CYCLING campaigners in Sheffield are pushing for safer and clearer alternatives to Brook Hill roundabout, which has been highlighted as one of the most dangerous junctions in the country.
They want to pursue ideas with the council and the university, including a possible route through the adjoining campus which could help to avoid accidents at one of the biggest and busiest roundabouts in the city.
It has emerged as one of the top 10 blackspots in a campaign by The Times to make cities safer for cyclists.
“I believe the council has the data that shows this,” said Gareth Dent, secretary of Sheffield Cyclists Touring Club. “There is a high number of collisions on the roundabout and next to it.
“Our perspective is that is best avoided. We would like the council and the university to provide a safer alternative.”
Cyclists say the roundabout is dangerous because of its five spurs and its complexity, with motorists taking wrong lanes, then suddenly correcting themselves, posing a threat to people on two wheels.
Pedestrian crossings hold up traffic, and travelling from the city centre there is also a steep gradient, which makes it difficult for cyclists to keep pace with cars.
“I would use it first thing on a Sunday morning when I am going for a club ride if I am in a hurry,” said Mr Dent. “At other times of the week I would avoid it at all costs.”
The only safe alternative route from Walkley, he suggested, is through the university campus, although this would mix cyclists with pedestrians. And accidents have occurred on Bolsover Street when cyclists have stopped to turn right.
At the other side of the roundabout, Hounsfield Road could be used, but the curving tram tracks at the adjoining corner of Upper Hanover Street and Glossop Road can be a hazard to cyclists who are advised to negotiate tram tracks at right angles.
Mick Nott, chair of campaign group Cycle Sheffield, said he tended to avoid Brook Hill, and there were alternative cycle paths but they were not very well signed and not very well connected.
“There are a lot of ideas,” he said. “It’s a question of entering into discussions with the highway planners and the university.”
Mr Nott added: “If a route isn’t safe for cyclists, an alternative should be provided and signed.”
Nick Brelsford, business co-ordinator of the Pedal Ready cycle training co-operative, said Brook Hill roundabout “is typical of a junction designed for fast-moving traffic and can be a big deterrent to many cyclists. Campaigning on junctions is really important but unfortunately facilities designed for all road users on all roads will not arrive next week, and probably not for many years.”
He urged people to get the training they need to feel and be safer on all of the city’s roads. ‘Traffic taming’ sessions are funded by the council and delivered by Pedal Ready.
Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business, skills and development, said: “There are no plans to amend Brook Hill roundabout. Altering a key junction like this would cost millions and that is cash we simply do not have at present. That being said, there are alternative routes available to cyclists and we would always encourage them to use those facilities.
“There are underpasses and Toucan crossings to help cyclists to cross the ring road at various points. These divert cyclists away from such high-density traffic and increases their safety. I appreciate sometimes this means that cyclists may have to cycle further to find a safer route.
“We are committed to providing travel choice, we already have a network of cycle routes across the city that we are building on as and when funding is available to do so.”