Action is set to be taken to make Sheffield’s roads safer for cyclists.
Measures have been proposed by the council to cut the number of accidents and injuries suffered by riders while crossing the city’s tram tracks.
The scheme was drawn up following calls from groups including Cycle Sheffield, which ran a study that found around 300 cyclists had crashed on tram lines in the last two years – equivalent to more than 12 accidents every month.
Problems occur when cyclists’ wheels get stuck in the rails, in many cases throwing riders off their bikes.
Advance warning signs are planned on the approach to tram stops, along with changes to road surfacing and signs showing alternative routes.
The plans coincide with the third annual Space for Cycling mass ride, happening in Sheffield city centre this Saturday. The ride, which flags up the need to improve cycling infrastructure, attracted more than 450 people last year, and an even bigger turnout is anticipated this weekend.
A council report said highways contractor Amey had been commissioned for a study into trams and cycling.
“There has been increasing awareness that many more cycle injury accidents were occurring than shown in official records,” said the report.
A ‘particular issue’ was the use of red road surfacing to guide vehicles away from the tram tracks.
“When used at the kerbside this can be confusing for cyclists, as the red surfacing and associated white line can be misinterpreted as a cycle lane. This is an issue for new cyclists and those new to Sheffield - e.g. many university students each year.”
It is proposed that, as part of Amey’s Streets Ahead highways project, ‘significant areas’ of red road surfacing should be replaced with hatched white lines.
The council has also set up an online form to collect information on cycle crashes, to highlight the extent of the problem and demonstrate that bike accidents are under-represented in official figures.
It is hoped that more accurate information could lead to more Government funding for safety projects.
The study suggested that cyclists should be given better guidance on how to cross the tracks. Sheffield University is also helping with the testing of some special coating materials which could improve the skid resistance of tram rails.
But the report adds: “In some locations there will be little that can be done to improve the situation.”
Examples given include Hillsborough Corner, and the junction of Glossop Road and Upper Hanover Street, where the width of the footpath and the number of pedestrians ‘precludes almost any physical changes to the road and footway layouts’.
The proposals are expected to be given the go-ahead by Coun Mazher Iqbal, the council’s cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, at a meeting today, Thursday.
Saturday’s one-hour, 2.5km ride starts and finishes at Devonshire Green. Cyclists should gather from 10.30am for an 11am start. Riders are asked to wear red and bring a bell, whistle or horn.