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Taxi driver “celebrates” bike lane removal – by close passing cyclist; Council blasted for ripping up bike lane, so cars can park on path; “If cyclists really need a safe space, a painted lane would suffice”; “Cycle freaks” slated + more on the live blog

It’s Tuesday, Tom Dumoulin is no longer a professional cyclist, and Ryan Mallon (also not a pro cyclist) is here with the second live blog of the week
16 August 2022, 16:29
“No cycle lane is much better than the sort of cycle lane that endangers a cyclist”: Reader reaction

Bristol 24/7’s Martin Booth’s claim that “even a crap cycle lane is better than no cycle lane at all” – after Bristol City Council decided to take out the bike lanes on the city’s Cheltenham and Ashley roads – hasn’t gone down too well with some of our readers.

BalladOfStruth wrote: “No cycle lane is much better than the sort of cycle lane that endangers a cyclist – this goes double if the offending cycle lane is within good view of the main carriageway so drivers then punish you for not using it.”

“I live near that junction and to be honest, I'd forgotten there was even a cycle lane there,” says Bmblbzzz. “That's how useful it was. And the pavement did (still does, really) need widening, especially right on the corner by the credit union.

“Which isn't to say there haven't been missed opportunities – I'm disappointed that you still can't (legally and/or easily) turn right out of Nine Tree Hill – but I do think replacing that particular painted lane (and let's remember it's not long ago it was fashionable to call it a "moord strip" – not sure if I've spelled that right) with pavement was probably a good decision. Might have been better if they'd made the road one lane only inbound at the same time.”

hawinspeter agreed, writing: “I often cycle along Cheltenham Rd and turn down Ashley Rd and the cycle paint was absolutely useless as there'd invariably be taxis parked across it.

“I tend to use that route late at night, which means that there's drinkers spilling out from the bars and over the cycle lane too. They should just restrict motor vehicles to just one lane along there and have wider pavements and protected cycle lanes too.”

On the subject of Bristol’s position as a ‘cycling city’, brooksby said: “Bristol has a lot of cyclists, and still has a strong 'cycling culture' (even after Roll for the Soul and Bristol Bicycles closed, and after the council closed the Chocolate Path and never reopened it), but it is never been a 'cycling city' in the time I've been actually cycling there.

“But the city council really couldn't give a monkey's about cycling anyway.  They are much happier with gimicky 'green initiatives' which are whizz-bang and hi-tech.”

“I agree,” wrote ShutTheFrontDawes. “I cycled every day to college at the college green campus in the mid noughties, and I can see why the city earned its 'cycling city' status.

“With bike lanes (or in many cases nice wide bus lanes, with good parking enforcement) and advanced stop lines on most major routes, it was a real step up from what came before.

“Times change though; population density has increased while public transport provision hasn't improved, and more people are in their cars. The cycling provisions in Bristol are now below par when I compare it to my experience of other UK cities.”

16 August 2022, 15:53
Russell Crowe spotted cycling in Bray

Bray, in Co. Wicklow, is one of Irish cycling’s holy places (and also where this writer spent quite a few of his childhood summer holidays).

Two-wheeled heroes who honed their talents on the roads around the coastal town south of Dublin include the pioneer Shay Elliott, Peter Crinnion, Peter Doyle, and now Russell Crowe, apparently.

The Gladiator star, who has been known for getting out and about on his bike in the past (sometimes without a shirt), is currently in Bray filming a new supernatural thriller called The Pope’s Exorcist (sounds… great).

He was spotted over the weekend putting the miles in while on a break from filming, taking advantage of both the sunshine and the town’s pretty decent cycling infrastructure. Thankfully, Crowe was wearing a shirt this time…

16 August 2022, 15:11
Airbnb encourages locals to cash in on UCI Road World Championships coming to town

As someone who was kicked out of his student flat to make way for a family of wealthy Americans heading to the Open Golf Championship, I’m well aware of the lucrative potential of international sporting events for those with a bed going spare.

So, I wasn’t that surprised to hear that Airbnb, the online lodgings marketplace, are encouraging residents of Wollongong, New South Wales, to cash in during next month’s UCI road world championships in the area.

With event organisers and local officials predicting an accommodation shortage at the week-long cycling festival, and with many race-goers potentially forced to stay an hour away in Sydney, Airbnb is “encouraging residents to share their home to help their city handle the increased demand for accommodation, as competitors, organisers, media and spectators descend on the region for one of the biggest weeks on the Australian sporting calendar.”

According to the American company, hosts could pocket around $1,000 – almost equalling the median Australian household’s weekly income – if guests book for four nights during the races.

