Blog Roundup 3/2012

Before we get started with the Blog Roundup proper, can I just direct your attention to our Policy Bash next weekend - and more importantly our virtual policy bash for all you clever bloggers who won't be able to make it on the days. KatsDekker, never knowingly slow to respond, has already kicked the debate off by Utrechtizing Gosforth". Have at it, and all but guarantee yourself a place in next week's round up...

Right, where were we? Previously in the bike blog world, the Bow Roundabout redesign had been greeted with cautious optimism. This week, hope faded for Cyclists in the City, Cycalogical gets cynical and Diamond Geezer was unimpressed by plans for the roundabout and the flyover (and if you're already taking the Bow Flyover on your bike, LCC wants to know why). Meanwhile, Pedestrianise London gets his crayons out and redesigns Bow Roundabout properly as a Dutch-style turbo and David Hembrow revives A View from the Cycle Path long enough to join in the debate.

Meanwhile, up north, the cyclists were revolting (protesting, anyway) but there's still no progress from the Scottish Government - just spin and smoke and mirrors. This may not be surprising, given the history of Scotland's funding for active travel. Though there is some good news - Inverness is to get a cycling cafe, and besides, as ibikelondon has found, sometimes a little people pressure works at least with the City of London.

After the cyclists tried bringing King's Cross to a standstill last week, motorists stage a 'gridlock' protest of their own in London ... every day - while the bikes will only be doing it on Monday 23rd Jan while Southwark campaign group SMOC (Stop Murder of Cyclists) are planning a die-in on the following Wednesday. There's progress on the legal front too, with Kings Cross Environment looking at the case for corporate manslaughter against TfL, while York Racecourse is to be charged with safety breaches over the death of a cyclist. The Cycling Silk sees some justice at last. (Although it's quickly business as usual again pretty soon). Astoundingly, the Met Police have also now admitted that cycling in an area where it's legal to cycle is not a crime, although, as Aberdeen Cars finds, driving in bus lanes soon won't be either... But perhaps none of this should amaze us when you look at the people in charge: the minister himself doesn't seem aware that cyclists are allowed on trunk roads.

In one of a series, This Big City cycles CS8 from Lambeth Bridge to Wandsworth Town and only has to get off and push once, while those hoping to beat the gridlock by cycling to the Olympics may find themselves negotiating three flights of stairs, with no ramps. Fitzrovia News is unimpressed by the latest effort to get locals on two wheels by sending them the wrong way down three lanes of one-way traffic, while, across the Baltic, Malmo lays down the gauntlet to its neigbhour Copenhagen and plans a four lane cycling superhighway. I wonder how many times riders there will have to get off and push? Still, at least in York it appears they're already considering the special needs of unicyclists. Take that, Malmo, and your four-lane cycle superhighway...

Remember how Blackfriars was being redesigned, partly to make it easier for pedestrians to cross? Well TfL seem to have forgotten. Indeed, pedestrian crossings are being removed all across London while councillors tell the London Mayor to stop dragging his feet over junction improvements. What redress will we have when someone is killed? Kings Cross environment breaks out the latin to ask who will investigate the mayor - when he controls the police? But TfL is not entirely uncognisant of the needs for safer cycling - in this week's storm in a teacup award, we applaud it for its decision to make cycling safer in the capital by sending everyone an email.

As we get news of a cyclist crushed in a HGV hit and run, but fortunate to escape with 'just' a shattered leg, Peter Hitchens gets knocked off his bike and asks "why are car-borne assaults of this kind deemed so trivial and understandable?' - warning, you may find yourself nodding along to a piece in the Mail on Sunday. And, while we're finding allies in unlikely places, The Bournemouth Echo (yes really, a local paper) gives non-cyclists an introduction to the wierd and wonderful world of helmet cams. The world has not turned completely upside down, though: Cycle Sheffield finds it has to respond to criticism in the local press over pictures of cyclists (gasp) not wearing helments.

