Today is the World Day of Remembrance for victims of road traffic and it’s been a week of remembrance on the Bike Blogs too.
The week, of course, had started with the aftermath of the Tour du Danger – joint organiser Mark Ames of ibikelondon put his loudhailer down long enough to type up the big day – with lots of amazing pictures too, following up with an article in the Guardian Bike Blog . Other reports included a video (and running commentary) from an ‘ordinary cyclist’ on road.cc, a pod cast from The Bike Show with LCC’s Mustafa Arif, a report from As Easy as Riding a Bike, ride leader Kennington People on Bikes and many more. Perhaps encapsulating the mood best was this fantastic post from Londonneur, The most ‘fearless’ ride in London speaking from the point of view of a cycling instructor who is worth quoting at length: ‘Over the last few years, I have met and trained hundreds of adults who want to start cycling for utility purposes. The overwhelming feeling from them has been that they are “scared of traffic”… by the time I am through, they will be able to go where they please without fear. But for every trainee I see, I know there are very many who will never take that step because their fear of traffic stops them. Telling them the “fact” that the roads are actually quite safe to use, is of no benefit at all’.
If you couldn’t make it, never fear – the next one has already been planned – to the Olympics. Kennington People on Bikes is already gearing up. And it’s not just a question for London – this very morning GoBike are organising an infrastructure tour in Glasgow – where, unlike in London, those responsible for the actual design and implementation will be coming along to try it for themselves.
And lest we forget, in all the excitement, what it’s about, the BBC carried an interview with the widow of Brian Dorling, who died on Bow Roundabout, where she manages to make more sense about safe cycle design than many so called experts. And on Friday, there was a candlelit vigil for both Brian Dorling and Svitlana Tereschenko – see Diamond Geezer’s report and the LCC’s, with some moving photos. Brian Jones’s video shows typical evening rushhour scenes, not inviting cycling conditions at all. Meanwhile LCC report that cyclists trying to avoid the Bow roundabout by using the pavement are being fined -“When I said it was too dangerous – he said it wasn’t an excuse and ‘you’ve got a helmet’”.
As Vole O’Speed writes, cyclists have known that the superhighways were flawed from the start and, according to Christian Wolmar, need rethinking – redesign them or abandon them because at the moment they are confusing to all. And it’s not just cyclists whose nees are being ignored – the Vauxhall society reports how pedestrians are forced into the bike lane by building works. But the message that things must change is now filtering through to those who can do something about it: Steve Norris, TfL board member (in a slightly unfortunate choice of words) says everyone is trying to humanise the Elephant. The BBC reports that TfL are to review Bow Roundabout – a review which seems to have spread wider to include the cycle superhighways (or at least all junctions, according to road.cc.) You can be sure that as they do, London’s ever alert bike bloggers will be watching and commenting like hawks – if hawks commented – with Cyclists in the city leading the charge. Meanwhile, getting down to the sort of nitty gritty that will have to be considered, DIY Turnpike lane looks at residents’ concerns over raised table junctions, which are a key part of civilising streets, Dutch style while on Birmingham Cyclist they’re discussing roundabouts
So it’s not all about bad news, and it’s not all about London either. Going north of the border, Spokes report more bikes and fewer cars in Edinburgh’s rush hour and the Bike Station finds cycling up 26% on Edinburgh path network – clearly, Scotland’s spending £4 per head – rather than, as Malcolm Shepherd, Chief Executive of Sustrans, the just 70p per head spent on smarter travel choices in England has started to make an impact. Of course, all that is under threat – Set in Darkness picks up on the SNP’s broken promises on cycling – watch this space, we think this one will run and run. Meanwhile Edinburgh cycle chic celebrates the 5th birthday of Cycle Chic (five years – can that really be all?)
Sticking to the Scottish theme, Real Cycling has been in Edinburgh, investigating ‘award winning’ cycle parking – and, in the good news department, finds that it’s Christmas every day for cyclists using York’s Millennium Bridge. Aberdeen Cars is delighted to learn that, despite financial cuts, the council won’t be introducing a congestion charge but will be cutting lollipop ladies (caution, contains sarcasm). Speaking of schoolkids, War on the Motorist looks at how rural kids might get to school – including some nice repurposed railway lines and new bike bridges (you see, it’s not ALL bad news) while the Guardian Bike Blog looks at how Sustrans is doing it – and concludes that what’s really needed … is segregated bike lanes. You think? In fact, it really isn’t rocket science – the president of the ECF lays down what gets people cycling: 30km/h speed limits plus segregated infrastructure everywhere else “A city with great transport cannot be measured by its motorways, but by whether or not a child can safely cycle everywhere” – something echoed by London Mayorial Candidate, Green Jenny Jones, who wants roads safe for 12-year-olds, not mayors (other mayorial candidates are available). Maybe it’s time for a change … or maybe we’ll still be singing the same tunes in 40 years time, as David Hembrow finds
More reasons to be cheerful – and to settle down at your computer with a nice big cup of tea – is This Big City’s fortnight-long series on Urban Bicycle Networks and Sustainable Cities – well, I say series, the rate at which they’ve been posting has more been like getting out the firehose and opening up a torrent of informative prose. I did start to collate brief summaries of each, but it’s easiest just to suggest you get yourself to the site and fill your boots – and then send them all on to your local councillors, policy makers and politicians.
