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'Cyclists dismount' evolves... now it's just NO CYCLISTS at all!; How do you solve a problem like murder strips?; Tour de France countdown; 'Road rage-reducing tips' miss out cycling again; Strava used to spy on Israeli military + more on the live blog

It’s ten days to the Tour de France… and when he’s not counting down the minutes until the world’s biggest bike race, Ryan Mallon will be keeping you up to speed with all the latest cycling news on Tuesday’s live blog
21 June 2022, 16:53
“The world would be better place without these murder strips” (plus ‘No Cycling’… during the Olympics)

Lots of discussion in the comments today about murder strips (Belgium’s Word of the Year 2018, for anyone asking) and questionable ‘no cycling’ signs.

Steve K wrote that “Advisory lanes should go, and mandatory ones only remain if they are wide enough not to encourage close passing”, while the little onion argued that “the world would be a better place without these murder strips. Burn them!”

BalladOfStruth said: “A lot of them… are a ‘worst of both worlds’ sort of situation. If a cyclist uses advisory cycle lanes, they are actually at an increased risk of injury compared to there being no lane there (by as much as 34 percent according to some studies).

“However, if there is a lane there and a driver observes a cyclist riding next to it instead of in it, we get the sort of intentional, bullying behaviour we saw in NMOTD 787. When presented with something like the lane pictured below, the cyclist can't win.

“No infra is better than bad infra.”

“I ride a recumbent handcycle, that's three wheels to keep within the painted lane,” says handcyclist.

“If I'm fully in the lane the nearside rear is always just inches off the kerb in all the detritus hitting every sunken drain and other obstacle so I tend to ride with my front wheel outside the line and put up with the occasional close pass.

“So actually, I don't ride in them much at all and tend to avoid them like the plague! Now when they're wider with decent segregation and wands I put up with the discomfort of crashing my nearside wheel into sunken drains. Absolutely paint is not infrastructure.”

Mungecrundle sent us their local murder strip, which even by the standards of the genre, is particularly shocking:

Murder Strip (credit - Mungecrundle)

They wrote: “Here's my personal piece of cycle infrastructure which seems designed for the sole purpose of getting me close passed. If I ride so as to avoid going over the gratings, my bar end is actually across the line.

“Officially, just down the road at the pedestrian crossing, I am supposed to hop off the road, cycle on the pavement and around the back of any pedestrians waiting to cross then re-join the road. There's stupid little arrows and cycle glyphs all over the pavement.

“It would be far better to simply have these nonsense lanes removed. Even preferable to widen the footway and make it shared use.”

Meanwhile, on the subject of dodgy ‘no cyclists/cycle/bycles’ signs, mark1a sent us this perfect bit of visual juxtaposition, writing “I remember at the time thinking ‘there goes half our medals then’”…

2012 No Cycling (credit - mark1a)
21 June 2022, 16:19
I’ll allow you to translate that one…
21 June 2022, 15:58
Lucinda Brand wins 2022 Tour de Suisse
“That was so impressive”: Lucinda Brand wins Tour de Suisse stage and GC in thrilling finale

Lucinda Brand followed up Trek-Segafredo teammate Lizzie Deignan’s win at the inaugural Tour de Suisse last year, by taking the race’s second edition after a dramatic final mountain stage.

Going into today four seconds down on Team BikeExchange-Jayco’s Kristen Faulkner, Brand – who also won the opening stage on Saturday before Faulkner’s commanding time trial victory – attacked on the final descent with just under 20km to go after strong work from Trek’s world champion, and domestique deluxe, Elisa Balsamo.

Brand, who took valuable bonus seconds at the foot of the category one climb to the summit finish in Lantsch, was joined by Trek’s mountain bike and cyclocross star Jolanda Neff – riding for the Swiss national team – but, after struggling to hang onto Neff on the descent, soon dispatched the 29-year-old with 5.5 kilometres to go.

Knowing that she had to beat Brand to the line to take the GC, Faulkner made her own move with three kilometres left, dropping Pauliena Rooijakkers and powering across the 25 second gap to Brand.

In an epic head-to-head tussle played out in driving rain, the American Faulkner finally caught Brand just before the final kilometre, setting up a dramatic do-or-die sprint for the overall title.

It wasn’t to be, unfortunately, as Faulkner slid out on a corner during the tight and technical finale, allowing Brand – who looked in pole position to take the sprint in any case – to savour the third stage race win of her career.

Cycling, eh? Bloody hell.

