Azara Blog: Cambridge Cycling Campaign threatens to cut off its nose to spite its face

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Date published: 2009/01/21

The Cambridge News says:

Cyclists are opposing a 40mph speed limit on the new Addenbrooke's access road, saying it will endanger them.

Trumpington Residents Association and local councillor Anne Kent are also concerned over the planned speed limit between Hauxton Road and Shelford Road, saying it will pose a safety risk, be noisy and make the road feel like a bypass.

The speed limit along the new route, which could be used by up to 21,500 vehicles a day by 2023, will fall to 30mph on the stretch between Shelford Road and the Addenbrooke's site, which will have houses built either side of it and lower traffic levels of around 10,000 vehicles a day.

The Cambridge Cycling Campaign claims the 40mph limit does not fit with the city's cycling demonstration status as it poses a danger to cyclists.

Campaigners say unless the proposed 40mph section is reduced to 30mph, it will raise the issue with Cycling England, which is behind a grant for cycling facilities along the Addenbrooke's access road.

The Cambridge Traffic Management Area Joint Committee will consider the issue on Monday.
John Clough, capital programme manager for Cambridgeshire County Council, pointed out the limit would fall to 30mph as the road went to Addenbrooke's from Shelford Road.

"To improve safety for cyclists there is a two-way segregated cycle/pedestrian footpath that is off the road and two cycle lanes on the road. The suggested limit conforms to national and county guidelines of a road of its type."

The Cambridge Cycling Campaign (CCC) is a typical special interest pressure group that tries to force the rest of society to put the group's interest above the interests of society as a whole. The CCC is run by the academic middle class, and Cambridge is run by the academic middle class, so the CCC often gets its way.

A 40mph road is not necessarily dangerous for cyclists. King's Hedges Road was perfectly safe for cyclists when it was 40mph along its western half (and indeed, 60mph at the Histon Road end). It only became dangerous for cyclists when the useless Cambridge transport planners re-designed the road because of the Arbury Park development (at which point, as it happens, the speed limit was reduced to 30mph).

And if Clough is not lying, and there is a separate cycle/pedestrian path off the road, then the CCC is really spouting nonsense. For incompetent amateur cyclists who are incapable of cycling safely in traffic, there is that alternative. For pro cyclists there is no problem with a 40mph speed limit if the road is otherwise designed properly (which of course it might not be, given that the Cambridge transport planners had something to do with it). The anoraks who run the CCC are of course all pro cyclists. They are just being silly with their bleating.

And their threat to "raise the issue with Cycling England" is even more bizarre. Fine, encourage Cycling England to take the money away from Cambridge. See how far that gets cycling facilities in Cambridge. So it seems that unless the county gives into the CCC threats, then the CCC is going to cut off its nose to spite its face. How typical of the academic middle class. Emotional age, 2.

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