The Great Big Storm in a Dog Bowl Bike Blog Roundup

Before we kick off with this week's roundup, could you first just read this post about sustainable safety and then sign the petition (we'll wait). Thanks...

Dog's Dinner

This was the week that Guide Dogs for the Blind gave us a masterclass in how not to get your message across, as a perfectly reasonable request for cyclists to look out for those not able to look out for themselves got completely lost in a furore over fabricated statistics which as well as making it clear how little either the media or policymakers knew about statistics managed to completely miss the point about how infrastructure could play a role in helping cyclists and the visually impaired mix - as well as ignoring all the many other things that make navigating London's streets difficult for everyone. 

Inclusive Cycling

While visual impairment is a pretty big barrier to cycling, for almost all other groups there's a lot that could be done to close the cycling gap - starting with not blocking access to all but the slimmest bike on one of London's planned Quietways (which otherwise look as if they'll be the usual paint and signage compromise). Transport for London will be teaming up with British Cycling's apparently diverse membership to use guided rides to encourage more diversity in cycling - perhaps these tips from Elly Blue and examples of programmes from Wisconsin and Minnesota may help with the gender gap at least. And even among your average Mamil, riding a bike can help give you some insight into what it's like not to be at the top of the tree, although perhaps cycling white males shouldn't go overboard on claiming to be a persecuted minority however much White Van Man might hate them.

Back to School

One thing everyone can agree on is that kids should have safe routes to schools (except for Ireland which just puts the onus on the kids to keep safe - contrast with one German school's approach) and amazingly it takes a city in Texas (OK, it's Austin, but it's still Texas) to show that you can design and build a protected bike lane for just $20,000 AND have it open in time for the school year to start. Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland it was back to school for the authors of the province's draft bicycle strategy with their insistence on the dual network for novice riders, such as children and families - although they have moved on from the old strategy and while Sustrans thinks it's a good start but could be bolder, the CTC point out that it will be the Delivery Plan (and crucially the funding) that will really make the difference. Meanwhile plans in Edinburgh show the dual network at work - rather than sorting out the streets for everyone.

A Network for Everyone

It's easy to get hung up on details when looking at cycle plans, so Streets.MN returns to the fundamentals of cycle design - safety, momentum, and comfort - all perfectly illustrated in this David Hembrow post on how upgrading Assen's ring road improved access for cyclsts (and boats), and this Bicycle Dutch post on how the Netherlands never stands still when it comes to its cycling facilities. Elsewhere Portland is building a bridge for everything but the cars, France is putting in protected bike lanes and Germany is busy slowing drivers by putting obstacles in their path while letting bikes whizz on by, the exact opposite approach taken by your average UK council

Politics as usual

Of course, without ringfenced cycling funding there's a chance that some councils won't build anything at all (although this government has discovered the limits of localism - councils should have the power to do what they choose, as long as what they choose aligns with Eric Pickles' 'park anywhere' strategy; he'd love Ireland for that). Of course that may not always be a bad thing if councils' new cycle routes just abandon cyclists at road crossings - even in the most cycling-friendly parts of a city - or don't give cyclists proportional time at the lights related to their mode share - or want to return bus lanes to part time use to 'make life simpler' for drivers. Jake Welsch considers what would improve cycling in Manchester while New Cycling decides there's no point continuing with the cycling forum. In the run up to Car-Free Day, here are some questions cities could use to audit themselves (I'm sure their local bloggers will give them a hand...) while Wales already knows there's not enough cycling and walking there. Elsewhere, it seems that some politicians do get it - from the Indian health minister to Seattle's new Director of Transport, although California's protected bikeway legislation still needs to be signed into law

Closing (or rather opening) roads

With summer drawing to a close, the CTC look back at how closed road events like the Sky Ride are bringing cyclists together in Leicester - while Delaware have been enjoying a short lived transformation to a street in the city, and Derby Cycle Campaign feel that lack of cycling access on nature reserves is missing an opportunity to build support for both cyclign and nature. Road closures can be a problem for cyclists too, though - Portland has finally backed down over diverting traffic onto a bike route during road works while Washington is setting new standards for accommodating cycling and walking during construction projects, and of course the Dutch are here to show them how.

Selling your City

There's greater understanding these days that building a cycling and walking friendly city is good for everyone - but do some reputations run ahead of reality? Montreal may not be all it's cracked up to be but Copenhagen really is - although there are upsides and downsides to its approach. Den Bosch was delighted to be named a Bike-friendly city while Newark City Council is considering building protected cycle tracks to help move itself up the cycling rankings and Portland is knocked off top spot in Bicycling Magazine's rankings. Minnesota might have to look to its laurels as it turns a bike lane into a car lane during the state fair. One Missouri city is strengthening itself with a network of useful traffic-free trails - something that might have helped riot-torn Ferguson - while in Portland, poor communities are using bikes to take back the streets from violence. And in Detroit, the city's Slow Roll - as featured in an Apple ad - is all about making friends and falling in love with a city that's seen more than its share of troubles.


Surprising bike-business story of the week award has to go to the General Motors bike share scheme which had Commute by Bike scraping their jaw off the floor. But they're not the only business making a virtue of their bike friendliness - after all it's what the Millennials want. And while Pittsburgh businesses welcome a protected bike lane that will get cyclists off the river trail and into their shops, no such far sightedness in the UK where a convenience store objected to a pavement, let alone a bike lane, because it would make it harder for drivers, and Glasgow business leaders hit out at bus gate fines despite the fact that 50% of Glaswegians don't have a car. Meanwhile, Chicago Streetsblog makes the case for subsidised bike share schemes if they're going to be large enough, and reach even the poorer communities. And as cargo bike sales pick up in Dublin, Treehugger meets the woman behind one very specialised cargo bike for your last journey in Copenhagen.


Campaigning news

As Bike Biz announces its cycling media and campaigning award finalists (and why there's no category for 'Best Bike Blog Roundup' yet, we still don't know) there's a lot going on in the US from building support among businesses for infrastructure in Portland to handing out sweeties to cycle commuters in San Francisco. Streets.MN looks at how it can increase its own diversity while Blooming Rock considers how bike house moves could reach out to the people who might actually need a hand moving house and a Portland resident does a little guerilla maintenance of his own.

Mapping and data

Good campaigns are built on evidence as well as sweeties - in Toronto a nasty crash prompted one person to map the most dangerous intersections (and those collision maps can be a bit of an eye opener) while Seattle's latest death has prompted questions about the intersection where it happened. Campaigning groups are building their own apps for crash reporting, including this from CycleStreets (especially as some police forces aren't recording everything - and one cyclist already regrets not reporting his own accident with loose gravel) and route planning - while planners themselves could be using Strava. But it needn't all be about crashes - data can also show that road diets actually make traffic flow faster so everybody wins.

Those Scofflaw Cyclists in Full

Not that some people are actually interested in a win-win scenario when the alternative is cracking down on cyclists for flouting the law - although what some people think is law breaking is actually perfectly legal. Australia's scofflaw cycling capital actually sees safer drivers and more women cycling - while in America they're using 'Burma Shave' style adverts to try and get everyone to behave courteously, although signs don't seem to do much to deter Utrecht's 'wild' cycle parkers. E-bikes are still in legal limbo in the US (and seem to shade more into motorbikes than the pedelecs we have here). And when it comes to the real law breakers - a driver is locked up for 5 years for death by dangerous driving, probably because of the involvement of a mobile phone - while lack of any prosecution at all undoes 3 years of zen calmness for Just Adventures

And finally

Just what do you wear when biking to the Emmy Awards? Rapha of course.