the Great Big Road User or Cycle Track User Bike Blog Roundup

As the world looks forward to Trump's inauguration this week, Chris Grayling put in a late bid to become the second-most misguided politician, with a spot of confusion over who is a road user, leaving a former transport minister somewhat unimpressed at the clumsy remark and Chris Boardman - who has offered to take him out on a bike on the road - even more so. But is all the noisy outrage that resulted yet more sign of campaigners' 'bike bubble'? Meanwhile, in the United States, the federal government has changed its rules to count the number of people being moved rather than the number of cars (may that last beyond Friday ...). This sort of change might help persuade our politcians that tarmac isn't being 'lost' to cycleways but instead being put to more effective and efficient use - just ask the Ford CEO - or indeed this taxi driver...

A numbers game

But are Londoners taking to two wheels in increasing numbers 'out of desperation' as the RMT are arguing (and to be fair, the tube strike did help a bit)? Or could it be investment that's doing it? Certainly in Cambridge, numbers have doubled on the city's new raised cycleway routes while in parts of Dublin cyclists outnumber cars - although even so the city didn't take the decision to remove cars off the Liffey Quays lightly. In contrast, there's not much sign of cycling increases, out of desperation or anything else, in places like Bolton or Tonbridge.

Capturing the cycling pound

As Madrid announces plans to close a major shopping street to cars (and we can't be the only ones thinking how unpleasant shopping on a six lane street must be - no wonder sales rose 15% when they closed it temporarily as yet another study shows it's people on foot and on bike that keep shopping streets alive), Cycling UK urges UK cities to follow the lead of cities like Paris. In the UK it's also a matter of allowing bikes in - with Oxford considering allowing cycling on a major shopping street while Coventry's enforcement against cycling in pedestrian areas risks discriminating against those with a disability. At the end of the C2C, plans for a cafe and cycling hub show the value of the long-distance cycling market, while in London it is civil engineering firms who are benefiting from plans to invest in active travel. In Australia, after enduring the adrenaline rush of a radio call in, Velo a Porter treats the radio presenter to the joy of cycling and shopping by e-bike - fortunately not needing to park at Trader Joe's Meanwhile, those developing affordable housing need to make sure that they are cycle friendly too so here's a handy guide - while the housing crisis and associated 'tent city' might scupper plans for a cycle trail near Portland.

Justice and close passes

Every cyclist's favourite cops, the West Midlands Traffic Police build on the massive success of their close pass operation to extend it to pedestrian safety, while according to South Yorkshire police, there weren't 'enough' cyclists being killed to follow suit, and motorists in Yeovil are able to flout the law with impunity - while even with increased enforcement cars blocking bike lanes are an increasing problem in Philadelphia. Meanwhile as the Parliamentary cyclign group looks into road justice, thousands have objected to changes to the small claims system that won't just affect those claiming for whiplash.

Health and happiness...

Last week, we mentioned that the Dutch have the world's happiest children - Modacity life looks into what lessons the Dutch have for the rest of us (the French don't seem to be paying attention, unfortunately), which makes it a shame that Dublin is backing away from its original all ages and all abilities ambitions for a major cycle route. In Copenhagen, a visiting geography professor finds that the city's success at designing to encourage cyclists means it is outgrowing its infrastructure, crowding out younger child cyclists, among other things. And it's not just happiness - where you live can have a huge impact on your health, especially if it's one of Scotland's most polluted streets.

