The Great Big Induced Demand Bike Blog Roundup

It's been a bit of a mixed bag of a week in bike blog land, but one theme that stood out was the arrival of more evidence - if evidence were needed - that if you build it, they do come, from further digestion of last week's New Zealand study into the impact of investment in cycling to that and two more studies from Belgium and US on the same subject . Meanwhile in the UK, it turns out that living near a cycle path does mean you get significantly more exercise, while a bridge in Australia had a dramatic before-and-after impact on people's modes of travel - no doubt Copenhagen's new 'cyclesnake' will have a similar effect - while more EuroVelo routes are in the pipeline, hopefully boosting cycling further across Europe. Coming at it from the other angle, a planned road closure gets one blogger's wife back in the saddle after 25 years but the MOD's obsessions with health and safety cuts off a handy and pleasant route for bikes, with probably the opposit effect. And once you've built it? Bicycle Dutch has a closer look at the everyday casual cycling that results - and the fine art of signalling on a crowded cycle path without putting someone's eye out.

Build it right, that is

You can't just build any old rubbish though - and fortunately it looks like the professionals are catching up with the need to develop their cycling infrastructure skills and even go and have a look at how it should be done. There was some advice handy too - from a handbook for adapting Gehl's ideas into tools for cities - to Amsterdam's policy and design booklet. Some might want to look closer to home, with Ranty Highwayman's attempt to divide up the traffic signal pie and create a cycle-friendly protected junction that still followed UK rules - perhaps something that the Manchester Deansgate junction plan could benefit from - while it is taking the massed forces of twitter to try and grapple with the behemoth that is the London Cycle Design Standard (and it's no better in the US where Bike Delaware untangles the acronyms to find some important proposed changes) - but is it being too hard on shared bike and pedestrian paths? Or do they just enforce two speeds - walking pace or the pace of traffic - on the UK's cyclists?

Building it wrong...

Meanwhile there were plenty of examples of building it wrong, in particular the City of London which makes one end of a tunnel nice and safe and then puts a massive pinchpoint in at the other - if you don't want to become a mobile speed bump then come along and put your views - such as this suggestion to close the road altogether. In Camden, proposed changes to Tottenham Court Road don't even fit Camden's own strategy - and seem to be as much about returning to two-way running as any real improvement for bikes. Nor was it just in London - a short visit to Southend offered a catalogue of missed opportunities to make the place cycle friendly - while the Alternative DfT is confused about the plans for the Leeds-Bradford 'superhighway and Edinburgh's latest bike lane is causing some confusion on George Street too. Away from the cities,'tis the season to be surface dressing, making roads lethally skiddy for bikes from Surrey to Scotland. And nor is it just cyclists who suffer with Witney taking 11 years to come up with one measley proposed zebra crossing, although it is doing better than St. Louis. The fact is that supposedly 'safer' streets merely transfer the risk from drivers to pedestrians and cyclists; a road can't be all things to all people and no, adding sharrows doesn't help.

This week in politics

In the week that saw Cameron's reshuffle put two cyclists into the Department for Transport, the other big political news was the Transport Select Committee's report which the CTC found endorsed many of the CTC's recommendations and for the Guardian showed that even the inept can see what needs to be done for cycling although for some without firm commitments on spending it was nothing but sticking plaster solutions - and for Ian Walker so much more needs to change before we'll see genuinely safer cycling. Elsewhere, Jersey finally puts the lid on that planned family cycling holiday on the island. Further north, Magnatom is not impressed by Glasgow Council's response to his queries and decides to be the change he wants to see. Kent Count Council claim they don't hold cyclists in contempt (it just seems that way). Elsewhere, Cycle Sheffield is still digesting the cabinet's response to the city's cycling inquiry report, while the Great Gas Beetle finds the city's numbers don't quite add up and wonders where the rest has gone. Elsewhere, the Atlanta Bike Coalition is asking for 15% of an infrastructure bond to be spent on cycling.

