First impressions of cycling in and around Peterborough would appear to be rosy with an abundant number of cycle routes all interlinked across the city, but scratch the surface and you’ll notice a number of monumental (in my mind) fails.
Peterborough City Council are always the first to shout about their Travelchoice department, which promotes public transport, car sharing, etc along with publishing a respectable map of cycle routes across town. Peterborough is also due to host a round of the Tour Series cycle race, which is odd given the suspected dislike for cyclists.
The problem with Peterborough City Council and cyclists is when it comes to bridges. Cyclists aren’t provided with a safe means of entering the city centre on at least two major routes in – across the Town Bridge on London Road and across the Crescent Bridge on Thorpe Road.
Why are bridges such an issue for Peterborough? Considering the town bridge has spent more time with construction works than not over the past few years, I would have thought the provision for cyclists would be there. Currently, cyclists on these two bridges have a number of unacceptable options:
- Cycle on the road – the lanes are narrow, traffic is fast moving and cyclists are slow(er). Cars find it hard enough to negotiate a slow cyclist, so god help the bus and HGV drivers.
- Cycle on the pavement - it’s illegal (more on this below) and dangerous to pedestrians if cyclists are travelling at any decent pace.
- Dismount and walk – the whole point about cycling is that you don’t need to walk. If you walked, you would be a pedestrian.
- Find an alternative route – taking you miles out of your way just to appease the above.
When the town bridge finally reopened a few months ago, the West pavement had been widened and a massive (and hideous) concrete barrier installed. Why did no-one at the council use their initiative and install a dedicated cycle route?
Peterborough Police and cycling on pavements
According to a recent Peterborough E-Cops email I’ve received from Mohammed Haleem, the Police are warning cyclists that cycling on pavements is illegal and could result in a £30 fixed penalty notice.
I’m sorry, but what a load of crap.
If cycling on pavements is so dangerous then why does the council find it acceptable to paint a white line down the middle of the pavement along Bourges Boulevard around the train station, enabling cyclists to cycle on the pavement? The pavement here is already fairly narrow by Peterborough standards, so dissecting it with a white line makes each “lane” even tighter.
Bridge Street is one of the few pedestrianised areas within Peterborough and effectively cuts off the South of the city centre to cyclists wishing to remain on the saddle.
The council seem to be giving mixed messages – on one hand they want to appear to be all environmentally friendly, eco and green, yet they seem clueless when it comes to something as basic as a safe cycle route.
So what can be done? I suppose the first option is to speak to the local councillors for Fletton: Fran Benton (07526 997137), Matthew Lee (07899 934643) and Piers Croft (07707 381444). You could also try Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson (email@example.com)
CycleSay is an organisation set up to campaign for Peterborough’s cyclists, so get your comments in to them too.