More must be done to create safe cycle routes for York schoolchildren, campaigners say.
Their comments come after hundreds of York residents mapped out the changes needed to make York a truly cycle-friendly city.
As pupils return to school, City of York Council has told parents: “Social distancing rules are still in effect, so pupils should walk, cycle or scoot to school if they can.”
But the York Cycle Campaign says: “Parents and children need more than just encouragement – we need a network of safe routes.”
And the Safe Streets York interactive map shows hundreds of suggestions to make the city safer for cyclists for all ages.
One suggestion is to create a two-way bike path all the way from the Minster, along Davygate, Parliament Street and possibly along Piccadilly.
Another is to widen the footpaths on Ouse Bridge and make the road for buses and cyclists only.
Mingling with HGVs
Many school journeys are too hazardous for children or families, the campaign says. They asked:
Would you be happy to let your 11 year old cycle along Tang Hall Lane to reach Archbishop Holgate’s School?
Would you be comfortable mingling with HGVs on the Millennium Bridge approach – a key scoot/walk/cycle route to school – with a six year old?
How do you feel about crossing Kent Street to reach Fishergate School with a four year old? Would you encourage your son or daughter to cycle to York College along Tadcaster Road?
Campaign member Nathan Horner said: “My daughter starts school this week and she is desperate to ride her bicycle there.
“In our one mile route to school there are no cycle paths and we have to cross two roundabouts and eight roads before getting to the road on which our school is.
“It’s all well and good to encourage cycling or scooting through messages, but the only way to actually encourage it is with safe and appealing routes to use.”
The York Cycle Campaign would like to see the council follow the Government’s latest guidance and create a coherent network safe walk-cycle-scoot routes that are direct and convenient.
Key council priority
Julian Ridge, the council’s sustainable transport manager, said: “It is vital that as a council we continually listen to residents and understand their experiences, in order to improve our facilities to support people to get around York sustainably.
“The York Cycle Campaign is one of many important voices in our conversations as a sustainable city and we would encourage residents to share their cycling experiences and concerns with us as we work together to improve the city’s cycling offer.
“One of the council’s key priorities is to increase the number of residents traveling by foot, scooter or bicycle – and this includes children getting to school safely.
“We are a city with a high level of walking and cycling and whilst we have worked, and continue to work, to improve both York’s on-road and off-road cycling and walking networks, there is always more to be done.
“Road space is a scarce resource in York, with lots of different groups keen to make use of it. The new government guidelines on route and facility design do present us with a challenge, as many of York’s roads are often narrow, varying in width and meet at junctions which are small.
“The council are working with different groups of road users to gain insight into how our road network can meet the needs of those who use it and meet our policy objective to respond to the climate emergency and support the economic recovery of our city.
“Schemes like the Bootham scheme are being progressed to delivery later this autumn.
“We continue to work with schools to help pupils, where possible, walk, scoot or cycle to school, in-line with government guidance.
“We will be working with key voices, such as the York Cycle Campaign, to refine the schemes being delivered under the Emergency Active Travel Fund and progress the city’s Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan and wider Local Transport Plan.”
Parents and carers can find out more about what is in place to support children to get to school safely in this month’s parents’ newsletter.