Impressive Support for Bicycle NSW Regional Group Newcastle Cycleway’s Vision

Newcastle’s CycleSafe Network is an inspiring example of what can be achieved when regional organisations lead the way in critical urban development. Newcastle Cycleways is one of Bicycle NSW’s Affiliated Bicycle Groups and are the leaders in the region of the vision for the CycleSafe Network which has the capacity to transform Newcastle and Lake Macquarie into NSW’s most safe, efficient and connected cycling destinations.

The CycleSafe Network Proposal was launched this morning in Newcastle with the support of an impressive line up of government, business and community organisations. Supporting Newcastle Cycleways’ President, Peter Lee, was NRMA President Kyle Loads, State Member for Wallsend Sonia Hornery MP and representatives from the Heart Foundation, Property Council of Australia, Medicare Local Hunter and Bicycle NSW.

Unanimous support is asked for of the ambitious, yet realistic, proposal to retrofit an entire metropolitan area for safe cycling which includes 150kms of new cycleways across greater Newcastle for an achievable cost of $75m. This affordable investment is contrasted by the alternative which is to spend 75 years trying to achieve the same result if the current rate of investment is maintained. Relative to the overall economic, health and social impacts that would all be significant and positive, it seems an easy and logical choice for everyone. Hence why it was confirmed today that the CycleSafe Network would be seeking unanimous support within local Council.

President of Newcastle Cycleways Peter Lee opened the event saying, “We are proud to be the voluntary advocacy group who has been part of every significant cycling infrastructure project in Newcastle since 1977. These are the foundations for the CycleSafe Network however the bicycle strategies current spending rates will only see completion of these plans in 75 years. The CycleSafe Network is about ‘changing gears’ and fundamentally changing the cycleway infrastructure funding. We are asking the State Government to step up and show leadership by providing safe cycling infrastructure by funding the completion of a connected network within the next five years.”

The State government has the most to gain from such an investment, including health and economic returns, and as a consequence this investment request is seen as more than bicycle infrastructure with State significance for transport facilities that will enhance generations of residents and businesses alike.

“This is a critical urban renewal campaign and it is not just for cyclists, as evident in the support we have from the Property Council of Australia and the Master Builders Association”, says Bernard Hocking, Bike Fest Coordinator and CycleSafe Network advocate.

Mr Kyle Loades, NRMA President and local resident of Newcastle, went on to say “NRMA understands the merits of cycling and why we need to support initiatives such as Newcastle’s CycleSafe Network. NRMA has 2.5m members and 10% ride at least once a week. Better cycling corridors will improve safety on our roads. Regardless of if you use a car or a bike, NRMA supports the development of safe infrastructure.”

“The opportunity for the CycleSafe Network across the greater Newcastle region to transform both health and transport, and the associated economic benefits are huge. The recent sale of the Newcastle port provides the opportunity to make the necessary and small investment of $75m over five years. A small price to fast track what would otherwise take 75 years to achieve, and risk missing the transformational benefits for two to three generations,” says Sophie Bartho, Bicycle NSW Communications Director.