infrastructure Penistone Road

Off to the new supermarket; by bike?

The new Sainsburys opened this week in Hillsborough near where I live in Sheffield. I thought I’d cycle there, film it and do some commentary.

It’s almost comical just how bad this journey is by bicycle.

As the planner/engineer said in the council meeting where the highway design was approved,¬†“No one’s going to cycle to the supermarket.¬†Absolutely right, when the environment is this bad for cycling, no-one in their right mind would.

3 replies on “Off to the new supermarket; by bike?”

I’m interested to know how far you travelled on this journey. In 18 minutes I’d expect to be able to cover maybe 3.5 to 4 miles at a comfortable cycling speed, especially as the route looks fairly flat. However, I suspect that you travelled much less than this because you appeared to be forced into riding at an artificially slow speed and also had long delays crossing roads.

Cycling’s speed is what makes it a viable alternative to many car journeys, where walking would be impracticably slow. When Councils build cycle routes that are shared with pedestrians they are limiting the appeal and potential uptake of cycling. People may not be willing to switch from driving to cycling if their journeys are going to take a lot longer.

My 4.75 mile commute takes 15 minutes by car and 25 minutes by bike (on-road, hilly). I’m willing to sacrifice 10 minutes of my time because of the other benefits I get from it.

However, the off-road bike route takes 40 minutes instead of 15 minutes by car … and that’s a big difference in time! I have to get out of bed earlier in the morning and get home later at night, and a lot of people wouldn’t be prepared to do that.

The journey is just over 1 mile I think, In fairness I was cycling slowly because I had a camera in my hand, but I’m not sure I would have got their much sooner if I hadn’t been filming.

But, you’re absolutely correct! No-one is going to switch from a fast efficient car journey to a slow, inefficient and tortuous bike journey. Existing cyclists won’t use the facilities, and non cyclists won’t switch to the bike because it’s worse than the alternatives!

I wrote about the big junction at Leppings Lane when it was designed about 18 months or so ago. Comparing the convenience of using the new junctions by bike or by car just makes depressing reading.

Worrying the lights round the button go off. At 13:26 they go off again, and the red man and bike go out but the green man and bike do not come on. You say “I think I can go!”, and just take a chance. About one in 500 people will start to cross whenever the button lights go out, whether it is safe or not. This is pretty dangerous. As you say, people trust their eyes rather than lights. It breeds mistrust and misunderstanding.

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