It was bike week last week - did you notice? - which meant lots of encouragement to get kids cycling to school, among other things. As David Hembrow points out, getting kids cyling opens them up to world of health, wealth and happiness but here in the UK the elephant in the room, of course, is that for many it's just not safe - and even if you manage with child seats and tagalongs eventually your kids are going to have to negotiate scary roads independently. Manc Bike Mummy gets a small breakthrough - and wonders if it's wrong to consider a shared-use path. NI Greenways worte about the joys of the Belfast school run (could that be why cycling in Belfast is overwhelmingly male) while Downtown Express has a piece from a nine-year-old in New York. The pupils of Sciennes Primary School got to cycle briefly with the minister while the Institute of Child Health decides to ban bikes from its premises altogether. Elsewhere, San Francisco's bike routes are only suitable for experts rather than school kids. And at the other end of the parent/child relationship, Lady Fleur is still riding with her Dad and - as Cambridge Cyclist reminds us - 8-80 cycling benefits those in mobility scooters as much as kids.
For bike week for the rest of us, NI Greenways looks at the real policies behind the inevitable bike week rhetoric and then considers the people it affects, from Diarmud hand-cycling 10 miles to work to Kate who doesn't cycle half as much now she's moved from London to Belfast. Bristol celebrated with its first car-free Sunday (and it looks like Christchurch is to get one too). In a change from potholes, one scheme puts jump ramps on bike paths (of course for a real adrenaline buzz, just try negotiating a right turn across three lanes of traffic) while Halfords - yes, that Halfords - gets the advertising right. I cycle Liverpool has mixed feelings over a critical mass - but Chafe City did enjoy being three of a kind for once, instead of one of a kind. Meanwhile Karl on Sea considers the sort of supports needed to actually get from 2% to 30% of journeys by bike
Whatever they might be, the revised Cycling Action Plan for Scotland wasn't it, with opinion divided over whether it was CRAPS or just utter CAPS. Pedal on Parliament identified a , and Dead Dog Blog points out it's not education that's needed. Still at least one councillor made it to Edinburgh's bike breakfast and there have been some changes for the better (albeit small ones). Meanwhile one Scottish politician managed to come back from the Netherlands with some big ideas... Meanwhile the clock is ticking as the UK falls ever further behind the Netherlands - time to stop our failed experiments and implement what we know works. With the Get Britain Cycling report to be debated in Parliament - the Ranty Highwayman wants you to sign and to vote and Congress considers a bill to make Complete Streets the US National standard (while an American transport department admits what we suspect they're all thinking). Cab Davidson decides not to wait for the politicians and starts drawing up his own cycle lane manifesto - part 1 and part 2.
So what would we do? Should we design cycling as if it were a chair? Should we stop squandering space on over engineered junctions? Should we get rid of pinchpoints? Should we attempt to slow traffic on a ratrun with innovative markings - or investigate using experimental Traffic Orders to close through traffic and see if the world ends? And above all should we consider not what we lose when we redesign cities around people - but what we gain. The Green Lane considers how online bike mapping can be made more intutive for cyclists - but as the Urban Country points out, mapped or not, even the simplest journey becomes much more complicated if you can't take the directest route. Greener Leith showcases an alternative design for Leith Walk from Embassy member Iain Longstaff while the Calgary Herald takes a video tour of the best and worst spots for cycling downtown
It would seem this week that any way you cut it cars are peaking in the US (certainly in Washington although Detroit doesn't seem to have got the memo). The Urbanist considers whether the young are really turning their backs on the car - and what are the big trends shaping transport. All the more reason to invest in the infrastructure we can't afford not to put in - something even the US Army is beginning to recognise. The battle continues in Canada with Vancouver retailers fearing bike tracks will ruin business while Calgary ones learn how they will boost theirs. But one shop owner has had a turnaround - having learned from his own staff how many of his customers arrive by bike (next stop will be cargo bike deliveries maybe?). Streetsblog reminds us of how a thriving neighbourhood got destroyed by a huge junction in Miami while in South Carolina, there's more evidence of the economic benefits of building bike trails instead. Perhaps a lesson that's finally being learned over here: in Scotland, a community hopes to similarly gain from an 'on-road' cycle park - and Sheffield hopes to let a 1000 cyclists bloom to add to its booming cycling economy, while a think tank urges the government to ditch HS2 and build cycle infrastructure instead.
