In a bit of a mixed bag of a week, the main story seemed to be Eric Pickles' pronouncement on parking which triggered off a three part look at what high streets really need from the Cycling Front of South Gloucestershire. While Manifietso wonders if Pickles has a point for As Easy As Riding a Bike, it just goes to show Pickles and Portas aren't listening while the Ranty Highwayman points out that adding more parking is cheap and easy (as long as it's bike parking) and Shaun McDonald looks at Ipswich's attempts to boost its town centre with cheaper parking. In what should be compulsory reading for both Pickles and Portas, Streetsblog kicks off the search for America's worst example of parking blight. If Pickles and Portas had wanted to consider the role of bikes in reviving cities fortunes, they'd have found plenty to chew on with Seimens telling London that bikes are needed (and it's not just London). Bikes are being used to sell Portland as a cycling destination, Denmark's bike culture is boosting bike sales, and cargo bikes are improving cities everywhere.
The other theme that came through strongly was campaigning women (and yes, that is women, thank you) - perhaps because of the Bike League's blog which continued to celebrate Women's (bike) History Month with some more recent history - looking at Barbara McCann, the woman behind the Complete Streets movement, Megan Odett, the woman behind Kiddical Mass on empowering mothers to ride, Deb Hubsmith, who brought 'Safe Routes to Schools' to the US and finally Ellen Fletcher, the force of nature behind Bicycle Boulevards. In Oakland, another woman wants to raise the issue of colour as well as gender, while back here in the UK, Helen Blackman wonders why, when lorries disproportionately kill women cyclists, we concentrate on what the women are doing wrong and not the drivers - women in Australia would just like safe places to cycle. . In the US and UK, 30 days of biking seems to attract women more than men. Kevin Mayne finds inspiration in the women of Taiwan while support is needed for Afghanistan's women's cycling team.
Campaigning tactics were also in the spotlight with Spanish cyclists making a splash by seeking asylum over planned anti cycling laws. In Boston a heady combination of vehicular cyclists and parking fears risk scuppering a planned Boston bike route, Boston Streets wonders if the argument is being framed in the right way, while a partial cycling solution in Edinburgh raises questions about whether we should be pleased with what we get, or risk being seen as never satisfied. 20 years on, Dublin cycle campaigners look back on progress but have a way to go, while 25 years on it looks like Wakefield councillors will be being infited on another tandem ride. For some, tracking technology might be the way to get more people onto bikes, while in San Diego it's more a question of tackling a terrifying 70mph road.
Stats are one campaigning tool and helpfully the DfT have launched the latest road safety comparison site which Countercyclical has already been putting to good use. Drawing Rings discovers that cycling in London is about five times as dangerous as Berlin while the Cottenham cyclist looks at the actual figures behind Cambridge's 10 worst junctions for cycling. The latest US road hazard statistics have also been released - while Sustrans considers the dangers on the other side of the coin with thousands killed each year by inactivity. Helsinki considers the costs and benefits of providing for cycling while Richmond LCC wonders where 15% of the borough's transport budget can possibly be going on. Seattle's bike counter provides some real time cycling figures while New York's bike counts show that the real growth has been in winter cycling - and in Vauxhall the trends at major junctions are all the way of the bike, not the car.
Sometimes the most powerful tool of all is to swap places for a while and there was plenty of that too, with Magnatom swapping Glasgow for Amsterdam and Bicycle Dutch swapping The Netherlands for London, and being remarkably polite without pulling any punches. A short time in the Netherlands is enough for You Ain't Got Jack to draw one conclusion - Dutch cycling is all about practicality. With Berlin launching its own ambitious cycling strategy rather unnoticed, in all the fuss about London's Cyclists in the City considers what we can learn, while the Green Lanes Project looks at lessons from Munich and the Vole O'Speed considers Munster. And sometimes you've just got to swap your pistons for pedals
The Alternative Department for Transport considers why quiet streets can only take you so far - as Ely Cycling Campaign finds after a trip to Cambridge, main roads are the key - and in North America at least there's plenty of space. Mad Cycle Lanes of Manchester looks at some dangerous half measures while Copenhagenize considers how a large one-way street can be made inviting to bikes. As Easy as Riding a bike asks if the London mayor's vision has killed the Hierarchy of Provision. Chicago Streetsblog considers how to build protected bike lanes everyone will want to use - while the city considers making more space for ever increasing numbers of bikes by (don't tell Eric Pickles) removing parking. Meanwhile, in the City of London, road narrowing schemes continue to make things worse for everyone.
In London, while we wait for safer streets, is the answer safer lorries? Matt Seaton isn't convinced although Estudio 27 thinks they should be compulsory and the LCC challenges the construction industry to adopt them - as well as casting a critical eye over Boris's plans for the Olympic Park. The Road Danger Reduction Forum continues to chew over the vision for London and concludes that 2013 will be a pivotal year for cycling one way or another - although nobody told the people building Clapham's leisure centre.
Elsewhere, the budget bring Scotland a chance for cycling investment but only if you ask - Magnatom and Kim Harding are quick off the mark - while in the Highlands buses are to take bikes. In Wales, historic photos show how children have been edged out of their streets, while bizarrely the Active Travel Bill is handed over to the Minister for Sport and Culture. In Belfast, where the bus lanes form the bulk of the cycling network, the decision to let taxis use them is looming. In Leeds a consultation looks a bit manipulated to get the 'right' answer - Leeds cycling campaign wonders if it's a cockup or a conspiracy - and would like to see the investment be in cycling not trolley buses. In Newcastle, Kats Dekker wonders if cyclists are to be trusted to share in new pedestrianised streets while in Nottingham and Blackpool bike hire schemes are under threat (although at least they don't have to provide free bike helmets). In Manchester a bridge is to be removed to make way for a rail scheme, while in Bath an ex railway makes for a splendid cycle route complete with rumoured ghost train.
Looking wider, the 70,000 km of the EuroVelo network starts to official open for business (while Norfolk celebrates by proposing opening a stretch of it to cars). The ECF considers how the Bicycle Kingdom can become a cycling island while it seems Timsoara in Romania has just got on with it. In New York, the real risk to New York's bike lanes is stagnation not removal - although historical concerns may also cause problems. In Portland a long running proposal finally gets funded while in Minnesota, some advisory bike lanes are painted out ... and proper ones put in instead (hopefully with fewer blockages than these ones in Boston)
All is not entirely well in the US with a born-again cyclist hanging up his bike after one close call too many, while communities seem to be opposed to the very things that would make them safer - and the police seem keen to blame a 14-year-old for her own death. In the UK, the police set their sights on pavement cyclists and critical mass without looking at their own dangerous driving. Seattle wins this week's bizarrest road rage incident.
With the CTC urging the government to put cycling on the national curriculum - something you can already get college credit for in Portland - these Calgary kids are a lesson to us all. Pedal on Parliament's younger supporters pitch in to spread the word while Daveyoil just wonders why kids' bikes have to be so gendered. In Sandy Hook, a bike frame commemorates the victims of the school shooting. And if you don't want your kids out there on the road - well, just build a cycling track in your own back garden
And finally - cycling gets its latest recruit and newest heroine - let's hope it's the start of a cycling/tennis crossover trend.
See you next week for hopefully more aces and fewer pickles from the wonderful world of bike blogs