Birmingham Cyclist

Cycling in and around Birmingham England

Sorry to only list two other places in the WM - the others know who they are.

Just wondering - I've had a useful twitter dialogue with a Coventry councillor, and he is calling for "more informed cyclists" to feed back to him on the proposed £7m worth of developments we have budget approval for.

I know what priorities I would be going for, and have outlined some of them in my blog -

http://manifietso.blogspot.co.uk/

I am also active on twitter under the @manifietso handle.

There is also a Coventry campaign mailing list, which usually goes out monthly -

http://www.coventrycyclist.org.uk/

So my question is -

1) How can we all pool resources across the West Midlands? Look at the resources London Cycling Campaign have - both in terms of funding through members and additional cash, and also the simple fact most boroughs seem to meet monthly.

2) Should there be a pan-WM cycling campaign, and if so, will Centro support it with some cash (afaik, TfL give LCC money)?

3) If yes to above, what are the most important issues of cross-boundary co-operation? I'd suggest trains, stations, canals, and the airport / NEC complex on top of the obvious longer distance routes.

4) Are there other people from Cov, or just not from Brum reading this? Is there a virtual 'critical mass' for separate forums for us here, or elsewhere?

I suggest that whatever co-ordination is done, running it through here is a good place to start, as whether we like it or not, Brum is always going to be the lead player on these matters.

And if you disagree with me on any of this, tough - you can't send me to Coventry as I'm already stuck here behind the impenterable barrier of the A452 / A45 ;)

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There is a bus called the '900'. It travels predominantly along the route of the A45.

Living in Castle Bromwich and working at Jaguar Cars, Browns Lane, I enquired about the possiblity of having a bike rack mounted on the buses on this route just like the buses that travel along El Camino Real from San Francisco to Millbrae and Burlingame.

What was the response? Nothing.

 

Incidentally, the highest point of the trip from Millbrae to SF is 65 metres. 25 m climbing. That's the overbridge over the James Lick Freeway. HALF as much climbing as Stonebridge to Allesley.

James this is a really good idea. Birmingham Cyclist has been a brilliant way of celebrating and developing a cycling culture in Birmngham but we need to be working on a wider area as well. Centro is now our pale apology for Regional Government and we should be talking with them across the area. Did I meet you at the Love London Go Dutch conference??

Cyclenation bring together campaigns like Push Bikes from across the country and CTC Right to Ride reps do the same.

But I agree that a focussed West Midlands drive could be useful.

Are you aware of current Scrutiny Hearing on Cycling by Birmingham City Council links are on this website. Could be a very useful catalyst for progress in Birmingham and wider area.

I've dug out a photo. The photo was in response to this bus overtaking me on the curbside up Van Ness. The next photo gets the bus's plate number but not the bike rack.

The bike rack on the bus folds down to hold two bikes.

Same bike arrangements on buses in Los Angeles...simplicity itself.

But then, it's accepted as the done thing over there. I wonder how long before "bike-loading rage" would take to 

erupt while people wait 5 seconds for the bike to be loaded or unloaded.

Dave, yes we did meet.

James - bikes on buses wouldn't be a priority. I was thinking more about ensuring easy access to, and parking at, stations + a cycle hire scheme like any of the Serco-Abellio TOCs are looking into - sadly none operate through the Midlands.

I have loaded by bike inside buses in Switzerland. I think that's largely because they were already built to carry skis, so it was easy to switch to bikes at other times. Within cities, I see little need for bikes on buses - why would you, when you can get there faster, and for free, on your bike alone? With regards to the 900, if I want to get my bike to Brum, I'll take the train - no problem on LM or XC, just book ahead with Virgin.


I've had an interesting suggestion from a fellow Coventry activist, who says the way Centro think, they don't want bike schemes to be seen as competing with rail. This is a particular issue in north Coventry, where they plan to convert the Nuneaton service from hourly to 3x hourly + longer trains - almost a ten fold increase in capacity!

This to me is utterly daft, and it is the kind of political thinking we need to tackle head on. It should never be about funding for bike or bus, or bike or train, but instead it should be about providing a safe and easy to use cycling network that lets people make their own travel choices. The focus should be on integration between different modes at railway and bus stations, and if people get stuck on the political or financial challenges, we just need to ram home the ECONOMIC benefits (lower health costs, less accidents, more support for local business, less infrastructure costs, less congestion) and so on!

Enough of talking about ourselves, we need to sell the wider benefits!

Join up between different WM cyclists would be useful, to put pressure on our MEPs.

Press release from the European Cyclists' Federation: 

For Immediate Release.

November 13, 2012 - Brussels, Belgium

The car industry has bypassed transport policy to maintain its subsidies by acting as a business, not a transport choice. 

Despite rhetoric, the European Commission is allowing the car industry to be favoured over more sustainable modes of transport.  The European Commission has repeatedly called for more active forms of transport. The EU White Paper on Transport demands a “transition from a primarily car based personal mobility in cities to a mobility based on walking and cycling” and no more conventionally-fuelled cars in cities by 2050.
 
The automotive industry however is still receiving the lion’s share of European (EU) funding. In a “Cars 2020” strategy, unveiled last week by the European Commission, the industry will have access to a share of €80 billion in funding and a further €2.5 billion Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs programme.
 
“Different modes of transport need adequate funding but what happened to strategic thinking and transport equality?” demands Bernhard Ensink, Secretary General of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF).
 
