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New Cycle Lanes in Sheffield

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Sheffield City Council has introduced cycle lanes on the inner ring road (amongst other places). I am all for encouraging cycling in town centres but this seems to be a pretty stupid thing to do. Inner ring roads are designed to get traffic around town centres to help keep vehicles out and they should flow as freely as possible. The ring road always used to get very busy. I can't imagine what chaos it will result in now it is single-lane in each direction when schools and offices get back to normal. Of course, the actual cycling lane itself is empty most of the time.

Cycle lanes should go into the centre, not around it. They should be dedicated lanes not "reallocated road space" as they call it.

Probably typical of the gesture politics this government indulges in. Apparently the scheme must move quickly. A bid for Emergency Active Travel Funding, worth £2.2m to Sheffield, must be in by early August. It must be spent by the end of March.

So do it quickly, badly and on the cheap without anyone actually thinking about where cycle lanes might be more useful.

Apparently it is experimental and may be scaled back if required. Then we will go back to no cycle lanes or the ridiculous disappearing 100m-long cycle lanes that we used to have.

Alan

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 hang_about 29 Jul 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Making things joined up is the key. If I cycle home from the foundry then I can use cycle lanes to start with but you then get dumped in the middle of traffic.  Once you're past the Uni then the traffic isn't so bad. I just had a look at their maps and there are supposed cycle routes but I wonder how many of the planners have cycled them at night, in the rain, feeling rather knackered.

Personally I find the the need for separate space vital when traffic is moving fast (e.g. inner ring road) but a traditional cycle lane is OK(ish) for more normal roads.

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 Jenny C 29 Jul 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Yes we were discussing last night the viability of my cycling to work. 

Lack of fitness, distance and Sheffields legendary hills are part of the problem. Then add in traffic and its a nonstarter as I have to cross the city centre. 

My Johnson is right that having cycle routes that are segregated from the roads would make me more likely to cycle. But im also a driver and as you say narrowing the major arterial roads on the city is not the way forward. Where pavements are wide enough to accommodate it designated off road cycle lanes should now be the norm, also monitor footpaths and in areas which don't get much footfall allow cyclists to get off the road onto the pavement. 

I am sure many experienced cyclists on here will be offended at the idea that they should ride as a pedestrians and give way to cars at each road junction, but as a newby I am more than happy to do so. Trouble with bikes is most are too slow to safely integrate with motorised transport, but too fast to integrate with pedestrians. If we got more cyclists onto pavements and they became shared spaces, as we find on the monsal trail both parties would learn to use the space together.

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 mondite 29 Jul 2020
In reply to Jenny C:

> I am sure many experienced cyclists on here will be offended at the idea that they should ride as a pedestrians and give way to cars at each road junction, but as a newby I am more than happy to do so.

Which is slow, inefficient and dangerous for cyclists.  I will use some paths of this design when just riding for fun (mostly to get out to the proper trails) but I wouldnt use them if on the road bike for commuting. Its just too inefficent and unpleasant.

> Trouble with bikes is most are too slow to safely integrate with motorised transport, but too fast to integrate with pedestrians.

It depends on the road.  Given the speed of most traffic in town centres in rushhour its more that the cars are too slow and bulky to integrate with cyclists.

> If we got more cyclists onto pavements and they became shared spaces, as we find on the monsal trail both parties would learn to use the space together.

That is a leisure facility though not a commuting path(okay probably a few people do but not many). Having a bunch of people trying to commute to the office isnt the same as people out for a leisurely day out.

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 Jenny C 29 Jul 2020
In reply to mondite:

But this scheme isn't about cycle commuters like yourself, but fatties like me who slowly wobble off at every traffic light and struggle to hit 20mph on the flat, whilst crawling at a walking speed on the incline.  On fast or busy roads I am a danger to myself and other road users. 

Post edited at 11:11
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In reply to Jenny C:

I hate to brake it to you but if you cycle on pavements you are more of a danger to yourself and pedestrians. 

Safe cycling is not about speed, it's about awareness and road positioning. I know it can be daunting but once you know you're local roads and understand where to position yourself so motorists give you plenty of space its alot more mangeable

Ps Im a bumbely commuter not a hard core road cyclist.

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 Eric9Points 29 Jul 2020
In reply to Jenny C:

Quite.

There are some roads and junctions where bikes just shouldn't go. It's too dangerous.

