Bike hub being planned for Birmingham - but no Boris Bikes

City council updates on cycling strategy

by Simon_MacMichael   October 25, 2012  

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A city centre ‘bike hub’ offering secure cycle parking, changing and shower facilities and bike hire is one of several initiatives being considered in Birmingham as the city council looks to increase levels of cycling in the city, with bicycles currently accounting for less than 1 per cent of commuter journeys. A local newspaper article meanwhile gives the misleading impression that an initiative similar to London's Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme could be on the way.

In a document outlining progress made to date on developing the city’s cycling strategy as well as future plans, the council also sees the bicycle as playing a central role in reducing obesity and promoting sustainability, as well as helping address transport poverty – although in the case of the latter, it may be missing the point.

The council is exploring a number of avenues for the potential bike hub, which is in discussions with sustainable transport charity Sustrans and the West Midlands regional passenger transport authority Centro.

Those include a potential Brompton Dock, smaller bike hubs linked to new building developments, and a cycle hire facility linked to Centro’s One Station initiative, which aims to link the city’s New Street and Moor Street stations.

What isn’t envisaged, however, is anything along the lines of London’s Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme, despite an article in the Birmingham Mail headlined “Birmingham may get 'Boris bikes' under plans to boost cycling in city” together with a picture of a London docking station, which rather oversells the proposals before going on to explain that the city isn’t getting a city-wide bike-sharing programme at all.

Among other issues, the document also outlines developments in the Top Cycle Location initiative, designed to encourage local employers to introduce cycle plans and facilities to make it easier for employees to cycle to work, as well as progress in implementing the Bike North Birmingham Project, funded by a £4.1 million Local Sustainable Travel Fund grant plus money from Sustrans under the Big Lottery Fund and Birmingham City Council.

Next Tuesday 31st October, the city’s Smarter Choices team is hosting its fifth Cycle Forum, which will include presentations and update on the City Centre Cycling Strategy, Bike North Birmingham, Bristol Road Cycle Route, Skyride, and the city’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund project.

The Cycle Forum takes place at Austin Court, Cambridge Street Birmingham and starts at 6.30pm.

The Bike Birmingham cycling strategy provides for two Cycle Forum events to be held annually, and organisers are keen to get more people involved, inviting email comments regarding ideas for future forums including potential topics and speakers.