The Great Big Let's All Bike to Everywhere, Basically, Bike Blog Roundup

Well, let's not mention the election, except to note that Cameron was one of the party leaders to sign up to Vote Bike, so we'll be holding him to that. Instead, let's celebrate the fact that it is, apparently, bike-to-everywhere month, whether you're a basketball star biking to work or a kid biking to school - or indeed soccer. Or you may be biking to birdwatch in Washington, or joining a bike train in Milwaukee - or just biking to the polling station (sorry) in a very indirect manner; it may be a political message - or it may just be the route of the planned Westminster quietway...

Getting out of each other's way

Several posts this week, in various ways, made the point that if everyone has their own space then cars won't get in the way of bikes and bikes won't get in the way of cars - and more to the point bikes won't get in the way of pedestrians and pedestrians won't get in the way of bikes. When you have blocked a bike lane it's a nice touch to personally apologise to each inconvenienced cyclist although that's unlikely to happen if it's the police doing the blocking. Elsewere the law and the road conditions make Germany a nation of pavement cyclists - while Western Australia is considering just legalising the practice - still no such luck for the proposed Garden Bridge, it would seem, while at least (hire) bikes on the pavement help keep the cars off.

Cycling for everyone

As Ranty Highwayman discovered this week disability discrimination laws may mean highway authorities will have to raise their game to accommodate all types of cycling (and hopefully see an end to this sort of nonsense) - while not having to dismantle part of a cycle track to allow access to wheelchair transport vehicles. Cycling can, and should be a cradle-to-grave affair (once you've worked out how to tie the cradle - or rather baby seat - down) - whether you're biking right up to your due date or planning to celebrate your 78th year with a ride across the US, as you do - and perhaps when he's bored of that, he can join Weisbaden's rather mature delivery boys. In Chicago, Slow Roll bike rides are intended to encourage cycling among non-white communities - although a visit to Baltimore suggests there may be more diversity in cycling than is necessarily captured in the official statistics.

Transforming cities

In Paris, new mayor Anne Hidalgo has an 'almost philosophical' project to transfrom the Seine by banishing cars - while Dublin is still analysing the results of its consultation over similar plans for the Liffey, and after a slightly rocky start Waltham Forest breaks ground on its mini Holland scheme - perhaps they could have done with more of this kind of an approach to consultation. Toronto breaks with apparent cast-iron tradition and is basing its bike network planning on some actual data - unlike Tokyo's planned Olympic network - while cones and a kids ride help make the case for a protected bike lane in Virginia. Transformation can pop up anywhere, it seems, with America's first protected intersection to be built in Salt Lake City. Sometimes it's filling in the gaps that can make the difference - adding in the final link in the chain that will create a nearly 7-mile long protected bike lane in New York - or connecting a neighbourhood in Seattle to the city centre previously cut off by a freeway (shame the rest of the project is all about the car). Sometimes a transformation can be for one day only of for Sundays and holidays - or it might take a year or two for the impact to sink in. And even in maturer cycling cities like Copenhagen it seems that, with investment, the distance cycled per day can almost double in the space of two years.

Or not bothering...

Or then again, you could not bother will all this transformation malarkey and just carry on with half measures that will never add up to real change, like bike detector loops at traffic lights, and building bike lanes in the door zone (and here's a nice pictoral guide to gamut of UK bike lanes from the not too dreadful to the entirely useless) - or perhaps adding a little bit of buffer to make a door-zone lane a little bit less lethal. Even in Portland, however, residents may object to widening bike lanes if it means losing their parking, or want them taken out altogether to relieve congestion, so you end up with streets where parents are forced to take matters into their own hands to protect their kids. Still, at least in the UK, the taxi drivers have performed a u-turn (those black cabs are designed for that) over the Cycle Superhighways - although other organisations don't seem to regard cyclists as actual transport users.

Tackling the bikelash

So how to overcome the opposition to transforming our cities? The Guardian has some lessons from Dutch history, some of which will be familiar, some less so. Cycle campaigners could also learn some tricks from Uber's rhetoric - or concentrate on the children first. They can look for partners such as hospitals or they can defy safety concerns and join the movement. They can try and change the perception of bikes in a country that thought it had left them behind - and they can bring a bit of fun back into people's commute by celebrating a bike route anniversary by handing out balloons.

Who pays

This seems to have been the week that Americans woke up to the fact that everyone pays 'road tax' and that making drivers think they pay for the roads is anyway a terrible idea - especially as 40% of US highways don't even cover their own maintenance costs. On this side of the Atlantic, the Telegraph is relieved to discover that cycling won't wreck the economy - it might even help lead the 'march of the makers' - and perhaps someone should tell the Daily Mail that it also increases house prices. Cycling with Heels charts the rise of the female-bike shop (well, two. In London) while yet another plan emerges to bribe people into cycling with discounted burgers (top tip to policy makers: try cake instead)


Not that you have to do the whole journey always by bike - with a bit of joined-up thinking you can integrate bikes and trains - something Philadelphia seems to be taking on board, Dublin not so much, while for some cities, bike-rail integration means repurposing old railway lines. And if bike share is your thing a glimpse at the new bike share bikes coming out of the ashes of the bankrupted Bixi.

Changing places

As Dandyhorse investigates how Amsterdam is making more room for bikes and pedestrians, Bicycle Dutch seeks out the mundane and the bog standard in a random small Dutch town (and the rest of the cycling world goes 'we'll take it!'). People for Bikes seeks out the US city with the most everyday cycling, or at least with the largest numbers of cyclists prepared to game the system. Cycling Christchurch considers why, with similarly crap infrastructure, the UK might still have slightly higher cycling rates than New Zealand, while looks at the lessons from Barcelona. Meanwhile, if your idea of a cycling holiday isn't exclusively about photographing bollards, then the UK's first Cycle Touring Festival might have been the event for you - but even for the long-distance cycling visionaries it's the short urban trips you can do with your grandchildren that are the final frontier - like viewing the cherry blossom in spring...

That safety advice in full

With Road Safety week in Scotland putting the blame squarely on those pesky kids, which I supose makes a change from the blanket 'all cyclists' - perhaps we could learn instead from New York's approach. But then again, New York has to try something, as the leading cause of child deaths is traffic; it's cars not child abductions we should be worried about. For the grown ups among us, cycling is not the best idea for the morning after the night before, instead, strap that helmet on and indulge in some DIY instead. If it's pollution that worries you, a new app helps you find the least polluted route. You should also make your hand signals nice and clear for the driverless cars. In America, where regulation fails, it's up to individual companies whether they make their lorries safer - perhaps it's no coincidence that the Ride of Silence is spreading across America and beyond

Bike make it better

But, in this week of all weeks, we can't end on a gloomy note, and what better good news stories than a bike related one - such as mountain bikers riding to the rescue in Nepal, or organisations in Philadelphia partnering with the new bike share scheme to bring changes to people's lives. And as scientists cast doubt on last week's 'exercise won't make you thin' study, others discover how to lose a stone - yup, take up cycling to work. Even if you don't lose any weight, you might just be ambushed by a moment of magic.