Half a million journeys have been recorded on the region’s CityConnect Cycle Superhighway since it opened less than two years ago, new statistics reveal.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) said that the 23km network has been used for more than 500,000 trips since its launch in July 2016.
The success has led a regional transport chief to hail the routes in Leeds, Bradford and beyond as being among “the best cycling and walking infrastructure in the UK” as civic leaders aim to get more people involved in active travel.
And next phase will see the it extended through Leeds city centre as part of a £7m package of works – but the number of people cycling in the city has already been found to have shot up in the time the network’s current routes have been in place.
According to the authority, a user survey carried out on the Superhighway showed that 30 per cent described themselves as new cyclists or had started to bike again.
Sixty-one per cent said their confidence to cycle had increased and 80 per cent said they used the route between three and five days per week.
Coun Keith Wakefield, chairman of the WYCA Transport Committee, said: “The success of the award-winning Cycle Superhighway shows how by providing the right infrastructure we can encourage people onto their bikes with benefits in terms of congestion, the environment, the economy and health.
“West Yorkshire has among the best cycling and walking infrastructure in the UK and active travel should be seen as an important part of our transport network alongside buses, trains and cars.”
WYCA said the Cycle Superhighway is the longest protected cycle route in the country, and last year won Project of the Year at the North of England Transport Awards.
Read more: Design of flagship £29m Leeds to Bradford cycle superhighway ‘will set cycling back'.
The chief aims of the network are to make cycling “a natural and popular choice for short journeys”, make the activity accessible to everyone, and improve access to employment, skills and education.
It is also hoped the scheme, CityConnect’s signature project, will help reduce CO2 and improve air quality, as well as providing a safe environment for the activity.
The scheme is all part of a 10 year vision to improve cycling facilities in the Leeds City Region. WYCA and local authorities made a successful bid for £60 million of the Department for Transport funding, with two phases due to be completed this year.
The Cycle Superhighway’s first phase between Leeds and Bradford (CS1) opened in July 2016. Its segregated lanes run from Leeds city centre along the A647 to the new Broadway shopping centre in the heart of Bradford.
Its second phase (CS2) includes a route between Leeds and Seacroft. A programme of improvement works along that route is under way, including minor works at eight junctions along the York Road stretch.
Also as part of CS2, plans are under way to build lanes between Wakefield and Castleford, in Huddersfield town centre, as well as next to Calderdale’s canals and beyond.