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Make cycling safe and we'll get on our bikes

New survey reveals large proportion of people ready to cycle if Birmingham was safer

Bike giveaway: Council cabinet member for sustainability Lisa Trickett with Phil Woodward of Raleigh

A third of Birmingham residents say they would love to get on their bikes – if city streets were safer.

A major survey by charity Sustrans found more than three quarters of people want their council and government to invest more in cycling – well above the national average.

The charity said it was the first time clear evidence had emerged there was a groundswell of enthusiasm for cycling in Birmingham.

In the last three years there were 1,537 injury accidents involving cyclists in the region, including 12 fatal and 273 with serious injuries.

Yvonne Gilligan, West Midlands regional director for Sustrans said: “For the first time ever there is clear evidence that more people in Birmingham want to travel by bicycle but the quality of the environment where people cycle needs to improve.

“People want the government and the council to spend more to make Birmingham more bicycle-friendly, they understand the benefits and say they would cycle if it were safer. Now governments must close this gap between current spending and public demand.

A major survey by charity Sustrans found more than three quarters of people want their council and government to invest more in cycling.

“Copenhagen changed to become a world-class cycling city and Birmingham could do this too.”

Currently around £4 per person is spent out of £300 per person on transport in general.

Nearly a third of Birmingham residents questioned said while they don’t ride a bike, they would like to and eight out of 10 said cycle safety should be better.

Just 20 per cent of respondents felt they would be safe riding a bike at night compared to 71 per cent who felt safe driving a car at night or 46 per cent using public transport at night.

Around three quarters of those living in Birmingham (74 per cent) thought that things would be better for health and environmental reasons if people in general cycled more, and two thirds (69 per cent) believed that more cycling would make their area a better place to live.

A major survey by charity Sustrans found more than three quarters of people want their council and government to invest more in cycling.

Birmingham has recently given the green light to a £30 million investment in the Birmingham Cycle Revolution project to boost cycling throughout the city and get cars off the roads.

The majority of the money has come from the Department for Transport and will take total spending on cycling in the city to £60 million over five years.

It will be used to create cycle pathways along a series of commuter routes including the A34 Walsall Road, A45 Coventry Road, A38 Tyburn Road and Harborne Road.

There will also be investment in canalside cycle paths, 20 mph speed limits around schools and busy local centres, a city centre cycle path along Queensway and investment in cycle paths in parks.

Ms Gilligan said: “Physical inactivity, congestion and declining air quality cost our economy billions. The government must act to secure a greater share of current transport investment for cycling and walking in Birmingham and elsewhere.

A major survey by charity Sustrans found more than three quarters of people want their council and government to invest more in cycling.

“The Spending Review in November is a perfect opportunity to do just that. Government must ensure the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy is ambitious and guarantees long-term funding for active travel throughout the country.”

Coun Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for Sustainability at Birmingham City Council, said: “Through the Birmingham Cycle Revolution project we have clearly demonstrated there is a commitment to making things better for those who want to use a bike.

“We have a fully-funded programme worth £60 million over the six years to 2018, meaning we are investing at £10 per head of population annually, which is in line with what is widely regarded as an acceptable level funding.

“However, the true worth of the Bike Life Survey is that it helps set a baseline for standards and expectations in Birmingham, which are in fact beyond the widely-regarded £10 figure. The results are interesting and will prove incredibly helpful when it comes to the city council working with partners on longer-term plans for cycling locally.”

The survey questioned 1228 people in Birmingham.

A major survey by charity Sustrans found more than three quarters of people want their council and government to invest more in cycling.

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