Threats and verbal abuse claims on Leeds cycle superhighway

ANGRY residents claim they are being verbally abused and threatened by cyclists on a stretch of the new £29m cycle superhighway in Armley.

Monday, 3rd October 2016, 12:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:45 pm
Residents on Stanningley Road in Armley say they have been sworn at by cyclists travelling in the wrong direction after pointing out the cycle lane is a one way system on a stretch of the new £29m cycle superhighway in Armley . From left, Elaine Carston, Doreen Armitage, Sally Brennan and Phillip Pantry. 29th September 2016. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

Residents on Stanningley Road say they are being repeatedly sworn at by cyclists travelling in the wrong direction after pointing out the cycle lane is a one way system.

The majority of the 23km City Connect cycle superhighway between Leeds and Bradford was opened in June.

Stanningley Road resident Ellie Maxwell said: “We have got a 6ft 7in cycle lane, which is too wide. Cyclists abuse the one way system and travel in both directions.

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“If you say anything to them about cycling the wrong way you get a mouthful of abuse.

“Getting in and out of your property is a nightmare. You have to stop on the inside lane to reverse in to your drive with vehicles coming towards you and your heart is in your mouth.
“You are taking your life in your hands getting back in to your property, it’s very dangerous.

“We are getting abuse from the cyclists and we are getting abuse from other motorists, which didn’t happen before this was created.
“When relatives come to visit there is nowhere for them to park so people are not visiting. The whole stress of it is a nightmare.”
“We want the buffer zone to be a dropped kerb so you can get off the main carriageway and on to your drive and we want something done about parking.”

Stanningley Road residents Sally Brennan and partner Steven Blakey are also having problems with the new cycle path.

Miss Brennan said: “Since the cycle path was done our friends refuse point blank to come and visit us. They have to park on the first lane of the carriageway and they won’t do it.

“Previously our footpath was a lot wider and the two lanes of the carriageway were wider. Before, people used to park partially on the footpath and part on the road.
“I parked on the dual carriageway one day and it frightened me to death.
“My partner was threatened. He was locking the gates and he said to a cyclist who was coming up rather than down ‘you know you are supposed to go on the opposite side to go up’ and the guy turned round and said ‘mind your own business, I will come back and set your house on fire.’”
“It has totally changed our lives for the worse. I’m in a home that I’ve lived in for 16 years and I’m worried that when the time comes to move that no-one will want to buy it – there’s nowhere to park.”
“I worry about the resale value of the house and I worry about safety and threatening behaviour from cyclists and other road users.”
“I understand the benefits of the cycle lane but I think they just haven’t thought it through for the residents who live here.”

Retired Engineer Phil Pantry, said he has been sworn at by cyclists on dozens of occasions. He said: “We are getting the height of abuse from cyclists who use the pavement and the cycle track both ways. 
“It’s absolutely awful. You have not only got the cyclists doing whatever they want, you have also got mobility scooters using it both ways.

“It’s mayhem out here because the traffic lanes are reduced in width. I reverse on to the main road and you get people who go past beeping their horns and swearing at you.

“We are all experiencing on a daily basis abuse from motorists and cyclists and people on mobility scooters.

“It has reduced property values and we have had no compensation from the council.”

A City Connect spokeswoman said: “We have already seen an increase of almost 30 per cent in cycling journeys along the route and the feedback has been very positive.

“People tell us the superhighway is already encouraging them to walk and cycle safe in the knowledge there is a safe, dedicated space for them to do so.

“Throughout the development of the cycle superhighway we worked very closely with residents on Stanningley Road and held a number of residents meetings in the area.

“We also regularly attended Armley ward forum to hear from local residents and discuss the issues raised by them.

“Work to resolve issues raised by the residents has included the replacement of kerbing and inclusion of directional arrows on the cycle route, which adheres to DfT guidance on road widths throughout its length.

“The increase in cycling along the cycle superhighway route shows there is definitely a demand for this type of infrastructure.

“We appreciate that it means a change for residents, drivers, pedestrians and cyclists alike and we urge all users to be considerate to others when using the route.”