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Sheffield cycling inquiry report

14th April 2014

Sheffield City Hall

Sheffield Council's Economic and Environmental Wellbeing Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee has reported following its Cycling Inquiry hearings. Its report will be presented to the council's Cabinet on 16th April 2014. 

The Committee was inspired to hold the inquiry by the national Parliamentary Get Britain Cycling report. Its key task was to propose an updated vision and strategic approach to cycling in Sheffield.

The Sheffield Cycling Inquiry report says that Sheffield already compares reasonably well with other cities, although their graph shows a performance which is far from scintillating, and less than 2% of trips in the city are by bike.

Sheffield cycling comparison graph

The Committee's vision is to get the whole of Sheffield cycling, not just sporty young males. The want to change the culture of how Sheffield's roads are used, so that people are no longer afraid to cycle or allow their children to do so.

In their Call for Evidence, the Committee asked four questions. They wanted to know what had helped the doubling of cycling in Sheffield between 2000 and 2011; what barriers prevent people from cycling; what evidence there is from other large cities and towns on increasing participation in cycling; and what are the top 3 actions which would increase cycling in Sheffield. 

People who gave evidence said that cycling saves time and money, but they had safety concerns, due to a combination of poor road design, and lack of consideration of cyclists by other road users. There was also a lack of coherent cycling infrastructure, and a lack of secure storage for bikes and facilities at work for changing. Sheffield's weather and hills were mentioned, too, but surely even a Committee with such a surprisingly long name is unable to correct these problems.

Infrastructure is the key to improving conditions. Evidence from other countries suggests 'extensive coherent infrastructures that separate cyclists where necessary and integrate cyclists where appropriate' is effective in increasing cycling rates. That would be the key action in Sheffield, together with ensuring that cycling and walking are at the heart of all planning and development, and promoting the wider benefits of cycling. 

The report makes nineteen recommendations, under the headings 'leadership', 'infrastructure', and 'getting people cycling'. These are the recommendations:


1) A councillor who will be Cycling Champion for Sheffield (appointed by June 2014)

2) Coherent plans to develop and support cycling by June 2015

3) Align funding streams with the NHS to maximise the health benefits of cycling

4) Work with voluntary sector cycling groups

5) Work with local MPs to lobby for changes such as allowing separate traffic lights for cyclists

6) A joined up and systematic Cycling Plan


7) A long-term strategic plan for a coherent and comprehensive cycling network by June 2015

8) Promote and advertise the cycle network by June 2015

9) Integrate cycling with public transport

10) Look at trials allowing bikes on the Supertrams outside rush hour

Sheffield Super Tram

11) Cycling and walking audits for all developments and changes to highways and public spaces

Getting people cycling

12) Maintain and then increase cycle training programmes

13) Improved communication leading to broader participation in training programmes

14) Revenue funding needs to be a part of any funding bids

15) The Council's contractors should provide cycle awareness training for their drivers, starting with HGV drivers

16) Cycle awareness training for bus drivers

17) Lobby government to ensure S Yorks police have the powers and resources to improve road safety

18) Make full use of the opportunities from the Tour de France 

19) Promote cycle tourism in and around Sheffield


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