Bikes banned from Sheffield-Rotherham trams in a blow for integrated transport

Risk assessment claims bikes could dirty passengers' clothes or 'become a projectile'

by Sarah Barth   November 2, 2013  

Supertram - Flickr Creative Commons - mwmbwls

Bikes will not be allowed on trams serving Sheffield, Rotherham and South Yorkshire, in a move cycle campaigners are calling a blow to integrated transport.

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive has said that calls to allow bicycles on the lower areas of the trams will not be heeded as they will be needed for buggies and wheelchairs.

In a report to the council, Stagecoach, who will operate the trams, adds that there are ‘safety risks’ involved with people carrying their bikes up into the raised sections.

Other risks idetified were the dirtying of other passengers' clothes and that bikes could 'become projectiles' when the trams braked.

Sheffield Central Labour MP Paul Blomfield told The Star that the council needed to think again.

He said: “It’s a disappointing report. Being able to take bikes on to trams is the norm throughout Europe and I regularly see bikes on the London underground.

“There is no reason why we cannot enable tram trains to be able to do the same.
“If not, there is a real risk we will be moving backwards in the promotion of cycling as part of an integrated transport strategy.”

Cycle Sheffield have been campaigning for over a year for a pilot scheme allowing bikes on the new network.

On its website the organisation writes: “CycleSheffield has been campaigning to get bikes on Supertram for a long time.

“We’ve conducted a one-day trial (no problems were encountered) and we’ve chartered trams to get large numbers of cyclists out for a ride on the Trans-Pennine Trail, in fact we hold the record for the largest number of bikes on the tram.

“However, we have yet to persuade Supertram to carry out an extended trial of bike carriage, and when we heard that they rather than Northern Rail would be responsible for Tram-Train, alarm bells rang.

“In June 2012 Sheffield City Council unanimously expressed its wish that bicycles should be allowed to be carried on all trains and that it would make efforts to ensure this service is also on tram-trains.

“It appears that the Council’s wishes and efforts have been ignored.”

A petition begun by one campaigner attracted 850 signatures before it closed last month.

According to the Supertram conditions of carriage, only folding bicycles may be brought onto the trams, although there are occasions where by prior arrangement with Supertram, cyclists can travel together with their bikes on a tram for a special event.

In 2010, it was estimated that a trial period of bicycles on trams would cost £2,000 for new signs and £9,700 for additional staff.

At the time, a separate report read:

Stagecoach Supertram conclude that the carriage of bicycles conflicts to a much greater extent than envisaged on more vulnerable passengers and as such they would prefer to prioritise use of this space by the elderly, infirm, those with shopping or young children, wheelchair users, those with pushchairs and those travelling with such users.
In contrast, heavy rail trains have more spaces available for other users with pushchairs and as trains are level, priority seating does not compete with bicycles for space in the same more limited way it does on trams.

One cyclist commented on the Star article that “SYPTE would do better to apply their risk assessing to carrying drunks, druggies, stinkys, and those who ought to be in an institution.”

13 user comments

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Just been to Hamburg and you can take bikes on S Bahn, U Bahn and even on some buses.
This isnt a logistical/ safety issue - its a cultural issue.

posted by Some Fella [840 posts]
2nd November 2013 - 20:16


TfL commissioned a report from TTK - world repute as tram specialists concerning cycle carriage on Croydon Tramlink in 2007 - report concluded a trial should be taken forward (unofficially bikes to go on trams) report remains in drawer somewhere at TfL 6 years later - no action.

TfL DLR has since August been running a trial on cycle carriage. The lack of any reports suggest that this is generally working OK. The Tram Train vehicles are an extension of 7 trams to a larger order for another system - where the same vehicles will carry cycles. Croydon's new trams are a model also made for Bergen, where cycles are carried, and some of the Bergen trams were delivered to Croydon to get them in place for testing and driver training....

First the laugh then they hate then you win?

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 [509 posts]
2nd November 2013 - 20:26


Please note: Last I time went on the Hamburg S Bahn, it was not allowed to bring a bike during rush hour (6-9 am and 5-7 pm). For that reason I usually travel with a bag to turn the bike into carry on luggage:

Some more pictures of Hamburg:

posted by Dr. Ko [109 posts]
2nd November 2013 - 20:33


A V Lowe wrote:

First the laugh then they hate then you win?


posted by northstar [1113 posts]
2nd November 2013 - 21:37


The Docklands Light Railway is currently undergoing a six month trial of bicycles on its trains.

There are some peak time restrictions. When I travelled in October (off peak) it was no problem. No worse than a baby buggy.

The excuse that bikes 'could dirty passengers clothes' is laughable. That is so pathetic that is shows that basically their attitude is can't be bothered, so ban them, easy fix.

If a bike could become a projectile then so could any object, e.g. small child, bag of sprouts, four pack of Tennants Extra, etc. Ridiculous.

At least they could look at the DLR trial. Is that so difficult?

posted by seanbolton [145 posts]
2nd November 2013 - 21:38


Dirty passengers clothes??

Report writer has obviously never sat on a stagecoach seat then Sick !!!!

posted by lakeland bimbler [15 posts]
2nd November 2013 - 22:22


Jeez, they actually stated they put priority to "people with shopping" over people commuting with a bike. Idiots.

Would think the Sheffield Council, who I'm sure is actually in charge of their concession to run the traims, could have some very strong words about them going against its wishes?

posted by jacknorell [679 posts]
3rd November 2013 - 11:15


Easily solved problem, fit a small saddle bag and claim your bike is a suitcase.


posted by rich22222 [142 posts]
3rd November 2013 - 11:57


How we've progressed...

15 minutes from 1955 including bikes on the train and no sign of Jon Snow.

posted by Bagpuss [103 posts]
3rd November 2013 - 20:58


Liverpool manages on MerseyRail, which is basically a tram system. The claims from Stagecoach are a complete and utter pile of rubbish....

posted by pdows47 [103 posts]
3rd November 2013 - 21:08


A jobsworth on Chiltern Railways once tried this argument with me. I was standing with my bike near the doors and he more or less told me I shouldn't even have got on with the bike as it could soil or tear other passengers' (sorry customers') clothes etc. I politely but firmly asked him why he wasn't using the same argument with a lady with a pushchair that was a lot more filthy than my bike and which was also blocking the vestibule (that was his posh word for that part of the train). He then told me I'd have to get off at the next station which was fine by me because it's where I was going anyway. Integrated transport policies, thay are having a laugh. It'll never work until we get an established bike culture in this country.

posted by Ridgebackrambler [13 posts]
4th November 2013 - 10:07


You can't take bikes on the metrolink in Manchester either, unless "folded and fully covered"

posted by Charles_Hunter [92 posts]
4th November 2013 - 10:35


Charles_Hunter wrote:
You can't take bikes on the metrolink in Manchester either, unless "folded and fully covered"

Another system run by Stagecoach.

It almost seems as though Stagecoach have something against bikes....

posted by farrell [1601 posts]
5th November 2013 - 15:13