Apologies for the title - we do try to accentuate the positive as we are urged to do, but when the news is dominated by the inquests into a young woman's and an older man's deaths - complete with a mother's plea for more bike lanes and a police officer's concerns being ignored it's hard. The Evening Standard provide the coroner's verdict in full while the LCC have also reported in detail for those who want to read more while Beyond the Kerb has no trouble sustaining anger. The pressure is now on for TfL to rethink its superhighways and the end of paint on the road. And at least in this case two road deaths are being properly looked into which is unusual compared with other means of transport. And while Edinburgh's tramtracks may be heading the same way before the trams have even started running, Newcycling wants to warn Newcastle City Council not to risk the same situation as London.
Perhaps London is paying more attention to these deaths because bikes dominate traffic on some routes - and yet they still don't get a consistent policy to keep them safe especially not if it involves routes through the Royal Parks. And not just London, with New York's rush hour looking fairly impressive (although, of course, nothing on Utrecht) - where elsewhere protected bike lanes increase cycling by 15%. The main problem, in fact, is that cars slow bikes down. Meanwhile in the UK, a planning application is improved that will increase lorry traffic on a section of the National Cycling Network...
With Space 4 Cycling showing that campaigning works it's the Scots' turn to show up for a demo for active travel - and be sure to dress 'normally' when they do because the imagery really does matter. Meanwhile Suzanne Forup infiltrates the Cyclenation conference despite her lack of facial hair and a local CTC group's AGM proves that cyclists really are drivers too. Perhaps it's time for cycle campaigns to stop playing nice and emulate the National Rifle Association - after all, Gilbert (of Gilbert and Sullivan fame) was an advocate for arming pedestrians to fight back against motorists.
In fact, with the debate about 'robocars' telling us more about the past than the future, there was a distinct historical feel to some blogs this week - from a brief history of cycling in the Netherlands and Denmark, which got its first cycle track assocation in 1897, to the story behind Mackinac Island's banning of cars in 1898 (and subsequent tourist boom). Seattle had to wait until the 70s for its cycling renaissance, while Australia has so little cycling infrastructure because it got stuck with an outmoded philosophy imported from America. Where, in more recent history, safe streets campaigners managed to beat the 'bikelash' in New York.
And perhaps history is still being made - with Atlantic Cities asking if this is America's Stop de Kindermoord - and one thirteen-year-old does what she can to slow traffic down in her neighbourhood. In fact, we need to to be campaigning for child freedom - perhaps with a kiddical mass (ideally complete with a bubble machine bike trailer). And not just for children - older adults also suffer when streets are car dominated, and blind people, wheelchair users and the elderly ought to be natural allies with cyclists. Local campaign groups can connect with their local community, and reach out to under-represented groups as livable streets are also a civil rights issue. And a feminist one too, with women taking over Seattle's bike advocacy, while Woman on a Wheel rememebers a feminist and an organiser. Somewhat less seriously, with British Cycling attempting to get an extra million women cycling you wonder if they've considered promoting the use of white wine as a recovery drink?
With our prime minister telling drivers to get used to the cycling revolution, we finally find out who our new minister for cycling is. In Wales the Active Travel Bill doesn't go far enough while the SNP conference get to hear about the travelling tales challenge first hand. In the US, where their policies on cycle tracks are being shaped by actual scientific evidence, shock, the Wall Street Journal asks if New York's infrastructure will survive the departure of its bike-friendly mayor - certainly one candidate isn't put off by almost being hit by a bike, while candidates for mayor in both Minneapolis and Boston are almost unanimously pro bike. How different from the situation in Lambeth, which needs to take its own cycle strategy seriously and in Kensington and Chelsea, opposing plans for a separated superhighway, and even in Wisconsin, where a campaigner is hit by a truck on the way to a hearing on a vulnerable road user law.
While Janette Sadik-Khan says we can remake our streets quickly and inexpensively (and gets spontaneous applause for protected bike lanes, the Ranty Highwayman points out that quick wins won't get us that far - eventually we will need to learn how to do things properly - and simply ignoring the traffic isn't enough. Meanwhile the burning question is whether Leeds should go Dutch or Danish - Copenhagenize compares Copenhagen and Amsterdam (but are either of them as good as Nine Elms?) while Mad Cycle Lanes of Manchester looks beyond the obvious segregated tracks and Edinburgh seems determined to ignore either option. Hum of the City tackles the problem of 'empty' bike lanes while Downfader discovers the perils of shared use pavements the hard way. Meanwhile, both Newcastle's and New York's bike hire customers have remarkably similar concerns. US 'Levels of Service' now provide a rating for how good a road is for walking & cycling (although perhaps not the social side). And a walkable city solves so many problems with one simple solution - no wonder for modern cities the balance is tipping away from the car.
With news that American paediatricians are recommending you don't cycle with your kids (at least not on the roads), Pedaller wonders why it is that the police will escort a bike off a motorway yet cyclists are encouraged onto 70mph A roads elsewhere. As TfL issue a tough report on HGV safety, they announce that they're to trial out-of-hours deliveries in London. Sometimes, however much you try and accentuate the positive a few tweets tells you everything you need to know about the conditions on the roads - and no, 'I'm a cyclist myself' doesn't excuse bad driving. That said, even after a disabling accident (or especially) the bike is still the best way to get around. Smidsies can happen anywhere and bike rage blights Portland's bike lanes, while it seems the same issues of driver impunity plague Copenhagen too, although at least in California bikes get lower fines while the CTC hopes that longer training for drivers might help. As Birmingham cyclists - block a taxi from using a bike lane Cycalogical asks if sometimes sticking to the letter of the law isn't always the safest option while an American looks at the legalities if taking the lane. Meanwhile Bike Pittsburgh brings home our shared humanity in a safety campaign that some UK ones could do well to emulate.
These days it seems there's nothing you can't crowd source from a bike track in Memphis to a Swedish documentary that hopes to change the politics around driving - while here in the UK we get a crowd-sourced court case instead. Perhaps Carlton Reid could crowd-source a revival of his everyday cycling magazine? In LA, developers discover the savings from replacing car parking spaces with bike ones while a new brewery in Oregon is aimed squarely at the bike tourism market and Portland businesses are now on a waiting list for bike corrals. Perhaps they've learned that 'cars don't go shopping, people do', while even in the UK a supermarket gets an 'A' for effort even if it gets an 'F' for delivery...
Elsewhere in the UK, a pro-cycling counter petition gains momentum, boosted by the signature of one Chris Boardman while campaigners have to take to the streets in Reading to demonstrate against a lack of cycling infrastructure. Plans in Ely to the north and to the south do try and integrate cycling and walking but could do better while an urban dual carriageway in South Shields gets some separated cycling provision - but there's more that could be done to build an actual South Tyneside cycle network. Moving to Leeds? Here's how to do it by bike - and when you get there here's the impact on cycling of the proposed trolley bus scheme, while the Embassy visits Leicester and gets soundly drenched in the process.
Further afield, the Green Lane project is looking for six new cities to join the cycling revolution (sadly, UK ones can't apply). Bikeable Jo returns to Minneapolis from Edinburgh while Mark of Bicycle Dutch (and his mum) visit Sidney and Kim reports from Freiburg. The latest bicycle-friendly communities are unveiled in the US including some suburban ones - and the Bike League's own birth place while proposals for cycling facilities are scaled back in one of the US's premier cycling cities. A new stretch of cycle path completes a 12.5 mile trail in Chicago while Spokes Dunedin needs support to get protected cycle lanes and Tokyo by Bike braves both a typhoon and an employer's cycling ban to get to work.