Inclusion, diversity and the needs of local communities have been earmarked as overriding priorities in Birmingham, following the completion of a bold new report commissioned by British Cycling to understand the city’s future cycling facility needs.
Two years ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the Birmingham Cycling Needs Assessment – carried out by independent sport advisory company 4global – has been delivered and managed in partnership with a project steering group comprising representatives from British Cycling, Birmingham City Council, Sport England and The Active Wellbeing Society (TAWS).
At its heart, multi-discipline facilities, entry-level recreational cycling hubs and traffic-free cycling venues have been highlighted as areas for development.
Andy Farr, British Cycling’s Head of Business Planning & Transformation, said:
“British Cycling plays a key role in encouraging millions of people to ride their bikes recreationally, and an important part of that work is done by looking into ways of supporting existing facilities and providing investment into new ones.
“The report provides a sound basis to create a lasting legacy in Birmingham and the surrounding areas from the Commonwealth Games and beyond, with the development of a long-term infrastructure.
“What is most important, is that it contributes directly to local and national priorities and will reach a more diverse cycling audience because it is people-focused and adopts a needs-led approach. I have great confidence in the planning and prioritising investment recommendations outlined for the next decade.”
All discipline-specific facilities (speedway tracks, velodromes, closed road cycle circuits, BMX tracks and mountain bike venues) that are in a 20-minute drive time catchment of the Birmingham local authority boundary have been considered as part of the Birmingham Cycling Needs Assessment, along with recreational cycling hubs that provide local opportunities for people to ride.
Charles Johnston, Property Director at Sport England said:
“Sport England believes that sport and physical activity has the power to transform people and places for the better.
“This report is great news for Birmingham and the first step in the delivery of long-term cycling infrastructure designed to meet people’s needs. From recreational cyclists, to people using their bikes to get around – we hope this will help many more people in Birmingham from all backgrounds and of all abilities take part in, enjoy and benefit from cycling.”
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said:
“We’ve always been clear the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games are more than just 11 days of sport for elite athletes.
“Everyone involved in this study is keen for the inspirational performances during the summer of 2022 to translate into increased participation across all forms of cycling. Ultimately, everything we do to support cycling will be judged on participation rates and how many people are using a bike as part of their everyday travel.
“Aligned to our emerging Birmingham Transport Plan, the work of the city’s Climate Change Taskforce and efforts to improve air quality, this report objectively lays out the cycling facilities we have a clear need for and it creates a basis for developing plans and securing the resources required to do this.”