The Great Big Trick or Treat Bike Blog Roundup

Halloween is almost upon us, but when it comes to trick or treating, it seems cyclists have been on the receiving end of more tricks than treats this week, with the bomb squad having to be called in to defuse one Portland booby trap (you think your bikelash is bad...), while the Green Audi of the Apocalypse helped recruit one cyclist to the Near Miss project. And even in the Netherlands - yes that Netherlands - drivers can be right tools around cyclists.

But think of the children

At this time of year, at least in the US, your trick or treat budget is a pretty good indicator of a healthy city. Cycling makes kids healthier, happier and more confident - which is good news for Back on my Bike's little boy - while one little girl doesn't let a lack of limbs keep her from cycling (what's your excuse then? - and if you're about to say 'the weather' then Finnish cyclists make the rest of us look like wimps). Meanwhile Play on Pedals is reaching out to an Islamic Centre in Glasgow to help get more women and children cycling - while the Safe Routes to Schools programme has boosted cycling and walking rates in the US, although its funding is now under threat - a shame as a parent cycling her kids to school shouldn't have to be looking out for a helmet camera. For one kid, however, it was a stolen bike that launched him on a new career - and at the other end of the age spectrum, aging Americans may help to transform America's cities.

Design matters

As we've seen in the UK, good design can be the difference between a 'treat' and a 'trick' ('Dutch style' roundabouts, we're looking at you...) and one of the joys of real Dutch style infrastructure is that you need never cycle alone - no wonder the scooter riders don't want to be banished to Amsterdam's slower roads - and their pedestrian crossings aren't that shabby either. Streets MN looks at why we need hierarchical road systems (one of the cornerstones of sustainable safety) and the differences in subjective safety for different kinds of cycling infrastructure - bearing in mind that bike lanes aren't everything. On the 'trick' side, if infrastructure doesn't cut it then it shouldn't be included as part of the bike network, in fact Shaun McDonald wonders whether we should start fining organisations for encouraging cyclists to ride down busy roads. Elsewhere, Portland discovers its filtered permeability might be a bit too permeable, while uninspired by 'award winning' plans for shared space, Bike Toronto has a go at improving matters (remember the fancy brick paving, though). Developers in Portland discover that if you fill your apartments with cyclists you may need to rethink your parking provision, while in Chicago sensors tracking pedestrian traffic might help re-prioritise crossings for foot traffic instead of cars.


Bridge news

For some reason, bridges seemed to be in the news this week, starting with plans for a toll for people walking and cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge, while on Brooklyn bridge, NYPD's finest are keeping their priorities straight. New Jersey simply closes a bridge to bike and foot traffic, rather than take more elaborate anti-suicide measures - fifty years on the battle is still running to open a bridge to walking and cycling where it was barred for the same reason. And here in the UK Bristol's cheese grater bridge is proving a little too true to its name for comfort, while Boris Johnson supports plans for a Canary Wharf cycle bridge (just don't ask about the one he axed to make way for the Emirates Dangleway).

CS2 News

Bridges aside, it was London's superhighways that dominated the London blogs again this week, with plans for a cashmob in support of it, a great campaigning tool, while Ranty Highwayman enlists his fellow highwaymen in backing the plans, and the Evening Standard can't seem to make up its mind where it stands on the matter. Southwark cyclists have taken a closer look at some of the detail of the Southwark end and found that although good overall, some things need more work especially the junction at St. George's circus, while earlier plans to transform the Oval junction have been approved and are now set to go ahead. Things took a sharper turn with the death of Janina Gehlau at a junctionthat will be much safer once the plans are put in place - making talk of London's growth seem obscene (although the presence of kerbed tracks shouldn't hamper deliveries anyway) while one MP's bizarre remarks against the project surely couldn't have anything to do with the hospitality he has enjoyed at the expense of Canary Wharf plc...

