Monday, 30 July 2012

Letter re Histon Road in Cottenham News

A letter has been published in Cottenham News regarding the cycleway:
With regard to the letter in the June/July issue of the Newsletter about the cycle way, it is much needed and appreciated. However, until a solution is found about the path from the edge of the village to the College may I take this opportunity to remind cyclists that this section is a PATHWAY [footway] only and not a cycle way.
I have lost count of the times I have been forced to jump out of the way of a fast approaching bike as if they have the right of way (even worse when I have my dogs with me and they come up behind and startle us). The road is clearly marked.
I am also a cyclist and I must also say a better cycle way would be a good thing as the road can be very busy and when I have been riding on this section of road as I should be I have had drivers open their windows to shout that I should "get off the road and on to the ****ing pavement!" So yes, to another section to the college but in the meantime could both sides (cyclists/drivers) be considerate please.

The author sums up the current situation well and to be honest is a snapshot of cycling that could be from any where in the country.  Cycling is on the increase but more safe cycling routes are needed.

Histon Road, Cottenham, within the 30mph zone remains hostile for cyclists. The new cycleway is doing a good job of attracting new or returning cyclists who do not have the desire to cycle in heavy traffic, but at the same time, and because the cycleway starts at the edge of the village, an increase in footway cycling is causing an increase pedestrian/cyclist conflict.

What I wouldn't have wanted to see was a lower quality but longer cycleway.  We should wait for more money.  Council's have wasted too much time and money (and lives) on useless paint solutions over the last  decade.

Regarding "fast approaching cyclists", cyclists should note that the way you feel when close-passed by a car, is how pedestrians feel when you close-pass them on a bicycle (but not to the level of near-death experience). Two people on a collision course need to negotiate and trust each other to feel safe and that means give space or slow down and no surprises - it doesn't matter what mode of transport.

As a final comment, I don't like the use of the phrase 'both sides'.  It is a perpetuated myth that there are sides. Many of us mix up: walking, cycling, and driving.  Most drivers are patient on Histon Road,  but it only takes a few (I estimate less than 1%)  aggressive drivers to make cyclists feel directly threatened every day. Speeding traffic (1/3rd) is a bigger problem that adds to the fear which drivers are isolated from whilst in a safety bubble. I doubt that cyclists are any more inconsiderate than drivers - an interesting and related article can be found on the Cambridge Cycle Campaign site.

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