The Great Big Where London Leads... Bike Blog Roundup

... will the rest of the UK follow? Certainly campaigners hope so after Boris's decision to give the go ahead to the planned superhighways, which will make the bike as usable in London as a bus or a black cab - no wonder the London Taxi Drivers' Assocation have come out against it, scoring a full house in the anti-bike bingo (although it was the Glasgow taxi drivers who appeared to be taking matters to the street this week). Ranty Highwayman can see why cabbies are grumpy but thinks they have nothing to fear while London's cycle commissioner reckons they are wasting their money with a judicial review. Elsewhere Laura Laker can hardly believe it that bikes are finally 'go' while for ibikelondon, the big story isn't the objectors but the huge number of CEO-level supporters that signed up.

But will the rest of the UK follow?

Away from the capital, Edinburgh has the opportunity to follow London's example, but appears to be squandering it - while also weakening the little protection bus lanes afford bikes on the road. In Glasgow, even a fairly compromised segregated route is proving effective and popular among those who use it, while work has already started on the 'largely segregated' Leeds to Bradford cycle route and Defra is to fund the extension of the Exe Estuary trail into Dawlish. The city cycling ambition grant is keeping New Cycling's infrastrcuture team busy even if no actual cycle ways have yet to appear. Unfortunately, although Cambridge City Deal has approved the Chisholm trail it has rejected a number of rural cycle routes, leaving the A10 Cycle Corridor campaign to pick itself up and dust itself down and keep on going. And in Sussex, the Hailsham to Eastbourne sustainable transport corridor won't actually be very welcoming for those on bikes.

Seeking inspiration elsewhere

If we're not following London's lead, where else might we look? Well, surprisingly, one Danish cyclist found cycling in the UK very energising (the adrenaline will do that to you), raising the question of whether European cities need to look beyond the flaneur and actually speed up urban cycling. The Guardian's Peter Walker considers Seville's remarkable transformation through a connected segregated network - something that has helped the city comply with EU pollution limits as a result. The Bristol cycle campaign has learnt a lot from its first Dutch study tour while Cardiff cycling city brings together campaigners behind a manifesto for Dutch-style cycling conditions that leaves Cycle Stuff very impressed, but in Croydon, plans for Crystal Palace Parade turn out to be not as Dutch-inspired as they first appeared. Over in New Zealand, Cycling Christchurch considers what lessons Boston and the US have for their own city.

The devil is in the details...

Not all inspiration is worth following, of course; the Alternative DfT explains why Berlin's infrastructure isn't a stepping stone to to decent provision but a diversion. Just looking at the problems created by turning vehicles, Flying Pigeon considers the 'conflict zone' created by turn lanes - a design intended to solve just this problem is fatally bodged in London, while in Brighton an invisible kerb is a problem because it's in the wrong place. Pedestrianise London looks at how the Dutch solve the problem - while Bristol Cycling Campaign consider whether a simultaneous green junction might work in Bristol and where. Sometimes even the smallest changes can take ages - like almost three years to get a traffic light signal adjusted for bikes (although in Glasgow the change is going in the other direction - all in the name of traffic flow). As the US discovers 'crap' cycle facilities there's an early contender for cycle facility of the week in Maryland - but could these things become a thing of the past as the US Highway design 'bible' is due to get protected bike lanes in its next edition - hopefully taking into account this sort of information, and hopefully also in time for one of San Francisco's most dangerous streets for cycling to get protection right along its length.

Political will

The bigwigs at Davos heard that if we could persuade all the mayors to remodel their cites we could save the planet (although perhaps only if the case is better worded) - Sustainable cities finds six biking mayors, past and present who have made a start. That includes Boris Johnson who thinks it would be political suicide for the UK parties not to have cycling policies in their manifestos (and this is particularly important where there is a low turnout of voters). Certainly Uncle Kempez is pleasantly surprised at his own MSPs, although in Westminster the CTC, while celebrating the cycling and walking investment strategy win, sounds a note of caution that no figure for funding has been set yet. Some politicians in the US don't seem to have got the memo: with Oregon considering registration for all cyclist over 18, Washington considering charging cyclists a toll to cross a major bridge and Wyoming introducing a bill to require cyclists to wear '200 square inches of reflective neon' whenever they're on a bike.

Never mind 8 to 80...

