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Hundreds of Leeds riders saddle up in the sun to urge more space for cyclists

A Space for Cycling support ride by Leeds Cycling Campaign in Leeds city centre to urge better support for cyclists. Picture by Scott Merrylees

A Space for Cycling support ride by Leeds Cycling Campaign in Leeds city centre to urge better support for cyclists. Picture by Scott Merrylees

Leeds cyclists have joined thousands of riders nationwide to call on council leaders and policy makers to give more space for cyclists.

Nearly 200 city residents took part in the two-wheeled Space for Cycling campaign support ride on Saturday, joining activists in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.

Riders of all ages in Leeds massed in Millennium Square before either cycling a 2km city centre route or a 6km journey to Kirkstall Abbey organised by the Leeds Cycling Campaign.

Space for Cycling sparked after student Philippine de Gerin-Ricard was killed on a designated cycleway in Aldgate, London, on July 5 2013 – exactly a year before the start of the Tour de France Grand Depart from Yorkshire.

Lizzie Reather, chair of Leeds Cycling Campaign, said: “As a nation we have got more to do to try and create an environment that makes it safer and more convenient to cycle.

“The council has been talking a lot of a Tour de France legacy and we are really keen to see a lasting legacy – I would hate to see the Tour just disappear.”

Space for Cycling urges councillors to tackle the biggest barriers to getting more people healthy and active through cycling by creating safe conditions on major roads and junctions, lowering speed limits and reducing through motor traffic on residential streets.

An estimated 5,000 cyclists took part in the event in the capital, where 30 guided rides organised by the London Cycling Campaign took place under bright sunshine.

Roger Geffen, of cycling charity CTC, said: “The level of engagement in London and budding enthusiasm for the national campaign in other cities should leave no doubts as to what our nation wants from its Government.”

The support rides came a week after Otley-born Olympic silver medal-winning cyclist Lizzie Armitstead wrote to Leeds City Council to urge leaders to implement British cycling’s ChooseCycling manifesto.

The document recommends local and central Government accommodate cycling in road designs through providing “meaningful and consistent” funding.

Senior councillors responded by saying it is “firmly committed to making Leeds as cycle-friendly as possible”.

The national Space for Cycling campaign is urging supporters to write to local councillors demanding action. Visit www.space4cycling.org.uk to get involved.

 

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