North Tyneside breaks cycle pledge – press release

25.04.2012 PRESS RELEASE – NORTH TYNESIDE BREAKS CYCLE PLEDGE

At a time of heightened awareness and concerns for cyclists’ safety a local authority chooses to abandon best principles and puts cyclists in harms way.

Nationally The Times’ call for ‘Cities Fit For Cycling’ has done a lot to pull cycling into the public arena. Broadcaster Jon Snow and The Times editor James Harding made a plea to the government’s Transport Committee this week to make cycling safe by showing governmental leadership, changes in the law, designating a budget and construction of cycleways.

North Tyneside Borough Council signed up in March to the Cities Fit For Cycling campaign only to go against its pledge within days.

Tom Bailey of the North Tyneside division of the Newcastle Cycling Campaign says “The installation of superfluous car parking on a key route into Whitley Bay town centre, Marden Bridge, has left us wondering about the sincerity of our council’s pledge to improve things for people on bikes. This route is now totally unfit for families to cycle who cannot be expected to enjoy a jostle with fast cars and heavy buses.

“Over the last few weeks we’ve tried to approach the council but we have yet to receive a meaningful response. The council’s obligations to ensure road safety and traffic management don’t seem to have been adequately considered. For safety’s sake, we must get to the bottom of what happened at Marden Bridge to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

Karl McCracken member of the Newcastle Cycling Campaign, local resident and parent, says “The Marden Bridge location is now so bad that I will not let my daughter cycle there any more. How the council wants to attract more people to cycling, I don’t know. I am deeply disappointed as I feel my family has been robbed of a healthy and sociable choice of travel. This should never have happened.”

This gap is not just apparent in North Tyneside. Newcastle City Council has started looking at cycle routes but has yet to fully understand cyclists’ needs. The last few years saw the removal of miles of cycle lanes, installation of numerous pinchpoints so dangerous to cyclists, and unusable parked-in cycle lanes not being put back into operation. However the city has a policy to increase city cycling numbers tenfold in the next ten years, only demonstrating the sheer polarity this council finds itself in.

Katja Leyendecker of the Newcastle Cycling Campaign says “The recent death of a cyclist at a pinchpoint location on Heaton Road seems to have prompted the authority’s promise to do something but only in “accordance with financial constraints”. Whilst other cities invest in cycling simply because of budgetary squeeze, Newcastle is yet to be convinced that making cycling safe pays multiple benefits in return. There are alarming parallels between Heaton Road and what North Tyneside are doing on Marden Bridge.”

Contact Katja Leyendecker || 07828 60 4349 || newcastle.cycling.campaign@gmail.com

====MATERIAL====

Newcastle Cycling Campaign video showing traffic volumes equating to 1600 vehicles per hour through Marden Bridge http://youtu.be/FQK7mO28Its

Attachment – 8 year old Sam serves notice on Marden Bridge outlining concerns over road safety, 8am Saturday 21st April
Attachment – Ka-pow! Welcome To Whitley Bay. A montage produced from two photos taken on Marden Bridge at different times of the day highlighting the problems with the new road layout

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Notes to editor:

The Newcastle Cycling Campaign was founded in 2010 by Katja Leyendecker & Claire Prospert in response to an 800-strong petition urging Newcastle City Council to improve conditions for people on bikes.

https://newcycling.org.uk

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