Bikes before cars in Jesmond?

It’s time Newcastle City Council took action towards safer cycling in Jesmond, Katja Leyendecker, the chair of Newcastle Cycling Campaign, told a public meeting at Newcastle Cricket Club on Osborne Avenue last Wednesday.

After the meeting, convened by North Jesmond councillor Peter Breakey, Leyendecker told JesmondLocal: “It’s great to see so many residents gather to passionately talk and think bike. The outcome of the gathering however was less clear. I had really hoped for the council to take all the info and put together a design report for further discussion. Instead we were asked by the councillors to further refine the proposals, and rank them by ease of installation.”

According to Leyendecker, Jesmond lacks the cycle signings, road crossings, traffic lights and junctions that would enable cyclists to travel along a safe route. Osborne Road is particularly dangerous, due to heavy traffic and parked cars, yet cannot be avoided when cycling through Jesmond.

One suggestion proposed by a local resident was that cyclists should be given priority over motorists, as is the case in countries such as the Netherlands, Germany and Italy.

Anne Clark from the council’s Department of Environment and Regeneration responded: “It is a great idea but this would be a national issue, which cannot be introduced in only one city in the UK.”

Leyendecker then asked: “Does someone has to die before the council will act?”

Tony Waterston of Transition Jesmond told JesmondLocal: “The meeting was less good in demonstrating a commitment to new thinking from the traffic engineers, and highlighted the general feeling that there is no money for bigger changes. I think Osborne Road will be a good indication of whether there is a political commitment to put cyclists above cars in the hierarchy of priorities for the council.”

Nevertheless, there has been an improvement on Brighton Grove in Fenham where two bike lanes where introduced recently and tested by councillor Nigel Todd, said Leyendecker.

A working group is due to present short term and long term solutions to the council.









3 thoughts on “Bikes before cars in Jesmond?”

  1. Katja Leyendecker says:

    In reply to Anne Clark’s comment. Here’s a way to physically achieve cycling priority across a side street – Just check out the photo after this text: “The radii at junctions have been tightened considerably to slow traffic making left turns reducing further the chance of a collision.”

    Maybe the traffic engineers, as mentioned by Tony, could learn from this UK example, if they’d feel they cannot venture abroad?

  2. Nick says:

    It won’t be lack of cycle paths in Jesmond that might result in the death of a cyclist it will more likely be because they are cycling along with no lights on on gloomy days, dusk and even at night. If a cyclist has a light it grabs the attention of a driver pulling out from a drive when they are many metres away. Without a light the gloomy figure moving fast can literally be camoflauged in the dark and just be a couple of metres away when the car pulls out as they have not been seen, which will result in the cyclist being hit.

    Many cyclists, especially students seem to think they don’t need a bike light in urban areas as they can see without one. However, the main purpose of a bike light is not so you can see whats in front of you but so other people can see you much earlier!

    If you don’t think this is a problem go outside at night and get someone to hold a small torch then walk 50 metres up a road, so how well you can see them, then get them to put on the torch and notice the difference! Its massive.

    So I would say the biggest and cheapest way to increase cyclists safety is to pull them up and request they get a light and point out the reason.

  3. Katja Leyendecker says:

    In short, no I don’t think it’s a problem… I say in a provoking fashion.

    Whilst lights are important we also require to look at the possible harm inflicted on our roads. I’d argue that we ought to take a wider perspective, to see the bigger picture.

    Cyclists usually harm themselves by not adhering to rules and regs, sometimes spurious and unhelpful as they are, they are also quoted back to them wrongly and insensitively. Motorists however have a much higher capacity to injure and kill others, especially peds and pedallers, and must therefore take much more care of their surroundings and people. As a matter of moral duty of care.

    So, yes, lights on, by all means.

    It is however safe space that cyclists are asking for to be protected from heavy dirty fast traffic. That’s the real material problem that must be tackled.

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