CycleSheffield response to new cycle route between Deepcar and Stocksbridge

Sheffield Council are planning to create a cycle route between Deepcar and Stocksbridge (planning application 17/03102/RG3) . Information about the route can be seen here.

CycleSheffield have responded to the plans:

CycleSheffield support the creation of new cycle routes / infrastructure in Sheffield. We welcome the fact that this green route will be properly surfaced and lit making it more accessible for more users throughout the year. We hope that this will form part of a wider cycle network in Stocksbridge and Deepcar which will enable more people to make more everyday journeys by bike rather than by car.

However, we object to the installation of access barriers on cycle routes.

Even if you are physically able to get through them, any kind of barrier is a cause of inconvenience, making a walking or cycling journey less convenient and appealing. They are especially awkward and can be frustrating for people with pushchairs, shopping trolleys, crutches, walking sticks/frames, or holding children’s hands. This discriminates against more vulnerable people and isn’t what Sheffield needs when we are aiming to increase the amount of physical activity people do daily.

Narrow barriers are obviously obstructive to people cycling who are less physically able to lift and squeeze their handlebars through the gap.

Both chicane-type and K-type barriers can prevent use of paths completely for users of larger and less nimble cycles like tandems, some recumbents, various trikes often used by disabled cyclists, and cargo bikes. They also create access issues for wheelchair users, mobility scooter users and people with prams and pushchairs.

As well as being discriminatory access barriers are totally ineffective at preventing motorised bikes on cycle paths since motorised and pedal bicycles have similar dimensions.

The London Cycle Design Standards (see page 73), recognised as the one of the highest quality standards in the UK, recommends against the use of all barriers, because of the accessibility issues they create.

The latest cycle design guidance for Highways England (who are responsible for trunk routes, and cycleways associated with them) goes further and requires that barriers must not be used (paragraph 2.3.8).

It is illegal to ride motorised bikes, scooters etc on cycle paths and if this is a regular problem then this should be addressed by South Yorkshire Police. There are powers available to seize vehicles, which are used in other areas.

There hasn’t yet been a test case to set a clear legal precedent, but it is possible barriers like these could be breaking the Equality Act 2010.

2 thoughts on “CycleSheffield response to new cycle route between Deepcar and Stocksbridge

  1. This route has received conditional approval, one of the conditions being “Before the cycle/pedestrian route is opened for public use, a K-barrier and horse/hop/gate shall have been provided towards the western end of the route (with fencing to suit), all in accordance with details that shall first have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Reason: In the Interests of pedestrian safety.” Translation: We’re not listening!

    1. I’m gobsmacked.

      They also ignored the advice of their own access officer: ‘A row of bollards, some demountable, would be less of a barrier to disabled access then the
      proposed k barrier and vehicle gates.’

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