The Great Big Every Day should be International Women's Day Bike Blog Roundup

We're a bit late to the party here, but it was nice to see International Women's day getting some bike love, with a series of blogs on the LCC site from women about what space for cycling means for them - from Rachel Aldred, Cathy Bussey, Kerene Fussell and more - check them all hout here. Sustrans points out that while the bike emancipated women, further emanciapation has also got them driving - for better or ill - while Mexico celebrated in real style with mass co-ordinated women's bike rides - why are we not doing that here, we ask?

Women's Bike Forum

The other thing we're not doing here (yet) is a national women's bike forum which has been opening doors nationally in the US - Elly Blue argues that it shows we need a women's movement in cycling. Some of them cycled there, and a surprisingly large number had publications to sell and buy. Bike Pittsburgh learned that there was more than one narrative - from the overlooked factors that keep women from cycling, to the need for more fun and less commuting. Treehugger celebrated the one area of cycling where women dominate while the Path Less Pedalled says we should sell adventures to women as much as to men. And here in the UK, Total Women's Cycling was celebrating three great bike-borne businesswomen while Isabelle Clements found hand cycling so liberating she is now the Director of Wheels for Wellbeing - letting many others feel the wind in their hair for the first time ever.

The National Bike Summit

Lest you think the women were having all the fun, the chaps were allowed their own summit too, with the new US Secretary of Transport promising he would make investment in walking and cycling a priority and that there was 'no false choice' between safe cycling and driving. Delegates lobbied their own representatives, with the Oregon delegation getting a warm reception while the Wisconsin one felt there was long road ahead and Delaware emphasising that the safety of non-motorised transport needs to be explicitly included in safety goals. Pittsburgh's mayor pointed out that if you can make Pittsburgh bike friendly you can do it anywhere - and then nominated a local campaigner onto the local planning board, while research among mayors elsewhere suggested you should burn your 'one less car' t-shirt, although not, sadly, on grammatical grounds. Elsewhere the CTC considered the view from Brazil at the World Cycle Forum and also the New York Youth Bike Summit where cycling and social justice can feel like two sides of the same coin. And while we've had nothing so exciting on this side of the Atlantic, NI Greenways did speak to the Northern Ireland all party group and produced this splendid set of infographics - which may not be falling on entirely deaf ears as the minister comes back from Malmo and Copenhagen promising a cycling revolution.

Meanwhile, back in the real world...

(or another planet if your the US Department of Transport), London is now 41 years behind the Dutch and counting, armadillo abuse continues unabated in Salford, Lisburn continues to gamble on the car although there is room to improve it, Glasgow has basically given up any pretence that the Commonwealth Games will be car free with its councillor revealed as a snake in the grass when it comes to cycling. Newcastle council seem to be keeping their city cycling plans close to their chest while Richmond puts barriers in the way of 20 mph plans in the borough - all these may be signs we're suffering from bikelash. Nor are we alone, with a Dublin councillor objecting to loss of parking due to bike share stations (perhaps he should be talking to local businesses about that one), Beverly Hills rejecting bike lane proposals, leaving no safe route through the city, while LA generally is backsliding.

Making cities better

All of this raises the pressing question of which sinister aliens we crossed back in 1886 - and how best to undo the damage, with some later adopters of the car culture trying to revert back to a more people friendly past (as well as places closer to home). With Lesley Ogden looking at what makes some cities more cycling friendly than others, John Dales points out that these things can be done, we just have to look at the underlying reasons why particular solutions work, not the superficial details. In Basingstoke, cycling is no more than an afterthought - while in Horsham, a similar lack of thought leaves an impermeable town centre that needs to be unpicked - and pressure in Lancaster over banning cycling at least leads to a pause for further consultation, while in Glasgow the council is no friend to pedestrians either. Mixing cyclists and pedestrians doesn't always work although cyclists (mostly) adapt to the conditions - there are always some who don't, meaning cycling groups have to work hard with those using parks which double as bike routes. Sustrans considers how bikes can help an ageing society while those lists of the best places to work ought to take into account the commute. And with Getting around Sacramento wondering how 12 strategies to transform a city might apply, Rebel Metropolis looks back from the future at how Portland reached 25% modal share for cycling.