'All cyclists run red lights ...' you can go round and round and round on this one, or you can do what the Elephant did and actually check the Met police statistics. And while we're on the numbers - 'smoothing the flow' of which traffic? Commuting trends in London from Drawing Rings suggest that cyclists could overtake private motorists in the morning peak. After a three year trial shows that motorbikes in bus lanes increase danger for motorbikes and bikes, do TfL stop the trial? Don't be silly, they make it permanent. Still on the numbers (but in the US) - How hip is your city? Enter the fixie index. More soberingly, which are the ten deadliest states in the US for cyclists? And how does that compare with Ireland where 12% have nearly hit a cyclist in the last two years, according to the AA. On the economic side, we all know it ... but it bears repeating, especially if you're having one of those 'n+1' moments, cars are cash sinks. And while we're talking of research, UEL announces the 2012 Cycling and Society Symposium and there is some discussion on cycling and identity (familiar from this very blog roundup): proper cyclists vs people on bikes.

Moving into the wierd and wonderful world of celebrity cycling (no phones were hacked in the writing of this roundup) Gene Hackman is knocked off his bike at 81, and the media concentrates on the fact that he wasn't wearing a helmet - perhaps the problem was that cities are only being designed for those from 8 to 80 - 81-year-olds need not apply...(and does the fact that he survived prove that a lack of helmet saved his life). Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pacific, as Shane Warne gets into a twitter spat over who hit whom,  Behooving Moving points out it's the road designers who are at fault. ' To some extent conflicts like Warne’s are the result of letting cricketers drive, but really, they are more to do with letting ignorant old men design roads'.

Only in America ... A uniquely American take on cycle campaigning from Commute by Bike take a leaf out of the National Rifle Association's book (and, seriously - health warnings on bikes?). In Albuquerque, truckers are worried about hitting bikes  so the city puts up no cycling signs. Los Alamos Bikes has a word. In LA the Vehicular Cycling debate rages on, with BikinginLA generating an unusual ratio of light to heat. But we can't be too smug about the comparison with our transatlantic cousins: Chicago's getting another 4.3 miles of protected bike lanes and in Texas (yes, that Texas) you can get yourself a great license plate 'Share the road, y'all'. Besides, we've got bonkers politicians of our own.

Bikes as Art ... Treehugger finds out how long a bike lasts chained up in New York? (Less, artily, Downfader's been watching a similar one fade away in the UK) while Edinburgh Sketcher pauses to thank their trusty bike - as should we all - and kaputnik produces a lovely A to Z of bike bits.

'Men on carbon fibre road bikes really, really don't like being overtaken by someone wearing a corduroy jacket' - Peter Walker crosses over to the other side (sometimes). Our very own Chairman Jim would agree with the Dutch bike love-in.

Copenhagen launches its new cycling strategy (and is it just me or do all the cyclists in it look really badly photoshopped in?) but all is not perfect even in the city of cyclists, as the Danish road safety council ignore the bull. Mikael finds a vintage postcard that reminds him how far the car still reigns.

Setting the record straight - a correction from As Easy as Riding a bike - and a fresh look at the Euston Road, while the Cottenham Cyclist calls for an end to 'barely there' cycle lanes.

What REALLY annoys cyclists? a revealing list from Tokyo By Bike. (But really, 'senior cyclists'??). Try taxi drivers - a little tale from the Edinburgh Cycle forum.

Are you suffering from Bikes-on-trains envy? (bring back the guard's car, we say). Equally graphic and striking but not, sadly, a reality - a neat-looking approach to direction signing for cyclists.

A great cycle nation, but with terrible infrastructure. Tokyo By Bike looks at what makes it all work in Japan (having to prove you've got a parking space before registering a car sounds like a great start). But there is free parking in London! Parking for bikes, that is.

Starting them young? Dutch school 'bus'

Going for the cycle chic look? You might need thse really useful tips from Urban Riding Tips on cycling with a front basket. 'On a bicycle with a loaded front basket the direction you are going in at any moment is one you chose quite some time ago'.

Got a tricky problem to solve? Tell your boss you're just off for a bike ride to think about it - harnessing the Einstein Bicycle Effect. Places for People? Just not people on foot...

What have the cyclists ever done for us?. Magnatom finds Google Ads somewhat missing the point of his videos...

And finally, in possibly one of the most blatant attempts at whistling in the dark we've seen all week: February (in Edinburgh) is the best month for cycling. 'Statistically it hardly rains'. But then, seasonally adjusted, winter is the same as summer...

See you all for an early kick off next week, as the Roundup will be busy policy bashing at the weekend.