New figures show that eight out of ten people (81%) in Birmingham want to see more money spent on cycling. Almost eight out of ten (79%) would support the construction of more protected roadside cycle lanes - even where this could mean less space for other road traffic.
The figures come from Bike Life, the UKs most comprehensive assessment of cycling development in seven cities across the UK. The report has been published by Birmingham City Council and Sustrans, the charity that’s making it easier to walk and cycle. Bike Life evaluates cities every two years reviewing infrastructure, resident attitudes, behaviours and the impact of cycling.
Bike Life 2017 shows that progress is being made in many areas - including improvements to 47 miles of routes through the city and the addition of 5 miles of completely new routes. There’s also been 4,000 bikes given away to residents in the most deprived wards of Birmingham.
In total, 19.5 million trips have been made by bike in Birmingham in the past year alone. These trips provide substantial benefits to the city with bicycles taking up to 14,462 cars off Birmingham’s roads each day – equivalent to a 43-mile tail back. People riding bicycles in Birmingham saved the NHS £1.4 million every year - the equivalent of 60 nurses. They also prevented 212 serious long-term health conditions and 23 early deaths.
Despite these benefits Bike Life reveals huge potential for more people to ride bikes. Only 3% of Birmingham residents usually travel to and from work by bicycle, despite the fact that 44% of households have access to at least one bike. More than seven out of ten residents (73%) say that Birmingham would be a better place to live and work if more people cycled and 56% of respondents would like to start riding a bike or could ride their bike more.
The report identifies investment, safety and dedicated space as the barriers which are preventing Birmingham from achieving its full potential. Nearly eight out of ten respondents (78%) don’t agree that cycling safety is good in the city and 84% are worried about the safety of children’s cycling. More than six out of ten (65%) say that dedicated spaces for cycling would help them to start cycling or cycle more.
Speaking on the launch of the report Matt Easter, Sustrans England Director for the Midlands and East, said:
“Bike Life 2017 shows there’s a strong appetite for cycling in Birmingham. It provides yet more evidence that people want national and local government to work together, investing in improved safety with more dedicated spaces for cycling. Bike Life was inspired by studies in Copenhagen - they became a world-class cycling city and we can do the same in Birmingham.”
Commenting on the findings of Bike Life Cllr Stewart Stacey, Cabinet Member for Transport and Roads, from Birmingham City Council said:
“Bike Life gives us an invaluable insight into our progress and the views held by our residents. The Birmingham Cycle Revolution is helping to deliver real change and our plans to provide cycle superhighways on the A38 and A34 will be a first for our city. However, we’ve got to win over those not yet cycling by offering better facilities on our roads if we want our city to be less congested, greener, safer and healthier.”