The Great Big Back-to-School Bike Blog Roundup

As a Scottish resident, I feel honour-bound to point out that the Scottish schools have been back for aaages, but for readers south of the border it's that time again - when the roads will suddenly be clogged with cars driving kids all of half a mile - although at least the teachers might be getting in on two wheels. Perhaps one day our policies will be so joined up that our cancer societies will publish manuals making school roads more bicycle friendly - and our researchers will concentrate on the psychology of non-drivers rather than drivers. Meanwhile for those struggling with the stigma of cycling - or cycling or walking with your kids - at least you aren't being told you're a bad parent or featuring on the evening news alongside calls to ban this sort of thing. As Kats Dekker points out it shows just how far we have to go to persuade people cycling is safe. On a happier note, perhaps you might like to organise a kiddical mass for the school-age crowd - or at least see how bicycle schools are brightening kids' lives in Sao Paolo.

Although Edinburgh is still suffering from Hoyfever it is, of course, the Paralympics this week - although not for one paralympian after being knocked off his bike by a motorist who did at least get jailed - so a good time to plug British Cycling's campaign for a justice review and, even better, the way it's urging London to follow Copenhagen and Amsterdam's lead - much to Danny at Cyclists in the City's surprise and delight (but not as delighted as he is with the army). But then again, perhaps it isn't so surprising for as this video shows, it's the racing cyclists who probably spend the most time on their bikes on the roads, and thus who have the greatest interest in seeing them made safe.

With no sign of an Olympics-sized boost to our economy yet, Wandsworth Council looks to the humble cyclist who apparently contributes £230 to the economy - rather than costing society six times as much per kilometre, like a car. Perhaps they've been talking to Ikea. Either way, Dumfriesshire missed out on the Kim Harding shilling through a distressing lack of places for him to spend his money (a job for Patisserie Cyclism perhaps? Or this proposal if beer rather than cakes is your cycling fuel of choice). As Copenhagen's first pedestrianised street shows, shopkeepers don't always know what will benefit them - but Giant Bikes have at least worked out that more cyclists might mean more sales. Pricenomics looks at the dark underbelly of bikenomics - and discovers, at last, the one thing all economists can agree on: bike thieves are assholes. More seriously, Pedal on Parliament is impressed by Holyrood's Cross-party Cycling Group's response to the government's cycling action plan and gets ready for the draft budget.

One part of Scotland, at least, is tackling car dependency - although it won't show up in this dataset which is for Englandshire only - nor this analysis. Whatever the figures Estudio27 finds Oxford to be a cycling-friendly city, while Cycling info, who normally inhabits the city of the dreaming spires, finds himself the only cyclist on the streets (and later on, the only cyclist on the pavement) in Queens. All the way from Australia, a billion bicycles visits Dublin. Further abroad, Bikstyle Spokane discovers the difference between a 'bronze level' cycling city and a gold one - while the original gilded cycling city may have peaked - perhaps because of planning decisions like this one.

For yes, it is all ultimately about planning: as a community in the US seeks to develop itself by cutting road lanes and adding bike ways and in Toronto a waterfront route gets a spruce up and even in Edinburg, Texas, they hear that poorer communities can base their urban planning around people rather than cars. Oh for such enlightenment here where a lone blogger needs to take on a 60mph road with not even footpath, the People's Front of Richmond gives the Twickenham plan a thorough going-over and As Easy as Riding a Bike wishes they could put the 'Merry' back into Merryfield Drive. In London, London Cyclist decides they just don't get transport planning while Two Wheels Good wonders why the utility cycling legacy in London is being ignored. Cycalogical wonders why Boris is going for pie in the sky when there's plenty of room on the ground - but perhaps it isn't Boris who's the real villain, but the boroughs. Or our planning laws.

As we struggle on towards proper, everyday, boring cycling infrastructure and some Dutch cycle engineers visit London and survive, some bloggers find room in their hearts for the sort of measures like ASLs and even speed cushions which may not bring about mass cycling but do sometimes make a cyclist's life easier. Spokes welcomes the bike rail toolkit while NI Greenways defend their on-road bike lanes from illegal parkers (no such weakness for Freewheeler though). At least we'll be able to find the bike paths that do exist as Google maps adds them for 10 European countries including the UK (and, er, Australia).

Meanwhile on the legal front, Kats Dekker proposes a new law, the Car (Fouling of Land) Bill while an ex-policeman escapes jail after a cyclist collided repeatedly with his fist. Fortunately the police have been cracking down on the real dangers - those who cycle in London's parks where there clearly isn't any room. The People's Front considers that the haters on twitter might be opening themselves to a charge of premeditation. Man's Greatest Mistake remembers an older campaign whose time might have come round again.

Meanwhile, returning to our back-to-school theme, it was back to social-media school for a ingenie and iDrive. Kingston tries crowd sourcing bike parking. And your city's bike share scheme doesn't just have to rent bikes - these days it has to tweet too.

And finally, it's not really a blog and it's not about bikes but I defy you not to watch this video with a big grin on your face

Don't try that at home, folks...


"at least you aren't being told you're a bad parent"

Up to a point...  Last year my kids (primary age) were repeatedly lectured by staff that they should wear cycle helmets.  From that it follows that their parents, who let them make a free choice and are entirely happy for them to ride without them, are by implication giving bad advice and acting irresponsibly.  Now, if some bampot in a taxi or van feels the need to holler out my wife or I are irresponsible and the kids should be wearing helmets it's not too much to suggest they're ignorant eejits and can be ignored, but teachers are a rather different matter and hold a lot of sway in how children think.

I went and Had Words with the HT and DHT, requesting that my children not be told by staff that they should be wearing lids (backed up with Tim Gill's "Cycling and Children and Young People" plus a bit of clout as a Bikeability Scotand CT), and that seems to be being honoured.  The first of the year's road safety lectures for my daughter in P5 did actually point out it's down to individuals and didn't say everyone ought to be wearing them, so two cheers there.  But my children's peers still see fit to lecture them that they should be wearing helmets (though the one I rather pointedly told to mind his own business earlier this week may be doing that a bit less from now on), and I suspect that in a significant number of schools it is routinely and well-meaningly pointed out to children that cycle that they're in terrible danger without a helmet on.  And if the parents are not saying the same the clear implication is they're being very remiss in their care.

Peer pressure created by ignorant, misguided do-gooders is a problem.  When they're giving our children their primary education it's even worse.

Peter Clinch, often to be seen cycling in or near Dundee, Scotland.