Petition to cancel Vélo 2020 amid road closure 'chaos' concerns - The Solihull Observer

Petition to cancel Vélo 2020 amid road closure 'chaos' concerns

Solihull Editorial 15th Aug, 2019 Updated: 15th Aug, 2019   0

A PETITION has been launched to cancel major cycling event Vélo 2020 due to road closures and residents feeling ‘trapped’.

The next Vélo Birmingham and Midlands, which attracts thousands of cyclists, will be held on June 28, 2020.

The event, which is criticised for disruptive road closures, will again take riders on a route through Solihull, Coventry, Warwickshire and Birmingham.

But now Meriden resident Lewis Edwards has launched a petition calling for the event to be scrapped.

It has gained 500 signatures in just over two weeks.

More than 100 miles of the region’s road network will be closed off for the event, which Mr Edwards says ‘traps’ residents in their homes.

His petition states: “A big bike ride is a lovely idea but not when it involves a large corporation telling thousands of people that they have to be restricted in their movements for the majority of the day and that there is nothing they can do about it.

“Many residents were trapped in their own homes as many closed roads were their only exit and entry points, with no diversion route or alternative available.

“Some people were trapped in their homes for over 13 hours. Public transport was also suspended for most of the day.

“Home help and visiting carers were prevented from delivering food, hydration and medication as part of routine care plans; a vet was refused access to a premises because of road closures, leading to the death of two horses.

“Many people were prevented from travel to work and some were stranded at Birmingham International Airport and train station and couldn’t return home for hours.

“There has been no consultation with those living along the route.

“Last year’s event was not only an unwelcome intrusion to a large amount of people, forced to put up with it, but has been seen by many trapped for the day as an infringement of civil liberties and a danger to health and safety.”

Mr Edward’s hopes the petition will be presented to the leaders of Birmingham, Solihull, Warwickshire and Coventry councils and CSM Sport and Entertainment – the private company which runs the event.

His petition also invited many others to post their experiences of road closures and other complications due to the event.

The event has been cancelled in other areas like Worcester, he says.

This year, 17,000 people participated, with one man dying after coming off his bike in Atherstone, Warwickshire.

But the event raised over £1million for local and national charities.

A spokesman for Vélo Birmingham and Midlands said: “Given the necessary road closures that are in place on the day – all of which are signed off at the Safety Advisory Group by all stakeholders and the Emergency Services – we accept that a small minority do not support Vélo Birmingham & Midlands.

“We invest a great deal of time and effort to minimise as much as possible the impact on local residents and businesses.

“Along with our partners at Birmingham, Coventry, Sandwell, Warwickshire, Dudley and Solihull Councils, we strongly believe that the event delivers a significant net benefit to the region in terms of profile, economic impact, health and well-being, the environment and charity fundraising.

“The fact that the West Midlands plays host to the second biggest cycling event in the UK is something to be incredibly proud of and we will continue working hard to make Vélo Birmingham & Midlands an event that everyone can enjoy and benefit from.

“If anyone has any questions about the 2020 event, we encourage them to reach out to our dedicated route team by emailing [email protected].”


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