Leeds campaigners call for safer walking and cycling at start of national Road Safety Week

24 November 2015

Leeds Green Party bike ride

Leeds Green Party bike ride, 15 November

As national Road Safety Week gets underway across the UK, Leeds Green Party is getting behind the ‘drive less, live more’ message and calling on Leeds City Council to make the city more walking and cycling friendly.

Road Safety Week is coordinated by Yorkshire-based road safety charity Brake, which is this year issuing an appeal for everyone to reduce the amount they drive if they can, and walk, cycle and take public transport instead. The charity is highlighting the number of people who drive when they don’t need to, and the healthy, environmental and safety benefits of fewer cars on the roads.

Leeds Green Party is behind efforts to encourage and enable more people to take up healthy and sustainable travel, and is highlighting the need for better walking, cycling and public transport provision in Leeds, including:

  • more traffic free cycle paths, especially connecting the city centre with suburbs
  • more 20mph limits to make it safer for people to walk and cycle
  • improved and cheaper bus services

The Party is involved in local campaigns across Leeds to achieve measures like these, such as for Holbeck Viaduct, an unused Victorian rail route, to be redeveloped to provide new public green space and a walking and cycling route. 

Leeds Green Party believes that helping people to walk, cycle and use public transport more, and reducing traffic, is essential for everyone’s health and wellbeing. Last year Leeds was one of nine areas in the UK identified by the WHO as failing to meet guidelines on air quality.

Last Sunday Leeds Green Party members and candidates took to the streets of Leeds on a cycling tour, taking in many of the areas it is campaigning in, and showing its support for better cycling facilities for the City.

Leeds Green Party candidate for Headingley Joe Salmon says: “We’re right behind Road Safety Week and the ‘drive less, live more’ campaign. You only have to look at some of the main routes into Leeds on any morning to see that we have a serious traffic problem, causing hazardous pollution, noise and other repercussions for people’s health and wellbeing. I’m a big fan of cycling, but I know that many people are put off by the risks. It’s really important that people across Leeds have the option to cycle, walk and take public transport – and these options need to be as appealing as possible. Hence we need to see more done by Leeds City Council to develop cycle routes, 20mph limits and ensure our bus services are as good as they can be. This could have huge benefits for people’s health and happiness, and the environment.”

Facts on driving, traffic and health in Leeds:

  • 64% of people are classed as ‘inactive’ (much higher than the national average)
  • 36% of people drive to work (higher than the national average), while just 1.1% cycle
  • 5,042 tonnes of CO2 emissions are produced by traffic annually
  • 350 premature deaths a year are estimated to be caused by poor air quality.

Statistics taken from Brake’s interactive map: www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk/drivelessmap.

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