Leeds in 9,000 mile bike ride in memory of cyclists killed on the roads

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This year's theme focuses on improving road safety for cyclists and motorcyclists.

Road safety charity Brake held an event in Victoria Gardens yesterday as part of their Road Safety Week campaign.

This year the theme is ‘Bike Smart’ and to promote the campaign, the charity had a virtual bike cycle.

Staff and locals across Leeds cycled 150 km as part of the nationwide challenge to collectively cycle 9,750 miles.

That figure represents the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on UK roads every year.

In 2017, there were 2,203 road collision casualties in Leeds and 55 cyclists and 68 motorcyclists were killed or seriously injured. This is a 14% reduction from 2016.

Dave Nichols, Community Engagement Manager for Brake, said: “We have had lots of people hopping on to raise awareness and money.

“We even had a Just Eat cyclist who was in between deliveries jump on the bike and do four miles.

“We know that on average in the UK a motorcyclist or a cyclist is killed or seriously injured every hour, so we know the road safety is an issue close to people’s hearts so they really like to get involved.”

The event was held in support with Leeds City Council’s Influencing Travel Behaviour Team.

The council have been encouraging cycling in recent years in order to ease city centre congestion, improve air quality and improve general health and wellbeing

They are working with Brake for Road Safety Week to address concerns and teach cyclists how to stay safe on the road.

The campaign will offer advice for drivers and cyclists, as well as inform people about cycle friendly infrastructure in Leeds.

Becky James, Team Leader for Road Safety at Leeds City Council, said: “Every single road traffic collision is a tragedy for the people involved and their loved ones but actually the long-term trends show that the roads in Leeds are safer than they have ever been.

“That's not to say there is not more work to be done but we do need people to take responsibility and think about what they are doing. So much of what is happening is because people are busy or distracted and they are not giving the road their full attention.

“At the end of the day there is only so much road space available and we need to share that space. Drivers need to be aware of cyclists and cyclists need to be aware of drivers.

“We all want to get to where we are going safely and no-one wants to be involved in a road traffic collision. It’s just about encouraging everyone to use the roads with consideration for others.”

The virtual cycle will travel to Cardiff, Glasgow and finish in Manchester on Friday, November 23.

Road Safety Week runs from Monday, November 19 to Sunday, November 25.