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Welcome to our November update...
Lots of news to cover this month - it's hard to believe that we squeeze this lot in alongside (mostly) holding down jobs, families, and all the other stuff!
Remember, the campaign relies heavily on its members to be effective. If you've not got directley involved yet, why not come along to the next quarterly meeting: Tuesday 13 December, 6:00pm - Brunswick Methodist Church, Newcastle city centre. Bill Dodds will be giving a presentation on the Newcastle Cycling Network and give an update on its potential inclusion in a TW transport funding bid. Rumour has it there'll be one or two Christmas drinks afterwards.
If there's a particular issue that you're taking up, always copy us into communications with third parties (council officers, Councillors, bus or taxi operators to name a few popular ones) so that we and the other members can back you up if necessary. And let us know when you’ve received a reply. It really works!
Keep on pedalling!
Your management committee for the Newcastle Cycling Campaign
Free (Yes, FREE) Membership 'Till March 2012
Up until the March AGM, membership of the Newcastle Cycling Campaign is FREE.
You're part of an organisation that runs on the time and energy of its members and volunteers. So the overheads are small - like annual membership at just £6 a year even when it's full price. But even that small cost might be waived for the whole of next year, as we're applying for a small grant to cover the admin costs.
So if you've got friends, colleagues or relations who'd like to see a more cycle friendly toon, get them to join by filling in this simple form. It won't cost a penny, and the more people we have on board the more we can influence policy within Tyneside's local councils.
If the people you know want to find out more, why not send them a copy of this newsletter to give them a taste of what we do?
Bikes On The Metro - Conference
Yes we'd love to see this. But the scene-setting opening speech from Nexus for DB Regio's conference on Improving Cycling Plans for Tyne and Wear Metro made it clear that actually taking bikes on the Metro was not up for discussion.
With around fifty cyclists in the room, including representatives from the CTC, Sustrans, Recyke Y' Bike and a number of Newcastle Cycling Campaign representatives, this was news that did not go down well.
The key results to come out of the conference were:
This issue ain't done yet - more later...
The Metro will look at buying a pool of folding bikes for people to try before they buy. This was suggested by Bill Dodds from the Newcastle Cycling Campaign - folding bikes tend to be expensive, so letting people try them out before committing is a good idea.
More cycle hire options - everyone seemed positive about the idea of having Scratch Bikes at more stations.
James Adamson from Sustrans made an impassioned plea for some proper research on taking bikes on the Metro to be carried out. There WILL now be a study of how bikes have been accommodated on other UK trains, trams, metro systems, etc. This will look at the problems encountered, and solutions found that could be adopted in Tyneside, with a view to implementing a small-scale trial if appropriate.
Local Award Winners - Saddle Skedaddle & Recyke Y'Bike
Big and heartfelt congratulations to two local groups.
Saddle Skedaddle, Newcastle's very own cycling holidays gurus have scooped THREE awards in The Guardian / Observer Travel Awards. They claimed first prize for Best Short Break Operator, second for Best Online Booking, and third for Best Small Tour Operator. Saddle Skedaddle were the ONLY tour operator to be nominated in three categories in this highly prestigious national competition.
Dorothy Craw of Recyke Y'Bike was a winner of Women Into The Network's 2011 award for Best Social Enterprise. Recyke Y'Bike is one of the best places to visit in Newcastle to get yourself an inexpensive bike, some cleaned-up components, expert advice, or just to meet some friendly faces. Dorothy is a real stalwart of the Campaign, and a deserving winner of this award.
Talking Road Safety With Newcastle City Council
Claire and Peter met the Road Safety Team at Newcastle City Council at the end of October. Our main message was to see resources targeted at the source of road danger, namely motorised vehicles rather than invested in initiatives such as Ghoststreets, which aim to shock and scare pedestrians and cyclists and may lead people to think that it's just safer to drive everywhere.
We’ll keep working on this! Notes of the meeting and copy of the Road safety presentation soon available on our website.
