The Great Big Fighting over Crumbs Bike Blog Roundup

If there was a lesson this week from the Putney Bridge jogger incident (apart from the fact that commentators will shoe-horn in imprecations about cyclists whatever the issue) it's that we are building in conflict on narrow pavements because we aren't prepared to take space away from cars even though it is motorised traffic that is causing the real problems and if we want to stop pavement cycling then we need to create space for bikes. However, while New York is still prioritising cars over children on a busy route to school, it has at least given up a parking lane (yes, actual parking!) to make space for both pedestrian and bike traffic. Nor is it just about putting cyclists and pedestrians into conflict - sustainable transport should be something that benefits poorer communities rather than drives them out through gentrification (or by trying to keep the homeless away) - which is why people from those areas should have their voices heard whenever things like Vision Zero are discussed.

Making space for cycling

Nor should topography be a limiting factor as Lisbon shows how even hilly cities can create a flat bike network if they try hard enough (something for Space for Gosforth to consider?) Sadly, this sort of approach seems to be the exception this week - with plans for Edinburgh's Picardy Place still only offering scraps of comfort for cycling and walking and London's Nine Elms Scheme not good enough to enable everyone to cycle. In Auckland a cunning plan to squeeze in more space for cars is not only an outdated approach to mobility that focuses solely on the private car but will also make a challenging road much worse for cycling than it already is.

Why we need it

Meanwhile, if we needed a reminder of why this is important, the World Health Organisation has chipped in with a call for more investment in active travel because the health benefits of cycling regularly are staggering and yet we are letting down our children by not giving them space to be active in their daily lives. On the economic side, whatever right wing thinktanks may argue about bike schemes wasting money, People for Bikes aims to settle the question of whether street improvements harm local businesses while small businesses in Dublin were actually calling for a street to be pedestrianised but were let down. Here in the UK bikes can be used to get jobseekers back into work and build the Scottish tourism industry - as well as giving middle-aged men something wholesome to do that definitely isn't a sign of a mid-life crisis.

Meanwhile, as the Westminster government is challenged to provide evidence for its claim that speed bumps cause pollution - a masterly way of distracting attention from its terrible record itself - the Scottish government are urged not to give priority to private cars, we need to make a seismic shift to active travel to clean up our cities - and it's e-bikes not cars that can be part of the answer.

Going electric

Indeed, e-bikes are increasingly part of the bike-blogging conversation - with arguments over whether they belong on shared-use paths - but it's worth noting they are increasingly used as mobility aids. Offering them on trial is also a powerful way to change people's transport habits - just as long as you're not in Northern Ireland.

Going against the flow, and other details

We're kerb nerds and proud of it at the Cycling Embassy and as much as networks and investment matter for cycling, so too does getting the designs right. As Wellington contemplates its first contraflow cycle lanes, People for Bikes demonstrates why unprotected two-way lanes are a terrible idea although bike-only signals can help a bit with turning conflicts. Ranty Highwayman responds in detail to a consultation on improving junctions in outer London while it looks like a build-out on the Bath riverfront will cause problems for cyclists. In Brighton a cyclist blames an 'invisible' kerb for a nasty crash - perhaps we should be emulating San Francisco who are not messing around when it comes to protecting a cycle lane. And as parked cars clog an unprotected bike lane in Chicago, they inadvertently demonstrate that there would be plenty of room for a parking-protected bike lane there instead. And as well as getting the design details right, understanding who has responsibility for which roads and the difference it makes, is key to effective campaigning to make through roads safer in cities

Campaigning matters

On the campaigning side, there was a retrospective feel this week, as Kats Dekker looks back at what started her off on the campaigning path while Rachel Aldred considers how her research found that infrastructure and cultural issues were intertwined - while the then CTC have been warning of dangers to cyclists since about 1880. Carlton Reid's Bike Boom looks at more recent history and what it will take to make a genuine bike boom - while Go Bike were looking forward: their Call for Action workshop has spawned a number of new campaigning projects, the first of whic will be #GlasgowCycleInfraDay on September 8th intended to highlight what works and what doesn't. Also in Glasgow three great cycling women will be helping the Women's Cycle Forum celebrate turning one.

Beating backlash

While the anti bike lane brigade have been fairly quiet in the UK this week, although some of the misconceived objections to the Westway cycle route might have helped to kill it dead, in LA the bikelash gets more bizarre and unpleasant by the day, with the 'Keep LA Moving' lawsuit ranging from the exaggerated to the ridiculous. In Oregon, the governor threatens to veto a plan that would improve an otherwise dangerous road - while community support for a protected bike lane in Philadelphia belies the claims of a local politician who didn't support it. And after hundreds lobby their own local councillors in Massachusetts, a moratorium on protected cycle lanes is itself put into abeyance.

Bike share rolls on

Meanwhile the bikeshare juggernaut rolls on - but are they really just after your data? They won't have much luck in Amsterdam of New York (at least for now) or in Wansworth - although hire cars being left cluttering up streets are all right - and Seattle can't get enough of them. More traditional schemes are also raising their game, with Des Moines using its public transport network to spread the bikes beyond the urban core, something Sacramento is just working out while New York is hoping its bike share can ease it's public transport crisis. Either way, it's exciting when your city's bike share reaches your district although some residents of San Francisco are clearly less enamoured. In Pittsburgh, high school students are being actively encouraged to ride bike share bikes whereas in Washington they are mostly not allowed even though it would take pressure off public transport.

Enforcement over engineering

Here in the UK, West Midlands Police have already won Twitter but they want to make it official while Toronto's cycle lane enforcers aren't that far behind (while Portland only shames the contractors who hold up cars not block bikeways). Bizarrely in the US, it's speeding drivers who set the limits. Meanwhile in Australia, the police are more interested in pulling over lidless cyclists than dealing with distracted drivers as higher fines may actually be reducing cycling altogether - but at least if you kill a cyclist after ranting about them on Facebook they will throw the book at you. In Portland, there were shades of the Niceway Code as everyone scrambled to distance themselves from a cringeworthy pedestrian safety campaign - and drivers in Sacramento are getting demonstrably more belligerent. And even if the police aren't about Lancaster gets its first 'pass safely' signs - be interesting to see if that makes any sort of difference.

Rails to trails

As Northern Ireland pushes ahead with the first part of its 25-year greenways strategy a group in England are pressing for an old railway tunnel to be turned into a useful route. In Maryland, campaigners are trying to resurrect ad 23-mile route while plans in Seattle could expand two existing trails. These trails are great but they need to be connected into poorer neighbourhoods if everyone is to benefit - indeed it's useful to connect them to the street too.

While old tracks can be a boon to cyclists, existing ones are a problem - although at least there is now some forward movement on tram track safety in Edinburgh, even if it took a tragedy to bring about, while a dangerously decaying railroad track in the US just gets a warning sign instead of being sorted out. More cheerily, in California, they're looking at how bikes can be stored on trains as they increase their bike carrying capacity on a busy route.

As others do it

Finally, as summer offers time to travel, the Dutch continue to show off, whether it's their 2 km long 'bungee' bridge or a garden bridge done right and now maturing nicely. Utrecht has now overtaken Tokyo with the world's biggest bike parking - with critics claiming it is already not big enough, naturally. Other cycling destinations are available, however - with Hanilton offering a two-directional bike lane Indianapolis offering some lessons for Saint Paul and Portland passing the Cycle Sprog safety test