City’s future cycling strategy officially leaves the starting line

A new cycling plan for Leeds has officially been unveiled this month.

This follows the creation of the ‘Leeds Cycling Starts Here’ strategy, which was developed by a partnership board including Leeds City Council, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), British Cycling, and Leeds Cycling Consultation Forum, and which was subject to a full and extensive public consultation last summer. Over 1,500 responses were provided through the consultation and used by the ‘Leeds Cycling Starts Here’ programme board to shape the final document.

Given the aim of building on and creating a lasting legacy from the successful 2014 Le Grand Départ in Leeds, the strategy identifies key areas of work to improve infrastructure and accessibility, whilst also boosting participation and supporting people to become physically active.

Key headlines of the strategy include;

Vision:

● To inspire more people to cycle more often.

Aims:

● Make cycling a natural everyday choice.

● Improve safety, convenience for cycling and health and wellbeing across the city.

● Improve environmental sustainability, better air quality and reduce pollution of all types.

Themes:

● Develop a thriving and active cycling city.

● Promote a cycle friendly city.

● Build a great city for cycling.

To make the strategy more accessible to people of all ages, a one page overview of the action plan has been devised to accompany the strategy. This, and the full ‘Leeds Cycling Starts Here’ strategy document, is available at http://www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/Pages/Cycling-in-Leeds.aspx

The scope of the city’s cycling ambition is also represented in a tube-style map that shows the extent of the cycling network that the city would eventually like to reach. Approximately 10% of this network has already been built and the remaining routes linking communities, shows the scale of the long-term ambition for cycling connectivity. The cycling tube map can also be located on the above web page.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said:

“Following the tremendous success of the 2014 Tour de France Le Grand Départ in Leeds, we were determined that the momentum from this truly world class event was not lost and that a lasting cycling legacy in the city was put in place.

“While a significant investment has been made by the council and partners in infrastructure and a wide range of other areas since then, we all recognise that if we are to meet our aim of becoming a really excellent city for cycling, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. It was for this reason that we tasked the ‘Leeds Cycling Starts Here’ programme board with developing a new cycling strategy for our city, and it is great news that having also incorporated the views that were made through a large public consultation last year, it has now been launched.

“Through this strategy we have a real opportunity to put in place both long-lasting and positive changes which can ensure Leeds is a vibrant and accessible city for cycling. Everyone in the city, whether it is the council, partners, cycling enthusiasts, residents or the voluntary, education and business communities has an important part to play, and I hope that by working together we can make the vision, aims and ambitions of this strategy a reality.”

For media enquiries, please contact;

Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk

Myths

Let's clear a few things up

Myth:

Cyclists and pedestrians are exposed to more air pollution than drivers

Fact:

Wrong. As well as being better for your health and fitness, evidence shows that cyclists and pedestrians are also less exposed to air pollution than people in vehicles. This is because your air filter probably doesn’t remove pollution from the air it circulates and being on the road itself means that your vehicles is surrounded by exhaust fumes. Pedestrians and cyclists are also less exposed because even 1 metre away from traffic, there is considerably less pollution than on the road itself.

Myth:

Turning your engine on and off again whilst sat in traffic releases more emissions than leaving it running.

Fact:

Whether you’re stuck in traffic or just waiting to pick someone up, if you think that your car might be stationary for more than 2 minutes it’s better to turn your engine off than leave it running. Doing so will reduce the amount of gases harmful to our health and the environment that your car emits. It’s an easy way to reduce your own contribution to air pollution!

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