> UCI Road Worlds to force Aussie schoolkids out of classroom and back online

“Hosting on Airbnb is a great way to help showcase Wollongong’s beautiful natural surrounds and highlight the region to help make this important local event a success, while also creating an opportunity to earn extra income to combat the rising cost of living,” said Susan Wheeldon, Airbnb’s Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand.

“Airbnb offers a unique opportunity for communities in and around Wollongong to be a part of history during the first cycling World Championships held in Australia in over a decade.

“Home sharing helps cities use existing space to scale up their capacity and welcome major events like this. It also empowers locals to provide sustainable and affordable accommodation across the city, benefitting the local economy.

“Hosts on Airbnb play a valuable role in making guests feel extremely welcome and our Wollongong Hosts are no exception as they help to point guests in the direction of the best hidden gems and local businesses to support.”

16 August 2022, 14:38
Lotus Type 108 (Lotus)
“A true visionary”: Lotus pays tribute to Mike Burrows

Lotus has paid tribute to legendary Norfolk-based bike designer Mike Burrows, who died this week, aged 79.

Burrows famously collaborated with the automotive company on what became the Lotus 108, one of the most iconic and ground-breaking bikes ever built, most famously used by Chris Boardman on his way to pursuit gold at the Barcelona Olympics thirty years ago.

> "We shall never see his like again": Remembering Mike Burrows

Richard Hill, chief aerodynamicist at Lotus who worked closely with Mike on the development of the Type 108, said today: “I’m so very sad to hear this news.

“Mike was a true visionary, way ahead of his time. Without his original concept for a monocoque frame, the Type 108 would never have come into existence.

“Mike thought beyond any rules – he was a ‘what if…?’ man – and was famous for transforming his ideas into reality, riding and testing them himself. It was privilege and honour to work with him during the early development of the 108.

“Focused, determined and single-minded, he would always come up with a solution to any problem. A talented engineer, his place in the history of cycling is secured.”

16 August 2022, 13:57
Anti-LTN campaigner shows his distaste for LTNs… by enforcing them

My head hurts reading that…

16 August 2022, 13:25
“Biking Bargains” at Lidl: To the middle aisle we come!

It’s that time of the year again, folks, when Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl’s former sleeve sponsor fills up their famous middle aisle with lots of bike-related stuff (and some items I’ve never seen before in my life).

This year’s collection includes helmets, pumps, a lights set, a work stand, ceiling rack, backpacks, saddles, water bottles, groovy mid-noughties era sunglasses, and what looks like a swimming cap but Lidl says is actually a helmet rain cover.

Oh, and this is excellent bike basket for the dog in your life who just loves going for a spin:

16 August 2022, 12:51
Some tips for how to deal with that strange liquid that’s recently started to fall from the sky when you’re out on the bike…
16 August 2022, 12:13
Bernal’s back on the bus... and in the peloton
16 August 2022, 11:35
London taxi driver “celebrates” removal of bike lane – by close passing cyclist

I sense a pattern emerging on the live blog today…

With the temporary cycle lane on London’s Euston Road now removed (thanks, Transport for London says, to “increased traffic congestion” in the area), one taxi driver decided to mark the occasion by posting a Twitter video captured on his dashcam, with the caption: “Celebration time!”

Unfortunately for the cabbie, the clip also clearly shows him – ironically enough – committing a close pass on a cyclist… Oops.

After the now-deleted video was reposted on Twitter this morning by Jeremy Vine, the cab driver in question defended the overtake, which he says was “easily 1.5m away from the cyclist”:

That rather tenuous excuse hasn’t washed, however, not only with two-wheeled activists like CyclingMikey, but also with the driver’s fellow cabbies:

For some reason, those responses haven’t kept the driver from digging ever deeper:

Somebody even got the calculator out: 

 The self-incriminating taxi driver, rather than hold his hands up, has continued to double down on his mistake by posting a series of anti-cycling videos on his Twitter account this morning and changing his profile photo to one of himself (presumably) in cycling clothing.

Give it up, fella…

16 August 2022, 11:01
Bring back the 1990s! What could possibly go wrong?

Ah, don’t you just love to see some nostalgia for the days when Claudio Chiappucci would take off up the road with just 250 kilometres and the Col des Saisies, Col d’Iseran, Cormet de Roselend, Mont Cenis, and Sestriere to go?  

Ah, those long, hot summer days when jerseys were baggy, riders were helmet-less, and team-sanctioned doping was rampant (before such practices were completely and categorically eradicated in 2008, of course). Bliss.

