The Great Big Pavement Cycling Bike Blog Roundup

The big news this week was the reiteration by our minister for cycling that it's OK to ride on the pavement as long as you're in fear of your life - although nobody seems to have told the Met Police. As the Embassy has pointed out, while pragmatic, nobody should mistake pavements for actual cycling infrastructure - Living Streets are right to insist that on the whole pavements should be for pedestrians. That wasn't all our new minister said, as he claimed lycra-clad cyclists might be putting off the basket-on-the-handlebar types from cycling more, although perhaps it's more the conditions on the roads? And if you do stay off the pavements, drivers don't understand why you might be in the middle of the road instead although one driver got a full and frank explanation from Helen Blackman this week.

And while our politicians were blaming us for wearing the wrong clothes (and underspending their cycling budgets), over in New York - where powerful individuals have already shaped the city for good and for ill - the new mayor, Bill de Blasio has adopted a 'vision zero' for traffic deaths and will be rolling out a multi-agency approach to make it happen, although the police commissioner doesnt' seem to be quite with the programme yet. In San Francisco there are calls for the city to follow suit, while Chicago, which has already adopted a 'Vision Zero' has been making progress. At the same time, the US Secretary of Transport has pledged to make bike and pedestrian safety a priority, the interim mayor of San Diego says the city's transportation future depends on becoming a world-class bike city, Seattle's mayor gives his wholehearted support to protected bike lanes - and TreeHugger is impressed by a ride with the former mayor of Amsterdam.


Back in the UK, Westminster's Transport Boss seems to see nothing but obstacles to improving cycling, while the LCC finds the borough's cycling strategy completely inadequate. With campaigners gearing up for the Space for Cycling campaign in Islington and Lewisham (and even reaching Vienna), Traffik in Tooting is frustrated that it seems to take an election to get support for safer streets among local politicians. In Newcastle, the city's journey to being a 20 mph city is far from complete. In Edinburgh, a new city-centre cycle route is planned but will it do much to counter the reality of cycling there now? And with bikes to be allowed on the Docklands Light Railway, increasing the options for crossing the river, a planned Lincoln bypass will sever many routes for cyclists while elsewhere cyclists are told to be grateful for a lethal-sounding bike lane on the outside lane of a dual carriageway. Still, at least cycling (or even driving) in the UK teaches you patience (and the trains are no better either)...

With the release of a new report detailing how protected bike lanes mean business, campaigners off a dozen (more) reasons to support bike lanes in Beverley Hills. But there are more reasons they've missed - from faster internet access to reducing crime, to making people less sleepy at work to promoting your region's history - oh and providing your customers with a handy place to park. But with urban economies (in the US anyway) moving away from the car, cities can't afford not to invest in bike infrastructure - and then private businesses will take advantage of the new opportunities created.

Planners and politicians alike could do worse than to listen to the children - especially as even in Texas a protected bike lane increases numbers cycling to school from 2 to 40 - something that might help Portland turn the clock back on school cycling levels. And it's not just cities - in a well-designed suburb everyone can walk to school. In Canada, a bike-safety memo puts the onus on the kids to stay safe - how about telling everyone to drive less asks one of the mothers? Sweden adopts 'gender equal snow ploughing' (although only on the assumption that it's women who take the kids to daycare). Meanwhile Brooklyn Spoke tries a little citizen action to make the streets safer for children - and is pleased to see a step towards 20 mph limits in Prospect Park. And if nothing else, you can make your reflectives a bit more fun - and introduce your children to the joy of bike cleaning (no, really). report that work is to start soon on Manchester's Oxford Road although there's still some detail to iron out if the cycle provision is to be really high quality, and not just patently absurd like Belfast's Cyclesaurus. Chicago too should be moving towards the next generation of protected bike lanes. As Hamburg announces ambitious plans to eliminate the need for a car in 20 years, ibikelondon is surprised to find that London has a lot to learn from Dallas, Texas. The Ranty Highwayman is also surprised to find himself seeing some merit in the Sky Cycle idea, while Gehl Associates also give the idea some consideration. As Bike Portland considers how the city's network looks if you're a novice rider - and the safest options for a dangerous junction, David Hembrow points out that whether you're in the Netherlands or the UK poor infrastructure causes collisions (and it turns out that even the Dutch build 'bridges to nowhere', albeit spectacular ones.

Rachel Aldred's review of Promoting Walking and Cycling reveals how much has actually changed in the last few years since the original Understanding Walking and Cycling report came out - while elsewhere campaigners ask if focusing on commuters is a mistaken approach. Eithe way, cycling continues to be shoehorned in as an afterthought even on a public transport project - the People's Cycling Front has seen it all before. With residents everywhere continuing to fear change, including objecting to bike plans on the grounds that too many people were consulted - the trick to getting support for a new project seems to be to ask everyone not just those who show up for meetings. Dead Dog Blog reminds us that objections can go two ways with a masterful example of why you need to actually read all those local strategies while doctors ask if they should do more to speak out over traffic deaths. Still, for some of us, riding a bike is still just riding a bike and not a political act - Robert Goodwill, rejoice.

As a 'cyclist shaming' website tones down its language after criticism, As Easy as Riding a Bike considered the futility of exhorting fellow cyclists to behave (almost as futile as trying to get a consistent helmet policy) while a Cambridge cabbies' code of conduct manages to ignore cyclists altogether. You've got to wonder if moped riders despair at being given a bad name - while a motorbike rider knocked down by a bus is further insulted by being mistaken for a cyclist. Down under in New Zealand, media coverage of cycling safety seems rather familiar - with red-light jumping statistics that don't really tell the whold story but if nothing else, official road safety campaigns can legitimise the presence of cyclists on the road. Rebel Metropolis suggests we don't overdo the desire to make cycling 'boring' but embrace its subcultures (or just give people prizes).

Looking at the legal side, Croydon Cylist looks at the legality of filtering while the CTC, British Cycling and Roadpeace meet the UK Sentencing Council over penalties for dangerous driving. The courts were busy in the US with legal battles over turning old railways to bike paths reaching the US Supreme Court and a citation for driving using Google Glass being thrown out in San Diego. With three foot passing bills under consideration in Ohio and Virginia, Austin police are still cracking down on close-passing drivers - and Seattle's Department of Transport blog reminds residents just who owns that on-street parking space.

With US bike industry predictions still seeing limits to the growth of bike sales, although the numbers are still rising among women, Elly Blue still sees the bike's rise as unstoppable. Meanwhile in Europe, Spain is to subsidise the purchase of electric bikes while a month's trial of a cargo bike gets beer moving by pedal power, and not just in one of those pedal pubs. Work Cycles create a truly hefty cargo bike to meet the demand for more capacity. And with the excellent news that coffee won't dehydrate you after all, the University of Manchester needs to wake up and smell the (pedal powered) coffee.

Further afield, a 31 km greenway is planned in Waterford in Ireland while in Australia a bike lane obstruction magically gets moved once there's some media attention. In California, San Francisco - supposedly America's most bike-friendly city still has much to do but LA is ditching its reputation as a car-centric city. A hostile US county performs a u-turn and goes for complete streets - while in Portland a planned 'Green Loop' could make every day a 'Sunday Parkways' day.

And finally, while cycling is of course very safe, a couple of cautionary tales of accidents to some tender parts of one's anatomy - one for the chaps, and a warning to the ladies of the limits to cycle chic - maybe leave the lace-edged lingerie at home.

We'll be back next week, when we've managed to uncross our legs...