Sheffield cyclists protest at cycle lanes being blocked by police postponed following apology

Cyclists abandon protest at police decision to block safe cycleway with away fans' coaches on match day following apology at council meeting

by Sarah Barth   March 22, 2014  

Parking on Asline Road © @MattTurner86 via Twitter

Cyclists in Sheffield have abandoned a protest at police officers who direct away fans' coaches to park on bike lanes - despite a senior officer saying it was inappropriate to do so - after a senior officer apologised and said it wouldn't happen again.

Cyclists say these police actions including officers parking away support coaches along cycle tracks near Bramall Lane on Sheffield United match days are ‘putting them at risk’,

The parking of up to 50 coaches on Asline Road – part of the Sheaf Valley cycle track route - sparked a protest today. The protest organiser, Matt Turner, said the road “is one of the few safe ways to avoid cycling along the terrifying Queens Road or London Road.”

But speaking at the Sheffield City Council Cycle Forum this week South Yorkshire Police's Motorcycle and Roads Policing Inspector said that although there were policing reasons for blocking the route, the police now accepted that it was a hazard for cyclists.

To listen to a recording of the meeting, click here.

Mr Turner told road.cc the protest "will be rescheduled if it happens again." but that it "felt provocative to continue after the meeting."

Earlier in the week, according to the Twitter account SUFC_Police, “Asline Rd is coach holding area. We ensure safety always and its also part of the road closure plan.”

Mr Turner has campaigned against abuse of cycle lanes in Sheffield for more than a year.

He wrote on his blog: “The police need to be setting an example. They’re the ones who should be stopping that sort of behaviour, not causing it.”

Inspector Neil Mutch, of South Yorkshire Police’s operational planning unit, responded to Mr Turner saying: “Parking of the coaches there is inappropriate.

“Parking coaches on Asline Road has been custom and practice for many years. However, I appreciate this doesn’t make it right to block the cycle path.

“I am aware some of my team have been working with Sheffield United to resolve this issue.”

17 user comments

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If there is a formal road closure in place on match days, all road traffic - including cyclists - are prevented from using the road. Consideration needs to be given to whether or not there are alternative places for the match coaches to park, in order not to push cyclists and other road users onto hazardous routes.

Mike S

posted by Mike Smith [7 posts]
22nd March 2014 - 18:54

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The Police typically hate cyclists, so it is unsurprising that they would use cycling facilities as a coach park and compromise cycle safety in doing so.

posted by severs1966 [76 posts]
22nd March 2014 - 19:21

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Really? My personal (and admittedly limited) experience with the police here in Scotland has been nothing but positive so far.

Work harder. Buy a tank.

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posted by userfriendly [285 posts]
22nd March 2014 - 19:25

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I also have been treated with respect by the police, as a cyclist, due to a road accident here in the west country.

posted by rojre [21 posts]
23rd March 2014 - 8:46

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Must check out Parkhead and Ibrox on match days sometime and the attempts at delivering a cycle route in the vicinity.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [481 posts]
23rd March 2014 - 9:25

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My experience of South Yorkshire police officers in Sheffield is that generally speaking, they are afflicted by the same car centric bias as the the rest of thepopulation.

As an example, when my primary school age child was very nearly run over by a man reversing a transit van blindly along the pavement outside school at chucking out time I had a very hard time getting them to take my complaint seriously.
Eventually they spoke to the driver and advised him that in future when driving blindly along pavements he should "toot his horn".

I have had many unsatisfactory dealings with SYP when reporting Taxi's blocking contra flow cycle lanes, close passes, aggressive motorists etc, they just don't see cyclist safety as a priority and don't seem to understand the issues faced by cyclists.

posted by Sara_H [53 posts]
23rd March 2014 - 10:46

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It's ok...they've said sorry...bet it happens again and again.

posted by northstar [1100 posts]
23rd March 2014 - 11:41

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As a football fan I can say that SYP are by far the worst police in England. Bully boys who hide behind their uniform, incapable of actually policing any major event and ignore the needs of children and pensioners at football matches. And as for Sara who had to complain about a driver on the pavement? you should have taken it further and put a complaint in. He shouldn't have been on the pavement at all let alone getting away with just a warning.

posted by Shep73 [137 posts]
23rd March 2014 - 12:39

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There is a fairly good shared cyclist/pedestrian facility that runs alongside the A2016 Western Way near HMP Belmarsh that regularly is blocked by media and police vehicles.

