Cycle campaigners in Newcastle call for safer streets to help get families cycling
Council officials shown how traffic puts people off using bikes to get around
Cycling campaigners in a Newcastle upon Tyne have taken council representatives on a bike tour of one of the city’s suburbs to show how people including mothers with small children were being put off cycling because of safety concerns.
Newcastle Cycling Campaign (NCC) says that families are being deterred from cycling in the Jesmond area due to the amount of traffic, reports the Journal Live.
One local resident who does use her bike to get around, Sally Watson, accompanied by her baby daughter Lizzie, joined in last week’s ride which pointed out the need for cycle lanes and crossings on Osborne Road and Jesmond Road.
The campaign group’s Tony Waterson, who lives in Jesmond, said: “The point that we were making is that if you’re a really macho biker you can do it, but if you’re a mum or a child you wouldn’t do it – and yet Jesmond is absolutely perfect for cycling because of its size.
“There’s a lot of potential cyclists and you can get to exactly where you want within five minutes on a bike – the shopping centres and the schools.”
Many of those potential cyclists, however, were being deterred from getting on two wheels, however.
“There may not have been cycle casualties, which is what the council count, but the thing is, people are put off going there because of what they see as the risk.
“We would like to see more people cycling because everybody says that it’s very good for health, very good for the environment and very good for climate change reduction.
He added: “So I think there is general support for cycling, but it’s not made easy at the moment.”
South Jesmond councillor David Hardman was one of those who backed cyclists’ efforts in the area, reports the newspaper.
“Jesmond is an ideal place for cycling and there is no reason why all the children at both local and private schools could not cycle to school,” he said.
“We are going to work to improve facilities for cyclists of all ages and turn Jesmond into a place for people which is not over-run by heavy traffic.”
Also on the ride was Newcastle City Council’s cycling officer, Anne Clark, who said: “I was pleased to learn that there is enthusiasm for making improvements for cycling in Jesmond.
“The council has done a lot of work to make Jesmond safer for local people – especially Osborne Road – in response to comments from residents and councillors.
“This is another opportunity to look in detail at the needs of this group,” she added.