Campaigners sent a clear message to Sheffield Council this weekend: ‘We’re scared to cycle in our city’.
Hundreds of people of all ages joined the CycleSheffield demonstration on Saturday, calling for better and safer spaces for cyclists.
As they rode around the city centre they appealed directly to the council to invest in cycle lanes and better road surfaces in order to get more people on their bikes.
Ian Carey, leading the Space for Cycling campaign, said accident numbers in Sheffield were relatively low, but it was the perception of a lack of safety that frightened people.
“People feel intimidated cycling on busy roads,” he said. “They don’t feel safe even though it is safe.”
Space for Cycling campaign asks for protected space on main roads, removing through motor traffic in residential areas, lower speed limits, cycle-friendly town centres, safe routes to schools, and routes through green spaces.
“We’ve got rubbish infrastructure. It doesn’t go anywhere and the signage is poor,” said Ian.
“The council will listen, they just won’t take any action. They need to show ambition and better leadership.”
Among those on the demonstration was Dave Dickinson, 31, who runs the Sheffield Environmental campaign.
“I cycle for fitness,” he said. “But at home in Chapeltown it does have poor road safety. I’ve got to go into the woods to get a decent route into the city.
“If I had a job where I could cycle to work, I just wouldn’t feel safe doing it.
“Safe cycling isn’t just in cyclists’ interests - it’s in the interests of people who don’t like cyclists, because it keeps them off the road.”
Chris Hall, 45, from Parson Cross, said improving cycling infrastructure was key.
“It’s getting better, and more cyclists have come since the Tour De France, but it could still be improved.”
Ken Webb, 45, from Longley, added: “The worst thing is the roads which are full of potholes. I don’t personally feel safe. I’ve got a road bike but I go out on a mountain bike because of the roads.”
And Sally Merrett, 34, from Walkley, there with her husband Dexter, said: “I would cycle but I find it quite daunting on the roads.”