Levenshulme cyclists take to street to protest against council's refusal to install pop-up cycling lanes
- Residents in Levenshulme line A6 to protest for safe cycling lanes
- Manchester city council has blocked plans to provide pop-up cycle lanes in the area
- Levenshulme Clean Air member Greg Sammons describes plans as 'ridiculous'
A human chain of cyclists formed in Levenshulme to criticise Manchester City Council’s "disappointing" response to a bid for government funding for pop-up cycle lanes across the region.
They took up position on either side of the A6, which is said to be one of the most congested stretches of road in the country.
The protest was organised to highlight the need for pop-up lanes outside of central Manchester, with original plans focussing primarily on lanes in and around the city centre.
Levenshulme resident Sam Case, 37, said the council’s response would be to the detriment of workers returning to work during the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: "A lot of people who are in lower-wage jobs are the ones who are physically having to go back out and work – they are probably the people who can’t afford cars.
"They are also the people who are most likely to be putting themselves at risk at work, but also the additional risk that they face on public transport now.
"It’s just another one of those levels of disadvantage that’s been revealed to us through the pandemic."
Supporters of the event cited a number of other reasons to support pop-up bike lines, such as issues around climate change and air pollution.
Locals also pointed out that the council’s refusal to provide such services is contradictory to its clean air initiative.
NQ spoke to Greg Sammons, 36, a member of Clean Air Levenshulme, about Manchester City Council’s lack of concern for areas outside of the city centre.
“We had this opportunity coming out of lockdown to change our behaviour, to change the way that we travel to and from work, to travel around the city more broadly," he said.
"Yes it means there’s one less lane of traffic in some places, but why not instead of jumping in the car, jump on your bike instead?,"
“It’s an opportunity for people to think differently in this weird time that we’re in, as we come out of the coronavirus lockdown. It was just to encourage Manchester to do the same – that other local authorities have done.”
The Facebook event encouraged locals to attend to form a ‘safe, socially distanced’ chain of people and bikes along the A6 to demand a safer route through the neighbourhood.
Cyclists could be heard ringing their bike bells and clapping as motorists drove by and honked their horns in support of the event.
You can find out more about Manchester City Council’s commitment to clean air here.
Outlining its position in a tweet, the city council said: "Temporary pop-up cycling infrastructure may seem like a good short-term solution. However, we believe long-term, sustainable modal shift to bikes is best supported through investment in creating safe, durable cycling infrastructure.
"The first two major schemes in our £79m pipeline, supported by the Greater Manchester Mayor's Challenge Fund, are currently being constructed, as part of our long-term commitment to supporting our residents to make the shift to cycling and walking.”