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Monday, April 22, 2024

Cycle lane use questioned

Councillor questioned why so few cyclists seem to use the CityConnect route between Bradford and Leeds

A councillor has questioned why so few cyclists seem to use the dedicated cycle routes linking Bradford and Leeds.

Councillor Riaz Ahmed (Lib Dem, Bradford Moor) praised the infrastructure that makes up the CityConnect scheme, but added “where are the cyclists?”

A transport boss said it was something they “needed to keep working one” – but pointed out that former Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman has recently praised West Yorkshire’s cycling infrastructure.

Cityconnect Cyclist lane Thornbury Image: LDRS

The issue was raised at a recent meeting of Bradford Council’s Regeneration and Environment Scrutiny Committee, when members were given an update on plans for a new mass transit system in West Yorkshire.

Representatives from West Yorkshire Combined Authority told members the public transport system would link up with active travel schemes – which would allow people to walk or cycle to the new stations before boarding a tram or bus.

The discussion moved onto existing infrastructure schemes designed to get people out of their cars – including the CityConnect Cycle Highway between Bradford and Leeds.

The £29m route opened in 2016 – and was dubbed a “highway to health” that would boost cycling and get more people out of cars.

In the first five years, an estimated five million cyclists used the route, which is run by West Yorkshire Combined Authority, and most of which is segregated from traffic.

It stretched from Leeds to Bradford city centre, with another route between Bradford city centre and Leeds.

Referring to the current cycle lanes, Cllr Ahmed said: “It is great infrastructure, but where are the cyclists? Especially between Bradford and Leeds. Why is there always such a low number of cyclists using these lanes?”

Simon Warburton, Executive Director of Transport on the Combined Authority, said: “We’re seeing a significant step up in the take up of cycling.

Chris Boardman Image: Wikipedia

“Chris Boardman was in West Yorkshire fairly recently, and said the cycling facilities here were an exemplar in his eyes for cycle infrastructure.

“You don’t get praise easily from Chris Boardman, so we’re doing some things right.

“But a simple answer to your question is we have to keep working on it. The infrastructure has to be there for the journeys people are going to make.”

Mr Boardman is currently the Government’s Active Travel Commissioner – with the aim of encouraging more people to walk and cycle.

Mr Warburton said work currently underway in Bradford city centre, which will include improved cycling and walking facilities as well as a new cycle lane from the centre to the West of Bradford, would help “bring the city centre alive for cyclists.”

He added: “In Holland it took decades to create the cycling culture it has now.”

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