Also. How often do you see temporary roadwork's signs that are placed on the cycle facility? Normally with another sign saying "Cyclists Dismount".

Basically, what I'm saying is that South Yorkshire Police's attitude is not unique.

posted by levermonkey [362 posts]
23rd March 2014 - 14:11

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userfriendly wrote:
Really? My personal (and admittedly limited) experience with the police here in Scotland has been nothing but positive so far.

I had a shocking experience with the Police at the end of last year (in the southwest). I expect apathy, but their attitude was appalling, this opinion was shared by my solicitor and the Police sergeant who took my statement. I know it is wrong to judge the majority by the actions of the few but it has still left me bitter.

posted by SideBurn [790 posts]
23rd March 2014 - 15:27

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I suppose its naïve of me to think the football club should provide the land for proper parking spaces for these coaches? They are the ones making money off of the fans, no? Its their commercial business, why aren't they providing the necessary facilities their business requires instead of nicking space from others?

I suppose they could argue they pay business rates and other taxes, but so do supermarkets and they provide parking for their customer base.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [668 posts]
23rd March 2014 - 16:08

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I think, to be fair, that any city does well of its football club Fluffy. It makes sense for 'the city' to be as accommodating as possible, many stadiums were built before 'parking' was an overriding necessity (I am assuming this is the case here). I suspect that using the cycle-path is considered the 'solution of least resistance' -or was- considered the solution of least resistance!
After a bit of 'people power' the Police/council will go and pick on someone else.

posted by SideBurn [790 posts]
23rd March 2014 - 16:44

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A V Lowe wrote:
Must check out Parkhead and Ibrox on match days sometime and the attempts at delivering a cycle route in the vicinity.

There's a rather decent cycle lane separated from the traffic along bits of London Road. Parts of the area around Celtic Park are closed to motor traffic but not to bikes and all buses are parked in coach parks.

posted by paulfg42 [374 posts]
23rd March 2014 - 18:42

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In response to Fluffy regarding football coach parking. [Sorry this is messy but I originally quoted the wrong comment] D Oh

I could be mistaken [and I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong] but when the plans were submitted for the Emirates Stadium that there was coach parking under the stadium. This was because one of the main objections was match-day coach parking.

Don't think it this was ever implemented, just quietly disappeared.

posted by levermonkey [362 posts]
23rd March 2014 - 19:04

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In reply to the comments about SYP at football matches. Have to say I've been to hundreds of games in Sheffield with the blue half of the city and never once had a problem with the policing.

Also agree bit of a stupid place to park the coaches but to be honest I'd thought most people not going to the match (pedestrians, cyclists and cars) would avoid the area anyway.

posted by Tinman [8 posts]
24th March 2014 - 12:17

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Tinman wrote:
In reply to the comments about SYP at football matches. Have to say I've been to hundreds of games in Sheffield with the blue half of the city and never once had a problem with the policing.

Also agree bit of a stupid place to park the coaches but to be honest I'd thought most people not going to the match (pedestrians, cyclists and cars) would avoid the area anyway.


Asline Road is part of a major cycle route into the city centre from that side of the city. I use it all the time.
As someone who has a zero interest in football (unless its my 11 year old playing and even then I haven't a clue whats going on TBH) I wouldn't be able to tell you if my life depended on it if Sheff United were playing a match at home or not, I certainly don't organise my life based on their matches.

posted by Sara_H [53 posts]
24th March 2014 - 20:39

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To clarify, the police have found somewhere else to park the coaches but they need to go through some legal hoops to make that happen, so it will take a bit of time. They did also say they might be times in the future when they need to use Asline Rd for coach parking but they would use the roadway rather than the cycleway. We'll be keeping an eye on things!

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posted by wildnorthlands [26 posts]
25th March 2014 - 0:10

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