Cambridge a model cycling city?

Discussion in 'General Cycling' started by Danny Colyer, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. Danny Colyer

    Danny Colyer Guest

    Danny Colyer, Aug 26, 2011
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  2. Danny Colyer

    jbp Guest

    I've cycled and driven daily in and around Cambridge for around 10
    years. Some of the points the article don't match my experience:

    The bicycle parking situation around in the train station area is
    dire. The census they mention was taken in 2004. The station area is
    being redeveloped, but I don't have much confidence that the extra
    parking provided will cover the users of the new offices and

    Provision of cycle parking for new business and residential
    developments is usually minimal. Business premises rarely have secure
    parking facilities.

    Cycle facilities are still relatively poor given the level of use.
    Some recent examples have been much better (the article mentions Hills
    Road bridge, which is genuinely improved from the previous layout. The
    cycle provision alongside the Guided Bus is also excellent, albeit
    currently unfinished). However, there are many appalling examples of
    anti-cycle road layout still in existence. Most of these are dangerous
    rather than merely inconvenient. And new road layouts are hit and miss
    - some are just as bad as those designed thirty years ago.

    Enforcement of things like mandatory cycle lanes is poor.

    Cambridge drivers aren't particularly notable for their cycle-
    friendliness. I would say that they *are* better than elsewhere, but I
    think this is largely due to raw cyclist volume rather than (say)
    education, road design or magic. "Professional" drivers are
    significantly worse than others.

    The point about cycles being parked everywhere is accurate. As an
    example, a building housing an employment agency was recently
    converted into a Sainsbury's Local. No extra cycle parking was added
    in the area, which has made the surrounding pavements and fences even
    more cycle-littered than they were.

    jbp, Aug 26, 2011
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  3. Danny Colyer

    Clive George Guest

    <not so great stuff>

    I think Cambridge is a model cycling city despite all these bad things
    (which I pretty much agree with). It's a model cycling city because
    enough people cycle there to make it a normal rather than an exceptional
    activity, and because the alternatives are so crap.

    (I was impressed by how bad the busses appeared to be for a colleague
    coming to work. Unfortunately he couldn't cycle, because that would have
    been the obvious choice)
    Clive George, Aug 27, 2011
  4. If I were to pick one randomn journey it could possibly be similar to
    that described, but given I cycle 45 miles a week just commuting I
    definitely see cases where drivers are very impatient with cyclists -
    sometimes aggressively so. Especially if you're cycling just outside a
    bike lane which is too narrow or too close to parked cars. There are
    some pretty awful cycle facilities too in places, which the author must
    have just not seen - or may have simply not understood their flaws.
    new bike lanes on Hills Road bridge are an accident waiting to happen:
    for me they're probably the best facility in town, and I get a lot less
    conflict using them than I used to: but then I wasn't willing to use the
    old bike lanes which were segregated from the traffic and badly let down
    by the traffic lights.

    Bike parking can be a real problem. The new bike park in the Grand
    Arcade was wonderful at first, but is now routinely full at times when I
    want to use it, and hence useless. And parking at the station is a

    But overall I wouldn't use any other mode of transport to and from work.
    Eleanor Blair, Aug 28, 2011
  5. Danny Colyer

    nmm1 Guest

    We shall see. The issue never was whether they would increase the
    accident rate, but whether they would increase the KSI, and they
    haven't been in long enough to tell. In particular, the worst
    risk was predicted to be out-of-town HGV or coach drivers, at night
    in the rain - nothing unusual, there, but any accident involving
    them in that location has a high chance of being KSI.

    Note that my concern was that an increase in the KSI rate was a
    significant possibility, which had NOT been thought through, and
    any attempt to raise it was met by abuse and misrepresentation.
    Like the embedded lane in Trumpington Street being comparable
    and a success!