With fuel prices under the spotlight, Bikebiz reports that Sustrans are urging the government not to cut fuel duty. There’s nothing like a good fuel prices debate to bring out the tiniest hint of a spot of schadenfreude (much as we deplore smugness, sometimes it’s nice to remember that cycling’s not JUST a fun and healthy and fast way to get around). Karl McCracken has adapted an infographic for the UK to show you the real cost of commuting by car (and you can even download it as a spreadsheet and work out the costs for yourself… Bike Biz reports that even the Economist gets it – fuel prices aren’t going to get cheaper. Quickrelease.tv tells drivers how they can save hundreds of pounds (and a few lives) and Pedestrian Liberation agrees that fuel prices are ridiculous (ridiculously low, that is).
Perhaps we’re looking in the wrong direction for decent cycling provision by lobbying transport bodies – The Guardian reports on the government’s Total Environment Project to improve walking and cycling routes. Or perhaps we shouldn’t be looking to politicians at all: what do you do if your government promised you decent cycle lanes and then didn’t deliver? (sound familiar anyone?) Well, if you’re Mexican you paint your own – 5km of them! And it’s not just Mexico – Popup city reports that some activists have taken a DIY approach in Bratislava too – and well, if they will insist on parking on the pavement perhaps some diy enforcement is in order – Mad Cycle Lanes of Manchester reminds us about Michael Hartmann
In our regular, ‘what they’re doing across the North sea about cycling, the smug continental sods’ spot, Gehl Architects are celebrating flaneurs Den Bosch tarts up its already nice looking cycle lanes and becomes Dutch ‘cycling city’ of 2011 while Copenhagenize looks at what makes good cycle parking – and not just from the point of view of the cyclists. The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (not all of it, we assume) has been in Paris, and will be trialling some of the ideas that have made the French capital one of the really surprising bike-friendly cities in recent years (and celebrates with some illustrations from Bike in the City cartoonist Leah – including a novel suggestion on how to keep safe around lorries. In the ‘nice problem to have’ department, Bike Portland reports that Munich hit its targets for getting 17% of trips by bike 4 years early and now their cycle tracks aren’t wide enough. Retrofitting sanity? David Hembrow looks at woonerven And finally, for no other reason than it is a lovely sequence of pics, check out this post from Amsterdamize from Amsterdamize (the fact that she’s cycling with a broken arm is just a sort of by-the-by…)
I bike Toronto asks if infrastructure is a feminist issue (you know what though, guys? We’ll let you use our bike tracks too) while in Boston Issues of safety after dark concern Lovely Bicycle – sometimes the risks are neither from cars nor potholes. Oxford Cycle Workshop announces Beryls’ Night – an open and welcoming atmosphere for women to explore bike maintenance.
‘Inviting cyclists to shop’ – Darlington Cycle campaign looks at how easy it is to shop by bike in Darlington – well, it could be better (and for not very much money, either). Kim and Tom Bailey have also been talking about shopping – well riding to the shops, anyway. Gents, that is not at all the same thing.
Riding round Bristol, This Last has a look at the cycling facilities – and finds that ‘Cunning, intuition, experience, good balance, strong legs, quick eyesight, research, patience and a friendly guide or mentor are all needed’ – you hope that the drivers have read this excellent advice on the driver’s site carbuzz. Bristol Traffic reports how a dastardly group of protestors are bringing the city to its knees – the 1% fights back.
Rosamundi on Over the Hills and Far Away has a look at some routes suggested by TfL’s own route planner – and the ‘easy’ route goes straight over … you guessed it, the Bow interchange. Cyclostyle asks if attending a Tweed run is a sure sign of a midlife crisis. There’s more Brompton Love from Karl On Sea (I feel there should be some sort of service that filters out these sorts of posts for people who already desperately want a Brompton and don’t need to be told how brilliant they are). A Bike Ride a Day looks at permeability – or the lack thereof One for Movember? Moustache bars, from Edinburgh Cycle Chic. Coming soon to a t-shirt near you? Carlton Reid has rounded up the best cycling quotes
London Transport Data teases out the complexity of turning cycle counts into actual km cycled (and hence the relative safety or not of cycling) while Magnatom wonders if he’s getting into more bother than the average cyclist
And finally, this week’s above and beyond the call of duty award goes to As Easy as Riding a Bike, who not only listened to the Vanessa Felz interview with Kulveer Ranger, the mayor’s Director of Environment and Cycling but transcribed it for us (and all this without flinging his radio across the room. Well done that man), then teased out the difference between ‘dangerous’ and ‘careless’ driving, asks why it is that cyclists get a bad name still had time to give us his latest Friday Facility -A ‘Singularity of cyclists’