The Great Big Bumper-to-Bumper Bank Holiday Bike Blog Roundup

As fine weather and a bank holiday amazingly coincide, we shouldn't be surprised that decades of car-centric policy leads inevitably to gridlock - even though the private car is apparently doomed according to one think tank although sadly not because we're all going to be riding cargo bikes. Paradoxically, modelling suggests the Bank junction closure will actually make traffic flow more smoothly for drivers as well as its significant safety benefits. Lisburn seems to have finally realised that it needs to include cycling as part of its local development plan - while Nashville makes plans to keep itself moving by means other than the private car. Meanwhile, over in California, the state's transport department is trying to transform itself from a Highways department to something a little more people-centric, releasing the state's first ever bike and pedestrian plan even if it still seems to have a ways to go before the transformation is complete.

Guerrilla - and other - action

Meanwhile, if the politicians won't take action, there's plenty of people taking matters into their own hands with guerrilla bike lanes popping up in Riga - a city which already has the sort of cyclists who would benefit most. In Boston, it's giant Bikeyface cartoons that are popping up - but the city is not amused. In San Francisco the human-protected bike lane protest is gathering momentum - even as the city plans planning some (non-human) protected ones, while in Oxford, will a groundswell of emotion at an untimely death prove enough to overcome political blockages and bring about real change? And as LA Bike Dad is discovering, you might have started your blog to help change the world, but as it leads you deeper into campaigning the irony is you end up with no time to blog.

Cycling by design?

Meanwhile, patient campaigning does pay off with Philadelphia's second parking-protected bike lane taking a step forward after only six years of lobbying while Poole gets its first parallel bike and pedestrian crossing - and Portland gets a block-long protected bike lane that isn't in fact as daft as it first seems. Plans for a protected bike lane in Saint Paul are a step forward but still could be improved while the need to keep space for parking leads to compromises on a residential route in Toronto - and Denver's latest parking-protected path needs to be protected from ... drivers parking on it. Worse, a poorly-designed contraflow in Gloucestershire brings on the road rage in some drivers while Bike Auckland fears that a shared use path that keeps crossing the road is only going to cause problems for those cyclists who decide they'd be better off with the cars.

Look to your laurels

With a number of cities raising their game in recent years, Montreal can't afford to be complacent as cycle growth stalls in North America's cycling poster child - while Bremen will have to do more than paint lines on the road if it wants to remain Germany's cycling city. Philadelphia has seen its cycling growth slow but it's still keeping its nose ahead of Chicago. Japan still has lessons for less successful cycling nations but its famed tolerance for pavement cycling is being stretched as cycling grows - while Waltham Forest's mini Holland scheme offers lessons for cities like Sheffield and beyond.


Ranty Highayman wonders why he Whatabout brigade never stop to think whether they might be the problem - or even that they might be losing a good customer as they speak out against changes that will make streets safer for families - indeed we should be honouring the cyclists, not condemning them. And even in a place like Minnesota bitter cold winters need be no obstacle to investing in cycling, walking and public transport.

Political matters

Meanwhile, as the election rumbles on, the Guardian Bike Blog has filleted the party manifestos for policies on cycling, and found rather slim pickings, while Lancaster Dynamo has written to all the relevant candidates. The LCC considers what MPs could do to improve cycling in London - while Cycling Dumfries has been taking local politicians for a ride, which makes a change from it being the other way around. A small amount of investment could free up space for bikes on trains in Scotland. In America, people are urged to push back against Trump's budget proposals which would be a bad deal for bikes but a good deal for Wall Street.

Legal matters

Electoral purdah may be blocking scrutiny of Bath Council's 20mph report - but in Scotland a Green MSP is surveying voters about a plan to make 20mph the default speed limit instead of 30, just as Portland moves a step closer to being able to give any street a 20mph limit - and Pennsylvania drops a requirement that was blocking the provision of cycle lanes on state-maintained roads.

Meanwhile, the Irish police debated compulsory hi vis before deciding it would be impractical, at least for pedestrians. Cuts to traffic police have made our roads more lawless - although in LA it seems the police can be part of the problem with wildly prejudiced police reports after accidents and in Wisconsin one lawyer gets over-zealous in the defence of his client and goes fishing for complaints against a dead cyclist


As Bike Ottawa sets up a 'Secret' Summer Mission to draw attention to the impact cyclists have economically, in the US, schemes are helping small businesses to take advantage of the economic opportunities new bike routes bring - something Ireland might like to consider as it expands its greenway plans. Of course, the costs can go the other way too with road deaths having an economic cost as well as a human one. In Minneapolis it's the hostile road environment that keeps people away from the downtown area while Philadelphia makes the most of its bikeshare outreach by building in computer literacy skills as well.

Keeping track

As the Hackney Cycling Conference offered a chance to probe in more detail and get behind some of hte headlines, Strava users have recorded over a billion rides and other activities, building up an interesting, if incomplete record of cycle journeys. In Belfast Bikefast has been capturing the city's cycle commuters on video to get a better understanding of who is cycling and where, while Sustrans has been crunching the numbers to find Scotlands worst junctions for cycle collisions - always bearing in mind that people often vote with their feet and avoid the most hostile spots, thereby making them seem safer than they really are, even while people flock in record numbers to events where cars have been vanished. In New York, speed cameras and enforcement are one way to cut deaths - but it takes actual infrastructure to increase numbers cycling and walking as well. Meanwhile, there's probably no amount of data that will convince sceptical politicians that keeping a bike lane is worth it.

Fantasy land

There was a fair bit of excitement over the smart bell that spoke to drivers through their car radio - it's just a shame that it doesn't actually exist any more than Melbourne's dense well-connected cycling grid. Then again, there's no point looking for innovative technical solutions to cycling saftey if you haven't got the basic street design right in the first place although virtual reality can let cities explore options for cycling - such as a route from Old Street to Tottenham Court Road that could become an iconic 'Healthy Street'. Meanwhile, for the cyclists who have everything, the Dutch 'Flo' system really does make it easier to navigate the city without putting your foot down by telling you when you need to put your foot down.

Challenging stereotypes

As Boston's Who Bikes panel shatters the stereotypes about who really cycles in the city, Etape Caledonia may need to adjust their ideas about what the over-80s can and can't do. With drivers widely failing to understand what cyclists can and can't do legally, and getting enraged as a result, Australian plans to make learner drivers first undergo a cycling course may go some way to tackling that. And as Ruth Anna tackles the myth that you need a car once you start a family, it took one thoughtful gift from a neighbour to give a new mother her freedom back

Bloody cyclists

Finally, with all the horror that we've had this week, the real feelgood story has to be the way Manchester is defying everything and kicking off its summer bike festival with a naked bike ride. Put that in your pipe, ISIS (and the Daily Mail, for that matter), and smoke it.


Frankly, who cares what is happening in USA and Australia? More focus on Europe please.