Safe Cycling in Sheffield

Cycling is a safe activity in Sheffield, but this advice will help to keep you from harm. 

  1. If you've come up from the flatlands, be advised that we are in a very hilly area. If you do not have a bike with a wide range of gears available, you may consider modifying your bike to provide lower gearing for climbing hills. Some people ride fixed-wheel bikes in Sheffield and find that although they don't have gears they can be light enough to get you up the hills.  All bikes should have proper brakes fitted.
  2. Avoid the on-road tram routes. If you can't avoid them, take extreme care when crossing the tramlines especially if you are on a road bike with thin wheels. Tram stops are a particular problem - slow down or stop, check behind, signal to on-coming traffic that you are going to move out, and cross the tracks at an angle of at least 45 degrees . WARNING - tram tracks can be, and have been, lethal. Only folding bikes may be taken on the tram. You should not use the tram lanes in the High Street.
  3. Avoid the Brook Hill roundabout. Use the Arts Tower and University concourses and Leavygreave cycle route  instead. 
  4. Read and follow the Highway Code. Understanding the rules of the road, for drivers as well as cyclists, will make you a better and safer cyclist.
  5. Do not cycle on pavements and pedestrian areas except where these are clearly marked as shared use, in which case you should always give way to pedestrians. Cyclists are allowed to ride on the University Concourse. Please show particular consideration to other users in this area.
  6. Use the signposted routes which are part of Sheffield's developing Strategic Cycle Network, rather than busy major routes. These tend to have less motor traffic and often have dedicated cycle through-routes not available to motor traffic, and can be faster and safer. (The route between the University and the Station, via Division St and the Town Hall, and the alternative route alongside the Ring Road can be particularly useful)   However, you DO NOT HAVE TO USE THEM. There is no such thing as a mandatory cycle lane in the U.K. The design speed of cycle tracks is 30 k.p.h. (18mph) - if you are travelling faster than that you should be on the road for your own safety and that of others. You can use all bus lanes in Sheffield.
  7. ALWAYS stop at red traffic lights. Use "Toucan" crossings with green cycle lights where they exist. Always stop at Zebra crossings if there is someone waiting to cross, as long as it is safe to do so.
  8. ALWAYS pass slow moving traffic with care. It is safer to overtake on the offside, where drivers are expecting to see overtaking traffic. If there is a marked cycle lane in the nearside it's OK to use it with care to get past traffic - but beware of left-turning traffic, and see (9) below.
  9. In Bus Lanes and on-road cycle lanes, beware of on-coming traffic turning right. This is a common cause of collisions, where a driver travelling in your direction has stopped to let a car turn right unaware that there is a cyclist approaching on the nearside.
  10. Cycle at least one metre from the kerb. This is safer because (i) you will avoid potholes, drains, broken glass etc which can cause accidents (ii) Drivers will have to make a correct manoeuvre to pass you, rather than attempting to squeeze past in a dangerous fashion.
  11. Don't "slipstream" other cyclists without their consent - keep a safe distance.
  12. If approaching horse riders from behind, always give a warning.
  13. Do not lock your bike to railings on campus. They may be removed in which case you will have to pay a fine. As well as the Cycle Hub located on the lower part of the Concourse, there should be proper cycle parking facilities near your building, if there isn't notify the Estates and Facilities Management Help Desk.
  14. Do make sure you lock your bike securely. The Security pages offer advice on this. 
  15. Do not bring cycles into University Buildings. Sorry, but it contravenes safety regulations. 
  16. Carry any luggage - books etc , in proper carriers. Never dangle plastic bags or other items from your handlebars.
  17. You don't have to wear a helmet, but you may be safer if you do. However, you should be aware that this may result in motor traffic passing closer to you, as this research from Bath University shows. For more information about helmet wearing visit
  18. Use reflective clothing and lights at night. (Flashing LED's attached to your bike are legal)
  19. Inside the Campus, report problems to the Estates helpline via your departmental representative. Outside the Campus, report potholes, missing or damaged bike route signs, etc to the ActionLine: 0114 2734567. Report motorists who behave illegally - e.g. are illegally parked in cycle lanes - to the Police: 101. If your bike is stolen or vandalised on University Property, contact Security Control (24085) and the Police.
  20. Never cycle when under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
  21. When passing parked cars, ensure you leave sufficient room and look out for people opening their doors without looking. It is better to hold up traffic behind you than risk a serious injury. Check in rear view mirrors - if you can see someone in the car, beware!
  22. Heading for the Peak? Take your bike on the train to the Hope Valley, no pre-booking required. You can take your bike free on all Northern Rail trains - subject to space - you need a (free) reservation for East Midlands, and other Express services. Cross-Country Trains have one non-reservable and two reservable spaces on each train (more if the train units are doubled up).
    You can book your bike on-line through the Southern Railway, Hull Trains and Red Spotted Hanky websites  You can also make a bike reservation at the ticket counter at the station. For more information on bike-rail follow the link on the right panel. 
  23. Join your local cycling campaign and campaign for better conditions for cyclists! In Sheffield it's CycleSheffield.