A cycling initiative that has helped riders saddle up in the build-up to the Tour de France has been given a boost.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) has been awarded £2.8m from the Government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund, which will help the go:cycling scheme that has already engaged with 25,000 people through free cycle training and bike maintenance.
Described an “important component” of West Yorkshire’s Tour de France legacy plan, the scheme will be supported alongside walking and public transport initiatives in the region thanks to the grant.
WYCA’s successful bid to the Department for Transport was part of a £64m investment in 44 different sustainable transport schemes nationwide.
Coun James Lewis, chair of WYCA Transport, said: “It is very satisfying that after a weekend that has showcased the best of our region, we have the opportunity to continue to support more people in taking up cycling for work, school or leisure, and to improve health across West Yorkshire through initiatives that encourage people to become more physically active including both walking and cycling.”
An estimated 2.5m people lined the Leeds to Harrogate and York to Sheffield Grand Depart routes on July 5 and 6 following months of publicity and campaigns to make the most of the event’s regional debut.
Launched in 2012 as a £450,000 three-year scheme, go:cycling was among the initiatives in West Yorkshire aimed to get people in gear for Le Tour by helping them commute by bike through investment in cycle routes and training.
Alongside schemes such as the £29m east Leeds to Bradford Cityconnect cycleway, Sky Rides and Northern Rail’s Bike & Go programme it has supported more people get cycling.
Its Ride for Rewards scheme saw 500 cyclists in the region log 8,000 journeys in June.
Coun Peter Box, chair of WYCA, described the organisation’s successful bid as “good news for our local economy”.
He said: “It will support employers by delivering further enhancements to smart card delivery and information, and extend the work of our Travel Plan Network, which was established to help local businesses.”
The £2.8m will also support three other WYCA schemes – go:smart, go:walking and go:jobs – which aim to change the way commuters travel. Visit www.westyorks-ca.gov.uk.
THE LOCAL SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT FUND
A multi-million pound investment from the Department for Transport will support 44 sustainable transport schemes including those in West Yorkshire.
The £64m Local Sustainable Transport Fund boost announced earlier this month is aimed to improve infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians, better bus journeys and create new transport interchanges.
The fund will also support regional schemes in York and South Yorkshire.