Either they need separate lanes added or if that isn't possible some kind of alternative routing for cyclists.

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In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

For 6-months I cycled around the inner ring road daily on my way to work. There were bits of cycle path on each side, going under, and stopping abruptly. You could avoid a couple of the two lane roundabouts with the paths, but up to and round the university roundabout you are basically forced to ride the ring road. You needed to be a confident cyclist to do it safely. Then you had the fun of the cycle route going along the tram tracks up to Hillsborough! Basically cycling from South Sheffield to North Sheffield just isn't very easy. Not sure what the answer is, but there is definitely a need for something if more people are going to cycle.

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In reply to TobyA:

TBH the hilly nature of Sheffield doesn't really lend itself to bikes anyway - though e-bikes and e-scooters could be a good fit?

I think the only way to do it properly is to look at the Dutch model and design the bikes in first rather than as an afterthought.

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 Jenny C 29 Jul 2020
In reply to TobyA:

From shalesmore up to the football stadium the far (river) side of Penistone Road is a shared cycle/footpath. Not many road junctions on that side (probably less than there are traffic lights on the actual road!) and unless it's a match day very few pedestrians, not the most obvious route to Hillsborough but avoids the dreaded tram tracks.

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In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

All perfectly timed. 

Useage will be studied over the next 6 months I cynically predict then the facility removed just in time for the good weather. 

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 Timmd 29 Jul 2020
In reply to Jenny C:

> Yes we were discussing last night the viability of my cycling to work. 

> Lack of fitness, distance and Sheffields legendary hills are part of the problem. Then add in traffic and its a nonstarter as I have to cross the city centre. 

> My Johnson is right that having cycle routes that are segregated from the roads would make me more likely to cycle. But im also a driver and as you say narrowing the major arterial roads on the city is not the way forward. Where pavements are wide enough to accommodate it designated off road cycle lanes should now be the norm, also monitor footpaths and in areas which don't get much footfall allow cyclists to get off the road onto the pavement. 

> I am sure many experienced cyclists on here will be offended at the idea that they should ride as a pedestrians and give way to cars at each road junction, but as a newby I am more than happy to do so. Trouble with bikes is most are too slow to safely integrate with motorised transport, but too fast to integrate with pedestrians. If we got more cyclists onto pavements and they became shared spaces, as we find on the monsal trail both parties would learn to use the space together.

I've found that so long as one is careful the Sheffield police don't seem to mind people cycling on the pavement, I suppose by 'so long as', I've only ever been careful and they've never stopped me, I'll do things like pausing and leaning on something to let people coming the other way walk past, so they don't feel like they're giving way or feeling like they have to, and it's obviously not practicable on narrower pavements at busier times. When I'm knackered I can tend to tack up the bigger hills by taking a longer route which zigzags, and seek out side roads which are quieter in busier parts. It's trickier in the city center, but mixing up the wider pavements and quieter roads can work. I do ride on pavements less to be fair, but occasionally I still do where they are extra wide and it's busy and i'm tired, which means I'm only wanting to go at pottering pace. I always keep in mind that they could feel intimidated if I go above a pottering along speed.

I don't like being a pedestrian where people cycle quickly past on the pavements...

Edit: It'd possibly only take a couple or a few weeks to get fit for a commute home, it's just the first stage which isn't fun.

Post edited at 15:17
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In reply to TobyA:

> For 6-months I cycled around the inner ring road daily on my way to work. There were bits of cycle path on each side, going under, and stopping abruptly. You could avoid a couple of the two lane roundabouts with the paths, but up to and round the university roundabout you are basically forced to ride the ring road. You needed to be a confident cyclist to do it safely. Then you had the fun of the cycle route going along the tram tracks up to Hillsborough! Basically cycling from South Sheffield to North Sheffield just isn't very easy. Not sure what the answer is, but there is definitely a need for something if more people are going to cycle.

I suspect you used the ring road because cycling through the centre was a pain? That is where the cycle lane should go - right through the middle, then it works for people getting to town as well. That is the standard for most bike-cities in Europe.

The tram tracks are a disaster as well. Precisely the wrong width unlike in Holland where they are much narrower.

Alan

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 ianstevens 29 Jul 2020
In reply to Eric9Points:

> Quite.

> There are some roads and junctions where bikes just shouldn't go. It's too dangerous.

Which is exactly why we need proper cycling infrastructure- so that these junctions aren’t too dangerous to cycle on. Aside form motorways, cyclists have just as much right to be on the road as car users, and junctions should be designed with that in mind.

