cycling Tonbridge

How often do people cycle in Tonbridge?

In this post I’m going to look at levels of cycling in Tonbridge.

I grew up in Tonbridge, moved to Sheffield when I was younger, and now I’m back in Tonbridge. Things in a small town of 40k people work a little differently to things in a city of half a million!

Getting to work (census 2011)

Of the approximately 17k people who travel to work each day (it’s that low, of the approx 40k people, 27k people are aged 16-74 and of those only about 20k are ‘economically active’).

Driving = 56% (9850 people), Car Passenger = 5%, Train = 20%, Walk = 14%, Bus = 2%,  Cycling = 2% (365 people).

Some of the people who get the train to work will cycle to the train station and that isn’t included above, likewise for people driving to the train station.

Across Tonbridge there isn’t much variation. There are no high pockets of people cycling to work.

Breaking it down by distance

For the 5,300 people (31%) who work within Tonbridge itself, the distribution of travel to work mode is:

Driving = 46% (2467 people), Car Passenger = 6%, Train = 1%, Walk = 36%, Bus = 3%,  Cycling = 5% (260 people).

And in Tonbridge, 1897 people work very close to where they live (the same MSOA), the distribution of travel to work mode is:

Driving = 31% (590 people), Car Passenger = 3%, Train = 2%, Walk = 59%, Bus = 1%,  Cycling = 4% (68 people).

To put this into perspective, Tonbridge is divided into 5 MSOA areas, most intra MSOA journeys will be less than 1km, but 31% of them are still driven and only 4% are cycled.

Modal Share All Journeys Journeys within Tonbridge Journeys in same MSOA
Driving 56% 46% 31%
Car Passenger 5% 6% 3%
Train 20% 1% 2%
Walk 14% 36% 59%
Bus 2% 3% 1%
Cycling 2% 5% 4%

Traffic Counts

There are 5 Department for Transport traffic count points on key routes around Tonbridge.

The Estimated Annual average daily flows data shows just 451 bikes counted in 2015.

3 have a modal share of about 0.5%, 1 at 1.2% and 1 at 0.09%.

Tonbridge DfT Traffic Count Data for 2015

How often do people cycle?

The Active People Survey has data on cycling participation for Tonbridge and Malling Borough (which is significantly bigger than just Tonbridge).

It shows that in Tonbridge and Malling, only 2.9% of people cycle at least once per week for utility journeys, rising to 4.8% at least once per month.

Utility Cycling Tonbridge and Malling Kent South East
At least once per month 2014/15 4.8% 3.8% 7.5%
At least once per week 2014/15 2.9% 2.4% 5.2%
At least three times per week 2014/15 2.1% 1.2% 2.8%
At least five times per week 2014/15 0.6% 0.6% 1.6%
All Cycling Tonbridge and Malling Kent South East
At least once per month 2014/15 15.1% 13.5% 16.8%
At least once per week 2014/15 8.3% 7.9% 10.6%
At least three times per week 2014/15 3.8% 3.0% 4.9%
At least five times per week 2014/15 2.6% 1.8% 2.8%

Travel to School

Kent’s 2016 bid for the ‘Access Fund for Sustainable Travel’ included journey to school modal share. The data is from surveys that school fill in. It shows a 3.1% cycling modal share, which has been fairly constant from 2013 to 2016, about 40% by car, and just under 50% by foot.

mode 2013 2014 2015 2016
82 surveys 173 surveys 160 surveys 99 surveys
other 1.3% 1.1% 1.5% 0.3%
car share 3.7% 4.4% 4.0% 3.5%
car (alone) 42.6% 41.9% 40.9% 35.1%
rail 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.2%
public bus 1.2%
school bus 0.7%
bus (all types) 1.4% 2.4% 1.5%
cycle 3.2% 3.2% 3.3% 3.1%
scoot/skate 4.2%
park & walk 11.8%
walk 47.7% 46.9% 48.7% 39.9%

(source, page 4)


In the next blog post, I’m going to take a look at the streets of Tonbridge and see how cycle friendly they are. With these cycling rates, the results probably won’t be surprising.


