13 May 2014

TOUR DE FRANCE PLANS FOR LASTING LEGACY

Sheffield is planning to take full advantage from the excitement building around hosting one of the world’s top sporting events.

A host of ideas are set to take shape following the massive boom in cycling in recent years to improve the quality of life in Sheffield and people’s general health.

The City Council is aiming to build on their investment in hosting this year’s prestigious Tour de France cycle race by using it as a platform to encourage more people to take to their bikes.


There are significant economic, health and environmental benefits that an increase in cycling would bring to Sheffield. A number of innovative schemes are planned to improve the local infrastructure and make more use of the city’s green cycle routes. This would link into the existing cycle network, mainly along the main radial routes and also into the residential and city centre 20 mph zones.

More will be done to improve facilities for mountain biking and BMX riding, and work will be carried out with the Peak District National Park to develop leisure and sports cycling.

Among the ideas being planned over the next year are opportunities to allow more people to try cycling to work and to provide training for those who need it. At the moment around two percent of people cycle to work and the aim is to double this by 2024. The intention is to increase the number of bike trips in the city by around 10 percent by 2025 and to increase this to 25 percent by 2050.

Cycling will be made easier and safer for everyone and the local cycling provision will also be reviewed and improved, including cycle parking in key locations and ‘Bike Doctor’ sessions to help cyclists maintain their bikes.

A series of special signs are to be erected along the route for those enthusiasts who want to re-live the event at their leisure as a lasting legacy to celebrate the Tour visiting the region. In Sheffield the four summits* will be signed to highlight the challenges this section of the route will pose to the Tour riders.

Facilities for bike hire will be extended to build on the work by the University of Sheffield. These will be based around the city centre at the transport interchange, both university campuses and residential blocks, both private sector and university-owned.

New bike hubs will be created – one in the city centre and two satellite locations – to provide storage and changing facilities, maintenance and repair, and bike hire. The city centre hub would be enhanced to create a destination for more than just cycling and one of the satellites would be built alongside the Olympic legacy project at the national centre for sports and exercise medicine.

A series of cycling events will be developed – festivals, challenges, organised rides and sportives – to raise the profile of cycling in the city.

There was an impressive 80 per cent increase in the number of Sheffield residents cycling to work between 2001 and 2011 and cycling increased by 106 per cent in the city during that period.

Simon Green, the Council’s Executive Director for Place said: “Our aim is to get a much broader range of local people cycling – not just healthy people or sporty young males, but people of all ages and backgrounds, in urban and rural areas.

“We want to change the culture of how we use our roads, so that people are no longer afraid to cycle and are willing to encourage their children to enjoy cycling. Our streets, roads and local communities, need to become places for people, where cycling and walking are safe and normal.”

It has been shown that cyclists tend to be healthier than the average motorist and can expect to live longer. After just a few weeks of regular cycling, regardless of age, gender or initial physical fitness, the cyclist will be fitter and enjoy a greater sense of well-being.

Regular exercise, such as cycling, halves the chances of suffering from heart disease, the single largest cause of death in Britain, and provides protection from strokes, diabetes and certain types of cancer.

There are also important impacts on the environment. Air pollution in Sheffield is estimated to account for around 500 deaths a year in the city and these deaths are almost all preventable. More people cycling would help reduce air pollution and congestion.

The report suggests that one of the biggest barriers for people to cycle more is concern for personal safety, with various issues being mentioned. These range from poor road design to inconsiderate driver behaviour – especially the treatment of cyclists and lack of consideration of cyclists by other road users – enforcement of dangerous driving and parking in cycle lanes.

Simon Green added: “There has been a major increase in the number of people wanting to cycle in our city and it is in everyone’s interest for us to help make it easier and safer for them to do so. There are a number of things that can be introduced in the short and longer term to develop cycling and to move towards the Get Britain Cycling’s targets.

“The Tour de France will raise the profile of cycling in this region and it is our aim to build on the interest generated by this exciting international event. We will continue to develop existing schemes, such as the 20 mph zones, and to promote new cycle ways using existing green routes across the city.”

In addition to specific cycling led legacy initiatives, Sheffield City Council has started developing an Outdoor Economic Strategy. The strategy will elevate Sheffield’s profile as an outdoor destination, highlighting its natural geographic assets as a city including its close proximity to the Peak District and also building on Sheffield’s reputation as a City of Sport, sport technology and healthcare technologies.

Ends

Notes for editors: * There are four summits in the Sheffield section of Stage 2 – Côte de Midhopestones, Côte de Bradfield, Côte d’Oughtibridge and the Côte de Wincobank. These are all challenging climbs, but Jenkin Road will present the steepest climb of any section of the whole Tour de France route, with a 33 percent gradient – and less than 5 kilometres from the end of the 198 kilometre stage finish.

For further information please contact Warwick Toone, Communications Officer on 07764 659182 or 0114 205 3546. E-mail: warwick.toone@sheffield.gov.uk. For out of office hours media enquiries ring 07711 153995.