Blog Roundup - tour du danger special

We make no apologies for the London-centric nature of this roundup this week, with the big story being the Tour du Danger, the flash ride through London’s ten most dangerous junctions organised by Cyclists in the City and the Embassy’s own Mark Ames of ibikelondon.

[img_assist|nid=2192|title=Riding to make London’s streets safe for everyone to cycle|desc=|link=url|url=|align=center|width=500|height=375]

The event was given added impetus by Boris Johnson’s performance at the GLA – as reported by the SE1 blog, and in more detail in, complete with a video of the performance, with responses from the London Cycling Campaign and a complete broadside from Cyclists in the City (meanwhile, here’s the view from planet Boris).

While Boris might think London’s most daunting junctions are fine ‘as long as you keep your wits about you’, others aren’t so sure. David Hembrow compares the most dangerous junction in London (for cyclists) with the most dangerous junction in the Netherlands full stop. Guess which one is going to be revamped to make it safer? Cycle of Futility finds that Londoners are getting more, not less, frightened of cycling in the city – and that’s from TfL’s own research. It’s not necessary a delusion either – Cyclists in the city finds that Cycle casualties in London are increasing faster – per KM cycled – than the rest of England (and if the lorries don’t get you, the air might – The Bike show asks if London’s (and other big cities’) air is killing us). Over the Hills and Far away sums up her friends’ view of the latest cycle superhighway “don’t ever cycle on that, you’ll die”. Diamond Geezer, a non-cyclist with a better grasp of cycle safety design than most of TfL, it would seem, continues his examination of CS2 and reports that the widow of the man killed at Bow road warned police that another death there would be inevitable

Sadly, she was right, with yet anther pointless death of a young woman this time on the same roundabout, less than 24 hours before the Tour du Danger ride.

Saturday’s ride was too soon for many of the cyclists who took part to report back but Danny has managed to: We’re doing this so that you, your children and your friends aren’t the next casualties of a systemic, killer culture of laissez-faire at Transport for London – and the event headed the BBC’s London news bulletin while Mark’s speech (and the minute’s silence held before the ride) are up on You Tube You can get a flavour of the event from the photos and tweets of those that took part. More, I have no doubt, next week – including plans for another, bigger and better and with a little more notice this time.

But does all this emphasis on casualties put cyclists off? In an article that made it into the paper proper, the Guardian asked if ghost bikes put people off cycling (not half as much as finding yourself inches from an oblivious lorry does, in my experience). Should we worry more about not worrying would-be cyclists … or should we try and remove some of the things they worry about? As Easy As Riding a Bike says it’s time to get angry – a point followed up by Londonist. And though London casualties get the most attention, it’s not the only place were people are killed. The excellent Pedestrian Liberation has been doing a serious of posts mapping both pedestrian and cycling casualties – including this one comparing Edinburgh’s proposed exemptions to its 20mph zone with where accidents have happened (but go and look at them all).

Reluctantly dragging our attention away from events in the capital, UK Cycle Rules gives us the bit from his Radio4 interview on Law in Action that got left on the cutting room floor And is it worth filling in a report on fill that hole? Looking at potholes and the law (answer: yes, possibly, but don’t assume the council will be liable if you hit one anyway).

Downfader reminds us why new cyclists are important and Edinburgh cyclists wonder if this is a bike lane … or an artwork

There’s Smidsys … and then there’s out and out assault. reports on a frightening attack on a cyclist in Edinburgh – although nothing like as disastrous as the SNP’s budget cuts for cycling and walking will turn out to be, as David Hembrow reports Do the Right Thing looks at whether bikes will ever be allowed on the Newcastle Metro (after a cold snap in Hell, seems to be the response) and LCC responds to the TfL Operating strategy

THE PLANNING TEAM MUST HAVE GOT OUT THEIR “1973 INTERCHANGES IN LEEDS AND GLASGOWVISIO TEMPLATE OUT AND PUT TOGETHER FOUR PROPOSALS FOR A JUNCTION, WHILE STARING AT THEIR PROUD AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH OF THE M4/M5 JUNCTION’ – The People’s Cycling Front of South Gloucestershire breaks out the caps lock key in a good cause The much missed Real Cycling is back (after many adventures) casting his gimlet eye over York station’s Cycle Station of the year award while in Swindon with a baby on the way, Magic Roundabout asks if “we need Cycling counsellors” the way women have breastfeeding ones.

