The Great Big Never Mind the Polar Vortex Bike Blog Roundup

With a whole scary new weather phenomenon to contend with this winter - not to mention a brand new twist on the whole 'scofflaw cyclist' thing (but what about those pesky pedestrians with disabilities), Canadians were finding it too cold for public transport and switching to bikes instead while a bridge closure in Quebec made a city briefly more walkable, despite bitter cold. Wisconsinites were offered a winter cycling challenge - although they find there's not much point building bike trails if you don't provide the wherewithal to clear them; cities need to adapt to the winters they have. Meanwhile, in rain-sodden Britain, London cyclist tries to look on the bright side - but joking aside, flooding can prove fatal to cyclists, so do take care.

To nobody's surprise, this week we learned that cyclists are considered cooler, more intelligent and charitable - even Seinfeld agrees it's cool. In fact, there were plenty of positive stories, from the news that 1.8 million tube journeys a week would have been faster on a bike, to the public health benefits of cycling - although nobody seems to have told Dumfries. Even though driving changes your view of the world, Dave Horton perceives a gleam in the eye of even the most car-dependent people when they contemplate utility cycling which gives him hope. And there were many positive personal examples of the joy of cycling this week - from falling in love with a bike named Barbara Gordon to overcoming childhood clumsiness to the sheer joy of being on two wheels (by the inaptly named Elysa Walk) to five years of Bicycle Dutch's deceptively simple but persuasive little videos to a hospital in Nigeria run on corn cobs and bike parts...

Feeling all warm and fluffy now? Never mind, it won't last - there are plenty of arguments to be had to bring you back down to earth: you can try banging your head against the old brick wall of the helmet debate - with some resorting to playing the man instead of the ball or if you're looking for new arguments Elly Blue has some suggestions. You could argue about whether Edinburgh's Easter Road is safe to cycle on or you could try and persuade Jeremy Clarkson and his fans that it's okay to take the lane occasionally - and besides that when it comes to road congestion, cyclists are the aspirin, not the cholesterol. Or you can try and neatly divide people on bikes into 'real cyclists' and 'muppets although you'll probably find it's not as easy as all that.

Meanwhile the 'bike lane backlash' continues with Leith Walk continuing to spark controversy although at least most cycling campaigners are no longer arguing against segregated bike infrastructure - most now agree that it's time to stop building black diamond bike lanes. Meanwhile Beverly Hills is doing everything it can to blindside bike lane plans despite vocal public support, while Seattle's bike master plan is being held up over a single bikeway. However, while debate over bike lanes continues in Virginia, in New York some people can't really remember what the fuss was about and the same goes for LA. It seems the same rhetoric seems to crop up whereever you are, except in Portland where residents are lobbying to have parking removed to make way for a bike lane. No, really.

Paying attention to these arguments can be important as the history of New Zealand's helmet laws suggests - but most people these days are campaigning for protected space, safe routes to schools and livable town centres not compulsory hats. Some choose to stand for office, for some, it's a matter of showing up or using social media (including blogging, naturally) - or perhaps we should just all be anti-speeding. It was the LCC's Space for Cycling that prompted one cyclist to join the campaign - while a bike lane outside her door got Barb Chamberlain into bike advocacy. Lancaster Dynamo are hoping to create a vision, while Streetfilms looks at the rise and rise of open streets days in the US.

With the stats on cycling to school in the UK making depressing reading, we won't solve the school run through lecturing or educating after all, 75% of parents report seeing aggression between drivers at the school gates. Meanwhile donating a bike to get Glasgow kids cycling would be wonderful - but what all kids really need is a place to ride.

