MCC lodges bid amongst other ambitions for sustainable travel in the city

The city council has lodged a bid for Manchester to become the ACES European Capital of Cycling for 2024. Looking to lead the peloton ahead of cities like Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Bordeaux, the council hopes the title will ignite a cycling revolution in the city.

Being awarded the European Capital of Cycling for 2024 would be fitting recognition for the progress that the region has made

This follows a statement of intent by MCC to see cycling as a main mode of transport double by 2028, along with its long term ambition to be a zero-carbon city by 2038.

Councillor Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council said: “We’re incredibly proud to have been in a position to make this bid. Cycling is at the heart of our transport strategy for the next five years, and with the impetus this accolade would bring, I am confident we will be able to truly make Manchester a great cycling city.

“We are determined, alongside our valued partners in the city, to capitalise on what becoming the Capital of Cycling would mean and to ensure that we can create a lasting legacy.”

Cycling Story 4
Beryl hire bikes - a scheme that has had its problems Image: Confidentials

Alongside September’s hosting of a stage of the Tour of Britain, that month will also see the reopening of The National Cycling Centre following a two year renovation.

British Cycling CEO, Jon Dutton, said: “At British Cycling we’ve been proud to call Manchester our home for almost three decades, and with its vibrant communities, world-class facilities and investment in active travel, the city is leading the way when it comes to helping more people to ride more often. Being awarded the European Capital of Cycling for 2024 would be fitting recognition for the progress that the region has made.”

Cycling Story 2
Cycling out to RHS Bridgewater from the city Image: Confidentials

There is a logic to this of course.

Manchester has been a centre of cycling excellence from the Clarion cycle clubs through Reg Harris and the Fallowfield Stadium and onto the Olympic triumphs of recent years. 

Then again the city experience of hire schemes with Mobikes and recently Beryl Bikes has been an unhappy one so far, although the Beryl Bikes situation seems to be stabilising. 

Providing cycle lanes has also been cut through with controversy across the Greater Manchester area and especially in the central areas. This City of Cycling notion might be a Manchester City Council initiative but given the nature of the boundaries with Trafford and Salford councils it has to be treated in the round. 

Salford and Manchester's seeming delight in creating 'cyclops' junctions flies in the face of commonsense for most cyclists. These are the features you can see down Chorlton Road and Upper Chorlton Road in which cyclists are supposed to circle round simple crossroads with their own lanes and their own traffic lights. 

The Magic Roundabout To Nowhere 1
The ridiculous 'cyclops' in Salford Image: Confidentials

The problem is the 'cyclops' junctions don't work and are almost universally ignored by cyclists and all Deliveroo riders as a total waste of time. Cyclists just cycle straight over. The apex of idiocy is the 'cyclops' on the pavement in Salford which we tagged Britain's maddest cycling feature and everybody agreed. 

Deansgate's cycling lanes are a sorry mess too in which bikes have to cross from one side to the other on a dead straight former Roman road. Confidentials discussed the problems in this article. Again they are ignored and and actually make cycling more hazardous. 

It sometimes appears designers of cycle lanes in Greater Manchester have never ridden a bike. The fact so much money is being wasted on the hope rather than the certainty more people will choose bikes by 2028 is undermined by the installation of illogical features such as the 'cyclops' junctions and the Deansgate lanes. 

Speaking of that target of doubling cycle use by 2028, perhaps that's the likely date the interminable cyclops installation work at 'Four Banks' Chorlton will be finished. 

So, yes, going for the City of Cycling tag is a noble ambition for 2024 but can we get some traffic planners in town halls and in Andy Burnham's office who have actually cycled in the city region. 

Deansgate Cycle Lanes 2
In the UK drive on the left but now we'd like you to cross the right side of the road Image: Confidentials

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