21 June 2022, 15:29
“Harder than any video game”: Leith Walk’s zig-zag cycle lane compared to… 1980s arcade game

In one of the more bizarre crossovers we’ve come across recently, video game website Kotaku has published some decent in-depth analysis of Edinburgh’s chaotic new zig-zag cycle lane on Leith Walk (also covered on yesterday’s blog), which the site compared to 1980s arcade game Paperboy…

According to Wikipedia – I’m much too young to remember myself – Paperboy was originally released in 1985 and saw players deliver a fictional newspaper called The Daily Sun (the horror, I know), on their bike along a suburban street.

Sounds great – and by the looks of things, a whole lot easier to navigate than Leith Walk…

Paperboy video game (screenshot, via Kotaku)

Thanks to reader Matthew for sending us the article!

21 June 2022, 14:40
Cycling live tweeters, be warned…

Cillian does have a (pedantic) point.

Anyway, Pogačar, Roglič, Vingegaard, or Thomas – who wins the Tour de France?

21 June 2022, 14:25
“We need to change the infrastructure”: Oxford councillor calls for restrictions on HGVs in city centre after delivery van almost reverses into her

An Oxford city councillor has called for better active travel infrastructure in the city after a van almost reversed into her while she was cycling with her child.

Katherine Miles, a Lib Dem councillor for the Summertown ward, says that restrictions should be placed on HGVs and delivery vans on Oxford’s High Street, where the incident took place this morning.

“Just had a van reverse into me,” the clearly distressed councillor said in a video posted on Twitter earlier today.

“It didn’t hit me, I had to shout on High Street. I was in the traffic and they just reversed back… in a queue of traffic. They clearly didn’t look, and I had to shout.

“And I’m here with my baby and my bike. We just need to change the infrastructure.”

In March, Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon Layla Moran called on the government to commit to keeping cyclists safe on the city’s roads, after two women were killed while riding their bikes earlier this year, both in incidents involving large vehicles.

On 8 February Ellen Moilanen, a university worker in her 40s, was killed when she was struck by a lorry driver while cycling on the A4165 near Oxford Parkway station, a busy commuter route between Kidlington and Oxford.

Less than a month later, on 1 March Dr Ling Felce died in a collision involving a lorry at the notorious roundabout junction of St Clement's Street and The Plain.

21 June 2022, 13:54
Driving instructor Ashley Neal shares latest ‘Nice Cycling’ video

Liverpool-based driving instructor Ashley Neal – who last month said that he “wholeheartedly” disagrees with the road safety approach taken by fellow YouTuber CyclingMikey – has shared his latest set of ‘nice cycling’ clips, which he hopes will help “change the perception that all cyclists are rule breakers”.

Neal’s third instalment of ‘Nice Cycling’ – the first for eight months – features cyclists waiting for vans and lorries to reverse, showing awareness of pedestrians stepping out onto the road, and pulling in to let a line of motorists pass (though Neal does question how appropriate this response is in certain situations).

One clip, which the driving instructor describes as “top”, shows a cyclist arguably putting themselves in danger by riding in the ‘dooring zone’, in order to help the drivers coming the opposite way avoid waiting for a few seconds. But maybe I’m being harsh there…

What do you think? Do Neal’s videos provide good examples of safe and sensible cycling?

21 June 2022, 12:39
"Expert tips to avoid road rage" during rail strikes have a glaring omission
road rage 2.PNG

As we have 'road' in our name, we get quite a few generic motoring and car industry press releases as well as cycling ones land in our inbox - and while this one is actually of interest to us, it's probably not for the reasons the PR person imagined. 

"​​With a number of train strikes taking place this week, traffic on UK roads will inevitably surge. But how can stay on top of our road rage and manage our frustration during delays this week?" reads the first paragraph from the release about a new Compare the Market study. 

The suggestions? We're told to maintain concentration, make sure we're well-rested (I'll assume it's excusable to drive while frothing with anger if I have a bad night's sleep then), take a moment to think before we react and "be forgiving and learn to let go." 

Other than the obvious "just stop being a buffoon and don't get so angry over pointless things" or "leave earlier", we can't help but notice a glaring two-wheeled omission from these road rage-reducing tips... 

2022 x stolen goat kit lifestyle 69

(For clarity we mean cycling, not buying the new x Stolen Goat kit - but if you want to buy it that would be great, so do that here)

21 June 2022, 12:37
Jumbo-Visma announces strong Tour de France squad

No Rohan Dennis in Jumbo-Visma’s line-up for the Tour, but the Dutch squad are still sending a team of big hitters to France in support of their yellow and green aiming trident, Roglič, Vingegaard and Van Aert.

