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Jeremy Vine on penny-farthing sparks pointless helmet row; Cargo biker turned away from recycling centre; "Deathtrap" Belfast cycle lane causes outrage; Mandatory high-vis because drivers have "less than perfect eyesight" + more on the live blog

Welcome to Wednesday's live blog, with Jack Sexty in charge and Simon MacMichael taking over later this evening...
27 May 2020, 16:05
Jeremy Vine rides up new look Park Lane on a penny-farthing... and is wrongly 'accused' of not wearing a helmet

The broadcaster is well known for posting his various trials and tribulations of cycle commuting around London... and now he claims to be the first person to take to Park Lane's new pop-up cycle lane on a penny-farthing. Is he though? Our news editor Simon spotted this fella and a couple of other around the Hyde Park area recently, so there's a possibility that might not be the case... 

penny farthing in hyde park may 2020 - credit Simon MacMichael.PNG

And that's not the only thing that needs debunking from this video. A number of people in the comments appear angry at Mr Vine for not wearing a helmet... 

However, the chin straps under what looks like a flat cap on his head reveal that he's wearing what we believe to be a rather fetching Tweed Helmet Cap from Beg Bicycles. He's also criticised a number of times for filming himself while riding; and while it takes a certain level of confidence to do so on a penny-farthing, this is not illegal in the United Kingdom. 

27 May 2020, 15:49
"Share the roads, respect each other and be kind.": Isle of Man Police nail it with pro-cycling message

The Constabulary noted that a number of anti-cycling comments had appeared on their feed whenever bikes were mentioned; but say that during the lockdown as more families have started cycling, feedback was becoming more positive: "If you do something you understand it and support it", says the post above. 

They also add: "Let’s not forget cycling saved the day for a lot of people during lockdown. Families connected on their bikes. People started riding to work. The joy of just doing something because it was fun was rediscovered by many. These people are the majority of cyclists, like car drivers or motorbike riders only a few let the side down sometimes. Don't judge all just because of the actions of a few!"

27 May 2020, 15:39
Mad Max, pushbike edition

It’s all going a bit Mad Max in Ladywell.

A post shared by Alex Ingram (@nuttyxander) on


27 May 2020, 15:02
Man who arrived by cargo bike to recycling centre turned away because he wasn't in a car

Caspar Hughes says he was turned away from an ECC recycling centre in Marsh Barton, Exeter because he arrived by cargo bike rather than a car. He also added: "I asked to speak to the boss and he came straight up to me, without respecting any social distancing. I had to take a step back."

Numerous people replied to say they have been allowed into their recycling centre when arriving by bike, while the reasoning for turning away bikes are reportedly because of visibility, or the current pandemic - neither of which it seems would pose more of a risk than driving onto the site. 

So far it doesn't appear anyone from Exeter City Council has responded. Have you had a similar experience at your local tip? 

27 May 2020, 12:29
"Deathtrap": terrifying new cycle lane on Belfast dual carriageway causes outrage

When more cycling infrastructure was promised during and after the pandemic in many parts of the UK, this is probably not what Belfast residents had in mind - the cycle lane is separated only by paint and is placed next to a two-lane dual carriageway. The tweet from the Department of Infrastructure in Northern Ireland has provoked a furious response.

Would you ride on it?  

*When we first published this post we described the cycle lanes pictured as 'two-way' , but we've since learned it is one-way. Apologies for the confusion. 

27 May 2020, 11:30
Beacon Blue: Ricky Ross says "worst thing about lockdown" is "new cyclists with no lights and no clue"

Following on from the popular topic of drivers' eyesight, now the lead singer of the once-popular pop rock band Deacon Blue says that "a whole generation of new cyclists" are now riding without lights and have "no clue." Not everyone agrees, or believes this is feasible... 

In a later exchange with presenter Ned Boulting, Mr Ross said he "totally gets" the positives of cycling and meant no harm with his comments, but others have pointed to the reported spike in anti-cyclist behaviour as the potential consequences of expressing such views on a public forum.  

27 May 2020, 12:02
Is this the new Specialized Tarmac in the wild??

Here's what looks to be a Spesh Tarmac with a completely clean front end and blingy new paint job - has their revamped flagship all-round race bike been leaked? In any case, wise to make use of that Sheffield stand rather than leaning it against a tree for too long before it attracts the wrong kind of attention...

27 May 2020, 11:25
27 May 2020, 09:13
"Many motorists have less than perfect eyesight": Reader letter in Aus newspaper ridiculed for proposing mandatory high-vis

The letter in Adelaide Now says: "So many cyclists are thoughtless with their clothing choice regarding visibility by motorists. What they don’t understand is many motorists have less than perfect eyesight and light conditions affect visibility.

"I would like to see mandatory hi-vis vests compulsory for motorcycles and bicycles, just as helmets are. Motorists are victims, too, because having to live with causing an accident because you didn’t see is traumatic."

It's difficult to decipher which sentence is more absurd, with many pointing out that a driver who cannot see a cyclist in less-than-perfect conditions should probably consider if their fitness to drive may be more of a problem than the clothing worn by those around them. 

Perhaps a trip to the UK (more specifically Barnard Castle) to check the eyesight before driving would be a sensible idea*...

*Definitely not a sensible idea. 

27 May 2020, 08:35
Bristol councillor receives overwhelmingly negative response over potential pop-up cycle lane
bike lane.PNG

A South Gloucestershire councillor took to a community Facebook group to ask residents for their opinions on a new pop-up cycle lane on a busy ring road in the Bristol suburb of Bromley Heath; with the overwhelming response from residents being negative. 

The councillor wrote: "They (the council) wish to temporarily convert the inside lane of the Ring Road between Bromley Heath roundabout and the Hambrook traffic lights to a cycle lane. Their reasoning behind this was that traffic flows have decreased and cycling has increased significantly. Buses are not able to run anywhere near capacity so public transport is limited. There is a pinch point on the cycle lane in this area which makes the volume of cyclist and walkers difficult to manage. They would be looking at implementing this at the end of this week/ start of next week. We have raised several points and concerns about the scheme this morning but wanted to open this up to residents views before we give our final view to officers."

facebook comments.PNG

Many of the comments expressed concerns about the levels of traffic increasing as the lockdown begins to lift, and the lane would simply be a case of too little, too late. Others say that it should have been done a month ago, with one commenting: "Crazy idea, wait a few months when everyone is back to work just for the winter when cycling drops off and nobody wants to take the bus."

The councillor later commented: "The concerns raised echo the ones that we raised this morning with officers. Our view was that this scheme should not go ahead but I did not want to state that initially so that residents could comment with an open mind. We are committed to increasing the use of alternatives to car travel and that this must be done in a safe and sustainable way."

With the government encouraging commuters to cycle and walk where possible and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps delivering a funding boost for temporary cycle lanes, many would argue that the need for social distancing post-lockdown will remain for some time... what do you think?

27 May 2020, 08:30
"Have a word, will you?": Ned Boulting writes to Sunday Times about Rod Liddle 'piano wire' article

The broadcaster's words sum up the frustration and disappointment felt by many of those who were unfortunate enough to stumble across Liddle's Sunday Times article over the past few days. He also said: "Even as I post this, I am aware that it's probably echoing in a chamber. The most important thing we can do it spread this simple message to other folk who may not cycle or even care about it, but need to get from A to B on our roads."

27 May 2020, 08:26
Temporary cycle lane pops up on the A56 in Manchester

The major route into the city centre is now safe for cyclists, which gets the Chris Boardman seal of approval. 

Arriving at in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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