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 Eric9Points 29 Jul 2020
In reply to ianstevens:

> Which is exactly why we need proper cycling infrastructure- so that these junctions aren’t too dangerous to cycle on. Aside form motorways, cyclists have just as much right to be on the road as car users, and junctions should be designed with that in mind.

I don't know where you get that assertion from but certainly some kind of alternative route should be found to route cyclists away from dangerous areas of road that cannot be made safe.

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In reply to ianstevens:

> Which is exactly why we need proper cycling infrastructure- so that these junctions aren’t too dangerous to cycle on. Aside from motorways, cyclists have just as much right to be on the road as car users, and junctions should be designed with that in mind.

I agree. This is not what is happening in Sheffield though. Here they are just cordoning off sections of road to achieve some quote of cycle lane distance. Attention to detail like creating bike-safe junctions is not happening.

Alan

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In reply to ianstevens:

It's part.of the problem. Mixing  cars and bikes is nuts. Major roads should be car only with dedicated bike only alternatives

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In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I'm not sure why but coming home in the evenings I did normally take a line through the centre past the courts and the ugly co-op building, then on past the bus station and under the roundabout at Decathlon to Bramall Lane. But in the centre it's all buses and taxis pulling out all the time, lots of stops for them, so not really much better than the ring road! I didn't mind doing it for the six months I was training at Bradfield, but I'm sure it would have got old if I had kept doing it for years. I did overtake a bloke once in Hillsborough who was carrying exactly the same model of marmot rucksack that I'd once reviewed for you guys, and as I turned to look at him as I went past, realised that I had just overtaken Steve McClure, Britain's finest sport climber! Along with belaying next to Ben Moon and Andy Cave on my first ever visit to Cheedale, overtaking Strong Steve felt like reaching peak-Sheffield for a newly arrived incomer.

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In reply to Eric9Points:

> I don't know where you get that assertion from but certainly some kind of alternative route should be found to route cyclists away from dangerous areas of road that cannot be made safe.

This is the exact approach that has, over the years, led to crap cycle lanes that end up not getting used, because they are poor quality, take ages to get anywhere and are hard to follow. Maybe we should make those driving motor vehicles take a longer route than is necessary since they are the ones causing the danger? Not sure that would be popular.

*Or* we can adapt the spaces we have to provide infrastructure that accommodates everyone safely. That is what the latest proposals are aiming to do and I find it very positive and encouraging, even if I do have the same reservations as many others about this governments ability (or will) to deliver on such things.

(I don't know about road in question so am not commenting on that one specifically)

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 hang_about 30 Jul 2020
In reply to TobyA:

The route past the uni is better now as you can use the cycle lane past what used to be Jessops. The problem is they made the cycle lane and the footpath the same colour for aesthetic reasons so students just walk out in front of you. Not that there are any students at the moment! You still have to get onto it, but the idea is good. Just not joined up.

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 bone 30 Jul 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I don't get it either. The traffic's likely to be backed up from the Parkway during rush hour because of this decision. Why couldn't a bike lane be routed on the back streets through Neepsend nearer the Don?

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 Jenny C 31 Jul 2020
In reply to bone:

> I don't get it either. The traffic's likely to be backed up from the Parkway during rush hour because of this decision. Why couldn't a bike lane be routed on the back streets through Neepsend nearer the Don?

Or better still sort out the five weirs walk and get the full route reopened to give an off road option from ladies bridge right down to Meadowhall. It's actually a nice ride along the Don, but the sections/bridges closest to town are all blocked off. 

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 Timmd 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Jenny C: There's little which makes sense about Sheffield's cycle lanes, one solution seems to be to have a nose about and to not mind taking longer to get places, from linking up the pleasanter sections, side roads and what have you. 

Post edited at 01:26
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 Timmd 03 Aug 2020
In reply to TobyA: Apparently, the other peak-Sheffield is being fair enough about people doing weird and random things. At a park BBQ, one of the party (a drunk lady in her late 50's or early 60's) was encouraged by somebody else to 'hijack' her friend's mobility scooter and run over the beer can of another party, which had been left as a goal post, it exploded with a satisfying jet upwards as she ran over it. Somebody who'd moved here said thoughtfully 'And this is why I like living in Sheffield', she observed that nobody was going to tell off a grey haired grandma on a mobility scooter. It was a lot of fun.

