How Kirkstall Road ‘orca wands’ scheme follows in footsteps of New York and Barcelona

A65 Kirkstall Road. Photo: Google

The introduction of ‘orca wands’ to create a temporary pilot cycle lane down part of Kirkstall Road will help reduce the number of accidents involving cyclists, a council report has said.

Council officers say the scheme is inspired by similar measures in Barcelona, London and New York, which saw authorities trialling cycling improvement projects before a more substantial scheme is delivered.

In a report authorising £65,000 to be spent on the scheme, officers said a short section of segregated cycle lane on the inbound side of Kirkstall Road, between Woodside View and Weaver Street, has had 87 recorded injury collisions involving pedal cyclists over the past five years.

There were also 22 recorded injuries to pedestrians. Three of the accidents resulted in fatalities and 13 in serious injury.

The first section of temporary cycle lanes will run from Vesper Walk to the city centre and will see “wand orcas” (semi-permanent bollards that are bolted to the road) installed to physically separate the space for cyclists and traffic.

This scheme has been fast-tracked and will be the first of the arterial routes into the city where such measures will be installed.

The council report concludes:

“The current design proposes that light segregation will be introduced where
unsegregated cycle lane is present. The cycle lane will be reviewed and converted
from an advisory lane to a mandatory lane.

“This proposal will provide a safe environment that will encourage everyday cycling
and allow Leeds City Council, where appropriate, to rapidly expand the cycle
network, ensure the viability of more permanent schemes and identify potential
issues before committing resources to extensive capital schemes.”


  1. If Leeds are so cash strapped, Why do we need this? At work I keep being told that savings are needed (I work for Leeds Passenger transport where the pressure is on to transport more and more students with learning difficulties from one end of the city to the other on busses with one driver and two Passenger Assistants while letters and junk from Leeds City Council drop through our letter box explaining that Leeds is broke and we need to eat well and brush our teeth). If we’re so broke where has this £65000 come from. Why are people working in fear of job losses and voluntary redundancy.


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