Here are a selection of the type of letter we receive. Cycle infrastructure can attract negative press from some form people who generally never cycle and have no idea what it’s like. Here are a couple of real experiences and views from other users:
Another letter we have received. Cycles aren’t the only way to get from A to B. The paths benefit far more than just cycles:
I am very grateful the cycle path is along the main road from the Weaver’s Shed to the crossroads at Shepreth. As a mobility scooter user it makes getting to my mother’s at Fowlmere so much easier. If I went the back way past the Bird Reserve the drivers of cars would not be happy.
I would love to be able to get to Royston on my scooter but would be very scared of crossing the by-pass. Yes there are buses but on a nice day as I have a scooter I would rather use it. I would also be able to get to my doctor’s at Burns Road so I could get an appointment any time rather than time it with the buses.
I am for a safe passage from Melbourn to Royston using my scooter as I love to get out rather than stay in.
“I think it is valid that tax-payer funded projects such as the cycling scheme from Royston to Cambridge should be critically analysed. However, there were a few points missed in the letter published last week. Most people I know with bikes are also car owners. However, one of the main reasons why people are discouraged from cycling from Royston to Cambridge is because of the death-defying crossing of the A505 and the subsequent scary ride down the A10 with cars flying by within inches at 60mph plus. I do not blame drivers; it is the infrastructure that is at fault. Therefore it is likely that numbers of cyclists would rise when a safer off-road route is created. Also with Royston and the surrounding areas rapidly expanding, the traffic woes and parking issues of Royston can only increase so that improved cycle networks makes sense. Cyclists like all road users should also use the roads and paths lawfully and responsibly. Cycling can get people to work, visit and support local facilities, shops, friends and promote fitness. Its not about being environmentally green but about being practical. Cycling infrastructure in Royston has improved greatly through efforts of our local councillors and cyclists themselves. The cycle routes are not just intended to be there for a few decades but to become integral to Royston so that any investment is for the future. Bear in mind that children may be a major users of cycle routes. However, if the routes out of Royston do not improve, it is likely that accidents that have occurred in the past will become a fatality and that is something I do not want to put a price on.”
The new sections of path are welcome, but a couple of short intermittent sections do not make a route desirable or even possible.
“Last Friday as I cycled South from Cambridge on the A10 at about 5pm, I got shouted at not once but twice in one hour by motorists who told me to use the ****** cycle path.
Going up to Cambridge, or coming back in daylight, I use the A10 cycle path, even though its generally poor condition makes the ride slower and less comfortable. But most of it is narrow, rutted, potholed, and over-grown by low-hanging trees and trailing brambles. In winter weather the path can get littered with debris. And cycling South after dusk, into the face of oncoming traffic, I can see none of this, as the cars’ dipped headlights shine right into my face, blinding me. Cycling South on the footpath after dusk is, in short, incredibly dangerous. I can get off and walk, or risk cycling into a ditch or tree, or risk hitting an obstacle and ending up in the road. Cycling North after dark is not a lot better, but at least then the cars behind you light up most of the path. Not all … but most.
So I cycle on the road, as do many others. And occasionally get sworn at for it. Which is upsetting, but is also frightening as a few drivers slow down to shout at me. They are taking *their* eyes off the road, in the dark, in order to tell me off. I drive enough to know that is not safe.
The vast majority of drivers are careful, courteous, give a well-lit cyclist lots of road room, and show no resentment of having to share the road with me. I am grateful to them, and I try to reciprocate by keeping out of the way, obeying traffic signs, signalling and so on. But only a vast majority. There are always a few … well, others.
So I have three choices (other than to join the drivers). I can take the cycle path and take the 50:50 chance of ending up in a ditch or in front of a lorry. I can ride on a busy road and take the 1:1000 chance of being killed, and the chance of being shouted at. Or I can cycle through Addenbrookes, Shelford, Newton and Fowlmere and avoid the A10 entirely.
The country route is 2 1/2 miles longer, dark, winding and without a cycle path at all, but, hey! I don’t get dazzled and I don’t get shouted at. So I have taken to doing that.
If those building or repairing cycle paths can help address this, I for one would be hugely grateful, and would happily use the results of your efforts, and leave the motorists in peace to vent their frustrations on a Friday evening some other way.