Bikes, the Birmingham cycling campaign group, has recently received
a lottery grant to organise a series of meetings over the next year,
to bring together groups and organisations interested in making
Birmingham a more cycling and walking friendly city. Alison
Millward Associates were appointed to facilitate meetings. It
is hoped that by working together, such a loose but more coordinated
coalition of interests might be better able to:
the content of the Local
Transport Plan, which is to be revised in 2005.
City Council to speed up the development of a pan-city wide
cycle and walking network and consider other measures to increase
the level and safety of cycling and walking.
information and ideas to the spatial planning of such a network.
and perhaps deliver a range of awareness raising and educational
programmes for cyclists and other road users.
meeting to establish the level of interest in this initiative was held
on Wednesday 24 November, at the Small Heath Health Centre, Birmingham.
To ensure a balanced and representative spread of views, no more than
two people from any one organisation were asked to attend. A list of attendees
was facilitated by an independent facilitator, Dr Alison Millward, from
Alison Millward Associates, who has also written this report.
short presentations on Push Bike’s vision for a more cycling and
walking friendly Birmingham, the health, well being and economic justifications
for seeking to increase and speed up provision for cyclists and walkers,
and how the cycle network in Sandwell had been designed and implemented,
participants worked in two small groups to identify:
to be overcome
development and its geographical coverage
for a coalition.
It was felt
that current strategies emphasise the needs of commuter cyclists, but
not leisure cyclists or those who would like to make more local trips
around their neighbourhoods (especially young people getting to school).
To engage these groups there is a need to:
the use of all quiet roads (not just designated cycle routes)
Provide accompanied guided journeys to familiarise cyclists with routes,
increase confidence and teach safe riding skills
provision and safety at junctions
cycling cool and actually do it – use of different role models
for segments of society wish to target
- Run more
fun events to raise profile of walking and cycling eg something equivalent
BRMB’s walkathon for cycling
- The Push
Bike vision of a healthy, friendly, safe, accessible and prosperous
city for people to visit, live and work in, was widely supported (see
web site for details of this contained Howard Boyd’s presentation
barriers that would need to be overcome to achieve these objectives
the authorities to change their priorities and include more revenue
based projects, not just capital improvements to the cycle network.
the public’s dislike of lower speed zones (10-20 mph) and the
emergency services’ dislike of traffic calming measures
substantial sections of society not yet involved in cycling eg Asian
community and women
of staff in transport organisations.
research was needed on the deep seated barriers that prevented even those
who said they would like to cycle more form doing so. Perhaps this was
the group – “on the cusp” for the coalition and others
to focus on first.
in Birmingham that had proved successful included the Milk Race, Active
Travel Day and the Cycle Bonanza, but these all focused on people who
were cycling already. There is an expectation that the City Council and
the Active Travel Group will be promoting more events in early 2005.
a need to engage more with business leaders, to encourage them to make
better provision for employees wishing to cycle to work, but this was
considered to be a lower priority than increasing levels of walking and
cycling for leisure and local journeys.
to be revised Local Transport Plan will cover the West Midlands and therefore
perhaps the coalition should too. It is anticipated by Centro and others
that few changes will be made to the existing version of the LTP (2003)
- only an updating of costs against each of the proposals still to be
were concerned at the lack of consultation that had occurred so far on
the review of the LTP and appreciated the need to make their view known
as soon as possible as responses were required in early January, 2005.
It was known that an article had appeared in Birmingham’s VOICE
paper, but none of the primary care trust representatives at the meeting
had been consulted, nor some of the council cycling officers. It was also
noted that government had yet to issue final guidance on the review of
It was noted
that Council leaders have been slow in deciding their priorities up to
this point but that political will was critical to achieving change.
development for the coalition
It was agreed that the embryonic coalition present at Meeting 1 should
meet again and very soon, given the pressure to respond quickly to the
LTP review. Additional invitations should be issued to cycling and walking
interests in all the West Midland boroughs.
has a 1% cycling rate
has planned its cycle
network, and we heard how this was done. The results were impressive,
and it is planned the network will be semi-automatically extended on
an on-going basis for the next 10 or more years, until a decent network
high cycling rates have been achieved in many European cities, and in
others around the world. For example: Amsterdam
and significant rates in Hull
and central London
are frowned upon as a way to slow traffic down. A recent
report was withdrawn as totally incorrect.
Cycle Network costed £30,000/km.
million could be saved by creating a safe Cycling network & model in Birmingham,
over 5 years. A comprehensive network in the city would cost £1-300m,
if costed at the same price of the
road accidents (50% reduction .. slower speeds, now £120m/year).
This will help pedestrians (especially children and the elderly) considerably
as well. See
obesity/diabetes (Health is £1b/year/city, obesity costs 25% =£250m,
if 25% cycle there will be 25% less obesity) See
mental health(mental health is £100m/year/city, if 25% cycle
they will have 33% fewer problems and improved relationships…saving
crime(crime is £1b/year/city, if 25% cycle they will commit 10%
academic achievement(education is £1b/year/city, if 25% cycle
they will have 10% greater academic achievement, a gain of £25m/year).
- 10% less
drug use and £100+m….new investments, as the city becomes
more pleasant See
- See this
(needs Flash player installed from Flash
Web site here) .
- In other
correspondence, it has been pointed out to me that 2005 particulate
pollution targets (PM 2.5 & PM 10) will be exceeded, and this must
be addressed in the LTP. See.
These particulates, at Birmingham levels, will contribute to about 8-9%
of the city's cardiovascular disease, such as strokes
and heart attacks, and many other diseases, such as macular