RoadPeace now joins Newcycling and Living Streets (1) in urging Newcastle City Council to humanise road crashes and take action on road environments.
Kate Cairns, RoadPeace member and founder of SeeMeSaveMe, says: “The lack of care for vulnerable human life on our roads is astounding. Trends show that by 2020 road death will be the biggest global killer of our young people. ‘Accidents’ are rarely that, accidental. Most collisions are avoidable. We ask the relevant authorities to evaluate and redesign roads with sustainable safety in mind, protecting our most vulnerable by tackling danger at source; that is the motor vehicle. Streets are places for people; to live, work, play and shop, not just thoroughfares for traffic.
“Research shows people on bikes spend more than people in cars. But those who chose to cycle are expected to brave horrendous conditions and are little cared for when it goes wrong. We urge the police to use the experience and expertise of organisations such as RoadPeace and Newcycling to improve collision investigations and learn lessons to prevent future deaths. We have to put the heart and soul back into our streets which will bring immeasurable benefit to all of society with reduced pollution, congestion and collisions and improved air quality, health and well being.“
Katja Leyendecker, chair of Newcycling, says “We have seen an expert report assessing Barras Bridge and Percy Street that makes it very clear to the council: the street environment will have to be altered to put people and their safety first. There are too many ‘informal crossings’ encouraged by the unsuitable and totally outdated road layout.
“Another expert report recommends Northumberland Street be opened up to cyclists, at least outside shopping hours. This works well elsewhere in situations very similar to Newcastle’s main shopping street. There currently is no safe North-South route through Newcastle city centre for people on bikes – the vital link from Gateshead and Central Station to the universities and on to the northern cycling wards of Gosforth and Jesmond is missing. The best West-East corridor for walking and cycling would be Market Street – and this must be closed to vehicles with a dedicated alternative bus ring route provided.
“The Local Transport Plan 2011-21 for the Northeast states that Newcastle city centre is the major area for adult pedestrian casualties and for children it is especially the busy centres in the region, where pedestrian flows are high. There is a clear hotspot in central Newcastle for adult cyclists. Most children primarily use their cycles for leisure purposes only and are often injured very close to their home address – all this must change, and we want council to take action.”
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Newcycling works in partnership with RoadPeace Northeast.
RoadPeace is the national charity for road crash victims
The See Me Save Me campaign was created in the wake of the death of 30 year old Eilidh Cairns from Northumberland who was run over from behind by a tipper lorry whilst cycling to work in London in 2009. Lorries are involved in over 50% of cyclist deaths in London, despite them making up only 4% of traffic. 4,200 people are killed in collisions with HGVs across Europe every year. The campaign calls for the mandatory elimination of blinds spots in lorries.
Living Streets Tyneside Area and Newcycling are working together to make Newcastle a modern liveable city that puts people at its heart and can be enjoyed on foot and by bike. More about Living Streets Tyneside Area: