The Great Big Fallacy Busting Bike Blog Roundup

Dealing with someone being wrong on the internet got an estimated 37% easier this week with the launch of the Cycling Fallacies website (with the commentariat below the line immediately proving the need for it) something Cardiff By Bike can already see will be useful - and in North America, Torontoist is doing a similar job for the top three anti bike lane myths. But the default assumptions of motorism seem strongly embedded - even among those that don't drive or are otherwise very physically active - in truth there is a deep rooted belief that cyclists really are there just to make life difficult.

After the Election

Sometimes the facts are hard to pin down though - such as the cancelled and then not cancelled Westway cycle route, with London's new mayor now apparently awaiting the final analysis of the consultation responses. If he is sincere about his commitment to cycling he will need to take the initiative and drive things forward, according to Andrew Gilligan - as should Seattle's mayor as the city bike plan looks to have been kicked into the long grass.

Elsewhere, as new politicians settle into their new jobs, Pedal on Parliament are hoping that Hamza Yousaf will see his tenure as Scotland's Transport Minister as more than just a stepping stone to greater things, and NI Cycles wonders what next for Northern Ireland over the next five years. At the local level, NewCycling considers where the political parties locally stand on cycling & what the election results mean and Get Sutton Cycling considers what local councillors are doing for cycling. Portland has a new mayor (and other elected officials), and cycling is on the agenda in Australia too.

Policy and strategy and modal share

With the latest figures showing traffic up and cycling down in Britain last year, a decent strategy would seem to be needed more than ever yet although the planned Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy seems to say all the right things about the benefits of investment it doesn't seem able to turn that into actual investment (or decent standards) - and if you've something to say about it consultation closes today so get your skates on - and there will also be a parliamentary inquiry into it by the All Party Parliamentary Group. In contrast, Urban Mobility Plans mean the figures are all going in the right direction for car use in French cities although in the US it will take a while before transport policies truly stop favouring the car over other means of transport.

Elsewhere, Leipzig has gone from 5.8% to 20% cycling modal share in just over 20 years, while Vancouver has hit its 2020 modal share target of 7% four years early. Looking at the data for individual routes (which cyclists will adopt remarkably quickly even among the Strava set), one Toronto street is moving almost as many bikes as cars in rush hour, despite giving bikes only 19% of the road, while a bikes make up 26% of the traffic on a route in Pittsburgh. In New York, Streetfilms asks commuters why they're taking up cycling in record numbers - even as TV shows like Girls reflect the new normality of the bike in the city.

Designing in or designing out

Cyclists might flock to well-designed infrastructure, but a lot of what's built leaves people scratching their heads and wondering whether we would ever design a road the way we design most bike routes - whether it's allowing a billboard to block it for weeks, or sending people into the side of parked cars, or just painting pictures of bikes on the road and hoping for the best. Leeds City Connect defends its 75cm wide 'superhighway' while Birmingham will have to do more to design for cycling around its proposed tram extension.

When it comes to looking at Dutch examples, it's worth noting that not all municipalities are as bike friendly as others as the example of Zaltbommel shows and cycling in Amsterdam isn't always perfect, especially when sharing with motor scooters - or on bikelanes in the door zone - although still way better than cycling in the UK. Continuous footways are a good thing but need to be done properly to be unambiguous - is it any wonder that the insane exercise bike idea keeps popping up as the way to commute to work by bike?

Creating a network

Just as important as good design is putting infrastructure where it's needed not just where it's easy to do - in Portland, improved bike routes are beginning to join up so that whole journeys can be almost traffic free. It's important too that comfortable provision is made for bikes during roadworks, and not, say, sending bikes the wrong way up a one way street as suggested in Chicago. If a road is an artery for traffic then cyclists need an alternative to mixing with it - or there could be subtler measures to discourage rat-running and provide a corridor for bikes and buses. And integration with other modes is key too, whether it's America's rail network or Fargo's public transport system and bike share.

Backlash news

As Jeremy Vine wonders why the Royal Parks has it in for cyclists, the answer may be found in the sort of public and private lobbying that has derailed progress in Dublin and New York in recent weeks. Yet fortunately it seems Eastbourne's councillors are made of sterner stuff, and in LA a public meeting on proposed bike lane plans is surprisingly positive while Seattle cyclists rally against bike plan delays - their case perhaps bolstered by another 'carmageddon' that wasn't.

Campaigning news

It would seem to be conference season with Cycle Bath reflecting on the Cycle City conference in Leicester - where the managing director of Giant suggested the industry and campaigners could do more to work together. In Tower Hamlets, Terry is inspired by the Hereford women and cycling conference, while at the other end of the scale, the ECF feels that increasing cycling content in Europe's biggest transport research conference reflects its growing place in the mainstream - and across the Atlantic, the transportation equity conference got the balance right encouraging participation.

Even as the Ride of Silence commemorates cyclists killed on the roads - with hundreds turning out in Philadelphia, Bike to Work day is sending out a slightly different message - as is Bike to Shop day. Meanwhile in Australia a project is aiming to reach teenage girls, perhaps the toughest demographic of all, although once some women get cycling not even a little thing like crossing the South Pole will stop them (she'd better dress a little more warmly than this chap though).

Safety is a sticky car?

This week's missing the point road safety prize probably goes to Google for its pedestrian flypaper patent - perhaps better just to limit driverless cars to 15mph instead? Meanwhile, for cars which are still being driven by hand, the latest training and testing strategy for drivers takes some incremental steps towards greater safety, but nothing like enough. Looking at what the data show - Space for Gosforth considers the impact of speed cameras, a study will question injured cyclists and log near misses in London, while Bike Toronto finds that mapping the collision data with cycling mode share figures shows where the real danger points lie. In San Francisco a dangerous neighbourhood is to get a buffered bike lane at last - while it took a death and the resulting redesign of Blackfriars bridge to get Paul M onto a bike in London.

Enforcement issues

In Dublin, a police cycling crackdown triggers a lively debate on its merits - in Cardiff, a clampdown on cycling on a street that may soon be open to bikes gets an equally mixed reaction, while sometimes there is a safety case to be made for running red lights, especially on a cargo bike, while in the Greenwich and Woolwich foot tunnels, a technical approach attempts to confine enforcement only to when there's enough foot traffic to be a problem. On the other hand, there's really no case for threatening cyclists with fines for pavement cycling when they're actually riding on a shared use path - although it does help if the path in question doesn't also have a no cycling sign on it. Meanwhile, New York cabs blocking bike lanes will get off scot free.


Perhaps one of the most pervasive myths of all is the link between cars and prosperity - but New Zealand at least recognises that investment in cycling infrastructure will boost tourism while one Toronto estate agent points out that viewing a house by bike is a much better way of finding out what the neighbourhood is like than going by car. The death of a pioneering Australian campaigner raises the question of why it took so long for utility cycling to get on the radar in Australia - whereas in the Netherlands it turns out it's all down to tax avoidance.

And finally

We always like to end on a positive note, and this week is no exception so let's end by congratulating Nijmegen on its elevation to Dutch Cycling City of 2016 - and the French for finding something much better to do with a motorway than drive cars on it (for one day only at least). And there's nothing like finding an unexpected accidental cycle track in your neighbourhood - except maybe for going on your first ever proper cycle ride on the best bit of UK infrastructure there is. Let's hope it's not all downhill from here for Ranty Highwaydaughter...



"...traffic up and cycling down(link is external) in Britain..."

I am confident that the author did not intend to offend.  However... err... please be so kind as to watch your language.

Thank you,