What the West Midlands is getting right, and wrong, for cycling

The region has made progress in getting people on to bikes, but where’s the ambition?

When the mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, stood on an unlit section of towpath opposite what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse recently and hailed a “big summer for cycling and walking”, it was perhaps worryingly symbolic. That Friday, hours after Street invited us to “come cycle Birmingham’s canals”, at least two women were pushed into Birmingham waterways by a group of young men.

The West Midlands is proud of its industrial heritage, but unlit, isolated towpaths are no replacement for a cycle network that safely takes people places they want to be.

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