PRESS RELEASE 23.09.2012
On Tuesday 18 September, Newcastle Cycling Campaign took Cllr Henri Murison, cabinet member for Quality of Life, on a bike ride around town.
Katja Leyendecker of Newcastle Cycling Campaign said "As part of our 4C = City Chief Cycling Challenge we invited city bosses to a street talk on bikes, and Henri said ‘Yes’. I think we all agreed, that it was good to experience the city’s cycling situation first hand. We were joined by liveable cities experts, Richard Smith of Action Streets and Neil Murphy of Beyond Green as well as Harvey Emms from Newcastle City Council, to speak to Henri about space for people, and hot local economics and transport interacts. Space allocation is very important to cyclists. It’s even more important to people who currently don’t cycle so they start using a bike.
“We stopped at Swan House roundabout and observed the aggressive multilane gyratory and its inadequate provision for walking and cycle alongside the fast moving traffic. As the southern gateway into Newcastle, it’s not very welcoming place, and people - walking and cycling - get squeezed through very small spaces.
“Then we cycled on to Northumberland Street. We looked at options for improving the North-South axis for cycling routes through the city. We know this is important to people, as 800 people signed a petition in 2010 to improve cycling safety, many airing their disappointment at Northumberland Street’s complete cycle prohibition. It was good to hear that Henri agreed to look again at out-of-hour access, and promised quick improvements to John Dobson Street to provide an alternative route to Northumberland Street.
“To take a look at a good example of public space, we stopped at Northumberland Road where recent improvements by Northumbria University have created a great space that works for people.
“Thanks go to Scratchbikes who provided Henri’s bike. The route we followed was along the Great North Cycleway - it needs massive improvements to really earn its title. We will also talk to Sustrans about this route adequacy, as its their National Cycle Network route designation."
Claire Prospert of Newcastle Cycling Campaign summarised: "These kind of events are good. They get the decision makers directly involved, hands-on, and we can all discuss the difficulties that cyclists face day-in day-out, as well as experience them, in practice, on the spot. We'll definitively organise it again next year. The most fitting time would be national Bike Week in June. Henri certainly seemed up for it.
"Cycling is the future for urban transport, not cars. More people cycling to the city centre is a good thing but it won't happen without providing safe space for them."
Contact Katja Leyendecker 07828 60 4349 email@example.com
Photos (thanks for Matt Jones @mattjones)
1) Katja handing over 400 comments from Newcastle bike users to Cllr Henri Murison
2) Newcastle streettalk on its way to Northumberland Street, left to right Claire Prospert, Katja Leyendecker, Richard Smith, Cllr Henri Murison, Harvey Emms