A white line in the quick sand

The promise of a safe cycling network for Newcastle faces a steep uphill journey, as recent anti-cycling activities in the East end have shown.

The Newcastle Cycling Campaign warmly welcomed plans for Newcastle to embrace a cycling culture. The Cycle Manifesto 2011, the Cycle Plan 2012 and Tyne & Wear’s Local Transport Plan, all put increased bike use at the very heart of their transport policies and make it an integral necessity for future designs of our City. Strategic Cycle Routes are to be built in Newcastle and cycling is planned to increase tenfold by 2022.

It therefore came as a complete shock to campaigners that plans for road safety improvements in the East end met staunch opposition to one element – a cycle lane.

There are varying degrees of protecting bicycle traffic from motorised vehicles. A cycle lane is the lowest form of safety provision for cyclists, as it simply consists of a line of white paint on the road. Other forms of separation are half and full-height kerbs (common in Netherlands, Denmark and Germany), or upstands and bollards (used in Spain and the United States) http://katsdekker.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/seven-degrees-of-separation.html

Katja Leyendecker, chair of the Newcastle Cycling Campaign expresses her disbelief: “It appears that there are people out there who even begrudge cyclists a bit of paint on the road. Why the cycle lane was the only road safety feature that was opposed is unclear.

“The Walker plans don’t compromise car use or drivers in any way, making the opposition even more difficult to understand. There are schools nearby. A cycle lane would mean people, young and old, would be able to travel more safely by bicycle along Welbeck Road. The cycle lane affords some level of protection by separating bicycles from cars and buses.

“All we are asking for is a white line on the road. Other countries separate bike riders by a full kerb or even a green strip from motorised traffic. We are not asking for much for Welbeck Road. If we wanted to make cycling not just safe but also a pleasant activity, measures like this have to become commonplace.”

CONTACT

Katja Leyendecker Tel 07828604349 newcastle.cycling.campaign@gmail.com

Notes for Editors:

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