The Great Big Fool Me Once More Fool Me Bike Blog Roundup

It's always tricky doing the bike blog round up over April the first as it's never entirely clear which posts are April fools and which are in earnest. We're pretty sure that this safety crackdown is a spoof but this supposed announcement from FedEx sounds perfectly sensible to us. In Alberquerque, a spoof announcement of buffered bike lanes may have had more truth in it than they knew, while Bristol Traffic doesn't think safety and HGVs a fit subject for humour.

Not April Fool ... or is it?

And then there are the stories that turned out to be not April fools after all - like Volvo's glow in the dark paint which everyone seems to want a go with although it's the drivers who should probably be given a can. Or the ones which fill you with a sudden doubt about their veracity: is Bristol really smoothing down its cobbles for bikes? Do residents in a well-heeled Surrey suburb really want a foot and cycle bridge so much they've commissioned their own study? Is there really a school in Oxford where 1300 pupils cycle to school? Could it really be that Los Angeles, and Motown itself are getting parking-protected bike lanes before somewhere like London? And does Carlos Santana really worry that he might do a Bono on his bike?

Wish it were an April fool

And then there are the stories that, sadly, are all too real but we wish were obvious spoofs - like the use of pinchpoints to make roads 'better' for cycling, or the fact that the sign put up to protect the bollard that protects the kerb that protects a bike line has been hit by traffic, or that a recently executed cut through in Manchester gets immediately closed off completely for construction. The council roads official who complained to Magnatom that cyclists don't pay road tax sadly wasn't joking, and nor are all the bike retailers who don't believe cycle paths will boost their businesses (although given the quality of some of them, that might be fair enough - and retailers are a bit more proactive over in the US), nor the Irish reporter who thinks hi vis is the be all and end all of road safety. And it turns out that videos of people pushing cyclists off their bikes doesn't breach Facebook guidelines, while the future of 'Intelligent Mobility' apparently doesn't include walking and cycling.

Election News

This was also the week that the election kicked off in earnest - although not in the street because of all the immigrants - who are apparently clogging up all the bike lanes too (and don't even get them started on the naked cyclists) - we'd like to thank Nigel Farage for putting liveable streets and childhood freedoms firmly on the election agenda. Meanwhile the CTC launches its Vote Bike campaign to help identify which candidates are likely to support cycling as Sustrans urges supporters to contact their candidates about walking and cycling issues locally; let us know if you get this response back. Meanwhile, Melanie Newbould will be taking her concerns directly to the Scottish Parliament having cycled almost 200 miles across Scotland to get there, while Aberdeen organises its own branch event and New Cycling looks forward to the next Space for Cycling ride on the same day.

Getting cities right

If Aberdeen needs changes, other cities have more ambitious plans (as should we if we're to create a mega-scale bike permeable city, apparently). It seems that if you cross Seattle's ambitious plans (but no long term cash) with Edinburgh's commitment to rising spending (but not much ambition to take space from cars) you might just get Paris's plans to double bike lanes and triple cycling by 2020 - although all three could do well to look to Amsterdam not just for the obvious things but the smaller details - while Tokyo seems to be taking its inspiration from London in its half-hearted design for Olympic cyclign facilities. Meanwhile cyclists in Toronto are baffled by it being handed 'Gold' award for bike friendliness for reasons nobody can explain (maybe it was another April fool?) - certainly the Director of Cycle Toronto won't be there to clap them on, while in the United States, the equivalent Bike-Friendly awards still don't place enough emphasis on infrastructure. Elsewhere, Mexican campaigners explain why more parking won't improve your city while Ranty Highwayman looks beyond the angry people in local papers headlines at what's really causing congestion in Didcot and Cycling Christchurch makes it to London and finds a lack of a joined-up network even compared with Christchurch.

Nor is it just cities we have to get right either - something Astra Zeneca recognises along the A10, although Lancashire's transport masterplan seems to be operating a 'one in one out' policy on cycle routes. And in the US, (and the UK too) rural kids need safe routes to school just as much as their urban and suburban peers.


Design details

It wouldn't be a bike blog roundup without some detailed focus on the infrastructure - or indeed a jealousy-inducing post from Bicycle Dutch about another fabulous piece of cycling infrastructure so commonplace that they're running out of names (and UK road designers take note - THAT is how you deal with bikes on a turbo roundabout). Meanwhile we continue to pretend bus lanes are bike infrastructure (although if you took the buses off they could be) - another example of how compromise in street design ends up working for nobody, whereas rail trails built for cycling and walking can end up functioning as public spaces the way streets used to before the cars took over. Seattle's latest plans seem to aim to reflect people's desire lines rather than trying to subvert them - perhaps Copenhagen could follow suit. Meanwhile even Montreal, poster child for North American cycling, manages to build the odd 'crap cycle lane' while a nicely executed detour for construction work actually ends up improving on the original cycle lane - perhaps a lesson that they could apply on Brooklyn Bridge too and Toronto's cyclists just want more protected bike lanes. In Ireland, politicians need to learn the limits of putting up a sign without backing it up with reality


Doing the sums

Meanwhile, there was plenty of reality on offer in the latest batch of figures - good and bad. The Washington post uses maps to reveal what a long way short of a 'grid' most US cities offer cyclists - while yet again we learn that where you do put in bike lanes numbers leap upwards. There might be more evidence for better infrastructure if better data was collected when there was a collision (or even if it was collected at all) - at least in Leeds shocking road death figures have led to possible positive action. The Danes have released the first regional bicycle account in English, which might help provide more support, as will the predicted 1.2 million cycle commuters in the UK by 2025 (or is that 1.2 million shiny new bikes in sheds?) - something that should save on social costs according to the latest attempt to calculate the figures.

Bikeshare and eBikes

There is continuing scepticism around about the effectiveness of bike share, especially from an equity perspective - although Philadelphia does seem to be trying its hardest to make its scheme accessible to all, while Black Wome Bike use the DC bike share to get around the 'no bike' excuse and get people riding, and San Francisco is planning to dramatically increase the number of bikes in their scheme. E-Bikes, on the other hand, seem to be all good news: not only are they pretty much all unicorns and rainbows but they will soon run on sunbeams, be tax deductible in the US as a medical device, and they even come home again when they've been stolen (which, at that price, would be a relief)

Safety issues

Not that cycling on any kind of bike is all unicorns and rainbows really - evey cyclist in the UK has been left feeling that they're on their own when it comes to enforcement - while ghost bikes are a way of looking tragedy squarely in the eye, even if we'd prefer not to, while bereaved families in New York make a video urging people to drive like their family lives there. Three-feet laws may be controversial but do they actually make a difference if they're almost unenforceable? In North America, right turns are one of the dangers - although, to some scepticism, it turns out that a flashing sign really can make it better.

Bike make it better

What we all know, is that bikes do make it better - even in the most polluted streets. For Sam Ollinger, a ride across the US opened her to the reality of her country - and she had some perhaps surprising predecessors making long cross-country trips - although it's amazing how far you can cycle in Victorian dress... Meanwhile Cycle BOOM discovers that age seems to have no impact on cycling in Amsterdam, unlike in the UK. And while it might take you a bit longer than you'd hoped to burn off that Lindt chocolate bunny, here's one summer job that means you can have all the cake (and coffee) that you want. And no fooling.


Am I the only one who is NOT interested at all about an uncivilised country which is even worse than the UK?

The fact that they speak a similar language should not be a good enough reason to pollute your otherwise excellent regular post.

May I suggest at most FIVE links to US blogs?