Members’ survey – Shifting up a gear with you

First of all, a big thank-you to the 143 members who completed our survey. That’s about 12% of our total membership including all family members, and a good response for this type of survey. Lisa Vincent was the lucky winner who grabbed the prize, a £20 voucher from our fab partner the Cycle Hub (see photo).

A large proportion of respondents, 73% to be precise, are men, which is probably a fairly accurate reflection of the current gender split within the cycling community.

There were 10% of you who had started cycling recently and a very small percentage, 1% of our respondents, represents members who don’t currently cycle but would like to. Sifting through the survey data, we realise again the mountain that we are scaling to get more people ‘on board’ with the message: please join the Campaign to help us ask for a better city, easier to get around by bike and on foot. You do not have to saddle up. We know it’s scary out there, and that’s what we ask to to change and be designed out in future.

Good to know that 47% of you would consider taking part in a campaigning ride and another 40% are a “possible”. And here is the perfect opportunity. Why don’t you join the Big Ride on the 17 May in support of the Space4Cycling campaign? More information here.

We were keen to have a better idea of members’ political engagement and find out what would help you. The picture is quite varied, with about half of you having contacted a Councillor recently (within the last 6 months) and a third between 6 months and 2 years ago while a fifth of respondents never got in touch with their local representatives. If you’re not sure about how to get started, read our Action page for pointers.

You have told us very clearly that you would like template letters and emails to be prepared to make it easier and quicker – that makes perfect sense and we’ll always make it as easy as possible for you to respond when we need your support. We have learned from previous consultations with the Council that numbers are important, so don’t think it is always enough for the Campaign to raise concerns on your behalf – sometimes your voice is needed too.

And of course please write to you Councillors using the template provided to firmly ask for Space for Cycling if you haven’t done so already. Other cities are taking part in this national campaign too. It would be great if Newcastle would get a good response rate comparable to Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester or Birmingham.

The survey was a good opportunity to check again what prevents people from cycling. We used a typical list of barriers, ranging from hard measures to behavioural, and here are the results listed in order of priority:

Reason No.1 – Poor road layouts, lack of dedicated space for cycling, hostile traffic conditions and poor cycling route planning came top, a clear and loud message that our roads and neighbourhoods are not fit for cycling.

Reason No.2 – Lack of bike parking, poor information on cycle routes and lack of signage were a second group of priorities. Yes, sometimes the little things and spot improvements can help.

Reason No.3 – Then, considered less important were the lack of end of journey facilities, such as showers and changing rooms and finding cycling training.

More than 90% of you left a comment about your cycle hotspots – large majority related to locations in the city centre, Gosforth, Jesmond and Heaton – very much in line with the 2010 Safe Cycling In Newcastle survey/petition.

Looking at the Campaign communication tools, more than a third of you told us that you would like to comment on articles so we’ll use this function more often. Members also said they would use cyclescape to plot hotspots or take part in infrastructure discussions. Watch this space, we’ll tell you when your input is needed and in the meantime, please register and have a look here.

Thank-you, again, for all your ideas, suggestions and words of encouragement – it’s good to know that we are on the right track. We also refined the campaign plan presented at our last AGM in line with what you said:

• we’re merging committee and members meetings so that it’s easier to meet committee members and discuss things together, in small groups, face to face. More precisely, committee meetings will be open to members from 7:00pm every other month. First meeting is on Tuesday 27 May, check here for more details and dates

• we’ve finalised the programme of Cycle Infrastructure safaris and you are invited to ride the strategic cycle routes with us over the summer. The rides will be on Saturday mornings, once a month, starting on 14 June with the Gosforth route.

All this will provide more opportunities for members to find out more about the Campaign and how to get involved, what the Committee does, and so forth.

We look forward to a year of ‘shifting up a gear’: engagement, getting to know you more, and action and fun with you!

Some of your comments:

“I want to be able to legally cycle on Northumberland Street – it potentially a great shared use space. Infuriating in the mornings that articulated delivery trucks are allowed to drive on it, but not bikes.”

“Osborne rd is a continual challenge, also crossing jesmond rd at the bottom of Osb rd and of course the blue house roundabout where I put my life at risk several times a week!”

“Cycling in city centre is the worst. The whole route from civic centre to the train station is just scary”

“I would like to see better cycle infrastructure to get bikes into the heart of the city.”

“We travel from South Gosforth to West Jesmond primary school, but there is no safe route for my daughter to cycle. As a result we have given up cycling to school for the foreseeable future.”

“Engage with non cyclists who also would like an environment less dominated by the motor vehicle. Better health, stronger communities and local economies, cleaner air.”

“Safe routes for children to cycle to and from school.”

“Generally just keep us updated on the world of cycle routes and campaigns such as the red route.”

“Would be nice to have a profile of members for your newsletter – maybe feature one person each time. To show the variety of different types of people involved.”