... as well as safety

Vision Zero is spreading across North America, with Toronto being the latest to announce its plan - and it's also making changes to junctions where cyclists have been killed - although Denver is still waiting for the mayor to announce its plan. Schemes do need to aim to tackle transport inequity not exacerbate it, as pedestrian and cycling dangers are not evenly spread across the United States. In New York, despite Vision Zero deaths of cyclists and pedestrians are still rising although overall traffic deaths are falling - will adding 'freaking lasers' to the city's hire bikes help? Or might extending people-friendly measures along a deadly street do more? In London, LBC's post on 'the Dutch Reach' appears to have gone down poorly with its heavily taxi-driving audience (who aren't keen on changes to the deadly Bank junction even though it will improve things for them too) while in Manchester, white van men will be joining lorry drivers in experiencing life on two wheels and so might become more keen, while in Singapore they're teaching cyclists how to ride slowly enough that they're not a danger to pedestrians (but let's see how that 'simulated toddler' test plays out on a shared street full of even slowly driven cars ...)

Safety by design

Education and plans are all very well - but the Dutch sustainable - or systematic - safety approach shows that road design has as big an influence on safety - which may explain the differences in barriers to cycling that you find when you compare somewhere like Northern Ireland to the Netherlands. New Zealand's Transport blog sums up the Dutch approach to designing for cycling in a few short points. As important as segregated infrastructure in many cases is the idea of 'autoluwe' streets (or almost traffic-free) - something that could be achieved in one cluster of streets in Lambeth by simply turning a traffic gate by 90 degrees. Unfortunately, the UK remains miles behind the Dutch, with Rachel Squirrel almost getting doored because Aberdeen seems to always put bikes into the door zone. In Dublin, a major cycle route while an Irish road widening project throws out the design guidance and leaves cyclists mixing with pedestrians - as does far too much of the planned Dublin Bay cycle route. Meanwhile, it's not just cyclists who are seeing low-cost semi-segregation schemes - in parts of America that's how they're tackling a lack of pavements, while New York is experimenting with building raised crossings more quickly than traditional approaches.

Consultation and campaigning

Meanwhile campaigners carry on with the quiet work of campaigning for some of these improvements - if you use Quietway 1, Lewisham Cyclists want to hear from you, while if you'd like to see a safer A6 then please sign Lancaster Dynamo's petition. In Cardiff, the city is consulting on its integrated network map while the consultation for Bristol's Victoria Park quietway seems to have unfortunately brought out the NIMBYs. If that's all too slow for your tastes, you could try a spot of tactical urbanism , like these California cyclists who were disappointed at not getting 'bikes may use full lane' signs so they bought their own, while in Texas neighbours did a spot of radical traffic calming on New Year's Eve. IF you prefer to do this sort of thing through the proper channels, Ranty Highwayman explains how experimental traffic orders work and what they are.

Bike share schemes

As Seattle's mayor pulls the plug on the city's ailing bike share scheme, other rather more successful schemes have been found to cut congestion and demand for parking by small but significant amounts - and they would appear to be the only public transport system that worked in Portland's unusual snowstorm (as long as you stuck to the ploughed streets) - while Glasgow bike hire users prefer the warmer weather to get on two wheels.

Politics as usual

Actually, we're no longer quite sure what politics as usual is, in these unsettled times, but California's governor has proposed substantial increases in funding for active travel over the next 10 years, while cities in Oregon could get more freedom to set speed limits on their own streets. Trump's new Transport Secretary gives little away at her confirmation hearing - while the WashCycle discovers an intriguing clipping from over 100 years ago that gives a glimpse of views of America's 'first bicycling president', Woodrow Wilson.

Weather Watch

It may have escaped your notice, but there has been some snow in London - and whether your Cycle Superhighway was gritted or not rather depends on who was responsible for maintaining it, although, in the Netherlands at least, off road cycle tracks are better in the snow than on-road lanes - but it is as nothing to the conditions 500 Moscow cyclists braved for their infrastructure parade. Ice and snow in Vancouver have kept Spokesmama off her bike but the Incidental Cyclist isn't fazed by a snowstorm in Ottawa ...

And finally

Normally we'd be posting something amusing or amazing to end with, like a fat bike caught in an electric fence, but actually the most amazing story of all this week was news that a UK rail company are running a rail replacement service that takes bikes. Excuse us, we've got to go and have a little lie down ...