By Rebecca O’Rourke
Accidents caused by tram tracks across the city have triggered outcry from local cyclists and members of Cycle Sheffield, a local campaign for a cycle-friendly city.
The problem has existed ever since the tram network was built over 20 years ago and cyclists are arguing that tram tracks are the biggest danger to them on the roads.
The council has issued a number of reports on the problem, but to the frustration of concerned cyclists across the city, nothing has yet been done.
Cycle Sheffield say these problems only get brushed off by the council and the blame is usually placed on the cyclist.
In January last year the organization set up a page for frustrated cyclists to report their tram-track related accidents and have since had 306 reports with over 25% of them leading to broken bones.
“The cycle infrastructure that has been built by Sheffield Council over the years is very poor,” say Cycle Sheffield. “Although this is typical of most places in the UK. It usually consists of painted lanes, often along busy roads, which offer no protection to cyclists.”
Sheffield Council has an ambitious target of having 10% of all journeys in 2025 to be made by bike, while the figure is only currently 0.8%.
The Department for Transport carried out a survey in 2011 where they found that two thirds of people believed “it’s too dangerous for me to cycle on the roads”, which often leads many young cyclists taking to the footpaths.
Regular cyclist Dexter Johnstone shared his experience from an accident: “I was going a different way to my usual commute home and joined a road with tram tracks which I did not expect.
“My bike slid out from under me and I landed on my side. I had to go to A&E to get my hip x-rayed because it had swollen up so badly. Luckily it was not broken.”
Cycle Sheffield has been lobbying the city council to make changes in the near future, but the problem continues.