Roads & Paths: West Midlands Cycling Charter June 2018

West Midlands Combined Authority Cycling Charter Action Plan Progress Meeting Minutes

14 June 2018 16 Summer Lane, Birmingham


Alison Kennedy (Bham City Council)

Andy Thorpe (Sandwell)

Chris Harte (Atkins)

Claire Williams (TfWM)

David Cox (Bike WM Network)

Edd Terrey (Midland Mencap)

Emma Beech (TfWM)

Emma Crowton (TfWM)

Gavin Passmore (Sustrans)

Hannah Dayan (TfWM)

Ian Carey (Active Black Country)

Ian Tierney (Cycling Projects)

Jason Davies (TfWM)

Joe Green (Birmingham City Council)

Keith Rogers (Aecom)

Laura Hales (Cycling UK)

Lesley Easter (Cycling UK)

Maria Mancini (Nextbike)

Mark Sorrill (Dudley Council)

Mitch Robinson (TfWM)

Rachel Evans (Atkins)

Richard Preston (CRT)

Richard Smith (Coventry City Council)

Russell Gray (HE)

Tim Philpott (City of Wolverhampton)

Tom Layzell (Solihull MBC)

Tom Skidmore (TfWM)

Wayne Moore (Sandwell MBC)


  • Jackie Brennan
  • Meera Sonecha
  • Nick Lloyd
  • John Harris

1. Welcome and introductions plus apologies.

2. Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan presentation by Atkins

  • Started commission in March 2018, developing on from the objectives of the Cycle Charter and previously identified Strategic Cycle Network (284km)
  • Based on national LCWIP guidance produced alongside the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) – a key component of Government strategy
  • Key outputs for West Midlands LCWIP will be a network plan with preferred routes and key walking zones in a ‘bid’ ready document – by end of summer 2018
  • Network planning work now in progress with selected routes across each of the seven local authorities. Site audits should be completed by end of June/ early July
  • Limitations and ways to overcome these were discussed:
    • Current patterns are useful but also need to consider future growth areas
    • Use of 2011 census data – will be complimented by more recent data
    • LCWIP is infrastructure focussed – Atkins are mindful of need to combine this with wider education, training and publicity work
    • Selection of a few strategic routes – but similar approaches can be applied when looking at local routes in the future
  • West Midlands may have the advantage of developing one of the first LCWIPs
  • Adds value to Bike Share, Coventry City of Culture, Commonwealth Games
  • Discussions highlighted:
    • the need for site audits to take into account future plans
    • constraints on main corridors – parallel routes also being considered
    • school ‘catchment areas’ and the opportunity to use Modeshift STARS
    • provision of infrastructure for people with disabilities

Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan update from Sustrans

  • Sustrans are part of a national ‘strategic support’ consortium for LCWIP (together with Living Streets) and are providing a quality assurance role as well as a package of local authority support and interventions, including training and case studies

3. Bike share update

  • Introduced Maria Mancini, the operations lead at Next Bike who will be based at TfWM
  • Contracts due for signing in next 2 weeks – so slight delays in delivery programme. Pilot (University of Birmingham) is now August and wider rollout October/ November
  • Sponsor should be in place by September
  • Let’s Ride Birmingham was very successful with 88 bike hires. Coventry invited Next Bike to build on this at Let’s Ride Coventry on 5th August

4. Mayor’s Team update

  • The Mayor has sent a written response to the CWIS Safety Review

5. Parkride presentation by Midland Mencap and Wheels for All

  • Midland Mencap works across the region providing support in people’s homes as well as in the wider community.
  • Wheels for All run inclusive cycling sessions at 54 locations around UK
  • Parkride is a new initiative (and registered trademark) launched last week at the Inclusion Congress at Birmingham ICC. 4 years of funding: Sport England (families fund)
  • Parkride=inclusive family cycling sessions that are fun, free and flexible
  • Adapted and mainstream bikes available to families to try, supported by volunteers
  • Main location is Sutton Park, Birmingham, with aspiration to scale up across WM; facilitating led rides at times to suit people; providing taster sessions at venues to suit.
  • Next step is to embed Parkride with sports, health and transport providers and events
  • Potential?
    • 44 people joined in with Let’s Ride Birmingham
    • 100 enquiries since launch
    • Interest from other areas already such as Walsall
    • Support from adapted bike manufacturers
    • Cycling Projects experience shows high retention rates for such activities
    • Opportunity to link with WM community clubs, bike hubs and bike share

6. Cycling UK Update

7. Sustrans Update

  • Gender Gap report published this week based on findings from Bike Life studies to date
  • Bike Life WM steering group now set up
  • National Cycle Network audit has been undertaken. Now working with volunteers on further feedback

8. Canal and River Trust Update

  • Edgbaston Tunnel open
  • Managing Short Trips (MST) progressing well.
  • Successful NPIF funding
  • New Tracsis survey technology is being trialled for counting users
  • Solar lighting and wayfinding is being piloted in Wolverhampton

9. Bike West Midlands Network update

  • Let’s Ride Birmingham, was fantastic!

