This has been a bad week for cyclists in the Cambridgeshire area - well if accidents reported in the Cambridge News are taken as the measure: "Teen cyclist struck in hit-and-run" and "Cyclist injured in crash". There is no information as to blame in either case, although "hit-and-run" in itself is an offence. The bottom line though (to quote a management phrase of the 90s) is that when accidents like these happen the cyclist is far more vulnerable because the driver of the motor vehicle is in charge of a large lump of metal capable of significant speed. So I have come down on the side of providing cyclists with alternate paths. To be effective these paths must be of acceptable quality and have acceptable priority over other road users. Where segregation is not possible the cyclist rights to a safe environment need to be enforced - strictly.
It is also unacceptable that motorists force past cyclists at junctions - as happened twice on this ride. Motorists witter on about cyclists being taxed and identified - did that help the lad in the hit-and-run accident? it is unacceptable that despite the Highway Code advice motor vehicles do not give sufficient space when over-taking a bicycle. Motorists are told that cyclists can wobble - and they certainly do - today, what with a couple of sneezes and potholes in the road I wobbled quite a lot - despite being a cyclist of many miles.
The Cambridge Guided Busway got a mention - "Probe into guided bus is rejected". The path of the busway development has not been a smooth one (forgive the pun). I feel that when problems occur they need to be understood and improvements put in place so they do not happen the next time. For that reason I would like there to be some form of enquiry into the issues associated with the CGB development. The press report suggests that the final cost of the project could be as much as £161million (versus a target of £116million, including land costs etc. as planned by the Council) and the time overrun has been significant, around one and half years (Target Jan 2009). It does worry me that such enquiries are expensive and become an exercise in finger-pointing and arse-covering. In this case I would like to see some form of independent person involved in the review with the council and for the results to be made public. Too much money has been spent for this not to be a matter of public importance.
One area that particularly interests me is why the Maintenance path/cycle-way has remained flooded at the St Ives end for so long. The original estimates on how flooding might affect the path were: 4 - 55 days per year for the last 6 winters with 3 years predicted to have 7 days or less of flooding. Although I did not cycle along the CGB path until 3 Jan 2010 the Council's report suggest that it had been flooded since late October. This means that it has now been flooded for around 200 days. Either the calculations were grossly in error or the design of the paths/drainage is at significant fault. (Data here.) One thing though the Cambridge County Council is pretty good at making data available - here is the timetable update for addressing the CGB issues.
One thing that surprised me as I was pootling back to Cambridge along Sustrans 51 close to Marshall's Airfield - there were some yellow dots on the shared use path. One each side at periodic intervals.
These holes gave the game away. It looks as if they are putting in solar-powered" lighting to make the path safer at night.
I then passed the workmen doing the installation. It seems that one group measures and paints the dots. Another then drills the holes whilst another group install and seal the lights.
The finished article. It looks like a solar panel to gather power in the top and lights on either side. Presumably they try to get the lights pointing up and down the path. Where the path comes to a junction they fit two extra red lights in the middle of the path as a sort of stop line. They have these lights between Girton and Oakington on the Sustrans 51 route there. I have not actually cycled past them at night though. I think it will help though - even white lines along the edges helps me.
The Sustrans 51 route alongside the Airfield with newly fitted lights. I passed this cyclist who then passed me when I stopped to take pictures. I then passed her a little way up the road when she stopped to take off her coat - it was a lovely sunny and warm day.
This is Wadloes path which heads out towards Fen Ditton - I decided upon a detour.
Some rather nice old, advertising signs on a shed in Fen Ditton.
I then headed down High Ditch Road to take to the byways - Lower Fen Drove. It seems that with Spring comes a desire to tidy up around the house and garden - and then dump the rubbish in someone elses field. This is despite the sign - the rubbish has been tagged though and was investigated so hopefully they catch the culprit.
With Spring comes faster growth of the vegetation - which means that it is time for the cutting of the verges. There were a lot of grass-cutting tractors on the move today.
I have taken pictures of the fresh green stripes in this field before. They do not seem to be quite so fresh now - just out of the picture the field was being irrigated. I did wonder whether it might be a nitrogen-fixing crop which gets ploughed in to improve the soil.
This is a close-up - it looks a little like beetroot - although the seedlings are to close together.
I also popped up to see the new bridge development on Reach lode. I have to say I am impressed with the Council around here East Cambs, I think) once again they have moved a burnt out car very promptly. As you can see in the picture - there is only a burnt patch.
The Reach Lode bridge - the ramp has been built and soil is being put onto the sides of the ramp. You can also see the bridge span that is being built to one side of the ramp. The contractors doing this are the same contractors working on the CGB. There always seem to be plenty of activity here
I took a picture of this barn a few days ago - but it did not turn out as I wanted to - so this was another attempt - better - but if features the tree more than the barn and old farm tools.
Monk's Lode in the Wicken Fen National Trust Reserve.
The footbridge over Burwell Lode.
This is a field of buttercups in front of Devil's Dyke just up from the village of Reach.
There is nothing like a cycle-wander on a sunny Spring day - although the weather was almost like Summer.