East Leeds Orbital Route branded 'race track' as councillor calls for speeding crackdown

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The newest dual carriageway in Leeds has been branded a “race track” by one city councillor as he called for a speeding crackdown on the road.

The East Leeds Orbital Route (ELOR) opened to drivers last August with a 50mph speed limit. But local Conservative councillor Sam Firth said the 7km (4.3 mile) stretch of road was being “bombarded” with motorcycles flouting the limit.

The city council is set to punish nuisance bike riders with fines of up to £100, following noise and speeding complaints across east and south Leeds in recent months. But speaking at an Outer North East Community Committee meeting on Monday, Coun Firth called for mitigation measures and enforcement action to be taken on ELOR specifically to stop the speeding.

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The Harewood councillors told highways officers: “We have a massive new dual carriageway that’s just been built through our ward – East Leeds Orbital Route. It has a 50mph limit. We argued at the time it should be higher, but we’ve got a serious problem with bikes and with speeding. Even with a brand spanking new carriageway, we’re still not thinking far enough ahead to limit the number of accidents that are happening on there.”

The East Leeds Orbital Route was opened in August 2022. Picture: Leeds City CouncilThe East Leeds Orbital Route was opened in August 2022. Picture: Leeds City Council
The East Leeds Orbital Route was opened in August 2022. Picture: Leeds City Council

West Yorkshire Police recently announced a major new crackdown on speeding, while Leeds Council has voiced its ambition to end all deaths on the city’s roads by 2040. Previously strict criteria for the placing of speed cameras is set to be relaxed, while police are promising to carry out more roadside checks on vehicles.

But Coun Firth added: “We are having an absolute bombardment in terms of the number of bikes on there (ELOR). The scheme’s literally been open just a few months and parts of it are already being ripped up and destroyed.”

Coun Firth referenced a recent accident on the road which he said had involved a number of young motorcyclists. He added: “I think the biggest problem we’ve got in Harewood is the fact we’ve got a lot of country roads and as a result, if they get out there they know they’re not going to be caught. But if we can solve the problem back at source and tackle this new race track we’ve created then that would be certainly helpful.”

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Coun Firth’s ward colleague, Matthew Robinson, said a distinction should be made between drivers who go slightly too fast and those who travel at more than twice the limit. He told the meeting: “People make mistakes and sometimes they do 33 or 35mph in a 30 limit. I’m not excusing it, but I can understand why it happens. For people who do 70 in a 30mph limit, perhaps a l9botomy might be something that’s more [appropriate] to stop them speeding.”