Blog Roundup (6)

This week was Road Safety Week, so let’s start with Magnatom using up another of his nine lives (in a nice touch, the driver slowed and gave a little wave at him – perhaps he had seen his little confessional earlier) (and if you missed the fact that it was Road Safety Week, you are not alone: it seems most drivers missed the memo, even trying to take out our own press secretary). Perhaps we’ll be seing less of Magnatom’s videos if the Glasgow GoBike cycle infrastructure tour bears fruit – for now, according to the issues they list here it’s ‘a diconstinuous mishmash of different types of cycle provision, leading cyclists to use on-road cycle lanes, line-segregated shared footway, and main carriageway without any dedicated space’ – a bit like everywhere else in Britain, then. Drawing Rings has a stab at estimating different casualty rates per 100m km cycled in Berlin, London, Amsterdam and Copenhagen while Vulpine advocates a radical approach to dealing with drivers ‘Put flowers in their guns’ – but not, perhaps, as radical or as effective as this householder

Apart from that, two stories seemed to dominate the bike blogosphere (blikosphere?). The first was Confused.com’s attempt at capturing the cycling market which started well with an actually not half bad video showing what happens when a car commuter gets on two wheels for a week and then went rapidly downhill when they spoiled it by asking if cyclists should pay ‘road tax’ – leading the Guardian Bike Blog to weigh in with what we hope will prove the definitive rebuttal of that tired old canard. At least until the next time (top tip to cyclists: just don’t bother reading the letter pages in your local paper. Your blood pressure will thank you). Oh, and on the subject of scofflaw cyclists, Go Fetch finds that someone has really flouted one of those no cycles to be attached to the railings signs

Far more interesting to me were the Department for Transport’s traffic projections (yes, really – I should probably get out more). As Pedestrian Liberation noticed the graph that is currently trending downward takes a distinct upward curve when the RAC used it to lobby for more road building, something picked up by both The Campaign for Better Transport who find there’s no real correlation between population growth and traffic, and Carlton Reid who points out that in the past, even in an oil crisis, traffic hasn’t fallen before, so the recent decline suggests a corner has been turned. In fact, as the Independent asks, have we reached peak car? – and points to Groningen where adopting the bicycle and removing cars from most of the city centre has coincided with rising rents. But the last word on the subject of congestion and road building should go to the Other Aberdeen, whose long and brilliant post, Explaining Electricity to a Cat does battle with the whole mindset behind the push for a new road bridge because of fears that an orbital road will reduce traffic into the city centre…

There are many distractions on the path to bringing about mass cycling – and, channelling Freewheeler, War on the Motorist points out that tackling bike theft is just one of them In a similar vein, BikeBiz reports on Transport for Greater Manchester’s £4.9m plan to boost cycle commuting – cycle centres with secure parking & showers, bike maintenance, bike loans, and online route finders – but no actual new routes unless a further bid succeeds in December. Sometimes bloggers and tweeters just like to get your hopes up: Cyclists get protected contra-flow bike lane during road works near London Bridge Station (thanks, Iambrianjones) while even if you do get cycle lanes … New Cycling newsletter has a grim little fairy tale while over in Canada the Urban Country and meslin give us some really rubbish ones (but the odd thing is, they sort of work).

It’s good to share – and that means sharing nicely. Better by Bike reports on problems with cyclists and walkers coming into conflict on the Bristol-Bath railway path – regardless of your mode of transport, a 10-15mph differential is unpleasant to deal with – while The LoFidelity Bicycle Club asks what sharing really means

We’ve managed to get this far without mentioning That London, but the fallout from recent deaths and injuries rumbles on. Vole o’Speed looks in more detail at the design of the Bow roundabout – and what could be done to make roundabouts in the UK safer. It’s not just the cyclists who are revolting – Cyclists in the City finds that property developers would like to see proper people-friendly designs too and Diamond Geezer has a go at circumnavigating Bow Roundabout by foot and finding it’s even worse for the pedestrians. Perhaps he might prefer how Bow roundabout would have looked if TfL had not ignored LCC’s recommendations

At War with the Motorist continues looking at London’s 10 most dangerous junctions more closely starting with Waterloo. Over at Kings Cross, King’s Cross Environment says safety was reduced to the toss of a weighted coin (and no prizes for guessing which way it was weighted). Kennington People on Bikes looks at some design principles – for Vauxhall, in this case while still managing to Love London at Night with some Lambeth schoolchildren in tow. Londonneur teases out the real purpose of London’s Cycle Superhighways – could they simply be the world’s biggest and least cost-effective road sign?Somewhat further out, As Easy as Riding a bike looks at Wellesley Road, Croyden – it’s no surprise that people are wary of cycle facilities when that’s the sort of thing that get’s built, but it doesn’t have to be this way – for cyclists or for anyone. What are TfL’s assurances worth? Camden Green Party reports that they have made commitments to improve danger spots in Camden – in 2004 – and no action has been taken yet. Fortunately Cyclists in the City is keeping a very close eye on Boris, while, in a rare bit of (goodish) news reports more two-way streets for bikes in the City (having once got sucked into the City one-way system, I can only say hooray). While we’re on the subject of good news, road.cc reports that half a million Londoners have tried out Boris Bikes (though how many of them have come back for a second go, we don’t know), while Bike Hub asks if we won’t please help get a terribly disadvantaged inner-london minority cycling – MPs…

