Report shows Newcastle wants more protected bike lanes

Cyclists Bike Life Newcastle

Bike Life, the UK’s biggest assessment of cycling in cities, reveals three out of four people in Newcastle (74%) want more protected bike routes to make cycling safer, even when this could mean less space for other road traffic.

The report, which is commissioned every two years by Sustrans and Newcastle City Council, reveals that out of the 1,100 people randomly surveyed throughout the city region, nearly two-thirds (65%) say more cycling would make their city a better place to live and work. Most residents interviewed think that more space for cycling and walking or buses, as opposed to more space for cars, is the best way to keep their city moving, improve people’s health or air quality.

Even people who said they never ride a bike still overwhelmingly support the provision of protected routes (69%), despite the fact it could mean less space for other road traffic. There were 9 million trips made by bicycle in Newcastle in 2016.

Only 40% of residents interviewed across the city think cycling safety in Newcastle is good and that drops to 29% for cycling with children, while 56% would cycle more if on-road cycle routes were physically separated from traffic. The results also show that 27% of residents don’t currently ride a bike, but would like to. Two thirds (69%) support more investment in cycling.

Newcastle was one of seven Bike Life reports for UK cities, which overwhelmingly indicate the demand for protected bike routes to make cycling safer. Out of 7,700 people surveyed in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Greater Manchester and Newcastle 78% of respondents said they wanted more protected routes for cycling, even when this means less space for road traffic.

Newcastle results show several improvements in peoples’ opinion of cycle routes since the last report two years ago. In 2015, for example, 43% of residents said the amount of cycle routes was good and 46% thought the condition was good, while in 2017 this had increased to 48% and 55% respectively. Newcastle has invested millions of pounds in cycling in the last two years, improving routes in the city centre and in communities across the city.

Rosslyn Colderley, Sustrans Director for England (North) said:

”The Bike Life report is the voice of people throughout Newcastle. It clearly shows that most people living in the city think cycling is a good thing and are far more supportive of bold and ambitious plans for cycling than decision-makers often think. We know people want more dedicated space for cycling like the new John Dobson route, even when this means taking space away from cars.”

“Funding is falling for cycling in the UK outside London and Scotland but this report shows governments at all levels that we need to prioritise investment in protected routes that make cycling in our cities attractive, safe and convenient. Creating streets designed for people, not motor vehicles, to help more people walk or cycle is the key to keeping Newcastle moving and improving our health and economic vitality.”

Cllr Arlene Ainsley, Cabinet Member for Transport and Air Quality at Newcastle City Council said:

“We recognise that cycling has a really important role to play in helping to make our city cleaner, greener and healthier.

“We’ve invested millions of pounds in our cycling infrastructure in the past couple of years, from new and improved cycle lanes in communities across the city to creating protected facilities on a major city centre route.

“I welcome the 2017 Bike Life report as it shows not only how much people value being able to cycle around the city safely but also the extent to which they feel the cycling networks have improved.

“We will continue to invest in our cycling infrastructure and encourage more people to cycle in order to achieve further improvements both in our transport network and in the health of our city.”

The Bike Life reports are inspired by the Copenhagen Bicycle Account, and are the UK’s second biennial reports to measure development in cycling, identify challenges and inform planning. Copenhagen began the Bicycle Accounts in 1996 and is now one of the world’s most cycle-friendly cities. In 2016, 41% of trips to work and study in Copenhagen were made by bike and 76% of people felt secure while cycling.

For more information on the Bike Life reports visit

For case studies and photos contact:

Sarah Roe, Marketing & Communications Officer at Sustrans on 10161 233 4071 or 07785 268417.

Anna Galandzij, Senior Press Officer at Sustrans on m: 07557 915648