Blog Roundup 5/2012

Let's start with the good news, shall we? It will make a change...

After signs of a possible change of heart early in the week, a last minute letter writing campaign and a briefing from Tansform Scotland, on Wednesday the Scottish government had performed a partial u-turn with an £13 million pounds over the next three years - just £2 million less than the additional funding for Sustrans and bike routes to stations announced for the whole of England and Wales. And if that still seems like a drop in the ocean, Edinburgh council has just allocated 5% of its transport budget to cycling and infrastructure - way outstripping the 2% of funding the Times is campaigning for. Maybe it's heard that cyclists make for happier cities. If all this fills you with enthusiasm for life north of the border - or if indeed, you already live there - don't forget the inaugural Glasgow meeting of the Cycling Embassy's Scottish Consulate.

Meanwhile, East Dunbarton's Cycle co-op achieves a commitment to 20mph speed limits and in a novel move Southwark Council and Southwark Cyclists are to work together for bike safety. Cyclists in the City welcomes the change of heart. Elsewhere, 500 junctions in London are to be reviewed including head starts for cyclists. Kennington People on Bikes has a suggestion for what the review's criteria should be while Croyden cyclist points out it would have been helfpul if Transport for London hadn't ignored the feedback they got originally.

More in the good news department, as the Dutch Cycling Embassy offers its expertise in the UK (please, form an orderly queue, councils). LCC's 'Go Dutch' launch is already forging ahead showing the Mayor how it should be done - but it's not quite dutch enough for Pedestrianise London. Not to be outdone, TfL are also spreading their expertise to the Highways Agency, or so Wheels, Pedals, Person imagines. Too late now, with Cycling England dead and buried, but the cycling demonstration towns report their findings. Meanwhile, six cities are sought for a program of protected bike tracks ... but sadly only in the US. Perhaps Fort Worth, looking enviously at Chicago's tracks could apply? (watch the video on that post, if you haven't seen it already, and weep).

As politicians pile in to support the Times campaign, and British Cycling joins the fray, our elected representatives' responses range from the daft to the downright insulting to the actually quite sensible, the online response is a little more nuanced. Vole o'Speed still welcomes it as does This Big City while Cyclists in the city points out it's not about 'dissing Boris' but holding him to account (and the mayors and councillors of the rest of the UK, of course). David Hembrow looks at the campaign's manifesto in more detail and reminds us The Times wasn't always so pro cycling as does Own the Road. Bike Biz wonders if the Times is wrong to confine its campaign to cyclists.Either way, it's still better than Vancouver's effort.

How should the media handle the safety issue? Personally, we feel that the Daily Mash puts it best of all only we were under the impression that it was supposed to be a satirical site. After BBC Breakfast covered the issue Magnatom writes a letter. Downfader also has a few ideas. Karl on Sea points out that riding a bike is just like flying (and not just when you're going down hill). As Easy as Riding a Bike takes issue with the idea that cyclists should self police. Londonist dons its tinfoil helmet wonders if someone is briefing journalists on safety in London (and talking of tinfoil helmets...) The Independent rides the 'tour de chance' - every day - and it's not just a London problem, commuters are being scared off their bikes in the Midlands too. A small sample of the comments posted on the Times website by 4000 cyclists shows how widespread the problem is and a nasty close pass reminds Mick Allan that there's only one place in our civilised society where you can threaten someone with real physical harm (and some drivers take it beyond threats)

When it comes to cyclists' safety, especially given the state of the roads today and not as we'd like them to be, Londonneur feels that training has been given too harsh a press and Cycling Intelligence offers some sound advice: avoid lorries like the plague and being on the right side of the law is no consolation if you end up on the wrong side of a car door. In outer London, bike clubs are planned to encourage cycling to school while bike trains are planned in for schools in the US. (Oh, and in the Netherlands? The school kids are getting lights on their cycle path that come on with a press of a button). Still, the big society is getting a little traction, with volunteers catching 20 speeding motorists in a single morning.

Training or no training, sometimes it doesn't matter how good you are as the cyclist who died in Bishopsgate is named as an experienced cycle courier. And the death toll continues: in Wales and in Chester. The Times lists everyone who's died so far this year. Cycalogical translates the political response. But, as Own the Road also reminds us, whatever the dangers of cycling your sofa is more hazardous

As is the rogue bollard apparently terrorising the South - there's some fun to be had with the curious language of traffic reports. The Road Danger Reduction Forum agrees - although, when it comes to scary bits of road infrastructure, the American conspiracy theorists take the biscuit - could bike lanes be part of the UN's plot for world domination? The Dutch should be very afraid.

What's French for 'they're all a bunch of red light jumpers?'. London Cyclist wonders if UK cyclists should be given the same freedom as the French while Sam Saunders argues why cyclists shouldn't run red lights.

Looking at the history of Dutch cycling, Mad Cycle Lanes of Manchester wonders if it's the bike tracks or the other measures such as traffic reduction that have been the primary driver for increased cycling rates. War on the Motorist takes a different view.

With the 'Big Freeze' (aka 'winter') continuing, Cottenham cyclist finds nothing returns the roads to the people like a little snow but Real Cyclist finds it inducing road rage in York. Pedestrian Liberation finds it's not great for pedestrians either as shops seem indifferent to their customers' needs.

Round and round and round it goes: the great cycling 'debate' continues on Wheels, Pedals, Person, while Lovely Bike actually finds a fresh perspective on the tired old lycra vs. cycle chic debate. And talking of a fresh perspective, Thinking about Cycling offers some on the tired old cyclists on the pavement debate

Got to have some 'h word' posts: the impact of helmet laws in New Zealand is considered - while Real Cycling thinks the debate has been over-egged.

Fish rot from the head down South London cyclist takes his complaint to the top and gets no satisfaction.

Hate Cyclists? What, all of them? Chester Cycling (formerly Manchester Cycling) finds a few to love and a few to loathe.

When is a cycling superhighway not a superhighway? (all those responding 'when it's in London' get a slap...)

Taking the Bricks out of Brick Lane - a defence of shared-ish space.

And finally, girls, no need to go that far - just get yourself a decent saddle and you don't have to choose.