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.



Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.


paulfg42 [392 posts] 6 years ago

why restrict it to one (rather affluent) area of Newcastle?

rokapotamus [23 posts] 6 years ago

Indeed, why Jesmond? There are loads of areas where cycling could be made so much better.

One that comes to mind is Gosforth High Street. Heading there from Newcaslte, there is a lovely green cycle lane at the side of the road, which is used permanently as a parking lane, forcing cyclists to ride in the middle of the road to avoid the door zone.

joemmo [1164 posts] 6 years ago

The irony is that one of the main threats to young mothers cycling in Jesmond is probably the young mothers hurtling around in enormous 4x4s taking their little darlings to prep school.

Agree about Gosforth high street, you've got a reasonable cycle route alongside the great North Road but it peters out at the blue house roundabout. I'd like to see some corridor routes established running north south as the West east axis is reasonably well routed. I'd also like someone to capture the chavas who smash lambrini bottles on the riverside route but you can't have everything.

WolfieSmith [1394 posts] 6 years ago

Like a lot of other campaigns Mums are the answer. Since the demographic for cyclists is still predominately 'angry man between the ages of 30 and 65' getting Mum's Net to campaign for safer cycling for kids seems the best solution for me. If there any cyclist mums reading this then please see what you can do. It's a sad fact: Lorry or car v bloke - no one cares. Lorry v kid on bike trying to ride to school - hot potato time.

The irony is that in my area we are trying to slow parents down so their own kids can ride safely to school. It's trying to reeducate all of us from 50 years of advertising that has taught us that we alone matter and speed in good. It's a slow process and more people are going to be killed before it trickles into the conscious and conscience of the majority.