The Great Big Paint is No Protection Bike Blog Roundup

Before we start this blog roundup - a reminder that the Cycling Embassy AGM will be on the 16th & 17th September in Glasgow with (more details here) - and here's a little taster of what the city has on offer to get you in the mood

Meanwhile, as City Lab charts the rise of the human bollard in places where cities won't provide decent protection, at least one Denver bike lane gets an upgrade from plastic posts to kerbs (not sure about those angles though ...). In London cyclist was killed in a spot where improvement works had been talked about but not implemented for too long - perhaps it will take another vigil before something is done. When it does, we hope that it will be more than paint as a painted bike lane proves no protection against a hit and run driver in LA, and nor does a brand new buffered bike lane in Philadelphia - indeed it seems that the people who really benefit from painted bike lanes are the drivers. It's not clear that moving lanes right over to the middle of the street will help, although it does get them out of the doorzone - and it's pretty clear that handing pedestrians balloons is an expensive way to not make them any safer crossing the road. Fortunately it seems that the Governors Highway Safety Association is starting to understand how road safety can be improved - considers the engineering options while Streetsblog reminds readers that speed reductions are important too.

Kerb nerdery

Bike bloggers know that the devil can be in the details - and Ranty Highwayman doesn't stint on the detail as he takes a close look at how a Dutch roundabout (as opposed to a 'Dutch style' roundabout) works to make it safe for people on bikes. If that's too slapdash for you, plans for a two-way bikeway in Brisbane get a detailed five-part dissection - some baffling decisions, but overall better than a poke in the eye - which more or less sums up Manchester's Oxford Road too. Bike Portland takes a virtual safari along what is more of a theme park for bike infrastructure than a useful route at the moment, while lack of upkeep and variable design mar an otherwise useful route in Toronto - and when you've waited for ages just for a shared-use path, it's disappointing to find they can't even put in the dropped kerbs right. In Dublin the trees might have been saved on the Clontarf cycle route, but it still leaves plenty of conflict designed in - and will it even cater for the faster commuting cyclist? However, a short stretch of two-way bike lane will make a trick junction in San Jose easier to navigate by bike.

Just go ahead and build it already

Details aside, sometimes the authorities need to just get on with things - even if that means surprising the locals who aren't used to things happening that fast with cycling infrastructure - and don't agonise too much about whether cyclists will use it (spoiler alert: they will) although New Cycling argue it's better if there's long-term funding, decent design and a network approach, rather than cycling infrastructure that falls just short of being properly connected. Unfortunately budget problems in Philadelphia and a mixture of problems in St. Paul are stalling bike plans - while plans for Victoria Park in Bristol and Otahuhu town centre in New Zealand are so timid and watered down they're hardly worth supporting. However Cambridge (the American one) is pressing ahead with protected bike lanes while Cambridge (the UK one) is getting more contraflow cycling - and the Trans Canada trail is now allegedly complete, despite what sound like some less-than-ideal sections...

Reducing car dependency

As a sinkhole in Ipswich offers a glimpse of how reduced permeability for cars could actually work, could Bath take a slightly less random approach and properly tame the car in its city centre - if only to defuse the public health time bomb created by car-centric development. The assumption that people move about only by car is deep-seated even among some surprising groups, but it's still surprising when those involved in actually building cycling infrastructure ban their staff from cycling during working hours. In America, cities built before the car seem to get along just fine without masses of parking, but when one city starts to reduce parking, you need an emergency kitten before tackling the resulting comments - and it seems in California even adding parking spots in order to slow down cars was too much for the nimbys - they probably won't be opting for pay as you go driving, but will London take that step?

Campaigning news

While many of us have the option in the back of our minds of moving to the Netherlands if it all gets too much (well, at least we did before Brexit...) it can be more empowering to stay and improve the place where you live instead, whether that's through influencing election campaigns in Germany, spotting opportunities for improvement in Dumfries or writing to thank politicians who actually stick their necks out to improve things for cycling. Certainly Chris Boardman hopes that his Manchester job will make a difference for cyclists across the UK (although Mad Cycle Lanes of Manchester is reserving judgement for now) - and he's not the only campaigner recruited to implement change instead of just calling for it.

Multi modal

Bikes and public transport should be friends but it doesn't always work out that way; it looks like Edinburgh's tram extension will have better protection for cyclists built in from scratch, but in Dublin it's been as much a political issue as an engineering one. As a Chinese student rides 4000 km to take up his university place you wonder if he wasn't maybe just worried about getting his bike on the train. And sometimes the best way of mixing bikes and trains is when the trains have gone and the lovely level routes remain ...

Legal matters

As Martin Porter continues to unpick the legal implications of manslaughter and dangerous cycling, one cyclist learned that you can be done for drinking and cycling even when you're wheeling a bike (and in Windsor Great Park you don't even need to be drunk to get in trouble). Irish civil servants argue that close passing laws would be unworkable - or would apply to bikes passing cars as well as the other way around. And we're not sure that not being able to read the signs is any defence against cycling in the wrong place in Japan ...

The fashion police

As Chris Hoy undoes years of goodwill by telling cyclists what to wear, most responded that you can wear whatever you like (apart from see-through white shorts) - and, more seriously, that remarks like that can be particularly offputting for young women who have enough people telling them they have to be 8 stone without Sir Chris weighing in. Even more worryingly, in the UAE you can apparently get your bike confiscated if you're not properly dressed - while in the US pedestrians in Louisiana got charged after they were the ones hit by a van - because they weren't wearing hi vis at night (and probably because they were black).

Indeed, streets, and bikes, should be for everyone, so why shouldn't we have a green woman as much as a green man as our crossing signal? In Chicago, women of colour would like spaces where they're not the minority all the time - indeed in Santa Ana they're already taking to the streets while here in the UK women of any colour have to put up with snide captions that reflect underlying systemic problems as much as a weak joke gone wrong. As Treehugger points out that e-bikes can be life changing, two short films that go beyond the bicycle offer an inspiration in Pittsburgh. And Urbanist considers whether children in Australia are really cycling a lot less in recent years.

Bikeshare blues

Meanwhile the bikeshare juggernaut rolls on with Ofo apparently going upmarket (which might make them easier to sell ...) and LimeBikes cropping up in North Carolina before Raleigh's official scheme opens. The schemes in Brisbane and Santa Monica get a try out while in Seattle the concentration on helmets may threaten the tentative return of bike share to that city. While there is potential for bike share take up in minority communities, understanding the barriers helps - while Portland is offering low-cost bike share membership for those in need, and a bill in California will make free bikeshare available to state employees. Meanwhile if you want that bikeshare station near your house to stick around you'd better use it or lose it ...

Bike make it better

To end on a positive note, the benefits of cycling remain - from fending off street harassment to spotting free food to commemorating World War one to getting your head straight when work hasn't been all that great. We're not quite sure that cycling through floodwater is entirely recommended though ...

And finally ...

Setting aside news that Belfast's Bin Lane has emigrated to San Francisco, we finally learned this week what to give the Nobel Laureate who has everything - for the rest of us, there's an app ...