Before we start - a reminder that the Manchester Space for Cycling ride is on this evening and that massive numbers will be needed to make an impact - after all, in politics as in life 80% of success is showing up. At least Softypedals will be there while Newcastle wants to help spread the initiative nationwide. And while you've got your diaries out, you are all coming to the Leicester infrastructure safari aren't you?
The Manchester ride is all about keeping the pressure on the Tory party conference - especially after Maria Eagle has laid out Labour's position on the matter - cycling should be a central issue at the next election according to Ian Austin. Unfortunately the policies of the current government are pretty anti-cycling and the picture at local level is even worse with Eric Pickles pandering to the politics of the 'zombie motorist' - which at the end of the day is only going to end in increased local taxes.
Still, at least cycling is still climbing up the agenda in Northern Ireland, while in Scotland, despite the government's unrepentance over the Niceway Code the government has at least managed to make a step in the right direction and announce some genuinely new money for once at Scotland's first Local Authority Cycling Summit. In Edinburgh, which can look more like Copenhagen than you'd imagine, the future for Leith Walk is looking brighter but it must be made into a proper exemplar, a place where people want to go to, not just travel through and with infrastructure that will benefit everybody.
Of course, all this would be easier if they didn't hate us ... Carlton encouners Middle England and partially manages to win them round while some non-cycling Australians are at least interested in learning more but there's no pleasing some bus drivers and even doing everything right won't make you more acceptable as a cyclist in a world where the car indoctrination starts young and speeding is presented as the ethical choice. Meanwhile car drivers in Brighton seem to want the council to alter the laws of physics and Surrey is to decide whether it wants more cyclists or not - Richmond CC tries a pro-cycling petition while Downfader suggest cyclists boycott those areas that clearly don't want them - and the Cycling Silk is just angry. Elsewhere at least New York's relationship with bikes is beginning to mature while one way of preventing entrenched opposition is not to ignore issues of race and social justice when advocating projects.
Meanwhile the government seem to find it easier to play with statistics than actually fund cycling properly (compare and contrast with what the Dutch are really doing). As Mark looks at who really drives in the UK, the Ranty Highwayman considers the uses and abuses of traffic modelling - and Lothian Buses are challenged to produce the evidence behind their 20mph stance. Road.cc asks whether increasing injuries are a statistical fluke while Bike Copenhagen wonders if the Congestion Commission was considering the wrong measure when looking at 'lost time'. And in the US, where cycle commuting continues to rise a bike counter in Portland logs ovr 2 million trips - or 20% of traffic on one bridge.
Perhaps what we need is to take matters into our own hands - after all it has worked in Brazil - Minneapolize approves while Atlantic Cities considers its effectiveness. Sometimes you just need to ask the right questions and keep asking them. Sometimes, of course, the bottom-up approach works the other way with parking scuppering bike lanes - perhaps what's needed is not a boycott but a 'bagel buy in' to persuade recalcitrant businesses.
America gets a new urban street design guide that will change the DNA of its cities - while its pilot communities have invested in planning. Rachel Aldred considers when cyclists need protected space wihle As Easy as Riding a Bike looks at its liberating effects - in Chicago a buffered bike lane has drastically reduced speeding while in the Netherlands, a well designed route means non-stop cycling. Elsewhere there are more radical ways of transforming cities but all cities at least need urban greenways.
Even with good design, people sometimes need a little nudge - although even 'craptacular' weather didn't discourage many from an opportunity for a car-free ride. Travelling Tales are the stories of people challenged to change their travel mode and while one volunteer discovers the limits of his bike's battery capacity the hard way there are compensations (like playful dolphins) while another seeks any excuse not to get the bike out of the shed. Total Women's Cycling talked to Natalie Justice the woman behind British Cycling's Breeze network, and a new cyclist herself. Bikeable Jo suggests embracing the openness of cycling in a city. The Bike League offers 10 top tips for encouraging women to take up cycle training - while one 'nana' finally gets confident after some encouragement at 63. One school in Calgary seems to have encouraged kids to ride in while for some it's just that it's a better alternative to the unreliable bus Perhaps more to the point for those with kids, here are some reasons why YOU need to go on a bike ride. You're welcome.
Of course the irony of encouraging people to ride when the conditions aren't safe enough is not lost on us - with one journalist who only a week before had extolled the health benefits of cycling injured in a hit and run in Sheffield. Meanwhile women in Sussex and Scotland are killed on their bikes - adding to the UK's rising death toll. And while the Dutch prioritise bike safety and meticulously investigate every accident in Scotland we don't even know the root causes of crashes on rural roads - and in New York criminal behaviour isn't followed up before it's too late - although some politicians are beginning to call for more thorough investigations. Instead we seem to place the burden of keeping safe on the most vulnerable: while our safety interventions seem to involve yet another thing you must equip yourself with to be a 'good' cyclist, elsewhere they are experimenting with making the road conditions safer instead - do we all need to sit down and stop traffic to prevent more deaths?
Of course a little enforcement and justice would help too - although it seems as if the opposite is happening with the failure of the appeal courts to impose a tougher sentence on a double killer - a devastating decision that has to change, while the Cycling Solicitor points out that the defence of momentary inattention shouldn't really apply when a driver is actively turning right. Elsewhere, the Cambridge Police Commissioner seems to hate cyclists but counterproductive crackdowns are also found as far apart as Copenhagen and Tokyo. Still at least in Leeds local police meet campaigners to find out what they can do to help cyclists - and elsewhere the police have to apologise after helmet camera footage shows they were the ones breaking the law. Meanwhile California finally gets a 3-foot passing law, well, sort of - what they really need is for drivers to obey the golden rule. And in Tokyo, police catch a very disturbing saddle thief...
In Groningen, where shopkeepers complain about the city routing bike traffic away from their doors Streetblog discovers a world turned upside down. Lady Fleur looks at what bike shops can do to attract female customers, starting with 'hiring female staff' and going all the way up to 'serving them cocktails'... (perhaps something Costa might want to investigate). It's possible that one kickstarter project's high profile online is not entirely down to its technical merits as a piece of cycling clothing. And Elly Blue tackles the really burning question of the modern age: would you, could you, should you ever date a non-cyclist?
Back in the UK, the proposals for Mornington Crescent and its skewed consultation are an insult to us all. In Bristol, will damage the cycling network while Newcastle cracks on with its Cycle City Ambition Fund work. While Kats finds a pocket of cycling goodness in London in Solihull another set of shared-use pavements gets rebranded as a cycle route. As one council considers fining drivers who park in the cycle lanes, Cambridgeshire is funding a toll road instead and Sheffield won't be going Dutch on Ecclesall Road. And Tufton or Death continues to battle ... perhaps the clue is in the name.
In New Zealand, while GenZero keeps track of the mayoral candidates' promises, Auckland is to get its first urban cycleway, while a Japanese city plans an extensive network of cycle lanes - hell, even Nebraska is getting protected bike lanes. The spread of Washington's bike share into Maryland has brought bicycle friendly policies with it. In California, Pasadena is getting ever more people (and bike) friendly but LA is still planning urban motorways rather than complete streets. Floods have damaged Boulder's extensive network of cycling paths but Vancouver is making progress. Gent residents set up their own shared cargo bike project while Rome begins to reclaim its historic centre from cars. Kim Harding takes us on a short tour of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France while Manifietso encounters the crap parkers of the Netherlands