The ‘school run’ is a hot topic. It is a road traffic and safety problem and should be addressed as such. Newcastle has known that for years, if not decades; people find it hard to walk or cycle due to the dominance of motor traffic and lack of safe space. Putting this wider problem onto an individual’s doorstep, like parents, is not the answer. Newcycling looked at one location in Newcastle to highlight the wider problem.
It’s the responsibility of the highway authority to address road safety and control traffic movements, and thereby enable people to walk and cycle (sustainable road safety). In case of Tankerville Terrace, Newcastle City Council’s inaction is disappointing as they’ve known about the problem through many safety complaints over the years, but decided against road changes that would make a difference to the way people can travel in safety and comfort.
Here’s what some ‘cycling parents’ say:
One parent (Tankerville Terrace, Jesmond) : “Cars are driven onto and off the pavement as my 7 year old and 4 year old run or cycle along. My son loves to ride his bike to school but it is difficult for him to do this on narrow pavements shared with other families walking the same way with buggies and young children.”
Another parent (Tankerville Terrace, Jesmond) : “I am desperate to go back to school with my son cycling but the traffic has gone worse since our lollipop people have been removed, driving parents behave unreasonably which would not be a problem (for us cyclists) if we had dedicated infrastructure such as cycle paths to cycle to school.”
A parent from Gosforth : “A lot of junctions in my area, Gosforth, have very poor lines of sight due to parked cars etc., so cyclists have to inch forward to see if it is safe to turn, which is difficult with a heavy bike with a child on it […] That really scares me as it just takes one driver… the people with the power to change this are the council (who can build cycleways).”
Katja, chair of newcycling, says “The council is not only tackling this latent cycling demand inadequately, it’s also not listening to the people who are already trying and have the experience of cycling with children. It is these parents, who are cycling with their kids, who are telling us how difficult it is and that they are desperate for road design solutions. For Tankerville Terrace? We want to see a dedicated cycleway so that more parents can cycle with their kids to school.”
Parents comments in full http://newcycling.org/the-big-pedal/
Headmaster speaking http://jesmondlocal.com/2015/02/local-head-raises-concerns-over-child-safety-on-school-run/
Photo 1 – Imagine yourself cycling (with children perhaps) and a driver turning into your path, as shown below. This is what parents are asked to subject themselves and their children too. Cyclist are asked to face unacceptable risks. Photo 2 – Imagine yourself cycling in this situation with a driver facing straight at you. It’s clear what is wrong – driving and cycling must be separated to avoid these conflict situations altogether.