With City Deal money and other cash to be dished out on cycling projects in Cambridge, where do I begin catching up with this news?
I think I might begin by looking at the flagship cycle route of Cambridgeshire, the Guided Bus route. You see, this fast, direct route built to cycle on (when its not flooded which, quite unacceptably it was designed to do) is just far too convenient to cycle on and we can't have that. So we're about to spend £4k or so on signs like this.
The issue is that some cyclists apparently don't respect others, so we're going to put some signs up and it'll stop people getting hurt when the cyclists who don't show respect will have to do so because there are signs. Well that'll work then.
There are some junctions on the Guided Bus route that don't make sense - specific places where pedestrians might step out on to it and neither be visible to cyclists nor be able to see bikes coming. The solution to that is, of course, to fix the design of those junctions - and until that can be achieved put specific signs in place warning people what the specific risks are. But the above sign? What does it even mean? Respect? I know we're meant to respect each other and look out for each other, why would that sign affect me? And if I didn't respect others on that route why would that sign make the slightest difference? Green and white image with green text? What the heck does that mean?
Paint, whether on the road, on the cycle path or on a sign is always easier than fixing deficiencies in infrastructure, but that doesn't make it a sensible expenditure. Signs don't make people respect each other - they reinforce the false (frankly prejudiced) perception that cyclists not respecting others is a major problem in our transport system without in any way dealing with a minority in any mode of transport who don't respect others.
But thats okay, we're going to have piles of cash to spend on cycling. On things like this... Oh, actually that was an epic bank raid on cycling money to renovate a roundabout for cars. No, I meant things like this. Oh crap.
The problem with getting enthusiastic about 'improvements' for cycling is that they so very rarely are. Roll on Huntingdon and Hills Road improvements, but please let them be up to scratch - it would be a genuine first for Cambridge.