The Great Big Knee-Jerk Reaction Bike Blog Roundup

It's been glorious weather and we'd love this week's roundup to be full of stories of happy cyclists but unfortunately once more the UK bike blogs have been full of calls for a knee-jerk reaction as a third cyclist is killed in London in as many weeks bringing 2500 cyclist onto the streets with ibikelondon telling the story as it happened and countercyclical reflecting afterwards - while London Cyclist considers how cycle campaigning has coalesced around a single message. There were reports from a colleague of Alan Neve the latest man to die, plus this story about police ticketing cyclists on the (illegal) but safer alternative route. The Vole o'Speed unpicked the deadly asymmetry on London's streets, with Living Streets and British Cycling calling for restrictions on lorries. The Alternative DfT called for a road diet, War on the Motorist definitely wasn't calling for marginal gains and Cycalogical considering short term measures. As Camden pledges to fix the Holborn junction the Ranty Highwayman considers what it would take to fix the Aldgate junction. Either way, if no more cyclists are to die then there's been enough procrastination.

It was a similar story in Scotland, where eight people have already died this year leading to a ghost bike installation at Holyrood - taking the message to those really responsible. Cyclists don't need individual little bits of space, they need their own space - and £20 per head of spending. WiSoB finds her blog keeps being overtaken by events, while legal campaigners say there's no time to wait. A talk from Graeme Obree gets Glasgow Punter thinking about the differences between Scotland and Europe - but at least one newbie cyclist is staying firmly off Scotland's roads.

There were knee-jerk reactions of various kinds elsewhere with calls for pedestrianisation of the West End, while Portland's mayor rolls his sleeves up over road safety. Should we go for the low hanging fruit of strict liability, at least for children? Or should we fix the roads: in Seattle, a permanent curb is installed to make a junction safer just 10 days after a hit and run - and just 3 months after a guerilla bike lane (costing all of $350) was removed it was reinstated - but officially this time - although there's been no such luck in Toronto. Less usefully, Jersey debates compulsory helmets while the charming Mr. Loophole suggests adding compulsory hi vis - why not stab vests and chainmail next? Ten years on, a is remembered - while in Australia, was a cyclist's death down to poor driving or poor road design? tries to make the human cost more real to drivers - but as David Hembrow points out, we are a nation of animal lovers but we still kill cats and dogs in great numbers. Perhaps that's why even car users want separated cycle lanes - they make life safer for everyone (insert your own pun about pelican crossings here)

This week Momentum Mag confirmed that we were down with the kids in promoting separated cycling while car use is declining, although nobody tell the Department for Transport. Even as Modal Mom wonders why Ottawa's army of everyday cyclists are so invisible to the city council, Streetsblog considers the history of the split between the 'elite' vs. the 'egalitarian' approach to cycling. Here in the UK, Rachel Aldred unpacks the notion of the 'committed cyclist' - while attitudes among motorists are shifting too. With New York's mayor, Bloomburg spreading the gospel worldwide - Green Lanes Project is keeping up with the spread of separated tracks although places in America are still cautious - well, you wouldn't want a knee jerk reaction, would you - and even a separated cycle track isn't that safe if it runs along a freeway.

Back here in the UK what are our politicians up to? Well they've produced some nice warm words (but no funding), although it will take more than fixing 20 junctions to 'cycle proof' our roads. But look on the bright side, they are increasing electric cars at a grand total of £139k per car - perhaps they should read this first. Labour commits to spending 'a proportion' of road money on cycling (proportion unspecified), while Cycling South Tyneside and Manc Bike Mummy have written to their MPs urging them to attend the Get Britain Cycling debate (have you?). With the Bristol Mayor due to unveil his strategy at the Bristol Cycling summit we'll see if local politicians were any better - but even as Leith locals are asked to finalise the Leith Walk designs, Greener Leith reports that the plans are going backwards, so it's not looking too hopeful - and nor do Sheffield's Local Enterprise Partnership transport schemes.

