Redesign beta

We've now got the new site designs turned into browsable demo pages - though not plugged into the real site database yet! They're just sample pages that show what the site will feel like so people can give feedback.

You can see the demo pages at:

Please browse around, try it on different devices (it's designed to adjust well to mobile) and let us know your thoughts.

The key changes from the live site to the new design are:

  1. The design is modernised, and the site is now mobile-friendly automatically.
  2. We've got rid of issues vs threads - instead, each discussion is a standalone discussion, linked using tags.
  3. The main Discuss page is a combination of the old My Cyclescape and various other listings - by default, it shows you all discussions in your group, but if you find there are too many discussions, you can use the map filtering on the right which will let you change from everything in the group's area, to any areas you define.
  4. The discussion page works much more like modern social media sites - you will see the latest unread discussions, and you'll be able to scroll up to see earlier discussion. No more long scrolling down the page to see things!
  5. The signup process is much simpler. No need to define map areas either! We want to remove barriers to getting new people involved, a key problem on the current site.
  6. There's a new Add a new idea section which will allow general members of the public to submit ideas that campaigner members can 'cherry-pick' off the map. This probably won't make the initial launch.

Bear in mind the following points when looking around the sample pages:

  • It's not a real live website - the pages won't actually submit any information, show real discussions or let you log in.
  • There's a single page to represent all the parts of the site, but each just has sample info, e.g. the profile page gives an idea of what a person's profile is like.
  • There are a few inconsistencies, e.g. some parts say York vs Camden for the campaign group. Don't worry about that kind of thing. (We used a range of labels to ensure that text will fit properly.)
  • Pretty-much all functionality has been carried over. Nothing significant (e.g. e-mail integration) has been removed.
  • The map displays don't currently show clickable pins in this demo.

To give us feedback, please use the live site's feedback page. (The demo one in the new design obviously won't work!)

Example group homepage
An example group homepage

Thanks to Patrick for his hard work on the design and the HTMLification.

Redesign drafts

We've been working with our designer, Patrick, to create the designs throughout the site.

As you can see, these modernise the look and feel of the site, and deal with a lot of usability issues

The changes overall are:

  • We remove the concept of issues vs threads and just have discussions - which are then linked together by tags.
  • As a result, we now simplify all the various listings down to a single page, with filtering.
  • Filter panel on the right, so that discussions can be easily filtered.
  • There is no up-front requirement to set an area - by default the discussions shown will be everything from the group, but a geographical filter can be set if wanted, using the right-side panel.
  • New account creation is much simpler, so we don't put people off getting involved.
  • The public can now submit ideas, and site users can then pluck these off the map to turn them into a discussion.
  • Similarly, there is a map of planning applications that can easily be turned into a discussion.
  • In the reply box, attaching other media now has a far more sensible user interface.
  • The site's look and feel is modernised and friendly.
  • Have proper mobile responsiveness.

Redesign proposals – give us your thoughts!

We've been talking to users of the site, and have come forward with a set of proposed changes to how Cyclescape works, which will make it easier to use, as well as ensuring that more issues get lodged.

Proposed Cyclescape changes - draft wireframes (version 1, 7th February)

Proposed Cyclescape screen wireframes (version 2, 23rd February)

Update May 2021: Due to the pandemic, work on taking these forward got paused, but we are pleased to say that the design work is progressing again at last.

Redesign coming soon

Over the last five years, we've received lots of feedback about the Cyclescape website, which started in 2012, as well as much experience ourselves as users.

As a result of funding from our new project StreetFocus, we're pleased to announce that we will shortly be starting work on a full-scale redesign of the Cyclescape site. We expect the design work to be finalised in February and will then be rolling out as developer time permits shortly after that.

This will be a full-scale revamp. As well as a fresh visual look and a new mobile-friendly interface, this will tackle seven key areas of usability:

  1. Generally, reorganising screens to reduce confusion and make the site concepts much clearer and easier to understand;
  2. User onboarding process is poor - currently users have to go through far too many screens to get set up;
  3. Lightweight issue reporting model, so that many more issues can be reported in a more lightweight way;
  4. The issues map is unusable when many area-wide issues present - we want the map to be a stronger focus, and much nicer;
  5. Subscription by theme, e.g. ‘cycle parking’ rather than purely by geographical area;
  6. Dealing with general chat discussions that are neither geographical nor administrative, which has always never really worked;
  7. Planning application integration to add new features such as automatically linking to key documents.

Please do take the opportunity to fill in our survey to give us your thoughts on the site.

