28.12.2011 PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A LONG WAY FOR CYCLING
The Newcastle Cycling Campaign reflects on their achievements in 2011, and plans for 2012.
City chiefs took up the challenge and got on their bikes to cycle the city centre with the Newcastle Cycling Campaign in June. City leader Cllr Nick Forbes when asked whether cycle provision was a bit ‘barmy’ replied: “To be frank, that’s one of the reasons why I stopped cycling in Newcastle because you never knew from one minute to the next whether you are going to be on the road, the pavement or the cycle lane. And I think this is one of those things which we got to get right.” The new administration has been supportive of cycling and the campaign, and Newcastle saw a Cycling Manifesto adopted at full council. This is brilliant news, and to the campaign’s knowledge is a national first.
It’s not to say that things couldn’t be better in the world of cycling. The campaign addresses two problems: getting political support from the Councillors as well as developing technical expertise in Council officers. Politicians may have turned towards cycling and begun to understand that cycling is crucial for urban regeneration and neighbourhood revival, but without the expertise in council engineers progress will inevitably remain slow. The campaign calls for learning from continental designs. The Dutch, Danish and Germans can teach us a lot about how cycle ways make cycling accessible to everyone, and create a fairer society through providing affordable transport choices.
Katja, chair of the Newcastle Cycling Campaign: “A lot of our time is currently spent on educating council officers on basic matters which is a bit of a shame. Even little things like parking enforcement can go a long way for cycling.
“The political wind is turning, and we are chuffed about the listening attitude of the new administration. The real damage is currently done by the traffic engineers simply unable to understand the needs of bicycle users with community feedback too frequently brushed aside.
“The council has continued to install really silly schemes dangerous for cyclists and counterproductive to new people considering cycling. Silver Lonnen, Brighton Grove, Elswick Road and now Westmorland Road to name the top of the shame list.
“The campaign will continue highlighting dangers and it was good to see our Loopy Lane initiative striking a cord with the public in 2011. Cycle ‘infrastructure safaris’ are springing up on ward levels, and more and more people are getting involved in our campaign demanding a better deal for cyclists.”
The AGM of the campaign is on 13 March 2011. The word of the Newcastle Cycling Campaign is spreading fast. Their membership – individuals, families and organisations – has grown to over 200 members in their first year.