CycleSheffield has been collecting information about cycle accidents on the tramlines in Sheffield. If you’ve crashed on the tram tracks while riding your bike please report it online at www.tramcrash.co.uk.
What’s the problem?
Tram tracks pose the biggest danger to cyclists in Sheffield and they deter people from making journeys by bike. We’ve now received over 200 reports of cycle crashes on the tram tracks and the key pattern emerging is that they appear to happen to anyone regardless of cycling ability and experience and do not appear to be caused by cyclist behaviour.
The presence of tracks on the road also constrains a rider’s movement and makes it harder to move to the centre of the carriageway e.g to pass obstacles such as parked cars.
People should not be expected to cycle on roads with this hazard. Alternatives must be provided if more people are to have the freedom to choose to cycle in Sheffield.
What should be done?
Many roads with tram tracks are wide enough to allow the creation of off-carriageway cycle paths (e.g Langsett Road and Sheffield Road).
Where space is more limited, a direct and continuous alternative route must be provided and clearly signed.
Where can I find information about how to ride along tram tracks safely?
Sheffield City Council
, Sheffield Hallam University
and Sheffield University
all provide advice for cycling along tram routes. However, treat with caution as our research shows cycle crashes occurring even when official advice was followed. The only real way to prevent these crashes occurring is to design routes so that people can cycle without coming into contact with the tracks.
Common misconceptions about tram track accidents
“If you can’t ride along and not crash on tram tracks you shouldn’t be riding a bike”
If you think this, you’ve obviously not crashed on tram tracks…yet! Our evidence shows that it can happen to anyone regardless of level of experience. It happens to people who’ve been riding in the city for years, people who are new to cycling, people who’ve crashed before, people who mountain bike and people who ride every single day.
Accidents can be prevented by crossing the tracks at right angles
The evidence shows that these accidents can occur whatever angle the tracks are crossed at. Also it is often not possible to cross the tracks at right angles due to track or road curves or the presence of traffic.
The problem can be solved by rubber infills in the tracks
“Their use cannot be endorsed. Whilst the intention of these ‘infills’ is to address the hazard of cyclist in grooves, in doing so they introduce a wide range of other issues and hazards to other users. This point is supported by trials carried out on tram systems worldwide.”
From Nottingham City Cycling Design Guide