Metro bosses urged to let bikes on-board by Newcastle Cycling Campaign

PEDAL-powered campaigners have called on Metro bosses to allow cyclists to take full-sized bikes on to trains.

A Metro train passing through Haymarket station
A Metro train passing through Haymarket station

PEDAL-powered campaigners have called on Metro bosses to allow cyclists to take full-sized bikes on to trains.

Exponents of environmentally friendly travel say they want a pilot project run to prove such a move would be safe.

But transport chiefs have rebuffed the claims – at least for the time being – saying more needs to be done first to solve the “very tricky issue”.

The bicycle ban on Metro carriages has for decades been a bugbear with the cycling community and it was a hot topic when members of the Newcastle Cycling Campaign met with bosses back in November.

The group’s Claire Prospert said allowing bikes would show off the region’s eco-credentials: “It is an indicator of a sustainable and fair city to offer a fully-integrated transport system to citizens.

“We want to see a trial outside peak hours, involving a small number of Metro stations.

“Back in November Metro promised to study light rail systems in Britain and abroad. We know that the Metro’s operator, DB Regio, runs light rail systems in Germany that carry bikes.

“We have seen a technical review studying bike-friendly train systems and it resulted in no safety problems being reported or making of claims concerning bicycle carriage.

“We would not want to pre-empt results, but early indication for this to work looks hopeful. It is only through a sustained and open dialogue that solutions can be found for the benefit of Metro and bike users.

“We are here to help and we’d like to see an independent assessment of work.”

A trial of bikes on Metro trains is supported by local councillors, NewcastleGateshead Friends of the Earth and Tyne & Wear Public Transport Users Group (TWPTUG) among others.

TWPTUG spokesman Vicky Gilbert said: “We want to see Metro run a small pilot for ordinary bikes.

“Cycling is a non-carbon emissions healthy activity that should be encouraged and we are sure that if London underground can do this, so can Tyne & Wear, Nexus and DB Regio.”

But while not ruling out allowing full-sized bikes on the network in the future, Huw Lewis, head of communications at Nexus, which owns and manages the system, said now was not the right time for the pilot project campaigners want.

“Cyclists are free to travel on Metro with folded bikes, and while there are good reasons why full-size bikes are not allowed on what is very busy train system with deep underground stations, that’s not the end of the story,” he said.

“We are about to trial new larger and more secure storage at two stations, while bidding in partnership with local councils and the cycling organisation Sustrans for Government funding to pay for a much wider improvement of facilities and infrastructure.

“We are also talking to local firms about new bike-hire opportunities at stations.

“Following the conference held for cycle groups in November, we’re now in the process of bringing together organisations such as the Newcastle Cycling Campaign in a ‘task and finish’ group to examine and report back this year on how we can improve integration between bikes and Metro.

“We expect members will want to look at improving cycle storage at stations, hire facilities, cycling routes feeding into Metro and what information is on offer.

“We are also inviting it to independently examine the safety case that prevents us allowing all types of bike on trains.

“I don’t think a limited trial allowing bikes on part of Metro at certain times is a good idea now unless we had a clear idea where it was intended to lead, but it may come out of the work of the group.

“Many cyclists have a strong belief that Metro should allow all bikes, but the last research we did with passengers showed a clear majority against the idea.”

We want to see a trial outside peak hours, involving a small number of Metro stations

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