Olympic hero Alistaire Brownlee praises Leeds plans to enhance cycling safety

Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee has praised Leeds City Council's new pilot scheme to enhance cycling safety on the A65 Kirkstall Road with wider pavements and cycle lanes.

Sunday, 10th May 2020, 1:15 pm
Updated Sunday, 10th May 2020, 1:18 pm
Pictured, Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee. The triathlete has praised Leeds City Council's new pilot scheme to enhance cycling safety on the A65 Kirkstall Road with wider pavements and cycle lanes. Photo credit: Bruce Rollinson / JPIMedia RESELL

The two-time Olympic champion has welcomed Leeds City Council's plans to widen some pavements and cycle lanes to help with social distancing when coronavirus restrictions begin to ease.

A section of the cycle lane on the A65 Kirkstall Road, a major commuter route in the city, is to be widened with the use of posts to give cyclists protection from traffic.

The reflective posts, also known as 'Orca Wands', are 1m high and strong enough to rebound from an impact with vehicles, the city council said.

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In response the triathlete said on twitter: "This is great.

"There is potential for big structural positive change to come out of the current situation.

"The continuation of the increase in active travel is one of them. Fantastic to see Leeds City Council working so quickly to make change happen."

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Orca Wands are to provide safety for cyclists on one of the busiest roads in Leeds. Photo credit other:

The aim is to encourage more use of the cycling lane on the A65 as an alternative to the canal towpath, which runs parallel and is used by large numbers of cyclists during peak times.

It is hoped by making the road option safer more cyclists will choose to use it to allow capacity to flow freely.

Leeds City Council said it was acting to "help the public stay safe when walking of cycling".

Depending on how successful the posts are deemed to be they can either be kept in place for a longer period of time or removed and replaced with permanent protective measures along that road.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, executive member for climate change, transport and sustainable development, said: “This is a very exciting step forward in the council’s work towards a zero carbon future. During these unprecedented times, staff are working extremely hard to make cycling an accessible and natural everyday choice for exercising and commuting.

“Leeds is seeing significant changes to improve safety provisions for people who cycle, offering convenience and championing health and wellbeing for Leeds residents. Kirkstall Road acts as a “core corridor” for growing cycle routes and extending the cycle provision along it helps more essential staff cycle safely to work.

“This scheme in addition to the 20mph zone being implemented in the city centre, will improve environmental sustainability, improve air quality facilitate active travel for workers on a key corridor.”

As part of the work pavements on Mill Hill, Call Lane, New York Street, Upper Briggate, St Paul's Street and Great George Street in Leeds city centre will also be altered.

While on The Headrow, a 4m-wide pathway will be created for people to safely pass the construction works and a temporary segregated cycle lane is also being introduced on the A65 road.

The consultation included discussions with members of Leeds Cycle Forum, Leeds Access Group, Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) and other stakeholders.

The council said its plans would be shared with the local councillors before being circulated to the public.

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