Cllr Ryk Downes

Liberal Democrat Councillor working all year round for Otley & Yeadon Learn more

Leeds Safer Roads Action Plan 2013 – Consultation

by rykdownes on 18 February, 2013

Leeds City Council are consulting on their Safer Roads Action plan, here is a link to the final ‘Draft’ Leeds Safer Roads Action Plan 2013 which is currently published on ‘Talking Point’ as part of the consultation process in order to receive comments and feedback from all concerned.

All comments appreciated as these will be considered and any amendments which are deemed necessary can then be made to the document prior to it being formally adopted and published as an on-line document.


5 Responses

  1. Elizabeth Reather says:

    Hi, having read the safer roads action plan I’m concerned that it seems to be placing a lot of emphasis on training and educating the victims (pedestrians and cyclists, with a particular focus on children), and very little on the causes of harm. I recently read with concern the news story about a girl pedestrian, who was blamed for not wearing high-vis when she was hit by a car. Is this really the society we want to live in, where the victim gets blamed, even when the driver is careless or not paying attention? Where should the responsibility lie?

    Leeds seems to me to have quite an unhealthy attitude to vehicles, always aiming to have maximum speed and flow of vehicles on all routes around the city. This isn’t conducive to good road safety and doesn’t make the city a nice place to live in.

    Anywhere on the A65 it can be very difficult to cross the road, even where there are pedestrian crossings there are frequent examples of vehicles driving through red lights. I recently tried to cross some of the roads surrounding Sheepscar interchange: speeding is pretty routine here, and the experience for pedestrians is frankly scary. The Loop road makes walking around the city centre inconvenient and dangerous. Junctions and crossings are always designed to make traffic flow smoother, for example always having pedestrian ‘refuges’ so it takes multiple steps to cross every road.

    This car culture really needs to be addressed, if the Council wants to achieve safer roads in Leeds and a more pleasant city for everyone.

    There isn’t a clear enough distinction between “roads” and “streets” in Leeds – we should have residential areas that are safe for pedestrians and children to relax and feel safe. It seems like the only safe place for children at the moment is inside a car! No wonder the UK has such disappointing levels of physical activity when we have made the environment so vehicle-centric.

    • rykdownes says:

      As you know I share many of the sentiments as you do regarding cycling, one of the concerns I have raised and will continue to raise is that when I come home from Leeds at night on the bus going from the University through Hyde Park to Headingley see that up to 90% of cyclists do not have working front and back lights and many are also dressed in dark clothing and some without helmets.

      I am staggered and appalled that they consider their life is worth less than £10 for a set of lights. I have seen some near misses cause by the lack of visibility. From my experience as a cyclist I have found often pedestrians pose the biggest problem crossing in front of me, stepping out in front or walking along cycle lanes thinking there won’t be any cyclists there!

  2. Elizabeth Reather says:

    Thanks for your reply, but it’s a bit worrying that your response is to find fault with the behaviour of cyclists and pedestrians. Yes, there are lots of cyclists that don’t obey the law, and pedestrians who step out without looking. I agree that enforcement should apply to everyone. But cyclists and pedestrians do not kill or seriously injure almost 300 people every year in Leeds. While we as a society continually question the behaviour of the most vulnerable, and ignore the behaviour of those with the destructive power, we aren’t addressing the real problem. Recent stats showed that UK has the highest number of vulnerable road users killed, as a percentage of total road deaths, in Europe. Is this the place we want to be?

  3. rykdownes says:

    I do find fault with certain cyclists who could do a lot more to protect themselves with cheap and sensible measures that would help promote a better attitude towards cycling. I often have people complain to me that cyclists are often ‘inivisible’ weave in and out of traffic, ride on pavements, and go through red lights and pedestrian crossings and to be fair I have witnessed all of these, even whilst cycling myself I have been patiently waiting for lights to change and a cyclist has come and overtaken me going through the lights on red.

    This unacceptable behaviour needs to stop.

    Equally though should bad driving. The number of drivers that drive whilst on mobile phones is unbelievable and there are drivers who drive far too close to cyclists. This does need addressing too. You are absolutely right that they are the biggest threat and danger to the cyclist.

    My comments though are that if we are to encourage more cyclists these new cyclists should be ‘streetwise’ and bring a good name to cycling.

    I was only highlighting what cyclists can do to help themselves at little or no cost to themselves. Sadly though the issue with killed or seriously injured cyclists almost exclusively involves motorised vehicles, and EVERY opportunity that can be taken to reduce this must be a good thing.

    I want our roads to be the safest they can be for all to use, and that is the responsibility of all that use them.

  4. […] This week also saw the publication of a letter from Coun Andrew Carter (Conservative Group leader) to the Yorkshire Post highlighting “the antics of certain cyclists” and agreeing that “it is time the police clamped down on a few rogue cyclists as well as drivers of motor vehicles”. A consultation on the West Yorkshire Safer Roads action plan earlier this year provided another opportunity for Councillor Ryk Downes to focus on irresponsible cycling. […]

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