10. Highways England update

  • Stakeholder event invites to be sent out shortly

11. Move WM Update

  • Ian Carey is Black Country Active Director and representative of WM on the Move
  • Looking to appoint a physical activity lead at WMCA soon
  • Combining active travel and Housing Deal – with Mitch and Adam Harrison at TfWM
  • Just finished a call for evidence around Mayor’s disability work
  • Also recruiting posts to Sport England place-based pilots which have just been set up
  • David Cox is a Board member of The Active Wellbeing Society, Birmingham

12. British Cycling

  • Everyone noted the success of Let’s Ride Birmingham on Sunday (11,000 people compared to 7,000 previously).
  • Possible reasons for success this year? Sunny weather, good organisation, better communication with wider community.

13. Local authority updates


  • Infrastructure: works completed on Edgbaston Tunnel. Construction progressing well on A34 and A38. DfT Cycle Safety Fund announced this week for improvements to pedestrian crossings at Pershore Road/ Priory Road junction and cycle track extension from A38 to cricket ground and Rea Valley Cycle Route
  • Clean Air Zone consultation starting shortly, subject to cabinet approval at end of June. 6 week period of consultation will involve public events, stakeholder workshops, and online surveys – in order to ask people about location of CAZ, type of vehicle and price for access. Birmingham needs to be compliant by 2020


  • Part of 2nd tranche of cities addressing air quality (working up options by end of 2018) although this is seen as an opportunity for cycling. Early measures will include behaviour change initiatives.
  • Let’s Ride Coventry – hot off the press announcement – will go through cathedral ruins
  • Currently undertaking a review of cycle training provision with advice from Birmingham


  • Planning a full summer training programme.
  • Infrastructure: connecting Metro stops to NCN 54, A4123 multi-modal scheme and bid for cycle access to Geo Park


  • Infrastructure: Rolfe Street Station cycle access (medium term), Black Lake Metro to Kitts Green (short term), A4123 multi-modal scheme, A461 Metro stops and Dudley Port cycle access
  • Cycle Forum has identified need for regional information about provision. This will also be useful for rollout of bike share.
  • Tender for Sandwell LCWIP is going out


  • Infrastructure: Greening the Grey project is underway (92km with 23km new routes and 69km enhanced). 3 year project starting September. Town centre to station widening cycle route works are underway
  • School streets project is being evaluated (showing some increases in cycling at Haslucks Green and Oak Cottage schools but not Marston Green)
  • 2 travel advisor posts are planned


  • Public health colleagues interested in cycling infrastructure
  • Events: Big Bike Revival and plans for a green ride with bike share next spring
  • Infrastructure: towpath improvements and A34 discussions about Sprint


  • Infrastructure: A4123 multi-modal scheme and review of signing (across Black Country)
  • Air quality issues (ring road and Black Country Route) may provide cycling opportunity

14. AOB

  • Bikes on trains – Let’s Ride Birmingham saw large numbers of people arrive with bikes on trains. There was no change in policy but more well-informed station managers
  • Bikes on Midland Metro. TS to talk with Sandeep (TfWM) about scope to change this, now that Metro has changed management.
  • Air Quality – national consultation
  • HS2 – TfWM now holding positive meetings with HS2, Birmingham and Solihull
  • Cycle counters – Jason is the data contact at TfWM and reviewing how cycle counter data is collected and used (40% of counters not providing data). There is an ongoing budget for cycle counters in future but it was agreed that a collective system was needed for monitoring, with a clear approach to how and when local authorities contribute. It was hoped that annual costs could be reduced
  • Branding – WM cycle branding roll out with the bike share scheme in June-July.
  • TfWM staff changes – Mitch Robinson has re-joined the team.
  • Regional information for Mayor

Next Meeting – 13th September 2018

Roads & Paths for June – Design Guidance

George Riches writes

In April I went on a half day course on the Cycling Design Guidance document produced by the West Midlands Combined Authority.

