#space4cycling infrastructure Space for cycling

A look at some older cycling infrastructure in Sheffield. A semi protected straight on movement at The Common, Ecclesfield

There’s some interesting historical cycling infrastructure in Sheffield, and one in particular of a *semi* protected straight on with a left turn lane in Ecclesfield.

The Common, Ecclesall, Sheffield, Cycle Infrastracture

The design for this movement is quite innovative for the UK. The phasing of the traffic lights means that people can cycle down the left of queuing traffic, turn across the front of the queue and get to a position in front of traffic queueing to go straight on.

You need protected straight on movements at junctions with left turn lanes because getting into an outside lane on a bicycle isn’t at all a pleasant experience, you feel extremely vulnerable when doing it.

I think the fundamental design proposition is sound, not requiring people on bikes to get into the outside lane, but the execution is poor and it’s been neglected for a very long time. The approach lane is extremely narrow, the surface is terrible, there’s potential for conflict with people walking at the crossing point, there’s zero protection once traffic starts moving and ultimately, this junction exists in a vacuum, it is not part of a cycling network at all.

Abandoned and neglected cycle infrastructure
Abandoned and neglected cycle infrastructure

This picture is from just 15 meters up the road and shows the 100m or so of 1.1m wide cycle lane that exists around here.

The Common, Ecclesfield. Definitely no Space for Cycling.
The Common, Ecclesfield. Definitely no Space for Cycling.

This video of me cycling here shows most of the problems with this junction very clearly, I get beeped by a car and passed far too closely by a van.

A much better layout for people on bikes would be something like this with changes in the traffic light phasing to hold left turning traffic when right turning traffic was green, as well as looking at the wider network of roads and creating Space for Cycling.

This junction needs a complete rethink, there aren’t even pedestrian crossing phases, only dropped kerbs and islands.

The Common, Ecclesfield, Sheffield, An alternative layout for cycling
The Common, Ecclesfield, Sheffield, An alternative layout for cycling


#space4cycling Space for cycling

Remove Through Motor Traffic; Revisiting Donald Appleyard’s study in 21st century Britain

Remove Through Motor Traffic“I’ve got to say- even I was startled by the degree to which car traffic is degrading ordinary people’s lives.”
Josh Hart

One of the Space for Cycling principals is the removal of through traffic. This is really important, research has shown that our communities suffer when their roads are used by high volume motor traffic.

In 1969 San Francisco Donald Appleyard “demonstrated that people living on a street with relatively heavy traffic had only one-third as many social connections as people living on a relatively light-traffic street

When we talk about ‘Livable Streets’, this phrase was originally coined by Donald Appleyard. His work is summarised in this great video from StreetFilms.

Revisiting Donald Appleyard’s Livable Streets from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

Appleyard‟s (1969) diagram of intra-street social connections. Lines represent specific social connections whilst dots identify where people were reported to gather.
Appleyard‟s (1969) diagram of intra-street social connections. Lines represent specific social connections whilst dots identify where people were reported to gather.

This study was replicated just a few years ago in Bristol;

The results confirmed that Appleyard’s findings are applicable to the UK in the 21st century; specifically that the number of friends and acquaintances reported by residents was significantly lower on streets with higher volumes of motor traffic. The extent of people’s home territories‟ also diminished as motor traffic increased.

They produced similar community interaction maps and the results are strikingly similar.

Community interaction on three Bristol streets. Hart, J. and Parkhurst, G. (2011)
Community interaction on three Bristol streets. Hart, J. and Parkhurst, G. (2011)

They found that “motor traffic through a neighbourhood has an inverse relationship with the number of social relationships in that neighbourhood.”

Comparison of bristol with appleyard

“During the interviews, residents were asked to draw their ‘home territories’. Home territory was defined as the “area over which you feel you have a sense of personal responsibility or stewardship” (Appleyard, 1981). The results confirmed Appleyard‟s findings about the relationship between traffic level and the range of home territories.”

bristol - home territory diagramsThese two studies are linked below If you’d like to read them.

A blog post by one of the authors, Josh Hart – No Friends? Blame the Traffic…

#space4cycling budgets council Sheffield Cycling Inquiry Space for cycling

Does Sheffield Council have what it takes to create Space for Cycling?

Space for cycling logo and 6 demands5th December Update: This motion was amended by Leigh Bramall, Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Development and the amended version was subsequently passed. See below for updates

Councillor Sarah Jane Smalley, who supports the Space for Cycling campaign and joined the Space for Cycling ride in May, has put a motion to the Sheffield City Council meeting next week which covers in some detail the barriers to creating Space for Cycling in Sheffield and calling on councillors so support the Space for Cycling campaign.

Last week CTC revealed that Sheffield doesn’t have the level support in its councillors for Space for Cycling as any of the other core cities, it’s ranked at the bottom when looking at councillor support rates. This motion calls on Councillors in Sheffield to turn that around and sign up to the campaign.

The motion also shows that when the core cities are ranked by capital spending, Sheffield falls well short of many of the Core Cities, simply because we did not apply for the Cycle City Ambition Grant last year, we were the only core city to not submit a bid. These grants take funding to over £10/head/year for two years, in Sheffield we spend far less.

Sarah Jane attended the Sheffield Council Forum last week and asked some questions about the cycling inquiry, I didn’t think that the answers she got were very reassuring. The cycle champion, Tim Rippon wasn’t their either so couldn’t provide any reassurance.

This motion is detailed and covers succinctly some of the key barriers to making Sheffield a place where anyone can ride a bike; funding, political support, planning, attendance of meetings, DfT consultation, engineer training and design guidance.

What can you do to help? You can write to your councillor, tell them you think they should support Space for Cycling, and ask them to support the motion at next weeks meeting. It will only take 2 minutes. You can find out if your councillor has already signed up here.

That this Council:-
(a)       affirms its commitment to Sheffield City Council’s Vision for Excellent Transport in Sheffield:We need to change the culture of how we use our roads, so that people are no longer afraid to cycle or allow their children to do so.  Our streets, roads and local communities need to become places for people, where cycling and walking are safe and normal;

(b)       regrets that only 11% of Sheffield City Councillors have signed up to support the Space for Cycling campaign, making Sheffield the lowest ranked of eight major English cities committing to space for cycling, as per the recent report from the national cycling charity CTC;

(c)        notes that other core cities including Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle, spend in excess of £10.00 per head on capital funding for cycling including Highways, as they were successful in winning Cycle City Ambition Grants, which Sheffield City Council decided not to bid for;

(d)       regrets that Sheffield City Council spends only £1.89 per head on capital funding for cycling, including Highways, which is significantly lower than the £10.00 per head recommended by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s report;

(e)       commits to responding positively to the Government’s Cycling Delivery Plan (expected early December) which invites local authorities to submit expressions of interest in partnering with the Government to deliver ambitious growth in cycle use;

(f)        welcomes feedback from Cycle Sheffield, CTC and individuals heralding Sheffield City Council’s Cycle Inquiry as a good practice example of capturing evidence, input and expertise;

(g)       is concerned that policy agreement is not turning into action, as demonstrated by slippage against the recommendations and delivery milestones agreed by the Cabinet in July 2014 relating to the Cycling Inquiry Report as follows:

(i)         the Sheffield Cycle Group with Cycle Sheffield and in consultation with partners and the public, and/or a cross-departmental Council working group chaired by Transport Planning consulting with partners has not been established;

(ii)        the drawing up of the revised Sheffield Cycle Action Plan, plan of the strategic cycling network and delivery plan by the groups in paragraph (g)(i) above was timetabled to take place Sept-Nov 2014 but haven’t been carried out, making ……

