reports that a family is considering giving up cycling in the city due to the danger, saying that it is 'worse than taking part in "dangerous sports" (a comparison which I made before).
I know the feeling. It was realising the level of danger which our children faced when they cycled on the streets of Cambridge, and comparing with the utterly different reality for children in the Netherlands, which caused us to give up not cycling, but Cambridge itself, and that's why we moved from that city four years ago.
The part of the article which struck me most was this: "There have been 43 accidents involving cyclists on the road from January, 2006 to September this year, according to figures from Cambridgeshire County Council. A spokesman said: 'These are average figures for similar roads in Cambridge.'"
To me, an average of eight cyclist accidents per year on an average road in a small city is not a very good record. By comparison, the most dangerous junction in the whole of the Netherlands has been the site of 14 incidents involving injury in three years. In the Dutch instance we're looking at something exceptional. There is nowhere worse. This location has 14000 cyclists per day riding through it (vastly more than the junction under discussion in Cambridge) and the under five injuries per year which it causes are not just for cyclists but for all road users.
i.e. a fairly normal junction in Cambridge is at least 70% more dangerous for cyclists than the very worst location in the whole of this country, even without taking into account the far lower number of people who cross that Cambridge junction by bike.
The huge improvements in safety for all cyclists in the Netherlands started with protests about the safety of children. Nowadays, the Netherlands has not only a staggering amount of cycling, by all sections of society, but also the safest cyclists in the world. Britain could take note from this, and transform conditions for all.
Cherry Hinton Road roundabout, where the incident occurred. A terrible roundabout design completely unsympathetic to the needs of cyclists. I've cycled here. It's very unpleasant. (Bigger map).
Roundabouts simply shouldn't look like this. Dutch roundabouts are designed in a very different way, and cyclists are much safer using them.
Joe Dunckley also wrote about this.
Read more about the problems facing British children. Click here for The Truth About Cambridge or all posts about Cambridge. While the "everything is good" people and those whose reaction to this story could be summed up as I cycle so you could cycle too might try to convince you otherwise, the city has much to learn from Dutch practice.
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