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Saturday, February 21, 2009
  CTC comments on UK Cycle Infrastructure Design guide
By Yokota Fritz 
The Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC) is the national cyclist advocacy organization in the UK. The CTC recently released their comments on the UK National Cycling Infrastructure Design (CID) guide which was published last October [PDF].

The CTC mostly welcomes the new guide, which brings together and updates guidance previously available in different Local Transport Notes and other advice published by the UK Department for Transport.

According to CTC, the CID's most useful feature is its 'Hierarchy of Provision' for cycling. This fundamental design principle says that planners and engineers should start by looking for solutions that reduce the volume and speed of traffic – that is, tackling the factors that most deter people from cycling. As such, the CTC says, "We are particularly pleased to see CID state that: 'The road network is the most basic (and important) cycling facility'."

They also welcome the fact that the CID doesn't just outline raw design principles, but gives the reasons behind its recommendations. It sets out how cyclists tend to ride and why they like and benefit from certain features and conditions, and not others. CID also explains how drivers react to cycle facilities and cyclists, and how this should influence design. This helps ground the advice in road user experience, attitudes and behaviour, making it - and its more 'counter-intuitive' stances - easier to appreciate.

CID's weaknesses are mainly sins of omission. The guidance says little on cycle provision at major junctions or the amount of cycle parking needed at key destinations, and nothing much at all on cycle-friendly road maintenance.

CID's biggest problem is its failure to rule out cycle lanes of less than 1.5m, even though it acknowledges that narrow lanes encourage dangerously close overtaking and steer cyclists towards the edge of the carriageway – a position that official cycle training advises against because it makes them less visible to motorists. CTC's view is that we'd rather have no cycle lane at all than one that puts cyclists in danger. If that means reducing either the volume or the speed of the traffic (i.e. the top two options from the 'Hierarchy'), then so be it!

An even bigger problem is that many local authority officers won't read CID and will continue with little understanding of the principles of good cycle planning. CTC will will be pressing the DfT to disseminate the document widely, and to get the principles of the 'Hierarchy of Provision' written into other planning and engineering guidance, not just this one on cycle infrastructure. CID has been published jointly by the DfT, the Scottish Executive and the Welsh Assembly Government.

Read the full CTC critique here. Props to Bob Shanteau for the forward.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008
  London bike share
By Yokota Fritz 
London considers bike sharing program.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson is known for his everyday use of a bicycle for transportation, and now he wants to encourage more people to ride their bikes by inviting companies to submit their bike share plans for London. He would like to see 6,000 rental bikes available at 400 locations throughout London.

"I have long held the view that a cyclised city is a civilised city, but if we are to get more Londoners on to two wheels rather than four we need to provide the facilities to help them do so," says Johnson. "I hope a central-London cycle-hire scheme will inspire Londoners as a whole, and not just the adventurous few, to get on their bikes and give cycling a go. I believe that the work we are carrying out can make the capital a city of cyclists, where to use two wheels is common, not curious."

Read more in the Guardian. See also Transport for London's cycle hire plan.

In the meantime, a little rain doesn't stop the Mayor of London Boris Johnson as he rides his bike after a function at London's Claridge's hotel. Boris even had to fix his chain after it fell off.

Boris Johnson keeping it real Boris Johnson keeping it real Boris Johnson keeping it real

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Monday, August 04, 2008
  This looks like a bad idea
By Yokota Fritz 
But what do you think?

Cyclists will be permitted to ride the wrong way up one-way streets to encourage more people to give up their cars.

Kensington and Chelsea council is testing two-way access for cyclists on several residential roads with the scheme set to be extended across the borough if there is no increase in collisions.

New signs will advise cyclists where they are allowed to cut through and avoid the long circulatory one-way routes motor vehicles must take.

Road surfaces will not be changed and there will be no dividing line between cyclists and oncoming vehicles - instead they will be left to navigate their own paths.


Cycling up a one-way street will soon be legal in Chelsea.

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Friday, March 21, 2008
  Conservative politician scandal!
By Yokota Fritz 
The Right Honourable David Cameron is a Member of Parliament and leader of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom. The Daily Mirror newspaper followed Cameron with a hidden video camera as he biked to work. Watch Cameron's scandalous behavior here for which Cameron was forced to publicly apologize!

Props to Pinch Flat on this Good Friday, who is also doing a count down of most awesome YouTube bicycle videos.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007
  UK Sustrans wins £50 million in lottery funds
By Yokota Fritz 
Do you remember this? Sustrans "Connect2" program won the £50 million grant from the UK national lottery after TV viewers were polled on which of several projects should be selected to receive the money. Sustrans got 42% of the votes cast. More also at Bike Biz.

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Monday, November 26, 2007
  Vote early and often for cycling funds
By Yokota Fritz 
The UK Lottery will make £50 Million in funding available to the project that receives the most Internet and mobile phone votes between now and December 12. The British walking and cycling campaign, Sustrans, and other UK cycling groups are campaigning heavily for people to vote for the allocation of these funds to the abitious Connect2 program.

While you can't vote often, Carlton notes that the voting registration site does not ask for UK residency and obliquely hints that American cyclists (*nudge wink*) might help their British cousins in this voting. The other three projects vying for funds are an urban park in the industrial rust belt north of Birmingham, an artistic and educational village in Cornwall, and a project to protect the oaks in ancient Sherwood Forest.

Read more at Quickrelease.TV.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007
  Bicycle evangelists and a contest
By Yokota Fritz 
First of all, a VERY QUICK CONTEST for SF South Bay people only TODAY (October 31) ONLY. It's kind of a scavenger hunt: I'm volunteering at a game booth at the Blackford Neighborhood Community Fun Fest which takes place TONIGHT at First Church at 878 Boynton, San Jose, CA. The Fun Festival is tonight from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (I think). I'm giving the first three people who track me down at this Fun Festival a $10 REI gift card, which I will send via email. You must show up with your bike, you must give me your name and email address (which I won't share with anybody except REI), and you must allow me to take your photo on/with the bike that I can post to Flickr and to Cyclelicious. Show up at the Community Fun Fest at 878 Boynton Ave, find me after about 6:30 p.m. (ask the people with name tags for "Richard", and win. Please note that the event is for children and families.



This is interesting news from the UK: Hello, I’m your personal travel adviser. Can I persuade you to get on your bike?
The doorbell will be ringing unexpectedly in millions of homes from next year as an army of government-funded “travel advisers” tries to persuade people to switch from driving to walking, cycling and public transport.

If you are out, they will keep coming back and will call up to ten times, even in the evenings or at weekends.

They will ask you about your travel habits and will offer advice tailored to your journeys, including maps for walking and bus timetables.

If you appear unconvinced, they will offer incentives such as discounts at local bike shops and outdoor stores and free pedometers to measure how far you are walking.
Read more in the London TimesOnline.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007
  Cycle Hero winners
By Yokota Fritz 
Carlton posted the Cycle Hero video contest winners the other day. I missed the original Cycle Hero promotional video, however. This is a one minute video shown in British movie theaters to promote cycling during CTC's CycleHero week last summer in the UK. The CTC is the national cycling organization in the United Kingdom. Here's the two minute extended version.


The CycleHero one-minute Cinema advert was directed by award winning short filmmaker Paul Fuller and features the voice of newsreader - and President of CTC - Jon Snow. The ad was funded under Defra's 'Tomorrow's Climate, Today's Challenge' initiative, produced by Sauce with music from brothers John & Simon Andrew.

The film aims to raise awareness of the impact of transport choice in helping combat climate change. This is done in a positive fashion by highlighting the simple fact that cycling is good for you, good fun and good for the environment.

Props to Warren at Commute By Bike.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007
  UK Cycle Show 2007 photos
By Yokota Fritz 
Carlton Reid has attended Cycle Show 2007 in London, the "UK's greatest cycling show" featuring a high energy fashion show and (of course) more bike stuff than you can shake a frame pump at.

You can view Carlton's photos from the UK Cycle Show here at Picasa, or view a slideshow accompanied to some cool music here at YouTube.

UK-based BikeRadar also covers news from the UK Cycle Show here and here and here.

Singletrack World also reports on the world of British mountain biking at the London Cycle Show here. Singletrack World blog entries about the show are provided by Mark and Chipps, who writes about "many shiny distractions."

The Guardian provides the mainstream media spin on Cycle Show.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007
  Cyclist fashion show video
By Yokota Fritz 
Several of the models can even handle a bike well! This video showcases the Pret a Rouler cycle fashion show that has been featured at Velorution lately.


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Friday, July 06, 2007
  Green transport company: Biking too dangerous
By Yokota Fritz 
An engineering services company in the UK that advises sustainable transportation projects has banned staff from cycling to work because it's too dangerous. It has told staff at its 36 offices across Britain that they must drive or use public transport. They can use bicycles only if they are working away from roads, such as on canal towpaths.

Jacobs Engineering (nee Jacobs Babtie) is one or the largest engineering services company in the UK. An email sent to their staff from the company's health and safety manager says, "It’s patently obvious that if you are struck by a wayward vehicle when you are on a bicycle or motorbike you are going to be more severely affected than if you were in a car. The reason for this policy is to protect our employees from other vehicles on the road."

The ban on cycling on company business has infuriated several staff, who have been cycling without any serious safety incidents for years. They believe the ban is partly the result of conditions in the company’s insurance policy. The e-mail acknowledges that staff are unhappy about the ban and admits it “could be construed as being at odds with our environmental policy and the requirement to be environmentally responsible”.

