A616 Woodhead Pass: Walkers, cyclists and horse riders using Sheffield-Manchester route voice safety fears

Cyclists, pedestrians, and horse riders travelling on the A616 between Manchester and Sheffield claim they are being let down by transport planners putting cars first.

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 8:40 am

The independent watchdog Transport Focus spoke to people in locations across Yorkshire and the North East to get their views, including those whose journeys involve the A616 Woodhead Pass near Langsett.

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Participants said they understood that cars, lorries, and motorbikes are the main users of National Highways’ roads. But the absence of paths for those cycling, walking and on horseback make their own journeys difficult. The paths that do exist for them are felt to be poorly lit and badly maintained.

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Walkers, cyclists and horse riders have revealed safety concerns over the Woodhead Pass between Sheffield and Manchester

In terms of their physical safety, they expressed fear around fast-moving traffic. In addition, they found their personal security threatened when using dark, isolated routes.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said: “It is concerning that cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians in Yorkshire and North East not only feel less considered on the roads but unsafe too.

“This research will be crucial in helping National Highways focus its efforts and investment on improving the experience of this particular group of road users.”

Participants were invited to discuss possible solutions with National Highways. Suggestions included raising awareness of their presence to other road users with more signs; improving the maintenance of paths and foliage; and more accessible points to cross busy roads.

This latest research follows similar insight into the experiences of cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians in the West Midlands, Berkshire, and Hampshire. Transport Focus has plans to look at other areas of England while continuing to work for improvement with National Highways.

One horse rider recently told of her safety fears elsewhere in the city, revealing she thought she was going to die when a stolen car sped towards her on a county lane in the city, Kirk Edge Road.

Meanwhile, around 20 road safety schemes could go ahead in Sheffield this year, according to the city council, which is currently also looking at plans for major cycle and pedestrian routes.