(iii)       ….. consultation on the Cycling Action Plan and Delivery Plan and Consultation on Network Plan due in January 2015, with approval April – June 2015 unlikely, based on current performance;

(h)       is further concerned that some recommendations from the report have not been carried out in earnest, or in full consultation with partners, organisations and others as per the report’s commitment, indicated by the following:

(i)         the Cycling Champions have not regularly attended Cycle Forum meetings or established regular diarised meetings with partners such as Cycle Sheffield or CTC to ensure that the recommendations from the report are being progressed;

(ii)        the Council did not seek input to any response to the DfT consultation on Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2015 (TSGRD) despite commitment to helping to encourage and enable cycling through DfT regulation on allowing separate traffic lights for cycling;

(iii)       whilst a Cycle Audit process has been developed and is being applied to all new highway schemes, it includes no scale or metrics and therefore carries negligible weight; this is despite recommendations at Cycle Forum for a more stringent procedure and existing good practice which has been developed and could be easily replicated, for example from the London Cycle Design Standards and/or Welsh Active Travel Bill Guidance;

(iv)       Highways Engineers have not received any Continuous Professional Development/Workplace Development to ensure that they can bring the new Transport Vision into reality in relation to Cycle Design;

(i)         therefore urges the Administration to establish the Sheffield Cycle Group as per its commitment;

(j)         further urges the responsible Cabinet Member to ensure that progress against the Cycling Inquiry recommendations and Delivery Milestones is made publicly available on at least a bi-monthly basis, and which will include the communication of recommended actions and actions taken to remedy slippages;

(k)        calls for Highways guidance to be amended to ensure that the Transport Vision in paragraph (a) above is considered and relevant action taken from a pre-planning stage;

(l)         requests that all Highways Engineers receive Cycle Design Training, so that this is properly considered from a pre-planning stage; as an example, Sustrans offers such training, endorsed and certified by the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation;

(m)      notes the publication of the document “Making Space for Cycling; A guide for new developments and street renewals”, published by Cyclenation and supported by Bike Hub, CTC, British Cycling, Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, London Cycling Campaign, CPRE and Cambridge Cycling Campaign, and commits to promoting its active use in Highways planning; and

(n)       encourages Members to sign up to support the CTC Space for Cycling campaign, in addition to supporting this Motion.

5th December Update

The full council meeting took place a couple of days ago, Leigh Bramall, Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Development proposed an amendment that deleted the entire motion and replaced it with some new text.

When I asked, “Does Sheffield Council have what it takes to create Space for Cycling?”, we now know that the answer is a firm no.

  1. Amendment to be moved by Councillor Leigh Bramall, seconded by Councillor Cate McDonald

             That the Motion now submitted be amended by the deletion of all the words after the words “That this Council” and the addition of the following words therefor:-

(a)       confirms the present Administration’s commitment to significantly increasing the numbers of people cycling in Sheffield;

(b)       notes the Get Britain Cycling report that put forward a series of recommendations to increase cycling provision in Britain;

(c)        further notes that Sheffield was unique among the big cities in setting up an all-party Cycling Inquiry, working with Cycle Sheffield, to consider how the issues set out in the Get Britain Cycling report should be taken forward and implemented in Sheffield, and confirms that all 18 recommendations from the report were signed up to by the current Administration, with a full report due in summer 2015 to set a timetable and pathway as to how each recommendation will be implemented;

(d)       notes that the Cycling Inquiry does not sit in isolation but instead builds upon actions already underway to boost cycling including:

A commitment – ahead of many other cities – to progressively roll out 20mph areas to cover the whole city;

  • A continued commitment to the Cycle Boost scheme, which has now more than doubled the number of people cycling to work;
  • Investment in new cycle routes across the city;
  • Supporting the development of a new Cycle Hub at Sheffield train station and ongoing work to develop further hubs in the south of the city and at Meadowhall;
  • Installation of new bike pumps for public use around the city centre; and
  • Support for the Tour de France coming to the city; and

(e)          given this record and commitment to an increased focus on cycling, therefore regrets that  such a simplistic mechanism as the number of Councillors who have signed up to the Space for Cycling campaign has been used as a barometer for the city’s record on cycling.


#space4cycling 20mph Space for cycling

Yes to 20mph speed limits, but we need to remove through traffic too

20mph Space for cyclingThere are some nice public comments in the latest council report about new 20mph areas in Sheffield.

Fully support the proposal. My husband has a wheelchair and has difficulty crossing because of speeding traffic.

I support the proposal to place a 20mph speed limit around our neighbourhood. Children play out in the streets, and there are also lots of cyclists and to my mind it’s important to prioritise safety over speed.

The proposal should see more people walking, cycling and using active transport as a way of getting around the neighbourhood. It could also lead to more people, taking more responsibility for the general appearance of their neighbourhood and being more neighbourly in general.

It’s about time people remembered their responsibilities instead of grizzling about their rights and recognise what a privilege it is to not only travel faster than your feet can carry you; but to be able to do it sitting down. 20mph is plenty fast enough in a heavily built up, double parked area such as this.

20mph areas are part of the solution to reducing the barriers to cycling and it’s included as one of the Space for Cycling policies.

Space for cycling logo and 6 demands


But it’s important to remember that residential streets need 20mph limits AND removal of through traffic. Until high volume traffic is removed from residential streets (including those where 20mph speed limits are applied) people will still be at risk and too afraid to cycle in them. 

I live on a 20mph street which is used by over 10,000 vehicles per day and is definitely not a place where people feel safe enough riding bikes.

If we replace speed with ‘speed and volume’ in the council’s approach, then we get a much more robust and effective policy.

Reducing the speed [and volume] of traffic in residential areas will, in the long term, reduce the number and severity of accidents, reduce the fear of accidents, encourage sustainable modes of travel and contribute towards the creation of a more pleasant, cohesive environment.

I think that this point has been missed and forgotten, and that while our residential streets carry significant volume of traffic we won’t see the full benefits of these 20mph areas.

The council report includes a paragraph on relying on the residents of areas to make these schemes a success. This is true if the vast majority of people who drive too and from these areas are residents or visitors, but while people use these areas as major transport corridors, the needs of high volume motor traffic will continue to dominate the environment.

The key to realising substantially lower speeds on our residential roads lies in affecting a fundamental shift in attitude. The aim therefore is to build a widespread and longstanding community acceptance that 20mph is the appropriate maximum speed to travel in residential areas. Ultimately, the success or otherwise of these schemes lies primarily in the hands of the residents of this area.

Yes to 20mph speed limits, but we need to remove through traffic too.

For more information on reducing through traffic, David Hembrow has lots of information on how segregation can be achieved without building cycle-paths, and how unravelling of modes makes conditions better for cycling.

#space4cycling Space for cycling

Hundreds Get On Their Bikes to Demand #Space4Cycling in Sheffield

CycleSheffield #space4cycling ride - Photo credit: @geckobike
CycleSheffield #space4cycling ride – Photo credit: @geckobike

Hundreds of people turned out for The Sheffield Space for Cycling Big Ride on Saturday. Over 240 people, young and old alike joined in to call for Space for Cycling.

Hundreds of people came to the #space4cycling ride
Hundreds of people came to the #space4cycling ride

People decorated their bikes, towed trailers, played music and came with their children.


