The Great Big Absolutely Dockless Bike Blog Roundup

In honour of dockless bikeshare systems arriving in London (other cities are available too), much to the horror of one council, we were tempted to just pile up all the links in this blog roundup in random heaps instead of neatly marshalled into categories as usual (no laughing at the back). But really, as the schemes spread far and wide, there is no cause for alarm, even if bike parking is already overflowing in places - just don't tempt fate by describing your scheme as vandalism proof before you've tested that in Moss side. Meanwhile, among the more traditional bike rental schemes, Grenoble will be offering cargo bikes, Portland will have a parallel accessible bike share scheme and in Pittsburgh you will soon be able to rent a unicorn although disappointingly this just means a customised bike, not an actual unicorn.

Backlash hits the courts

It's never a good sign when the laywers get involved in a cycling scheme - but in Baltimore, the bikelash has been unusually intense with a a restraining order taken out on the city itself to stop it removing a bike lane, before it backed down, although the battle is not over yet. In LA the legal action has been in the other direction with residents threatening lawsuits over plans for safer streets (as in, they don't want them), claiming the mayor could be criminally liable for making cyclists suck in air pollution at the side of the road (no, we don't understand that one either). However, the local community council has agreed to improvements to Venice Boulevard, while in San Francisco moves to delay plans for Market Street by insisting on an environmental review are scuppered - so people aren't falling for the hype. In Philadelphia the Bicycle Coalition aren't taking any chances - when a dangerously misinformed leaflet against protected bikelanes got circulated they countered with a primer of their own, while anyone in the UK who wishes to counter arguments about bikelanes causing congestion can now cite a new EU-funded report from the FLOW study that shows how in fact the opposite happens when roads are made safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Not that it's likely to change anyone's minds: the dominant group, in whatever domain, simply don't like having the status quo questioned whether there's evidence or not, and it's clear that in the UK, at least when you look at the adverts, that it's still all about the car, not the bike.

Quick fixes?

One means of countering backlash can be trial schemes - such as the pop-up bike lane in Macon, Georgia which is now to go permanent after the experiment answered concerns by the authorities about how it would work. After three years, it's long since overdue to make Portland's temporary bike lane permanent while 2000 people a day are already cycling on Vancouver's temporary Arbutus greenway and New York will be trialling a traffic-free Prospect Park after figures show far more people on bikes and on foot are using it than drivers. San Francisco is now looking for 'quick fixes' to convert bike lanes into parking-protected ones as quickly as possible, while Cambridge (the American one!) is also moving to expand its protected bike lane network. Milwaukee is looking at bike boulevards although whether that will mean real traffic reductions is still to be decided - while, even though it's an important cycle route, Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago is only going to get minor tweaks to make it safer for walking and cycling.

On this side of the Atlantic, there's nothing like the same sense of progress so people are taking matters into their own hands with I Bike Dublin's human chains continuing to protect unprotected cycle lanes, including tackling its first arterial route. Road works in Gosforth, with the associated predictions of traffic chaos are an opportunity for a bike train to give people a slightly safer alternative - while one construction firm in London is setting its own safety standards and turning delivery vehicles away if they don't meet them.

Politics matters

All of which reminds us how important it is to get real political leadership at all levels - but will London's mayor live up to his promise to triple protected cycle space? And will Bristol's new metro mayor take heart from the lessons of the past and the reclaiming of Queen Square for the people? Denver's mayor has pledged to double cycling, walking and use of public transport and has even put some money where his mouth is. Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, as Benelux bigwigs gather for an infrastructure safari of Brussels, what can the European parliament's transport strategy do for cycling across the continent?

Last week we heard how Oregon passed a bike tax law - which cyclists should see as an opportunity rather than a threat - and there was more to the bill than just taxing new bikes. For those who want more cycle friendly policies, rather than the recurring insanity of bike licensing, here's how to 'vote bike' in Washington State, while in Seattle an otherwise extremely progressive candidate doesn't see some key cycling issues as a priority.

Money matters

It's not often we cover economics, but surprising story of the week comes from the shortlisting of a proposal by the president of the AA for the Wolfson economics prize for a scheme to fund a £5bn cycling infrastructure fund through taxing driving - including paying for Carlton's lost cycleways - which would undoubtedly mean a large increase in the proportion of women cycling as well as men.