Sheffield’s Annual Traffic Count – A look at the data

Each year Sheffield does a traffic count in September and October. It includes both a cordon count and an occupancy survey for some roads and also some off road cycle routes. A map of the count locations is here and here). This document describes how it works. The data collected is aggregated into 15 minute chunks. The data has been collected since 2001, I do not know what was collected before then.

Summaries of the data can be obtained from Sheffield Council by writing to them (I think it should be published on their website, but until that happens I’ll publish what I have here).

Looking at the count locations. They have very good coverage of people traveling into and out of the city centre, there’s much less information about areas further out.

Modal split for 2014 looks like this, for both vehicles and people (taking into account occupancy data).

2014 Total Person Trips / Mode Proportion Person Trips / Mode Vehicles / Mode Proportion Vehicle Trips / Mode
Car / Taxi 521,782 56.02% 414,878 71.00%
Bus / Coach 159,507 17.12% 14,948 2.56%
Walk 69,049 7.41% 69,049 11.82%
Light Goods Vehicle 65,077 6.99% 55,056 9.42%
Tram 49,889 5.36% 1,283 0.22%
Rail 37,094 3.98% 180 0.03%
Medium Goods Vehicle 10,898 1.17% 10,898 1.86%
Heavy Goods Vehicle 7,258 0.78% 7,258 1.24%
Pedal Cycle 7,160 0.77% 7,160 1.23%
Motor Cycle 3,774 0.41% 3,658 0.63%
931,488 100.0% 584,368 100.0%

Of course, cars dominate, with 56% of all journeys being made by car. Public transport is next at 26% (bus=17%, tram=5% and train=4%). Walking has 7.4% of journeys, and cycling at 0.77% of journeys.

Because the data above have both occupancy data and vehicle count data, it’s interesting to look at how hugely efficient public transport is. Buses make up just 2.6% of the traffic, but carry 17.1% of journeys, trams make up just 0.2% of the traffic, but carry 5.36% of journeys, and trains, just 0.03% of vehicles (180 of them) but carry 3.98% of journeys.

Looking at motor traffic (cars/taxis), they make up 71% of the vehicles, but just 56% of journeys were made by car, very inefficient.

Car/taxi occupancy has been slowly declining over the past decade, but there has been a more substantial drop from 2012 to 2013. Car/taxi occupancy in 2014 was just 1.25 people per car/taxi.

Car/Taxi Occupancy Rates in Sheffield
Car/Taxi Occupancy Rates in Sheffield

The number of person trips being counted each year has been steadily declining. A drop of 10.3% from 2001 to 2014, from 1,038,366 to 931,488 in 2014.

Total Person Trips in Sheffield 2001 to 2014
Total Person Trips in Sheffield 2001 to 2014

The modal share has been changing too. For cars/taxis the number of person trips has been declining (blue), but the modal share (red) has remained reasonably steady (albeit with a drop to 52% in 2008.

Car Taxi Person Trips Modal Share and Total in Sheffield
Car Taxi Person Trips Modal Share and Total in Sheffield

For public transport (rail, tram and bus), the number of trips was fairly steady until 2008, and then has declined consistently since. From about 31% modal share to 26.5%.

Public Transport Person Trips in Sheffield 2001 to 2014
Public Transport Person Trips in Sheffield 2001 to 2014

Splitting this down into each of the three modes makes clear what’s going on.

Tram modal share has been fairly steady, but down in the past couple of years (the reason could be significant tram track maintenance).

Rail has seen a significant increase both in modal share and absolute numbers of trips, from 1.8% to 4.0%, and 18,823 to 37,094 from 2001 to 2014 respectively.

But buses have seen a significant drop. From 22.8% in 2001 to 17.1% in 2014, the absolute number is revealing, 236,909 trips to 159,507 trips from 2001 to 2011. A drop of 32.7%, there are now a third fewer journeys made by bus, in just 13 years.