Oh, and parking - bike parking, that is - as Amsterdam struggles with the problem of too many bikes and Utrecht expands its own parking it turns out that bike parking also obeys the laws of induced demand - nobody tell the good councillors of Marlborough. Meanwhile, the first cyclehoop 'car' rack is admired in New Zealand and Two wheels good points out it's not bike stands that mar conservation areas, it's Chelsea tractors.
In a bad week for traffic deaths in the US, Bike Portland wonders why the carnage is getting so little response. Certainly, in the wake of a cyclist's death, Pasadena's bike plan looks distinctly underwhelming although in Chicago, at least some buffered (albeit not protected) bike lanes will go in where a cyclist was killed. Meanwhile American law enforcement seems determined to be beyond parody - does hitting a pedestrian with your bike count as assault with a deadly weapon">? And if a truck squeezes past a cyclist too close and kills them is it the cyclist's fault for taking a drink of water at the time? And here in the UK should we look closer at the roads that allow these sort of things to happen rather than worrying about 'driverless cars' - or just save a whole lot of time and effort and just make killing cyclists legal? Meanwhile, one Aberdeen cyclist probably wished he did encounter a 'driverless van' as police still seek witnesses to a serious assault - and cyclists elsewhere in Scotland may need to call for segregation from aerial asasult as the wildlife gets feisty
Elsewhere in the UK, Glasgow's Bridge to nowhere is finally to go somewhere in July, there are glimmers of hope that Leeds may emerge from the 70s, while Yorkshire councils get together to explore ways to make the whole region a capital of cycling. Wheels for all is coming to Portsmouth - and an estate in South Shields is to be made easier to navigate ... for drivers. There's more consultation in Manchester over bus priority while the City of London cycling forum has some big topics to dicuss. Richmond cycle campaign wonders why roadworks signs have to be put in the way of bikes while Kennington People on Bikes just looks at some signs and wonders...
Further afield the Dutch continue to streak ahead and Mark Wagenbuur looks at cycling in the US while Streetsblog looks at Mark looking at the US and I love Bikes SF enjoys a book by an American who made the trip the other way. Paris stil has a way to go before it's a cycling paradise, while a Brit discovers Berlin on two wheels - and that cycling in New York is nothing like cycling in London. In the wake of VeloCity, Vienna has been trotting out the 'not enough space' canard - while there are reflections from CROW-ize Vienna, the bike retailers' association and Dave Horton. The Irish Times considers what's behind Dublin's cycling boom (a daytime ban on HGVs has got to be a key factor) while Gerry Adams would like to get out on his bike more. In Auckland, local boards consider greenways - but is the city going about building its network the right way? In Canada, Vancouver backs down over rpelacing bike lanes with sharrows while Ottowa's main street needs to become a Complete Street. And in the US, Bike Portland explores a 30-year-old bike corridor that still has gaps, Seattle gets a new bike counter but also a thumbs down from Professor Pucher for its bike lanes. The invisible visible man feels some sympathy for New York cycling's biggest critic, while Biking in Heels attends a bit of a non-sultation in Boston - and Portland to Portland prove that it's possible (so far) to ride across America on the 'wrong' bike
And finally, as Waltham Forest bides to become a 'mini holland' the cry goes up - Freewheeler, would that thou were blogging in this hour ...
We'll be back next week with all the blogging news, whether from Freewheeler, or anybody else - because bike week may have come and gone, but every week is bike blog week...