People across Leeds are being encouraged to be more ‘Bike Smart’ as part of Road Safety Week (19 – 25 November).
Road Safety Week is the UK’s biggest road safety event which is coordinated annually by BRAKE, the road safety charity.
It aims to inspire thousands of individuals, communities, organisations and schools to take action on road safety and promote life-saving messages during the week and beyond.
This year, BRAKE have chosen ‘Bike Smart’ as the theme for the week. Cyclists and motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users in the UK, with more than 100 riders injured every day in needless, preventable crashes.
In Leeds there were 281 cyclists injured in 2017, with 55 of those being seriously injured. There were a further 170 motorcyclists injured in this time period, which included 2 fatalities and 64 seriously injured.
Leeds City Council are working closely with external partners in a bid to improve cycle safety. Improving road safety for bike users is not only important in saving lives and keeping people safe but is also an important factor in encouraging more people to cycle rather than drive, subsequently improving health and wellbeing and being more beneficial for the environment.
BRAKE are promoting three main actions as part of the Bike Smart theme including policy-makers being Bike Smart by prioritising cycle-friendly infrastructure; drivers being Bike Smart by looking out for those on two wheels, driving safely and giving bike riders plenty of space; and cyclists and motorcyclists being Bike Smart through safe riding behaviours and appropriate training and equipment.
This year, Leeds City Council’s Influencing Travel Behaviour Team (ITB) supported BRAKE’s road safety event which was held in Victoria Gardens yesterday. Throughout the week, BRAKE are holding virtual cycling events across the country, with Leeds being the destination for Tuesday.
The aim of the virtual cycling events is to get people to cycle 9740km during the week, to represent the 9740 cyclists and motorcyclists killed or seriously injured on Great Britain’s roads in 2017.
The ITB team are also working closely with schools throughout the week to promote road safety initiatives and deliver road safety education and training to youngsters.
In the 2017/18 academic year, the ITB team engaged 213 schools in road safety initiatives, delivering lessons to over 10,000 pupils. They also worked with partner organisation Cycle Leeds to deliver ‘Bikeability’ training to over 6000 pupils.
Councillor Richard Lewis, an executive member for regeneration, transport and planning said:
“Leeds City Council is committed to providing a safe environment for those who travel on our roads. We are continuing to work with partners to improve cycle safety across the city, to not only maintain cycling levels but to encourage more people to use cycling as a mode of travel.
“Cycling is one of the healthiest, cheapest and environmentally friendly ways to travel. Although 2017 saw slight reductions from the previous year in the number of cycle and motorcycle casualties in Leeds, we must continue our efforts to further reduce the number of injuries, and initiatives such as these can only help towards achieving this.”
Roger Harington, chair of Leeds Cycling Starts Here Strategy Board said:
“Our vision in Leeds is to inspire more people to cycle more often. A key element of this is to ensure that people feel safe to cycle around the city, so one of our main objectives is to promote good road safety behaviours, considerate cycling and driver awareness.
“Initiatives such as those organised this week and throughout the year will go a long way to help us become the cycle-friendly city that we are aiming for.”