An unusable map - one of the many problems we plan to tackle

Survey – what would you most like us to improve?

We're busy working on various improvements and new features for Cyclescape, and we know there are usability things still needing work. So we'd really welcome your views on what your priorities for improvement would be.

Please fill in our quick survey!

We've also recently obtained a grant from Innovate UK / Geospatial Commission, for a project called StreetFocus, which will help us improve the ability of Cyclescape users to look at planning applications.

We're planning to run a user workshop in October, with a view to doing a fuller redesign of the site soon. We'd be interested to know if you'd like to attend.

PS All commnts submitted are anonymous - please be as honest as you can!

Latest new features – Summer 2017

Lots of new smaller features have gone live in recent months:

Thumbs up: You can now thumb-up (or 'like') a posting. It's a useful and quick way of showing approval to what someone else has written. You can hover your mouse over the thumb and see who has liked it. Thumbs-up is also installed on each issue - replacing the old voting system.

Hashtags to link posts together: You can link disparate messages from around the site together by using hashtags. This works in basically the same way to other sites like Facebook. Just prefix a word with a hash sign (#) and it will turn into a link to a page showing all the other messages containing that hashtag. This is specific to each group. So, for instance, members of Placeford Cycling Campaign could mark items that could go into their newsletter just by writing #newsletter in a post. There's also an index of all hashtags for each group.

Planning applications: Thanks to PlanIt, with whom we have been working, planning applications from some 78% of councils around the country are now coming through to Cyclescape, via your My Cyclescape page. This gives you easy access to development proposals in your areas, usually within a few days of them being posted on your council's website. If you know about an existing development, you can now paste its number into the search box to get to it quickly.

Revamp for setting locations you're interested in: We've completely reworked the way you specify what areas you're interested in. Now you can type in an area, e.g. your local council ward, and the system will come up with a set of suggested areas you might like to follow. This means you don't have to know how to read a map (and then draw on it) to set it - now you can search by name. We've got groups, constituencies and wards all loaded. You can also plan a cycle journey to get an A-B route you want to monitor, e.g. so that you get told about issues along your way to work that other people have reported. The new interface also show you how many issues the areas you've selected would match - so you know whether you'll get more than you can handle. We'll have a blog post about this soon, and will be making further improvements to it, as there are some rough edges still.

You can see the full list of changes (available via the 'What's new' link at the bottom of all pages of the site).

Now that we've got these in place, we'll be starting soon (subject to funding) on a long-awaited major revamp of the layout of the site, moving things around to make everything much clearer, as we know that new users are still confused by how to subscribe to things.

Polden-Puckham Charitable FoundationThis work has been possible kindly thanks to grant support from the Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation. Thanks also to Nikolai and other contributors who have made these improvements possible.

Developer API

This is a techie blog post, for the information of developers. If you're an ordinary user, you'll probably want to skip this post!

Cyclescape now has a fledgling developer API is now available.

Basically, this enables data in Cyclescape (public information - no personal data is involved) to be used in external systems, making it more useful.

Currently available API calls, as described in the documentation, are:

  • Issues - what problems exist, and when were they reported?
  • Groups - cycling groups around the country and their geographical areas
  • Tags - what are the themes of problems that people are talking about?

Here are the first two integrations, by way of example:

London Cycling Campaign's consultation map

London Cycling Campaign are using this to create a map of current consultations in London, thanks to work by Camden Cyclists.

You can create a similar map using the code for the map, which is open source.


CycleStreets (who run Cyclescape) has been working on a new website, Bikedata.

The Bikedata site aims to provide cycle campaigners around the UK with a ‘one-stop shop’ for data that helps them in their work. You can read more about the Bikedata site.

We've used the API to pass through reported issues on Cyclescape to Bikedata.

We've also added a layer showing all groups.

API documentation

Documentation of the API is available at:

Geographical data is GeoJSON, making it easy to add to a Leaflet or other map.

Usage policy

We don't currently have an API usage policy, but for now, we would expect users to adhere to standard principles:

  • Avoid excessive volumes of requests to the server;
  • Limit the geographical size to only what is needed;
  • Ensure you give attribution;
  • Link back to the site, rather than copying material which will then go out of date.

Future developments

We expect that more API calls will be added in future. Let us know if you have any particular requests for the API.

Polden-Puckham Charitable FoundationThis work has been possible kindly thanks to grant support from the Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation. Thanks also to Nikolai and other contributors who have made these improvements possible.

Latest new features – Spring 2017

Here are the improvements we've been working on lately, all live. We've been focussed on quick wins to make using the site easier - but we know there is still some way to go.

