The Great Big Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail Bike Blog Roundup

In a week when the whole world needed some good news, sadly, Scotland's latest version of its Cycling Action Plan wasn't it, leaving Spokes (and others) disappointed, while Cycling UK sees some good points but they won't acheive much without increasing investment. So with Scotland failing, will Cardiff's plan to double cycling do any better? Or Capetown, which wants an eightfold increase to cut the burden of commuting costs on its residents? It's worth remembering that Eindhoven, of Hovenring fame, also needed to do some serious planning to bring its cycling network up to scratch, while Rotterdam has also been working to shake off its car-dominated image to become a place where people happily cycle in the rain - As Easy as Riding a Bike makes a start on plotting out what a comparable network plan would look like for Horsham. A few years ago, Christchurch published its rebuilding plans, including an ambitious cycling network which is now starting to take shape and still looking pretty good. In Sutton, one year after it published its own ambitious strategy the reality is a bit less inspiring although whether that's down to lack of money or lack of will is unclear, while at least from a Lancastrian perspective Manchester's £20m plans are making some changes on the ground. Unfortunately, as the local cycling and walking plans strategy for England are pretty toothless, things aren't likely to improve elsewhere, while in Newcastle they're looking to mitigate car-centric plans to prevent rat-running in streets around the Blue House Junction. Finally, Vancouver's response to a future of driverless cars includes more space for walking, cycling and public transport and that's not the only reason why Bikehugger welcomes our new robot overlords ...

Politics as (un)usual

For the rest of us, it's not the robot overlords we're worried about, so if you were going to the various protest marches this weekend cycling was perhaps the only practical means of transport - certainly the buses didn't work too well in Seattle while for those stuck in the huge throng in Washington it was little acts of kindness that made the crowd bearable - while one cyclist took to Strava to make his feelings felt. We may not have Trump, but we do have Chris Grayling - and indeed Robert Flello who are bad enough - and even the Scottish Greens can disappoint with their emphasis on 20 mph over potentially unpopular bike lanes. In Los Angeles, Bike the Vote endorses a rival to a formerly bike friendly politician who had proved disappointing in recent decisions - but there's no such ambivalence over Delaware's Jack Markell, apparently America's most bike friendly governor. And in the Netherlands, things are a little more advanced, and the main issue seems to be tax breaks for e-bike commuters to try and increase the distance the Dutch will cycle as well as the numbers of journeys

U-turn if you want to

American politicians aren't the only ones doing handbrake turns - in Bristol, two of the city's more progressive transport policies appear to be under threat from the new mayor, while the council withdraws plans for a cycle route through a park over fears of speeding cyclists. In London the speed of implementation of the Superhighway programme is likely to be scaled back as the UKIP transport lead continues to claim that the programme is causing congestion (as an aside, in a Andrew Gilligan and the Invisible Visible Man battling it out largely over statistics - whereas our real opponents are resorting to increasingly bizarre claims about what is causing congestion). Of course u-turns can go both ways - in Portland, after what felt like a lot of stalling, a deadly gap in a bike lane will be closed (only going one way, mind) while in Ottawa the Incidental Cyclist is blindsided by plans that are so much better than she ever expected - we can only hope that Dashed Lines' wish that cycling policy will get back on track in Scotland will be similarly successful.

Battling backlash

Of course, it's hard for politicians to be brave when lobby groups like cabs are busy blocking junctions to protest changes - although the City of London is so far standing firm. Dublin invites a speaker to its seminar on trucks and safety who thinks cyclists should stop 'playing the victim'. In San Diego, a report into making an unsafe road fit for walking and cycling gets watered down because parking trumps everything - perhaps because Americans still see bikes as toys and apparently always have as the bus boycotts in the 50s and 60s show (now, of course, they're also socialist propaganda) - no wonder we'll only get bike lanes in the bye and bye


Campaigning news

As Dave Hill, not averse to a bit of bikelash himself, finds a cycle campaigner he doesn't hate the campaigner herself explains her journey towards becoming one. For Kats Dekker we need to be focusing our effort on where it will be most effective - and make sure we're campaigning for the things that will benefit those who need it most - which is why Dublin cyclist should support a properly all-ages and all abilities route from Clontarf to the city centre. One campaign that has been massively effective has been the American Green Lanes project which has now finished, to be replace by Big Jump cities looking to grow cycling rapidly. One thing that might help is clearer language about what changes to streets actually mean - or if that all seems a bit dry, how about a cycling pub crawl instead? You might even manage to get a £90,000 grant from the DfT to implement it ...

Details, details

Meanwhile, getting the details right continues to matter, for pedestrians as well as cyclists, as Ranty Highwayman explains, in this case in the matter of tactile paving. In Sheffield, design standards have let down the city's 'grey to green' route by producing something that doesn't work for anyone. Even if they're well designed, bike routes you can't use after dark are no good (naturally Copenhagen has a plan for that) - and nor are ones that disappear in winter because they aren't cleared. The Propensity for Cycling tool can be used to decide which routes to concentrate on for which mode - while from Norwich to New York they're looking at plans to improve daunting junctions and terrible roads.

A bike share too far?

As Seattle pulls the plug on Pronto, Streetsblog considers what went wrong, while Belfast politicians reject plans that might have weakened their own scheme after a Twitter outcry, and Galway is quietly expanding its own bikeshare network (but perhaps not the street level changes that might make it more usable). In New York, councillors want more subsidies to fund the Citibike expansion to their own districts - while in San Francisco, the problem seems to be a Chinese company planning to go ahead and start a bike share scheme without planning or permission.

Operation close pass gets closer

With 16 police forces investigating implementing West Midlands Police's close pass operation - including Police Scotland, albeit a bit late for the Edinburgh Road Club - is your force one of them? Avon and Somerset are, and will likely be concentrating on Bristol and Bath while the policy has now largely passed the Mumsnet test. In Camden, police won't be enforcing pavement cycling unless it's really dangerous, but in Chicago local politics has intervened. when it comes to road safety, enforcement can be important but it's important it's also fair and not just mean more profiling

That all assumes that it's still illegal to drive over people - but maybe not in North Dakota if they're getting in the way - a law aimed at protestors but so vaguely drafted it could cover cyclists too, while in New Jersey a bill aims to strip rights from pedestrians in the name of 'mutual responsibility' - perhaps it wants to overtake Florida as the most dangerous place to be a pedestrian, even one crossing America barefoot to raise money for climate change. And talking of idiotic laws, as Davis celebrates 50 years of protected bike ways it's worth remembering it was actually illegal when it went in.

Cycling for all

Whatever your views on encouragement versus infrastructure, getting 7,000 4-year-olds riding bikes in Glasgow is no mean achievement - but they'll probably need schemes like this in Camden to enable them to get their bikes anywhere near the school gate. More hire bike schemes might help more women ride too - but patronising them as obsessed with cake and manicures really won't - even among those of us who like cake. And for those who need a bit of a helping hand, e-bikes are being allowed on Wellington's trails, at least on a trial basis.

Bike make it better

That last story should be good news for Wellington businesses as cyclists using bike trails can be a big boost for small businesses (and possibly even farmers) and when you look at the whole impact of cycling it all adds up to an impressive boost to the economy - it's perhaps no coincidence that two of the 'cool developments in Washington include cycle trails. And if real-estate leaves you cold, there's always avoiding the flu, as true today as it was 100 years ago.


We all know that hi vis and reflective material is a distraction from the real safety issues ... but this could still be transformative for the World Naked Bike ride...