Or if that seems too difficult we could just ask nicely that people not kill us

Sadly this week the post Tour honeymoon continued to fray at the edges with Britain's first ever tour finisher knocked off his bike - while spending enough time in orthopedic surgery waiting rooms makes you realise that what's really dangerous is being around cars, whatever your mode of travel. What might improve matters? Well putting up a few signs won't help - and nor will trying to change human behaviour - or indeed expecting drivers not to park in bike lanes. In Glasgow, the shocking news is that a quarter of cyclists *haven't* had a near miss, while in London, Stop Killing Cyclists try staging a 'die in' in every borough in London. That said, it does appear that cyclists do make better drivers - and if you cycle naked they can see you - raising the spectre of a whole new level of victim blaming aimed at cyclists who were reckless enough to wear clothes.

Encouraging cycling

Short of more naked bike rides, how can more cycling be encouraged? For some, bringing the Tour to the UK was money well spent if it encourages even a tiny minority of those watching to get out and cycle. For others, it's a matter of breaking transport habits - and Ciclovias and other closed road events can help do that - but any events aimed at encouraging cycling need to be inclusive if they're to reach beyond the middle classes and those who would just like to be able to afford a car. Sustrans finds that Bikeability training does make it more likely that kids will cycle to school but Glasgow's new bike hire scheme will need to raise its game if it's to be more usable. Parking helps too - Limerick gets some coin-operated bike lockers, but Lambeth still ends up hiding its bike parking around the back. In the US, businesses seem to increasingly get it with a Minnesota credit union introducing designated bike-thru banking and a Tucson supermarket asking cyclists (with beer and pizza) what it can do to make things easier for customers coming by bike

A numbers game

Statistics can be made to tell you anything if you torture them enough, although even that can't make the Scottish cycling targets, sorry vision, look any more likely to be achieved. Across the UK, people are still buying cars but increasingly not driving them, while in Seattle, gentrification may be the reason why car ownership is rising in the most cycling- and walking-friendly parts of the city. Cycling is rising in New York but do the counts capture everyone or just those passing into the city? Annual surveys under count biking and walking by concentrating on commuting, while data from smart phones may be more balanced but will need to be corrected for demographics - while Calgary's typical cyclist remains a helmetted man on a bike path. NewCycling harnesses the numbers to look at where cycle contraflows could do most good in the city, while rather than spending 18 months building a model, As Easy as Riding a Bike asks why not just trial something and see what happens to the traffic flows - although others are more concerned about the impact on bus users. Chillingly, the CTC discovers that the proportion of motorists banned from driving after causing a death is actually falling, despite it being mandatory.

The 'bikelash' continues

US bloggers were still digesting the latest anti bike rant with some wondering if bikes aren't just caught up in the wider culture wars while others considering they may be a by product of cyclists making themselves more visible. Unfortunately the bikelash goes beyong ill-informed newspaper columnists with road diet in LA being killed 'on safety grounds' while a Bristol councillor would rather see money spent on trains than on cycling while in Oregon, others question the 'statewide significance' of bike projects receiving funding. In suburban London, cyclists attempt to fight back against a shopkeeper's backlash with cash - while Elly Blue provides some advice on dealing with road ragers and trolls - the advice is pretty much the same regardless (although it would help if the police themselves didn't join in) and in Australia the unpleasantness can be between cyclists as the country's helmet laws cause unnecessary divisions.

Just visiting

The 'what I did on my holidays' strain of blogging continues with a Toronto resident finding Vancouver inspiring and depressing in equal measure, and a visitor from New Zealand finding lessons from York. Sir Chris Hoy discovers the impact a real utility cyclist can have on his community in Malawi. And if Le Corbusier had lived in Denmark might he have had a different vision of the radiant city?


And finally ...

A little health news, with the Daily Mail finally discovering that cycling causes cancer, although they don't remark upon its less tangible benefits: enforced mindfulness (probably not a huge priority for the Daily Mail, to be fair) and of course the cure for 'ennuiface'.