The Campaign for Better Transport blog points out that the ‘Growing Places’ fund will fuel car dependence – at least as the government envisages it, developing link roads for example.
Tom Bailey of the Tyne Bicycle co looks at the impact of the second road tunnel under the Tyne – more roads, more traffic, less fun for cyclists, so no surprises there then. And speaking of building roads, Amcambike asks if Assen’s almost car-free town centre came at the cost of more roads elsewhere – perhaps (although in the UK we get both more roads AND traffic-clogged town centres), but as David Hembrow reported last month the Dutch still drive less than any wealthy European country
The European Cyclist Federation launches its new website with a post from Marc from Amsterdamize and an examination of the situation in Iceland (sounds very familiar). Copenhagenize announces the launch of the Danish ‘Bike Innovation Lab’ – including urban planning bicycle tours next year while if you’ve got something to say about making a liveable London, now’s your chance. Bringing it all back home, As Easy as Riding a Bike has a go at Assenizing Horsham – part of a continuing set of spinoffs from the Cycling Embassy study tour as we try to translate what we saw into UK roadscapes. Tell us you wouldn’t prefer to live in the Dutch version.

In the video department, Magnatom has a wee chat with a fellow commuter and wonders Who’s holding up who? while the Grumpy Cyclist experiments with taking the lane

Sometimes the good guys win – Going Going Bike with a heartwarming story of a thief foiled by a Brompton The Bicycle Academy achieves crowd-sourced funding in just 6 days and Bike Biz reports on the failure of yet another helmet compulsion bill but it’s not all good news: Playmobil appear to have gone over to the dark side

And finally, one of the benefits of doing this round up is stumbling across such gems as Eyelash Roaming – the philosopher poet of the bike lane


Sally good blog as ever…just one you not find the term ‘cyclist’ a little exclusive. The people we are trying to encourage onto a bicycle would not call themselves that. They would probably see themselves as normal folk that are using a bicycle. I ride but wouldn’t term myself a cyclist, looking at me, i am sure not many cyclist’s would want me under their umbrella either…they certainly don’t make team jerseys in my size.
Like many others i try to use a bike because its cheaper, quicker or nicer than the gym than other modes of transport, i do not fit the cyclist label.
I feel that It’s little terms that can make or break opinions, for me the term ‘cyclist’ is not one that sits easily in your article. I feel that there needs to be a little more inclusion in the terminology or perhaps it’s the modern perception of the cyclist that needs addressing. eitherway perhaps we should hark back to the days of the ‘bicyclist’ just to remove the preconception that those being harmed and endangered by the road designs are lycra bound wippitty folk with mirrors on their glasses. The truth is bicycle riders are folk just like everyone else, shop at M&S, give presents at christmas, and have folk that love them. They are people on bikes….not nessasarily part of the known collective that is the ‘cyclist’.
Its the little things that can turn an argument, the ‘cyclist’ label in regards everyday cycling may counjour up the wrong impression of the bike user, they might just be a ‘bike user/rider’ and that might get more folk switching onto the finer points in the argument..

Rob Bushill

Hi Rob, thanks for the feedback. I have to admit, I didn’t put too much thought into the wording – there was such a mass of material to marshal this week, getting even semi-coherent links between the posts was a challenge…

On the whole, I prefer cyclist to bicyclist because a) I think bicyclist sounds a bit odd and (more importantly) it excludes people on trikes, including those using them as a mobility aid as well as a means of transport. As a rule (and there was much discussion on this point) we decided to talk about ‘cycles’ and ‘cycling’ with ‘bike’ also acceptable, with the caveat that by bike we also meant trikes (on the grounds that if a quad bike could be a bike so could a trike … trust me, this was a complex negotiation!). ‘Bike riders’ would also be okay as is ‘people on bikes’ but it’s a bit unwieldy in the circumstances.

I personally like to reclaim the word cyclist from all those keepers of the flame who like to start sentences with the words ‘You’re not a proper cyclist unless…’. Having me shamble up on my bike in my jeans going at a steady 10mph and as often as not losing my footing on the pedals, yet still calling myself a cyclist undercuts all that. Or something. Maybe!

AKA TownMouse

its a bit of a bugger isn’t it, but thanks for taking the time to reply.
to wrestle the word ‘cyclist’ back from the ‘cyclists’ by using the word ‘cyclists’ to describe ‘cyclists’ could just work…it does have connotations though…connotations that are evident when these terrible incidents are reported…there does need to be a picture in the readers mind that engenders sympathy and provokes thought. The more personal, the more bike rider/user focused any reporting can be made, the more the incident will be assimilated for what it is and that is a personal tragedy that could have been avoided, and that is the rub, as the tour du danger is highlighting, the sharing of roads by people and huge motorised vehicles is something that would never be considered if designing a road scheme from scratch yet history has made the thought of such a diverse arrangement acceptable.
Enough talk from me, i am grateful that the embassy exists to show the sensible side of bicycle usage, now i’m off to travel off into Bristol on my hand cranked railway wagon, take my chance with the 17:45 125 intercity from London, bad analogy, perhaps but not by much…

Rob Bushill