Our letter to the Ely Standard

To round off our posts about the ant-social cyclists article on the front page of the Ely Standard here’s the letter we sent in response.

Dear Sirs,

We at the Ely Cycling Campaign are saddened to hear that complaints about anti-social cycling in Ely are on the rise. We don’t condone any type of illegal cycling and we’d be happy to liaise with Inspector Paul Ormerod to offer our support in helping to educate local cyclists about the rules of the road.

Given there are so few cyclists in Ely we find it hard to see how anti-social cycling is a wide-spread problem. Only 1% of journeys are made by bike in Ely – one of the lowest numbers in the UK. On the other hand, Ely has a well publicised traffic and parking problem. To help with this we feel it would be better to encourage more people to cycle instead of demonising them. After all, Ely is a perfect place for cycling, it’s relatively flat, it’s in one of the driest areas in the UK and it’s compact.

So why is it that so few people in Ely cycle and that some of those who do break the law?

Imagine you are trying to cycle from the Stour Green area to the city centre to go shopping with a 4-year-old child. Are you going to cycle on Lynn Road where a lot of cars exceed  the 30mph limit? Probably not. You are going to cycle on the pavement because you don’t want to risk your child’s life. This could be seen as anti-social cycling. Or you might cycle through the Paradise Sports Field on the narrow path. Again possibly anti-social cycling because the path is very narrow and as the Views from Fens guy put it: ‘Pedestrians shouldn’t be expected to dodge cyclists’.

Or imagine you are coming home from work on the train and you want to cycle back home to King’s Avenue. Do you cycle up Back Hill where 7 cyclists have been injured in the last 5 years, where one of our members was knocked off last Friday and where the road surface is appalling?.Then along Silver Street where the speed bumps have cobbles where your wheel can get stuck and cause you you to fall off? Then try to cross onto St Mary’s Street with fast cars coming from all directions? Or do you cycle from the station along the river on the national cycle network route and wonder what the no ‘no-cycling’ sign is doing there, surely Ely doesn’t have a section of the national cycle network where cycling isn’t allowed? Again possibly (and according to the front page pictures definitely) anti-social cycling even though the river area is very quiet at commuter times. But then how do you get north? Cycle up Fore Hill and over the Market Square? It says ‘Pedestrian Zone’ and has a ‘No motorised vehicles’ sign. Does that mean cycling is allowed? It would be nice to have that clarified. Delivery vans and estate agents seem to be excepted, so why not cycle through there? But again that could be deemed anti-social.

The point is: Cycling from one side of Ely to the other is unnecessarily dangerous and complicated. A few minor changes such as making the path on Paradise Sports Field wider, would give cyclists better routes and remove many of the conflict points between cyclists and pedestrians. It might also mean removing some restrictions such as allowing cycling along the river at certain times or allowing cyclists to go along Market Square so they don’t have to cycle on pavements along unsuitable roads.

We are all just people trying to get from A to B; there will always be some who do so in an anti-social way, be it the speeding motorist, the cyclist on the pavement or the dog walker taking up the whole shared-use path. We at the Ely Cycling Campaign believe it is best if we improve the infrastructure in Ely to remove as many of the conflict points as possible and we welcome anyone who would like to discuss how to make things better.

Ely Cycling Campaign


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