We welcomed 2014 with a great big blast of deja vu as the London Skyways idea refuses to die - despite not having history on its side. The reaction was, it's fair to say, mixed with Jim Davis pointing out we don't need to think laterally we just need dedicated space, Roger Geffen expressing reservations, the Transport Planner seeing the dangers of blue-sky thinking and the Ranty Highwayman considering the costs of other such landmark projects such as the Dangleway. While some defended it as a valid part of a larger network, others didn't want to be isolated onto sterile freeways while Pedaller proposed radical alternative, the coffee-powered Groundcycle.
The new year is a time to both look back and look forward with plenty of bloggers doing both. Magnatom looked back at the cycling year in Scotland and Newcycling considered the Newcastle perspective while Bike Portland considered the stories they didn't cover. Total Women would like your suggestions for the Total Women's cycling awards (including woman bike blogger of the year) while both Modal Mom and Lady Fleur consider the success of last year's resolutions - while jacwab. ibikelondon and Bikeable Jo have some resolutions for 2014. Elly Blue sticks her neck out and makes some predictions for 2014, while Cycleicious gets a bit carried away channelling Buzzfeed, whereas sbtxt just has some new year wishes
The end of last year also saw some statistical figures coming out with the Scottish Census figures for Edinburgh and Glasgow revealing some interesting patterns. Cycling in Northern Ireland is seeing some progress (although traffic generally is still growing) but cycling in London is flatlining - although while Irish under-fives are not captured in the census stats and numbers of Australian children cycling to school have halved in a generation at least numbers are rising in London. And while Irish cycling deaths are down, bucking the trend of overall rising road deaths, cyclists are overrepresented in Northern Irish road deaths - and the recent spike of fatal collisions in London was probably not a statistical fluke, sadly.
With Christmas excesses still a recent memory, public health is more pressing then ever yet the government continues to try and build its way out of congestion continuing to think in silos - is it time to let the politicians know that it's the cyclists who subsidise the car borne - or do we just need more real public health champions? Looking across the North Sea, it seems the pesky Dutch aren't resting on their laurels with Tilburg, an early pioneer, needing some fresh ambition while Utrecht gets a new cycling plan even though a single journey (on the sort of direct route UK cyclists can only dream about) shows how far it's already come. And if safe, continuous, direct and convenient routes aren't enough, there are even some dedicated to singing. Of course.
Looking the other way, the transformation wrought to New York's streets by its outgoing mayor - who didn't even need to ride a bike to get it - offers lessons for other places. And with the new administration, there is a new transport commissioner to replace Janette Sadik-Khan - Brooklin Spoke reads the tea leaves on Polly Trottenberg while her move means it's all change at the US Department of Transport too. The new Mayor has reiterated his commiment to 'vision zero' while, possibly coincidentally, a controversial bike lane gets promptly cleared of snow. And lest you think that bike infrastructure is only for the liberal North East, sometimes a commitment to fiscal conservatism and small government can work towards bike infrastructure in the US too.
With Space For Cycling gearing up for the new year, Hammersmith and Fulham have found room for improvement while Newcycling considers traffic calming. In Belfast there's certainly plenty of space - if only it wasn't all given to cars - while in the US, two sets of photos show the disproportionate of space cars take up, looking at cities before they dominated everything - and how little room they actually need after it's snowed.
In politics there was a rare outbreak of sense on the Today Programme, while a Welsh minister discovers routes need to be joined up to be effective (who knew?). The DfT updates its door-to-door strategy but with the Scotrail franchise renewal looming Spokes is getting proactive - while Aberdonians are told to leave their nice cars at home. A freedom of information requests reveals the back-of-an-envelope planning that went into the Niceway Code (a bit like Calcutta's fleeting bike ban) while a former Obama adviser manages to pack a lot of ignorance into a single tweet. The LCC gives us the full questions and answers given by the London Mayor on cycling - while the Ranty Highwayman questions whether it's really the fault of the engineers as Boris claims. But it's not just the politicians - as Bristol's battle of the petitions rumbles on, the People's Cycling Front considers how to overcome the suburban anti-bike mindset (and no, claiming you're a liberal or blaming it all on men doesn't make hating on bikes any better.
