The Great Big Belated Fathers' Day Bike Blog Roundup

OK so we're a day late but there's still time to celebrate all the cycling dads out there - even if the road-raging drivers of Bristol don't agreee - because yet another report (surely there is one of these a month?) highlighted the need to get kids on bikes; sadly, in East Lothian at least, the figures are going in the wrong direction although at least in Glasgow the kids will be able to take to the streets for the longest day. Not that it's all about Dads - 'minivan mom' would like segregated bike lanes too, while some are making the effort to cycle with a toddler, helped by the bike lanes there are.

#freethebikelanes (and other hashtags)

One sad truth about bike lanes is that if you build them wide enough, drivers will try and park in them and if they can't do that they'll park on the pavement - sometimes even actively encouraged to do so by the council. So it's great that Dublin's #freethebike lanes campaign to shame the perpetrators is spreading on social media - but on the whole great big concrete barriers might be more powerful than a hashtag (and the same goes for getting enough room from overtaking drivers

A leash law for cars?

What with all the rogue parking and driverless cars out there, crashing into buildings, Travis wonders if we need a leash law for cars - but to be honest it's the drivers that are really the problem, whether they're cereal offenders (who won't be doing porrige) or drugged-driving hit and run killers; either way Magnatom is unrepentant at being called one of the Ped-Al Quaeda if it means keeping himself safe. And while Ontario may now have a passing law, among other legal changes, laws don't stop drivers speeding on Portland's neighbourhood greenways, or indeed from leaving bikes so little room that cycling becomes a high-stakes act of escapology.

Building a network

As Calgary decides to 'do a Seville' and roll out a trial downtown bike network in just a year, People for Bikes looks at how it got to that point. Cities finding that approach a bit politically difficult might prefer to take Glasgow's lead and just announce you've got a 300km network regardless of what it might look like on the ground - or where the bikes actually go - although it does at least provide an answer to the perennial question what is the point of a bike lane that keeps disappearing whenever the road gets a bit narrow? If you really want a proper network, a dense grid of streets is a great start - and so is asking your residents where they want to see their bike network grow. It would help if the authorities weren't so blind to the potential of cycling that they end up making bus travel less convenient because they can't imagine people cycling to a bus stop - although of course getting the parking right is key to make that work. Instead we continue to build networks for cars and push cycling and walking to the margins - the sort of development that just breeds gridlock - it's not just the Chinese replicating America's mistakes and building impermeable suburbs. But it's not all bad news - a few gaps in the UK network might well be closed with a cycling and walking bridge inching towards reality, plans to transform the terrifying Vauxhall Cross junction and work (however imperfect) starting on John Dobson Street in Newcastle.

Design matters

As that last link suggests, the devil is in the details, though some details are more obvious than others (not adding a nice pinchpoint to your doorzone bikelane is a good start). In Chicago, a 'green wave' lets bikes cruise at 12mph while encouraging cars to stick to 25. Seattle Bike Blog considers how to make a tram-track infested junction safe for cycling, while in Providence there are four options to rethink a dangerous road. While a crossing point in Ottawa does something for cycling, it still leaves them having to negotiate fast traffic. In Glasgow they're trialling light segregation and want cyclists' views and in San Jose they find that a road diet has done exactly what they'd hoped (and not what the antis had feared)

Campaigning works

One cheerier theme this week was a number of stories of how persistence has paid off - from campaigners who helped turn Montreal into North America's cycling city to the eighteen years of campaigning that has slowly driven the cars out of New York's parks. On a smaller scale, enough people wrote in that Minneapolis is considering upgrading its latest bike lane, while in Reading a storm of protest has resulted in narrow doorzone bike lanes being removed again (no word of their replacement though). Hopefully this might mean a positive outcome for campaigns in Islington to have their quietway actually be quiet, in Manchester to save Trafford Wharf and Promenade park for pleasant cycling and in Edinburgh to to reverse the council's decision to water down plans for Leith Walk - especially as a back-of-an-envelope design shows how right turns could be managed without forcing cyclists across multiple lanes of traffic.

