Northumberland County Council has launched a ‘change gear’ initiative as part of a new campaign to encourage residents to slow down and ditch their cars in favour of walking and cycling.
‘The Big Northumberland Gear Change’ is asking residents to sign up to changes in habits, alongside a range of challenges suitable for different ages and abilities. The environmentally-friendly drive aims to both improve people’s health and wellbeing whilst they adopt more sustainable ways of getting around the county.
The website offers tips and support, with local couple Sandra and David championing electric bikes to inspire others to follow suit.
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 wellbeing, great for exploring our lovely county and finding its secret beauties and it does no harm to our extraordinary planet. So it doesn’t ‘cost the Earth!”
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!”