A submission from Newcycling (Newcastle’s cycling campaign) led to the Transport Committee inviting the group’s chair to give evidence to MPs at a hearing in the House of Commons, London, discussing cycle safety.
Katja Leyendecker, chair, says “I still can’t believe Newcycling was selected to represent their view on cycling safety. They are interested to get a perspective from outside London. It feels a bit unreal, but I am up for it of course.
“This invite has come as a total surprise, but also at the right time. We recently warned the council. They have to take action now to avoid the death and damage that’s so tragically unfolding on London’s roads at the moment. We have to learn, and not repeat the mistake. Cycling for transport is on the increase in Newcastle. Which of course is good, but also prompts actions.
“I hope to speak with the necessary clarity for cycling, its sad present state and its hopeful good future. The time has come. The latent demand and potential are pressing – the Go Dutch conference reminded us of that beginning of the month.
“If we want more people to cycle in safety and comfort, we will have to listen to what people say. We agree so much with the findings of the three-year sociological study ‘Understanding Walking and Cycling’ by Pooley et al from 2011. It concludes first and foremost society has to start providing for cycling by giving it space, cycleways and logical sensible infrastructure so cycling can feel normal, easy and safe. As a society we will have to change our mind, and stop jumping to conclusions, stereotyping, discriminating and prejudicing what’s eminently a city’s best indicator for liveability, well-being, quality of life and people focus.
“Not much of a surprise. We agree as their research findings mirror what people tell us locally. They would cycle, and would cycle more, if better cycleways were provided. Currently cycling feels dangerous, and is not taken seriously by the relevant authorities and therefore is dismissed my society. Working in tandem with organisations, we have to re-delineate our road space and build some good bike tracks to make cycling the truly irresistible option. So that one day cycling will just be a normal way of life.”
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House of Commons running order