The Great Big Watch Out, It's An Armadillo! Blog Roundup

Armadillos are armour-plated creatures - perhaps their plastic cousins could do with that degree of thick-skinned protection, given the criticism they're coming in for over the last week. The Alternative Department for Transport thinks they're the Emperor's New Infrastructure - popular because they're cheap. Mad Cycle Lanes of Manchester has been accumulating evidence of their effectiveness - or otherwise - with a second attempt on Liverpool Street, and attempts to protect the armadillos with bollards (which are themselves coming under attack). Perhaps we need a chart of separation methods to show where and when these interventions are actually appropriate.

The Cost of Cycling

Cycling MPs came under attack from, erm, the Daily Mail for having the temerity to claim expenses for riding a bike. Cycling South Tyne investigated how much it costs to run a bike (clue - 20p per mile is the standard HMRC rate), and found that motoring expenses claimed by MPs are 6,000 times higher. Some perspective required? A bicycle is a much simpler mode of transport, as the Dutch Prime Minister demonstrates. Maybe we should even be paying MPs to cycle - People for Bikes makes the case for employers paying their employees to cycle. And supermarkets should be offering incentives to people cycling, not just to those who drive.

Planning properly

Rachel Aldred wrote an interesting piece about how the way we model transport tends to misrepresent decisions about cycling, and why the bar is higher when you are commuting. It also seems we can't even get the simple zebra crossing right. Unsurprisingly Copenhagen is able to model cycling properly, for the benefit of the city as a whole. As well as subjective safety, social safety is also an important element in decisions about whether or not to cycle, as Car Sick Glasgow shows, in a photograph. And when you plan to close a road, you probably shouldn't close it to walking and cycling too. On an even bigger scale, it seems that, amazingly, the A9 upgrade in Scotland won't include cycle provision, because it's too difficult.

The path to equity

There was more from the previous week's Women's Cycling Summit, with the Bike League pondering on how to close the gender gap, and Streetsblog examining the path to equity for women in cycling. Afghan women risk their lives both on and off the bike - their lives explored in a fascinating new film. Being heckled for going slowly isn't much fun - we need to realise that cycling is transport, not sport, for many. The problem is reflected in how Britain has all the wrong sorts of bikes.

Stay safe - if you can

Depressing stories in the last week - some have just given up cycling altogether. Others have got angry, writing letters in the face of repeatedly being endangeredMaybe some tiny yellow triangles on wing mirrors will help? Or not. The Dutch are worried about a tiny percentage of children failing the traffic exam, and are taking action. But they have the safe environment already - the need for infrastructure immediately becomes apparent on a new commute. And with subjective safety comes flirtation and play.


Sheffield does actually have a segregated cycle track - it's a pity that the local police choose to park coaches on it. There are rather more familiar and permanent obstructions designed into British cycle infrastructure, as documented by Mad Cycle Lanes of Manchester. We have lethal bike lanes in Glasgow, and a similar design being proposed in Toronto (why can't we put cycle tracks in the right place?) And an obstruction of a more general kind appears to be the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, who are not on board with London's cycling revolution.

Mini-Hollands, and the real thing

The winning boroughs for the mini-Holland bids in London have been announced, Mayor Johnson getting excited about turning Britain into a 'cycling country'. It might be nice if there was some actual progress being made in his own city, with Lewisham Cyclists arguing its been all talk and no action so far. Boris is apparently talking to his Transport Commissioner 'none too politely', pressing him for action, but the proof will be when TfL delivers streets that are safe for anyone to cycle on. The real Netherlands is, of course, getting further and further ahead of us, all the time, (they have a long history of getting things right) - with the most visible illustration being their incredible bridges.

Around the world

Taipei is taking steps in an attempt to establish cycling as a mainstream mode of transport, while Seoul continues to tear down its overpasses, as its Mayor seeks to boost cycling and other sustainable modes of transport. In the United States, new Green Lane project cities have been selected, including (amongst others) Seattle and Boston. We also have an interesting take on what cycling is like in Barcelona, from the CTC, and Tokyo Bike explains how bicycle infrastructure in Japan is subtly different from what you would expect. Copenhagenize also took a look at the bike share system Copenhagen might have had. Finally, there's a reminder that not being the worst should not be good enough.

Finding space for cycling

A tour of Glasgow's southside finds plenty of space - but not much in the way of space for cycling. In a similar vein, there's a need to rethink Birmingham's dual carriageways. There's plenty of space to play with at Elephant and Castle in London, but it seems Transport for London need lessons in how to design cycle infrastructure. The proposed Cobden Junction in Camden has been criticised, but a concession has now been made in the form of separate signal phases for cycling. The steps Bristol has taken to becoming more cycle-friendly have been examined, and Cycling Weekly took a look at Cardiff's potential for serious growth in cycling. In this vein, there are some useful tips on how campaigners and engineers could work together, from the Ranty Highwayman.

And finally

An old story, but it's good to know that it's entirely safe and legal to cycle naked in New Zealand - providing you wear a cycle helmet And given the figures for cycling safety here, perhaps a stress mapping one would be the most appropriate...