This was a week that started with Halloween and ended with bonfire night, and not just another London cyclists fighting for her life but a further reminder (in the shape of the horriffic M5 crash) that our car-dependent infrastructure harms us all, not just cyclists. Our thoughts go out to everyone caught up in that carnage and the emergency services who had to deal with it.
Our very own chairman Jim kicked off the week in fine style with a halloween-themed video while Help My Chain Fell Off was also working halloween, in this case the horrors of London’s streets These may get a tiny bit better soon – the Cycling Embassy of Denmark reports that one of their members will be involved in the redesign of Oxford and Regent Street – it will be interesting to see if a bit of Danish know-how can make a real difference. Hopefully they can do better than the engineers in Dalston where Loving Dalston finds a ‘people-friendly’ makeover has left no room for cyclists – or in Waterloo, where Joe Dunckley finds his shared use facility of the month and proposes some more radical thinking than the usual tinkering around the edges. Velo City Girl encounters an unlikely London cycling hazard … deer? While the Cycling Lawyer spends an instructive morning with the Met Police and sees for himself how a couple of (non-compulsory) mirrors makes a huge difference to whether drivers can see cyclists or not – particularly in the ASL.
The fallout from the recent deaths in London continues. Diamond Geezer looks at his local Cycling Superhighway and finds ‘there’s nothing super about it’. Green Jenny Jones reports on the installation of the most recent ghost bike – I only wish her ‘solutions’ were a bit more radical than just ‘traffic calming’. Meanwhile, the Londonist reports that residents of South London are reduced to lobbying developers to get the Elephant and Castle bike Bypass completed – showing exactly where bike infrastructure comes in TfL’s priorities. And momentum grows for next weekend’s ride through London’s ten most dangerous junctions – a joint effort between the Embassy’s own Mark of ibikelondon and Cyclists in the City. Mark reports that more than 100 cyclists are expected on this ride, which will be fully marshalled, and there will also be a feeder ride in from Bow roundabout And if you’re wondering whether a few high profile road deaths are distorting our view of the situation, Bike Radar reports that cycling deaths and injuries are up – both in absolute and relative terms (per km cycled), suggesting that safety in numbers may be a way off, although things are still better than they were in the nineties – and cycling is still generally a safe way to get about.
But there’s more to the UK than London – and road.cc provides a salutary reminder to those of us who have escaped why we did so – up in Edinburgh, Spokes reports that the SNP have reneged on their manifesto commitment to active travel and urges Scots to write to their MSPs about it (Kim Harding already has). In Cardiff, EStudio27 remembers the real reason for cycling – it’s just easier. Dave ’42 bikes’ Warnock completes a year of cycling every day and has no intention of stopping now. In Manchester, Naturally Cycling enjoyed the Tweed ride in style – and finds her bike is not just a means of transport but a source of power. The People’s Cycling Front of South Gloucester makes a welcome return with the introduction of their (strictly non-cycling) cycling councillor champion who turns up to cycle promotion events in his 4×4. Maybe he’s waiting for some decent cycle tracks to be built first? Ignite Bristol posts a short talk from Martin Couzins about cycle lanes designed not to be used. The indefatigable cycling chic blogs continue to brighten our day, with a smile from Sheffield, some funky sounds from Edinburgh and some (very on-trend, apparently) polka dots from the latest addition to the cycle chic empire, Cardiff Even the Guardian discovers there’s life beyond the M25, reporting on a Leicester-based celebration of the bike’s role in the emancipation of women
Speaking of which, the responses to last week’s Guardian bike blog post on Dutch infrastructure continue to flood in – from the author himself, reflecting in his own blog on the experience and the vehemence of the response he got (and honestly, I can sympathise – welcome to the world of cycle campaigning, Matthew). Manchester Cycling looks at Dutch pick’n‘mix (no, not a bag full of impossibly salty licorice, but the desperate search by UK campaigners for any Dutch solution besides cycle tracks. Cyca-logical also responds – ‘nothing short of mass hypnotism will persuate most people to cycle on UK roads’. While the Vole o’Speed, having had a month to reflect on the study tour says that ‘understanding is the start of change’. In which case, maybe the Americans will beat us to it, with American transport officials going over to the Netherlands on a study tour (when will their British counterparts follow them?) and the American Consul General in Amsterdam, interviewed by Streetfilms, notes that the Dutch are doing what’s best for society as a whole Boston by bike asks, tongue in cheek, whether it could be that helmets and hi-vis aren’t the be-all and end-all of safety after all while, in Pittsburgh, Transportation Nation is talking to Professor John Pucher – ‘the nunber one thing people want is physically separated cycling facilities’. And in case you’ve forgotten just what’s so wonderful about Dutch cycling provision, Mark Wagenbuur goes to Maastricht to look at a ‘crap’ cycle lane while as Easy as Riding a Bike reminds us that it’s sometimes the tiny details we might overlook that make the difference Like where to put manhole covers, for instance. Streetfilms also discovers that even Dutch traffic safety lessons are amazing – no nagging reminders to wear hi-vis at all times, for instance.
Elsewhere in the blogosphere (says she, giving up all pretence of tying this stuff into a coherent narrative) Green Ideas factory has some fun with ‘pro helmet’ slogans for Nutcase – ‘safety through infrastructure, not armour’. Road.cc reports that cycling commuters are healthier than those using other forms of transport (from the research dept of the University of hte Bleeding obvious no doubt). As Easy as Riding a Bike reports on the death (or endangerment) of the zebra crossing (only it turns out they’re not dead, they’ve just all migrated across the Channel) while Sustrans puts some different sort of paint on the road A pedal-powered train (no really) is to be launched between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd (how’s that for separated infrastructure?).
Drawing Rings finds a correlation between bike use rising and car use falling (in
London anyway) while Lovely Bike finds a taxi with anti-dooring warning stickers – some of those for UK cars and taxis, please. Louise McCall (or should that be Louise McCake), the genius behind Patisserie Cyclisme, blogs about cycling and depression at Vulpine.cc
And finally, we’d like to remind you that cycling is a serious means of transport and as such has absolutely nothing to do with bombing down hills at night on ridiculous bikes just for the hell of it. Absolutely. Nothing. And as such we completely and utterly disapprove of this Not even if it looks like a blast…