A Kenilworth man has been named the Bicycle Mayor for the city of Coventry.
Coventry's new Bicycle Mayor, Adam Tranter, who was born and raised in Coventry, runs Fusion Media a PR and marketing agency looking after brands such as Brompton Bicycles, Evans Cycles, Red Bull, Shimano and the Tour de France.
Adam Tranter launched Warwickshire's first school cycle bus to help local children cycle safely to school in autumn 2019. A cycle bus is when lead cyclists pick up children along the way and the group of cycles to school together.
Adam and his wife, Aurélie Tranter, came up with the idea for the school cycle bus initiative and started by cycling their 5-year-old twin boys to school using an electric cargo bike. Soon other parents asked them how they could get involved in cycling to school.
He is only the second Bicycle Mayor in the UK after Richard Ingham who was appointed Bicycle Mayor of the region of Cumbria in 2019.
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.
Tranter received endorsements to be Coventry’s Bicycle Mayor from Sir Chris Hoy, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling and Walking, British Cycling, BBC Coventry & Warwickshire presenter Phil Upton, the Warwick University Bicycle Users Group and other local cycling advocates.
Tranter’s mission is to help Coventry reach its potential by supporting those who live, work and visit the city in making cycling and walking the obvious transport choice for short journeys, regardless of age, gender or background.
Adam said: “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.”
He aims to hold Coventry’s policymakers to account, ensuring cycling is a key priority in tackling the climate emergency declared by Coventry City Council and more than 60 per cent of local councils in the UK. He will work to promote the benefits of cycling, walking and other active travel modes to challenge the status quo of one of the UK’s most car-centric cities.
Adam's three key priorities as Bicycle Mayor are:
1. Work to ensure that Coventry meets its cycling potential; working with policymakers to ensure priority is given to cycling and active travel
2. Engage media and partners to better communicate and showcase the benefits of cycling for everybody in Coventry
3. Prioritise the implementation and promotion of initiatives that benefit the most vulnerable: children, people with special mobility needs, vulnerable road users and those affected most by pollution
Coventry has significant challenges relating to transport. Coventry is the fastest growing city in terms of congestion, according to TomTom Traffic Index. 98 per cent of monitored roads in Coventry have PM2.5 emissions above the World Health Organisation's guidelines. It is estimated that in 2017, 156 deaths in Coventry were related to PM2.5, amounting to about 1 in every 18 deaths.
In addition, 29.5 per cent of adults in Coventry are physically inactive (doing less than 30 minutes of physical activity per week). This makes Coventry the fifth least active area in the West Midlands and in the Top 20 of least active areas in England.
Research commissioned by Coventry City Council in 2015 showed the method of journey to work of Coventry employed residents. Three per cent of people commuted by bike compared to 64 per cent by car (source).
Adam added: “I am engaging with key stakeholders to outline my vision as Bicycle Mayor. It's essential that this is a collaborative approach; I want to help bring together the best of Coventry and showcase what’s possible when you put people first.
“A key focus will be holding power to account in ensuring cycling and active travel are given the funding that's needed to transform the number of people choosing cycling.
"Coventry had a strong association with the bicycle thanks to pioneers such as John Kemp Starley who invented the modern safety bicycle design in the city. Over a 100-year period there were more than 450 bicycle makers in Coventry but things then moved onto car manufacture and that industry still has a presence in the city today. These companies are important to the political landscape and local economy but there is currently no voice for cycling; we need to change that.”
Phil Upton, presenter at BBC Radio Coventry & Warwickshire, said: “Adam is a ‘Covkid’ as we would say here. So he’s grown up here, still has family here and is uniquely placed to understand the frustrations of cycling infrastructure in Coventry and best represent a whole range of issues from cycling use, environmental and health benefits and modernising city transport strategies.”
Sir Chris Hoy, 6x Olympic champion cyclist, said: “There are few people who understand the importance of getting more people active than Adam. There are even fewer who have the practical experience and know how to bottle all that is great about cycling and take it to new cyclists. I look forward to seeing what Adam can achieve, getting more children cycling and continuing to raise awareness of the many benefits.”