16 August 2022, 10:17
Christ on bikes reviewer Mike Stead, however, has some notes for Jesus’ next bike-related sermon:

16 August 2022, 09:57
‘I never had any issues parking illegally until you cycle freaks came along’: More drivers parking on cycle lanes…

Yet another example (it’s been a long morning) of a motorist parking in a cycle lane, on the pavement, and on double yellow lines. Oh, and with an illegal number plate thrown in for good measure:  

The car owner’s now-deleted reply has lots of Scooby Doo villain energy, I’ll give her that:

“And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling cycle freaks”…

16 August 2022, 08:53
“How can removing cycle lanes ever be justified?” Council blasted for getting rid of bike lane… so motorists can “park on pavement more easily”

We head south now for the second of today’s ‘councils and bike lanes’ bonanza, as Bristol City Council comes under fire for after a cycle lane was removed in favour of a wider footpath which, in the eyes of one local observer, has just made it “easier for cars to park”.

In an article for the news site Bristol 24/7, editor Martin Booth has blasted the council’s decision to remove the bike lane on the Cheltenham Road towards the junction with Ashley Road.

“It was of poor quality and in desperate need of improvement,” Booth admits of the now-vanished piece of bike infrastructure. “But it was still a cycle lane.”

Booth notes that the recent ‘improvements’ to the junction – which the council even admitted might prove “contentious” – have resulted in a wider pavement, which according to the writer has not improved pedestrian safety but simply allowed motorists to park their cars more easily.

“At the newly remodelled Ashley Road junction,” he writes, “early release signals for cyclists in the advanced stop lane (ASL) are all well and good – but a gauntlet of parked cars usually has to be navigated in order to get there, which are as unsafe for pedestrians as they are for cyclists.”

The changes on the Cheltenham Road follow the decision to rip out the cycle lane on the Whiteladies Road – a key route into Bristol city centre – after the council claimed that the lane “causes flooding”. However, as we reported in May, opposition councillors and environmental campaigners in response to the council’s decision pointed out that blocked drains were, in fact, the real source of the problem.

> Key Bristol cycle lane to be scrapped – because council claims it causes flooding

According to Booth, the extended works on the Ashley Road “have mostly just moved the crossings by a few metres, widened a few short stretches of pavement and removed a cycle lane: all seemingly for the benefit of car drivers… By widening the footway, all it has done is make it easier for cars to park. And I have yet to see the double-yellow lines ever be enforced.”

Toby Wells, from Bristol Cycling Campaign, agreed with Booth’s take and said that the group was “really disappointed that the opportunity wasn’t taken to revamp the junction for cycling whilst doing all the work to replace the traffic lights.

“Whilst the previous cycle lane was not the best, we are sure something better could have been put in place rather than removing it all together. The A38 is Bristol’s busiest on-road cycling corridor, and has so much more potential for shifting people onto bikes if people were provided with a safe space.

“As such, it deserves something much more ambitious than the disappointing scheme that has been built, with fully protected space for cycling, in addition to the widened pavement. The fact that there is no enforcement against the extensive pavement parking adds insult to injury for both walkers and cyclists.”

Booth, lamenting Bristol’s apparent fall from its status 14 years ago as Britain’s ‘first cycling city’, also questioned whether “removing cycle lanes can ever be justified” and argued that “safe cycling needs to be prioritised across our city”.

“Even a crap cycle lane is better than no cycle lane at all,” he concluded.

Do you agree?

16 August 2022, 08:00
“If cyclists really need a safe space, then a painted cycle lane would suffice”: Edinburgh residents react to new sustainable transport consultation

A few ‘councils and cycle lanes’ specials to kick off today’s live blog…

First, we’re heading up to sunny Edinburgh – nope, it’s not a story about the Fringe, don’t worry – where the city council earlier this summer launched a public consultation on new proposals to improve walking, wheeling and cycling, as well as public transport links, parks and public spaces around housing developments in Leith, Lochend and Easter Road, Queensferry and Burdiehouse.

The proposed measures include the installation of segregated cycle lanes and enhanced crossings in the Burdiehouse area, as well as pavement widening, dropped kerbs and placemaking improvements.

It all sounds great, right? Right…?

Well, Edinburgh Morning Mews – the parody Twitter page that has spent the last few month’s lampooning the actual Edinburgh Evening News’ “war on motorists” narrative – has collated some of the very real responses to the council’s consultation.

While one resident simply, clearly and succinctly responded: “I object to it all”, some of the other comments – especially regarding the cycling-related aspects of the proposals – were particularly insightful:

It’s hard to believe it’s not parody…

Also, won’t somebody please think of the poor motorists (and dogs)?

Some of the alternative suggestions were not, ahem, especially well-thought-out:

Gordon Struth summed the whole thing up perfectly:

Ryan joined as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.

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