Campaigners to address MPs after cyclist dies in Gateshead

Katja Leyendecker will give evidence to Transport Select Committee only days after cyclist his by bus on Durham Road

Katja Leyendecker
Katja Leyendecker

Campaigners from Newcastle will today give evidence to MPs on how to make Britain safer for cyclists.

Following a weekend in which a cyclist died after being hit by a double decker bus in Gateshead, the leader of the city’s Newcycling group, Katja Leyendecker, will call for improvements to the region’s roads.

“Currently cycling feels dangerous, and is not taken seriously by the relevant authorities,” said Katja.

The fatal crash happened just after 4am on Saturday morning, when an as yet unidentified man in his 30s was killed as he headed north on Durham Road, near the junction with Camborne Place.

Police and paramedics attended but could do nothing to save the man, who was pronounced dead at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Campaigners have long complained about the A167, saying that its combination of cycle lanes, bus lanes for cyclists to share, sections with no designated bike only space, and fast moving traffic makes the area “unsafe” for cyclists.

And this latest tragedy – along with the recent deaths of six London cyclists in only nine days - will likely give even greater weight to the oral evidence that the Transport Select Committee is to hear over the next two days.

“I still can’t believe Newcycling was selected to present its view on cycling safety,” said Katja.

“The committee are interested to get a perspective from outside London and though it feels a bit unreal, I am up for it of course. 

“This invite has come as a total surprise, but also at the right time.

“We recently warned councils that they have to take action now to avoid the death and damage that’s so tragically unfolding on London’s roads at the moment.

“We have to learn, and not repeat the same mistake.

“Cycling for transport is on the increase, which of course is good, but also prompts actions. If we want more people to cycle in safety and comfort, we will have to listen to what people say.

“We agree so much with the findings of the three-year sociological study Understanding Walking and Cycling from 2011, which concluded first and foremost society has to start providing for cycling by giving it space, cycleways and logical sensible infrastructure so cycling can feel normal, easy and safe.

“Working in tandem with organisations, we need to re-delineate our road space and build some good bike tracks and make cycling a truly irresistible option, so that one day it will just be a normal way of life.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer