The Great Big Augmented Reality Bike Blog Roundup

We at the Cycling Embassy would like to extend our condolences to the Boardman family after the death of Carol Boardman, killed by the driver of a pickup on her bike - and especially Chris Boardman who has done so much to campaign for safer cycling. As Chris Boardman himself said in his tribute to his mother, "may the wind be ever at your back".

Augmented reality?

After news like that it's hard to be too concerned about the other big story that was exercising the cycling world this week but like it or not Pokemon Go is upon us and in a bike lane near you - perhaps even among your fellow cyclists - just hope that they're doing it on their own bike and not one they've stolen from a child. And it is actually getting people walking and maybe valuing walkability and as long as they follow some basic rules of etiquette and possibly install this warning app it might turn out to be a good thing - while for those who prefer their outdoor games to be a little less virtual you could try hunting down Seattle's Salmon bike or just the tiny signs that mark Cardiff's Ely Trail.

Augment this reality

As the political situation rumbles on, indeed, a spot of augmented reality might be welcome - while we may have dodged a bullet with Andrea Leadsom pulling out of the race for PM, she's now Environment secretary. In Transport Chris Grayling has at least talked tough on disqualified drivers (and 90% of the public agree that tougher sentences are needed); British Cycling calls on him to commit to act on government targets on cycling. Elsewhere, MPs get a taste of all-abilities cycling (and some torrential rain) at Herne Hill, while Cambridgeshire's cycling champion appears to be a champion in more ways than one. Across the Atlantic, with the Democratic convention hitting town, Philadelphia is taking the opportunity to encourage residents to cycle rather than drive.

Building our way out of trouble

As yet another book points out we can't build our way out of congestion we continue to try - even though expanding one motorway junction has a larger budget that a Cycling Superhighway. Utrecht at least recognises that continuing to build for cycling is the the only way it can grow and still maintain its quality of life. Here in the UK, cycling levels are flatlining except in those places where there's investment in cycling, in news that will surprise nobody - after all, if we properly look after the school routes the kids will look after themselves while it's not just the public but the council that should recognise that the choices they make makes a difference to air quality.

Build bridges - or networks - not walls

As Bath plans to put a new cycling bridge in place this weekend, and Cambridge's planned new bridge is expected to carry 6000 cyclists a day, Bristol cyclists want a key bridge to remain closed to cars and Cycling Dumfries would just like their equally key bridge re-opened to bikes, preferably before the summer is up - and the situation isn't much better in New York where contractors fail to reinstate protection on a bikeway so it reverts to being as parking. In Portland, a long-standing gap in the network has finally been closed albeit only with (wide) painted lanes and the city has published a map of its planned bikeways for the city centre - North Tyneside would like a network of cycle routes too, while in Seattle, the time for endless studies is over - it's time to just close the missing link.

It isn't always good to share

As Dublin starts to return one of its key spaces to walking and cycling, a lack of alternative routes for bikes means mixing pedestrians and cyclists will be challenging - a problem that reflects planners' mistaken assumption that they are largely the same. Meanwhile shared space in Bath will exclude the visually impaired as even the experts can't work out how to teach them to navigate the space. In Auckland, painted bike lanes outside an upgraded bus station leave bikes mixing with buses - and in Fort Collins, new bike lanes might serve to narrow the rest of the carriageway, but cyclists still need tips on how to navigate them safely, which is never a good sign - while an Ottawa road sign gets straight to the point in advising motorists to behave.

Barriers beyond infrastructure

Kats Dekker's research considers the cultural and psychological underpinnings of public perceptions of cycling - perhaps reflected in the barriers (whether real or psychological) that prevent two women in Sydney from taking the apparently obvious step of cycling to work. And even in the Netherlands new arrivals need a little help getting on their bikes through grass routes initiatives.

City to city

As the ECF calls for more cycle-related tourism investment, you wonder what proportion of visits to the Netherlands consist of people going to learn from their cycling expertise whether it's Chinese officials coming to learn how to (re)build bikes into their cities, or others just enjoying the bike and foot ferry en route to blasting along on a tailwind in Zeeland. Perhaps one day we will all be visiting Singapore as it takes a step closer to becoming a cycle-friendly city - or go to New York to see how it builds some quick and dirty infrastructure using bolt-on curbs. In the Czech Republic the country's first cycle barometer report seeks out the most cycle friendly cities, while Auckland's bicycle account tracks its progress towards becoming a cycling city, although maybe all you need is to see what happens to cycling levels when the weather is foul.


Campaigner to campaigner

It's not just cities that can learn from each other - campaigners too can share knowledge, as Vancouver cyclists get some visitors from London and Safe Routes to School publishes a report showing how data can be used to support campaigning efforts. Two Wheeled Politics talks to the group behind Toronto's memorial rides and other interventions - while cyclists co-ordinate on Twitter to reinstate the chalked ghost of a ghost bike until something gets done. Outside Auckland, a new campaign is working to ensure cycling doesn't get left behind as rural commnities grow and urbanise, while the Portland cycling campaign is to change its name to reflect its wider role, including walking and public transport. Here in the UK if you want to be involved in the Silvertown Tunnel consultation process, you need to register your interest - while applications are now open for Seattle's Parking Day celebrations, which have now been upgraded to a bit of a Parking Weekend.

Computer says no

Meanwhile, in our post-truth world, the backlash continues - with a hospital admitting its objection to bus stop bypasses is based on opinion not evidence while the Irish AA brand Dublin's plans for a 30kmh zone a 'blanket' zone in what looks like an attempt to engineer a backlash against it. Some people can go to Copenhagen and still utterly miss the point while appeals and objections delay plans for Auckland's Sky Path - but then again after 70 years, what's a few extra months? Flying Pigeon worries that LA will water down its Vision Zero plans the way it has every other similar policy, while in New York it's lack of funding that's delaying life-saving plans.

What has cycling ever done for us?

And after all why should anyone embrace cycling when it's just for a tiny minority ... well, apart from the benefits to pedestrians, and to the businesses who embrace the opportunities that cycling infrastructure brings - like almost half a million jobs across Europe if we all cycled like the Danes? Or the envionmental and economic benefits of bike share, especially if it's integrated with public transport? Or the people managing anxiety and depression through riding a bike, or lowering their risks of type two diabetes or just generally improving their health by getting out of their cars riding e-bikes? no wonder the HEAT tool is a great way to lobby for cycling in Europe.

Words of advice

As confusion reigns over whether Ireland's cycle tracks are mandatory or not, cyclists don't need advice over how to make themselves more visible - they need the police to act when drivers behave as if they are invisible (and it turns out even if they do see you they can't work out how fast you're going anyway). And while traffic stops of drivers may not always be about road safety, with horrible consequences - no wonder the Black Lives Matter protests are taking over highways - but sometimes you have to cheer a traffic cop on ...

Unusual hazards

Finally, in a world where a cyclist can be hospitalised by someone setting a neck-high wire trap, it is almost a relief to consider the lesser hazards such as rabid groundhogs, jet engines and a distinctly over-excited driver. If only all road hazards were as easily defused.