The Council have just released a new strategy for cycling. Comments from local residents are now being sought on the first phase of improvement works.
My eldest son rides his bike to school every day. I still remember practising the route with him in the months before he was due to start year 7, spotting the tricky junctions together, pointing out the various hazards en route. I’m now doing the same with his younger brother who’ll start making the same journey in September.
Hundreds of cyclists are out on our local roads every day. It isn’t just kids heading to school, I see men and women passing my window in the morning heading to work. When I’m out walking the dog I see others out for a spin to get some exercise, or others nipping to the shops. There are also the many tourists who pass through North Shields on their way to the coast. Studies show that cycling is on the up, for all sorts of reasons. It’s good exercise and its good for the community – bikes don’t create the noise and fumes that cars do. What every cyclist will tell you however, is that sharing the road with cars, vans and lorries can sometimes be quite dicey. Accidents happen, sadly too often.
I’m pleased therefore that the Council are looking to improve the local highway network to make it simpler and safer for cyclists. A cycling ‘Tube Map’ has been released showing what the completed network is expected to look like. As I was looking through the plans a number of things stood out to me. For example, lots of accidents happen at junctions, so it was good to see that the plans include a focus on improving junction layouts. New routes are also planned, offering cyclists the option of routing along minor roads that have fewer cars. There will also be investment in off-road routes such as the Wagonways. Here in Preston ward there are plans to improve Preston Road, making it easier to ride all the way from the Town Centre up to Foxhunters Roundabout. Helping cyclists feel safe on the road ought to stop them riding on the pavement, which has got to be a good thing.
You can view and comment on the first wave of schemes planned under the ‘Active Travel Fund’ by clicking here.
You can read the full cycling strategy by clicking here.