Ban on bicycles divides city: Sun is about to set on two-wheeled right of way in row that has split local authorities

BICYCLES, as much a part of Cambridge as its colleges, are to be banned permanently from the main thoroughfare in a controversy that has turned town against gown, set city council against county council, and split the local Labour party, writes Christian Wolmar.

Cambridge is one of few cities in Britain where the bike is a dominant mode of transport. Cycling there is genteel, with basket-on-the-front models preferred to mountain bikes. But the reaction of the cycling lobby to the planned ban in car-free Sydney Street, is anything but.

Elizabeth Arndt, transport campaigner for the local branch of Friends of the Earth, said: 'They are making cyclists take ways round the city which are more dangerous. Accidents are bound to happen.' The Labour-controlled city council is opposed to the ban but it is the support of the Labour group on the hung county council that will enable the Tories, who instituted a temporary ban, to confirm it tomorrow.

The chairman of the county council, Chris Bradford, is a Liberal Democrat. Like all his colleagues, he is fervently opposed. The street is in his ward and he says that he was the only councillor to attend a public inquiry into the ban: 'They showed a video in which, although people say they are scared of getting hit by a cyclist in pedestrian areas, they don't behave so. For example, they will not hold on to little children as they would on a road.'

The ban, in force since summer 1991, will be made permanent at a county council meeting tomorrow unless there is a change of heart by the 21 Labour councillors.

The advocates of the ban depict cyclists as speeding hooligans. Dave Kelleway, Labour's transport spokesman on the county council and an occasional cyclist, said: 'Cyclists weave in and out, dodging pedestrians and can reach speeds of 30 miles an hour. Pedestrians and cyclists do not mix. There are lots of other towns where cycles are banned, such as Peterborough. I don't see why there is such a fuss.'

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border