Newcastle Cycling & Society Symposium- A Plan for More Cycle-Friendly Cities

18 September 2014 - 4:00pm
Ecologic Institute

As we transition into post-carbon societies, one way city-dwellers can reduce their carbon foot-print is to give up their car and take public transportation. An even better solution both in terms of carbon reduction and health is to take up cycling. Not only is the transition away from the automobile important, but so is the planning process on how to accommodate and prepare for change.

Bicycles offer a fast, easy, inexpensive, environmentally-friendly way of getting around your city. However as more people adopt this mode of transportation our infrastructure needs to evolve with this societal switch.

Just this last week, the 11th annual Cycling & Society Symposium was held in Newcastle. This conference was co-organized by Northumbria University, Newcastle Cycling Campaign and Newcastle City Council to bring together world-leading cycling researchers to discuss important topics surrounding how to transition cities to accommodate for future cyclists. Topics that were discussed at this symposium ranged from design, demographics, society and attitudes. One interesting topic, a case study still in the early years, funded by the EPSRC and presented by Dr. Tim Jones of Oxford Brookes University, seeks to explore cycling adoption and journey of the elderly population, 65 years and older.

Newcastle Cycling Campaign as well as the Newcastle City Council also played an important role not only this conference but for transitioning the town towards their post-carbon future. By the year 2021 the city wishes to have at least a minimum of 20% of commuters riding their bikes for distances less than 5 miles. A design plan drawn up by the Newcastle City Council concerning sustainable safety calls for integrating priority needs of the cyclist and the transformation of road-ways to become priorities of the city. Although Newcastle is just in the beginning stages of their transition to a more bicycle-friendly community, it could provide another best-practices model that could be applied to other cities.