The Great Big Still Banging on About London Bike Blog Roundup

Don't worry, we'll be back to drooling over the Netherlands soon, but with the final approval given to London's 'Crossrail for bikes' - or in other words Britain finally 'manning up' to take some road despite the forces ranged against it - it was once more London's week in bike blog land. And, despite the strong business case for the cycle superhighways, the forces were formidable, from the head of the London Taxi association calling cyclists the ISIS of London (be very afraid) to the boss of National Express blaming cyclists for their own deaths - something even the Evening Standard considered a bit crass - to even, allegedly, the sainted Jane Jacobs, although it seems the real power behind the throne is still the Canary Wharf Group. The objectors seem to have failed, but the resulting fuss did bring this tasty ad to the attention of the all-powerful cycle lobby (and even managed to offend the legal profession) while Two Wheels Good will be using Uber next time

Meanwhile, in the rest of the world

Cycling Weekly explains why London is getting cycling funding and your city is not - even if your city is Portland. However, a as Cycling South Tyne points out it's not just London - segregated cycle route is planned for Newcastle too which could act as a cycle crossroads for the North East (assuming it joins up with anything). Meanwhile Norwich and Bristol are seeking more Department for Transport cash while progress in Manchester has been a bit mixed and all the national parks *except* the New Forest are to get more cycling cash, which seems a little pointed. The A10 corridor campaign want to challenge last week's accouncement rejecting rural cycle paths in Cambridgeshire and needs your help, while Dublin will be unveiling plans for an Embankment-style cycle route of its own soon.

From the sublime to the ridiculous

Of course, this being the UK, London couldn't just announce an almost universally welcomed plan for cycling infrastructure - along with an effective ban on the unsafest kind of lorries, oh and record cycling levels since modern counts began - oh no. It also had to announce the latest daft idea to put bikes anywhere except where they need to be, which is at street level. considers the practicalities while Copenhagenize simply despairs.

Or somewhere in between

Everywhere else, things seem to fall somewhere between London's two extremes. Like Glasgow with its four types of cycling infrastructure, including the almost-not-that-bad - as Glasgow cycling infrastructure day comes around, Glasgow Bike Gob pulls up a chair and prepares to play bike lane bingo. They may not be suggesting burying bikes underground in Manchester, but they're still slapping a bit of paint on the road and calling it good, while Reading persists with door zone bike lanes and Bolton demonstrates its complete lack of thought for cyclists during roadworks. You'd think a hospital at least would offer more than 'sticking plaster' solutions - or that Edinburgh would know better than to try and sneak its bus lane plans past the city's active travel organisations. Bristol cyclists give up waiting for a towpath to open and risk falling masonry on their route. Not that such low-level crapness is confined to the UK: New York waters down its 'slow zone' (20 mph) gateways to avoid the loss of parking spots - here's what the guidance says it could have done - and New York might have some high-profile bike routes but it's got nothing like a network, while Ottawa might have the routes but good luck finding them. Even in the Netherlands not everything is perfect (they're replacing them though) while some temporary bike parking in Tilburg ends up a bit more permanent than planned as the Dutch debate what to do about bike parking (in Dublin, they're all for it, as long as it doesn't inconvenience the cars).

Image and language

As London's battles (and the GMB union showed), the bikelash is still very much with us - but what if we changed the language? It's not always black and white argues cycling's contrarian - while the internal language of cycling can also be a barrier. We think we have a bad image, but try cycling in Egypt as a woman, where the terrifying traffic is just the start of your problems and women on bikes look almost as incongruous as the Alternative DfT's attempt at satire. The Irish Staying Alive campaign attempts once more to explain why cyclists might ride two abreast - and why motorists should thank them. The Bike League suggests combining bikes and books might win hearts and minds, while in San Francisco there's another attempt to encourage politer cycling, or at least not blocking pedestrian crossings. In LA, the simplest sort of bike infrastructure is not just a bike park but protecting pedestrians too - that's got to be worth something, surely? Meanwhile, e-bikes mean what we think of as a bike is changing, although perhaps we're not quite ready for the ELF yet.

Political leadership

Budget matters mostly dominated the political side of things, with Spokes poring over the entrails to decipher Scottish government funding for cycling and discovering it may be at its highest levels ever, and NewCycling looking for a little consistency. Cycle Bath gives the local Conservatives' manifesto a thorough going over while the Times petitions for cycling to be allowed in the Royal Parks 24 hours a day. There was mixed news in the US, where Washington State is considering minimum funding for the Safe Routes to School programme, while in Wisconsin the governor's latest budget is going entirely in the wrong direction and attempts to repeal the state's Complete Streets legislation by the back door. More broadly, the Urbanist considers what the limits to cycling might be if Australia had the right policies in place - while the Bike League considers how to improve public participation in decisions (maybe impenetrable budget documents isn't the place to start...)

Winter continues...

... despite our best efforts to ignore it in the hope that it will go away. In Vancouver bike counters show that cycling happens year round, whatever the nay sayers might say. In Munich, those snow-covered cycle paths aren't as lethal as they look although Vienna's snow clearing or those Dutch heated cycle paths still look more inviting. Toronto gets a lesson on how and how not to plough bike lanes - and don't forget the bike parking if you want to keep your cycling customers. Momentum Mag debunks some winter cycling myths and suggests five better ways to ride in winter - including campaigning for a decent winter-proof cycling city. Grease Rag takes up the challeng of trying to love winter even in Minnesota, where they do winter properly - it does have its rewards, especially when even going to the shops becomes an extreme adventure. But do spare a thought for the pedestrians who are all too often put at risk by uncleared pavements.

Cycling for everyone and everything

Well, we would say that, but don't ask us - ask the World Economic Forum who says we need to encourage cycling everywhere and for everyone. Bikes are key for affordable housing for instance, and bike share can help even in communities without bike share stations. Cycling - or being cycled - can continue even into extreme old age, although it's as much about the right to the wind in your hair (just don't tell SWOV) as about bikes - and it would help if the thieves would leave the octogenarians' bikes alone, the toerags. At the other end of the age range, most people smile when they see a family on bikes, but some call the cops - don't call those families brave, but do instead consider what might make your area properly child friendly for cycling. And remember the plight of the children of modernist architects for whom no bike is quite stylish enough...

Legal matters

On the legal side, as Irish politicians still ponder whether small children cycling on the footpath should be fined, the CPS does at least drop its prosecution of a 'pavement cyclist' at the last minute. Rachel Aldred considers whether we should be using near misses to pre-empt traffic deaths rather than reacting to them, while Norfolk County Council collaborates to detect distracted drivers; it's the casual near misses that are the real problem, rather than the far smaller number of aggressive incidents. Ranty Highwayman explains the difference between the regulations and the guidance concerning zebra crossings, while Vision Zero London argues that when the guidelines are wrong, we should change them. All of which had extra urgency this week with the latest figures showing road safety worsening and yet another vigil needed after a cycle death in Hackney.

And finally

Ending on a happier note, with the UK gearing up for its first dedicated cycle touring festival, Biking Bis celebrates Ryegate, Montana the community with possibly the highest number of bike-helpful people per capita in America - and while we're all about cycling to the shops here at the Cycling Embassy, this is not exactly what we had in mind. It does look more fun than your average visit to a mall though...