Cycling champion Sid Barras backs speed cuts campaign in Utley

Keighley News: John Fearnley, who is pressing for speed limit cuts in Skipton Road, Keighley John Fearnley, who is pressing for speed limit cuts in Skipton Road, Keighley

Demands for action to curb speeds on a Keighley road have won backing from a four-times British cycling champion.

Businessman and keen cyclist John Fearnley is seeking a cut in the speed limit, plus traffic calming measures, on a stretch of Skipton Road in Utley.

He said people took their lives in their hands every time they rode along the section between Utley and Steeton, which has a 60mph speed limit and no cycle lane.

“I’ve seen families cycling along the pavement because of the traffic speeds – the road is just not safe,” said Mr Fearnley, who lives in Skipton Road.

His call for action is supported by Sid Barras, of nearby Whitley Head, who spent three years as an international amateur rider before cycling professionally for 18 years and picking up several top titles.

Mr Barras, 64, who still cycles about 120 miles a week, said: “It is dire along that road.

“Most people are good drivers but there’s a percentage that don’t give a damn, and cyclists have to ride defensively. There are places where you are forced to take to the pavements for your own safety.”

He added: “Some motorists come out of side roads without looking and others will come alongside and then turn left across you. You have to be aware all the time.”

Bradford Council said proposals to reduce the speed limit from 60mph to 40mph in Skipton Road had been investigated some time ago, but following initial consultations, there were conflicting comments.

Principal highways engineer, Keith Escritt, added: “Speed surveys undertaken at that time, at various locations in Skipton Road, revealed the average speed of vehicles was about 40mph.

“There had also been relatively few collisions, with three incidents involving slight injury in the previous five-year period, and as such there was no compelling reason to go ahead with changing the speed limit.

“However, we are always willing to listen to people’s concerns. We work closely with the cycling community and have invited Mr Fearnley to the next meeting of B-Spoke and the Bradford District Cycle Forum so he can share his views with other cyclists.

“Improving safety for cyclists is a key action for Bradford Council and the Bradford Cycle Strategy.”

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