Safety concerns and lack of bike lanes putting off Sheffield’s cyclists

Poor infrastructure and problems with drivers could be putting off cyclists in Sheffield, according to a leading cycling organisation. 

In February, TV presenter Dan Walker was knocked off his bike on the roundabout at the junction of Moore Street and St Mary’s Gate. He said he was unable to use the cycle lane because of broken glass and a lack of space to share with pedestrians.

Writing for the Sunday Times, Walker, 45, called for better cycling infrastructure in the city.

Dexter Johnstone, chair of Cycle Sheffield, said: “Infrastructure is the key thing. We know that most people won’t cycle on the roads if they don’t feel safe, so you need decent provision to enable them to do so.“

Mr Johnstone said that some infrastructure in the city centre was old and had problems such as narrow spaces to be shared by pedestrians and cyclists, and criticised a lack of provision outside the city centre.

“If you think about some of the main roads that lead in from residential areas into the city centre such as Ecclesall Road, Abbeydale Road, London Road, Attercliffe Road – there’s no infrastructure at all for people cycling.

“There’s quite a low percentage of journeys made by bike because a lot of people aren’t willing to cycle on those kind of roads.”

Mr Johnstone praised some schemes planned by the council to improve infrastructure, but criticised the delays in introducing them.

Henry Nottage, Green Party councillor for Hillsborough, also called on the council to prioritise “joining up the dots” of cycling infrastructure and acting with more urgency to make improvements.

“We need to be really on it with getting our hands on pots of funding, hit the ground running with funding, and get things deployed as fast as we can.”

Many cyclists have also shared concerns about dangerous driving. Mr Johnstone encouraged drivers to support improvements to cycling provisions. 

“It’s not the cyclists versus the car drivers. It’s people who use different forms of transport to get around and shouldn’t be stigmatised or threatened because of those choices.”

“Obviously driver behaviour is a big issue for people currently but in the end you’re going to resolve that by as much as possible separating out modes of transport so you reduce those conflicts to a minimum.”

Written by Cerys Jones

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