SCC carry on installing crap cycle lanes

In March 2013 CycleSheffield had a full and frank discussion with SCC and we think it was agreed that cycle audits would start ‘soon’ and forthwith cycle lanes would be painted to the DfT recommended standards (i.e 1.5 m wide) except where this was not deemed possible; in which case we would be consulted.

In late October/beginning of November 2013, SCC have painted a contraflow cycle lane on Cumberland St at the bottom of the Moor.  It runs from the junction with South Lane (corner with The Moorfoot Tavern) up towards Moore St and peters out just past Bishop St (at the back of Wickes).  At least if you won’t be able to cycle on the Moor then you can cycle across it.

The photo above shows how it starts. Note that you have to cycle over a drain because the island used to hold up the pole is so big. Notice that the white line is inside the width of the pinchpoint – intelligent, thoughtful work, eh?

At the start you have to cycle through a 1m wide pinchpoint (which has been there a while) onto the newly painted cycle lane. Note the cross hatching to guide oncoming drivers away from the island forming the pinchpoint(!)  Also note that the solid white line starts less than 1m from the kerb presumably to ensure that you are hugging it.  The photo below shows that the width of the lane to the solid white line is 0.92 m at this point.   (NB bike training guidance is to ride a metre from the kerb).

This is the signage at the entrance.  Although it is double yellow lines loading can take place before 8 and after 6.30.  There are no signs on poles to show it is a contraflow cycle lane and that bikes can enter but a bike sign is marked on the floor.
The width doesn’t change much until you get to where the Moor intersects with Cumberland St. There is a pinchpoint here so that pedestrians only have a single lane of road to cross. I presume that cyclists are allowed to continue on this newly laid asphalt surface (see picture below) and will share it with pedestrians who will be walking across your direction of travel in both directions.
Note in the photo above the uneven nature of the surfaces and the slope, a reverse camber, on the black asphalt. Shouldn’t cycle lanes be level-ish?
The black bit of pavement is 1.7 m wide to the kerb (see picture above). The cycle lane is at most 1m wide and the ball bollard at ground or wheel level must be there to guide you away from veering onto the road and ensuring you don’t take up more than 1m of width of the black asphalt, although you are more likely to collide with it whilst keeping an eye out for peds. Neat looking job eh? What a showcase of cycling facilities that will welcome cyclists to the redeveloped Moor and the opening of the new market!
As you go across the black asphalt at the pinchpoint you are guided by the second ball bollard at wheel level and re-enter the contraflow cycle lane on the road (photo above)
This cycle lane looks as narrow as the other one on the other side but is in fact 1.03 m from the kerb to the start of the solid white line (photo below). You’ve gained 11 cm of space but it’s still not 1.5m wide
Just after the YMCA the cycle lane, still against on-coming traffic, is marked with dashed lines so it becomes advisory because vehicles will need to have access in and out of the National Tyres depot and vehicles will be need to be able to come out of Bishop St and turn left into the path of cycles to go along Cumberland St to Moore St or turn right to go onto the on-coming cycles and into the tyre depot.
And there is a solo motorbike parking bay between the two entrances of the tyre depot on the left hand side of the cycle lane so they will need to go across the cycle lane in order to park and leave.
The cycle lane ceases just past Bishop St and you can make your way onto the Moore St cycle lane or take a right across oncoming traffic on Cumberland St to access the on-pavement cycle lane. See the map which shows a bus parked across it. This means, once you have cycled over the bus, you can use the toucan crossing to get across Charter Row to access Fitzwilliam St, if you can figure out which lane to use on which island.

What this cycle lane shows is:

  • a lack consultation with cyclists before it was put in;

  • a lack of of clear thinking about hazards, e.g the safe width of a contraflow cycle lane, lane markings for a contraflow cycle lane, the low-level bollards, the unevenness of the path at the ped pinchpoint, lack of adequate signage for cycle lane entry or for oncoming traffic to indicate a contraflow cycle lane

  • no conformity with DfT guidance (contrary to promises made by SCC);

  • poor workmanship – it looks crap as well as it is crap and carries the meaning that cycling can be treated like crap;

  • promises made by SCC at CycleForum are not worth a thing and/or there is no clear leadership at SCC of what ought to take place and no management or monitoring of what is taking place.

The hazards do not stop there.  The main oncoming traffic is buses and taxis.  When I went to survey it, on Thursday 7 Nov, a bus had stopped to set down and pick up passengers.  But the driver had stopped the bus away from the kerb (for no apparent reason, the car illegally parked behind did not prevent him pulling in.)  Note that he is more ‘out’ of the marked bus stop (the yellow dashed line) than ‘in’ it.


This meant that buses and taxis overtaking his bus went into the cycle lane (visible on the left of the photo) even though it is marked with a solid white line.  Has anybody told the bus companies what has been installed on this road?

CycleSheffield requests that the person who designed this cycle lane comes to the next CycleForum (Tue 19 Nov 2013) to explain the rationale behind this design and discuss the principles of designing cycle facilities.  The proposed Cycle Schemes Sub Committee could look at a redesign as a matter of urgency.

