Cycling Copenhagen-style in Birmingham

By on 20/02/2014 in Cllr McKay, News

As part of a UK-wide initiative, Birmingham City Council and charity Sustrans are aiming to boost the love of cycling in the city to Copenhagen levels through a new citizens' survey inspired by the Danish capital.

The survey will show progress on creating a city fit for cycling through giving a voice on cycling issues to the people of Birmingham. Citizen involvement will be crucial to finding out what people living and working in the city think about getting about by bike, and to gauging progress towards making our leading cities more bike friendly.

Birmingham City Council and Sustrans, who are already working together towards a common goal of increasing cycling, will set up monitoring and evaluation programmes to track progress with results published in a biennial report.  Reporting on cycling conditions, new initiatives, how many people are cycling and what residents think about cycling in their city will inform planning and action to put cycling by people of all ages and abilities right at the heart of city life, increasing travel choices and helping to create a great city to live in.

Sustrans is also working with Newcastle, Manchester, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Bristol to produce similar bicycle accounts for each city. Inspired by the example of Copenhagen, capital of the happiest country in the world and one of the world's best cities to live in, we’ll be working together to celebrate bike life as it develops in these key UK cities.  For Copenhageners, riding a bike is as much part of life as brushing their teeth. Cycling is such an integral part of the city’s life and transport system, that the Council there reports every two years on how cycling is benefiting not just Copenhagen, but Denmark,  and what Copenhageners think of the city as a safe and pleasant place to live.

The project is supported by The Freshfield Foundation.
Yvonne Gilligan, West Midlands Director of Sustrans said: “Copenhagen and other European cities have long been held up as examples of great places to live and work, where walking and cycling is the easiest way to get around. Many cities in the UK are following suit and have ambitious plans to match the best in Europe. The adoption of a Copenhagen style citizens' survey for the UK will help Sustrans and the cities of Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newcastle achieve those ambitions and build cities that are great for people”.

“Together, we aim to give everyone the choice of safe cycling in their city.”

Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart city and Birmingham's Cycling Champion, said: “This is a bold initiative that will help us achieve our ambition to make Birmingham an even greater place to live and work by getting more people on bikes, and by engaging our citizens in this process.

“We have made a clear and a strong commitment to increase the level of cycling through the Birmingham Cycle Revolution scheme and believe that benchmarking our work with other cities will help us deliver a vision of a city fit for cycling in the 21st century.”
 
Notes to Editors

1. The Bicycle Account is inspired by the Copenhagen Bicycle Account, an assessment of cycling development in the City of Copenhagen. The account consequently deals with the city's cycling conditions, new initiatives as well as Copenhageners' satisfaction with various aspects of cycling. The Bicycle Account is published biennially and its most recent edition in 2012 included telephone interviews with 1,021 randomly selected Copenhagen residents as well as data from a survey of transport behaviour. The City of Copenhagen regards the Bicycle Account as a vital planning tool in the work to make Copenhagen an even better 'city of cyclists'. More information is available at  www.kk.dk/cityofcyclists
2. Copenhagen is the capital city of the happiest country in the world according to the UN World Happiness Report 2013 http://unsdsn.org/files/2013/09/WorldHappinessReport2013_online.pdf
3. Copenhagen is ranked most liveable city in the Monocle magazine global survey 2013 http://monocle.com/film/affairs/quality-of-life-survey-2013/
4. Sustrans is the charity that's enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day. It's time we all began making smarter travel choices. Make your move and support Sustrans today. www.sustrans.org.uk
5. The City of Birmingham has a geographical area of 268km2 with a population of 1.1 million. Birmingham is a diverse city, divided into ten Constituencies and 40 Wards and is the economic centre of the West Midlands region. The city currently has approximately 300km of off road cycle provision and 180km of on road provision for cyclists. The City's recent award from the DfT Cycle City Ambition Fund will upgrade 95km of routes and extend the network by a further 115km by 2016.
6. Birmingham City Council has published its plans for cycling and walking in the city at- www.birmingham.gov.uk/bcr
7. The Freshfield Foundation's aim is the provision of grant funding to other charities with particular emphasis on those involved in the general fields of sustainable development, climate change mitigation and overseas disaster relief.

ENDS

For more information contact:

Sustrans Press Office:  020 7780 7231.
E-mail: press@sustrans.org.uk

Press office, Birmingham City Council: 0121 303 3287
E-mail: press.office@birmingham.gov.uk

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