A new set of cycle routes in and around Leeds has just been published. But is it just as simple as hopping on a bike and you’re good to go? Well, yes – and Leeds Cycling Campaign are encouraging people to do just that.
Whether its as a sport, a way of exercising, or simply getting you from one place to another, one thing’s for sure – more and more people are taking up cycling.
Not only can cycling to work or school save you time and money – it is also a more sustainable way of travel. Studies have shown that people who cycle to work are less likely to take sick days.
With the recent Tour de Yorkshire said to have inspired more people to get into the saddle, local organisation Leeds Cycling Campaign is using a range of strategies to keep that motivation alive.
Martin Stanley, the Chair of Leeds Cycling Campaign said: “We aim to make Leeds a cycle friendly city, and we do that in various ways.”
The first aspect focuses on “changing the environment,” said Mr Stanley, “making the streets safe and pleasant for cycling through infrastructure and removing through traffic.
“Its about encouraging existing cyclists and new cyclists to get on their bikes – we do that by running rides every weekend,” he added. “The third is really about enforcement. There’s existing road laws that aren’t really enforced enough, and it means the roads are an intimidating environment.
“We work with West Yorkshire Police to try and make sure they enforce existing laws and make it safe for everyone.”
The campaign has also designed a ‘cycle proof’ network map, with routes extending as far as Wetherby, Birstall and Shipley – making rides new, exciting and safe for riders.
“In cities around the world where you see lots of cycling, the big difference is that they have a dedicated space for cycling,” said Mr Stanley. “You don’t actually have to share the same road space as drivers and HGV’s – you’ve got your own lanes which are protected.”
So what are you waiting for? On yer bike!
By Ria Taylor