In addition to industry subsidies in the form of research, road infrastructure receives 47% of the EU’s transport infrastructure funds, which can be used to leverage national investment. Only 0.7% of EU funding has been allocated to cycling infrastructure between 2007 and 2013.
 
“7% of Europeans choose the bicycle as their main mode of transport so where is their share of the budget?” Ensink adds.
 
ECF has been repeatedly pushing for the EU to invest more in cycling, demanding 10% of transport subsidies be earmarked for cycling so that 15% of all trips are done by bicycle by 2020. Yet top officials continue to be influenced by more powerful lobby groups. ECF met last week with Siim Kallas, the EU Commissioner for Transport, calling for the EU to give priority to cycling in its transport policies and funding.
 
Even with substantial EU Subsidies, the car industry so far has been unable to increase the sales of more ‘sustainable’ electric vehicles. In 2011, only 11,500 were sold in Western Europe, despite billions spent on subsidies and infrastructure. The equivalent figure for electric bicycles was more than 700,000.
 
Ensink says: “The EU budget plans for 2014-2020 are currently being drafted. We’re here to help the Commission achieve its official goals stated in the White Paper, but this needs investment. We have to act not just as a lobby group but as an industry that can make a 600 billion annual contribution the European economy.”

Unfortunately, people don't like being told what they should and shouldn't be doing.

A young chap who likes cars will buy a car. A young chap who likes bicycles will buy a bike.

Try telling the car owner he should be cycling.

Try telling the cyclist he should be driving a car.

Try telling them both they should be riding on a train !

 

Unfortunately, people don't like being told what they should and shouldn't be doing.

I completely agree. I am not interested in lecturing to people, that just makes us enemies in the long run. However, countless surveys have shown that more people would cycle - or even just walk, if they felt more secure in their environment. That is why co-ordination across the West Midlands would be useful. To be honest, for Coventry, co-operation with Warwickshire is probably more important. However, it is Centro which has handed down the LTSF funds from the DfT (afaik).

We also must demand urgent action on parking at stations. I've just taken a local train from Coventry station, where every single bike parking space was taken. It is totally unacceptable that Virgin Trains have been given planning permission to build multi storey car parks, yet cycle parking provision remains woeful. "New" New St doesn't provide either, but at cycle parking provision is easier to find space for. Ditto, hundreds of millions went into the New Bull Ring - to provide just 30 bike spaces around the edge.

We should always push the case for what we want in terms of why it is beneficial for the people making the decision. So for station parking, the logic is clear - make it easier for us to park and we use your trains more often. To pursue car parking revenue, when you can park 12 bikes in the same area, over ticket or retail revenue is poor commercial logic.

New planning applications need to be made to provide both - something along the lines of for each 100 car parking spaces, you turn over 1% of that to cycle parking, effectively gaining 11 parking spaces overall!

If TfL can provide some support to LCC, why can't Centro help set up a WM cycle forum. All it needs to get started is a website similar to this one, and an agreement to hold rotating meetings - one per city per year + others in Brum???

Or should we push for support for each local cycling group / campaign, with an agreement for chairs / moderators to meet monthly? I think Coventry will have a public forum in a couple of weeks' time as part of LSTF bid, arranged through Cyclic co-ordinator.

If TfL can provide some support to LCC, why can't Centro help set up a WM cycle forum. All it needs to get started is a website similar to this one, and an agreement to hold rotating meetings - one per city per year + others in Brum???

Or should we push for support for each local cycling group / campaign, with an agreement for chairs / moderators to meet monthly? I think Coventry will have a public forum in a couple of weeks' time as part of LSTF bid, arranged through Cyclic co-ordinator.

That would be an interesting discussion. Push Bikes already covers Birmingham and Solihull, but that perhaps is too wide for us. Having a WM cycle forum would be useful - but it needs to be more than just an opportunity for councils and centro to talk at cyclists - it would need to be organised so that cyclists were able to hold councils and Centro to account.

it would need to be organised so that cyclists were able to hold councils and Centro to account.

Hmm! I think we have to start with a talking shop. What means do we have to hold councils to account at the moment? FOIA can get useful insights into budgets, decisions, accident stats etc. I think there is a case in London where someone is trying to sue either TfL or the local borough because of a serious incident, on the basis that they were legally responsible for a recent flawed design. I think it related to Bow roundabout. Not sure how deceased could sue? Relative?

I think it is perfectly legitimate to hold Virgin to account for lack of station parking. They have gone down the multi-storey car park route more than any others, and they only provide space when they can't use it for anything else. So here in Rugby, there is acres of bike parking, as there is so much space on the island platform, which is used for little else.

Not to mention the small question of the WCML franchise mess. Also, iirc, LM franchise is coming up for review shortly, what have they done for us? 

By hold to account, I mean that when cyclists discuss an issue with an officer from a council or Centro, etc., at the next forum (or at a future forum) that organisation needs to report what actions have been taken on that matter, and what issues there have been. They can then be quizzed by cyclists about those actions, and future points of action developed.

In Birmingham, we have a (semi) regular Cyclists' Forum already, but it generally is organised so that cyclists only listen to presentations about various things and then have very little time for discussion and questions. The effect is that there is no positive benefits from the forum. I would be disappointed to have something similar for the West Midlands - I'd like to take the lessons we are learning from the Cyclists' Forum in Brum and make sure that any future Cyclists' Forums are set up so that cyclists get some real input into the discussions, and can see positive actions being taken as a result of those discussions.

Apart from being one of the most cycle-friendly TOCs in the country?

James Avery said:

         Also, iirc, LM franchise is coming up for review shortly, what have they done for us? 

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