Monday 29 April 2019

Camcycle Local Election Survey 2019 - the Yellow Team

Historically there used to be three parties had a hope in Kings Hedges. I was talking to an ex-LibDem councillor yesterday and he told me that they always treated the ward as a three way marginal because there's a persistent Tory vote that never seems to go away. But getting real for a moment, its a long time since the Tories did anything but belly-flop here, and the only real opposition is the yellow team.

We've got two candidates for the two seats (which is a mistake guys - why wouldn't you want to maximise your chances of getting one candidate into office?) I'll pick one of them to review and look or another in a neighbouring ward. Tossing a coin I'm going to consider Luke Hallams responses.

On concerns for older and younger cyclists, and his own experience cycling...
I mainly travel on foot and I do not currently own a bike. I only cycle occasionally when I borrow a bike from friends. I am therefore not confident riding on roads but I am currently looking into going to a Bikeability course to improve my knowledge and confidence. From my perspective, better cycle routes, with segregated bike lanes (that don’t suddenly disappear onto a busy road) would really encourage me to cycle more and I think would really help younger cyclists as well.
Luke, if you're reading this, firstly, thats spot on. Well done. Secondly, give the guys at Outspoken a call and talk to them about what training options are available. Its not the be all and end all, but it won't hurt. And thirdly, get in touch with me, we'll see if one of our spares in my garage can be fitted to you, and come out for a ride with me and my other half - it sounds like the biggest thing you're lacking is confidence, and thats best obtained by riding with people who do this, here, every day. Failing that you've got a whole lot of yellow team cyclists, surely one of them has a spare bike and can ride out with you?

On how to get more people out on their bikes:
Increasing the number of cycle lanes is one way to make people feel more comfortable about taking up cycling. I believe there is value in shared cycle schemes, working with robust public transport to ensure that there is always an alternative to car use. Our wider anti-idling campaign will help draw attention to the environmental cost of vehicles, and will encourage people to cycle instead.
Well thats most of it covered. Infrastructure is the biggie - although some reference to policing (total lack thereof with regard to motoring) would be appreciated here too. But on the whole... Good.

Regarding planning and council work, he's supportive of having a full-time cycling officer, and raises a fair concern regarding the new developments coming to the ward. Perhaps an acknowledgement that councillors could themselves do more could be there too, but, again, nothing to disagree with here.

On cycle theft his suggestion of getting reps from Greater Anglia and the Police in the same room is fair, and the acknowledgement that police resources are stretched is reasonable. Although frankly I've never heard anyone say 'well you know, investigating (theft of something that isn't a bike) isn't going to be a priority because of resources'. And I would have hoped that he'd have understood his role as a councillor would put him on North Area Committee, giving him a vote to instruct local Police officers to prioritise cycle theft.

And on specific barriers to cycling in the ward? He's picked some of the major constrictions and told us how he'd solve them. Top marks.

I'm giving Luke 9/10. I know. I'm as surprised as you are. He's nailed most of it, he just needs a tiny bit more attention in some answers.

So we went off to Arbury last time when looking at Labour, lets drift south into Chesterton and see what we find there. I see that Owen Dunn is standing. In fairness beating the Labour candidate, Gerri Bird on cycling issues isn't hard. Whats his experience riding and whats the problem for more vulnerable riders?
Cycling is my main mode of transport. I cycle 30-50 miles a week commuting around Cambridge, mainly on the road but also using some off-road cycle paths. I sometimes use a bike trailer to do large shopping trips.
I also cycle for fun and do 100km-200km rides with Audax UK (
I'm a fairly confident cyclist and usually cycle on roads, but many younger or less confident cyclists and those with disabilities find on-road cycling too scary. They benefit from having segregated cycle routes which are protected from motor traffic, and I'm keen that the city's network of segregated routes grows (and connects!)
So he's pretty serious about his bike. I've seen him on two wheels, not seen him out with the trailer, but have no reason to doubt that. And he's spot on about cycle facilities - although I'd say maybe an acknowledgement that they'd be good for him too would be worthwhile.

Regarding getting more people riding, I can't disagree at all:

 We need to make it easy and pleasant to get around by bike. This means:
* continuous segregated cycle routes which are well signposted and don't just disappear
* more bike parking on more streets, and sufficient bike racks in business and residential developments
* more permeable development so that cut-throughs make local journeys much easier by bike
* encouraging businesses to provide showers and changing facilities
We need to take action on air pollution so that getting around the city is feasible for those with breathing difficulties. Measures such as monitoring air quality, reducing engine idling, and tree planting will contribute to this.
I would only suggest that this needs to be clearly ordered - work showers won't help at all unless there's safe access to ride there. The only game in town that really works is infrastructure, everything else follows as a result of more people riding.

On planning his desire for a full time cycling officer is fair, and his desire to work with officers to hard-wire cycling into planning responses is worthy. I also think there's a party line emerging here - you guys want a full time cycling officer? Brilliant. So do I. Whats your costing for it? How much will it cost and how will you pay for it? Can you, for example, tell me which other post you're going to cut or reduce to part-time to pay for it?

The next Question in Chesterton is about Nuffield Road and basically how its a motorist dominated death trap. He doesn't fluff it, and provides a fairly detailed response and I actually appreciate how he holds back from going for the political jugular by not talking about how the previous consultation was fluffed when only residents rather than the school and medical centre were asked. His answer is considered and fair, acknowledging a clear need to protect pedestrians and cyclists by physically stopping cars getting on the pavements and providing a protected cycle route.

Regarding physical barriers to cycling, he lists the kinds of barriers that are a problem without listing the locations of where they are in his ward or (confusingly) in Kings Hedges which the question asks about. Take the trailer on a jaunt around the ward Owen, you'll find a few.

But on the whole? Splendid from Owen. 9/10

This means the Libdems have scored an unprecedented 9/10 - both of their candidates are on message, rational, fair, and simply know what they're talking about on cycling issues.


  1. I assumed (possibly wrongly!) that mentioning King's Hedges in the questions for East Chesterton was a mistake on Camcycle's part. The barrier in KH that immediately comes to mind is the chicane between the recreation ground and Arden Road, which is tight even without a trailer.

    1. Fair. And yeah, does look like a cut and paste error!

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