The Great Big Gonna Take it to the United Nations Bike Blog Roundup

We've always known that bikes were more than just a trivial issue - but it's nice to have the United Nations on our side, with a report calling for 20% of cities' and countries' transport budgets to be spent on cycling and walking - and offering a global perspective to the problems faced by cyclists in Scotland. Cycling also plays a prominent role in the UN's New Urban Agenda - but that doesn't stop Dublin from making a mockery of global climate accords with a transport plan that will increase emissions rather than reducing them, or make the system in America any less rigged towards cars.


Indeed, some cities are already leading the way - perhaps because they know that's the way to have happier, healthier residents - Leicester had buried more than just a king under its carparks but now its mayor is restoring its human-scaled streets while the mayor of Almetyevsk is wreaking an even more rapid transformation. In London, the Deputy Mayor for Transport announces the next extensions to the Cycling Superhighways while TfL will be attempting to measure how healthy its streets are while Enfield's new cycle tracks mark the start of the borough's transformation and are well worth a free breakfast to encourage those building them. In Northern Ireland cycling is firmly part of the Infrastructure Minister's brief these days while south of the border, work starts on expanding Ireland's Great Western greenway. Toronto may have fallen behind Montreal, perhaps because the latter had legendary activist Bicycle Bob but bike lanes are now a hugely popular policy in Toronto - and new protective wands on the Bloor Viaduct and new plans for New Street show that the city may be finally getting the message. Christchurch is continuing with its own transformation while Chicago's latest protected bike lane is helping to join the network up further as Pittsburgh celebrates what is probably Pennsylvania's first parking protected bike lane and New York celebrates the reopening of a protected bike lane as well a #womenwhobike with a bike ride. And, while we wait for longer term investment to transform our streets, safer trucks are a good start for city's Vision Zero plans that will pay dividends now.


Not that it's all been plain sailing and bike lanes you can easily ride in the dark in the pouring rain - some lanes have conflict built into them and others are too narrow and give way at every opportunity - or send bikes around a hilly detour to avoid conflict with pedestrians. Tired of writing letters that get ignored Rachel Squirrel wonders how to be a more effective campaigner - while New Yorkers demonstrate that two bikes on each bus really is no substitute for an actual bike lane - but it's worth remembering that sometimes the people you're complaining to are probably battling as hard for cycling infrastructure as you are


Which is why you should probably go and support your local consultations - and there's a few to choose from: in London please support plans for protected lanes along the Old Kent Road (which would surely improve its value in Monopoly) while Kingston has three consultations out for its 'GoCycle' plans which are a vast improvement on the original proposals: one for Kingston to Kingston Vale, one for Kingston to New Malden and one for Kingston to Tolworth, although this one seems to have a bit of a gap in the middle. Richmond CC have responded to the quietway plans through Richmond Park but there's now a chance to tell the council which tow paths to improve first. Outside London, you can let the West Yorkshire Combined Authority know that cycling should be an important part of the transport mix while Space for Gosforth look at how best to evaluate proposals for Newcastle's Blue House junction - and Camcycle reminde the parliamentary inquiry on disability and the build environment that many disabled people cycle. Sometimes the best way to respond to a proposal is not the dry technical details, but by considering the people whose lives will be transformed by the ability to choose a different form of transport.


Consultation has now closed on the Tavistock Place plans to make its current arrangements permanent - but the shoulting goes on as the London Cycle Campaign and the London Taxi Drivers Association trade accusations of misrepresentation and bad faith. Meanwhile, that report that everyone (now including the motorcyclists) seems to think blames the Cycle Superhighways for London's congestion was actually saying they're part of the solution and will ultimately cut congestion by 20% - perhaps someone might tell the mystery tack spreader on the route of CS11. Not that everyone is anti: with the Bears Way petition exceeding the organiser's expectations it's time to get out and ride in support of the extension while Brooklyn's 'bike share vs free parking' had some telling stories from supporters of more docking stations.

Meanwhile the list of what it's illegal to do on a bike in Australia grows ever more baffling - and just how fining people for cycling on the pavement is supposed to reduce fatalities is anyone's guess - while the New South Wales police have announced they won't prosecute drivers for close passes - unlike the North Wales police - despite that being the flagship benefit cyclists were supposed to gain from the new legislation. Still, the UK police have made some bizarre decisions of their own over video evidence (look out for a helmet cam cyclist near you shouting 'what the flipping heck you cad' at the next taxi driver who cuts them up). And don't think that being the victim of a hit and run will get you much police action either - just leave you feeling dislocated and bewildered as it turns out nobody really cares


As Ireland decides to fund footpaths to schools without consideration for cycling, schools should be putting their influence behind changing streets to make them safer for children, not trying to change children to make them safer for cars (but don't listen to the little tykes if they tell you you're too old to cycle). Meanwhile Ruth Cadbury MP understands that our roads need to change - perhaps just one of the women's voices in cycle campaigning that Kats Dekker will be studying in the UK and Germany


More stats this week, with Cycling UK releasing their updated one-stop shop for cycling statistics in the UK and also considering the latest road safety numbers with the number of cyclists killed at a record low - but that might be because people are cycling less. That isn't the case in Philadelphia where cycle commuting is on the up but the lack of safe routes is still the biggest barrier, even so, being a black woman on a hire bike shouldn't be as unusual as it is in a majority black (and probably at least 50% female) city. Speaking of bike share, the latest figures from New York show that bike hire docking stations serve more people per day than the average parking space - though maybe not in Seattle whose loss-making bikeshare system is at a bit of a crossroads.

Cargo transportation

Good news for the cyclist who gets carried away in Homebase - you can now pedal your stuff home on a free loaner cargo bike, at least in London and Cambridge, where Cambridge Cyclist is impressed, while this Viennese caretaker already understands the practicality of a cargobike for hauling around your tools and other equipment. What Homebase and other businesses understand is that bikes and bike parking are good business - something that could transform Washington Avenue into a much more vibrant local street - or even lend your advert that gloss of freedom that bikes bring (at least until you try and find a secure, accessible and sheltered place to park it).


Autonomous vehicles continue to raise more questions than they answer: should we all be looking at autonomous tricycles instead, at least once they learn to do more than go round in circles? Or will autonomous cars inevitably end up programmed to kill pedestrians?

Good vibrations

If that seems a bit dystopian for you, you can cheer yourself up with Auckland's sparkling pink bike path or by revisiting Groningen, aka the 'magic Candyland game for bikes' or take a climb to the top of a cathedral in Den Bosch to look at all the tiny little bikes below you - or take the road less travelled when visiting Amsterdam. It's not just eye candy though - there are plenty of ideas for Philadelphia to be gained in Copenhagen, while Bremen has five lessons to take back to Newcastle.

And finally

There has been no end of digital ink spilled on the issue of shared space, but it seems what makes downtown Santa Cruz function effectively as a place where the car has been tamed is (to paraphrase a little) all the crazy homeless guys whereas in Germany it's the crazy animated bike sculptures. You don't have to be mad to cycle here, but it helps ...