Plans for £1.15million new cycle route get thumbs up - but spark row between cyclists and drivers

Plans for a new £1.15million cycle route to the new International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) have been given the thumbs up - but sparked a row.

By Ross Robertson
Saturday, 01 June, 2019, 16:55
Picture by PA

More than 7,000 jobs are expected to be created on the IAMP over the next 10 to 15 years, and the cycle route is part of infrastructure improvements which will help ease access to the site ahead of increased travel to the area.

The new cycle path has the thumbs up from health chiefs who will be pleased to see people being encouraged to get active on their commutes to work, and will also meet with the approval of those concerned about the environment and reducing road congestion.

Michael Conway said it would be a big improvement for those who already cycle to work in businesses in the area, and make life easier for drivers too.

He said: "It's got to be a good idea, because driving around Follingsby with it's tight bends and potholes is a nightmare at best. At least the stretch around the new business park has been tarmacked."

John Scott said: "Great news."

Stephen Wilburn said: "Less cars, awesome."

Stewart Whitelaw said: "Fabulous."

Ray Pritchard is hoping for further cycle path improvements. He said: "Any chance of widening the cycle path along Cherry Blossom Way (in Washington)? I had to cycle on road as 42 white vans were parked all along it."

However, the news also reignited grumbles about cyclists from motorists, some of whom were concerned about money being spent on a cycle route they feared would not be used.

Malta Singh said: "Why do cyclists still use the road and cause congestion when there is a cycle path running adjacent?"

David Ratcliffe said: "Look at the coast road on the seafront, the cycle path never gets used they prefer to be two or three abreast, holding up the traffic."

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Chris Batchelor said: "It's the same on the low road from Jarrow to Tyne Dock."

He added: "What's the point in cycle paths when cyclists never use them?"

Cyclists, however, were quick to respond to their points.

Elaine Palmer said: "For cycle paths where the cyclists use the road, are those cycle paths pure cycle paths or are they mixed use with pedestrians?

"Because the latter are no good for cycling fast, and I would use the road over the cycle path in that situation."

Michael Conway said: "Bottom line...most of are shared use cycle paths...dog walkers with extending leads, joggers and pedestrians.

"Pretty congested and dangerous places to be, hence the use of the road by cyclists.

"Cannot say I've ever had an example of being held up on the coast road or the low road as a motorist."

After years of delays and rescheduled opening dates, the Tyne Pedestrian and Cycle Tunnel is due to reopen this month.

Commenting on plans for the cycle route connecting the tunnel to the IAMP, Linda McCaffery said: If they have a pedestrian tunnel to go through!"