Tuesday 28 May 2013

So near, and yet so far Cambridge News.

I was happy to report here last week that Cambridge News have softened their normally hard-line attitude towards cycling stories (usually there to troll for anti-cyclist hate) with a series of reasonable news reports fairly and even-handedly covering cycling stories.

The story here is simple enough. There is a heavily used cyclist and pedestrian route on Stourbridge Common, on which there is a bridge. Cyclists are encouraged to use such routes here - in fact they can and should be a pleasure, they are after all free of motorised traffic. The County Council installed a new supposedly non-slip surface on this bridge that was awfully unpleasant to ride on - cyclists have reported feeling unwell, sore, even shaky and dizzy after riding across it. Obviously the County made a mistake - it should never have been installed, it was hazardous and unpleasant, and its installation encouraged cyclists to use more hazardous road routes instead. I would be unsurprised if it meant that some cyclists just gave up riding.

Don't believe me? Then believe RadWagon.

I don't know about you, but I can see how to pitch this story such that its very much supportive of cycling. Lets report it as 'County Council forced into embarrassing, expensive climb-down over bridge surface as they finally removed much lambasted rumble strips. The strips have been reported to cause numbness, discomfort, even nausea by cyclists who regularly use the bridge. Count Council plans to make the route safer using the 'anti-slip' surface have spectacularly backfired, and the cost of this error will be borne by the taxpayer.'

Seems fair? Seems reasonable to put the blame for this mistake where it really lies, at the door of those who did this without first making sure its an appropriate solution on a cycle route? 

Well you're not thinking like a Cambridge News reporter.
Taxpayers’ will now have to bear the cost after the non-slip surface laid down by Cambridgeshire County Council was torn out and replaced.
The move came after a raft of complaints from riders who were “shaken up” when they crossed the Stourbridge Common bridge.
Hang on... Cyclists were 'shaken up' and taxpayers will come to our aid?

Oh, bugger off Cambridge News. There needs to be no intimation that cyclists are at fault for complaining about something we've every right to complain about. We didn't install this surface, we haven't created the cost. 

I guess expecting the News to really 'get' why trolling for anti-cyclist hate is a real problem is just too much to ask. They don't understand that this contributes to the climate of hate we experience on our roads. They don't get why fostering such a negative attitude towards cyclists is a bad thing.

And after a run of fair reporting. So near. But still, so far. 


  1. Instead of "...cyclists who regularly use the bridge."

    How about "... people who regularly use the bridge."

  2. Fair point. I would guess the strips were every bit as bad for folk using various types of mobility aids. Can't have been comfy for kids in pushchairs either.

  3. I've put up a clip of the lot fully removed now.

    It's so much better and safer, I think, as it makes people riding slow down even more.

    1. Very informative - thanks. I went down there the other day, much better.

  4. And finally, a little bit about the plans is up on Cyclestreets and YouTube after bumping into engineers looking into it.