What is being done to reduce the number of cyclist injuries on the roads?

rsz_p1050782The following is taken from a written answer on 15th January 2013 in the House of Commons, source is here

Stephen Hammond is a Conservative MP for Wimbledon and is Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to reduce the number of cyclists seriously injured on roads. [136631]

15 Jan 2013 : Column 641W

Stephen Hammond: The Government takes the safety of cyclists very seriously. In 2012 the Government announced a £15 million fund to improve safety for cyclists outside London, by tackling dangerous junctions. This was in addition to the £15 million fund awarded to Transport for London in March for the same purpose. Furthermore, part of the recently announced £20 million in cycle funding will go towards tackling dangerous junctions.

We have provided £600 million through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund to support local authorities in their use of transport to lever growth and cut carbon at the local level. The majority of the 96 projects have a cycling element. This year, we have committed £11 million for Bikeability training to help a new generation of cyclists gain the skills and knowledge they need to cycle safely and competently on today’s roads. This funding will help more than 275,000 school children to access training.

We have also made it easier for councils to put in place 20 mph zones and limits, and to install Trixi mirrors to improve the visibility of cyclists at junctions. Last September I launched the ‘THINK CYCLIST!’ campaign, which offers advice to drivers and cyclists on how to stay safe on the road.

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A commitment to cycle audits in Sheffield

In Sheffield we’ve seen a number of transport schemes that have not adequately taken cyclists requirements into account. The council conduct Road Safety Audits on most highway schemes but these do not have a specific section where cyclists needs are considered.

Sheffield Council have committed in many places over the years to conducting cycle audits for highways projects however this has never been implemented and none have ever been done.

The DFT have published guidance on how to integrate cycle audits into the normal RSA process (already in use in Sheffield), and I beleive Sheffield council should use this guidance.

So, my question to the council. When will you implement cycle audits for all highways improvement schemes as promised?

Council 4th April 2007, the following motion passed:

(ix)    requiring all transport schemes over £50,000 in value to undergo a Cycle Audit to ensure the needs of cycle users are considered;

Sheffield Cycling Action Plan July 2006:

Action Point 10: All transport schemes over £50,000 in value will undergo a Cycle Audit to ensure that the needs of cycle users are considered.

South Yorkshire Cycle Action Plan April 2011:


6.22 … In addition, we will undertake a cycle audit of all highways improvement schemes to ensure they improve the safety and convenience of cycling.

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The standard of brand new cycling infrastructure in Sheffield

2013-01-06 11.16.25

Sheffield City Council has in the past given cyclists assurances that they will design new infrastructure for cycling in line with best advice.

At a full council meeting on 4th April 2007 the following motion was passed.

x) requiring the design of cycle routes and facilities to be in accordance with advice and recommendations contained within the Draft Local Transport Plan.

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UK Investment In Local Sustainable Transport – The vision (or lack of!)

A few years ago the Department For Transport announced £600 million investment for the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, the LSTF.

The biggest funding source for local transport authorities for Sustainable Transport is the LSTF, the fund was designed to pay for projects from 2011 to 2015, there are 96 projects across England. What did the Department for Transport hope to achieve with this? They set out their vision for ideas in this helpful illustration. The suggestions for cycle infrastructure don’t give me any confidence that the LSTF will have much of an impact on cycling.

LSTF Packages DFT


How much does investment in cycling cost?

I’ve been reviewing a few documents from the South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority (which cover Sheffield) and was shocked at the cost of some of their cycling initiatives. I’ve collated most of the examples I could find from the LSTF funding bid from 2011, most of these schemes will be constructed/run in the next 2/3 years.

All of these figures come from the LSTF Bid documents which are available here but they’re pretty tough to read! Annex 01 has maps/descriptions and Annex 02 has detailed costings.

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.

Castle Street police

Why did the policeman cross the road? Because he parked his van in the cycle lane opposite the station

South Yorkshire Police
South Yorkshire Police

I’ve blogged about Castle Street cycle lane before here:

Today I headed down to try and film some taxis blocking the cycle lane, but I came across another set of vehicles using it…

The police have given us assurances that they know it is dangerous to park in this lane, that it causes traffic problems, that they will move vehicles on when they see them there, but I don’t think they are sincere.

“We come out of Snig Hill time and time again and they’re parked. And I can totally sympathise with you going back up towards Angel Street, we move them on for two reasons. They’re blocking the cycle path and they stick out that far into the road they stop buses as there’s a bus stop. They have a knock on effect that they hold everything else up behind them”

“That area comes under my beat area and I’ll pay it some attention, I’ll get down there as often as I can. Unfortunately I cant be there 24/7, it’s just not possible for us we don’t have the man power at the moment to be there all the time.”

Quote from South Yorkshire Police at a council meeting

Here I present my evidence that they are not being sincere:


Sheffield – Time for a transport revolution

Census figures released yesterday show that 1 in every 3 households in Sheffield do not have access to a car.

You’d never think that looking at the design of Sheffield, everything is catered to the car.

Lets shake things up and invest in some real cycling infrastructure for the 3rd of households in Sheffield who do not have access to a car.

Number of Households: 229,928
No cars or vans in household: 75,968 (33.0%)



Lord Taverne – Two wheels good four wheels bad

Lord Taverne: My Lords, does the Minister accept that the bicycle is the most efficient machine ever invented for converting energy into motion and that the bicycle could be accurately described as a green car that can run on tap water and tea cakes and has a built-in gym? Does he therefore agree that it makes sense to base policy for private urban transport on the motto, “Two wheels good; four wheels bad”?

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Modern Sheffield Junction Design. Safety? What’s that then?

Star Front Page
The Star – Local Sheffield Newspaper – The most dangerous cycle lane in Sheffield?

I couple of months ago I highlighted the dangers to cyclists of a new junction in Sheffield City Centre at Furnival Gate/Pinstone Street.

The problem is clear for everyone to see, there isn’t enough room to use both the cycle and road lane with the result that cyclists next to vehicles are dangerously squeezed out.

Warning! This story is long and winding and may induce a feeling of disillusionment and hopelessness. Take a deep breath and prepare yourself before reading, we’re entering the mysterious world of local council highway design!