Push Bikes is not party political but we ask all candidates to support cycling and active travel so that whoever wins in these important elections they will be committed to improving conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.
This year we have the Mayoral and PCC elections on May 6th and our campaigning will be by social media, via Zoom meetings and the important on-line Hustings. We are working with many allies like Action Vision Zero on reducing road danger, Friends of the Earth on their Climate Action Plan and Adam Tranter the Bicycle Mayor of Coventry. This post will focus on Action Vision Zero the campaign to reduce road danger so that no one is killed or seriously injured on our roads.
Post COVID, the national context for active travel has changed a lot with the publication by Department for Transport in July 2020 of Gear Change, the new Active Travel Fund and clear guidance in Local Traffic Note 1/20 about the standards required in new cycling and walking infrastructure. The reality of the Climate Emergency and the illegal levels of air pollution caused by traffic has radically altered policy and we are seeing new strategies with like cycle lanes and LTNs being introduced as more people take to walking and cycling. The Secretary of State Grant Shapps has set the ambitious target of 50% of journeys in towns and cities to be walked or cycled by 2030.
At the hustings organised by Coventry Green Deal on 10th March all the Mayoral candidates from the major parties committed that 50% of all journeys in their towns and cities will be walked or cycled by 2030 in answering a question from Adam Tranter. So whether Andy Street (@andy4wm), Liam Byrne (@laimbyrnemp), Jenny Wilkinson (@jennyWLibDem), or Steve Caudwell (@Steve4Mayor) wins they will have to be way bolder than we have ever been.
Crucial in achieving this level of ambition will be to reduce the danger that pedestrians and cyclists face on our roads across the Region. With our friends in Action Vision Zero we have produced two manifestos which we want the Mayoral Candidates and their Police and Crime Commissioner counterparts to agree to. Designing safer roads, reducing speeds, creating Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and segregated cycle lanes is a key part of achieving a mode shift from the private car but people must be safe and feel safe.
Here is a link to the Action Vision Zero Manifesto for the West Midlands Mayoral election with all the backing explanation and research produced by Jeremy Leach. It is supported by a wide coalition of organisations including Push Bikes and asks candidates to commit to 5 pledges.
Please read it and if you agree, email the candidates and your local councillors to ask them to support the clear objective of a future where no one is killed or seriously injured on the roads in the West Midlands.
There is another virtual hustings on the 30th March at 5.30. Please sign up and meet the candidate and ask them about cycling and walking and their commitment to Vision Zero. Here is the link.
The Police and Crime Commissioner elections are also on May 6th and close coordination between the two successful candidates will be important to reduce the current levels of road danger in the West Midlands. Without enforcement motorist behaviour will not change. On Friday 30th April there is a husting with West Midlands PCC candidates courtesy of the Lunar Society. This should cover roads policing and we would like to provide evidence to help underpin this debate. Please come along and be ready to ask questions about candidates proposal for traffic policing. Amy Aeron-Thomas from Action Vision Zero has written this excellent blog looking at the record of West Midlands Police.
Push Bikes would like to thank Jeremy Leach and Amy Aeron-Thomas of Action Vision Zero for their amazing research and commitment to this cause. It is now up to us to publicise this, speak up as voters and make sure that candidates for the Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioners are aware of the public demand for road danger reduction and Vision Zero on our roads.