The Great Big Life Beyond Brexit Bike Blog Roundup

In a country still reeling from the EU referendum vote, it's hard to tear our attention away from the slowly unfolding nervous breakdown that has ensued, but wait - there's a cycling angle - and not just about the cost of bike parts or the future of the bike industry, including Brompton. For a start, the UK now won't be part of the EU cycling strategy while funding for schemes such as Birmingham's will be at risk. As Scotland contemplates its future Pedal on Parliament hopes that this time cycling will be at the heart of it. For some, the campaign has echoed the animus directed against cyclists while for others it's all too personal - if only the debate had been along these lines we'd all have been better off - as it is, the only thing we can offer the EU now is a silly walk

As London (and Scotland) goes ...

Meanwhile, as we tear our eyes away from the slow motion car crash that is Brexit, will London continue to show the way? Certainly its new superhighway continues to set the pace with bike hire figures jumping since it opened - no real surprise as research from Washington DC's hire scheme shows that users seek out decent infrastructure, and this nice set of before and after photos and video 'fly through' demonstrate the massive improvement. Kingston is also moving forward with its Mini Holland plans (assuming the name survives our new Europhobia). Sadly London's first Quietway isn't quite so impressive - as can be observed even from those on foot so it's likely that the new mayor of London will be getting plenty of emails from cyclists in the future.

Meanwhile in Scotland, could its cycling policy be at a turning point too - especially after, despite noisy opposition, public support for a 'controversial' new cycle path turns out to be even stronger than Scotland's remain vote.

... So goes, er, Montenegro

Elsewhere in the UK, Cambridge is consulting on a protected roundabout and Leeds on its cycling strategy but Sheffield's transport investment plans don't include a penny on cycling and even in parts of London barriers are going up to cycling instead of making it more convenient than driving. In Sutton a seven acre blank canvas results in plans for shared use pavements and cyclist dismount signs - which could be down to a fear of negative feedback combined with poor design standards, but Oslo isn't letting Norway's poor road design standards hold it back. Meanwhile Montenegro gets its first urban cycle track while (after ten long years of campaigning) New York's Amsterdam Avenue starts to look a bit more like its namesake - and Salt Lake City's planned protected intersection feels like a step into the future

Reclaiming our cities

As a new book argues, we need to disourage driving in cities as well as build for cycling - a 'greenway' without measures to reduce through traffic will never feel properly bike friendly. It goes wider than just cycling though: even in Amsterdam the private car is allowed to take up a huge amount of room, while in Portland, falling car ownership is reducing pressure on space. Issues tackled by councillors in Cardiff show that concern about speeding traffic is widespread in Cardiff, while catering for bikes or buses shouldn't be a zero sum game. Shopkeepers worldwide continue to overestimate the importance of cars to their businesses - and they may not have an accurate picture of their customers' demographic makeup either. Fortunately a little friendly rivalry between cycling cities can raise everyone's game - although it's Montreal that continues to hold the North American crown having long ignored the vehicularist orthodoxy. Of course sometimes you've just go to take matters into your own hands, whether it's a guerrilla bike lane or just something to add a spot of cheer to the street - something Portland's own roads department do off their own bat

What gets measured...

As Americans are urged to tell their government to measure the impact of schemes on cyclists and pedestrians as well as motorists, the ECF considers how well current traffic modelling manages to take account of cycling - while the UK Department for Transport's own forecasts doesn't seem to be predicting the government's planned cycling revolution any time soon. Meanwhile, as Rachel Aldred gets recognition for her work on cycling her Near Miss Project continues to measure the regular scary moments we all endure (although not all of us are level headed enough to try and turn them into a learning opportunity instead of just moaning about them on social media).

Delays cost lives

Meanwhile, safety is about more than just individual behaviour or even the most intelligent of helmets - poor design of roads continues to risk lives - as the ghost of a ghost bike serves as a reminder that nothing has been done to improve a deadly junction three years on. Cyclists are still being hospitalised in Seattle as the city continues to study how to close its 'missing link' in the bike network - while a daunting intersection on a key cycle route puts hundreds of cyclists' lives at risk every day in Aucklan and confusing junctions where a bike trail crosses roads could be at fault in a spate of crashes. It doesn't help that the American equivalent of the AA is fighting changes to the law that would mitigate contributory negligence for cyclists and pedestrians - nor that Toronto seems to be watering down its Vision Zero vision.

The devil is in the details

Of course, some delay in implementing cycling infrstructure may be down to the inherent complexity in getting it right - even the Dutch get things wrong - for instance the complexities of setting traffic light timings when you've got three modes of traffic to cater for instead of two is an art in itself - and one reason why London's new superhighways are largely bi-directional with all the compromises that brings. Diamond Geezer dissects the compelxities of a dissected bus stop while Irish Cycle picks apart the details of Dublin's plans for the Liffey cycle route - it's no wonder cyclists sometimes don't use the shiny new infrastructure built for their use. Some solutions are entirely simple such as a few concrete blocks keeping cars out of a cycle path, while safely combining bikes and streetcar tracks is harder but still needs to be done. Of course it does help if the 'artist's impression' didn't use quite so much artistic licence in depicting a shared space scheme.

Beyond infrastructure

Meanwhile, bikeshare continues its march across the globe with Cardiff now planning a new scheme next year, while Leeds' student bike hire scheme has lessons for Birmingham. Vancouver's bike share is rolling out a little behind schedule, while Tokyo's new scheme is based on e-bikes. Simply having bikeshare is not enough - infrastructure aside, you need to make sure it's reaching all communities in your city - and that takes more than just putting up bike share stations in poorer neighbourhoods.

Open streets events are also spreading - and they do more than just promote cycling, they bring communities together. Cyclehack has also spread rapidly beyond its Glasgow home - while in Portland, keeping the World Naked Bike Ride fun and safe takes meticulous planning and a secret route.

There ought to be a law...

It's a sad pass we've come to that parts of Australia feel the need to pass a law to ban throwing things at cyclists - or that it might take a safe passing law, however unenforceable to make cycling feel even a little bit safer - hopefully Sydney's planned investment will do more to keep bikes safe overall. Meanwhile Sue Abbot keeps up her fight against Australia's helmet laws while it appears New Zealand needs a 'don't carry awkard things on a bike' law. Still at least some police forces have decided they can use camera footage to prosecute dangerous drivers (and it's especially satisfying that it comes from another driver too).

What I did on my holidays

As Fortress Britain prepares to draw up the drawbridge, we should still be able to travel vicariously with adventurous bike bloggers, whether it's fun in the sun (or in the rain) in the Netherlands, exploring Gothenburg's cycling network, insights from Amsterdam, Denmark's island cycling paradise, a traffic-free visit to LA (yes, really) or braving Washington's mishmash of infrastructure there will always be a bike blogger out there sharing what they've found - and even London can offer some insights to those from overseas. Meanwhile, China's chaotic streets are forcing cyclists out - and it may not be a good idea to bring a little Swedish cycling style back to the mean streets of DC.

Bike make it better?

It's never felt as if we've needed good news more, so how's this: from a Meals on 2 Wheels scheme to a battling biking granny and kids cycling to school whether it's girls in rural Kenya or boys tackling the snow and high altitude of Colorado. And sometimes, even when you can't walk you can still ride - and what's more, use it to raise money for charity. So generally - whatever the next few weeks hold - do get out there and ride your bike if you can.