: Waiting for next track...

: Waiting for next track...

Cycling campaigners call on council to seize the opportunity

Cycling campaigners call on council to seize the opportunity

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Jacob Webster at 6:50am 14th May 2020.

Local cycling group is calling on the council to encourage people to continue cycling 

  • More people have taken up cycling during the lockdown - something that needs to continue, according to cycling campaigners.
  • Harrogate District Cycle Action wants the council to introduce new measures to keep people on their bikes.
  • Its ideas include temporary cycle lanes and ‘car-free weekends’.

Cycling campaigners are calling on council chiefs to “seize the opportunity” of lockdown to make major improvements to an active travel infrastructure in Harrogate.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested that the UK could see a “golden age of cycling” when the government last week announced a £2bn package to boost cycling and walking.

The plans include pop-up bike lanes, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors.

North Yorkshire County Council is now set to receive a slice of the government cash – but how much the authority will get and how it will be spent has yet to be announced.

Cyclists on the road

Kevin Douglas, chairman of Harrogate District Cycle Action, said the council needs to act quickly whilst cycling continues to see a surge in popularity.

The group has suggested closing streets to cars at school drop-off and pick-up times, introducing temporary cycle lanes and ‘car free weekends’ as possible improvements.

Kevin told the Local Democracy Reporting Service:

“We are hoping that the council will take forward some of our suggestions and trial them, but they need to do it quickly to capture the moment.

“We are seeing improvements made in York, Leeds and Bradford where councils are seizing the opportunity.

“This is a great chance to make some real improvements in Harrogate, Ripon, Knaresborough and other rural areas of the borough.

“People have started to realise that the car is not always king and we need to give some space on the road for cyclists.

“Yes the government is talking about a golden age of cycling – but they will only be able to do this with proper lanes and protection.”

Bike leaning against tree on grass

Local authorities across the country have been told to reallocate road space for significantly increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians.

In Manchester, there are plans for 150 miles of protected cycle track, while Transport for London wants to build a ‘bike tube’ network above the capital’s underground.

David Bowe, North Yorkshire’s Director for Business and Environmental Services, said the county council is looking at locations where improvements could be made in the region. 

He said:

“Further information on potential measures in North Yorkshire will be available later this week based on the guidance issued yesterday in the government’s recovery strategy.  

“Alongside the measures to assist social distancing, the government also announced a number of other initiatives and funding streams for cycling. 

“These included a five-year £2bn funding package, split into £250m to fund measures in the short term to ease pressures on public transport in the recovery from covid-19 with the remaining £1.75bn to cover longer term cycling and walking projects. 

“As yet the Department for Transport has not communicated how the money will be distributed to local highway authorities and whether or not there will be a bidding process.”