And if having arguably the strongest team at the Tour doesn’t strike fear into the heart of Tadej Pogačar and his fellow UAE Team Emirates riders, perhaps Jumbo-Visma’s special artsy Tour jerseys (which I’d genuinely forgotten all about until this announcement) will bamboozle them on long, hot days in the Alps…

I can see it now: ‘How did you get dropped on the Galibier, Tadej?’ ‘Err, I was daydreaming about Vermeer and Rembrandt…’

21 June 2022, 11:49
Spend 630 quid on a new derailleur cage... or just leave a bit earlier

We do like the idea of commuter cyclists weighing up the choice between investing in a new CeramicSpeed OSPW Aero or just winding their alarm back a bit - 2.5 seconds if the journey to work is 25km and up to 7.2 seconds if it's 40km, according to CeramicSpeed's wind tunnel calculations on how much time and sweet wattz the new Aero version of its oversized pulley wheel system will save you. 

2022 ceramicspeed ospw aero - Simon Smart 2 - credit Ewan Thacker
"739 euros? Lol!"


Of course this product is aimed at a totally different kind of cyclist with more money than sense really... or you could just turn professional, and you might get one for free. You can read more about the OSPW Aero in our full story over here

21 June 2022, 10:56
Strava Valtteri Bottas Lance
Strava used to spy on Israeli military – by setting up fake segments in army bases and intelligence agencies

So it turns out that Strava isn’t just for showing off to your mates, creating weird art on maps, or ogling Mathieu van der Poel’s training data – the fitness app has also been used for espionage.

The Guardian has reported that an anonymous Strava user, who according to their profile hails from Boston, Massachusetts, had set up a number of fake segments across various military establishments in Israel, including those belonging to the country’s intelligence agencies and highly secure bases assumed to be linked with Israel’s nuclear programme.

The user – whose affiliation has yet to be uncovered – could then keep tabs on members of the Israeli military, tracking their movements as they exercised in secret bases in Israel and around the world.

The fake segment approach allowed the spies to bypass Strava’s privacy settings – while profiles can be made available only to followers, unless users set each individual activity to be actively secured, their profile picture, first name and initial will appear on segments they have covered.

> Strava’s new Edit Map Visibility provides greater privacy control 

The operation was uncovered by the Israeli open-source intelligence outfit FakeReporter.

“We contacted the Israeli security forces as soon as we became aware of this security breach,” the group’s executive director, Achiya Schatz, told the Guardian.

“After receiving approval from the security forces to proceed, FakeReporter contacted Strava, and they formed a senior team to address the issue.”

In a statement, Strava said: “We take matters of privacy very seriously and have been made aware by an Israeli group, FakeReporter, of a segment issue regarding a specific user account and have taken the necessary steps to remedy this situation.

“We provide readily accessible information regarding how information is shared on Strava, and give every athlete the ability to make their own privacy selections. For more information on all of our privacy controls, please visit our privacy centre as we recommend that all athletes take the time to ensure their selections in Strava represent their intended experience.”

21 June 2022, 10:08
“Need a hand?” Ineos recce the cobbles

I mentioned earlier that the Tour de France gets under way in 10 days, which means only one thing (in my mind anyway) – it’s 15 days until the cobbled stage!

Yep, stage five of the Tour, from Lille to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut will take in 11 sectors, totalling 18.4 kilometres, of the bone-juddering farm tracks traditionally associated with April’s Hell of the North, Paris-Roubaix.

> Tour de France 2022 preview: everything you need to know about every stage of this year's race 

Whatever you think of the place of cobbles in the Tour de France, credit must go to Les Amis de Paris-Roubaix, who work hard to keep those famous old roads in pristine (read, horrifying) condition for the peloton, and who were rudely interrupted by a group of Ineos riders on a pre-Tour recce yesterday…

Perhaps 2018 Tour winner, and former cobbled classics contender, Geraint Thomas – installed as the hot favourite after his Tour de Suisse win last week (what Slovenian riders?) – picked up some extra insider info from those laying the pavé before a potentially decisive GC day for the Welshman and his team.

