Space for Cycling: the priorities

Here's some more detail about our six Campaign Priorities and what they mean in practice. You can download an Excel file at the bottom of this page, showing all the areas our members suggested need action as part of the Space for Cycling Campaign. If you want to add something, just contact us!

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Safe Routes for schoolchildren

Fewer than 1% of schoolchildren in Leeds cycle to school, although two thirds of children and young people in the UK say they want to.  UK child obesity levels are worryingly high, and more than double those in cycle-friendly countries like the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany.

Cycling and walking to school are good for children's physical and mental health; less driving on the school run will make the streets safer and nicer for all. We'll be asking candidates to support measures to enable cycling to school.

Local suggestions from our members include safe routes to Lawnswood, Priesthorpe, and the Cooperative Academy. Pudsey Tyseral, Great Preston and Chapel Allerton primary schools also need safer routes and crossings. In the future, every school child in Leeds should be able to choose cycling to school.


Reduction of traffic volume, creating streets without through motor traffic

We want Leeds to benefit from areas where motor traffic cannot cut through side streets, giving priority to walking and cycling. Using bollards, planters, or trees can make a residential area calmer and more pleasant for the people who live there.

Safer, quieter, and more pleasant residential areas make walking and cycling more attractive choices, while still allowing vehicle access. As they say in the Netherlands, “cars can go there, they just don’t get the most direct route!”

Our members nominated Clarendon Road, Roker Lane, Otley Old Road, Oxford Road in Guiseley, Weetwood Lane and Roundhay Park Lane as roads that would benefit from reduction in traffic. Existing low-traffic routes through Kirkstall, Armley and Middleton could be made convenient for cycling by providing flush kerbs and access to other streets. City centre locations such as Oxford Place and Lower Briggate need space for cycling, and St Peters Street desperately needs a reduction in through-traffic.


Protected space on main roads and safe cycling through major junctions

Our main roads are usually the quickest and most direct routes from A to B. In Leeds many of these main roads are intimidating for cycling, with heavy and/or fast moving motor traffic. At junctions, the roads usually break down into several lanes, presenting a difficult or dangerous environment for cyclists.

Dedicated space for cycling on main roads and at junctions means that people of all ages and abilities can get from A to B by bicycle, feeling safe and enjoying their journey.

Major roads nominated by our members include the A65 through Rawdon, Guiseley and Yeadon; Elland Road; the A642 through Rothwell, Garforth and Swillington; the A64 to Tadcaster, and many more.  Leeds is full of dangerous junctions where safe routes for cycling are needed. Eastgate roundabout; the junction of Marsh Lane to Burmantofts Street; all the roundabouts on the A6120 outer ring road; Armley gyratory; all these are currently barriers to cycling.


Safe cycling in parks and on greenways

Leeds has a wealth of public parks. But in many of these, cycling is restricted or discouraged, meaning that children lack safe spaces to learn to ride and families struggle to find nearby places to ride together in a relaxed environment. We are calling on the Council to allow considerate cycling in all of Leeds’ parks.

Greenways already provide some good routes around the city, including most of the Roundhay to Temple Newsam cycle route for example. But many of these routes are blocked by access barriers, making life difficult for users of trikes and modified bikes. More safe, enjoyable cycle routes could be provided by providing better surfaces on existing bridleways, with good convenient links to nearby streets.

Suggestions from our members included removing access barriers on the Temple Newsam to Roundhay Park cycle route. One commented "*!?*** impossible if you are a tandem rider with a blind stoker! The access barriers are a nightmare."

Several off road routes need resurfacing, such as the canal towpath between Liberty Dock and Hunslet Road, Nanny Goat Lane, and Orion Walk linking Rothwell to Middleton. Harehills Park, Golden Acre Park and Primrose Valley (Gravelythorpe) Park could all provide good environments for family cycling if they were more accessible by bike.


20mph speed limits: safe space where people live

20mph speed limits save lives and make residential areas calmer and more pleasant. Only about half of cycling in the Netherlands is on paths separate from the roads; the other half is on calm streets with 20mph limits. We’re calling on the Council to make all our residential streets safer for cycling, walking, and playing, by implementing 20mph limits where people live.

This doesn’t have to mean speed bumps! Actions like planting trees, cutting off rat-runs, and making the curves at junctions sharper will encourage drivers to be patient and careful in residential areas, while keeping the environment pleasant for cyclists and walkers.

Our members nominated Bramhope, Swillington, the City Centre, Roundhay, and several school neighbourhoods would benefit from 20mph limits. Several members asked why can't Leeds make 20mph the default in residential areas?


Liveable City

In the UK, over two thirds of all journeys made are less than 5 miles and almost half of these are currently made by car. Instead of a layout that encourages people to drive, we should aim for a liveable city where walking and cycling are the norm for short journeys.

Outside the pedestrianized centre, much of Leeds is choked by busy roads. Prioritising vehicle movements encourages vehicle traffic into the city centre, and makes it difficult for cyclists and pedestrians to move about. Local centres including Headingley, Morley and Chapel Allerton suffer from the amount of traffic travelling through them, making cycling journeys stressful and streets difficult to cross on foot.

These should be places where people want to spend time, meet friends and family, and enjoy social activities. Local businesses thrive where streets are welcoming and calm environments. We are calling on the Council to realise that these are places for people as well as roads for travelling, and to prioritise people over motor traffic. Creating space that can be enjoyed by the local community and that encourages walking and cycling will result in lively, pleasant places that are economically thriving and socially vibrant.

Areas needing a safer and more welcoming streetscape include Garforth main street; the Roundhay Road shops near the junction with Easterly Road;  Chapel Allerton centre; Fountain Street / Corporation Street in Morley; Deighton Road in Wetherby; Armley Town Street and Stanningley Centre.  The White Rose Centre, Crown Point, and the Hospital sites at Seacroft, LGI and St James' should all be more welcoming for cyclists, providing safer cycle routes and plenty of bike parking.