By Chris Lowe
Push Bikes and Birmingham FoE have had a long history together. Since our start in 1979, we have been based at FoE’s building, the Warehouse, in Birmingham. In fact, our beginnings can be traced to a FoE bicycle group set up in 1978. So we are very happy to co-ordinate with FoE on their new campaign, Let’s Get Moving.
Push Bikes’ purpose is to improve conditions for cycling in Birmingham, to make cycling an easy and pleasant choice. To achieve this, we lobby Birmingham City Council (BCC), Centro and other bodies to build infrastructure and implement policies to improve cycling. Cycling should be the core of a sustainable transport system, as the best solution to improve health and cut CO2 emissions, providing the best return on investment of any form of transport.
Recently, we have been consulted on Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) improvements to Bristol Road. While the proposed plans are not ideal, our efforts have prompted policy discussions on dealing with priority where cycle routes cross side roads, to find a standard West Midlands solution. For cycle routes to be successful, cyclists must not be made to waste energy by stopping at each side road.
We also gave evidence to the recent Transport Scrutiny Committee report into cycling in Birmingham. We emphasised that cycling issues must be seen as important for all BCC officers ‘ after all, BCC has no ‘car’ officers, but manages to plan for cars very well. We are pushing for highways’ engineers to have bicycle-focused Continued Professional Development (CPD) each year, to compensate for the car-orientated professional culture that they work in.
We also do work to encourage people to cycle. We organise Dr Bike events to carry out minor repairs and give advice, and we organise rides to help less confident cyclists. Our regular ride is on Wednesday evenings, but we also have many other rides, all of which are open to non-members.
We are a volunteer-based organisation, and rely on membership subscriptions to fund our campaigns. Basic waged membership is £12 and unwaged is £6. This gives a 10% discount in several Birmingham cycle shops. For details about getting involved in our campaigns, joining our rides or membership, see our website (www.pushbikes.org.uk) or email me (email@example.com).
Chair, Push Bikes