It was frustrating to learn that Leeds has its bid rejected for cycle safety funding. Much of Leeds, including the stretch of road including Headingley Lane is in dire need of better marked cycle lanes and other safety improvements. Investment in this area would mean not only better safety for existing cyclists, but hopefully could also encourage more people to ‘get on their bikes’ and reduce the congestion.
Last year 101 people, 19 of which were children, were killed or seriously injured in West Yorkshire. Metro, which covers all of the West Yorkshire area, applied for investment in nine key areas across the region but this Tory and LibDem Government chose to only support two of these areas, excluding Leeds.
Our local Government set aside £880,000 for cycle safety but the Government has not invested anywhere close to this amount.
After the Olympics last year we saw a real increase nationally in people taking up more sports and becoming more interesting in getting fit. At a time when Leeds has the privilege of being the starting point for the Tour de France next year it is a real shame that while this event may encourage more people across the city to take up cycling, the LibDems and Tories in Government aren’t willing to put money into safety.
Metro is currently co-ordinating a ‘Cycle City Ambition’ bid. I really do hope that the Government look again at Leeds and see the opportunity the Tour de France will create. We need to promote our clean, green and healthy transport initiatives.