And 7 months after what we thought was a ground-breaking CycleForum to agree to collaborate – cycle audits have not started either ….

Mick Nott

Chair, CycleSheffield

7 Nov 2013











13 thoughts on “SCC carry on installing crap cycle lanes

  1. I don’t think my city likes me :o(

    Even as a born and bred Sheffielder (age 40) I find the cycling infrastructure in Sheffield very difficult to fathom.

    1. Couldn’t agree more Sara and that is what CycleSheffield is trying to improve and change.

      If you’re not a member then please consider joining


  2. Agreed: crap!
    If Sheffield City Council is serious about promoting its citizens’ health and wellbeing and countering climate change, it needs to take a long, hard look at its cycling provision.
    There are far too many cycle lanes that run for a few metres and then stop abruptly, or where cars are allowed to park (Clarkehouse Road is appalling, forcing cyclists out into the middle of the road).

  3. Coukdn’t agree more Robert. There are reasons why cycle lanes stop and start but that doesn’t excuse the lack of drive to improve the situation. If you’re not a member then please consider joining us.


  4. I agree with every point in this article, this cycle path is very poorly designed and IMHO will cause more confusion and potential accidents than it will mitigate against. The bit where the path crosses the footpath is very poor and actually dangerous for all road users !

    That said and IMHO just as bad is the tone of the article though. If I was the council I don’t think I’d be receptive to people discussing my work in such a derogative and sarcastic tone as…

    “Notice that the white line is inside the width of the pinchpoint – intelligent, thoughtful work, eh?”

    “poor workmanship – it looks crap as well as it is crap and carries the meaning that cycling can be treated like crap;”

    If cycle sheffield wants to be taken seriously then maybe it should drop the school yard tone and be a little more professional.

    I think Cycle Sheffield is a great organisation doing really good work but I think it has to be careful how it manages its stakeholders, failure to do so will result in doors being closed.

    1. Point taken Simon.
      I’m not sure what to say in mitigation other than “crap cycle lanes” is a well known phrase and even the title of one or two books.
      Yes I have used sarcasm at points but not throughout the survey report. Its not an invective piece.
      I could have said “Notice that the white line is inside the width of the pinchpoint. It would be more intelligent and thoughtful to have placed the white line level with the off-side of the island on which the pole stands – that’s one and a half metres”
      However the point of the sarcasm is that the gap is only 1m and they still lay the line inside that which shows poor training and monitoring of work and demonstrates very unintelligent and thoughtless behaviour.

      The results are poor design by people who are demonstrating poorly managed, professional incompetence and are not trustworthy with what they say. This is a forthright thing to say and its true.
      We are forthright with SCC – its the only language they seem to understand, and I would argue that being sarcastic has its place too – especially when SCC seem to be going back on what they said they would do
      (Perhaps I read Private Eye too much.)
      However our forthright assertive but pro-active approach has resulted in a better, more professional dialogue with the SCC.
      Thank you for commenting on our good work and if you really want to make a difference to our work then please join.
      Its easy and inexpensive at

  5. Shame to see that SCC is clearly just paying lip service to the safety of cyclists. However it is many times more thanTameside council pay as in Hyde we have 0 cycle lanes and even less thought is given to cyclists when it comes to anything cycling related. Not so much an uphill battle. More a mountain to climb!!!

    1. Sorry to hear that Matthew.
      It’s a sad world where a person with no cycle facilities envies a person with poor cycle facilities.
      The frustrating thing is that SCC can put in good cycle facilities – they have just put donw full 1.5m wide cycle lanes on a major arterail route even through pinch points and it does make a difference to the way that drivers give cyclists space.


    1. Thanks for that Pete – interesting, I wasn’t aware of this study.
      Given the choice of 1.2m cycle lanes or 1.5m cycle lanes i’d go for 1.5m
      and we observed for about 20 mins cars moving from a section of road with cycle lane to no cyle lane and observed them all move in towards the gutter restricting space for cyclists.
      we’ll ahve to collect evidence like you tho’
      I like your methods though very thorough


  6. Yes, that is what you will tend to observe – at times when the space is not occupied by a cyclist – motorists will tend to keep to the centre of the lane. Of course the oncoming motorists will also tend to be closer to the opposite gutter which leaves more space in the middle to move into when overtaking.

  7. NB the cycle lane has now been coated with red asphalt and extends over what had previously been a projecting trapezoid at the crossing at the bottom of the moor. Much better but still too narrow.

    1. Thanks for the info Will. I’ll give it another look this weekend to see how far the red apahlat goes towards Moore St and scrutinise signage as well – I am not sure what signage there is at the shared space with peds or for traffic oncoming to cycles.
      It is v complicated at Moorfoot with the needs of pedestrians, the access needs of businesses on Cumberland St, the access from Bishop St, it is a major bus/taxi route, the bus/taxi gate which other drivers do use, no cycling on the Moor (although as the Market development no longer has a residential component we are querying this rule)and so on.
      I think I can ‘see’ what the lane is there for – it connects the cycle ring route around the inner ring road with Charter Row and Fitzwilliam St and all places connected to them. I use it most often for cycling up to Devonshire Green.


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