Campaign group CycleSheffield have called on Sheffield City Council to take action on tram track accidents and are taking legal advice after hundreds were reported since January 2015.
CycleSheffield set up www.tramcrash.co.uk to allow cyclists to report accidents occurring on the tram tracks and have received more than 280 reports since, although the actual number may be much higher as CycleSheffield believe a significant number of accidents remain unreported.
Now CycleSheffield, who have been campaigning for over 20 years, are encouraging Sheffield City Council to take action on the accidents, which put many people off using their bikes as a mode of transport.
CycleSheffield chair Ian Carey said, “Trams are an important part of Sheffield’s public transport system, but sadly the issue of cycle accidents on the tram tracks is a major problem that must be tackled. Existing cycle infrastructure is poor, which discourages too many people from using their cycles on the roads of Sheffield.
“CycleSheffield want short-term fixes like cycle paths around the back of tram platforms to avoid the narrowing road. In the long term, a high-quality cycle network including segregated cycle paths on main roads will encourage more journeys by cycle and stop people having to share the road with tram tracks.”
He added: “CycleSheffield hope that by providing the council with detailed evidence of the accidents they might finally take some action. Unfortunately this has not been the case. However, we will continue to work with the city council to improve cycling infrastructure.”
Dexter Johnstone, the driving force behind the www.tramcrash.co.uk website said, “Cycling along a tram track is a harrowing experience which puts people off cycling in Sheffield. The surface is increasingly poor with numerous potholes and little room for manoeuvre.
“Approaching tram platforms is a risky business, especially with vehicles passing too close and too fast for comfort. The tram network is 20 years old and there is no good reason why improvements to reduce cycle accidents have not been built by now.
“The council has still not implemented its own recommendations made in its 1998 ‘Investigation Into Cyclist Safety on the Supertram Network’.”
Kay Guccione recounted her accident involving tram tracks, saying, “As I approached Bamforth Street tram stop the platform overhangs the road and I moved into the space between tracks to pass the stop.
“On moving back my front wheel fell in the track and I was thrown over the handlebars. I cracked helmet, lost a lot of skin elbow to wrist on my right arm, suffered deep grazes right ankle to right knee and a swollen knee. I was shocked and upset and too terrified to get back on the bike. I wheeled my bike home and sold it.”
CycleSheffield have discussed the issue with a solicitor who represents cyclists injured in tram track accidents in Manchester. The solicitor has met with a barrister who thinks that many claims made against those responsible for the tram network infrastructure would ‘have merit’.
“Anyone who has suffered a tram track accident in the last three years should contact CycleSheffield if they wish to consider making a claim,” Mr Johnstone said.