Cycle advocacy group warns council about cyclists safety on Great North Road

Council plans for the Great North Road are flawed, an advocacy group, Newcycling, warns Newcastle City Council. The principle of the council plan to set aside dedicated space for cycling is sound but the detail of it will leave the cyclist stranded for safety when it’s most needed.

Newcastle vows to become a Cycle City with 20% cycle modal share (currently 2%) by 2021. A year ago, the city was given nearly £6m by the DfT to upgrade their cycling infrastructure. However plans emerging from the council’s design desk contain mistakes putting cyclists at risk, and could deter new people from taking up cycling, warns Newcycling.

The design flaws include mixing driving and cycling movements at danger spots like junctions, and not using the best possible design solutions, even when designing routes near schools. Thereby disregarding technical design guidelines and vital principles of sustainable road safety.

Katja Leyendecker, chair of Newcycling, says “It’s great that Newcastle City Council is doing something. But it’s massively important that we, together, get this right.

“I remain as worried about the council’s capacity to design for cycling as I do about their ability to communicate and discuss clearly their plans. We keep hearing the technical group is the bunch of people who sorts this out.

“We sit on that group and we can say that we are given very little time to put forward real plans and thoughtfully explore design options. We all want the same, I think. Newcastle wants to make cycling an irresistible choice for all, to improve our city’s economy, vitality, social connectivity and competitiveness with other cities.

“But everything’s kind of done in a hurry, with little planning ahead or a work programme in sight – and details are not discussed properly. Yet, with these designs, the devil is in the detail. Any cycleway is only as good as its weakest link. I worry about cycling safety and that someone will get hurt using the new cycle lanes.”

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