What we do
PushBikes is works with the Council where possible to put the case for good cycling infrastructure etc. It's an uphill battle: the Cycling Advisory Group which gave regular meetings with the BCC cycling officers etc was disbanded, we often talk to the Cycling Officers but they seem marginal to important decisions - eg they didn't know how awful the Selly Oak bypass was till we raised the issue!
What might work is backing factual campaigns with popular support - councillors fear voters changing sides. So, getting more cyclists actively involved in campaigning together is the top priority.
What can you do
Join PushBikes - we like the (small) membership fee, but what we really want is people to come to meetings and channel issues through PushBikes. The latter works two ways: it helps individuals make a stronger case and helps PushBikes become more influental in supporting cycling.
Now if we could restart the Great Midland Bike ride with 1,000 riders!!!!!
A Little History
In the autumn of 1978 Geoff Mead from the BBC interviewed Tom Pettitt, recently arrived at FoE Birmingham, for a documentary on cycling in Birmingham. They realised that a cyclists action group was required and set up the Birmingham Bicycling Campaign (BBC!) with Alison De-Reybekille and Jon Evans.
In 1979 Tom Pettitt relaunched the BBC as Push Bikes
The first newsletter highlighted the lack of consideration for cycling in the West Midlands County Council 10 year structure plan -ignoring the large portion of the population who have no access to a car. Plus ca change?
In march 1982, 50 members took part in a demonstration, riding from Alison St round the city centre. We had press, radio and local television coverage.
The first Great Midland Bike Ride attracted 1,000 cyclists.
Push Bikes campainged actively, incuding research, demosntrations, joining he County Council Highways Advisory Committee. Public meetings were held to set up campaign groups in Solihull, Coventry and Wolverhampton. Push Bikes became the West Midlands Cyclists Campaign Group.
The above was extracted from John Pitcock's article about PushBikes' first five years, ended with:
Looking back from 1989 we can see that we put a lot of effort into designing proposals for crossings, routes etc. and presenting them to the authorities. Some seemed to be enthusiastically accepted at the time, some schemes, ie Five Ways, went through several phases of acceptance and rejection.
By the end of this period pessimism began to set in - very little was showing for all our efforts. It is true that some road schemes being built were planned before the cycling policy was implemented but the policy seemed to be given only lip-service when current planning was being undertaken.
So little has changed but emerging motorised gridlock and obesity epidemic suggest there will be an opportunity to change from moton city to people city soon.
Great Midland Bike Ride 1983: Ullenhall stop.