The Bicycle Mayor position helps coordinate between existing cyclists, the community, government, and nonprofits.

Why Coventry Needs a Bicycle Mayor

I want to help Coventry reach its potential by supporting those who live, work and visit the city in making bicycles the obvious transport choice for short journeys, regardless of age, gender or background. 

The Bicycle Mayor position helps coordinate between existing cyclists, the community, government, and nonprofits and was pioneered in Amsterdam. Bicycle Mayors aren’t part of local government, but volunteers who are recommended by local cycling groups and city stakeholders. There are over 100 Bicycle Mayors operating around the globe from Madrid to Mumbai, instantly sharing ideas and solutions that accelerate the shift from car-centric to human-centric places. The Bicycle Mayor programme started in Amsterdam and is run by non-profit BYCS.

Coventry has huge potential to increase cycling. This is essential in light of increasing congestion, worsening public health and the climate change emergency called by Coventry City Council.

Coventry needs to accelerate progress in making the city more friendly for cycling, here are some reasons why:

  • Coventry City Council has declared a Climate Emergency; the current climate change strategy for Coventry ends in 2020
  • 1 in 18 people in Coventry die from pollution-related illnesses
  • Coventry places towards bottom of the league in rankings for predicted UK city-wide air pollution concentrations
  • 98% of monitored roads in Coventry have PM2.5 emissions above the World Health Organisation’s guidelines
  • Car ownership is considerably less than the national average, yet the city is built around the private motor vehicle
  • Coventry is the fastest growing city, in terms of congestion, according to TomTom Traffic Index (2017 v 2018 increase)
  • Coventry is a compact city, perfect for short trips by bike
  • Coventry has rich bicycle heritage; John Kemp Starley is widely considered the inventor of the modern bicycle, made in Coventry
  • 29.5% of adults are physically inactive (doing less than 30 minutes of physical activity per week)
  • This makes Coventry the 5th least active area in the West Midlands and in the Top 20 of least active areas in England

The bicycle has shown to be a simple solution to some of the world’s most complex problems. 

Cycling UK estimate that by increasing cycling trips by 50% will save £1.3bn per year in premature death, NHS cost, work sick days, pollution and congestion.

We now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help more people onto bikes for greater personal and public health and to help the climate crisis; that’s why I’m working as Bicycle Mayor of Coventry.

"Many cities across the Midlands are performing worse than expected, both in terms of emissions and expected concentrations; both Royal Leamington Spa and Coventry start poor in terms of emissions and slide further, towards the bottom of the league, when considering expected concentrations of city-wide pollution."
Rob MacKenzie
Birmingham Institute of Forest Research

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