Blimey, no sooner do we put up our first blog round up than it seems like the UK bike blog world went into overdrive with masses of posts from regular and irregular posters alike.
The week started off well with a call to arms – a Very British Revolution in fact, from the Embassy’s own Chairman Jim, while Joe Dunckley starts to lay out the sunlit uplands of what might be achieved with his series so what would you do here?, looking at how Dutch style solutions could be applied to typical British solutions (so far he’s tackled country lanes, the village high street and rural main roads, all part of an effort – along with other Embassy members – to apply the lessons learned on the recent Cycling Embassy Study Tour – while Sheffield Cycle Chic posted a picture demonstrating exactly why we need this sort of thing and David Hembrow, over on the other side of the North Sea, looked at how a city centre street could be transformed
Meanwhile, back in the real world, the cycle routes to the Olympics were announced – James May (yes, that James May) may have captured the headlines by telling the VIPs to cycle but as even he pointed out, it’s all about the infrastructure – and the Telegraph’s Olympics editor, looked more closely into the routes which involve negotiating four lanes of traffic at one point. Sadly, all this was largely overshadowed by the death of another cyclist, Brian Dorling, the first on one of London’s new ‘super highways’ – and a worker at the Olympic Park to boot, cycling to work on one of those roues. Once more, this is a story that goes beyond the world of cycling, with the story first being picked up by Diamond Geezer who is emphatically not a cyclist (and why? Because he’s astutely picked apart the deficiencies of the cycling superhighways, apart from anything else) but is a pedestrian. As he’s uncovered, the lack of safe crossings at that junction is due to the fact that crossing would – you guessed it ‘introduce significant delays to traffic’. The Grumpy Cyclist, who knows the junction, looks at some quick fixes for the roundabout while the LCC publishes an open letter from a friend of the man killed, asking why cyclists are encouraged to use a junction ‘widely known as an accident waiting to happen’. Cyclists in the City rounded out the story by the week’s end summarising all the evidence on this and other dangerous junctions in London: that Transport for London is prioritising motorised traffic over everything else. And who are these drivers that we’re supposed to be taking our chances mixing with? As the Grumpy Cyclist reports, one of them includes the lorry driver who killed Eilidh Cairns, who may also have been responsible for killing a 97-year-old pedestrian this summer, while as road.cc reports they really cannot see you: with the aging population, the number of motorists who have had their licences removed for poor eyesight has doubled since 2006.
This week’s ‘tempest in a teapot’ award must surely go to the Guardian’s Bike Blog for the post by Matthew Wright there’s more to going Dutch than having a separate cycling lane which managed to dig out once more as though it were gospel John Franklin’s biased summary of research on the safety of cycle lanes. This provoked a storm of response, including – among many others – one from the LCC whose campaign had been criticised, a post from our own Jim at the Lo-Fidelity Cycling Club, from As Easy as Riding a Bike and from Marc from Amsterdamize (with, frankly, the best picture yet of a UK bike campaigner examining Dutch infrastructure provision) who felt he’d been quoted by Wright out of context and retaliated by publishing their email exchanges in full. And of course the many entirely sane and reasonable people who waded into the fray in the comments section of the article itself.
Getting away from the tragedies of needless road deaths, Kim Harding on the Ubiquitous Blog put up a nice couple of posts on Alpine Cycle Chic and the infrastructure that makes it happen, nailing the ‘Dutch only cycle because it’s flat’ myth in the process, and also reminds those further south that Edinburgh has a target of 10% of journeys by bike, to which end it’s considering the problems of on-street cycle parking. Cycle space has dug up a nice little video about the original spirit of the UK’s New Towns (where did it all go wrong) and asks how architects can rescue unhealthy and unsustainable cities, by looking at Portland and Minneapolis, now two of the most bike-friendly US cities. CyclingEurope finds a little bit of the Netherlands in Leeds while On the Bummel finds the safest bike parking spot in London, all thanks to Tony Blair, and the Vole o’Speed goes looking for low hanging fruit and doesn’t find any. In case you missed it, Cyclenation posts all the reports and papers from their recent conference. Magic Roundabout looks at Swindon’s local sustainable transport fund and points out ‘there’s no point doing personal travel planning for 11,000 people if the infrastructure you’d like them to use is unsafe, unusable or impassable for 3 or 4 months of the year.’ Karl over on Do the Right Thing looks at taking the pragmatic approach and decides bugger that – before heading off to Northumbria to see what its fantastic cycle routes are really like and finds that some of them are fantastic and some of them are, er not. Bike Biz reports that, as part of the open government initiative raw data on cycle routes (among other things) will be released, which could be of use to Open Street Maps and cycle streets.
And finally, if all that is leaving you a bit depressed about the state of UK cycling and the perils of bike campaigning, it’s not just on these shores. Over in Canada, Urban Country examines the case against traffic calming measures – all arguments we’ve heard made in the UK, although not, as here, by an actual safety orgranisation while Munchenierung looks at the emerging discussion on helmet compulsion in Germany. (If it’s any help Paul Jakma provides a handy guide to the case against helmet advocacy)
Phew! Another packed week in bike blogging will no doubt follow – if we’ve missed anything good, or you’ve found or written something particularly fine, let us know and we’ll add it to the next one.