I learnt two things this evening.
Firstly, funding for cycling in the UK has been cut. This blog post revealed this little piece of information hidden in a 99 page document full of hot-air about what the government claims to be doing for cyclists. In the past, government funding for cycling in Britain has struggled to get past the 1 pound per person per year level. i.e. 60 million for the whole population. It's now been cut to around 13 million. That's around 20 pence per person per year. It's enough to do... precisely nothing. In a city of 100000 people, it's 20000 pounds. That's not even enough to employ someone to think about doing something.
Cycling Officers at councils in Britain (in my experience hard working, good people who tend to find themselves as lone voices in a council which isn't actually very interested) must be worried about their jobs right now. It's a real shame.
By way of contrast, cycling in the Netherlands is funded at a rate of around 30 euros per person per year, which is about 150 times as much. That's what it costs to do a good job, and actually Britain could afford it as well.
Secondly, I heard from a correspondent that it is possible that cycling will be banned at a university in Canada because they've pedestrianized roads and now the pedestrians are frightened by the cyclists. They're looking at ways to "slow cyclists down", which is of course precisely the opposite of what you need to do to make cycling into a more attractive option.
If you can't get students to cycle, then who will ? They're absolutely the easiest demographic of all to attract to cycling: young adults, well educated, fearless and with not too much spare cash. All the "top cycling cities" in every country are university cities. That goes for Groningen, Copenhagen, Cambridge (UK), Davis (CA). If cyclists are banned, you convert cyclists into drivers.
Both countries have fundamentally the same problems. Neither wants to treat cycling as a serious means of transport and neither wants to spend an adequate amount of money on cycling.
Click through for some examples of what actually helps to bring about a cycling culture.
In the past, more was written about the experience of being a cycling officer in the UK. And this is not the first time that cycling policy has been abandoned in the UK.