The Great Big Don't Feed the Trolls Bike Blog Roundup

Every week these days, it seems, there will be a nasty piece of clickbait (don't worry, it's not a link to the actual clickbait in question) and every week a few bloggers won't be able to help themselves and rise to it - if only because the attitudes these articles stir up cause genuine harm (even when the drivers aren't actually reading them at the wheel) - and then, barely before the old one has died down another one flares up and the tired cycle starts again.

Battling backlash

All of which doesn't help those campaiging for more cycling - although at least the anti-mini Holland case has been thrown out of court in Waltham Forest - compare and contrast with New York where Harlem residents have battled to get bike lanes put back into the picture for a street redesign - or Seattle where, after powering through the backlash a few years earlier, the city's voters have opted to pay extra to fund sustainable transport including cycling - a long fought campaign triggered by some tragic traffic deaths. Meanwhile in the UK we've got business leaders uniting to call for more investment in cycling, and at least our newly hatched drivers might have some inkling about safe overtaking; failing that there's always mediation...

Politics and campaigning

Chris Boardman, speaking sense as ever, brings back three lessons from Denmark for the UK - something to raise with Scotland's politicians at the Women's Cycle forum 'speed dating' event perhaps? Meanwhile, at least London Assembly members are unanimous over acting on lorry deaths, while a week after one committee in Sutton rejects proposals for cycling, another accepts them and the A10 Corridor campaign looks back on progress since 2013. Further afield the US House of Representatives passes a transport bill that at least won't cut funding for cycling but still isn't brilliant, while in Ireland the debate over the stalled Galway Greenway goes on.

In a chance to step back from the day to day of campaigning, Northumbria University and NewCycling are bringing together 'thinkers and doers' in a conference combining academia and advocacy while Alex in the Cities reflects on the short life and long reach of one tireless tweeter and campaigner. Ranty Highwayman considers the power of the right words - and the London Cycle Campaign is looking for policy forum members who can help shape their campaigns - and reminds its members that if they like the trial arrangements at Torrington Place they should let the council know (and you can bet the 'anti' voices will be loud too...). Meanwhile in Bath, another look at the Halfpenny Bridge might create a useful new route if it comes to fruition.

Changing cities and cutting traffic

If there's one issue that's really taken off in recent years, it's restricting cars from cities and this week was no exception, with NewCycling welcoming Newcastle's moves to cut through traffic from the centre (even if the cycling provision could be improved) while it's a similar picture in Inverness with rat-running discouraged along the riverside but bikes still having to make it up as they go along. In London plans to reduce space for motor traffic around London Bridge station are welcomed but - again - the devil is in the details, Merton is looking at reducing traffic on a rat run on safety grounds - and the 'Jubilee Line' quietway plans have some merit but, yep, further measures to cut through traffic are needed. On the other side of the globe Christchurch is trialling greenways including bike bypasses and traffic diverters. Only Sussex doesn't seem to have got the memo, with plans to open a traffic-free route up to cars....

With Barcelona being urged to be more ambitious and plan for the cyclists it wants, not the ones it already has, it does seem as if it's in North America where transformations are planned on a grander scale - like Calgary's 'overnight' bike network (and now that it's there - is it up to the city's cyclists to give something back and clear them of snow for the city) - or the miles of bike lanes (of varying quality) Chicago has managed in one year. Bike Portland looks back at Mia Birk's bicycle planning career and sees a history of US cycling in recent years, while Portland itself is seeing cycling numbers creep back up again after a period of stagnation - while Dublin shouldn't use the excuse of 'low density' to justify its car dependency.


With the battle over funding won, Seattle Bike Blog wonders what next for cycle campaigning and concludes they have to look at building bicycle access for everyone - but what does this mean in practice? The Safe Routes Partnership explores what it means to add 'equity' to the existing 'five Es' of engineering, enforcement, etc. Next City considers how 'planning as usual' - such as holding meetings during working hours - fails those who might be affected most. Here in the UK, at least the Leeds-Bradford cycle superhighway will reach some of the most deprived areas of the tw two cities it joins but elsewhere the barriers are subtler - such as a pitch black cycle path because it's not considered economic to sort out the lighting while even in Cambridge, it can be easier for some people to store their car than find somewhere secure for their bikes.

Designing in, designing out or just overdesigning?

The Thames floating pontoon path might get almost everything about commuting cycling wrong - but it seems even the Dutch aren't immune to the lure of an overcomplicated system that doesn't really solve the problem it's designed for. Cycle Action Auckland considers why it might actually make sense for the city to trial its own imperfect separated bike lanes, rather than going straight to the tried and trusted European designs - and it does seeem as if, after being sent back to the drawing board, parking-protected bike lanes might be under consideration. Hopefully the plans for Balham High Road will get a similar rethink, becuase paint on its own is not cycling infrastructure and neither (even if they're better than nothing are bus lanes (somebody tell Dublin...). Meanwhile, some cycle lanes suggest that it's not so much overthinking things as not thinking at all that is the problem.

Safety in ... something

At the risk of reigniting all too many prolonged debates, the BMJ reports that, whatever it is that makes cycling safer it isn't helmet laws while the latest US traffic fatality map includes coding on the factors causing the crash - while Illinois is dragging its feet over sharing crash data. On the map, speeding was a prominent factor - Portland's police would concur - designing narrower traffic lanes seem to help keep speeds down, although Vision Zero training for Uber drivers can't hurt either. Cycle Sheffield conclude that tram track crashes can happen to anyone, and the only answer is keeping bikes and trams apart. argues that most cyclists prefer stress-free routes even if they're perfectly 'safe' riding in traffic - but don't expect that to settle the argument with the vehicularists, because bike riders have been split over safety issues since the debate over the 'safety bike' vs. the penny farthing.


With the police seemingly unwilling or unable to prosecute dangerous driving unless they'd witnissed it themselves, perhaps it's unsurprising that merely injuring someone in a hit and run doesn't automatically make you an unfit person to drive a taxi - nor indeed that while mobile phone use behind the wheel is up prosecutions are down. In Cambridge, the whole #badlyparkedbike debacle was a missed opportunity for the police - but instead they chose to take umbrage on Twitter rather than using it to make the streets safer for pedestrians. But are all laws and enforcement equal? Duncan Dollimore visits Paris to investigate how the 'red light running' trial is going for himself, while this post on simply crossing the road does a lot to highlight how oppressive jay walking laws can be.

Going places

The blog roundup wouldn't be complete without a few visits to distant, or not so distant, spots with Burgas in Bulgaria proving surprisingly cycle friendly, while for some French visitors to Utrecht a cargo bike tour looks like a lot of fun as well as being informative. And sometimes it's interesting to 'see oorsels as ithers see us' as Dandyhorse magazine visits Scotland, and does a little cycling and draws some possibly surprising conclusions about the relative merits of cycling in Glasgow in Edinburgh

... or not

And finally - record breaking attempts to cycle around the world notwithstanding, one man who is pedalling away without going anywhere was the most impressive feat this week, at least in my book.