The Great Big Pedalling on Parliament Bike Blog Roundup

And yes, I am shamelessly hijacking this blog roundup (and the Guardian bike blog) to remind everyone about Pedal on Parliament which is needed more than ever after a bad week in Scotland - sometimes the greatest battle is to persuade people that they can make a difference. Cycle Law Scotland will be there, as will Andrew Burns, leader of Edinburgh council - which is good because sometimes politicians just need to be told what the problems are. People will even be coming up from England - while the fact that we even need feeder rides at all says it all

Space for Cycling

Of course it's not just the Scots who are campaigning - Space for Cycling was nationally launched this week with the CTC and local campaigns such as New Cycling on board. What space for cycling means varies - one mother has already got Chichester to adopt 20mph speed limits so her daughter can ride to school. Getting rid of massive gyratories is one way of creatign safe space for cycling - mixing bikes and restaurant diners is probably not, while one stunt rider takes a possibly extreme approach to find dedicated space on London Bridge. Anyone looking for less hair raising examples might want to consider communities in Switzerland and Germany which have tidied the cars away underground to make space for bikes - while Bristol plans to narrow a road under a bridge in order to give more room to bikes and pedestrians. For those with real ambition, Liverpool's proposed 'High Line' park takes a small step towards reality, while in the US another elevated greenway is to get its bridge delivered courtesy of space shuttle technology (not quite as exciting as it sounds).

Politics not quite as usual

The other big political news this week was the vote by the European Parliament for safer lorry designs as long as national governments approve the law - with the UK government told not to hesitate by bereaved families - with one mother lobbying her MEP in person - although half of all UK MEPs voted against the proposal. The EU also criticised London over pollution advice while on a slightly smaller scale, Two Wheels Good was also taking their council to task on the same issue. Londoners have an opportunity to take part in Chuka Umuna's People's Question Time on cycling - while Sheffield is told it needs a cycling champion (and bikes on its trams). The Road Danger Reduction Forum uncovers the scale of George Osborne's stealth giveaway to motorists. In Edinburgh, ten years of lobbying may finally see upgrades of the A90 path - your views are sought (and it's not just cycling where that's an issue - it's taken six years of tireless lobbying to get a pedestrian crossing in San Diego; no wonder the city's council candidates find the streets so frightening they plead to be allowed to ride on the pavement). And, fittingly for Easter, campaigners take on churchgoers who block cycle lanes, asking where would Jesus park? (Surely He'd ride a bike, no?). More cheeringly, consultation over Cambridge's proposed 20mph zones shows overwhelming public support while Pittsburgh's new mayor cites securing Green Lane funding as one of his first 100 days acheivements.

Carry on Carrying Cargo

Meanwhile in Europe, the second annual cycle logistics conference shows what you can do with bikes once you've got the space for them - with plenty of cargo bike pr0n for you to enjoy. Stephen Fleming prevailed over an eye infection to tell the Dutch what they are doing wrong while the Irish discovered that cargo bikes were also useful for hauling government ministers about. If you missed the fun, Bicycle Dutch was there with his video camera while you can also catch up with it by tweet - and if this has whetted your appetite, for $3000 you can own your very own coffee-shop-on-a-bike. Elsewhere, Domino's now delivers by cargo trike in Portland - where a chain of convenience stores understands the importance of bike-borne custom. And even if they don't rely on the passing bike trade, businesses should want their employees to cycle to work - or if nothing else benefit from the PR boost of being associated with a successful bike hire scheme.

Benchmarking America

The big story in the US was the release of the Bicycling and Walking Alliance's benchmarking report of the US's 50 largest cities (and some smaller ones). Streetsblog considers five things you should know emerging from the report, while Chicago considers where it stands, Seattle discovers it really does have an 'all powerful' bike lobby and Florida finds itself bringing up the rear in bike safety again. The figures show some safety in numbers (or possibly numbers in safety) while City Clock considers the top ten cycling neighbourhoods even if its analysis doesn't quite stand up to scrutiny. And with Bike Portland asking how its city's new transport chief will tackle its stagnating cycling numbers, Julie Campoli considers why US cities tend to 'top out' at a 6% cycle share - basically, they run out of the 'quick and the brave'.

