Cycle for Change campaign aims to improve riding conditions in Northern England

Northern Soul magazine is constructing a coalition of supporters to address road safety for cyclists in the north

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Northern Soul magazine is calling for safer cycling in the North of England and is building a coalition of supporters and partners of the cause.

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Cycle for Change was started in response to “a lack of cohesive, wide-ranging campaign work” to improve conditions for those who cycle in the North.

Helen Nugent, founder and editor of Northern Soul, experienced the devastating consequences of cycling collisions when her friend was severely injured in a crash with a lorry.

Nugent said: “Our roads are never going to be 100 per cent safe but there are plenty of ways in which we can make them safer for all road users. So many cycling deaths and injuries could have been prevented and, at Northern Soul, we want to work as hard as possible to reduce the number of casualties.

“Three years ago my best friend Mary was knocked off her bike and run over by a lorry driven by someone who wasn’t paying attention and didn’t have any useful safety measures on his vehicle. Mary will need round-the-clock care for the rest of her life. No-one should have to endure what this lovely girl has endured, and no-one should have to suffer like her family and friends have suffered. Together we can make our roads safer.”

Cycle for Change’s charter has five points:

  1. Introducing compulsory cycling proficiency in schools
  2. Lorries entering cities must be equipped with basic safety measures, including sensors and safety bars
  3. The most dangerous junctions in the North must be identified and steps taken to improve them
  4. There must be a dedicated, regular budget for cycling both at local and national level
  5. Current laws dealing with those who cause death or serious injury must be re-examined

Andrew Stephenson, MP for Pendle, is among those supporting the campaign. He said: “Every person who gets on a bike, whether they are commuting to work, riding for pleasure, in the city, town or countryside, should be able to do so safely. We want to encourage people to use their bikes more for their own health and well-being and because of the major environmental benefits too.

“But the number of avoidable accidents, injuries and deaths must be addressed. This campaign will help to raise the issue of cycling safety across the North of England and beyond and if it saves one life, prevents one person from being injured or encourages people to wear a helmet or take other precautions, then it will have been a huge success.”

North West regional director of the charity Sustrans, Rosslyn Colderley, said: “Despite government assurances that our roads are getting safer, we still see too many cycling and walking deaths and serious injuries in the North of England.”

She added that worries about safety deter walking and cycling, including among children whose parents feel they are safer inside a car than out of one. This, she said, causes obesity and air pollution, and road safety must be addressed by measures like 20mph zones, such as were introduced recently across Manchester.

Cycle for Change is asking for more supporters and partners. For further information and to find out how to get involved, contact Helen Nugent, Founder and Editor of Northern Soul: