Sheffield doctor's life-threatening crash sparks petition for safer cycle routes

A Sheffield doctor’s life-threatening crash on his commute from the Northern General Hospital has led to a petition for a new cycle lane.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 8:28 am

Dr James Meiring was cycling to his home just off Ecclesall Road, near Bents Green, when his bike was involved in a collision with a delivery truck on Burngreave Road.

The father-of-three, who is a specialist in infections and has been caring for Covid patients since the pandemic began, fractured six ribs and a finger in the crash on April 6 and also sustained a collapsed lung, which can prove fatal.

Thankfully he is recovering well following the crash, having spent three days in hospital and been signed off work for four weeks, and does not expect to suffer any lasting injuries.

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Dr James Meiring

But the terrifying episode has highlighted the need for better cycling facilities and prompted a petition for a safe, continuous cycle lane between the Northern General Hospital and Sheffield city centre, via Pitsmoor Road or Burngreave Road.

"It was a serious crash but it could easily have been a lot worse if I’d hit my head or my spine,” said Dr Meiring, who praised the ‘absolutely exceptional’ care he had received from staff at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

"If you ask any cyclist who commutes to work each day, they could probably tell you of at least one incident in the last month where they’ve had to brake or take evasive action to avoid being hit, and you’re constantly aware that what you’re doing isn’t as safe as it should be.

Dr James Meiring was cycling home from a shift at Sheffield's Northern General Hospital when the crash happened.

"The cycling infrastructure in and around Sheffield is quite frankly rubbish, especially considering it’s promoted as being the Outdoor City with the Peak District on our doorstep.”

Dr Meiring says there are many routes which could do with better cycling provision, and not just painted red lanes which are frequently ignored by drivers and often end abruptly.

But he believes the one between the city centre and the Northern General Hospital deserves special consideration due to the more than 6,000 staff employed there and the many visitors who would benefit.

Luke Hunt, who started the petition, said Dr Meiring’s crash was the latest in a long list of collisions between motor vehicles and bicycles on that route – many of which he believes could have been prevented with the addition of a safe cycle lane.

He also claimed that improving cycling facilities would give more people who are currently put off by dangerous roads the confidence to get on their bikes, helping reduce congestion and air pollution.

"The council is currently investing in cycle infrastructure in the city, but improvements in cycle provision to the Northern General Hospital are not in the plans. This is a major omission given that approximately 7,000 individuals work at the Northern site,” the petition states.

“We urge the council to invest in a safe, continuous and direct cycle lane between the Northern General Hospital and Sheffield city centre, up Pitsmoor or Burngreave road.”