Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Revolution' for Cyclists Is Pledged

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Revolution' for Cyclists Is Pledged

Article excerpt

Byline: Kate Proctor Local Government Reporter

NEWCASTLE will be at the heart of a cycling revolution in the next five years, it has been claimed.

Hundreds of experts gathered at the Civic Centre for an international cycling conference and the opening of The Journey, a new central bike hub part funded by the Government.

And Cycling Minister Robert Goodwill said the city could be a "leading example" in how to develop cycle lanes, education and safety.

Mr Goodwill, who was joined by Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Chris Boardman for the hub's launch, said: "Another five years of concerted effort and investment and I believe we can build a cycling revolution in the North East.

"We've already set a target for doubling the number of journeys that people make using bicycles and what I'm keen to stress is the journeys we really need to encourage people to take are those short journeys, the journeys to school and to the shops, maybe three, four, five miles - you don't need to be part of the lycra brigade to take part in that.

"We inherited PS2 a head from the previous Labour Government and nationally we are running at PS6 per head but in places like Newcastle because of our real enthusiasm to get these cycling cities going it's PS10 a head.

"You could always spend more but we believe we are really stepping up to the mark and people can see that money is being spent effectively."

The spend in many European cities is far higher, including in Holland, which had a representative from the Dutch Cycling Embassy at the conference.

The Minister also used his visit to the city to announce that the Government is starting work on a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) for England as part of their Infrastructure Act.

Leader of Newcaslte City Council Nick Forbes, who joined the Minister for a brief bike-ride through the city centre despite a torrential downpour, said his ambition was to see more people cycling. …

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