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Calls for urgent action to "turn the tide on aggressive driving in Birmingham" after two cyclists killed in hit-and-runs

"We cannot accept this as normal": Adam Tranter, the West Midlands' walking and cycling commissioner, said in a letter to police and local authority colleagues...

"Everyone should feel safe using our roads but through a combination of design, policy and enforcement priorities, this is not the case." Those are the words of Adam Tranter, the West Midlands' leading active travel figure, calling for a meeting with colleagues to bring about accelerated action to protect vulnerable road users, after two cyclists were killed in Birmingham hit-and-run incidents in just over two weeks.

On Thursday, a 36-year-old man was arrested over the death of a cyclist in his 40s on Chester Road, in Erdington on Wednesday afternoon, an incident which came two weeks after another cyclist was killed in a hit-and-run collision on Belgrave Middleway near the city centre.

In the hours after publishing a copy of his letter on social media, Tranter said he was "devastated" to hear that another cyclist had been rushed to hospital with serious injuries sustained in a collision involving a car being driven at the junction of Aston Lane and Birchfield Road on Friday afternoon.

"We cannot accept this as normal," the West Midlands' walking and cycling commissioner told colleagues from West Midlands police and Birmingham City Council.

In the letter, addressed to chief constable Craig Guildford, police and crime commissioner Simon Foster and cabinet member for transport Cllr Liz Clements, Tranter expressed his desire to "convene an urgent meeting between us all so we can build an action plan to tackle these issues".

"I am writing as two people cycling have been killed in Birmingham in just over two weeks by hit-and-run drivers," he wrote. "We cannot accept this as normal. Everyone should feel safe using our roads but through a combination of design, policy and enforcement priorities, this is not the case.

"Much progress has been made to build consensus that something has to change but it is now the pace of change that we need to tackle together. We have to turn the tide on aggressive driving in Birmingham. It is everywhere you look.

"A big difference could be made by focusing on what seem like low-level offences, such as illegal number plates or anti-social parking, but that often lead to other more serious road violence and other crimes that blight our communities. There is a huge disparity between the focus these issues are given between neighbourhood team areas, exacerbated by worrying downward trends in prosecutions via third-party dash-cam reporting from members of the public.

"Birmingham has already revealed bold plans to make it easier and safer for people cycling and walking but the pace of the delivery of schemes to protect vulnerable road users needs to be accelerated. Quite often we know the problems and the solutions but already-funded schemes take too long to be delivered.

Highlighting a further incident, on Friday 26 May, Tranter continued: "Just last Friday, a cyclist was taken to hospital with potentially serious injuries on Bristol Road South, near Longbridge Island, after a collision with a motorist held on suspicion of driving while unfit through drugs. I said we often know the problems and the solutions. 

"WMCA has secured funding via the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement in 2022 for an extension to the A38 Active Travel Route to provide a continuous 7.2km segregated cycle route from Selly Oak to Longbridge. Birmingham City Council's delivery estimate for this is 31/01/2027. I understand there are challenges, but it highlights that we need to move much further and faster.

"I accept that I too am part of a system that needs to change and will do everything in my gift to do this. I am sure you will agree that we need to use every tool we have, together, and we need to all be self-critical to make changes at an uncomfortable-but-necessary pace.

"I would like to convene an urgent meeting between us all so we can build an action plan to tackle these issues."

Sharing the letter on Twitter, Tranter added: "Enough is enough. We need to tackle and address the system that leads to these collisions, urgently. The scale and pace of change will be huge. To be clear, speed bumps won't cut it."

Regarding the most recent fatality, on Wednesday (31 May), West Midlands Police said a man had handed himself in at a police station later that evening and was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving. He remains in custody for questioning.

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Dan joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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