Ukip has declared war on cycle lanes in Newcastle – by claiming they discriminate against the elderly.
The anti-EU party has distributed leaflets claiming it’s unfair to spend money on cyclists because they tend to be young.
And while Ukip acknowledges that Newcastle has received a £10m government grant for the lanes, it complains:
“Just because they receive a government grant they don’t have to spend it.”
> Uh, I think they probably do, you know. That’s rather the point of grants.
The leaflet highlights planned cycle lanes in Gosforth High Street, John Dobson Street and other roads in the city.
But it asks: “Are cycle lanes paved with gold?”
The Ukip leaflet continues:
“Cyclists are the chosen people, motorists are just a cash cow and have very few rights.
“How many elderly ladies will get on their bikes on a dark December night in Newcastle? Not many.
“Surely giving all the rights to cyclists, who are usually young people, is discrimination against the elderly and infirm?”
The leaflet goes on to complain that cyclists “carry no number plates or insurance” and suggests the council could improve road safety by ordering cyclists to put bells on their bikes.
But the claims were rejected by Newcastle Central Labour candidate Chi Onwurah.
“Cycling is a low impact way of keeping fit for people of all ages as well as a green and sustainable means of transport.
“The idea that this discriminates against older people is absurd and implies some kind of battle between cyclists and the elderly when in reality we all benefit from quieter, safer roads.
“Ukip have gone from picking on immigrants to picking on cyclists. Who is next I wonder?”
Earlier this week, Ukip launched its North East campaign and claimed it would be a “two horse race” between Ukip and Labour in the region.
Ukip and the Green Party are fielding a record number of General Election candidates as they seek to prove their credentials as emerging national political forces.
Provisional Press Association figures suggest Nigel Farage’s party is contesting 624 of the UK’s 650 Westminster seats – 66 more than it did in 2010.
Meanwhile the Greens, who have enjoyed a number of strong by-election performances, are putting up hopefuls in 571 seats – more than 70% higher than the 335 it fielded last time.
But in a signal of the dramatic decline of the far-right British National Party as an electoral force, it will be on the ballot paper in only eight constituencies, down from 338 last time.
The total number of candidates appears to have dipped slightly from 4,150 to 3,963 candidates.
A growing number are women – up almost a fifth from 854 to 1,020.
Ukip’s slate however is the only one of the major parties to be more male than in 2010, with only 77 women standing compared with 83.
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 11 Apr 2015