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Sheffield 'lagging behind' when it comes to cycling

Ben Walker with (front to back) Carly Perzl, aged 10; Sisi Perzl, aged 12; Hetty Andrew, aged 12; and Phoebe Andrew, aged 14
Ben Walker with (front to back) Carly Perzl, aged 10; Sisi Perzl, aged 12; Hetty Andrew, aged 12; and Phoebe Andrew, aged 14
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Sheffield is 'lagging behind' other UK cities when it comes to cycling infrastructure.

That was the message as cyclists of all ages hit the city's streets for the Space for Cycling big ride today.

Luke Symonds and his son Ethan, aged 22 months, with Simon Bryan

Luke Symonds and his son Ethan, aged 22 months, with Simon Bryan

Scores of riders gathered at Devonshire Green this morning, before setting off on a marshalled 4.5km route, as part of a campaign to get more people to saddle up by making it easier to get around by bike.

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Dexter Johnstone, of the Cycle Sheffield group which organised the annual event, said: "We're here to demonstrate support for better cycling infrastructure in Sheffield.

"We need more protected space for cyclists on main roads, more 20mph limits on residential roads and safe cycle and walking routes to schools.

"Cities like Manchester and Leicester have started to make progress on these things, and Sheffield is lagging behind a bit. Cycling in Sheffield makes up a smaller share of all journeys than in any other major city.

Cyclists prepare to set off on the Space for Cycling big ride around Sheffield

Cyclists prepare to set off on the Space for Cycling big ride around Sheffield

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"We need better infrastructure for existing cyclists, but most importantly we need it to encourage people who don't yet cycle to get on their bikes."

Retired lecturer Eamonn Cronnolly and his Finnish wife Susanna, from Nether Green, were among the participants.

Mr Cronnolly said cycling was a 'win, win' as it was good for the environment and people's health, and he claimed the UK had a long way to go to catch up with Scandinavia when it comes to facilities.

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Tony Canning, a retired builder from Southey Green, said cycling had helped him get back to health after a stroke five years ago.

Tony Canning

Tony Canning

"I can't praise the council enough for what it's done for cycling in this city, though obviously there's more to do," added the 65-year-old.

Ben Walker, a 45-year-old lecturer from Nether Edge, was there with his partner's daughters and their friends.

"I cycle to Sheffield station three times a week and I'm always ranting about the lack of cycle lanes and it not being safe enough for cyclists," he said.

"I also drive and I think it's a two-way thing when it comes to respect. There can be too much aggro on both sides, but our streets definitely need to be better set up for cycling."

Eamonn Cronnolly and his wife Susanna

Eamonn Cronnolly and his wife Susanna

Luke Symonds, a 30-year-old physiotherapist from Wadsley, was taking part with his 22-month-old son Ethan and his friend Simon Bryan, a software engineer from Kelham Island, aged 31.

Mr Symonds said: "The cycling infrastructure in Sheffield is still pretty poor, though it has improved notably in recent years. One thing I would like to see is people being allowed on trams with their bikes."

Mr Bryan added: "There seem to be a lot of shared cyclist and pedestrian paths being created, which annoys people on both sides really and is creating conflict where there needn't be any."