A cycling city

The lesson from Velo City was that transport needs to be inclusive, and offer real mobility choices - and, more poetically, that that transforms you from being a cog in a machine to a bird in a flock. One example of a city which has done that is Nijmegen with the latest streetfilm looking at how it scooped the Netherland's top cycling city prize with its all but traffic free city centre and longer distance routes. Elsewhere, the picture was more mixed: a visit to Portland left the Pedalling Pastor wondering why Minneapolis was not doing better at getting more people cycling, while in London the chair of the LCC's infrastructure committee argues that walking and cycling need to be prioritised, even where that conflicts with bus routes, let alone the needs of private cars. Banff may not have quite understood how a woonerf works but there's still space for some truly multigenerational cycling and a move from LA to Munich leads to much friendlier cycling as you can imagine. In Edmonton, just four blocks of the city get transformed into a place for people when the farmers' market takes over - but in Dublin, private developers can put up 'cyclists dismount' signs even when the planning process permitted cycling on that route.

Vision Zero or zero vision?

Tragedy struck this week in Northern Ireland when a, but there have been too many deaths over all in North Down, on roads which totally lack any cycling infrastructure. Meanwhile, a year on, like so many other families, Chris Boardman still hasn't seen any justice after the death of his mother and says the system is failing. However, on the enforcement side, things do seem to be improving: after an ill-judged tweet from the police provoked a twitterstorm in response, Enfield Cycle Campaign met up with the local constabulary to talk about what would genuinely bring about safer cycling. Meanwhile, Operation Close Pass has been launched in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset although rain stops play on day one (apparently it's too much to ask drivers to stand in the rain while they get a lecture on safe driving ...) while TfL will be monitoring close passes by its bus drivers. Back in the West Midlands where it all began, the first contested close pass prosecution ends in a conviction despite the driver still failing to see what was dangerous about his driving, while in Cardiff there's a reminder that if you do want to report a close pass don't post the footage on social media first - and police advice on safe overtaking finds an unlikely ally.

Meanwhile, in the US, Bike Portland wonders if Vision Zero has become nothing more than a boilerplate paragraph in a traffic crash report although the mayor has been asked to fund 105 projects to make the city's streets safer. In Manhattan, two cyclists' deaths have renewed calls for a protected crosstown bike lane. And with streetcars coming to Milwaukee, the 'sign make it better' approach might be more effective if you could actually see the signs before you hit the tracks.

Bridging gaps

The Garden Bridge excepted, who doesn't love a bridge - and with a new cycling and walking bridge over the Regent's canal, Camden's proposed 'high line' now seeks crowdfunding as a more suitable cycle route than the crowded towpath. Kennington People on Bikes wonders if a footbridge onto Waterloo Bridge might help provide space for cycling on what is now incredibly considered a 'Quietway'. In Cork, plans for a new bridge will now have less space for cycling than the original designs - no such problem in Rotterdam where the view from 40 floors up reveals plenty of space for all modes. And after two years of night-time works closing a bridge to bikes in New York could there finally be a compromise solution in the air? Meanwhile, plans for a safer junction where the A550 meets the A540 could bridge a gap of another kind - and work will start soon on linking Dublin to, ultimately, Galway with the Royal Canal Greenway

Be more Dutch

We all know how the Dutch got their cycle lanes - but is it time for social movements in the Netherlands to start fighting again for their streets? Undoubtedly - although when the main Dutch stories this week were about Dutch cycle superhighways getting service stations for fuelling hungry cyclists, a bike for measuring how comfortable a bike lane is, a scheme to give out e-bikes to ease overcrowding on school buses and an app to give older Dutch pedestrians more time to cross the road, the Dutch could maybe be forgiven for resting on their laurels for a bit. Meanwhile, in the absence of comprehensive design guidance here in the UK, we're still building stuff that leaves you wondering if the person who designed it has ever ridden a bike - but then again, we are making sure that our bike lights will still work in space, which may not be what the slogan 'space for cycling' was all about.

People make it better

Still, let us not get disheartened - for there are some good people out there, including many great cycling women (which may come as a surprise to conference organisers), local heroes making Croydon a better place to live and one Glaswegian woman who not only gets her son's stolen bike back but also ends up giving the thief a little career advice on the way. And finally, we should celebrate the eccentric anarchy that is the Dun Run - and remember that cyclists are the only people who complain about their commute being too short