Many cyclists complain about the U.K.’s poor cycling infrastructure. Warrington Cycling Campaign even has a website mocking various token cycle facilities. By the late 1990’s the British experience of cycling infrastructure was so bad that a significant number of cycle campaigners were considering rejecting the whole idea of cycle facilities separated from motor traffic.

Nevertheless good cycling facilities are possible and slowly design standards are improving. In 2010 the Department of Transport produced the first design guidance. It had plenty of flaws:

  • cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders were lumped together as “Non Motorised Users”, as if their needs and speeds were much the same.
  • facilities were always an “add on” to the motoring facilities, often squeezed into insufficient space.
  • there were lots of “where possible” clauses.
  • no consideration was given to “place” (user numbers and purpose).
  • the Public Sector Equality Duty was not considered.

Since 2010, better documents have emerged from Transport for London and the Scottish and Welsh governments. The Department of Transport is revising its own guidance.

I’ll certainly cite the West Midlands guide when communicating with engineers and planners about their highway proposals, especially those who are not cycling specialists.


Sustran’s Bike Life study extends over West Midlands Combined Authority area.

Road Danger Reduction Forum’s response to the government’s Cycling Safety Review.

Why forcing cyclists to wear helmets will not save lives:  Video

Roads & Paths Newsletter for May – Kings Hill

Prepared by George Riches

There’s a proposal to build up to 2,500 dwellings on the site just south of Coventry bounded by Stoneleigh Road, the Leamington-Coventry railway, Green Lane and the A46:

Details of the proposals can be seen on Warwick District Council’s planning website. (Put “Kings Hill” in the search box).  Master Plan.

It’s proposed to have two motor vehicle accesses at the site, one on Stoneleigh Road and one at the Green Lane / St Martins Road / Howes Lane junction.  George Riches made the following comments:

Stoneleigh Road

The distance between the development and both the University of Warwick and Kenilworth would make cycling to those destinations an attractive prospect for many of the future residents of the development, if the routes were largely free from motor traffic.

To make cycling routes acceptable to residents, paths segregated from motor traffic are needed along Stoneleigh Road to the University’s Gibbet Hill Campus (where an off carriageway route exists to the main campus) and to Dalehouse Lane. Also a path segregated from motor traffic is needed along Dalehouse Lane into Kenilworth.

It has been suggested that a A46 – Birmingham Airport expressway will be built and if it were built, traffic levels on Stoneleigh Road would reduce enough to make cyclist/motorist sharing of the carriageway acceptable. However, that’s only a possibility, low traffic routes are needed when the new estate is opened.


St Martins Rd / Green Lane / Howes Lane junction

This is covered by an application to Coventry Council, as it is the planning authority for the area covered by the junction.

The proposal is a roundabout:


This will negatively impact cycle journeys between

  • Green Lane and Howes Lane
  • Both Green Lane and Howes Lane and the B4115

The B4115 is a useful route between Coventry and Warwick for cyclists as the level of motor traffic is rather low.

1. Howes Lane to Green Lane

A cyclist will either use the roundabout’s carriageway or use the paths shared with pedestrians.

Only fast cyclists will use the carriageway, the traffic level will be too high for the majority of local residents. According to the West Midlands Cycle Design Guidance, segregation of motor and pedal cyclist traffic is preferred to integration at roundabouts with over three arms or more than 10,000 vehicles/day.

Use of the paths shared with pedestrians will involve crossing far too many streams of traffic in such a short distance:

  1. southbound St. Martins Road traffic on the Southern arm of the new roundabout
  2. northbound St. Martins Road traffic on the Southern arm of the new roundabout
  3. (possibly Kings Hill Lane, according to where the cyclist crosses the site access road)
  4. bothway traffic on the site access road

An uncontrolled cyclist crossing across the northern splitter island would be a cheap but significant improvement.

2. Howes Lane to the B4115

There’s already a wide footpath on the eastern side of St. Martins Road for most of the way and some signs of dropped kerbs at the B4115/B4113 junction (near Finham bridge over Finham Brook). Opportunity should be taken to upgrade this to the 3m standard for a shared use path.

3. Green Lane to Howes Lane

A cyclist will either use the roundabout’s carriageway or cross the streams of traffic (a-d) as listed in (1) above, but in reverse order.

An uncontrolled cyclist crossing across the northern splitter island would be a cheap but significant improvement.

4. B4115 to Green Lane

A cycle path along the west side of St. Martins Road would be useful.