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They don’t respect any rules, usually. Weekly round-up #38!

Cycling Blog

They don’t respect any rules, usually. Weekly round-up #38!

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Cycle lane shenanigans

January 26th, 2016

This week’s round-up features driverless cars, electric bikes, a new world record, a new job for a former record holder, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. What’s not to love!

Top image is from a Reddit post by user _NotSoBlue, and is aptly captioned ‘why does this happen?’. As well as anger about which jobsworth decided to create the monstrosity and speculation whether it is real, the comments include a useful link to the TFL Streets Toolkit: a whole collection of resources that enable effective street planning. The resources come with an invitation for councils to adopt them and to be trained in them, hopefully increasing the standard of street design around the UK.

Anger in Reddit comments

Token anger from Reddit user

Cyclists baffling driverless cars

Continuing with the theme of city planning, Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn has caused a minor scandal by saying that cyclists are one of the biggest challenges for driverless car software. He said that “the car is confused by [cyclists] because from time-to-time they behave like pedestrians and from time-to-time they behave like cars”, which is fair enough. The controversial part is his addendum: “[cyclists] don’t respect any rules usually”.

Commentators on Cycling Weekly’s article about this issue have weighed in saying that it’s not just cyclists who don’t obey rules (“Cars, pedestrians, motorbikes – they don’t always stick to the rules”), doubting whether the cars are road-ready yet (“Simply put – his technology isn’t ready”), and likening the situation to a low budget sci-fi film (“Sounds like a bad sci-fi movie. Driverless car becomes self aware and starts hunting down cyclists.”).

The technology does exist to automatically scan for cyclists and brake if they enter the path of the car, as demonstrated by this video from Volvo:

Are electric bikes the future?

Another high-up name in a famous car brand has speculated on the future of travel, too. Ford’s vise president for research and engineering, Dr Ken Washington, says he feels there is a market for e-bikes, especially those which can be taken on public transport. In an article on CleanTechnica Washington describes visions for integrating electric bikes into Ford vehicles in an attempt to solve ‘the last mile problem’, in which people still have to walk for a mile or so for the last section of a journey that started in their car or on public transport. If what he says is true, Ford are “very serious” about bicycles and consider them a good candidate for solving this problem.

The image below is from a presentation given recently by Ford showing how they hope to incorporate the bicycle into people’s journeys:

Ford e-bike image

This is the highest resolution we could find, sorry!

New world record!

Australian cyclist Bridie O’Donnell set a new record last week for the longest distance covered in an hour women’s event. Cycling Australia confirmed the new record in a tweet last Fridayː

Bridie says she “can’t believe” she broke the record, adding that doing so is a good start on her mission of “doing something great”. Congrats Bridie!

Mark Beaumont adds a new accolade to his belt

Mark Beaumont, the cyclist whose African adventure we wrote about in April last year, has been named the next rector of Dundee University – he takes over the role from Professor Brian Cox.

Beaumont DundeeImage from BBC – source

It’s good to see Mark in the news again, although slightly strange for it not to be something to do with bikes! If you’re not familiar, this is the man who once held the record for cycling around the world, cycling between North and South America’s highest peaks (and climbing them both) in the same climbing season (info), and various other inspiring events.

Our story of the week

Arnold Schwarzenegger, everyone’s favourite former Mr Universe, has caused controversy by cycling the wrong way along a road in Scotland. In the video below at around 45 seconds you can see him set off into the wrong lane despite shouted warnings from the crowds. Predictably the media had a field day around this, generating even more stories about Arnie’s cycling habits (see our Arnie Watch articles for more info: volume 1 and volume 2).

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