If total trip numbers start to increase (post recession), unless this downward trend in bus patronage is reversed then we’ll see a huge growth in private car traffic on our streets and that will be very problematic.

Public Transport Person Trips, split by mode, in Sheffield 2001 to 2014
Public Transport Person Trips, split by mode, in Sheffield 2001 to 2014

Onto cycling. In 2014, 1.21% of vehicles, and 0.77% of person trips counted we cycles, just 7,160 in total. Cycling is second to bottom in modal share, only motorcycles have fewer journeys.

Since 2001, levels have increased from 3,250 to 7,160, 0.34% modal share to 0.77% modal share.

Cycling in Sheffield - Modal share from 2001 to 2014
Cycling in Sheffield – Modal share from 2001 to 2014

Ecclesall Road South

Further to this summary published data, the council hold detailed 15 minute data for each site. I’ve tried to request it’s release in the past via FOI, but I’ve been unsuccessful, apart from receiving one sites data for one year. Ecclesall Road South, 2012.

Across the whole day, for Ecclesall Road South, the number of people traveling along this road has fallen from 36,686 to 33,318. The number of vehicles has broadly remained constant.

Ecclesall Road South - Total Trips and Vehicles
Ecclesall Road South – Total Trips and Vehicles

Cycling levels have increased from 142 per day in 2001 to 223 per day in 2012 (0.67% modal share). Cars down from 27,072 person trips to 24,653. The number of single occupancy cars has increased from 79.95% to 83.34%. People walking, up from 762 to 844. Public transport (bus only) person trips down from 6174 people to 4968, but an increase in bus vehicles from 621 to 773. The data is below.

Ecclesall Road South - Bicycle Modal Share
Ecclesall Road South – Bicycle Modal Share
Ecclesall Road South Detailed Data
Ecclesall Road South Detailed Data

We also have detailed data for one day in 2012, broken down by direction. There were between 200 and 400 vehicles per 15 minutes across the whole day in each direction.

Ecclesall Road South - Vehicles Across Day - 2012
Ecclesall Road South – Vehicles Across Day – 2012

And for just bicycles, there were just 223 across the whole day, 131 inbound and 92 outbound. At a maximum rate of 23 between 08:15 to 08:30 (a modal share of about 3.7% in that 15 minute period). The modal share for the majority of the day is under 0.5%.

Ecclesall Road South - Bicycles Across Day - 2012
Ecclesall Road South – Bicycles Across Day – 2012

We can also break down the number of cars by occupancy. 1 occupant = 83.3%, 2 occupant = 14.8%, 3 occupant = 1.6%, 4 occupant = 0.03% (just 60 out of 20,742 cars).

That’s it, a whistle stop tour of traffic count data available in Sheffield. 2015 counts were done very recently (although I understand that they were late). I’ll do another post when I get a copy of the data.

20mph budgets council cycling money

South Yorkshire Sustainable Transport Exemplar Programme – The biggest project in 2015/16 is a car park extension!

logo-960You just couldn’t make it up. Does car parking really count as sustainable transport?

The Sheffield City Region Growth Deal includes a ‘Sustainable Transport Exemplar Programme’ with £16.3m investment for five years from 2015/16 to 2021, with £3.3million in the first year.

The list of schemes funded in the first year has been announced and include things like bike paths and pedestrian crossings.

The largest scheme though, at £670,000, is a “Meadowhall Car Park Extension”. You read that right, a car park extension. 19% of the annual sustainable transport exemplar programme budget this year is being spent on a car park extension.

2015-16 Sustrainable Transport Exemplar Programme Schemes
2015-16 Sustrainable Transport Exemplar Programme Schemes

This money could pay for significant amounts of bike paths, cycle parking, reducing through traffic, 20mph zones etc. etc. etc. This year the Sheffield budget for 20mph zones is £400,000, the budget for this car park extension is £670,000.

