A project for a network of 17 cycle routes linking urban areas of Leeds would encourage more people to get on their bikes. That is what councillors will be told through a report to members of Leeds City Council's executive board, according to the Yorkshire Post.
Councillors are being asked to back the creation of routes between Cookridge, Alwoodley and Middleton and the city centre along with a section between Roundhay Park and Easterly Road, in a project that will also reduce pollution and offer health benefits.
It’s hoped the new routes will encourage more people to leave their cars at home and commute by bike in and out of the city centre due to the levels of congestion.
A recent survey in Leeds revealed that 15 per cent of people would leave their cars at home if there was a "continuous door to door cycle network", while many are put off by fear of injury and poor road conditions.
The report says: "The level of cycling in Leeds at 1.30 per cent of all trips to work is below that of most other major UK cities: Birmingham 1.4 per cent, Liverpool 1.73 per cent, Newcastle 1.75 per cent, Manchester 3.24 per cent, Nottingham 3.67 per cent, Leicester 4.0 per cent, Bristol 4.58 per cent.
"It is also very substantially below leading examples in the UK and Europe for example York and Copenhagen, where 12 per cent and 46 per cent respectively of journeys to work are by bicycle and where there are goals to further increase these levels."
The report adds: "It is intended to complete the routes over the next five years subject to approvals and funding. The overall cost of the Core Cycle Network Project is estimated at £9m. However, this cost takes full account of all early project risks and is expected to reduce as elements of the project are advanced to the more detailed stage.”
External cash is being sought to meet the costs of the network.
Leeds will already have increased cyclists on the roads in the city after Leeds University’s Velocampus loan scheme doubled its cycle fleet to 350 bikes for the start of this academic year just 12 months on from becoming the first scheme of its kind in the UK. It provides low cost bike hire for University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University students for the year or part year.
Cycling to the university is one of the easiest ways for students to get in and any students in Leeds live within four miles of the campuses, which is an ideal distance for getting on their bike.