Suburban cyclists in road safety call

CYCLISTS have called on a North East council to make a city suburb safer for mums and their children.

CYCLISTS have called on a North East council to make a city suburb safer for mums and their children.

Campaigners claim that busy traffic is putting off many families from getting on their bikes pop to the shops or go to school.

And to highlight the problem, council staff were taken on a two-wheeled tour of two of the worst areas, with a mother and baby who want new cycle lanes and crossings on Osborne Road and Jesmond Road in Newcastle.

Tony Waterson, a 67-year-old retired pediatrician from Jesmond who helps run the Newcastle Cycling Campaign, said: “The point that we were making is that if you’re a really macho biker you can do it, but if you’re a mum or a child you wouldn’t do it – and yet Jesmond is absolutely perfect for cycling because of its size.

“There’s a lot of potential cyclists and you can get to exactly where you want within five minutes on a bike – the shopping centres and the schools.”

Mr Waterson said that many residents had been put off cycling altogether.

“There may not have been cycle casualties, which is what the council count, but the thing is, people are put off going there because of what they see as the risk.

“We would like to see more people cycling because everybody says that it’s very good for health, very good for the environment and very good for climate change reduction.

“So I think there is general support for cycling, but it’s not made easy at the moment.”

To see the worries for herself, Anne Clark, Newcastle City Council’s cycling officer, took to her bike to join the campaigners – including baby Lizzie, the daughter of Jesmond resident Sally Watson, who was safely tucked away in her trailer.

And South Jesmond councillor David Hardman, threw his support behind the campaign.

“Jesmond is an ideal place for cycling and there is no reason why all the children at both local and private schools could not cycle to school,” he said.

“We are going to work to improve facilities for cyclists of all ages and turn Jesmond into a place for people which is not over-run by heavy traffic.”

Ms Clark, said: “I was pleased to learn that there is enthusiasm for making improvements for cycling in Jesmond.

“The council has done a lot of work to make Jesmond safer for local people – especially Osborne Road – in response to comments from residents and councillors.

“This is another opportunity to look in detail at the needs of this group.”

I think there is general support for cycling, but it’s not made easy at the moment

 

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