Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) has unveiled the Starley Network, a new 493-mile cycling vision for the West Midlands. Named in honour of the Starley family of Coventry industrialists who pioneered bicycle manufacturing, the Starley Network pulls together existing routes and towpaths, proposed new cycling infrastructure, and new pop-up lanes funded through the Emergency Active Travel Fund.
The aim is that that the routes will either be traffic free away from the highway, or within roads but physically separated from traffic.
West Midlands Cycling and Walking Commissioner Adam Tranter, is working to steer the region’s cycling and walking policies and plans and support the planning and delivery of the Starley Network of safe cycling and walking routes.
Cyclists Concerns about the Network
There is an online version of the map here which allows you to search for a place but does not allow you to plan a safe cycle route to another destination so it is almost useless.
So far no version of the Network is available on Google maps, Open Street Map nor any other online mapping service, making it impossible to follow on a cycle.
A PDF map of the designated cycle lanes can be found here but this is totally inadequate. We show the part of the map including Coventry. As you can see, it does not include any street names.
CovCAN will put this issue to Sandeep Shingadia, TfWM’s director of development and delivery. and report back here if we receive a reply.
In addition, during the launch of the network there appeared to be no awareness of public concern over the safety of cycling. Councillor Jim O’Boyle of Coventry City Council and Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street sat on cycles without helmets or high-visibility jackets.
And if TfWM is serious about promoting cycling then they need to make new cyclists aware of how to cycle safely. Many cyclists have received no training in safety, some ignore red traffic lights, young cyclists do wheelies and even older ones can be seen riding without holding the handle bars. Some even read their mobile phones while riding their bikes.
Andy Street is the West Midlands Cycling and Walking Commissioner
Announcing a cycle network is fairly easy. Getting people to use it safely is a much more difficult problem.