I’m appalled. Follow the money, and it’s clear what the true priorities are for transport spending.

Schemes announced at Monday 16th March meeting of Sheffield City Region Combined Authority Transport Committee.

cycling tram tram train

Bicycles not part of the Sheffield tram train trial (and the ridiculous reasons used to justify this)

Sheffield is embarking on a national pilot for running light rail trams on traditional heavy rail train track. The transport authority in charge have today confirmed that tram trains will not carry bicycles at any time.

The knowledge that we obtain from the pilot will enable us to understand the technical and operational challenges involved in this project so that the concept can potentially be rolled out elsewhere in the UK – Norman Baker – May 2012


By setting the precedent that bicycles will not be carried without even attempting to do so, this trial will condemn future projects around the UK to the same fate. The precedent has been set as part of the national trial, bicycles will not be carried on tram trains. I would be very surprised if tram trains don’t start to displace normal trains on some routes.

Here are the key recommendations of the report to be discussed at Thursday’s Integrated Transport Meeting

2.1 That the ITA supports the recommendation of Option 1 as the design to be taken forward for the manufacture of the Tram/Train vehicle.
2.2 In order to provide the optimal position for the priority seating and due to the limitations of the vehicle structural design and legal obligations Option 1 does not include facilities for the carriage of bicycles (other than folding bike). ITA are therefore also asked to endorse that bicycles shall not be carried on Tram/Train vehicles, unless of the folding type.

SYPTE did some research which shows that of the UK/European tram networks they could get data for, 42 tram networks allow bicycles and 10 do not (of which 6 are in the UK!)

I’ll try to summarise the reasons this decision has been made, the full document is available from here. These get more and more ridiculous as you go down the list!

  • Legal requirements under the equality act
  • Must have at least 2 wheelchair spaces under Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2010
  • Must be no obstruction to prevent or cause unreasonable difficulty to a wheelchair being manoeuvred in a rail vehicle to, from, into or out of any wheelchair compatible doorway or wheelchair space
  • No fittings for the use of passengers other than disabled persons in wheelchairs are allowed in the wheelchair spaces. This prohibits the use of some form of bicycle storage or securing system
  • It’s actually Stagecoach Supertram’s decision to make
  • Existing tramway Bylaws and Condition of Carriage prohibit the carriage of bicycles (but they admit that these could be changed)
  • The carriage of bicycles on the exterior of the vehicle wouldn’t be possible for a number of reasons(length, time taken to add and remove racks, need access to train track to put bike on and off, footholds for ‘tram surfers’, similar design to bull bars which are illegal)
  • Allowing bicycles would increase competition for low floor space with wheelchairs, mobility scooters, luggage, prams, and standing people.
  • People tend to sit in the fold out seat area and would be forced to go to the middle of the tram and negotiate steps which some may not want to or be able to do
  • People like to stand in the doorway and would be inconvenienced by having to relocate to other parts of the tram
  • Carriage of bicycles would compound issues of dissatisfaction with availability of seats at peak times
  • Not all vehicles would be of the new tram/train type, cyclists may try to use existing vehicles which they’re not allowed to and get confused
  • We need policies to deal with bicycles which would create conflict, and our Conductors primary role is to collect revenue and not act in any safety capacity
  • The management of bicycles on tram stops would need to be managed to avoid accidents to waiting passengers and those boarding and alighting
  • There are heavy rail trains running the same route that will carry bicycles that provide an alternative for those wishing to take bicycles
  • Bicycle hire like Bike&Go is available at Rotherham Central Station
  • Cycle lanes and large lengths of segregated routes are already provided between Rotherham and Sheffield
  • The trial of bikes on DLR in London has been financially supported by TfL, this is beyond SYPTE in it’s current financial situation
  • Trams often need to brake because they encounter pedestrians, this increases the risk of unsecured bicycles becoming projectiles
  • Other passengers might get dirty from bicycles
  • The tram/train vehicle might get dirty from bicycles
  • Bicycles introduce objects that are potentially hazardous to passengers, eg sharp points such as handlebars and pedals.
council cycling Penistone Road

Sheffield A61 Junction Redesign – Provision for bicycles to be considered last

P1050814.resizedDuring the past week Sheffield City Council have approved outline designs for the Leppings Lane junction on the A61 in Hillsborough, Sheffield to reduce congestion due to extra traffic using a new Sainsburys supermarket. The design was due to be fully approved however issues raised by CycleSheffield meant that the Cabinet Member making the decision was not happy with the provision for bicycle traffic.