#space4cycling - Freedom for families in Sheffield
#space4cycling – Freedom for families in Sheffield
Matt's #space4cycling bike trailer with in built sound system
Matt’s #space4cycling bike trailer with in built sound system

Emma Metcalfe from CycleSheffield said “The weather was glorious, and the atmosphere relaxed and happy, with smiling faces as people rode to a soundtrack of music and the ringing of bicycle bells. I think everyone really enjoyed the opportunity to cycle safely with their families“

Emma Metcalfe in her #space4cycling head-dress. Celebrating after the ride with a pint of Coke. Credit - Paul Truin
Emma Metcalfe in her #space4cycling head-dress. Celebrating after the ride with a pint of Coke. Photo Credit – Paul Truin

Riders were answering Cycle Sheffield’s rallying call to demonstrate their hunger to see Sheffield become a cycling city, where riding a bike is safe and accessible for everyone, and for Sheffield’s councillors to commit to making space for cycling. The day was full of personal stories. One lady said that she didn’t own a bike because she was too scared to ride on the road on her own, but had heard about the campaign and borrowed a bike especially to join in! One of the smallest riders wore a poignant placard saying ‘I want to cycle safely in Sheffield’.

"I want to cycle safely in Sheffield" - Photo credit Lucy Harper
“I want to ride safely in Sheffield” – Photo credit Lucy Harper

The Space for Cycling campaign calls for protected space for cyclists on main roads and through junctions, improved conditions on residential roads through reducing through motor traffic & ‘rat running’, safe segregated routes in the city centre & beyond, and for all Sheffield children to be able to cycle to school along safe routes.

#space4cycling so that everyone has the freedom to ride a bike in Sheffield
#space4cycling so that everyone has the freedom to ride a bike in Sheffield

Mick Nott, Chair of Cycle Sheffield says “Our Big Ride may well be the biggest bike ride in Sheffield this year and it will certainly be the happiest! For 240 people to turn up and have a joyful time riding through our city together sends a message to councillors that cycling is something that many more people would do if they felt the roads were designed and built better and space and transport planning put the needs of vulnerable road users first.”

“We received so much support from people on the streets and in cars and buses that it shows that cycling in Sheffield will be popular. This is our mandate to say that Sheffielders want Sheffield to be a cycling city NOW; so, Sheffield City Council just do it! The campaign goes on, so join us!”

#space4cycling Sheffield , Sharrow Vale Road
#space4cycling Sheffield , Sharrow Vale Road
#space4cycling Space for cycling

We need Space For Cycling

Space for cycling logo and 6 demands

Going to the shops, taking the kids to school, visiting friends. These are things we all do regularly, but how about on a bike?

There’s just no way I’d cycle in the city centre, and there’s no way I’d let my kids cycle there either. It’s Too dangerous. (Sandra, Leeds, Understanding walking and cycling)

Our streets are dominated by cars and people are too afraid to travel by bike. People love riding bikes with their friends and family (just look at the success of Centre Parks), however most people are not happy mixing with motor traffic on our roads and fear for their safety.

I just wish I had the courage to use my bike again, but sadly in this wacky town of crazy infrastructure that is in bad condition, and the crazy riders/motorists arguing and bickering about who cut who up I will keep the bike, regretfully in the shed. (aubreyboyce, Sheffield Forum)

We need to change how we think about our roads and transform them into inviting places where people feel safe cycling. By creating space for cycling we can improve our towns and cities, making the places we live less reliant on motor traffic and creating more space for people to enjoy.

I got my cycle out this summer to cycle to the Gym & back after 3 trips I found it too terrifying. Cycle paths start & finish anywhere. I cant understand the cycle path on Saxon road the back of Virgin Gym. (Woodyspatch, Sheffield Forum)

To do this the 6 core demands of Space for Cycling need to be delivered.

  1. Slowing traffic through the introduction of 20mph limits
  2. Removing through motor traffic from streets
  3. Protected space on main roads to keep people away from fast and heavy traffic
  4. Cycle routes in green spaces to give people shorter/quieter/alternative routes
  5. Space for children to cycle to school without their parents or teachers fearing for their safety
  6. Cycle friendly town centres, removing noisy motor traffic and creating attractive destinations



To help make this a reality please come along with your friends and family to one of the rides in 2 weeks time on 17th May. Details for the Sheffield event are here. Please take part.

You can also send a message to your councillors asked them to support by filling in this form.