Since its inception in 1977, the Newcastle Cycleways Movement has campaigned for improvements to bicycle facilities in the Greater Newcastle area.
They worked hard to design the Newcastle Cyclesafe Network in 2011, but have struggled to get the funding and government support to make it a reality, until recently. Bicycle NSW has been delighted to see the installation of a protected bike lane down Hunter Street – the main street in central Newcastle.
Newcastle is an ideal place to ride a bike, with fewer hills than Sydney, and many roads offering enough width to install protected bike lanes, without removing road-space for buses and cars. There is also a need to connect communities with a limited network of public transport hubs, in order to reach shops, education and services.
Infrastructure is not the only measure to help make cycling safe. Behaviour change is critical, so that motor vehicle drivers give people riding bikes safe space on the road, as required by law. The lack of government campaigns, driver education during licence renewal, or road signage, has meant many drivers remain unaware of how close passing laws operate.
The Newcastle Cycleways Movement has decided to create and give away hi-viz vests, in child and adult sizes to members, clearly displaying the safe passing message for drivers. Their aim is to change driver behaviour at the time it is most needed. The Transport for NSW docked bike-share trial proved successful as a good way to help change behaviour and get people out of cars. We applaud the efforts of the Newcastle Cycleways Movement to help educate drivers and improve safe behaviour.
“At this stage, we are planning to give the vests away to our members,” said Newcastle Cycleways Movement President, Sam Reich.
“We will use them to promote the safety message and the development of better connected cycleways in the city,” said Sam.
For more information contact Newcastle Cycleways Movement.