Everyone knows I cycle into Westminster unless it is lashing with rain: the Minister for Transport is the wonderful Theresa Villiers, MP. Last week she came off her bike and broke her left collar bone. Yesterday she came back to work and whilst waiting to vote we compared war wounds. I broke my right collar bone many years back, when a horse called Lowlander was brought down at Leicester races, sending me flying into the air at 35mph, smashing the bone in 4 places: like the Minister my bone needed a plate to hold it together. As always with breaks it hurts a lot. The bald facts are that 111 cyclists died on Britains roads last year, and 2660 were seriously injured. Cycling is a growing sport - in the last few years both Chris Hoy and Mark Cavendish have been named Sports Personality of the Year.
It is great that so many people are cycling to work - thereby keeping fit, reducing emissions and congestion, but we could do so much more to make sure that cycling on urban roads and in Northumberland is safer.
In London, Boris has done a lot to try and make cycling safer. There are dedicated cycle routes and marked lanes and he has been successful in getting sponsorship of the Boris Bikes, which are extremely popular with locals and tourists
This shows what a Mayor can do: I would hope that Newcastle's Mayoral candidates will look to make cycling a priority. I shall certainly be having a word with the Hexham and Ponteland and other local Town Council Mayors to see what we can do to make cycling in and out of the Hexham towns a little easier. Towns in places like Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany have shown that a little effort can make a massive difference, and we need to make our towns an ever more attractive option for the cycling tourists who are coming more and more to Northumberland.