Civic Cycle Ride reflections

And with your help, we did it again! Events like our Civic Cycle Ride are a massive undertaking to put on the road. A huge thank you to Peter and Claire and the sea of volunteers, Northumbria Police and Newcastle City Council staff to make it happen again – following the Big Toon Ride in May – so expertly and safely. Every one of us, who joined in – young, new, old, big and small – made it a reality and made it into the pedal-positive event we were so lucky to experience yesterday. Thank you! The sun was smiling on us too.

Showing strength of feeling and suggesting possibilities of a new transport future for Newcastle is important – especially with the backdrop of ‘bikelash’ that can currently be seen to happen in the Newcastle transport debate. What is bikelash? In short, it is a vocal minority expressing their dismay at cycling entering into our transport system. This five minute Streetfilms video explains it further

Video, youtube on

As Lynn Sloman, who gave the keynote speech at Newcastle’s Love Cycling Go Dutch in 2013, describes it in her excellent book Carsick (well worth a read for every decision maker): one in five people will not, ever, be persuaded to leave their car behind. Not even for short journeys, not for being given information on choice and alternatives, not for cycleways of excellent quality and design. We urge our politicians to note this phenomenon, examine their sustainable transport policies (listed below) which clearly steer the way to prioritising walking and cycling, and a city with cleaner air, traffic noise reduction and real sustainable road safety, community cohesion, local economic vitality and a healthier and prosperous outlook for all citizens, young and old.

The role of cycling, increasing cycling numbers and building cycleways is well recognised in city and regional transport policy.

And to the 1:5 people ‘bikelashing’ we say:

Cyclists are humans too. We, too, have needs and are in many ways vulnerable, particularly under current road conditions. Conditions that are rarely of our making, but conditions we often inadvertently find ourselves in. Increasing cycling by building high-quality cycleways for people of all ages and abilities will ultimately take the pressure off the roads for car users and ease congestion – as modal shift occurs. So you, and your car, are not in danger of extinction at all – quite the opposite: a much better functioning system awaits you. So, when passing comments on cyclists and cycling, please consider the current conditions and the wider aspects to the city and society and support us in asking for a diverse modern transport system, including cycling for all.

As for the Civic Cycle Ride

  • Photos are coming into our flickr group
  • And bbc Look North reported

Photo credit Bronwen Banner

Newcastle City transport policies

  • Newcastle’s ten year programme (CCAF) [html]
  • Newcastle’s ten year cycle plan 2022 [pdf]
  • NewcastleGateshead 1Plan [pdf], read excerpts including Newcastle City Council Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan: Part 1- Operations and Services 2008, City Centre Area Action Plan 2006, The Newcastle Climate Change Declaration 2010
  • Tyne & Wear Local Transport Plan [html, external], read excerpts
  • Newcastle Cycling Manifesto [html], adopted by Newcastle City Council on 7 September 2011