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DITCH THE CAR: Northumberland ‘Gear Change’ campaign wants you to get on your bike

DITCH THE CAR: Northumberland ‘Gear Change’ campaign wants you to get on your bike


Ditch the car - Northumberland ‘Gear Change’ campaign wants you to get on your bike.

Northumberland County Council is asking residents to slow down and ‘change gear’ as part of a new campaign to encourage more people to ditch their cars in favour of walking and cycling.

‘The Big Northumberland Gear Change’ is the council’s battle-cry to save the environment and health of residents by encouraging people to adopt more sustainable ways of getting around the county.

Packed with tips, advice and stories from fellow residents who have swapped petrol for peddles, a dedicated new website has been developed to convince residents to reduce their reliance on cars, which is crucial to achieving Northumberland's net zero carbon emissions target by 2030.

Stuart McNaughton, Strategic Transport Manager at Northumberland County Council said:

“With lockdown measures starting to ease and many people looking to continue the good habits they formed when their cars were not needed as much, there is no better time for Northumberland residents to lead the way and commit to an ongoing change in their travel habits.

“With only 13% of all journeys in Northumberland made on foot or by bike and with a third of all trips made in the county less than 5km, there is plenty of potential for us all to ditch the car some of the time in favour of healthier, greener and happier ways of getting around.

“Our campaign is not asking residents to become an endurance cyclist or the next coast-to-coast finisher, we are simply asking people to take an honest look if there are ways to leave the car at home and walk and cycle more often in exchange.

“The sun is shining, the birds are singing, so let’s slow down, change gear and get out there to fully enjoy the best county in England!”

Sandra Kerr who stars in one of the campaign films that shows her getting around Warkworth on her electric bike with her partner David, said:

“Whenever we take off on our electric bikes, it's customary for me to say 'It's good to be back in the saddle' (groans from my cycling companion). But it's true; cycling is good for health and well-being, great for exploring our lovely county and finding it's secret beauties, and it does no harm to our extraordinary planet. So it doesn't 'cost the Earth!”

Jonah Morris, Partnership Manager at Sustrans, who are one of the campaign partners said: “"As custodians of the National Cycle Network we know there is no better way to see Northumberland than by foot or bike. Sustrans is all about creating healthier places to make happier people and the Big Northumberland Gear Change campaign is essential in helping to drive that message forward and one in which we are delighted to be a partner in."

The campaign asks residents to sign up to complete a range of challenges and habit forming activities that are suitable for all ages and abilities.

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