Gateshead is not Amsterdam. New cycle lanes here now sheer madness.

Thunderstorms and heavy rain are promised this weekend. At times howling gales – I was blown on to my back last year – rain, frost, ice, and snow in winter. Five degrees colder than London. Potholes galore. RoSPA in their latest report say that serious accidents to cyclists are two or three times more than their stats based on accidents reported to the police. No one finds out from NHS how many the actual number of head injuries, fractures, and soft tissue injuries. And the latest fad, e.bikes and e. Scooters hired out, promises more serious accidents for the NHS to deal with when most likely their riders have no helmet.

No wonder in NE people use cycles mainly for recreational purposes and only one or two per cent of road users are cyclists. Sorry guys in the North East you are a miniscule minority.

Gateshead Council just doesn’t see it.

Cycle lanes narrow some roads, close others, increase congestion and air pollution. One poor guy on TV said it would put him out of business. Maybe a quick fix for Covid-19 for this autumn, but everyone will be stuck with the consequences.

Such a shame that Gateshead Council probably the most visionary Labour controlled council in the UK with the Metro Centre, the Angel of the North, Sage, home of Royal Northern Sinfonia, Baltic Art Gallery, and the award winning Millennium Bridge thinks it crazy not to accept money when Government is throwing it around, when it is crazy.

Meanwhile in Newcastle the Council does not give a thought as to where Blue Badge holders can now park their cars if they want to go to the Tyneside Cinema.

How do people shop? Go to the Sage for concerts, celebrity appearances, conferences? Go to the Metro Centre? Go to sporting events? Commute? Pray? Take kids to school safely? Go to a Gym where it is safe and healthy to cycle? Make everyday journeys?

Meanwhile there is a EV revolution only a couple of years away with the auto industry tooling up for electric vehicles. The Government should encourage fast chargers in multi-storey car parks in city centres. People would shop as they charge their cars. Bring customers back to the High Street. Boost the auto industry. And the quickest way to get cleaner air on to the roads. It is only the car-haters that don’t see this.

Part of the problem is the cycling lobby Sustrans’ covert presence at the State’s expense in planning departments.

They want a “model shift from car to bicycle .. Four out of five local journeys will be made by bike, foot or public transport”, one in five drivers for all journeys under five miles will change to a bike. And slower traffic too. (Not their time and money). That is their madcap vision. Has anyone checked it out with basic market research? I call this Philbitis when highly talented, extremely idealistic political zealots, but amateurs, successfully invade academia and the body politic.

There is a proposal to put bus and cycle lanes on the main Tyne Bridge. If they do that, it would be certifiable.

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