Volunteer Awards 2019 Finalist - Save Rhubarb Bridge

The McSparron family on Rhubarb Bridge
The local council intended to remove the bridge that local cyclist and pedestrians use to cross the busy junction of the A47 and A15 in Peterborough
Save Rhubarb Bridge is a finalist for the Outstanding Campaigning Group category at the 2019 Cycling UK Volunteer Awards. Peterborough council had earmarked this key walking and cycling bridge for demolition. Local cyclists were concerned that the plan proposed by the council would not offer a safe alternative to the bridge, so they formed the Save Rhubarb Bridge campaign to save the vital crossing.

In 2017, Peterborough Council decided that Rhubarb Bridge, which crosses the busy junction of the A47 and A15, allowing cyclists and pedestrians to safely cross the roundabout, was to be removed. The council had insisted the bridge 'was at the end of its life' and that it should be demolished and replaced with a series of toucan crossings around the outside of the roundabout. Local cyclists had concerns that the crossings were not a safe alternative and would unnecessarily put cyclists and pedestrians in close contact with heavy traffic.

Rhubarb Bridge sign showing what was needed

Local cyclist residents Trevor McSparron and Nyree Ambarchia contacted Cycling UK's Campaigns Team for support and advice and thus began the campaign to save the bridge.

With clever use of video and social media, this group successfully overturned a council decision that was clearly wrong and potentially dangerous.  It was a privilege working with these determined campaigners. I look forward to continuing to support them to ensure that Rhubarb Bridge is here to stay.

Tom Guha - Cycling UK Infrastructure Campaigns Officer

The campaign involved a lengthy back-and-forth between the council and concerned residents. Campaigners used extensive methods to prove their concerns about replacing the bridge with a series of level crossings. The group filmed driver behaviour around the junction, recording incidents of people running red lights and talking on their phones while at the wheel. A count of people using the bridge revealed that 2000 people walk or cycle across it each day – including 200 schoolchildren. The videos that the group filmed and the research they did helped galvanise support for their campaign on social media. A successful petition calling for a council meeting on the matter eventually led to the council’s U-turn on their decision, as reported by Cycling UK in September 2018.

Trevor on the bridge over the busy roundabout