‘Give more priority to cyclists’

Pictured is Cyclist Matt Turner in the cycle lane at the junction of Pinstone Street and Furnival Gate which he claims is dangerous

Pictured is Cyclist Matt Turner in the cycle lane at the junction of Pinstone Street and Furnival Gate which he claims is dangerous

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Sheffield was pushed this week to make the going easier and safer for cyclists.

Cycle campaigners pointed to the city being bottom of a league table designed to reflect the commitment of eight major local authorities.

But the council insisted it was making progress, having signed up to the recommendations of a local cycling inquiry.

Nationally, CTC, the UK’s largest cycling charity, stepped up pressure for the big cities to make cycling safe, convenient and enjoyable for people of all ages and abilities as part of its national Space for Cycling campaign.

Its survey ranked the number of councillors backing the campaign outside London. Newcastle came top followed by Manchester and Nottingham. Sheffield was eighth.

Matt Turner, of the Sheffield Cycle Campaign, said: “I wish Sheffield councillors were as supportive of Space for Cycling as those in Newcastle. We risk being left behind while other cities forge ahead. We need to change how we think about our roads and transform them into inviting places where people feel safe cycling.”

He said Sheffield had “plenty of words, but no action”.

A current contentious issue is a scheme to ban left turns from Penistone Road into Herries Road South. It was drawn up to create a new layout to benefit cyclists and pedestrians, but a final decision is awaited amid concerns over ‘tortuous’ diversions.

Cabinet member Leigh Bramall said ranking cities purely on backing the Space for Cycling campaign was “extremely misleading. In Sheffield we already have our own cycling strategy at an advanced stage, and this national campaign is just one part of this. Sheffield councillors conducted a comprehensive scrutiny inquiry into cycling in the city earlier this year and have taken action to promote cycling in the city.”

The needs of cyclists were already a key part of city development. “New cycle pumps have been installed around the city to aid commuters, we are actively creating and improving cycle routes on a constant basis and, through schemes such as CycleBoost, people can loan a bike, learn to ride, learn to fix their bikes and learn how to commute confidently.”

Coun Bramall said Sheffield’s commitment to cycling was reflected in the only inner-city mountain bike course, at Parkwood Springs.