Extra pedal-power for cycling campaigners as council shows support

Sheffield Council has promised to work with campaigners to make the city a safer place to cycle.

Friday, 17th June 2016, 4:13 pm
Updated Friday, 17th June 2016, 4:18 pm
Hundreds of people got on their bikes and took to the streets to call for more Space for Cycling in Sheffield. The ride was organised by CycleSheffield, the local campaigning group for cycle transport. The event was a public demonstration to Sheffield City Council of the need to improve cycling infrastructure and support the Space for Cycling campaign. Photo: Chris Etchells

The pledge follows the Space for Cycling demonstration by CycleSheffield last weekend, when hundreds of cyclists gathered send the message that they were scared to go out on Sheffield’s streets.

Cabinet member for infrastructure and transport Mazher Iqbal said: “The council is committed to working with CycleSheffield and other user groups to develop the city’s cycle provision and those groups are fully in support of this collaborative approach.

“We want to work together to address incidents on tramlines as part of our overall approach to improving conditions for cycling in Sheffield and to develop a plan that supports our ambition to significantly increase the number of people that choose to cycle as a safe, healthy and attractive everyday choice.

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“We will now develop a new report together and believe this is the best way of developing a cycle network we can all be proud of.”

At the demonstration, which began at Devonshire Green, campaigner Ian Carey 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.

Ian added today: “CycleSheffield welcomes to commitment of the Council to significantly increase the number of people cycling in Sheffield and address the issue of too many cycling accidents on the tram tracks.

“However, CycleSheffield feels that the Council needs to deliver some real action to develop a worthwhile cycle network.

“Recent works on Penistone Road and the ‘Grey to Green’ development on West Bar show that the Council is not willing to build good cycling infrastructure when upgrading the road network. The Ikea development will be a test of how serious the Council is to build appropriate infrastructure for cycling.

“By working with CycleSheffield they have the opportunity to turn political ambition into action and make space for cycling.”