Jacobs Babtie highlights their "impressive track record in the rapidly developing field of sustainable transport" on their website, claiming "in the area of cycling, we can offer expert resources at every stage from cycle policy and promotion through to the detailed design and implementation of cycle schemes." Many local governments and organizations in the UK contract with Jacobs Engineering for their cycling promotion "expertise."

Read more.

Via Commute By Bike. Mention and commentary also at Cycling Edingurgh and Curly's Corner Shop.

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Monday, July 02, 2007
  London: Cyclists only on September 23
By Yokota Fritz 
On September 23, the city of London in the U.K. will close 14 kilometers (9 miles) of roads as part of a year-long effort to encourage cycling in the city. The Hovis London Freewheel – organised by the Mayor of London – aims to encourage more people in London to cycle. London is already experiencing a cycle revolution with the number of cyclists soaring by 83 per cent since 2000, and the Mayor of London seeks to boost these numbers even more.

Targeted at all Londoners especially those who have access to a bike, but do not use it, the Hovis London Freewheel will offer participants a traffic-free ride round some of London's most famous roads and landmarks. Riders will have the support, advice and help of regular cyclist ‘mentors’.

Visit Hovis London Freewheel for a route map, registration, news and other information about this car-free event on September 23, 2007.

Other mentions:BikeB iz & QuickRelease.TV, RoadCyclingUK

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Thursday, May 24, 2007
  London police ban Critical Mass
By Yokota Fritz 
From the London Cyclists Touring Club:
The Metropolitan Police has had a decision overturned in
the Appeal Court that effectively makes it illegal to
organise Critical Mass, an event that’s taken place on
the last Friday of the month for 13 years, without the
organisers providing a route to the police. Jenny Jones, a
Green Party member of the London Assembly, said: "This
decision is bad news for everyone, as it will end up with
the police wasting time arresting innocent cyclists like
me, rather than arresting real criminals. Arresting
cyclists at Critical Mass will be like arresting a group of
passengers for gathering at Westminster tube station during
the rush hour." Jenny is urging as many people as possible
to join her on the ride this Friday (25th May), which sets
off at 6.30 from under Waterloo Bridge, by the National
Film Theatre.
More commentary:
  • Manic Street Preacher: [The decision] centred around the definition of what could be called a "customary procession". Two of the judges ruled that since every ride took a different route it could not be called customary.
  • Ellis Sharp: A child dies on London’s roads every fortnight. The Met couldn’t give a toss. London’s roads are choked with drivers chatting into handheld mobile phones. Again, the Met couldn’t give a toss. London’s residential areas are full of speeding morons. The Met couldn’t give a toss. But a couple of hundred cyclists riding around central London: the full resources of London’s police will be marshalled against them.
  • London Critical Mass website: We're not blocking traffic; we are traffic.

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Saturday, May 05, 2007
  Bikes in the fast lane
By Yokota Fritz 
Fast Lane - Fat Lane

Love Your Bike.org; found by Kori. The bike advocacy website LoveYourBike is from the Friends of the Earth Manchester and the Manchester City Council.

The site includes Love Lanes (bike route maps), the Logic of Love (why cycling is good), Justify Your Love (a quiz), Love News, Love Gallery (where I got this image), Love Tools (equipment guide), Not In Love, and Love Mail.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007
  86% of female bicycle deaths from trucks
By Yokota Fritz 

Transport for London compiled a report showing that 86% of women cyclist deaths were from lorries (large trucks). Among men cyclists killed in traffic, 47% of them were killed by trucks.

The study notes that “Women may be overrepresented in [collisions with goods vehicles] because they are less likely than men to disobey red lights.”

In more than half the fatal crashes, the truck was turning left. Cyclists may be deceived by a truck swinging out to the right to give itself room to make a left turn. The study reports that the problem may be exacerbated by bike lanes near intersections that allow cyclists to pass trucks and other traffic on the left in the UK.

Read more in the Times Online. And remember: In the U.S., don't pass a truck on the right.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007
  2-way cyclepath leaves no room for walkers
By Yokota Fritz 
The Town Council of Swindon -- a Wiltshire County town in the Southwest of England about midway between London and Briston -- decided to paint bicycle path markings on a sidewalk along Cricklade Road. A line was painted down the middle of the sidewalk to create two lanes and segregate the walking side from the bicycle side of the path. Unfortunately, contractors mistakenly painted the bike symbol in BOTH lanes.

"What makes this mistake so stupendous, is if you had done it you would have known immediately," observes nearby resident Daniel Woodwards. "Both sets of markings are painted quite close together, so you can see them both at the same time, so you would know. Anyone who had any brains would have noticed."

The UK Highway Code says cyclists must keep to their side of segregated cycle paths - but riders on Cricklade Road don't know which side that is. Read more in the Swindon Advertiser. Seen at The Low Road: The Art of Urban Cycling.

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