Ah winter, which wouldn't be winter without the statutory Dutch post about clearing bike paths - how very different from our own experience where we'd probably be better advised to take matters into our own hands (or wheels). Still, even if you are risking a broken neck, at least you will be avoiding viruses.
Last week, things were looking up in the cycle campaigning world, so it's perhaps inevitable that the backlash should begin with local opposition threatening to derail a planned bike lane; if you live in or around Newcastle, New Cycling needs your support while in Toronto doctors are getting arrested protesting against the removal of bike lanes. While opposition to bike lanes can seem baffling, sometimes it's about a perceived lack of consultation - and sometimes it's more complicated than that. Perhaps we should be marketing bikes differently (or marketing cars more accurately) - as the solution to climate change, the answer to a struggling economy, an essential mobility aid, or just an incredible way to save money. That way businesses might join in the lobbying, temporary experiments might get made permanent - and schools might not be so quick to attempt to ban budding cyclists from pedalling to school. Certainly, London, Southampton and Brighton seem to be starting to get it - and even the USA Today is catching up with the story.
Scotland, sadly, isn't quite there yet, despite a crowdsourced attempt at improvements to Leith Walk - that (and potholes you can see from space) being part of the reason why the Scots will be pedalling on Parliament again, with Kim Harding, Magnatom and Cycling Dumfries leading the charge. Manchester also faces a make or break year with the issue of the Oxford road
Meanwhile in London the new Cycling Commissioner gets a cautious welcome from Cyclists in the City and a rather more enthusiastic one from Two Wheels Good. While London Cyclist looks forward to the future of cycling in London, Westminster Council drafts its long overdue cycling strategy (as long as it doesn't adversely impact private cars) and only two London Boroughs have signed up to the safer Lorries pledge.
You probably thought you were just reading blogs here but in fact you're looking at the rise of the cycling citizen scientist - although sometimes done by actual researchers, like the latest installment of the cycling struggles series, this time about family cycling. Certainly there was lots of science about this week, with Cycling Info covering the physiology of cold weather cycling and Smells Like Glue giving you perhaps too much information about the cyclists' drug* of choice, caffeine. You could even help out with a survey in to barriers (physical or otherwise) to cycling - or learn something new. And as with all good science, there was dialogue too - like whether roundabouts were good or bad for cycling, and a detailed response to the idea that cycling infrastructure is sexist.
Hopefully our politicians will be as open to dialogue, with the parliamentary Get Britain Cycling enquiry kicking off next week - the Guardian reports the controversies. The paper's own Peter Walker has already considered what he'll say, while some of us might ask if we even need a parliamentary enquiry to tell us that safer routes encourage cyclists and even 'avid' cyclists would ride more if there was better infrastructure? Or that bike routes need to be thought of as systems? Certainly, the Great Gas Beetle notes cycling has already been raised as a solution to bottlenecks. Meanwhile a transport planner considers the Coalition's first two and a half years (a dog's dinner, at least in cycling terms) and looks at its plans for the future. The Ranty Highwayman looks at the government's updated guidance for setting speed limits and considers it a bit of a wasted opportunity. Across the Atlantic, even Whitehouse officials can be frightened off their bikes - but at least the inauguration will give the capital a chance to show off its new bike lanes.
Perhaps our parliamentarians just need to look across the North Sea at how the Dutch upgrade their cycle paths, turn across traffic, even help immigrants fit into society (although teaching them to cycle here might just make them stand out...). The Alternative Department for Transport is surprised to learn that the UK can actually do it when it tries. And of course, Johnny Foreigner can learn from us too - with the French about to learn how to put on a bike race, American campaigns discovering British levels of sarcasm and helmet camming making it to Toronto. While the Danish Ambassador diplomatically claims cyclign in the UK is 'fun', the Danes learn the British art of kicking an awkward subject into the long grass. Not only that, but somewhere in the US, British bike parking installers are at work - possibly an initiative from British Cycling itself - while an idea that might look awfully familiar pops up in South America.
There was real anger and surprise this week at a derisory fine for a driver involved in a cyclist's death (less than that levied for damaging a car) - the Cycling Silk has a typically knowledgeable report; for some it's a sign that presumed liability is needed for other it calls into question just what dangerous driving means. In Seattle a, fortunately less serious accident makes the case for protected bike lanes while Countercyclical wonders whether a road widening scheme should be welcomed for the separated cycle path it brings. In Prague, a memorial to a fallen cyclist marks a junction remodelled to make it safer - how much better a response than the usual victim blaming we can't seem to help indulging in.
Meanwhile the police seem to be part of the problem - although at least they're not yet ticketing cyclists for just being a smart-arse - with Cambridgeshire's new PCC reacting to the police crackdown on cyclists. Ely Cycle Campaign questions why cycling along the river is still a no-no - and Roads were not Built for Cars considers why there's a blanket ban on pavement cycling yet not pavement parking and Manifietso calls for some sledgers dismount signs.
Cycle bloggers take note: you can no longer dismis helmets as magic plastic hats: they're now also magic cardboard hats (although it's still okay to demand pedestrians wear them). Oh, and if you think campaigns for hi vis are something new think again.
And finally, we leave you with one easy to answer, simple question: would you like a free bike?
Of course you would.
*and that's the nearest we'll come to mentioning a certain L**** A******** on this blog