The design was however approved “in principle” and the council have offered “a future meeting to look into the cyclists’ concerns”.

I’m pleased that our concerns resonated with the decision makers however I’m concerned with the attitude that an adequate solution can be found at the very end of the design process after the main highway design is complete and approved.

Outline Highway Drawings
Outline Highway Drawings
council cycling infrastructure tram

When is a cycle lane not a cycle lane?

Are these cycle lanes?

Lane 1.resized.jpg

Lane 2.resized.jpg

Lane 3.resized.jpg


Perhaps the cycle route signs give an obvious answer?


Off road to on road.resized.jpg

Off road to on road 2.resized.jpg


If you think they are cycle lanes then you’d be wrong. These are not cycle lanes.. These ‘lanes’ actually indicate areas of danger according to information presented to the Sheffield City Council Cycle Forum.

As part of the Supertram project, red surfacing and white lines were introduced to indicate to drivers how to avoid the tram tracks and to guide them onto a conventional surface.

This has created a problem for cyclists, given a perception that cycle lanes are often coloured red, and therefore with many believing that the nearside red surfacing adjacent to the tram tracks is a cycle lane. Cyclists are then presented with tram stops where the platforms extend into the ‘road’ and the ‘cycle lane’ disappears. Cyclists then find themselves crossing the tram tracks at a narrow angle and slipping into the rails, or find themselves ‘forced out’ often into faster moving traffic. There have been a number of injuries, some serious, as a result.

Sheffield Cycle Forum notes – 19th March 2013

Use these ‘cycle lanes’ at your own risk. They will end suddenly and force you to cross tram lines at a dangerous angle.

Lane ends.resized.jpg

These road marking will soon be replaced by hatched markings. Hopefully less misleading for anyone who use these routes.

Replace the red surfacing and white line (the ‘cycle lane’) at the nearside with a solid white line and hatching for 5m to 10m. The hatching then ceases and the white line continues, solid or broken as appropriate. At side roads the process is repeated.

If there is insufficient width to provide hatching a solid white ‘nose’ can be provided, followed bythe white line.

Sheffield Cycle Forum notes – 19th March 2013

But… good luck sharing the road with trams, you’ll need to get out of the way if one comes up behind you. They can’t overtake and there’s not enough room to move over to let one past.

Tram from back.resized.jpg

Tram from side.resized.jpg

council cycling infrastructure

‘Sheffield gets cycle-friendly’

StarThis was the title of a piece in The Sheffield Star newspaper this morning reporting on a petition to Sheffield Council discussed at last weeks general council meeting.

I’ve written about cycle audits in the past and Sheffield’s failed commitment to conduct them. Recently CycleSheffield members were encouraged to write to their councillors and ask for cycle audits to begin ASAP. Many many people did this and I’ve heard that the council was inundated with questions from Councillors trying to get information.

This campaign had the desired effect and Sheffield Council have announced that they will introduce cycle audits and will be creating a new staff position in the council to conduct them.

The cycle audits will review schemes from the very inception to the finished product (pre-planning permission, planning permission review, detailed design and construction). We should begin to see bicycle traffic considered at the inception of highways schemes in Sheffield rather than just added on as an afterthought.

PI_Councillor_166“We have made a commitment that in the next financial year we are putting someone in post to conduct cycle audits… in any schemes coming forward they will be conducted”
Councillor Leigh Bramall – Chair of Sheffield Cabinet Highways Committee


This is a huge success and wouldn’t have been achieved without the efforts of CycleSheffield members.

