arrangement in the late 90s and despite strong local opposition, made the ‘trial’ permanent. It still doesn’t work terribly well: in Queen Edith’s Way, the combination of schoolchildren at one end of the road and a high proportion of older people in nearby Wulfstan Way frequently leads to conflict, with cyclists sometimes failing to slow down or stop when they encounter pedestrians. Many cycling campaigners would agree that shared use is a cheap compromise that satisfies no one, and that demarcated space is to be preferred.
So local councillors have asked the County Council to spend some of its transport fund on a solution in both these roads. The money comes from Section 106 funds – payments by building developers as part of their planning conditions to offset the traffic impact of their developments.
At this stage the County Council is asking residents and other road users for information on which areas they find particularly dangerous and what options they would consider. There’s an on line questionnaire to complete. It is important that the County hears from everybody, so if you know of places or groups of people who would appreciate printed copies, let me know.