The Great Big Let's Get Things in Perspective Blog Roundup

No prizes for guessing the opening theme for this week's roundup - yes, unfortunately, as always the British media have got themselves in a tizzy after an isolated incident involving someone on a bike, and our Public Service Broadcaster has helpfully poured fuel on the fire in the customary fashion. Meanwhile the death of a seven-year-old on a bike was barely mentioned in the mainstream media.

Thankfully the Ranty Highwayman is on hand with some bracing good sense about moving this tired discussion on, to ensure that our roads and streets are safe for all users and we no longer have idiotic anecdote-based phone-ins; the CTC also engaged in some myth-slaying. Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess also contributed a very personal take on the skewed British perspective on road danger.

Selective outrage is a trait shared by North America; while three pedestrians are killed and two children seriously injured by motorists in just five days in New York, the media focus is on one man on a bike. Brighton meanwhile is focusing on the non-existent danger posed by people wearing headphones while cycling.

Keep yourself safe

Direct Line appear to think the onus is on people walking and cycling to make themselves not invisible, which is philosophically interesting. Maybe it's time for the periodic reminder that 'accidents' are no such thing, and are preventable. Are killer drivers being treated more leniently? Certainly it seems as if speeding is now socially acceptable; maybe these problems have their root in the social function of the driving test. Self-driving cars might be be part of the answer, although it looks like they still have teething problems to sort out.

Helmets are sadly often proposed as the solution, but a German advertising campaign has been adapted and satirised (who says the Germans don't have a sense of humour?) while Bike Snob has a typically irreverent take on yet another helment safety venture. The London Cyclist explains why it's terrible that we can describe London cycling deaths as 'typical'. Safety and comfort are increasingly needed as one gets older, and also when one is cycling under the weather; until the environment provides that safety and comfort we'll have to make do with safety tips like these from a London courier.

Hype over substance

It seems that cycling infrastructure in Chicago is far from as extensive as the city would have you believe, while on this side of the Atlantic there's zero space for cycling in new plans in Dublin. The Guardian has some questions over the effectiveness of 20 mph limits, versus 20 mph zones - but whatever is implemented, they it should at least be signed correctly. Copenhagen's hire bikes might be an expensive flop - perhaps they should stuck with the original shared bike model. There are some tried and trusted ways, however, of preventing bicycle theft in the world's leading bicycle countries.

Public space

Is a 'shared space' square full of motor traffic really the best vision for Oxford? Especially when it's pretty well established that giving urban street space to motor vehicles is a highly inefficient use of that space. Texas hasn't got the memo, however, with new 23 lane highways failing to solve city congestion problems. There's plenty of street space in St Petersburg, but not much cycling infrastructure - that could be about to change, with a nascent cycling movement.


Spring 2015 appears to be a peak period for crap new cycling infrastructure; it's high time we had the right design guidance, political support and the user experience. Belfast's established (and award-winning) cyclesaurus made someone cycle on the wrong side of the road, as captured by the BBC, while the Bears Way infrastructure appears to have yet more emerging problems. Existing Glasgow cycling infrastructure unfortunately appears to be a magnet for lorry parking, and also for car dealerships 

Applying good design

The floating bus stop is all about eliminating the uncomfortable, out-of-sync dance between bicycles and buses - America is embracing it, just as four U.S. cities are currently racing to build the country's first protected junction for cycling. Cycle commutes in Amsterdam are, of course, safe, painless and easy - but Amsterdam hasn't always been Amsterdam.

We've heard about bicycle viaducts being an answer to moving people about cities - but how about wind-assisted ones? Back on solid ground, cycle streets may be established in the Netherlands, but they're an innovation in Denmark - their first is just one year old. Guided busways are also new to the UK - here's a video showing how they can be good for cycling.

Although the Superhighway 2 upgrade has barely been started, people are already voting with their wheels. Unfortunately it seems that Hackney are planning on making driving easier, and cycling worse, on Wick Road - Rachel Aldred argues the consultation here is about much more than the potential loss of a short stub of cycle track. Mapping cycling desire lines could become much easier with Copenhagenize's mapping tool; but simple things like keeping 'closed' roads open to walking and cycling could be achieved right now.

Beyond the bicycle

The importance of moving cycling imagery beyond the bicycle, and towards mobility in general, can't be explained more clearly than this. Urban planning helps too - ensuring that cycling is an accessible mode of transport for everyday trips, especially when cycling is framed as being as easy as walking, but faster.

Cycling and reading should go together handsomely - thankfully a strand of the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling is devoted to celebrating writing on cycling by women. Coffee and cycling go together too, but it's best to think about where you are before engaging in some dirty cycling habits.

More seriously, there's a link between noise pollution and obesity, which makes it all the more important that trunk roads are insulated (in all senses) from the neighbourhoods they run through. There's yet more (compelling) evidence that wide vehicle lanes make for more dangerous streets

And finally

If you're ever visiting Toronto airport, make sure you don't leave park your beloved cargo bike (or indeed your scraper bike) outside the terminal building - it might get thrown away.

Want to avoid the feared door zone? Best to start practicing this novel technique (fancy car not necessary). But whatever you're doing out there on a bike - it's straightforward advice, but always remember to look where you're going.


It is a good tip, If you are ever visiting Toronto airport, make sure you do not leave park your beloved cargo bike outside the terminal building - it might get thrown away. luton valet parking