Cullercoats & Coastal Route Regeneration
North Tyneside Council is looking to remodel large parts of its coastal route from North Shields to St Mary's. The first area to be improved is to be Cullercoats, with a budget of £1M. There have been a series of meetings attended by the Campaign, aiming to ensure that the eventual scheme is friendly and inviting to people on bikes.
The next phase in this is a site visit with officers from the council to discuss the detailed proposals - while we support the spirit of what they seem to be trying to achieve, there are a number of improvements that we'd like to see, which will make it easier for cycling and save money.
Brighton Grove: A Grim Fairytale?
Once upon a Tyne there was a cycle lane in a place called Brighton Grove. It was put there to tell people driving cars that other people might want to ride bikes, and that they'd really like a bit of space so they could feel safe.
But then the big bad car drivers came along, and noticed that the mandatory cycle lane (which also means "No Parking, You Scamps" - the same as double-yellow lines do) was the ideal width to indicate a nice safe place to part their cars with two wheels up on the pavement.
So the naughty car drivers managed to squat on both pedestrians' and cyclists' space!
Traffic Wardens, The Police and Council Officers didn't know what to do about this - after all, 'everyone needs to drive and park', and drivers do pay Road Tax, but cyclists and pedestrians don't. So the nice council traffic engineers came along and decided that the best solution for all was to:
And so the Council giveth, and the council taketh away.
This sorry story is still rumbling on, and we're waiting for the outcome of the not-so-straight-forward 'regulatory and appeals' sub-committee process. We are waiting. We are... still waiting.
Revert back the cycle lane and pavement to its intended use on the wide side of the road
Formalise the car parking on the other side, and ask the syslists to share the narrow footpath with the pedstrians. Oh, and would they mind not making such a fuss about the quality of the pavement surface, having to give way to minor roads, and the right-angled turns they'd have to make at each end.
Newcastle Cycling Campaign Mentioned In Diplomatic Communiqué
Well, not quite. But Katja did write a guest blog for the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain.
She explained what it is that first inspired the founding of the Newcastle Cycling Campaign - the frustrations of trying to deal with local councils as an individual, and the realisation that we're stronger and have far more influence as a group.
Interesting fact about the Cycling Embassy - their logo is the only one for a national UK cycling organisation that features a bike with mudguards. It also has a full chaincase and a handy basket for your shopping. The Embassy is all about the kind of sensible everyday cycling that the 98% of the population who don't yet ride would probably find they couldn't do without - if only there were the facilities to make it feel safe for them.
We're looking to host a future meeting of the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain in Newcastle some time in the coming months - watch this space for more news on this.
The CTC Brings Its Campaigning Message To Newcastle
The second in its series of roadshows reaching out to local authorities and public health officers was held in Newcastle on 9th November.
The CTC is rolling out the pro-bicycle message at a series of local roadshows. The first was held in Manchester, and this month was the turn of the North East of England with a conference held in Newcastle Civic Centre, attended by 45 people. CTC chief executive Kevin Mayne (pictured) said the roadshow was a chance to promote cycling at a local level, mirroring the Coalition Government's emphasis on localism and the 'Big Society'.
"Yes, we all want capital spending on infrastructure, nationally, but it's not the only requirement. Also important is 'human capital'. We can prove that many of our programmes - such as workplace challenges, childrens' clubs, programmes for women - work really well and are socially inclusive. We want to celebrate cycling, and inspire action."
North Tyneside Cycling Forum
Tom Bailey is working hard to get the North Tyneside Cycling Forum re-started. If you used to be involved with this and want to get involved again, please get in touch with Tom.
Similarly, we're starting to get access to the Council's planning & traffic departments - the aim is to help them design with bikes in mind, and to get you and your bike catered for whenever roads are re-surfaced, junctions modified, etc. North Tyneside members of the Campaign should get in touch if you can volunteer time to pore over drawings and visit local junctions to make sure they get improved with your needs in mind!