Taking space and making space

We don't have a crystal ball ourselves, but we're pretty sure that modal shift of that sort requires taking space from cars - or sticks as well as carrots. Certainly that's what Eindhoven (home of the Hovenring) is doing, as are some cities in America - albeit after 40-odd years of asking. Ranty Highwayman considers how traffic signals work and trials of ones that detect increased pedestrian traffic (although pressing the button multiple times still does nothing, sorry). Nor should all this end in gridlock with congestion quickly reducing if only a few switch to bikes - meaning removing a lane of traffic could potentially increase speeds - although there is a reluctance to trust the experts on this one. Still, Memphis has noticed that if you can close a street to cars for three months of the year you can close it all year while Lambeth has noticed that a week of road closures hasn't brought traffic chaos after all. And if the cost is a problem, it's worth pointing out it's frankly miniscule in comparison to anything else - and now the Dutch have an online cost benefit calculator to help make decision - although it probably won't speed them up much.


You are the missing link

With news that Boris will be fixing London's worst junctions, ibikelondon is keen to see change on the ground, while London Cyclist looks at why Hackney is blocking segregation on the A10 and Kensington and Chelsea considering how the missing links could be connected up (and Flying Pigeon proposes just going ahead and doing it one in LA). Hammersmith and Fulham and Southwark cyclists get first glimpses of the plans for their areas. Elsewhere in London, the borough by borough ward 'asks' are in, while further afield Cambridge cycling campaigns welcomes plans for separated bike lanes on Hills Road and Huntingdon Road. Pedaller summarises Southampton's facebook chat about transport and the Dutch junction that wasn't, while a freedom of information request would provide more information if it was possible to quote more freely from the the response. Treehugger considers lessons from seven Dutch bike bridges - and while Manhattan looks at upgrading a buffered bike lane to a protected one, in Washington, the snow (and a bit of snow ploughing) does the job for them.

Where do you want to go today?

But where shall we be filling in these missing links, apart from everywhere? One source of data might be the census, your bike share data or the much-maligned Strava, or you could observe cyclists and find out where they are already voting with their feet - and make sure you're taking the needs of pedestrians into account as well. Once you've built your network don't forget that signs have a tendency to swivel - perhaps we all need to be issued with one of these - and with a map that shows different levesl of stress along different routes.


Cycling for everyone

This week also saw the Big Pedal well underway - and while it does help make a point - even its supporters are aware that at the end of the day it's the conditions on the road that determine whether kids will ride to school (still, at least it's not (yet) illegal to play catch). LCC takes part in a deaf awareness campaign with cycle trainers - and if they need a bit of practice, here's a whole bike blog post in sign language.

Safety advice

Well, we've got this far without mentioning T** G***'s amusing efforts - although some people wondered if the presenters might have learned something while Brian Dorling's widow would like them to look her in the eye. It probably wasn't the best week for the AA to launch its 'think bike' safety campaign complete with naked cyclists, urging people to look in their wing mirrors - it might be more effective just to fail learner drivers who don't look out for bikes; perhaps they are just missing the point. Commute by Bike considered six different approaches to safety campaigns and wonders which is the most effective. Croydon Cyclist actually goes out and experiments to see how effective reflective clothing is - while London Cyclist considers cycling safely around horses, not something you'd think would trouble the average London Cyclist much, but handy for the rest of us. In Philadelphia it looks like pedestrians experience 'safety in numbers' (and the influence of road design on safety too) while another motorway cyclist demonstrates the arbitrary divide between the roads we can and can't cycle on. In Scotland, Phil Ward releases a lament for the fallen in support of Pedal on Parliament. In San Diego, the new mayor's biking buddy is to become the new police chief (and fittingly, she's female) - hopefully that will be one city where we won't see this sort of thing going on.

And finally...

... we return to our original theme with these three awesome cycling ladies - and for those who aren't rocking the full Nineteenth century cycle chic look, some, ahem, essential information for those longer bike rides...