A £60 million plan to transform cycling in Birmingham is finally getting under way.
Work has started on creating safer cycle lanes on some of the major routes into the city.
Last year, there were 1,537 injury accidents involving cyclists in the region, including 12 fatal and 273 with serious injuries.
Now the council’s Birmingham Cycle Revolution aims to make the activity an everyday part of many people's lives by making it less hazardous.
By 2023 the local authority wants five per cent of all trips in the city to be made by bike and ten per cent by 2033.
The new scheme, partly funded with £22 million from the Department for Transport, will be used to create cycle pathways along a series of other commuter routes including the A34 Walsall Road, A45 Coventry Road, A38 Tyburn Road and Harborne Road.
There will also be investment in 20mph speed limits around schools and busy local centres, a city centre cycle path along Queensway and investment in cycle paths in parks.
Initially the work on the Lichfield Road ‘main corridor’ will create cycle lanes within existing bus lanes following the A5127 from the city centre to Erdington via Lancaster Circus, Corporation Street, Dartmouth Circus, Aston Road, Lichfield Road and Salford Circus.
Canal towpaths are also a key part of the plan.
Special ‘link’ sites will also be created, including new pedestrian crossings, dropped kerbs, refuges and signs to channel cyclists to the new routes.
These have already been completed on Coplow Street/Northbrook Road, Hazelwell Road and Fordrough Lane.
Improvements in Barford Road, in Edgbaston, are expected to be completed by the end of January. Schemes in Yardley Green Road, Stratford Road, Hob Moor Road and Bordesley Green East will also start in February.
‘Parallel routes’, along quieter roads shadowing Warwick Road and Bristol Road are currently being planned and officials say work will start in February.
A further parallel route for Alcester Road will begin in early March .
Coun Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for Sustainability, said: “It’s great that we are now starting to deliver another important strand of the Birmingham Cycle Revolution.
“If we are to achieve the modal shift from cars to other more sustainable forms of transport like bicycles, we need to get the right infrastructure in place.
“Improvements to on-road routes such as the Lichfield Road main corridor are an essential part of this.
“Complemented by the local links, parallel routes, green routes and canal routes, cycling from A to B in Birmingham will be made easier than ever before.”
Consultation on a range of further routes is due to start in the spring, with full details being made available when they are ready.
But concerns have been raised that the plan could actually add to congestion .
The council’s Tory leader, Robert Alden, said putting cycle lanes on routes like Hagley Road could bring Birmingham to a halt rather than encourage more people to take up cycling.