A "dumbfounded" cyclist was driven at by a motorist today (April 18) on a notorious Cambridge road as residents demand police action.
Families living in and around Fen Road in East Chesterton have accused police of failing to take action over dangerous driving and a litany of attacks on cyclists and pedestrians.
The incidents include drivers deliberately swerving into pedestrians, objects thrown at cyclists from passing cars and in one incident the doors of a vehicle were left open as it mounted a pavement to scare pedestrians.
And a rocket was fired from the back of a car, as the News reported.
One cyclist, who is in his 40s and asked not to be named, was left in shock today (April 18) after a car drove straight at him.
He said: "I found myself in an incident that mirrors the current anti-social behaviour along Fen Road. This morning at around 7.15am I was cycling along Fen Road towards the train station when three vehicles were coming towards me.
"The first was a car observing the speed limit and the second and third were a small and then large van respectively. The small van swerved out to overtake the car but when clearing the car he proceeded to stay on my side of the road and drive straight at me.
"It was a clear intimidation and dangerous driving. I had to stop cycling and move off the road so that I didn't get hit. The driver of the car and myself then looked on dumbfounded at what just happened.
"We need to somehow get the police to clamp down on this dangerous behaviour.
"I'm shook up by this incident but am a person who is aware of the road and observes potential accident scenarios; however there are plenty of people who use that road who aren't so aware, children, the elderly all of these could so easily have been hit at speed today if they were in my place."
And anti-social behaviour in the form of vandalism has also hit the area including two mindless young vandals who have been caught on camera trying to smash up a yellow hire bike at a anti-social hotspot in Cambridge.
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Three youngsters are seen standing by the Ofo bike in Fallowfields, East Chesterton before the younger one runs off as a van drives past.
The two older youths then start to throw the bike about and use a large rock in an attempt to smash it up – while appearing to be eating ice cream.
Call for action
Councillors say the anti-social behaviour and dangerous driving in East Chesterton has been going on for at least the last 18 months.
They say residents are "fed up of what they see as a very limited response to the concerns and incidents raised to the police by residents and by ward councillors".
East Chesterton used to have regular anti-social behaviour meetings but over recent years they stopped. Given the seriousness of the current situation and its impact on residents, a proposal was made to reinstate them.
The date suggested by the police was March 28 and in preparation for that meeting the police ran a survey for residents and volunteers, including Cllr Geri Bird, and local residents Carla McQueen, who lives just off Fen Road, and Baiju Varkey, personally delivered 1,000 leaflets about the meeting.
But the police then decided they were unable to attend for legal reasons because the date was in the pre-election period.
On March 28 about 40 residents attended the meeting and shared their experiences of anti-social behaviour, including dangerous driving in Fen Road, Water Lane, High Street, Green End Road and Union Lane.
Cllr Bird, a city councillor for East Chesterton, said: "We have had numerous emails and reports of incidents which make for very disturbing reading and which make clear that for some areas of East Chesterton feel unsafe.
"People also feel that they are not being listened to when they report incidents. At the request of the meeting I invited the Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite, to come along himself to the next meeting on May 8, together with senior officers, and hear firsthand how people are being affected but I have yet to even hear back from him more than two weeks later.
"I really hope that he will come because as we approach summer I worry that the situation will only get worse."
Ms McQueen, who is standing for the city council in the May elections, said: "I live just off Fen Road which is one of the roads most affected by the anti-social driving and like everyone down here, it is a real worry if we are safe walking along that road with cars and vans mounting the pavements regularly.
"This is a community which wants to fight back but we need the police to be highly visible and act against those who are putting us at risk. We also need them to act now and not wait. We recently even forwarded the police a video taken by a resident of vandalism done openly in broad daylight just round the corner from my own home."
What other residents say
Residents who spoke to the News today did not wish to be named but spoke of their fears about living on Fen Road.
One resident said: “The main issue I know of is the speeding, Ive seen cars coming down here doing at least 40mph. Its a residential area and if someone was to cross the road without looking they could be ran down and killed.
"The people who are doing it dont realise theyre putting us and themselves in danger. Theres a level crossing just up the road, and if they thought they could jump it and were hit then its curtains for them.”
“Ideally, a speed trap would stop a lot of this, but apart from that Im not really sure. Theres a lot of speed bumps up by the top of the road, but drivers just seem to ignore them.”
'Lack of respect'
Another resident said: "There just seems to be a general lack of respect for the area.
"There are times when weve gone round picking litter up because of the fly tipping that's gone on. Im not aware of the cyclists being targeted, but considering how many bottles we pick up it wouldnt surprise me.”
Police say they are tackling the problems
Sergeant Kevin Misik said: "We are aware of the incidents occurring in this area and will continue to work with residents, local businesses and Cambridge City Council to tackle the issue. We ask that people continue to report incidents to us via 101 or online at www.cambs.police.uk/report.”
The Police Commissioner replies to residents
Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite said: “I am very concerned to hear about the incidences people living on and near Fen Road have been experiencing.
"Unfortunately I am unable to attend the meeting on May 8 however I am aware of the issues raised by Cllr Bird and residents living in East Chesterton and would like to invite Cllr Bird and local residents to come and meet me at the earliest opportunity so we can discuss what action might be taken.”
Meet the Commissioner
As part of his public engagement commitment as Police and Crime Commissioner, Mr Ablewhite holds regular one-to-one meetings with the public across the county.
If you have an issue which you would like to discuss with the Commissioner, you can book a 15 minute appointment at the next public surgery.
The surgery will be held on May 3atCambridgeshire Constabulary Headquarters, Huntingdon, PE29 9LAfrom 9am to 10am.
To book an appointment, please email [email protected] or phone 0300 333 3456 to speak to a member of the Commissioner's team.