Newcastle hosts first national debate of cycling academia and advocacy

As part of the ESRC Festival, Northumbria University and organise a day of researchers and campaigners to collaborate for the common good on national and local transport cycling agendas.

Katja Leyendecker, chair of newcycling says “The event brings together thinkers and doers on transport cycling matters – for an event which is the first of its kind in the UK I believe. We have an impressive lineup with Christian Wolmar and Dr Rachel Aldred, and many many others, perhaps less prominent and visible, but equally influential actors in their own rights.”

Christian Wolmar, patron of, says “I have got my train tickets ready – thanks to sponsoring my attendance. I am really looking forward to the day. It’s another important get-together of committed dedicated people who want to make a difference and see change. We must move on the transport debate, nationally and locally, and with urgency too. Advocacy, I believe, has a huge role to play in making that happen. Campaigners are independent advisors and informants and are often at the dark and dusty coalface and in the frontline of public debate. Academia can give support through their research, evidence collection and by working with media. Compared to Dutch or Danish towns and cities, cycling is so absent from our UK’s urban spaces due to the lack of adequate infrastructure. Campaigning for the inclusion of cycling in urban design is a matter close to my heart. Ultimately, building-in space for cycling will make our society better, fairer, healthier and happier.”

Katja who also is a researcher at Northumbria University continues “If we can share and coordinate the way we seek to influence policies and decision-makers’ thinking, we would be more effective in our future actions. Research on urban transport matters is clear about what needs to happen, and there is a lot of frustration amongst researchers of getting the message out and the slow pace of change. I think it’s a logical step getting academics and advocates together to combine the practical and the theoretical to form activism and get things happening. Exciting, I can’t wait – I am really looking forward to the day! Thanks to ESRC, Northumbria University and for their sponsorship.”

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  1. ESRC Festival – debate day, 14 November 2015
  2. Patron statement