Well done.

Full words of the representation I made at Sheffield Full Council meeting last week.

In 2007 this council passed a motion from Councillor Peter Price and gave a commitment to consider bicycle traffic during the design of highways schemes in Sheffield.
In the 6 years since this motion passed, Sheffield still does not consider bicycle traffic as a matter of course when designing highways schemes.
This petition and related representations to councilors over the past few months has the aim of highlighting this problem and to ask Sheffield Council to follow through with this commitment by adding cycle audits to all highway design projects.”

council cycling infrastructure

Main roads in Sheffield – for confident cyclists only

P1050814.resizedI attended the Sheffield City Council Highways Cabinet Committee meeting earlier in the week and asked a question about a new preliminary junction design in Broomhill. A pedestrian crossing with a mid island is being introduced along with a new slip road to allow left turns.

Broomhill preliminary junction design - approved without any consideration being given to people on bicycles
Broomhill preliminary junction design – approved without any consideration being given to people on bicycles

“How have the needs of people riding bicycles been taken into consideration when evaluating the preliminary design options? I can find no discussion on this in the report”

The answer was very long winded and didn’t answer my question directly, so I replied

“So you haven’t given any consideration to cyclists at this stage?”

“No” was the answer.

A local councillor suggested that the council should place signs advising of alternative routes on quieter roads. Dick Proctor, Transport Planning Manager at Sheffield Council agreed and added that,

“We (Sheffield City Council) design main roads for confident cyclists only”

Others have long argued that this strategy will not encourage people to use bikes and I strongly agree. David Arditti wrote about this in his blog Vole O’Speed recently in relation to the London Cycling Network, I shall quote him.

But there were no answers to the simple observation that the minor roads are minor because, in general, they are not the most useful through-routes to anywhere that people need to go. Cycle route planning does need to start from the recognition that cyclists, or, should I say, people on bikes, are normal human beings who need to do the same things that everybody else needs to do: go to the same shops, schools, offices, stations, that are all linked, most usably and efficiently, by the main roads. Forcing an invariable, inevitable compromise between directness (and priority) and safety was never going to be a route to success. As I have said before, fundamentally, cyclists no more belong on the minor roads than do motor vehicles or pedestrains, and successful route planning in both the Netherlands and Denmark, to my knowledge, has been based on the procedure of looking first at where cyclists go already, and then providing safe infrastructure for them in those places: quite the reverse of the LCN approach.

It doesn’t look like this junction will be made safe for cyclists any time soon, Dick Proctor thinks there is no need because only confident cyclists will use it. This is the reason 1.9% of people’s journeys to work are by bicycle in Sheffield 🙁

The preliminary design was approved at the meeting.

No need for cycle infrastructure - it's a main road only confident cyclists will use it
No need for cycle infrastructure – it’s a main road only confident cyclists will use it (this is not the junction in Broomhill but another one in the centre of Sheffield)
cycling infrastructure parliament

Cycle City Ambition Grants

dft-logo-portraitEarlier in 2013 Norman Baker, the Transport Minister, announced the £30 million Cycle City Ambition Grant. On the 15th February guidance on applications was published for the 28 cities eligible to apply.

The guidance document is an amazing publication and I believe it should be a model for how transport funding is allocated. In the introduction along the report states that across OECD members there are “ambitions for cycling are growing to move cycling to the mainstream offering it as a realistic choice for quick, reliable and convenient short journeys within cities”. It supports the idea that we are “facing declining levels of physical activity together with a range of public health impacts” and that these are “influenced in part by car dependency and sedentary lifestyles” and that  there is “a significant opportunity to improve integration of transport and health”.

It identifies that “mainstreaming cycling and walking offers a cost effective way to relieve congestion and improve the quality of life within the city”.

