Challenge to City Council to create space for cycling

Newcastle cycling advocates join a nationwide campaign backed by Jon Snow. They are calling on their ward councillors to create Space for Cycling, as part of a national campaign to create the conditions where anyone can cycle for any local journey.

Jon Snow, the Channel 4 News presenter and CTC President, has backed the campaign in an online video [1] and said: “Space for Cycling means creating safe conditions on major roads and junctions, lowering speed limits and reducing through motor traffic on residential streets. Some councils are now showing real enthusiasm for action to make cycling a safe and normal activity which everyone can benefit from. We now need a really strong show of public support for the long-term planning and funding that this will require.”

Newcycling, Newcastle’s cycling campaign, is taking part in that national campaign co-ordinated by CTC, the national cycling charity, which enables people to contact their local councillors, urging them to support the provision of space for cycling and to find the funding needed to make this happen. This can be done via an online campaign tool at www.space4cycling.org.uk [2].

Getting more people on bikes will mean better health, reduced congestion and casualties, and lower emissions, air and noise pollution. With a public health crisis linked to physical inactivity rapidly rising up the political agenda, Newcastle council has the opportunity to use cycling as a way of improving public health.

Katja Leyendecker from Newcycling said, “Whilst the benefits of cycling might be well known, too often people are put off by poorly designed roads or inadequate provision at junctions. Local councils have the power to improve our streets so that anyone can feel comfortable getting on their bike – not just existing cyclists. This will help create safer, pleasanter and healthier streets and communities for everyone, whether or not they chose to cycle.”

To create Space for Cycling, Newcycling is calling for:
1. protected space on main roads
2. removing through motor traffic on local street
3. safe routes to schools
4. cycle friendly retail areas
5. lower speed limits still
6. cycle routes through green spaces to link up main routes

Newcycling will also join other groups in a mass bike ride through the city centre on Saturday 17 May ahead of polling on the 22 May.

Although 39% of people say that they could just as easily make a two mile trip by bike as they do by car [3], only 2% of trips are actually made by bike and just one in ten people in cycle once a week or more [4].

67% of people say that they aren’t confident cycling on busy roads, with heavy, fast moving traffic and a lack of safe space for cycling the being the biggest barrier for most of us [5].

Leading Councillors have endorsed the Space for Cycling campaign [6].

The campaign was created by the London Cycling Campaign who are in the process of contacting all election candidates asking them to pledge their support [7].

Notes to Editors

[1] CTC President Jon Snow, explains and supports the National launch in a video which will be available for embedding or linking to here www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNHh6wuK_9E

[2] The ‘Email your Councillor’ online tool will launch on Monday 14th April at www.space4cycling.org.uk

[3] Department for Transport, Public Attitude Statistics ATT0318

[4] Department for Transport, National Travel Survey NTS0604

[5] Department for Transport, Public Attitude Statistics ATT0321

[6] The following leading Councillors have endorsed Space for Cycling:

Gordon Vernon-Jackson (LibDem) Leader of Portsmouth City Council and Vice-Chairman of the Local Government Association, said, “Cycling provides huge benefits for our health and that of our streets and communities. Portsmouth has already done a lot to promote cycling, creating 20mph streets and a growing cycle network. Providing ‘Space for Cycling’ benefits everybody in our society, whether or not they choose to cycle themselves. I would urge cross-party support from councillors throughout the country for this campaign.”

Cllr Stuart Hughes (Con), Devon County Council’s cabinet member for highway management and flood prevention, said, “I am pleased to support the Space for Cycling campaign’s aim to boost cycle use and improve cycling conditions. Cycling is a clean and healthy way to get out and about, whether for day-to-day travel or for recreation. We’ve been working hard in Devon to create cycle-friendly towns and to open up routes like the Exe Estuary Trail, and we very much hope to be able to do more of the same.”

Cllr James McKay (Lab), Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City, said, “The national ‘Space for Cycling’ campaign chimes in perfectly with Birmingham City Council’s ambition for a Birmingham Cycle Revolution, and I’m pleased that we have secured some initial funding to get started. However, sustaining our 20-year ambition to transform Birmingham into a cycling city will need longer-term funding support. I’d strongly urge national politicians to support action to create ‘Space for Cycling’ as well.”

Cllr Ian Davey (Green), Deputy Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council & its lead member for transport, said, “In Brighton & Hove, we’ve been creating space for cycling on our main roads, opening up one-way streets to allow two-way cycling and making it a better, more liveable city. I call on other councils to make space for cycling if they want to improve health, curb congestion and reduce pollution.”

[7] London Cycling Campaign created Space for Cycling, which in London is focussing on lobbying candidates in this year’s local elections. CTC is taking LCC’s London-born campaign nationwide, and is coordinating the national Space for Cycling campaign to influence councillors in cities and towns across the country.

For #space4cycling photos browse https://www.flickr.com/groups/newcycling

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