Safety first as Leeds cycle accident rate soars

MEN IN THE MIRROR: Leeds City Council staff Ray Hill and Phil Whieldon.
MEN IN THE MIRROR: Leeds City Council staff Ray Hill and Phil Whieldon.
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cyclists are being urged to stay safe on their bikes after a dramatic increase in accidents in the region.

The number of cyclists injured on the city’s roads has gone up by almost 25 per cent in four years.

A totla of 255 bikers were injured last year compared to 203 in 2007.

The A660 has been named as a cycling accident blackspot.

Leeds City Council will launch a series of events this summer to encourage cyclists to get on their bikes and stay safe.

The initiative was launched at Woodhouse Moor yesterday when cyclists heading into the city centre were given advice about how to navigate around buses and lorries safely with the help of concrete supplier Cemex.

Temporary information warning signs will line the A660 through Headingley to advise cyclists and motorists.

Cyclist John Bosworth, 46, from east Leeds, had a lucky escape following a near miss outside the Merrion Centre in Leeds last year.

He said: “I cycle everyday to work everyday but just going out on Kirkstall Road and through town can be quite tricky.

“It doesn’t surprise me that there has been an increase in the number of accidents.

“I always try and keep a distance from trucks and buses but there are so many people who ride without helmets and aren’t visible.”

There has been a 70 per cent increase in the number of cyclists taking to the roads in Leeds in three years.

The council will host cyclists’ breakfast clubs and road safety awareness sessions this summer.

Becky James, the council’s road safety manager, said: “We know there has been a huge increase in the number of cyclists and there are a number of factors for this.

“We want to make sure that everyone can cycle in safety.”