This Big City, summing up two weeks of posts, asks whether bike networks can help develop sustainable communities (possibly…) and has a look at the San Francisco exception – this hilly city has seen a 58% increase in cycling in the last 4 years despite being legally unable to put in any more bike lanes. It has also been tracing the history of cycling networks in London: How London tried and failed to become a cycling city (‘You know you’re in trouble when the notion of “compromise” crops up as early as the preface’), followed up with mixed success for its most recent attempts and finally, looking at the impact it has made it seems to be that the city centre is benefiting – to the detriment of its many surrounding town centres; commuters over communities.

How to kill a city – or at least its soul? Just add parking – although the message does not seem to have got through to the AA president wonders will we not think of the children and allow free weekend parking in London once more. Apparently, this wasn’t satire.

Spokeswomen reports on the Beryl’s night launch and on why women-only spaces are important sometimes (not just for bike mechanics, by the way). Why are women cyclists more likely to be killed in traffic by men? Rudi.net reports that TfL suppressed a report into the matter – ‘It seems you need to be aggressive and assertive to survive’. There’s more on bike lanes being a feminist issue, but from a different angle – from Feminist Action Cambridge – ‘ being a woman in a society where most institutions are built around the male as the norm is a bit like being a cyclist on roads designed for cars’ – and it’s illustrated with some fine mad cycle lanes to boot. The Guardian Bike Blog reports on how bikes are getting girls to school in India – they don’t seem to have much of an issue with wearing a skirt on a bike, but if you’re struggling, Help My Chain Came Off has some advice

Transport & Environment report that the EU is likely to miss its transport emissions targets – more efficient vehicles alone aren’t going to get us out of this mess. But maybe it’s all right as Aberdeen Cars reports that global warming would be good for Scotland

What happens when Dutch schoolkids (from Vincent van Gogh high school in Assen no less – visited on September’s study tour) go cycling in Scotland? If this article is anything to go by, they get themselves some helmets. Going the other way, how long do you have to live in Amsterdam before seeing someone cycling without a helmet stops looking like walking a tightrope over Niagara Falls without a balance pole? Six months should do it. Elsewhere, Real Cycling finds out what to do with your worn out old cyclists and pedestrians while Lovely Bike ask why some cyclists ignore bike racks UK Cycle Rules looks at whether bicycles are allowed in bus lanes (the answer, as ever, is ‘it’s more complicated than you think’)

Are you going to St. Ives? A real superhighway for bikes, horse and walkers between Cambridge and St. Ives – I suppose pointing out that separating all three would be even better is just churlish? Local Councillor discovered cycling, shock via Bike Dundee (20p a mile expenses, though? That should pay for a lot of cake)

A nice little piece from Copenhagenize on the pressures and pleasures of transporting stuff by bike in a bicycle culture (you don’t want to be the eejit strapping the chair on your rack the wrong way in public) – oh and a sneaky little plug for his B&B venture too (how much do we want to go and stay there?). Meanwhile the ECF looks at Cyclelogistics, an EU project to get bike delivery out of its current niche – potentially 25% of motorised cargo trips could be switched to bike delivery.

Lazy Bicycle Blog gets back on the horse and tries commuting on two wheels for the first time after a prang while MassiveMTBer tries to recce a commute avoiding a nasty road – via a 2.7km tunnel – I wonder if, like this Dutch one it has an 800m poem along it? (They’ve always got to go one better, haven’t they?)

Coming up – December’s Streettalks will have a great line up of short talks

And finally: are you sure you want that shower in your office? Bikeyface examines the perils

Comments

Hi Sally
I love this regular meta-blog – you do a really elegant job of incorporating the links into readable prose. However, I have a small constructive suggestion/request – is it possible to make the links open in a new tab, so that your page stays open on its own tab ? I know I could right-click and do it myself, but I’m so used to Twitter opening new tabs for me that I’ve already left-clicked before I remember to do that.
Thanks again
Mark E14

I know what you mean & I’m not sure how to do it in this format (it uses a different markup from html or the one I’m used to in Wordpress) but I’ll try and find out and see if I can make it do that for next week.

AKA TownMouse