It's a long weekend (except for some viewers in Scotland) so before we start on the usual complaining and kerb-nerdery, let's consider the children who will be spending it effectively imprisoned in their homes by fear of traffic and paedophiles - it's kids who we should be campaigning for if we're to be effective. And while a nice little book can get them started early, closed road events can get them out in the streets, and a cargo bike can help with the otherwise tricky school run, what they really need is a city where you don't have to cycle like an 'activist' - all down to the macro design elements.
Except that all sounds quite expensive so how about a few 'share the road' signs instead? If only they didn't mean different things to drivers and cyclists - no wonder mutual respect campaigns are doomed to failure - except, perhaps, in places which are already cycling cities. Meanwhile the Niceway Code goes from bad to worse - and Dave McCraw wonders if it could tackle the paedophile problem too. Helen Blackman feels her anger is being invalidated while Brenda Mitchell continues to camapign for strict liability instead. And as the Guardian considers what's really going on in bad drivers' heads WiSoB is grateful that at least one driver was paying attention.
However, as Crowize Vienna discovers, it's not really bad driving it's good design that keeps the conflicts to a minimum. Chris Boardman explains what cycle proofing a junction means in practice. The Dutch experiment with a bikes-only roundabout to make a tricky crossing clearer for bikes - while a basically cars-only roundabout in Surrey seems to make conflict inevitable. David Hembrow invites campaigners to play the bollard game (just watch out for the dangerous kind) and consider how a little bit of separation could transform your area - something that could quickly make large parts of London much safer for bikes. Meanwhile the Royal College Street debate rumble(strip)s on - not really wide enough or an internationational mix of ideas - the Vole O'Speed weighs in with a fairly balanced verdict while supposedly Dutch-style cycling provision in places like Bracknell is even worse
Good or bad, future plans for separated provision took a step backwards with Hackney removing segregated lanes and the latest Southwark design guidelines excluding most Dutch-style provision - a UK disease that seems to be spreading to Ireland and even Seattle. Fortunately others are looking to better models with Bike Portland admiring Dutch underpasses and Bicycle Dutch considering a 'road diet', Dutch style and rival petitions battling it out in Toronto over a bi-directional bike lane. Meanwhile, everyone has been playing with Streetmix from San Diego to Tooting - where would you turn a 'stroad' into a boulevard? And imagine the world if we'd never built pavements...
With last week's spending announcement put into perspective, sometimes it seems it takes billionaires to put in bike lanes (or just a global cycling conspiracy - where do we join?). Perhaps that's because billionaires know where the money is: as ever this week there was plenty of Bikenomics to consider. Spokes Dunedin considers the local economics of running a bike instead of a second car while Triple Pundit points out the business benefits to employers - and to commercial real estate owners and indeed anyone who wants to improve the value of their land; those pesky statistics just keep proving the nay-sayers wrong. And while sometimes it's our very mobility that is the problem, in America, the travel channel finally agrees to risk a 'niche' bike travel programme while bike tourism is transforming parts of Eastern Oregon and Quebec and the figures show that tackling crashes would save more money than tackling congestion overall. And while the rich sue to get a nasty docking station taken away in the poorer parts of town bike share benefits are being spread city wide while plans emerge to offer bike financing as well as car loans.
Speaking of pesky statistics, an app created to encourage cycling is showing Dutch engineers how the bike network is really being used - and how far cyclists will detour to avoid an unpleasant junction. The first few months of bike share in New York is being mapped - though presumably not this bike journey. And with Hackney cyclists racking up the numbers it's not surprising London appears to be leading the way in cycle commuting - but Londoners still use their cars like the Dutch use their bikes.
OK, we've been avoiding this topic, but it won't go away. Should helmets be compulsory? Short answer: no - although if you're stealing a bike in New York you might want to consider some protection against flying ice cubes. For everyone else, you shouldn't even ask - especially if you want your bike share scheme to work. And while so called cycle safety crackdowns may cost lives (and nothing changes in 15 years), there are some parts of the Highway code nobody even seems to know and could do with a bit more enforcement. The Surrey police attempt to educate road users as cyclist numbers rise around the Surrye hills while the Met Police try and clear up some myths about ASLs or bike boxes - we prefer the Dutch version, frankly.
This week seemed to be international road rage week as first a New York cabbie mowed down a pedestrian while blaming the cyclist he was attempting to attack (the Daily Mail agreed it was the cyclist's fault), claiming he was the victim and after initially not being charged is now being investigated - enough is enough says Brooklyn Spoke. And if that wasn't enough, a cyclist in Chicago is dragged off her bike by the strap of her bag and would like to see better separation from the cars (at least out of grabbing distance!) which at least is being treated as assault with a deadly weapon. One can only hope the police here treat this assault as seriously, while louts ruin a couple's sunday ride and an Essex rider suffers a double whammy - first knocked off, then having his bike stolen. One year on, Peace Cycling records the impact on her of a driver who simply didn't look.
At least those incidents led to no loss of life, but with lorries things can be more serious - the last five cycling deaths in San Francisco have all been HGV related while a woman in Manchester is fighting for her life after being knocked off her bike by a lorry and in Brisbane a cyclist was considered to be at the 'wrong place at the wrong time' - presumably there's no good time to be under the wheels of a lorry - the better response maybe is to call for safer road design instead of writing it off as a freak accident. In Australia more figures underline the dangers of cycling although it is improving in Auckland while in Newcastle researchers will also look at exposure to air pollution among cyclists (including the whiff of road kill). And it's not just cyclists at risk: how best to warn pedestrians of unexpected two-way bike traffic?
Still digesting the Women on a Roll report, Lady Fleur agrees that confidence and a community to ride with all help build cycling among women - and wondered why we feel we have to show we're skilled bike riders ourselves before discussing wider women's issues in cycling
With the Get Britain Cycling debate looming, there's still time to get your MP to go although Dame Kelly Holmes reckons they should get on their own bikes first. Maria Eagle calls for an end to stop-start funding while Cameron should be made to think bike - and from across the Irish sea our politicians actually look quite advanced. Elsewhere the Guardian road tests the Bike & Go scheme in Liverpool, while cyclestuff lets the train and (folding) bike take the strain. Newcastle is busy making its own jam while the otherwise enlightened Bristol council tells objectors to its suspension bridge plans go away or else just denies reality. Downfader visits Portsmouth, one of the UK's unlikelier cycling cities (and a 20mph pioneer), while Leicester gets an update on its plans for a separated lane - and Wigan is to get a 3km stretch of segregated track and Islington cyclists respond to plans for improvements around the Caledonian road
With Sustrans joining a Europe-wide travel planning initiative perhaps they can also bring home the Dutch bike that isn't... Elsewhere an initiative maps potential routes in Kiev - and the president of Turkmenistan simply orders the nation to buy bikes. In New York some simple traffic calming measures have been effective while Streetsblog looks back to a 1980 proposal for protected bike lanes that had to wait another 30 years to become reality. In Washington it seems Jesus would not ride a bike (and in Wisconsin He had better not do it at night without a permit)
And finally, Bikeyface (once more) nails it: it's not that bikes need horns, it that cars need bells...
We'll be back with more bike blog related goodness next week...