These are big statements and idea’s that I fully support however they are not backed up by the levels of investment required. There are 28 cities eligible for funding however there will be a maximum of 3 Cycle City Ambition Grants awarded, the DfT expect to “provide funding to successful applicants of the equivalent of around £10 per head of population over 2 years”, they also “expect a commitment to longer-term support from the cities themselves”. The Netherlands is recognised as one of the world leaders in cycling, the Dutch are estimated to spend £30-£40 per head on an ongoing annual basis. The Cycle City Ambition Grants will provide £10 per head for 3 cities for 2 years, the Dutch spend £30 per head in all places every year and has done for a long time.

The list of benefits of cycling given in the document is impressive, it outlines the case for investing in cycling really well.

The Government sees more and safer cycling strategies as important tools for cities to unlock a range of cross cutting economic and social benefits that enable growth. These include:
a.Unlocking capacity on road and public transport networks through large scale shifts to more active commuting patterns.
b.Better linked communities enabling more choice for getting around within and between neighbourhoods.
c.Higher productivity through improved fitness and consequently reduced absenteeism and better workforce performance
d.Improved public realm capable of attracting high value business
e.Direct savings to NHS through better health
f.Better access to jobs for disadvantaged groups
g.Revitalising streets through encouraging more spending on high value services and retail through improved access by foot or bike
h.Magnifying within city agglomeration benefits
i.Creation of new social enterprises and businesses to create new services in support for more cycling

It is very clear from the guidance that any new cycle infrastructure must be “fit for purpose and designed to a high standard as set out in the Cycle Infrastructure Design Guidance” and a link is given to LTN2-08. This is excellent, all too frequently local authorities install sub standard cycle infrastructure pointing out that LTN2-08 is just guidance (even though LTN2-08 really is the bare minimum we should be aiming for). This clear advise that this investment in cycle infrastructure needs to adhere to best practice.

The guidance points to the Manual for Streets publications and draws particular attention to the hierarchy of users. I like this!

Hierarchy of users - Manual for Streets
Hierarchy of users – Manual for Streets

So, will my home city of Sheffield be applying for this funding? I’m not so sure. At a recent Fair Deal For Sheffield event I spoke to Leigh Bramall who is Chair of the Highways Commitee at Sheffield City Council. We spoke about the various grants available to local authorities for cycling, he put forward the idea that Sheffield City Council were cutting jobs in the Highways department and that they wouldn’t be able to provide project support for large cycling infrastructure projects with current/future levels of staffing. In response I’d like to suggest that they allocate resources in line with the Hierarchy of Users diagram in the manual for streets with pedestrian and cyclist projects taking priority over all others.

I look forward to reading the proposals from the cities for this funding.

For further discussion, Cambridge Cycling Campaign have discussed this in detail here

cycling infrastructure

Cycle Training – The best solution for bad infrastructure

Paul Blomfield
Paul Blomfield

Paul Blomfield, a local Sheffield MP, has recently written an article for the Yorkshire Post entitled “Tour fires starting gun for a cycling revolution”, a reference to the news that the Tour De France will be vising Yorkshire in 2014 for the Grand Depart.

This is excellent news and seems to have been well received, I’m really hopeful that the tour coming back to England, along with all the recent positive (and negative) press cycling has been getting will help to increase the number of people using bicycles.

Paul says that cycling has seen huge growth in Sheffield over the past decade and that a long term aim should be that cycling should be considered for all new road schemes, a view that I strongly support and have previously stated here.

Blocked - The taxi drivers use the cycle lane as an extension of the taxi rank
Blocked – The taxi drivers use the cycle lane as an extension of the taxi rank

Unfortunately it seems that some new schemes in Sheffield still include dangerous cycle facilities. Sheffield City Council needs to do more to protect the existing cycle infrastructure from abuse, even from the organisations we expect to be protecting it.

The real crux of Paul’s article is that the government should start investing in cycle training schemes. He states that cycle training helps cyclists to be safe and confident on the roads, that cyclists don’t need to stick to the edge of the road and that using the road in a confident and assertive manner will help to keep you safe.