How is cycling currently inaccessible as a greener and healthier mode of transport for low-income residents in Birmingham?


By Gabriela da Silva Xavier posted 27 days ago

The following Blog was written by students studying for a degree in Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences at the University of Birmingham, who conducted a project investigating cycling culture in Birmingham.  Follow the links in the article to see the results of their investigation and their campaign to get Birmingham cycling.

Climate change is a huge issue that affects us all. We felt that protecting the environment was important to us and so we wanted our project to reflect this - access the project here. We discussed the positive impacts of cycling both for the environment and one’s physical health which made us realise that there is a lack of cycling culture Birmingham. We also recognised that it is often more difficult for those living on a low income to be able to choose more environmentally friendly options and so we wanted to understand why this was. Our report was a multidisciplinary approach to uncovering the barriers that prevent cycling from being accessible to everyone. When we delved into the history of the city, we discovered that Birmingham has been built in a way that favours cars over bikes. Furthermore, living in a low-income household exacerbates matters. Not only has the dramatic rise in motor vehicles polluted the atmosphere, but it also affects low-income areas more, negatively impacting the health of residents. Cycling has many health benefits and so ensuring better cycling infrastructure is an investment worth making. Cycle friendly cities are possible, and Birmingham has the potential to become one.

Our campaign, Cycle for Brum, encourages more cycling in the city. Through our social media pages, we have made cycling information easily accessible for everyone so that those who are considering riding a bike are informed. We have done this both through simple information posts and practical videos so that our audience can use the information they learn from our campaign. We also use this as an opportunity to promote our petition to Birmingham City Council calling to install safer cycling infrastructure. This is because our research shows that unsuitable infrastructure is a major factor discouraging cyclists. A more interconnected and safer cycle network will make cycling more appealing and will benefit everyone.