Cyclists claim they are not welcome in Wakefield

John Matthews and Geof Westmorland wanting to illustrate the problems cyclists have in Wakefield

John Matthews and Geof Westmorland wanting to illustrate the problems cyclists have in Wakefield

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A CAMPAIGN group has claimed cyclists are “not welcome in Wakefield” after saying they are repeatedly ignored by council and retail chiefs.

A spokesman for Wakefield District Cycle Forum has cited the lack of secure facilities for costly bikes and narrow or non-existent cycle lanes as evidence of the two-wheelers’ forgotten status.

John Matthews, a committee member on the 350 people-strong group, said he’d been told full cycling lockers wouldn’t be provided at The Ridings and new city baths on Sun Lane amid fears terrorists bombers and the homeless might use them.

The retired civil servant said: “Cyclists are tolerated, not welcome in Wakefield, there is for example no provision for secure cycle parking for someone who wishes to cycle into Wakefield to shop or work.

“The Ridings, which has been open from the early 1980s, has no significant parking and have refused to install cycle lockers because they fear bombers might use the lockers – as if a car boot is not large enough to carry a bomb.”

Mr Matthews, 66, from Springhill Drive, Crofton, dismissed the explanations as “ludicrous” and pointed to bike-friendly facilities in Leeds and Huddersfield.

He said The Ridings does have some cycle racks but says some shoppers dump their empty trolleys in them.

The grandad-of-one said: “The Ridings has failed to recognise or encourage shoppers who would choose to arrive by bike if there was adequate parking for them. All this at a time when we are being told to abandon the car and get more exercise.”

But Ridings centre manager Barbara Winston said: “It’s a security issue, It’s not that we won’t co-operate with the cyclists. We have no control about what’s in the lockers.”

Ms Winston said the cyclists had been offered alternative parking off George Street but they had declined it because it wasn’t undercover.

A council spokeswoman said itwanted to encourage cycling in the district and had recently appointed an officer to promote all sustainable forms of transport, including cycling.