The Great Big Not in my Back Yard Bike Blog Roundup

We start things off this week in Scotland, where two different cycling schemes with great potential are getting a hostile reception from objectors, who apparently like cycling but don't want cycling infrastructure on 'their' roads. Extraordinarily, it seems that opponents of an extension to the Bears Way scheme in East Dunbartonshire don't want to see children cycling, and are walking out in disgust from public meetings. Amazingly some of the objectors are even contradicting arguments they have themselves made in the past.

Meanwhile in Edinburgh it was a 'yes and maybe' verdict from councillors on the city's east-west cycle route, with doubts still remaining over exactly what will happen on the section through Roseburn - either the (preferred) main road route, or a fiddly back street option. This has led to accusations that councillors have fudged difficult decisions on a route that could make an enormous difference to new and potential bike riders.

Vine and Boardman

Elsewhere in Britain the cycling-related headlines were dominated firstly by BBC presenter Jeremy Vine's run-in with an aggressive motorist, captured on camera. This is unfortunately the kind of experience that is all too familiar to many people who cycle regularly in Britain, with the Guardian collecting responses from readers. Pedal Parity has recently been subjected to aggressive driving from a liveried vehicle driver. To no-one's great surprise Jeremy Clarkson (who he?) decided to blame Jeremy Vine for bringing it all on himself. Of course a deeper examination of why motorists hate cyclists might reveal that it really isn't down to any bad behaviour on the part of the person cycling, but instead due to pure stereotyping.

Secondly, more positive headlines came from British Cycling's call - presented by medal-winning Olympians - for the government to plan for and to invest in mass cycling as a genuine Olympic legacy, seconded by Sir Chris Hoy. The letter was accompanied by a stirring video message from Chris Boardman, who argues that his mother's recent death has only strengthened his campaigning resolve. British Cycling's letter certainly got a vote of approval from Cambridge Cyclist, who thought it was pretty much spot on.

Halting progress

There was a tour of Hackney's good and bad cycling infrastructure, for a mayoral candidate. Progress may be halted there, and elsewhere across London, but at least the extension to the north-south superhighway is going ahead, and Woolwich is gaining a protected cycleway - but mistakes have been made. The cycling infrastructure that has been built in London is definitely being used, as Transport for London have had to point out to the Daily Mail.

Manchester has officially opened six new cycleways - but will they be good enough? Across the Irish Sea, it seems that, unfortunately, Belfast isn't getting any Space for Cycling on new bus corridors, and the city's emergent cycling infrastructure gets a mixed reception following a quick visit from Mad Cycle Lanes of Manchester. Dublin, meanwhile, is seeing viable projects being put on hold due to lack of funding.

Cardiff will be getting a new cycling strategy by next year - here's what Cardiff By Bike would like to be in it. Meanwhile a ride to support calls for cycling infrastructure along a road in Oxfordshire has been cancelled because... the road is too dangerous to cycle on. When it comes to risk, the Financial Times have weighed up the evidence to conclude that cycling (in urban areas at least) is still worth it, although there is massive room for improvement.

Amsterdam excursions

Five are currently going mad in Amsterdam, where a video is worth a thousand words. They might not make it as far as Utrecht, where yet another upgrade to a cycling route is being unveiled, to fill you with jealousy - but undoubtedly Amsterdam's new Bicycle Mayor  will be overseeing similar projects in the Dutch capital. Study tours - to Dutch cities, and to other inspiring places - can make a tremendous difference in changing people's attitudes and opinions - here's a guide on how to get the best from them. Unfortunately Madrid cycle campaigners don't seem to want to learn from Dutch cities - they don't want cycling infrastructure and have decided that Stevenage is a good reason not to have it.


Protected intersections are so hot right now in the United States, but the 'mixing zone' approach to dealing with turning motor traffic lingers on and it isn't going down well in Vancouver, a city that seems to be prioritising the wrong groups when it comes to traffic policing. In the same country, Calgary has had great success in building a large network rapidly and the country as a whole has nearly completed an enormously long car-free cycling trail. Unfortunately students moving in in Boston are creating 'mixing zone' problems for cycling of a different kind, blocking bike lanes and forcing people out into motor traffic, with similar permanent problems in Milwaukee.

Back the UK, there isn't a design guide for cycling in Garden Cities, so Tom Bailey has written one - comments welcome! Wherever cycling is being designed for, it certainly shouldn't be designed with the aim of getting bikes out of drivers' way, and it should always be considered at roadworks. And always concentrate on proven design that actually works, rather than 'innovations'.

Measurement and priorities

Surprise surprise - air quality isn't improving, because UK transport planners are still prioritising the wrong modes of transport. There are now calls for the DfT to change modelling to take air quality into account. Meanwhile the way the DfT is prioritising longer inter-urban journeys at the expense of shorter intra-urban journeys is also coming under scrutiny. There are good reasons for focusing on the way we travel for shorter trips - boosting walking and cycling can make our transport system more resilient (amongst other things) - and even 'motor cities' can be cycle-friendly, as Pushbikes found out on a trip to Italy. If only we didn't have such problems grasping the root causes of congestion.

And it seems there are similar government-level problems with measurement in the United States, a serious issue given the increasingly morbid and mortal toll of sprawl that results from poor planning - although in San Francisco, at least, it's pretty clear that voters want much more investment in cycling. Vision Zero is certainly required in Ireland, while Dr Robert Davis has to correct some popular misunderstandings about the concept in Britain.


The poor track record of judicial reviews against cycling projects continues, with Enfield's Mini Holland protestors losing theirs. Meanwhile in Waltham Forest, despite residents actually wanting filtering on their streets, it seems their councillors don't. Newcastle City Council have been forced to rethink their plans for a massive roundabout in the city's green space by protests - Newcastle Cycling Campaign are calling for a complete rethink of similar plans elsewhere in the city.

American advocates are taking to the streets to campaign for safety in the wake of a series of tragedies, while in Australia, going by fines, it seems that littering is taken far more seriously than the safety of people cycling. Finally, for cycle campaigners, both new and veteran, New Cycling have drawn up five essential tips for getting your message across and being successful

Everyday cycling

A busy junction in Cambridge shows just how efficient towns and cities in Britain could be with mass cycling. But unfortunately teenagers just out riding their  bikes to raise money for a teenage leukaemia sufferer are getting grief in Birmingham for allegedly causing chaos. But in Mansfield it seems that anyone who is riding a bike in the town centre  - even a 79 year old lady - is automatically anti-social, by law. That would presumably include people like Jill, and the kinds of ordinary cycling seen in towns like Horsham, as well as the Bike Buddies of Dumfries and Glasgow.  But at the other of the scale, here's how a round-the-world-cyclist fell in love with cycling.

What type of cycling?

Is the bicycle industry producing the bikes that people actually want to buy? Mikael Colville-Andersen argues that they are not. Practical, everyday needs are being ignored - needs that are served by the essential ingredients of the archetypal utility bike, or perhaps by some of the folding electric bikes that are now on the market (but we hasten to add you definitely shouldn't illegally modify your electric bike). Just look what diverse types of cycle emerge onto the street when conditions change.

Good bike share schemes can certainly make a big difference to changing perceptions about cycling - here's how to make them successful. Meanwhile the expanding hire bike system in New York gets the Bike Snob NYC Seal of Approval.

And finally -

If you are confused by cycling terminology, help is at hand with this handy jargon-buster; it might even help you untangle the thorny etiquette of offering assistance to someone else with their bike. Just be glad you don't have to deal with the Australian magpies who attack people cycling then remember their victims, and come back for more... It's enough to make you yearn for another bloody bank holiday!