Mass cycling demonstrations urge councils to cater better to riders

Innes Reid and his daughter Evie among the cyclists taking part in the Space for Cycling support ride in Leeds on Saturday. Picture by Scott MerryLees
Innes Reid and his daughter Evie among the cyclists taking part in the Space for Cycling support ride in Leeds on Saturday. Picture by Scott MerryLees
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Yorkshire cyclists have joined thousands of riders nationwide to call on council leaders and policy makers to give more space for cyclists.

Nearly 300 residents in Sheffield and Leeds took part in the two-wheeled Space for Cycling campaign support ride on Saturday, joining activists in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and Newcastle.

Riders of all ages in Leeds massed in Millennium Square before either cycling a 2km city centre route or a 6km journey to Kirkstall Abbey organised by the Leeds Cycling Campaign, while riders in South Yorkshire rode in unison from Barker’s Pool to Sheffield Town Hall.

Space for Cycling was set up after student Philippine de Gerin-Ricard was killed on a cycleway in Aldgate, London, on July 5 2013 – exactly a year before the start of the Tour de France Grand Depart from Yorkshire.

Lizzie Reather, chair of Leeds Cycling Campaign, said: “As a nation we have got more to do to try and create an environment that makes it safer and more convenient to cycle.”

Space for Cycling urges councils to tackle the biggest barriers to getting more people healthy and active through cycling by creating safe conditions on major roads and junctions, lowering speed limits and reducing through motor traffic on residential streets.

Around 5,000 riders took part in the event in the capital, where 30 guided rides organised by the London Cycling Campaign took place under bright sunshine.

Roger Geffen, of cycling charity CTC, said: “The level of engagement in London and budding enthusiasm for the national campaign in other cities should leave no doubts as to what our nation wants.”