County tick list freezes out the cyclists

February 5, 2009 10:30 AM
Kilian Bourke

Romsey county councillor Kilian Bourke

Cambridge cyclists and pedestrians are being frozen out by a county council tick list which decides when their routes will be safe.

Only if a detailed check list of criteria is met will the gritters turn out to treat the city's cycle routes and footpaths in icy weather.

Cambridge Liberal Democrats are appalled by the amazing red tape which they fear is putting cyclists and pedestrians at risk across the city.

In a case of bureaucracy gone mad, officials will look at the five day forecast during wintry weather to see if:

• Surface temperatures are unlikely to rise above freezing point for the

period;

• ice is forecast and conditions continue until after midday on any

individual day;

• there is enough salt to grit roadways.

Only once these boxes have been ticked can the gritting of cycleways and footpaths be considered.

The county council has said that cycleways and footways will not be salted for frost or ice as a precautionary measure and will only be treated if the check list is satisfied and resources allow.

Sian Reid, Cambridge City Executive Councillor for Change and Growth, who has campaigned for more investment in gritting, said: "This is absolute madness. We are putting people's safety at risk because their needs don't meet a county council check list. Key cycle routes should be treated as a precautionary measure in the same way as key car routes.

"Cyclists are being involved in accidents across the city in icy conditions and children are cycling and walking to school along untreated paths because of county council bureaucracy.

"Obviously if the county council has to go to these lengths to release more salt for Cambridge something has gone badly wrong. Cambridge taxpayers have a right to feel safe out and about when the weather turns wintry - not when the county council satisfies its ridiculous checklist.

"I want to see footpaths and cycleways being gritted in icy weather as a matter of course and more investment to keep people safe."

Romsey county councillor Kilian Bourke said: "There has been a string of complaints concerning accidents in my ward, Coldham's Common and the Cycle Bridges - both major cycle routes - being the worst offenders."

"The county's response to these complaints has been to promise a review of its current policy - next spring! By the time they get their act together Parker's Piece will be covered in sunbathers, not snowmen!"

"It is irresponsible for the Conservative administration to drag its heels on this when more accidents are happening every day. Immediate action is what is needed, not bureaucratic procedure

Nichola Harrison, Petersfield county councillor, said: "This policy directly contradicts Cambridge's recent accreditation as a Cycle Demonstration City, and shows where the Conservative administration's priorities really lie."

"The county council is supposed to be making our cycle facilities exemplary, not ignoring them."

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