In the middle of April I blogged about the confusion over the route for cycles along Corporation Street to New Street station. In that blog I noted a funny sign on Cherry Street that was clearly part of the cycle route, yet had a 'walking man' symbol instead of a cycle symbol. "Must be a mistake" I thought. No. I was wrong, as I found out last week on my way to a Birmingham Cycle Revolution stakeholders' meeting.
Birmingham City Council has indeed told cycle users to get off and push for a few meters along this short section of Cherry Street, as well as along the wide pavement on Bull Street. I remember attending the consultation that Birmingham City Council had with Push Bikes a few years ago about this route. We were told that the wide pavement on Bull Street would be shared-use pavement cycling, and there was no mention of any intention to make the short section of Cherry Street a 'get off and push' zone either. I must make clear that the people in Birmingham City Council who have planned this route are not the people involved with the Birmingham Cycle Revolution, and also that Birmingham City Council has made immense progress in the last few years with regard to planning for cycles. Schemes like this take years from conception to completion, and the decision to abandon the promises made to Push Bikes may have been made shortly after our meeting a few years ago.
Still, I am deeply disappointed that it is considered acceptable to have 'get off and push' sections on a permanent cycle route. As Push Bikes has blogged about before, cycle infrastructure has to be designed so that it can be used by *all* cycle users, which includes people who are unable to 'get off and push'. To implement a 'cycle route' that requires this is discriminatory.
Push Bikes has made a complaint about the design of this 'cycle route' on behalf of our members. If you are also affected by this poor design, you can also contact Birmingham City Council and register your complaint through their online system. You can also write to your local councillors about this. Be polite and respectful if you contact the council and your councillors - it is not the fault of the person who will read your message that this has gone wrong, and polite but firm messages are much more effective.