Call for Evidence
Cycling more than doubled in Sheffield between 2000 and 2011
1. What specific actions have helped the city achieve this growth?
- Various SCC initiatives.
- Individuals looking for creative ways to avoid increasingly heavy traffic, to improve their physical and mental health and to save transport costs.
2. What specific barriers prevent people from cycling or from cycling more frequently?
Fear of speeding/inconsiderate traffic, so feeling vulnerable as a road user.
3 What evidence is there from other large cities or towns (in the UK or abroad) on broadening and increasing participation in cycling, with a particular emphasis on improving the economic, health and environmental impacts?
The key prerequisite for sustainable travel is creating the conditions in which walking and cycling are more attractive than car use. Methods that pull people toward active travel include increasing the percentage of the local road network where speeds are limited e.g. to 20mph (30km/h)In Europe 30km/h speed limits are essential to sustainable travel policies in Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.
- In Portsmouth, which implemented 20mph limits on 94% of its roads in 2008, over 40% of respondents stated that “there has been a safer environment for walking and cycling; and as a result, around a third of respondents felt that there had been an increase in pedestrian and cyclist activities in local areas.”
- Health professionals see lower traffic speeds as a foundation for increasing “active travel” leading to healthier communities. The balance of evidence supporting the introduction of 20 mph limits to improve public health is substantial. The Association of Directors of Public Health with the National Heart Forum have a “position statement” on the benefits of a default 20mph limit for residential and urban areas.
- Traffic speeds and volumes are inversely correlated to levels of walking and cycling. As one side of the equation rises, the other falls. Interventions to cut traffic speeds and volumes promote walking and cycling and bring public health gains accentuated by critical mass effects. With more cyclists or walkers, safety increases due to their visibility and popularity, making drivers more conscious of vulnerable road users.
- Crucially cycling casualties were down 40% in Bristol’s 20mph limits and Cycling rose over 20%.
- Just 20% of child casualties happen on school journeys. Yet until recently transport officials had focused on engineering slower speeds with humped, school zones. These result in confusing limits, and zones only protect a few hundred metres near schools (about 17% of a school trip). Zones encourage parents to drop off in the “safe area” and then remind them to speed up on leaving it.
Children and their parents need to feel safe to cycle the routes to school, to local leisure destinations, and just outside their door.
- Exercising one hour daily is recommended for kids, yet with most not allowed to walk or cycle alone due to mum’s and dad’s concerns, few are active enough.
Nearly half of year 11 pupils (15 year olds) are unfit. This raises the risks of many other health problems such as heart disease. These and other conditions, including common mental illnesses such as Depression in adults, are proven to respond to exercise, including cycling.
- Wide 20mph limits are better because people who walk or cycle the journey enjoy a 20mph limit throughout the majority of their route.
Lower speeds mean less danger and parent ‘taxi-duty’ and more walking and cycling which means happier, healthier families with extra money to spend.
- Lower speeds also mean more localised prosperity as the prospect of cycling to use local facilities becomes more attractive, not to mention the increase in house prices in 20 areas.
4 What in your view are the top three actions that would broaden and increase cycling in Sheffield?
1. A default 20mph limit City wide, especially where people Live, Work, Play and Shop with exceptions for appropriate arterial routes.
2. Vigorous Engagement with the public re the Health and Wealth advantages of lower speeds for Sheffielders.
3. Appropriate and considered Enforcement where needed.