    Nick Maclaren.
    nmm1, Aug 28, 2011
  6. Danny Colyer

    mrc7--urcm Guest

    In message <>
    "Cambridge drivers are considerate of cyclists in a way I've never
    witnessed in the UK. My brief ride from the station to the centre of
    town, albeit along a main road, was a pleasure, with no buses driving on
    my back wheel and no cars revving their engines trying to overtake

    Certainly not my experience but perhaps it's based on sample size. I
    cycle in Cambridge to and from work every day and there are some days
    when I don't experience any of the above problems. There are also some
    routes that I would try and avoid at some times of day so as to minimise
    the chance of meeting with such difficulties.

    It used to be a regular occurrence for buses to try and drive me off the
    road at one narrow section on my regular commute (Bridge Street), but
    after large numbers of complaints it appears the drivers have undergone
    training to encourage them to give way to cyclists, so now it is mainly
    the delivery truck drivers and taxis that I'm wary of.

    mrc7--urcm, Aug 30, 2011
  7. Danny Colyer

    nmm1 Guest

    If it were true, I should still be commuting into work by bicycle,
    and riding short distances instead of driving.

    If it was genuinely the writer's experience, then sample size is the
    obvious cause. 10-20 years back, I got flamed regularly for saying
    that the current policies, which encourage conflict, are dangerous.
    "But almost all drivers are considerate!" If only 0.1% of drivers
    are dangerously inconsiderate or actively aggressive, and you interact
    with 100 a day, that's one potentially serious incident every two
    weeks - which was about what I was seeing.

    Of course, with the infernal bus drivers (and, before them, taxis),
    it was more like 2% and 5 a day ....

    Nick Maclaren.
    nmm1, Aug 30, 2011
  8. Danny Colyer

    Owen Dunn Guest

    I see these things very occasionally, but it is very occasionally, and
    they never seem to happen to me. I can't account for this. My
    commute is much shorter than yours, so it could just be that you have
    a much larger sample size.
    I usually manage to find a spot but it does seem to require more
    hunting than it did at first. The Park Street bike park seems usually
    to be much less full if you don't mind wandering to the other end of

    Owen Dunn, Sep 1, 2011
  9. Danny Colyer

    nmm1 Guest

    This depends far more on the level of conflict introduced by the road
    layout etc. And it's very 'etc.'!

    Trumpington and Trumpington Road are very bad, but the 'improvements'
    there also made the Grantchester Road, that through Little Shelford
    and Granhams Road much worse - I often used the first before the
    changes, on the grounds that it was so much less stressful. Well,
    it isn't now :-(

    And, of course, being a cyclist who could not ride next to the
    gutter but could not maintain 20 MPH, I was and am particularly
    vulnerable to such aggression. That's another 'etc.'

    Nick Maclaren.
    nmm1, Sep 1, 2011
  10. Danny Colyer

    mrc7--urcm Guest

    In message <j3nn4i$bms$>
    Yes the probability of conflict is very time and also location
    dependent. Over the years I've adapted my regular commuting routine to
    try and avoid travelling on certain routes at times when I know the
    problems are worse. For example in term time I generally avoid
    travelling in the city close to the hour between 9am and 6pm in order to
    avoid the students rushing to and from lectures.

    mrc7--urcm, Sep 1, 2011
  11. Danny Colyer

    Adam Funk Guest

    OTOH (but this is a peculiarity of my route), I find cycling to work
    easier during the morning peak (when the bus-cycle lanes on certain
    roads are in effect) than later in the morning (when they're used for
    parking and there's only one inbound lane).
    Adam Funk, Sep 1, 2011
  12. I'd say I only really get it a couple of times a month, it just tends to
    stick in the mind. And I suspect different routes through different
    streets are as much a factor as length of route. I used to just do a
    mile each way along Lensfield Road and East Road, and that was often
    It's more the faff of negotiating the one-ways to get to and from it
    that puts me off I think, rather than the distance.
    Eleanor Blair, Sep 2, 2011
  13. Danny Colyer

    Simon Mason Guest

    I cycled in to work today when the bus lane was in operation (I
    usually commute outside of peak hours) and it was much easier having
    the whole lane to myself.
    Simon Mason, Sep 3, 2011
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