Though judging by their indifferent reaction to the riders getting in the way of their work, maybe not…

21 June 2022, 09:22
‘No cyclists'… were involved in the design of this infrastructure
No Cyclists sign, Wimborne (credit - Nick Rowntree)

Well, that’s one way of going about it…

This rather questionable road sign, which seems to indicate (bluntly, I may add) that work is currently being carried out on the bike lane further up the road, was spotted in Wimborne, Dorset this week.

One member of a local active travel Facebook group reckoned that the sign was missing a second part, and kindly offered a few suggestions:

Wimborne cycle lane Facebook comments

Although the reader who sent the photo to us described it as 'nonsense' and a 'non story', we do love a tangential angle round here; and it of course got us thinking about other unhelpful signs aimed at deterring cycling, and if this one may in fact top the lot. 

No Bycles paint (John Lauder/Twitter)

We only have to go back to late May of this year to find the last big story on the live blog that involved a controversial anti-cycling message: this incorrectly spelled yet space-saving 'NO BYCLES' beauty. We never did find out whether this was the work of someone in authority or not, but this corker definitely was... 

no cycles - credit BicycleBenUK


In April, this sign in Oxford University Parks was slammed as "ridiculous and petty"; although according to a number of Oxford cyclists, the park's cycling ban isn't actually problematic day-to-day. 

For a more commonly used classic there's always the 'no no cycling' sign, which technically doesn't make sense because the red circle already tells us not to do something... 

richmond park no cycling - via royal parks police.PNG
21 June 2022, 08:54
Ten days to the Tour…

I think it’s safe to say I’m getting just a bit excited for next Friday’s grand depart in Copenhagen.

Just need to get hold of my £15 official preview magazine now…

21 June 2022, 08:26
“Get rid, they encourage offending”: How do you solve a problem like murder strips?

Ah, the murder strip. That thin line of paint on the road passing as infrastructure, exposing cyclists who dare to use them to drains, debris and – oh wait – close passing motorists, confident that they were in their lane and you were in yours, ‘so it really doesn’t matter if I brushed your shoulder, does it?’

As police officer and driver behaviour specialist Mark Hodson pointed out on Twitter yesterday, this year’s changes to the Highway Code (we’re legally obligated to mention them every four days, before you start complaining) have made murder strips more relevant than ever.

So, what should we do about them? Here’s what Hodson, one of the two officers who devised West Midlands Police’s renowned close pass operation, thinks: 

We never ran Operation Close Pass where there was a cycle lane as it effectively gave offenders a "faux defence" of "well if it's dangerous, why is it designed like that?", which in light of the HC updates earlier this year is even more relevant than ever.

Murder strips, as they are more popularly known, are available almost everywhere in the UK for the driver who wants an excuse for endangering a vulnerable road user, albeit not a legitimate one given the HC (and previous updates too), but can be used to muddy the waters of any potential prosecution.

So what to do about them...

Well there are three options for this sort of infrastructure which now has no other purpose apart from potentially endangering cyclists.

Option one – remove them completely. This changes driver behaviour and as in other driving scenarios the lack of "magic paint" actually improves behaviours as drivers start to think about what they should be doing rather than depending on lane markings for guidance.

Second – have a second white line, solid this time and 1.5 metres plus away from the edge of the cycle lane denoting the edge of the carriageway for motor vehicles when the cycle lane is occupied, increased accordingly for speed limits over 30mph.

Third – we could have dedicated separate infrastructure that separates road users, affording relative safety for cyclists & other vulnerable road users using it.

Option two would need a further HC change; option three is the best but given the cost and time implications would take generations at the rate we are currently installing...

Leaving option one… get rid, they encourage offending.

Best advice for cyclists, if one is present, ride just to the offside of them, firstly placing you the ideal distance from the kerb for cycling avoiding drain covers, debris and providing some room to work with if you encounter other hazards which you must avoid.

This also removes the faux defence of "they were in their lane, I was in mine, what's the issue?"

Advice for drivers... Whenever you encounter a cyclist in whatever situation, just give at least 1.5 metres of room, further if you are travelling at over 30mph & show consideration. It's not hard, no need for whataboutery at all, as you will find it won't help you in a court of law.

So, there we are, time to abolish murder strips – it will help keep cyclists safer by changing behaviours and save some drivers points on their licence as well, as they start thinking about their driving rather than relying on paint to do their thinking for them.

What do you think? Do you agree with Hodson that abolishing painted cycle lanes – even before proper, segregated infrastructure can be introduced – would help change motorists’ behaviour and potentially keep cyclists safe on the roads?

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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