Mother calls for town to be a bike-friendly destination

Kate Cairns and her children Lys, Jake and Leif want to make Alnwick more bicycle friendly.
Kate Cairns and her children Lys, Jake and Leif want to make Alnwick more bicycle friendly.

A cycle-safety campaigner has called on Alnwick to embrace a national campaign and become a bike-friendly town.

Kate Cairns has been fighting for improved protection for cyclists since her sister, Eilidh, 30, was knocked down and killed in London in 2009.

Now Kate, from Newton-by-the-Sea, wants Alnwick to revolutionise and become a destination which is suitable for those on two wheels.

The mother-of-three is also calling on local councillors to back the national Space for Cycling campaign, which aims to create the conditions where anyone can cycle anywhere.

She said: “Alnwick needs to get strategic and support Space for Cycling, using new guidance and turning cycling into a positive experience.

“Cycling is currently seen as a risk, a danger and a nuisance, but it would be great if drivers could welcome cyclists onto the road. Cycling reduces obesity, congestion and pollution. Traffic is an issue for our beautiful market town, especially in the summer with tailbacks through the Bondgate Tower. Research shows cyclists spend more in local shops than car drivers.

“Let’s revolutionise Alnwick to be bike-friendly, with free hire bikes and bike stands at places such as Alnwick Garden, Barter Books and Sainsbury’s/Willowburn.”

Kate believes the scheme would help allay access concerns raised earlier this year during discussions about proposals to build a bike track to the east of Allerburn Lea, near to the sewage-treatment plant off Alnmouth Road.

She said the transformation could boost the Bike & Go initiative at Alnmouth Station.

The cycle-hire scheme offers rail users the opportunity to continue their journey from the train station by bike. Users who register at bike pay a £10 annual subscription fee and then £3.80 for each 24 hours of hire.

Kate said: “It’s called Alnmouth for Alnwick station, so people are being encouraged to travel to Alnwick. It would be good if cycle bays could be put in town, so people could cycle from the station, stay in Alnwick and then cycle back.”