Call to prosecute drivers who risk lives of cyclists Mayor also demands more cash to expand city cycle routes
WEST Midlands Mayor Andy Street is demanding greater powers to prosecute motorists who park dangerously putting cyclists and pedestrians at risk.
As well as handing over beefed-up parking enforcement powers he has also called on the Department for Transport to step up funding for cycle routes and schemes to an average of £10 per head by 2023.
His call came as the Government is consulting on a new £1 billion national cycling and walking strategy to encourage alternatives to the car. It wants cycling to be an obvious natural choice for shorter journeys.
Currently two major cycle highways are being built under the Birmingham Cycle Revolution project, which has invested £24 million in facilities and bikes over the last four years.
The highways, along the A34 Walsall Road from Birmingham City Centre to Perry Barr and along the A38 Bristol Road from Edgbaston to Selly Oak are due to open early next year. Last year doctor Suzanna Bull died after her bike collided with a lorry on Pershore Road.
A new bike share scheme being launched this summer.
But Mr Street wants to go much further and ensure that by 2023 at least five per cent of all journeys in the West Midlands are by bike.
A huge barrier is safety, with almost 80 per cent of Brummies is also believing the city’s roads are not safe for cyclists.
In a letter to road safety minister Jesse Norman he has asked the Department of Transport to support the West Midlands in increasing investment on cycling to £10 per head by 2023.
He has also asked that traffic enforcement powers be devolved directly to the West Midlands, making it easier to prosecute people who park recklessly and endanger cyclists and pedestrians, for example. Cycle campaigners have argued that cuts to police has led to a reduction in resources for parking and cycle safety enforcement – meaning the roads are less safe.
Mr Street said: “We have made some significant progress in the West Midlands over the last 12 months in terms of improvements in the cycling infrastructure and promoting walking and cycling. The most obvious examples are the progress being made by Birmingham City Council on the superhighway routes on the Bristol Road and Walsall Road, as well as the bikeshare scheme which will give people across the West Midlands the chance to hire bikes.
“But we need to be looking to the next stage, to making sure these superhighways become part of a network, not pieces of standalone infrastructure.
“And we need to make sure that the people who hire the bikes are able to use safe infrastructure.”
> Andy Street wants tougher parking enforcement powers handed to councils. Inset: Dr Suzanna Bull who was killed