One of the best ways of cutting traffic levels is to get more people walking and cycling more often. Walking and cycling, or active transport, produces no emissions and has some fantastic health benefits.
Unfortunately Birmingham is justifiably known as Britain’s ‘Motor City’ and ranks amongst the lowest in the UK when compared to other cities for pedestrian and cyclist safety and the number of commuter journeys made by bike.
25% of car journeys in Birmingham are under two miles,1 showing there is massive potential for more journeys to be made by walking and cycling. What we need is new cycling and walking infrastructure that makes it easier for people to make that positive choice.
Before the Cycle City Ambition Grant investment in cycling in Birmingham was around £2 per person per year, compared to around £18 per person in London. Greater investment in cycling and walking can bring huge benefits to our city and its people. Cities which have made an investment in their cycling infrastructure, such as Bristol and Cambridge, have seen an increase in cycling rates.
To make a real difference, we need more than just the few piecemeal improvements that we have seen in the past, we need a big investment in cycling infrastructure in the city. Birmingham’s successful bid to the Cycle City Ambition Grant was a fantastic start, one our local politicians now need to build on to secure further investment in active transport in the city, and really tackle the problem of air pollution as soon as possible.
We’re calling on Birmingham City Council to have ambitious targets for walking and cycling in Birmingham, and to find the investment needed to make these a reality and make us a truly cycling and walking city.
1 Birmingham City Council’s Birmingham Mobility Action Plan stated that 25% of Birmingham car journeys were under 2 miles: http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/bmap