Cycling MPs shown the way by Cambridge

Pedalling people's repreesntatives shown how to get bums on bikes

The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group paid a visit to Cambridge to learn about Cambridgeshire County Council's plans to boost cycling.

They were taken on a tour of the city and shown cycling facilities such as the Grand Arcade Cycle Park, Carter Station Bridge and Riverside Bridge, as well as being filled in on future developments.

The visitors included two Lords, representatives from train operating companies and the national manager of the Bikeability proficiency training scheme.

Future plans outlined to the MPs included 'cycle cattle grids' for the commons around the city – these would allow bikes across while stopping livestock escaping – contra-flow cycle lanes and route marking using solar powered cat's eyes.

Plans for the multi-million pound Cycle Cambridge programme were presented to the group including Hills Road Bridge and a £200,000 investment in secure cycle parking at schools.

In 2008, Cambridge Cycling Campaign published a document, Cycling 2020, that outlined areas that need to be improved to maintain and grow the current high levels of cycling.

It said there were too many narrow cycle lanes, lanes without priority over side roads, badly designed schemes (for example Coldham's Lane Bridge), too many obstacles and access barriers, and parking bays too close to cycle lanes.

Solutions flagged up include allowing two-way cycling on many one-way streets, removal of obstructive parking on key routes into the city and extensive redesign of particularly notorious road junctions.

The Campaign's Martin Lucas-Smith told BikeRadar there had been progress since the 2020 report, including:

  • Work has begun on both ends of the Chisholm Trail, a 'cycle superhighway' that will link AddenbrookesHospital to CambridgeSciencePark.
  • Cycle parking is to be improved, and people are going to be asked where it is needed via a website.
  • Links between the city and outlying villagesare being upgraded.
  • Bottlenecks and main cycle routes are to be upgraded, including Gilbert Road and Hills Road Bridge, the latter having 2.1m cycle lanes, both involving reallocation of roadspace.
  • The Bikeability scheme is being rolled out in Cambridge and will increase further the number of children cycling to school.

Past research visits of the All-Parliamentary group include a trip in April 2009 to the Netherlands, funded in part by Dutch train operators Ned Railways, who now run Merseyrail (bikes allowed unrestricted access on all trains) and Northern Rail (2010 will see the opening of the country's first 'Cyclepoint' at Leeds station, based on the Dutch FietsPoints which combine secure cycle parking and a bike shop at stations).

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