The Great Big Let's All Have A Debate Bike Blog Roundup

It's election season, and things kick off this week with the first-ever cycling-specific transport hustings. Somewhat coincidentally, sums of money were announced by the government at the same time. Questions were ducked, and issues evaded - the Lib Dems came out as the clear winner, according to Chris Boardman, but it helps when only three parties were invited. Getting in on the act, the Guardian have their own (transport) hustings this evening.


There was a spot of trollumnism north of the border, which BikeBike Gob Glasgow got the red pen out to deal with, while Beyond the Kerb was more - a lot more - succinct in response. Things weren't much better with press releases - the poor statistics in Aviva's cycling study were ruthlessly dissected by Peter Walker, while a behavioural psychologist (who happens to be selling bike lights) recommends changing your route regularly to keep safe. Will that work? 

Breaking rules

Sometimes rules are inflexible, and they really should be broken to keep yourself safe, as this eloquent gentleman explains. More broadly - why do people cycling break some rules that drives don't? Because it's hard to break those rules in a car.  And never mind that drivers are still using their phones in large numbers. Anyway, crackdowns on rule-breaking by people cycling appear to have hit North Korea, while Singapore is attempting to deal with the apparent problem of the errant cyclist - although perhaps (as with Britain) it's the way the rules are set up that's the problem. 


Traffic deaths aren't just individual tragedies, they're expensive too - Philadelphia calculates the cost. Unfortunately, on the other side of America, bad statistics are leading to bad (helmet) laws - a proposed California mandatory helmet law wouldn't have helped the 49 riders killed while wearing one. Systemic Failure argues that helmet laws are like seatbelt laws - and just as ineffective. Perhaps the root problem is a biased system that heaps more responsibility onto those in danger, starting with the requirement to carry a rear light. Perhaps cycling looks (and is) more dangerous because it's usually viewed from inside a car. Speaking of responsibily, it seems cyclists are still being told to 'stay back' - maybe a very good idea if HGVs have advertising blocking the view out of their windows - and Copenhagenize has a handy guide to the ways in which you can turn pedestrians into the problem. Pedal on Parliament should - of course - be supported by pedestrians too.

North America

Can Dutch ideas be translated to North America? Of course they can, as long as the concepts are fully understood. Seattle has something of a head start, having seen a significant drop in those driving into the city alone to commute, while Torontoans are getting on their bikes in increasing numbers, even though their bike network isn't exactly joined up. In Beverly Hills, it's probably about time a bicycle plan from 1977 got an update, but - despite everything - people are still cycling in Los Angeles. There are calls for more boldness in designing New York streets to achieve Vision Zero - but even basic things like fitting side guards could be done now

Slowing things down

There were 20 cheers for Edinburgh, which is fighting back against the anti-twenties. Deceased Canine wonders if an anti-pedestrian lobby might actually be constructive, if they were forced to justify their policies. Kim Harding took a look at the physics behind the need for a 20mph limit, while further south  Lambeth will get a borough-wide 20mph limit by August, with Hackney rolling out 20mph limits too. However, perhaps what's really needed is the self-explaining street, with self-enforcing limits and behaviour, coupled to an end to stroads. 

Bikes on the street 

Boris bikes are set to go a London (or rather, Santander) red, but over in Copenhagen - one of the cycling cities - their bike share scheme is set to fail. Amsterdam has a rather different problem with bikes on the street - apparently they're running out of space, prompting the construction of new bike parking facilities under (and on) water. Perhaps some of those excess bikes could find their way to refugee camps in Jordan. Slightly more mundane, back in the UK, new Great Western trains will carry up to ten bikes. It's the suburbs that really need the bicycle - in fact it could be a secret weapon. Here are some tips from the CTC to get local councillors engaged on the issues. Data always helps - and Zen Biker has a review of Scottish Bike Counters.


Roads too dangerous to cycle to school on in Ipswich? One school has the perfect answer - remove the cycle racks. Children have it tough, especially as they are doubly stigmatised when they are use our streets as cyclists. Kats Dekker takes a look at what the census tells us about women's commutes, and Rachel Aldred (and others) discover that where cycling has increased in Britain, it's mainly amongst younger men - even if Monty Python's bicycle repair man might be a woman. While this 93-year-old WWII veteran is still cycling up to 5000 miles a year, the older British cyclist is in truth an endangered species, as Cycle Boom investigates. Unfortunately the cycling hater still appears to be a thriving species


Successful, prosperous cities are cycling cities, so it pays to spend money on bikes. Unfortunately Transport for London  - which has more money than most for cycling, revealed their budget has is being massively underspent. Even when big figures are announced, it's worth looking at what that amounts to, per head of population. There's a glimpse of what a velotopia might look like in Brisbane, while there's money for a new bridge that will take cyclists and pedestrians across the Thames at Nine Elms.


Last week saw another wonderfully detailed post from the Ranty Highwayman, this time on the subject of tactile paving (no, come back, it is interesting). But perhaps we're still not thinking beyond the bicycle, wonders Kevin Hickman. More protected lanes are coming to the US, but back in Blighty Dave Hill - who apparently hasn't been paying much attention to the seemingly endless arguments on this subject - questions the 'stifling orthodoxy' in favour of segregated cycle lanes. Perhaps Australia is the place to go for him, as, even with a blank slate, there doesn't seem to be room for proper cycle provision (plenty of room for trees though). Glasgow aren't much better, spending money on gimmicks rather than cycling infrastructure. All-year-round cycling is designed for in the Netherlands, as Mark Wagenbuur explains in this second post on the Winter Cycling Congress - something a freezing critical mass might appreciate

And finally

One van driver thinks cyclists should stay awesome, and even our heir to throne appears to agree, arguing that people should get on their bikes for the sake of themselves and the planet. But there's only really one way to end this week's round up - a poignant Live Long and Prosper.