Playing politics with cycling.

Ahead of the Leeds City Council elections tomorrow, it is disappointing to see that the provision of protected cycleways is again the subject of political point scoring.

While we are a non political group, we do feel it is our duty to point out inaccuracies when presented to the public as fact. The image below shows a section from a Pudsey Conservatives election leaflet sent to us by a member of the campaign. Full leaflet here.

We suggest that the author of the leaflet may want to read this recent Guardian article, which features the Leeds to Bradford cycleway and reveals the following.

  • From opening in July 2016 to January 2019, 870,764 cycle trips have been recorded on the route.
  • Prior to construction just 136 cycle trips per weekday were made on the Leeds-Bradford route. In the first year that increased by 51%, in 2018 by a further 26%.

The article also notes that the route is not perfect, and this is something Leeds Cycling Campaign would agree with and we have been critical of the council for this, but the figures above show that it is good enough to allow more people to cycle, and with all the issues with climate change, this can only be considered a good thing. We in the campaign struggle to see, if only a few cyclists feel safe using it, how nearly 900,000 trips have been recorded.

For context, a mile of motorway costs in the region of £30 million, we would suggest that £12 million for 14 miles of cycleway, constitutes much better value. It's also worth remembering that the award of the funding for the cycleway was given by the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition government!

Can we please get to a stage where enabling people to cycle without fear of injury is not up for debate?