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Cyclism on the Cambridge streets

Bikes and cars at war in Cambridge

Cyclists and drivers sharing the roads in perfect harmony?

The Dutch might have come close to this Utopian state, but in Cambridge it's more a case of cycle wars and settling scores.

Police statistics state that half of all reported road accidents involve cyclists.

Inside Out reports on cycle wars in the city on BBC1 at 1930 BST on Monday 30 November and BBC Cambridgeshire would like to hear your stories.

Figures compiled for the Joint Casualty Data Report 2008, gathered from local authorities and the police state that 50 per cent of all accidents under 40mph in Cambridge involved cyclists.

The pedal cyclist casualty rate per head of population in Cambridgeshire is more than twice the average for Great Britain. This is, however, the report concludes, related to above average cycle usage in the county.

However, despite measures that include new cycle lanes and plans for traffic improvements to some of the city's most dangerous routes - including Mill Road - accidents involving cyclists in the county increased by three per cent between 2007 and 2008.

Your comments

Here is a selection of comments we've received at BBC Radio Cambridgeshire by text and on Facebook. If you would like to add your thoughts - as a cyclist, a driver, or both, you can email us on cambridgeshire@bbc.co.uk

Linda: I do not think that your programme last Monday truly represented the problems caused by cyclists in Cambridge. I don't think you can have been in Cambridge during the University term time. As you can probably guess, Cambridge Students on cycles are a total menace to pedestrians and road users.

They rarely wear helmets, they don't have lights on their bikes, and frequently wear dark clothing. I have had near misses when using a crossing when lights are on red for cars, bikes etc and cyclists hurtle past at great speed - with complete disregard to the lights. They seem to have absolutely no grasp of the Highway Code. Heaven knows what they will be like behind the wheel of a car!

When driving, I have seen cyclists THREE abreast in front of the Fitzwilliam Museum - how stupid is that?? I have been driving home, and cyclists have come up on either side of the car, and crossed over just in front of me. The other day I was driving home - going straight, when a female cyclist turned right into a side street directly in front of me - MY right of way.

I hope you like alliteration, because 'Cretins on cycles are the curse of Cambridge City Centre' I live here, and have seen all sorts of stupid things which you have not, so I ought to know.

It is unfortunate that your programme did not give the complete picture of cycling in Cambridge.

Mark: Cyclists need to understand the rules of the road apply to them too, you see considerably more cyclists going through red lights than car drivers AND more cyclists at night with no lights than car drivers... Cyclists should receive fixed penalty notices for flouting the rules of the road.

Gerald: In some cities there are separate well kept and cycle friendly paths for cyclists through the countryside into the city. In Cambridge even where there are cycle paths, the warning grids are like tram lines and lock the wheel of some bicycles into a track and even when slowing down because of them, makes it safer to go on the road! Many of the cycle paths have dangerous pot holes and loose slabs.

Charles: I always take great care when driving near cyclists... It would be nice if they acknowledged my efforts with a cheery wave or something.

Susan: This is a dilemma which really winds me up. I am also a cyclist and driver in Cambridge, so try to respect drivers when I am cycling and vice versa.

Cycling in Cambridge

However, there are a lot of drivers and cyclists who do not care. My husband, who cycles to work every day, has nearly been killed so many times by stupid and careless drivers.

I wish the police would crack down more down on cyclists AND drivers who cause problems by not wearing suitable gear when it is dark, by driving too close to cyclists, by cycling through red lights on the road, by blocking cycle paths etc.

Jordan: there are more cyclists in Cambridge - that's why! It's like the statistics about silver cars being more likely to be in an accident simply because there are many more silver cars on the road than any other colour!

Lisa-Marie: I'm a cyclist and driver - I wear a helmet when cycling and remember the rules of the road but so many don't - they avoid the cycleways and the cycle bridges that were put there to keep them safe. The amount of cyclists that just swerve out without looking or cycle in middle of the road. Where I work we are next to a primary school and all day vehicles are in and out of work gates - the cyclists and pedestrians take no notice that it is a road and cars are going in and out they don't look and just pull out.

You say

Do you have any comments to add? Send your thoughts to us at the BBC Cambridgeshire website and we'll print some of them here.

Email us on cambridgeshire@bbc.co.uk

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