Making more space on Yorkshire trains for bicycles ‘crucial’ to Tour legacy

Making more space for bicycles on Yorkshire trains is “crucial” to a lengthy Grand Depart legacy, it has been claimed.

Friday, 1st August 2014, 7:00 am
Cycles locked up on railings at Leeds city station. Picture by Mark Bickerdike.

Coun Roger Harington, Leeds City Council’s cycling champion, has voiced fears over a lack of space for bicycles on the region’s trains which he believes is discouraging would-be riders from exploring Yorkshire by bike.

The move comes after train companies across the county faced criticism after urging Tour de France fans not to bring bicycles on carriages during the July 5 and 6 spectacle in Yorkshire, having decided against laying on dedicated cycle carriages.

His comments come after the council’s Sustainable Economy and Culture Scrutiny Board discussed plans for Le Tour’s legacy in Yorkshire, which could see a new multi-agency Cycling Starts Here panel created in Leeds.

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Coun Harington told the YEP: “It will be a crucial thing that has to happen and we need to get in conversation with rail companies to say it’s got to change.

“When you think what we have got on our doorstep in terms of the Dales, you can get straight out into the country.”

He said many regional rail firms don’t allow riders to reserve already limited cycle spaces on trains, whereas bike carriages are a common in Europe.

Two of the largest rail firms serving Yorkshire, Northern Rail and First TransPennine Express, have stated their support of a Tour legacy, the former “open to explore the opportunities”.

Following the council scrutiny board’s debate, its chair will write to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Overview and Scrutiny Committee to raise the issue of bike capacity on trains.

A council spokesman added it is committed to engaging with multiple organisations “to assist and encourage people to cycle”.