Hello and welcome back - we hope you're as refreshed as we are from our Christmas break and ready to tackle the world of bike blogging once more. The new year, of course, is a time to look forward and make resolutions - like cycling more (and if you really need some tips on this, London Cyclist has some for you, as does The Guardian), or getting involved in local planning committees, or just thinking the unthinkable. The Bristol mayor certainly gets off to a good start, with car free Sundays high on his list of priorities (while Portland's old town experiments with car-free weekends) while Naturally Cycling announces the return of the Wheelers Brunch. Meanwhile, the People's Cycling Front intends to come out fighting while Chafe City just has a simple New Year's wish - as do we all...
Of course, some take the opportunity to look backwards, with Cycling Info deciding that 2012 was the year when cycling became the UK's favourite mode of transport, albeit on purely subjective grounds. The Richmond LCC remembers the only good cyclist is a dead cyclist debacle - and fills us in with what happened next. BikeBike looks back on three years living (almost) car free in Calgary. A ride round Amsterdam prompts Bicycle Dutch to consider how it's changed - and also takes a journey back through his own cycling past. Nor was he alone in taking a trip down memory (cycle) lane - Torontoist looks back to cycling in Toronto in the 70s, while Kevin Mayne remembers riding a bike in China in the 80s. And the Vole O'Speed looks back in statistical terms to consider what a real cycling revolution would need - with graphs.
For that, perhaps, we need to say enough is enough and start changing the way we do things. For a start, should we be changing the language around cycling - from the 'less confident' cyclist to the 'silent menace' - and should cyclists and pedestrians unite against a common enemy (or should we stop scaring people off their bikes)? Should we stop building STROADS (and other advice that the DfT would do well to take on board) - or just stop piling kludge on top of kludge? Should we be looking to Germany as much as the Netherlands or Denmark (although the Germans don't seem to have got the memo) - or perhaps to Seville where an 80km segregated network has brought about a tenfold increase in cyling in six years? Should we just go ahead and support strict liability anyway, whether it helps cycling or not, (and if we do, there's a petition, by the way). Or perhaps we should support a Europe-wide default 30kph speed limit (that's 20mph in real money) - or even just try enforcing the laws we've got? Should we be making cars go hi-vis, or setting tough targets for eco towns - or just stop trying to actively suppress cycling altogether?
On the funding front, the new year saw the Scottish government announcing where that extra £3.9 million for cycling was going - on a tourist route (which was welcomed in the Highlands) - and on improving access to stations that should have been properly designed in the first place. All in all a long way from the sort of Dutch levels of investment campaigners are calling for - no wonder there's so much emphasis on training: because it's cheap. Nor does it look as if the Sustainable Transport Fund will do much to tackle the problem - although perhaps the EU will, with cycling to be included in transport infrastructure funding. At least changes to company car taxation have actually made some difference - just don't expect the road haulage industry to pay their way. Perhaps it's worth repeating (again) how better bike infrastructure makes better business - and with walkscore branching out into bikescore perhaps we'll have some hard numbers to put on that.
Meanwhile, the road deaths continue - and another high profile sportsman's death points up the international nature of the problem. In the US, Ren Jender gives a heartfelt and angry testimony as five cyclists are killed in her city last year (just don't read the comments...) while road design might be to blame for South California's first cycling death of 2013. Looking back at last year's controversial cases, UK Cycle Rules provides a little clarity while the Cycling Silk deplores victim blaming even from the lawyers.
Around the UK, As Easy as Riding a bike asked if London's cycling growth is tailing off - or are London's cyclists just avoiding busy roads? In Bristol, a bike repair project gets the new year off to the worst possible start. In Cardiff, a massive 0% of cyclists think the network is well designed and maintained - while in Greenwich there are calls to let cyclists use the foot tunnels. In Cambridge, it seems the local paper hates cyclists - and whoever designed the approach to the station's cycle parking wasn't that keen on them either. In Edinburgh Greener Leith spots that rare beast a genuinely segregated cycle path while in Liverpool the proposed bike hire scheme is welcomed - but where are people actually going to ride them?
Meanwhile, as even Dubai opens a 67km separated cycling network the trail of open mouthed visitors to Copenhagen continues - and to Amsterdam of course - while even visiting Kabul can give a different cycling perspective. A neat bike share station from Seoul turns heads, while in Canada they're eyeing up roundabouts although Bicycle Perth sounds less keen (that's the Australian Perth, although the same post could easily have been written in the UK one...). In Chicago, they're changing terminology - do you know your 'buffered' from your 'protected bike lane? - while drivers are unhappy about changes that would ultimately make everyone safer - and don't slow down the emergency services, either.
And finally, despite the perils of the warm and cosy our new year's resolution is to up the cuteness ratio of this blog - from adding the all important basket to your balance bike - to the organised and not so organised chaos of a Tokyo children's traffic park, where nobody seems to mind a few bangs and collisions in this delightful video.
Let's all just hope that the rest of 2013's collisions are as benign