A BRADFORD Councillor has spoken of how the attitude of the city’s drivers made her feel “terrified” when attempting to cycle into the city centre.

Councillor Sinead Engel was speaking of her experience of cycling in Bradford during a meeting about public transport and active travel measures in the District.

She was so fearful of driving on the city’s main roads she instead walked her bike into the city on the pavement.

The meeting of Councillors, transport bosses and bus and rail users heard about a number of measures brought in to improve “active travel” in Bradford as lockdown has gradually been lifted. These have included the creation of new cycle and walking lanes on main roads such as Wakefield Road, Hall Ings and Manchester Road.

Earlier this Summer the Government ordered local authorities to draw up plans to make it easier for people to social distance while walking and cycling. Certain schemes were given funding on the condition they were introduced by the end of October.

One aim was to reduce pressure on public transport.

At the meeting of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Bradford District Consultation Sub Committee, held online, Chair Councillor Taj Salam (Lab, Little Horton) spoke of the active travel schemes that have been introduced in Bradford.

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He said: “We’ve had some criticism from some quarters that we’re taking up a large amount of busy corridors and some full lanes. However, the defence is we have to make areas safe for people to cycle and walk in.”

James Craig of Bradford Cycling Campaign said the group had recently gone on a ride around of the new active travel measures. He said: “On the whole we were very impressed. We were pleased that a whole lane on Wakefield Road has been set aside. There are some issues on Manchester Road, and Rooley Lane is a bit bitty, but overall we welcome it.”

However, Councillor Engel (Lab, Clayton and Fairweather Green) said there was still a long way to go before Bradford became cycle friendly.

She told members she had lived in Cambridge for 12 years, and regularly cycled there. Acknowledging that the city was much flatter than Bradford, she said another issue was the attitude of Bradford drivers.

Members were told of a recent trip she planned from her home in Allerton to Bradford Interchange to transport her daughter’s bike to her university.

She said: “I cycled around Allerton, but when I got to the stretch of Allerton to Thornton Road I was to scared to continue riding the bike on the road because of the behaviour of drivers.

“I ended up walking the bike on the pavement from Lower Grange to the Interchange.

“I think cycling in Bradford needs a bigger community effort. Cambridge drivers expect cyclists. Despite my 12 years cycling in Cambridge, I was terrified on the road in Bradford - too scared to stay on the road. I don’t think that is entirely about me. It is about me being cautious in response to my environment.”

Apart from the active travel measures introduced, there are plans for a number of new cycle routes in the coming years.

The Bradford to Shipley route improvement scheme includes plans to make Manningham Lane a more sustainable route, with a new segregated cycle route.

A proposed Bradford park and ride will link the M606 to the city centre with new bus lanes, as well as cycle lanes on Manchester Road.

And the CityConnect project - a series of segregated cycle routes, will be expanded with a new cycle link from the city centre to the west of the District, down Thornton Road.

Bradford Cycling Campaign recently published their review of the new active travel measures mentioned in the meeting. It says: “The Council has had to act quickly to implement these schemes and not through the usual glacial processes. Manchester Road seems tokenistic and as stated, it doesn’t make much material difference to cyclists. Wakefield Road on the other hand is fab – a couple of extra features could be added to make it brilliant.

“City-Centre – some welcome additions on Hall Ings but of mixed quality and a bigger city-centre re-think is in the pipe-line.

“Will these schemes enable more cyclists and pedestrians? Well I really hope Wakefield Road gets well used.”