The Great Big Two Steps Forward, One Step Backwards Bike Blog Roundup

It was of course the Cycling Embassy's AGM in Cambridge a couple of weekends ago. Ranty Highwayman took a typically detailed look at the cycling environment in the city, following infrastructure safaris organised by Cambridge Cycling Campaign, in two separate blogposts. There was also another summary from A Solihull Cyclist. But unfortunately it's not all good news in Cambridge...

Systemic change

The process of moving from one system to another is intrinsic to cycle campaigning - the end point being one in which children are closely connected with the streets and environment in which they live, and one in which 15,000 people can safely cycle around socially.

Back in Britain, the sight of thousands of children cycling around London was so remarkable it inevitably generated some tabloid sensationalism. Perhaps the more formal events of the last weekend in London - seeing the city full of all the kinds of people not normally seen cycling in the capital - has offered a glimpse of a positive vision of the future. Even if you don't care about cycling, the economic benefits of these kinds of events might persuade you.

Change is hard, especially when people hate you. It might be because you don't have a bicycle licence (which is an unworkable idea) - but the real reason for anger is probably lack of space for cycling. Certainly there needs to be some honesty about how bad cycling is, while appreciating how good it could be. Some kinds of transport change might be upon us soon, but while Elon Musk might be a technological visionary, but his plans don't really appreciate how cities actually function.

Trams, and Design

If we wanted to design for deaths to happen, there are some pretty good tips here. As if we didn't already know, designing for cycling around tram tracks need to be handled very carefully indeed - one third of all cycling injuries in Toronto involve these tracks. Certainly both trams and buses should be carefully separated from people cycling, including at the stops.

Maybe when it comes to good cycleway design refusing to take no for an answer is the best approach - especially if Portland is producing good cycleways like this one. Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of bicycle bridges in Copenhagen - and here they all are, along with a new harbour cycle route to connect them. Meanwhile in Utrecht even the 'alternative' cycle routes look enviously good. Whatever the city, it will certainly benefit from the addition of greenery.


Investigating and experimenting is always a sensible way to proceed, so it's no surprise that, after Denmark found that allowing people cycling to turn right on red isn't dangerous, it has legalised it. Transport for London now have a tool for investigating crashes and collisions, while similar data in New York is helpful for tracking lack of progress in delivering Vision Zero.

And when it comes to the health benefits that accrue from cycling, we certainly don't need any more data - we just to deliver on enabling it.

Just build it already

Completely unsurprisingly, the data shows that adding building more cycling infrastructure means more cycling (and greater safety) - especially important when it comes to capturing the large interested-but-concerned demographic. The evidence seems to show numbers swelling in London too, following the developing cycle superhighways programme. Redistributing cycles to refugees will certainly help, especially with a high quality cycling environment already in place.

Progress (or lack of it)

Amazing as it seems, five years ago things were only just beginning to change. There's a (parallel) lesson for campaigners from Portland - get louder and get organised. With the change of Mayor, there's currently a lull in developments in London - the rumour is that cycling policy might be stagnating, while there's certainly no sign of space for cycling in current plans.

But at least there's some tentative good news in the fact that the N-S Superhighway has now reached Hyde Park, and also in the shape of the approval of the extension of the N-S Superhighway to Kings Cross, the response to which should be an indication of Transport for London's commitment to further cycling improvement. CS1 in Hackney may be getting some motor traffic reduction measures, and a Briton returning to London from New York at least finds some grounds for optimism.

In the meantime, Rachel Aldred has a busy calendar lined up, including the New London Architecture Cycling Summit this week. Away from Britain, the city of Perth in Australia has released what looks like a genuinely ambitious plan to increase cycling levels, while Singapore's new cycling and walking plan requires designing for active travel.

But back home, depressingly, we have report a series of the usual 'crackdowns' on people cycling in town centres - both in Newport, and in Mansfield. And Newcastle seem to be planning on building a massive roundabout for motor traffic right in the middle of the city's green space.


Cycling is very definitely not the new golf; it connects you to people around you, and your surroundings, as well as providing space for reflection, especially on commutes as beautiful as this. Perhaps, then, it's the new Linkedin! And while there's probably no better away to arrive at wedding than by bicycle, it seems that even samurai are travelling around by bike these days. And who could resist Bowie- and Prince-themed bike lanes?