Campaigners need all the persistence they can get though - as Kats Dekker puts it, don't give up - especially when those ranged against planned bike lanes force yet another enviornmental study as a delaying tactic or scupper them completely, while in San Francisco Uber is working against bike lanes (well, it would, wouldn't it) - although at least in New York, after a bit of a wobble, board members realise that children's lives are worth more than the loss of 5 parking spaces (you wonder how many would have been a deal breaker). In Wandsworth, Traffik in Tooting discovers having a strategy is one thing, taking action another, in Birmingham, Push Bikes discovers how many organisations it takes to change a light bulb (one to fix it, three to pass the buck about whose job it is) and even in Amsterdam, cyclists' complaints aren't taken that seriously by the city authorities. Campaigners do need to be careful not to take all the joy out of cycling by making it about health and obesity - no chance of that at Seattle's solstice painted bike ride which has no real political agenda (and is one way to end the relentless sniping about what you wear on the bike).

Vision Zero

Top of many campaigners' agenda in the US is Vision Zero - Pedal Free considers why your town or city should adopt it while the Vision Zero network looks at Sweden's plans for Vision Zero 2.0. Portland adopts it and starts with a pledge for all city employees to sign - campaigners plan a rally for some slightly more concrete measures. In Toronto, three bike deaths in too short a time triggers a 'die-in' to start the fight for a Vision Zero plan - Modal Mom was there while it turns out the city's latest bike lanes aren't impeding traffic and are working. And while waiting for safer streets, Judith Soal tries out that inflatable crash helmet for the Guardian.

Safer lorries

As New York becomes the second US city to require side guards on larger lorries, in London a developer is making plans to reduce conflicts with cyclists by altering lorry timings (which, as if they weren't dangerous enough, a survey revealed are likely to have a dangerously distracted driver at the wheel). In New Zealand, a workshop gets HGV drivers and cyclists out together on two wheels to learn about how much space people need on the road - while here in the UK An Hour to Save your Life brings the reality of what happens when it goes wrong to an audience of millions.

Actively anti cycling

While most near misses on the road aren't malice but lack of thought, in some places it seems the powers that be are actively anti cycling - at least that's the only explanation for Kent's latest cycling facility. Elsewhere, Glasgow fails to get into the spirit of bike week, London's cabbies seem to be letting pride tip over into arrogance, and someone in Brighton really really doesn't like cyclists. In New Zealand, a cyclist is fined for 'impeding traffic' while the police suggest cyclists should just pull over whenever a car approaches (forelock tugging, presumably, is optional) and back in the day, even the Dutch police weren't averse to a little victim blaming


In fact, to coin another hastag, there were a few problems only the Dutch have to worry about this week - such as where to park an extra 80,000 bikes during the start of the Tour de France. Or having to grow cycling, once you've done the easy short trips by promoting inter-urban routes, and the fact that the infrastructure in most places is so consistently good that it's hard for top cycling cities to make themselves stand out. The Dutch even build controversially expensive garden bridges that cyclists feel they have to push their bikes through (even though they could cycle) - although you can be there would be none of that nonsense about it closing overnight like other linear parks. Meanwhile, other cities are looking at greening the spaces under bridges and other elevated structures to make them more expensive

City to city

It wouldn't be the blog roundup without a few what I did on my (busman's) holiday posts from Claire Prospert being energised by Nantes to Ranty Highwayman discovering the UK's best shared bike, horse-and-cart and little pretend trains infrastructure in Great Yarmouth, to Magnatom finding nothing at all in Dundee. We're still looking to see if Arnold Schwarzenegger writes a bike blog to find out what he made of Boris biking in London - clearly he's made of tougher stuff than Ben Fogle who may need to look to London's mayoral hopefuls to make its streets safe for him. This weekend, Cyclehack went global across 27 cities, each with their own local concerns. Meanwhile, Bristol tops the UK as the eighth most active city in the world and Washington Bikes explains what is meant by a 'bicycle friendly community' in the US and another tranche of movers and shakers departs for Copenhagen from Portland - perhaps they should answer this heartfelt question first.

Cycling for all

As Slow Roll Chicago works to bring more diversity to the city's cycling community - some advice from those often not listened to, and giving away free bikes is always a good start - or you can back Penny in Yo' Pants (no, we don't really understand why it's called that either) and help support women's cycling in Afghanistan

And finally

Speaking of unanswerable questions, we leave you with a few: like do people only cycle as much as they do in Cambridge because they are all mad? What is the modern etiquette for upbraiding a driver for texting at the wheel? And why is this article not dated April 1st? But we found some answers too: like how you can bikepack in civilised comfort (as long as someone else is doing the towing) - and, the really important question, how can you transport pies on your bike?