This year's Christmas present to cyclists was the permission TfL got to put in low-level bike lights - at least they're cute if nothing else - while in the US bike traffic lights are now easier for cities to install allowing bikes to be separated from cars . In Washington bikes can now make the same head start pedestrians can - but without dedicated time to cross pedestrians are as much at risk of left hooks as cyclists. Meanwhile in the UK motorised traffic gets smoothed but pedestrian traffic gets 'stored' as a road is upgraded for drivers but downgraded for those on foot or on bikes, while in London a pedestrian crossing is ruled out because it would have an unacceptable impact on road traffic. Lucky San Diego, then, where changing the emphasis on 'level of service' (that's smoothing traffic flow, basically), could have a radical impact on the city's streets. As US cities move on from light segregation to kerbs, in San Francisco combining a busy trucking route with paint on the road for bikes has predictably fatal consequences. And while improved lorry design should be the standard at the end of the day it's politicians as much as drivers who are ultimately responsible. Maybe it's time to give the 11-year-olds a go instead - while a little colour and some creative alterations to traffic signs go a long way to cheer our urban streets.
The first 'storm in a skid lid' of the year was brought to you by Beverley Turner, who tempted icycleliverpool to wade into the helmet debate (if nothing else it's great for your stats). The Road Danger Reduction Forum looked at the evidence from New Zealand while Copenhagenize adds some observations on risk compensation. As Easy as Riding a Bike points out that cycling is not intrinsically dangerous as long as you know what kind of cycling you're talking about. Wisob considers the response to her post on visibility while Helen Blackman discovers there is such a thing as being too visible with your bike light and Elly Blue suggests some tips to drivers to cope with all the emerging cyclists.
Two years on, the family of Andrew Cyclist are still struggling to hold onto the love, not the loss while in Texas a cycle campaigner and bike blogger was killed by a car on the very kind of road he'd hoped could be dedicated to bikes. In London, only one in ten drivers who kill cyclists have been jailed - time for some road justice, say the CTC - or perhaps it's the blocking of safe cycling routes that ought to be prosecuted (as opposed to, say, locking your bike to a parking meter). Strict liability may not stop the collisions but it at least stops you from being stuck with a huge bill when your child dents some speeding driver's car. The Stats 19 data on collisions reveals who's responsible for cycle crashes (moral: stay even further away from White Van Man...). And as Embassy founder Jim Davis becomes fugitive from the law, the issue of 'distracted cycling' is just a distraction from the real issues.
With the posties finally saying goodbye to their bikes in the UK, cargo bikes generally are finding Tokyo a tough market where the Mamachari rules supreme. And while we moan about the weather here, if your meal has been delivered by bike in a blizzard, please do tip generously (the rest of us immediately lose any bragging rights for cycling through a bit of snow and rain to one amazing world-beating woman). Countercyclical gets nice little Christmas bonus for shopping by bike. As Barclays pulls out of sponsoring the Boris bikes, Kensington and Chelsea ask why hire bikes even need a sponsor - and Magnatom wonders what would happen if all road users only got investment in proportion to their ability to follow the rules. And if the mainstream media won't do it - could social media be used to create traffic reports for cyclists?
Back in London there are small signs of progress in the central London grid (apart from Westminster, of course) but a poorly thought through facility in Richmond causes more problems than it solves. Charlie Holland gets the tiniest of win-ettes in the Royal Parks, while we get the nearest thing to a bicycling royal we're likely to see here in the UK. Yorkshire prepares to knit its own Tour de France while in Birmingham Shaz only learned to ride a year ago but is braving the city's not exactly bike-friendly streets.
Further afield, road design and driver behaviour together contribute to safer-feeling cycling in Tokyo. In Mexico one small 'bicycling' town battles for safer streets. In New Zealand they're looking for some quick wins with money to back it. In Iran, heaven forfend that you might appear to be promoting women cycling. And in California it's only the cyclists who are turning up for consultations - but that doesn't seem to stop them building vanishing bike lanes
And finally, setting back cycle safety everywhere, Wisconsin's pedalling pubs are to be allowed to serve beer. So much for our plans for a dry January... but then, does booze count if you consume it on a bike?