As John Pulcher new book considers what a cycle-friendly city might look like, Lord Rogers thinks cars should (and will) be banned from our city centre while young Ms Copenhagenize just wants a city that fits. Transport Paradise argues that a total cycling strategy will mean changing our roads. The latest AA survey shows that better infrastructure would get more kids cycling - or more to the point if you don't build it, they can't come. After all - if you do build it car trips fall and if you remove roads, traffic sometimes just vanishes. Car dependency is no argument for not investing in the alternatives

Meanwhile there's always the economic arguemt with the Excellently named John Wayne trail already boosting rural tourism in America - indeed Travel Oregon would like to subsidise cyclists' trips to help film their bike tours while in LA a shopping centre offers free valet bike parking (Mary Portas take note - it costs to park your car). Flying Pigeon LA considers the real basic economics - as does the Huffington Post while there's one pub that won't be getting Helen Blackman's business in a hurry. And with Hackney council trying to encourage businesses to try using cargo bikes in Dublin, one DHL delivery van driver seems to think they've already started (why else would they be on the bike lane?). Even the museum world has discovered the bicycle with the London Museum getting in on the act although none of them have what is possibly the best underpass in the world.

As the Scottish police crack down on dangerous driving, the Irish consider the real menace while in Flanders they're troubled by speeding cyclists - aka 'wheeled terrorists' - something that's becoming a problem in the UK where the bikes are frightening the horses - fat bloke on a pushbike can see the problem. Fortunately there are cycling superheroes too to save the day. But when even the cops aren't safe, what are cyclists to do when the law doesn't work? They could try a little positive reinforcement -r they could just avoid BMWs. Either way, remember that even in the US the health benefits outweigh the risks - and those health benefits are pretty clear.

In London, where the Alternative DfT has been thinking big, Boris has been thinking rather smaller. The Islington Cycle Action Group considers why Seven Sisters Road should go Dutch - but sadly the council can't even manage a contraflow for bikes. In Richmond, fine words butter no bikelanes while in Greenwich shiny new bike lanes are immediately blocked by delivery vehicles. As the City of London plans to adopt 20mph everywhere, Traffik in Tooting asks why 'it wouldn't work for Putney'. Elsewhere in the UK, even where 40% of households do not have a car the convenience of cars still trumps that of cyclists and pedestrians. In Cambridge (the UK's top cycling city, remember), a half-hearted scheme is planned while Sheffield makes space for cars at the expense of bikes and buses and in Inverness cyclists have to cross a terrifying dual carriageway.

Further afield, Crafty Dutchie makes it from Wolverhampton to Warmenhuizen although she does reach home looking like (gasp) a 'cyclist', and while Minneapolis catches up with Mark Wagenbuur, and Minneapolize visits America's own cycling paradise, David Hembrow shows us what a Dutch 'facility of the month' might look like (can we get some of their cast offs?). Kevin Mayne finds Ghent and Lille are worlds apart, but at least the French are considering bribing people to cycle. Cycling Dublin considers what they can learn from Berlin - probably not how to cater for cyclists during roadworks, anyway. With San Francisco to get bike share next month, New York's scheme is already overtaking London's - you have to be up early these days to catch a bike. Elsewhere, San Jose gets a nice wide bike lane - and more tracks are planned on a 'speedway' in Chicago. Seattle Bike Blog endorses the current mayor but in New York council candidates daren't touch parking (sound familiar, anyone?) and a successful safe routes to school scheme in Washington is under funded. In New Zealand, there are some missed opportunities in a new cycle path, but in Auckland the 'completed' network is being reviewed - and New Zealand is to get its first bicycle boulevard.

And finally - we don't normally cover much of the Tour de France and cycle racing generally, but we feel that this is one 12-year-old girl who needs to be heard.


Hi Sally,

Just thought I'd log in and give some positive feedback to this and all previous roundups. It is much appreciated. FYI only 18 "open in new tab" clickthroughs for me this week, which is slightly more than average.


One of these days I must count how many links I put in these things. I think it's around 70-100 ...

AKA TownMouse