Olympic silver medallist Lizzie Armitstead has written to Leeds City Council urging leaders to commit to improving conditions for cyclists.
The Otley-born cyclist has joined 13 other world champion riders, including Chris Boardman and Victoria Pendleton, in urging local authorities across the UK to implement the recommendations of British Cycling’s ChooseCycling manifesto.
The 10-point manifesto, presented by Boardman to the Commons Transport Select Committee in February, recommends local and central Government accommodate cycling in road designs through providing “meaningful and consistent” funding and by setting measurable targets on increasing the number of cyclists on our roads.
Leeds City Council cycling chiefs have responded by saying the authority “wholeheartedly supports” ChooseCycling.
In a letter addressed to council leader Coun Keith Wakefield, Armitstead said: “I believe that making it easier for people to choose to travel by bike is the solution to many issues facing the city including improving health, reducing congestion and making it a better place to live and work.”
She said “strong political leadership” was needed to achieve “the greatest impact”.
The move comes after Olympic gold medallist and British Cycling policy advisor Boardman told the YEP he feared unless the UK Government made a long-term commitment to ChooseCycling, the legacy of the Grand Depart from Yorkshire this summer could be at risk. The plan highlighted Cambridge University research, which found the NHS would save £250m-a-year if one in 10 journeys were made by bicycle.
Council cycling champion Coun Roger Harington said: “As a council, we are firmly committed to making Leeds as cycle-friendly as possible.”
He cited the council’s hosting of SkyRides and the £29m Leeds to Bradford cycleway as examples of its commitment.