Good news, bad news

Aside from the superhighway plans, it was a week of fluctuation fortunes in cycling. The outer London Quietway routes have been announced, rather more quietly, although Lewisham Cyclists did have a look at Lewisham's stretch, which will be a start, but not perfect. Cycle Bath experienced an odd emotion after a discussion with someone from a council: warm fuzziness over the strategy for Keynsham - while Hounslow is consulting over possible fully segregated cycling on Boston Manor Road. Lancaster is experimenting with allowing cyclists back into some city centre streets outside 'core hours', but Manchester has balanced that by banning cycling in a square that used to form part of a cycle route. Edinburgh is to prioritise roads important for cyclists when planning its pothole repairs - but Oxford's city and county councils seem locked in a standoff which has meant cycling money can't be spent on improving any roads and Cambridgeshire install a pinch point over the objections of the local cycle campaign.

Campaigning news

All of which might seem a bit dispiriting to the average cycle campaigner, but they keep on keeping on; in Waltham Forest the battle for the Mini Holland scheme means stepping out from behind the computer and recruiting support in person, while the scheme itself seems to please and baffle local residents in equal measure. In South Gloucestershire cyclists are taking to their bikes in protest at a dangerous junction while Cambridge Cyclist wonders if Cambridge cyclists won't hold out for top-quality infrastructure, who will? Back behind their computers, and with only a few weeks of consultation on the government's cycling delivery plan (or cycling 'delivery' 'plan', as it might be more accurately described) the CTC has commissioned yet more evidence that investing in cycling would pay for itself almost immediately with Public Health England joining in the calls for increased cycling, and physical inactivity costing the UK £7.4 billion a year. From Colorado there's some advice on dealing with the potentially cycling-friendly but a bit clueless people you meet while Spacing advises Canadian cyclists on ow they can help make the case and Bike SD's Sam Ollinger suggests we need to focus on livability to make the future case - something Sustrans is already doing.

Politics as usual

But are our politicians listening? It would appear not in Scotland, where recent budget plans for cycling turn out to be even more smoke and mirrors than usual, and a letter to Magnatom's MP gets a reply that only makes him angrier. In the EU, the new transport commissioner is a bit of a cyclist herself, good news given that bikes will have to have a big role in meeting new targets to cut emissions by 40%, while Portland's new head of transport doesn't just read the blogs she acts on them. In amazing news, Washington State has actually acknowledged motorised traffic is falling in its traffic projections - time for it to start accepting the need to repurpose roads for things other than through traffic. All was not completely rosy across the Atlantic though, with Florida's Department of Transport apparently not knowing its own roads while a funding crunch will cut money for cycling while continuing to fund obsolete transport projects.

Bike hire news

The unstoppable roll of the bike hire meme continues, with Belfast to get its own bike hire scheme by spring as long as some confused politician doesn't put a spoke in the plans, as happened in Galway. Seattle's scheme celebrated its first week with a party, while the Dublin Bikes continue to grow. In Philadelphia, they are hoping to ensure their planned scheme is usable by everyone, while in Scotland the new Scotrail franchise shoud bring Dutch-style cycle hire facilities to selected stations - perhaps something for Portland to consider as it looks at best practice when integrating bikes and public transport. All of which matters more than you might think because it continues to be shorter journeys that dominate cycling statistics, whether you're in Rotterdam or Portland.

The law is an ...

In Kentucky, the case of Cherokee Schill rumbles on with the Bike League riding alongside her and finding she's got a point, going into the legal side of things and deciding that it can't really take on her case (and yet the poor woman still has to get to work...). In New York enforcement of pavement cycling seems to fall most heavily on predominantly black communities - while 'safety managers' are only used to reprimand cyclists, not remove obstructions from bike lanes which might do a bit more for actual safety. Here in the UK, a ghost bike is to be removed on safety grounds to prevent it distracting drivers, while bikes are to be removed from Toronto's buses to improve visibility - perhaps while they're at it they could get rid of the pesky sun. this story really shouldn't be news, and yet it is, while in rural areas the shooting season brings additional hazards.

And finally

It is Halloween, after all, so make sure your bike is in good shape to survive the zombie apocalypse. Don't say we didn't warn you...