YORKSHIRE is aiming to become the European capital of cycling with a 10-year plan to capitalise on the hosting of the start of the Tour de France next year.
Despite the start of the most important event in world road cycling still being more than a year away, detailed discussions have already begun over how the region can secure a significant and enduring legacy from hosting the race.
Early elements of the plan could be rolled out later this summer.
Led by City of York Council, every authority in Yorkshire, including those not on next year’s Tour de France route, has already signed up to develop the legacy strategy. Although a final version has yet to be agreed, it is expected to cover a range of areas from encouraging more people to use bikes for their daily commuting and using cycling as a way of improving health standards to working with cycling organisations to host further elite cycling events.
The strategy will include specific targets on increasing recreational cycling, the number of trips made by bike in each area, the number of women using bikes regularly and the number of cycling events held in Yorkshire.
There will also be measures aimed at reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured in road accidents while cycling for each year of the strategy.
Organisers Welcome to Yorkshire and local authorities who are helping meet the cost have stressed the benefits of hosting the start of the race, the Grand Départ, in terms of global media exposure and the boost to the economy from thousands of visitors flocking to the region.
However, coming months will see a focus on the potential longer term impacts of hosting a major international sporting event.