It won't seem surprising that Cambridge, the most cycled city in the UK, is home to a junction with one of the worst accident rates for cyclists in the UK. I refer here to the Lensfield Road Roundabout, highlighted as the second 'worst' in the UK.
Obviously there are imbeciles missing the point of that news story on comments pages across the UK, and blaming cyclists for everything form Isis and global warming to the Reptilian Conspiracy - such criticism isn't just contemptible victim blame its also mud-skipper intellect trolling ofa story that isn't related to anything on their (I use the term with caution) 'minds'. Likewise, there are glib tweets along the lines of this being a statistical inevitability because there are so many cyclists in Cambridge - an equally moronic comment ignoring the fact that there are also dozens of other junctions in this City, many with more cyclists than this one, none of them making it into this 'top 10' of shameful moton carnage. You can't say 'there's bound to be a Cambridge junction in that list' without having a good answer for why, say, Castle Hill or the Catholic Church Junction aren't in the list.
Its an awful junction. Have a look at it - approaching the first of two mini-roundabouts that make up this hellish route from Trumpington Road.
Yes, in that narrow space there are hree lanes for cars there - two going forward, one going left. Nowhere specifically for cyclists. The lanes aren't really wide enough to allow a car through without risking loss of its wing mirrors to the vehicles alongside, and they're corralled in by a traffic island (not that you could use this to cross the road - there's a fence to make it clear that pedestrians are not welcome). Click forward once - you see those two forward arrows? If you want to go straight on here, you need to be out in the middle of that traffic, so unless you were keeping pace with the traffic in the middle of the road to begin with, the constant stream of motons turning left has to let you out. And that traffic is backed up as far as you can see - they're already angry, they're on their phones texting to say they're running late. Don't expect any mercy from that direction.
Lets go forward to that first roundabout now.
The roundabout isn't raised at all - motorists will jump into it without a care in the world. Very often drivers turning from straight on will stop, half way across, because a car is coming from the left - although they're unlikely to do so if you're coming that way on a bike. And even if you've managed to get into the correct lane here your chances of drivers coming from the left ceding priority as they ought to are wafer slim.
Remember we had two ridiculously narrow lanes to approach this junction if heading straight on? Well, one would think that might be simple enough, but it isn't. The right hand lane feeds in to the next roundabout to turn right on to Lensfield Road, the left hand lane on towards Trumpington Street. And the right hand lane is the one used by delivery vehicles, lorries etc. heading towards University departments like Chemistry, the Gurdon Institute, Biochemistry etc. (the New Museums Site, Downing Site, Old Addenbrokes Site etc.) while freight heading for the Grand Arcade and Lion Yard is (mostly) going straight on (except where the driver intends to rat-run down Tennis Court Road) - bluntly, these heavy vehicles do not fit in to the feeder lanes for the first roundabout and the drivers have insuffficient visibility to safely change lanes in the short distance to the next mini roundabout, thus...
So we've got two streams of traffic, often with motorists distracted by mobile phones, sat-navs and the perplexing change of road arrows from straight on to right, crossing each other with no regard to cyclists on these two roundabouts. Its car-nage writ large.
But do you want to know the real shocker? Its worse coming the other way. This is what its like from Trumpington Street:
Why, yes, that IS three lanes for cars and lorries, each narrow enough to scour the go faster stripes off a mini, and no provision for cycling. In the heart of Britain's cycling capital. There is no provision for cycling, and if you work in this part of the city there may well be no viable alternative route.
And, yes, if you're heading off down on to Fen Causeway you've got to get across those streams of traffic ideally into the right hand lane, hope that the laughably unlikely thing of motorists at the first roundabout letting you across happens, and then face just the same implausible scenario at the second roundabout.
My dear readers, I put it to you that this is not the second worst junction for cycling in the UK because its in Cambridge and there are a lot of cyclists - we have many junctions, and this is the only one we've got in the top 10. This, my friends, is one of the UK's cycle accident blackspots because it is designed with no regard to cyclist safety. It was built by motorists, for motorists. And there it is, right in the heart of the supposed cycling Nirvana that is Cambridge. And if you survive it you're now at the other end of the road to this miserable piece of shit which leveraged nigh on half a million of cycling funds for drivers, for almost no improvement for cyclists.
The trouble with Cambridge is, fundamentally, we pretend to plan each road for cyclists, motorists and pedestrians. And then we come up with a set of priorities that at each location puts motorists first, cyclists second, and we barely consider pedestrians at all. Which means that when we're lucky we do get some half decent cycle facilities - but they're almost never good enough and nearly always an excuse to shovel cycling cash into the coffers of car-centric road designs. And when push comes to shove, cyclists can go and fuck themselves, we don't build for safe cycling if there's a perceived need to squeeze three cars in sideways instead.
Cambridgeshire County Council, hang your heads in shame. Second most cyclist accidents at a junction in the UK, at your brutally designed junction. Deal with it. Do it now.