Post edited at 18:23
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 ianstevens 03 Aug 2020
In reply to MG:

> It's part.of the problem. Mixing  cars and bikes is nuts. Major roads should be car only with dedicated bike only alternatives

Why not the other way round? Bikes are more space efficient, produce substantially less carbon dioxide per journey and are one of the most vulnerable users of the road. We should be designing transport routes in cities for bikes first, and cars second IMO. Agree with the lack of mixing principle, just feel that there is a better approach.

For clarity - I cycle to work (although not at the moment) and own a van which I use for trips out of the city.

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In reply to ianstevens:

The other way round is probably good I a dense city. Turning the M1 into a large cycle lane, not so much.

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 ianstevens 04 Aug 2020
In reply to MG:

Of course - intercity travel is not especially practical on a bicycle, especially if you want people to use them daily. Intercity however... different matter. Would need to accommodate for the “last 5 miles” for motor travel somehow. Not an obvious solution (to me) however. Rather I think that it would be good to readjust the way we think about urban transport, with bikes (and e bikes) taking priority.

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 Irk the Purist 04 Aug 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

We live in a car first paradigm and have done for 70 years. That doesn't make it right, and if you look at the damage we've done to the planet, our health and our communities it is appalling. Once you realise this and start to really, and I mean really, imagine city centres without them it's genuninely exciting.

Liveable spaces where gardens replace endless parked cars, unused 95% of their lives. Communty green spaces where car parks used to be. Healthy air, birds singing, wildlife back. Integrated public transport linked by bike hire schemes, pleasant walking routes and a small number of electric vehicles for freight and those with limited mobility. In fact, in cities like London we have freight being moved around the streets and people crammed in underground tubes. Why?

It isn't by any means necessary to have private cars in a city environment. Once you've redesigned the spaces to be active travel first it becomes easy.

What the government have done is try to invest rapidly in cycle lanes and paths, to take advantage of the covid crisis to try and shake everyone out of their car crazed heads. Everyone knows cars are terrible but noone will vote for anyone that does anything about it. Even modest changes like the one you're talking about get people moaning about taking away car space, like it's some kind right.

Why should cycle lanes just go in and out of cities? Why not around, why not all over?

Shift over cars, your time is done.

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 galpinos 04 Aug 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

This is quite a depressing thread imho and just seems full of the tropes of the transport "debate" in the mainstream media and re-hashing of the same old arguments.

In my opinion we have a scenario where we have two issues:

  1. We need to de-carbonise transport. 
  2. We need to move away from the private car being the first/only choice for all journeys

So, how do we do this:

  1. Invest in active travel - This doesn't just mean cycle lanes. It means decent pavements that are wide enough, sensible walking routes, making walking feel safe, banning pavement parking so wheelchairs and prams don't have to go out in the road, making pedestrian crossings change to the green man quickly when you press the button instead of waiting for an age, it means the green man phase being long enough for the elderly to cross without being rushed/panicking, it means being able to cross diagonally on a cross roads instead of having to wait for two green man phases to get across, it means when you build a new estate, you actually build paths to local amenities so you can walk to them. And....... it means segregated cycle lanes on all urban roads above 20mph*. Cycle lanes shouldn't just be radial from the city centre outwards, they should go everywhere if you want to make them a viable means of transport. Yes, you can build pretty off road leisure routes but fundamentally bikes should be on the road for transport. Please do not mix pedestrians and bikes. Pedestrians get enough of a raw deal at the moment without stealing more of their space. This should be easier in cities than in rural areas, as journeys are often short (in fact, nationally, DofT stats showed 70% or journeys under 2 miles were in a car) so active travel is an obvious solution, we just need a mindset change. Having spent the last week camping where the occupants of the tent next to us drove to the amenities block all of 400 yards away, it's a big change to make......
  2. Invest in public transport - Take the London charging model, Oyster, (and levels of funding) and roll than out across all cities. All urban areas should have an integrated public transport and active travel network. In urban areas, public transport should be electric, affordable and regular. It should have circular as well as radial routes and it should have dedicated lanes to make it a viable option.

I could go on and on but the solution is not just changing the 1.5 tonne steel box that is moving 80kg of human from a fossil fuel drivetrain to an electric one. It involves getting rid of the steel box and putting all the space and resource we dedicate to these steel boxes to better use.

*All residential roads should be 20mph in my probably unpopular opinion.......

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