The Great Big Building Bridges Blog Roundup

It was a diverse week of blogging, but one significant theme emerged - that of building bridges. Both the physical ones, and the metaphorical ones!

Building bridges

Another week, another stunning new Dutch cycling and walking bridge, described by Bicycle Dutch - this is getting tiresome. The Danes are getting in on the act too, with their Bicycle Snake in Copenhagen. Sadly all that's on the horizon for London at the moment is the possible 'Garden Bridge', which won't allow cycling - we'll just have to make do with 20mph limits on the frankly rather terrifying Blackfriars Bridge.

Building bridges of a different kind required, as Dani Ahrens asks whether some people hate cycling because secretly they're jealous people on bikes are getting away with something? Sadly, while training encourages one nervous cyclist, it also convinces him he needs a thick skin to deal with motorists' hatred - perhaps some of this essential legislation is required. Cycling in Leeds has its up and downs, unsurprising given the soaring injury rate. Even National Public Radio - supposedly on our side - is putting the boot into cycling in New York. Biking in LA has some tips to deal with road ragers - in two parts, and Magnatom unfortunately has to deal with anti-social behaviour from someone else cycling

Feeling safe 

There was a tale of two bike makers this week, as Van Moof's founder reveals why London is his least favourite city to cycle in, while Brompton's Managing Director explains why safety - and feelings of safety - are key to mass cycling. Dedicated cycle lanes - essential for those feelings of safety - are critical, and 40% of UK adults would like to see them on British roads. Interesting data on the bike share gender gap in the U.S. shows how a pleasant, attractive environment is an essential accompaniment to these schemes. Protected lanes continue to be built in New York, and there's great advice on how to get a protected lane pilot project. Isolate Cyclist thinks there's a need to clarify who or what belongs in bike lanes - for the benefit of everyone.  It doesn't help that so many places take a Jekyll and Hyde approach to when it is and isn't acceptable to mix cycling with pedestrians.


Economics was a focus last week, with tips on how to make the economic case for cycling, the European Commission thinking cycling infrastructure can return over 20 times the initial investment, and even the U.S. Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) appreciating that investing in walking and cycling pays off substantially. Back in Britain, however, the message doesn't appear to be sinking in, as fewer than half of England's 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) bid for money to support alternatives to car travel such as cycling, walking, or public transport - the rest going on road projects. And the Government's priorities aren't much better either… At least the Institute of Civil Engineers 'State of the Nation' report on infrastructure grasps the problem, with some interesting (if depressing) points about the neglect of active travel

Stay back, hug the road, and don't ride in the middle 

It was a week of climbdowns, with the Advertising Standards Authority admitting they got it wrong on their ruling against Cycling Scotland's 'Think Horse' advert - the CTC reveal more detail. Pedaller detected a whiff of hypocrisy in the ASA's rulings, and Dave McCraw shows precisely why it is, unfortunately, sometimes vital to ride in a central position. And while Stay Back stickers (or variants thereof) appear to be spreading like wildfire, it appears that Transport for London have seen sense. We can say goodbye to the stickers, as LCC report. The problem now may be persuading companies to get rid of them - Darkerside explains, in detail, precisely what's wrong with them.Unfortunately it seems Kensington and Chelsea have their own unhelpful nonsense, in the form of Roadhug, while the Road Danger Reduction Forum bemoan the road safety rubbish launched in West Yorkshire.


Sadly it appears that British cycling manuals are still only considering one type of cyclist (perhaps the Women's Cycling Forum could help, as they examine inclusive cycling), while Strathclyde partnership for Transport seem to have completely forgotten they need to consider cycling at all, as well as buses. Cycle campaigners sometimes seem too keen to accept substandard schemes because they're good for buses or pedestrians, and another issue is that good infrastructure is impeded because we hold cyclists to an absurdly high standard.


Perhaps part of the problem is that we don't see cycling as a serious mode of transport, typified by this example from Edinburgh. We also design badly at blind corners - Kennington People on Bikes explains. Cycle hack last weekend appeared to be a hotbed of innovative ideas to make cycling a better experience, so perhaps there is hope.

'Turbogate' rumbles on - this apparently Dutch-inspired scheme has now been approved, with the lane dividers removed following concerns from motorcyclists. The plans, described by Darkerside, are even worse than before, spiralling down into a blatant abuse of cycling money, according to Cycling Front, and provoke War on the Motorist into musing on whether we should, in general, be content with something that's better than nothing (no). In London, the West End Project is still a focus of attention, with I Bike London giving his thoughts on the scheme, and MaidstoneOnBike drawing up his own plans for Tottenham Court Road. There's a strong case for a bicycle boulevard arriving in Islington, but the Borough is holding up a safe cycling crossing started ten years ago. Perhaps some things never change, as revealed in this fascinating post about what has (and hasn't) happened to make cycling more attractive in London over 35 years


Just as in Britain, closed road events in Portland reveal the cyclists we never see on a day-to-day basis in our cities, and there's a Portland perspective on the original closed road event - Bogota's Ciclovia. Of course a great deal of exclusion comes from the way we design for motor vehicles, even if that system constrains our freedom - demonstrated vividly by this sequence of pictures of Detroit.

Disappointing in so many ways

Glasgow could do so much better than this - it's so bad Magnatom has had to write a letter to his councillor. Traffik in Tooting was also disappointed with the outcome of a consultation in Wandsworth - but he's now even more motivated. New York has its own special form of reporting in the shape of Marcia Kramer, who chose to use the Vision Zero as an opportunity to focus on clamping down on lawless… pedestrians. Perhaps they need flags to wave vainly when they need to cross the road?

Given the opposition to sportives in the New Forest, Cycling Front feels compelled to ask whether they are the new critical mass. Pedestrian liberation is disappointed by the weak arguments for the ban on the use of cameras to enforce parking - bearing in mind that free (not to mention illegal) parking is bad for everyone


Southwark council have had the good sense to bring in Dutch (and Danish) expertise to help them plan for cycling; but whatever they do, they shouldn't count the length of bike lanes they install - count instead the numbers of people who choose to use them. New London Architecture are taking a look at ways that health and fitness can be designed into the built environment; we should remember that fitness shouldn't be the goal of cycling, but a side-effect. Unfortunately New York State's Department of Transport refuses to endorse NACTO guidance on better bicycle infrastructure - although even Tennessee have managed to do so. The Ranty Highwayman stood and delivered his final report on the Embassy's Seaside Safari, and Bicycle Trax examined the Dutch Green Apple parking facility. Bikes can come in many different shapes and sizes, but Lovely Bicycle argues that a good cycle, of whatever form, should always feel just right.

And finally

With the centenary of the start of the First World War approaching, I Bike London took a poignant look at the cyclists of the war. An intriguing pothole protest in Manchester beckons - big hole strikes again, or there ain't no party like a pothole party - but the last word has to go to a bicycle ride as a work of art in Harwich. Lovely.