Networks, plans, guidelines and strategies

Car Sick Glasgow finds some things to be positive about - but many gaps - in the City Centre transport strategy, such as access to the new hospital (something that can be a problem in outer London too) while Mad Cycle Lanes of Manchester responds to Manchester's new strategy. Elsewhere, Ontario has the brilliant idea of building its bike infrastructure into the roads from scratch as it's cheaper than trying to bodge it in afterwards - but given how puny its cycling budget is it needs to be cost effective. In LA, a simple failure to communicate leaves a 500 foot gap in a cycle route, while in Edinburgh, a number of small changes would improve the route to Portobello immeasureably. More ambitiously, a proposed bill envisages discovery trails right across America while even Krakow is planning five more bike routes to fill the gaps in its network. In Edinburgh a decent cycling budget doesn't prevent the council from making a mess of things - in fact some of it may actually be council policy - while the Irish government is funding schemes that don't even meet its own national standards. And as Bike Portland considers whether Oregon should sign up to the NACTO guidelines or stick to its own, the Dutch are discovering what it takes to build really rapid cycling routes.

Creeping towards permanence

If last year was all about the quick and dirty approach to segregation, 2014 seems to be about making things permanent - from Portland to Washington DC (as long as they don't immediately get used as parking spots) while San Francisco is going straight for a kerbed bike lane on Polk Street. Salford's armadillo lanes have been upgraded once again this time with bolt-on plastic traffic islands while Bike Te Atatu mocked up some very temporary protected bike lanes to show what the future could hold for cycling. Unfortunately in Cincinnati, plans for a protected bike lane got put on hold despite approval and funding after one business complained - campaigners in Los Angeles may have some important lessons for campaigners there and everywhere on how to overcome opposition to such schemes

Safety matters

While new bike lanes in LA will likely make life safer for everyone, it was poor design and not alcohol that killed Khalid al Hashimi. It turns out making yourself more visible won't make you safer at night - in fact, it may make you more vulnerable - perhaps that's why Texas claims ghost bikes are a hazard to motorists. As Portland acknowledges at last that there's a problem with tram tracks, Tucson Velo explains why banning bikes from tram routes is not the answer. Elly Blue asks if you will take the phone and car pledge (use one or the other, but not both at the same time) while the People's Front takes direct action over drivers who use the 'medical defence'. It turns out that anti-cycling rants have a distinguished literary pedigree - perhaps this taxi driver was just channelling Gabriel Garcia Marquez?

As Others See Us

Various bike bloggers were on their travels recently, leading to some fresh eyes on various cities - from the heroic cyclists of Oxford Street to the reluctant expats of Brussels to the Californian sunshine seen through Glaswegian eyes. As Easy as Riding a Bike sees all human life awheel in five minutes in Utrecht while Kevin Mayne is still recovering from the impact of his vist there - although not everything is directly transferable to the UK. Herber Tiemens finds the Swedish have a way to go but are making progress, while Dutch engineers had to be torn away (not literally) from Copenhagen's bicycle friendly cobblestones. Eight years has brought more bike lanes and more bikes to Florence while London is still terrifying, it just has more cyclists now. And it wasn't just cross-border travel that brought a fresh view - Carlton took the fight to the heart of the motoring world to explain the cycling point of view and went a bit viral, while Buzzfeed discovers crap cycle lanes, prompting the LCC to resurrect an old meme. Further north, art met cycling at Glasgow Slow Down.

Does my riding look feminine in this?

Strange question of the week award goes to Atlantic Cities who asked if there's a feminine way to ride a bike - Elly Blue finds the word itself carries way too much baggage while Sweet Georgia Brown thinks that 'feminine' riding should be for everyone - especially if your city is to pass the 'black tie' test. For those who want a more feminine style, The Girl's Bicycle Handbook would have save Cycling in Heels a lot of time had it existed 10 years ago, while in Chicago women shared tips and encouragement at the cities Women on Wheels summit. For us, we think there's nothing more feminine that setting your sights on becoming US Secretary of Transportation so go Veronia O. Davis.

From the archives

This week also saw the release of British Pathé's archive online including a whole section on cycling which should fuel much blogging material in future weeks, with finding six to get you started while Copenhagenize finds some Copenhagen ones

Don't worry, be happy

With one survey (OK, it's an infographic advertising a product, but we liked it anyway) suggesting Britons have forgotten the joy of cycling we thought we'd help rectify that starting in the Netherlands of course. But there were other reasons to be cheerful such as a home zone in Grimsby, the fact that beer is an important nutritional element in cycling, and the fact that not only can a bike make you happy, but it can also make you a bike light. Well, sort of.

And finally

And finally, with the Tour de France coming to the UK, the train companies have pulled out all the stops to ensure that everyone will be able to get their bikes onto the ... sorry, what were we thinking? No, they've asked you to leave your bike at home of course. This is Britain after all