When it comes to designing those places, Copenhagen has released its startlingly simple design manual - while Ranty Highwayman uncovers the complexities of traffic signals and Steve Miller the differences between design speed, speed limits and target speed. London Cyclist considers London's 12 most terrifying junctions (only 12?) while you don't have to read the injury stats to find some of them terrifying. The proposed SkyCycle gets a defender (although it would be better with a roof) despite the lessons of history even as it's kiboshed for being too expensive - while Brussels contemplates a much more radical approach and Edinburgh's local transport strategy will at least give campaigners some ammunition for their letters to their council. Christchurch learns the lessons from its first segregated cycle track - and has some sneaky bypasses to allow cyclists past red lights (and it seems Greenwich may be getting a similar facility). Newcycling continues to look at what Space for Cycling means in practice with a look at junctions. And while campaigners look at what Minneapolis can learn from Seattle's bike plan (although in Seattle, kerb-protected bike lanes might be a cost too far partly due to the need to accomodate dropped kerbs for wheelchair use), Ireland seems determined to follow the UK instead with shared use pavements and even the emergence of a cycle facility of the month...

With Chicago getting its first female-focused bike shop, perhaps cycling to IKEA is one way of making it bearable (perhaps not the one on the North Circular though...). Town-centre parking is an issue in both Cambrdige and the Netherlands (but only in the latter is it bike parking that's a problem) while demand in Portland for residential parking grows in perhaps some surprising places. Whatever the mode of transport, if cities want smart growth they need to think about how to move goods around. Car advertisers in the US make a last-ditch attempt to get 'millennials' driving again - a sign that secretly car drivers suffer from cyclist envy while the Smart e-Bike seems like a gateway to car driving - but Samsung are going straight for the cyclist market (and no need for one of these little signs). Meanwhile, in the ultimate piece of targeted marketing - how a bout a sponsored cargo bike that isn't just powered by biscuits but advertises them too?

Bike share schemes continue to rise and rise in the US with Austin's scheme launched just before Christmas - perhaps it's right that they may be contagious. And with Lisbon defying its steep gradients with a planned new scheme, Copenhagenize examines the evidence for the schemes' impact and effectiveness while Chicago's Divvy scheme will need to increase its density as it expands.

We learned this week that if you're going to harrass a cyclist, don't choose a police officer on his way to work - but for all other kinds of cyclist, especially if you're a good person, then short driving bans reinforce the assumption that driving is a right and not a privilege. And for some miscreants, nothing more than a special place in Hell will really do. Elsewhere, Isolate Cyclists asks why we still call cyclist on cyclist collisions 'accidents' - but no matter, the UK government will continue to call them them all accidents, whatever the vehicles involved.

With a New Zealand safety campaign attracting widespread attention on the blogosphere - and cycle campaigners subverting TfL's own posters (and being threatened with copyright violation) it turns out that, however good the campaign - and most of them address the wrong audience anyway - advertising doesn't work. On the other hand the Metropolitan police do claim that their crackdown changed road user behaviour. In New Zealand, whether or not the cyclist ran a red light the environment could still have prevented a fatality - and it's not just cyclists: pedestrians will also do what look like stupid things when intersections seem almost designed to hurt them.

Back in the UK, the 'reflectorgate bill' first gets amended then scuppered altogether. Cycalogical discovers how not to do traffic calming while Cyclestuff discovers Yorkshire's not uniformly welcoming to cyclists, Tour de France or no Tour de France. London's proposed 'cycling grid' gets the once over from Hammersmith and Fulham and Islington cycling groups. Cyclists will have to dismount to cross Hammersmith Bridge during resurfacing works but Manchester's Corporation Street is still open to bikes (well, sort of). The need to improve air quality may drive improvements for cycling in Sheffield while Oxford is still no cycling paradise, although at least it is blissfully free of rabid dogs. Richmond is looking to improve a roundabout while in Lewisham, those without bikes are being offered a loan.

Further afield, Boris and Bertrand meet to discuss cycle safety in their respective cities, while Guelph in Canada discovers it has much to learn from the Dutch. Trondheim, home of the famous bike lift, offers a mixed picture to Copenhagenize while in Spain it's not just Seville that's using bike infrastructure to increase cycling. With Streetsblog considering what the US Department of Transport's top priorities ouhgt to be, Portland celebrates a year without fatalities and Seattle upgrades its bus fleet to carry more bikes.

And finally, after a Strava marriage proposal is successful (history does not record if she also rode out to say yes) - is this the perfect bicycle made for two for the couple to celebrate their wedding? The tuba player, we hope, is optional...