Steve Robson features in Sustrans Bike Life video highlighting how promoting bikes benefits businesses

A shopkeeper in Newcastle upon Tyne who was once a vocal opponent of plans to get more people cycling because he believed it would affect his business is now in favour of such measures after the removal of parking spaces resulted in more people visiting his hardware store.

His about-turn has been highlighted by some supporters of the planned Cycle Superhighway 9 in west London after Conservative councillors claimed it would lead to increased air pollution and cause shops and shops and businesses to close.

> Tories launch campaign against 'bike motorway' in West London

A video posted on Twitter yesterday of the councillors, who sit on Labour-controlled Hounslow Council, holding a protest outside a church on Chiswick High Road met with derision on social media when it transpired that they could not be heard above the noise of motor traffic.

Evidence from schemes aimed at promoting cycling – including elsewhere in London, such as the Mini Holland borough of Waltham Forest – is that where dedicated infrastructure is built, it results not only in releasing pent-up demand for somewhere safe to ride a bike, but also has a positive impact on the takings of local businesses.

> Traffic halved and no collisions – the impact of Walthamstow Mini Holland

As Carlton Reid reports on BikeBiz, Steve Robson, who owns the Acorn Hardware shop on Acorn Road in the Newcastle suburb of Jesmond, is now in favour of measures aimed at encouraging more people to walk or cycle.

Robson, who said that plans unveiled by Newcastle City Council in 2014 to take away parking spaces as part of its Cycle City Ambition project would be “devastating for business” and launched a petition against the proposals, now features in a Sustrans video that highlights the charity’s Bike Life project.

The Bike Life 2017 report published last week by Sustrans found that three quarters of the 7,700 respondents to its survey of residents of seven cities in the UK backed segregated infrastructure, and two thirds said they would cycle more of protected routes were available to them.

> People in cities want segregated space for cycling

In the Sustrans video, Robson said: "Two years ago the council decided to change the road from a two-way to a one-way system with the loss of up to 20 car parking spaces. As an independent retailer I wasn't too happy with this.

"However, since the changes have been made Acorn Road has become more vibrant with the increase in pedestrians and cyclists. Now with more bike racks we get more cyclists coming into the store,” he added.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.