Plans to revolutionise Birmingham’s biking infrastructure have been revealed to city cyclists.
The city council has devised a 20-year plan to change the face of Birmingham’s transport system, creating segregated cycle routes along main roads, expanding 20mph zones to make cycling safer and launching a version of London’s “Barclays Bikes” so that people can pick up and drop off hire bikes from dedicated points across the city.
The plans are being submitted to the Department for Transport in two weeks’ time as Birmingham bids to become a “Cycling City” under the banner of the “Birmingham Cycle Revolution”.
The council is competing against Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield for £10 million and has revealed their outline plans to 100 bikers at the city cycling forum.
Introducing the plans, chair of the cycling forum, Coun Lisa Trickett (Lab, Moseley and Kings Heath), said: “Birmingham is so associated with the car and the motor industry and to have a bid that talks about a revolution for cycling is fantastic news for this city.
“It sets out the message that we may have been a city of cars but our future is sustainable urban transport, of which cycling forms a key part.”
The focus of the plan is on cycling infrastructure, concentrating on improving safety on main arteries for confident cyclists who want to get directly into the city centre, as well as creating new routes on quieter roads and off-road for beginner cyclists.
Three cities are set to benefit from £30 million of “Cycle City Ambition” funding announced by transport minister Norman Baker in January.
The council accepts Birmingham is the underdog in the competition, as all the competing cities showed solid growth in the proportions of people commuting by bicycle between 2011 and 2012, except Birmingham where growth was minimal, and Nottingham where the number actually fell.
Birmingham now sits at the bottom of the list of competing cities for commuting by bicycle, having been leapfrogged by Leeds and Sheffield.
Less than 1.5 per cent of people in the city use a bike to commute, whereas Manchester and Nottingham have double that number, and Bristol has five times as many.
The £10 million funding must be spent within two years, with the council securing further funding for a subsequent eight years to complete its 10-year plan, and a further 10 years after that to complete the 20-year roll out.
• More information on Birmingham Cycle Revolution at www.birmingham.gov.uk/bcr