We learned this week that old cyclists do eventually die ... at 106 but it was cycling at the other end of the age spectrum that got the most attention, with WiSoB asking where a kid is to ride when her bike is 'too big for the pavement and too small for the road'? In Edinburgh, consultation starts around the details of school run road closures with one primary school fully on board. Spokesmama would prefer it if you didn't get a cargo bike, while one new cyclist to Copenhagen - where even there fear can be an issue - gets some lessons in confidence from a seven-year-old. And in between those two extremes, Diana shows even brain damage can't stop you from riding a bike, Isabelle Clemente talks of the freedom 'the right set of wheels' can give someone, and Philadelphans cast political correctness to the winds and insist that bike share be marketed using all sorts of people, not just skinny hipsters - although it also helps if you don't need a credit card or even a bank account to sign up.

Accentuating the positive

There was a similar debate about imagery the UK with Bike Biz welcoming Newcastle's latest cycle promotion campaign for eschewing the normal image of someone on a bicycle (although not as much as the fashion world has), although NewCycling suggests it would prefer some actual infrastructure. Carlton wants to spread the joy of cycling, the Danish Cycling Embassy discovers an App (and a little healthy competition) can help, while Claire starts totting up the savings she's making (although that's all *before* she buys the carbon road bike). Certainly beware the cute cruiser you bought for summer errands - it's a slippery slope to full on winter cycling.

Not everyone was on board with the 'yay bikes!' message, sadly, with a road-raging New Zealand facebook page providing some handy evidence for the police, the Portland tack attacker still going strong - while a Hampshire landowner doesn't mess about with tacks he just fences off a route entirely. Meanwhile the New Forest Park Authority seem intent on restricting the thing its visitors most like to do.

Campaigning issues

That wasn't the only campaigning debate considered this week, with People for Bikes considering whether campaigners should be incrementalists or completionists and suggests we need both. 'Bicycle friendly Steve' tells campaigners in Florida to be bold while Kats is energised by fellow campaigners in Newcastle. Not that it's always sweetness and light among cycle campaigners - even in progressive Portland women's voices can be sidelined - leaving some with the dilemma of whether to form their own spaces. In Birmingham, cancelling the Sky Ride matters for the city. One Portland cargo biker has been carrying out a one-man twitter campaign for better bike lanes and having some effect - but elsewhere, in what sounds like the scariest idea for a bicycle touring holiday ever, US cyclists are reduced to lobbying for the right to ride on the interstate as Route 66 falls into disrepair.

Winter cycling

As the winter storms hit the US, with the snow come the sneckdown photos but actually sneckdowns are so last year, now the forward-thinking bike blogger is all about sneets. Here in the UK it's the road conditions (and the traffic) that make winter cycling such an ordeal in London, while in Dumfries, snow and ice lays the council's priorities bare and in New York, whether your path got cleared or not depended on which department was responsible - ah to be cycling in the Netherlands whatever the weather - or perhaps we should clear the pavements and leave the snow in the streets.

As Edmonton ties to reclaim the 'joy of winter', and a new book celebrates winter cycling, perhaps we just need to get over our fear of the climate and join Ottowans in cycling in temperatures too cold even to use your iPhone, an event which has encouraged one cyclist to reconsider his winter bike hibernation. Or we could just move to LA where getting rained on is about the worst you could expect, at least from the weather.

Legal matters

As Bike Portland considers whether it's legal to ride with your dog we find historical photographic evidence that it definitely is, at least if you're a Dutch police officer. In some parts of the US, though, it doesn't even seem to be legal to ride on the bike path - and if you do get killed prepare to be blamed if you're not around to put your side of the story - all the more reason to take the 'scofflaw cycling survey' despite its offputting name. Here in the UK, the South Yorkshire police object to a 20mph limit outside a school on the the grounds that drivers are going too fast, while in Dublin it seems to have taken the death of a child and a mother's campaign, to get any action on lower speeds at all.


Black cab drivers aside, businesses do seem increasingly to be embracing cycling, with Norman Foster's latest London apartment block offering more parking spaces for bikes than for cars (a cynic could argue they're a lot cheaper). The Co-op is to trial more cyclist-friendly lorries - something Magnatom might welcome although you also need more cyclist-friendly lorry drivers for them to really work. Network Rail recognises an increasing number of rail passengers come by bike. Meanwhile Portland embraces spinlister before it's even been formally launched in the city - perhaps that might help put a value on a protected bike lane. Not quite everywhere was on board though, with Lancaster clearly not welcoming cyclists in the city centre while Melbourne hasn't really taken to its bike share unlike almost everywhere else. In other news, yet another piece of tech tries to quantify how stressful city streets are to cycle on - possibly not as stressful as trying to navigate a bustling, crowded city in a car - something that has been happening increasingly less frequently even earlier than you might think.



And finally ...

Oh the cheek of it. But at least he gave it back...