Unread postings now coloured differently: All around the site, unread postings are marked in blue in discussion threads you haven't yet read. This should make it much easier to keep track of things!

Front page - My Cyclescape: We've at long last cleaned up your My Cyclescape page, getting rid of pointless boxes and giving it a spring clean. Also, the limit of 12 messages before has gone - you can now click through to the next page of updates. So if you haven't been to the site for a while, you can be sure not to miss anything.

Layout improvements: To save you having to scroll back to the top of a page, we've set the top bar to stay in place all the time now. Also, there's a link in the bottom corner to the top of the page. Another little fix has been to make the list of subscribers to a discussion clearer - people are now listed in a sensible alphabetical order at last.

E-mail improvements: You can now unsubscribe from a discussion thread on a topic in one click - before this involved remembering to click the unsubscribe button. For digest users, the e-mails now include a link to the original of each individual message. Also, members of a committee getting committee-only e-mails will see this more clearly marked now.

Direct messaging: The top bar now has an 'envelope' icon, giving you access to direct messages. It'll show you how many unread messages there are, to help you avoid missing any.

Closing a thread: To help keep the site clean, you can close a thread using the button at the end of the discussion. This can now be done at any time - previously there was an arbitrary 2-day wait which we've now removed. People can re-open threads just by posting again, but by closing old threads, searches and other listings will work better.

Issues can now have more than one location: You can now report an issue that has a set of locations. For instance, supposing the council is consulting on making a set of one-way streets to way for cycling. Previously, this was hard to represent - it meant either drawing a large box or a convoluted area. Now you can draw a line for each street when creating the area. The same multiple area system also applies to groups and library items.

    Improvements for groups: There's now a group finder on the front page. It's now also possible to request to create a new group online. Also, committee members are now automatically subscribed to administrative discussion threads.

    Potential members list: The membership secretary of a group can now paste in their membership list (as a list of e-mails), so when a user signs up they are automatically added to the group if their email matches one in the potential members list. This system is fully privacy compliant, as we don't store the e-mails of potential members - just an alphanumeric code representation of each e-mail.

    You can see the full list of changes (available via the 'What's new' link at the bottom of all pages of the site).

    Polden-Puckham Charitable FoundationThis work has been possible kindly thanks to grant support from the Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation. Thanks also to Nikolai and other contributors who have made these improvements possible.

    New features live

    Various new features have been made live on Cyclescape recently:

    Direct messages: You can now direct message another person (i.e. a private thread between two people). To use this, click on someone's name (e.g. in a discussion thread listing), and that takes you to their profile page. You will then see a green 'Send private message' button. This creates a discussion thread like any other, except it's just between you and the other person. Such discussions will be listed on the 'My Cyclescape' overview page like any other, and there is also now a Mail icon in the top-right (which we will soon make 'light up' when you have a message).

    CycleStreets Photomap integration: You can now add to the thread discussion a photo direct from the CycleStreets Photomap, using the 'CycleStreets photo' button, alongside existing options like Text, Photo, etc. Click on 'CycleStreets photo', then find the image (the geographical starting point will use the issue's location), click the green button to choose the image, and that will pre-fill the caption, which you can adjust. Scroll down and submit. Also, each issue page now has options to see both collisions and CycleStreets Photos.

    Leader of a discussion: You can now set yourself as the 'Thread leader', to indicate that you will take responsibility for ensuring a discussion moves forward. This is helpful so that people have a clear contact point if a discussion is going nowhere rather than resulting in useful activity like letter-writing or press work. Click the new 'Thread leader' option in the reply area. You can give a brief additional note if you want, before pressing submit. This will add a message to the thread noting that you have become thread leader. The thread leader will be indicated on the right sidebar. This feature will see further user interface developments, but we've added the main mechanics now.

    Membership link: The Committee members in a group now gets an additional 'Membership' link in the main menu, giving an easier link to the membership list.

    Planning application improvements: Last year, we added planning applications to your 'My Cyclescape' page. Over the summer we've fixed various bugs relating to planning application processing. We identified a scenario where a failure in processing a particular application (e.g. if it were somehow incorrect with a missing field for instance) in some cases could cause the import not to complete. If you become aware of a planning application number and it does not appear in a search, please report the number and Local Authority on this bug report page and we can check further.  Planning application integration is now live for around 55% of the country, thanks to PlanIt. Over-long subject lines for planning applications are now avoided, and there are numerous other bugfixes.

    Tag cloud: There is a new tag cloud on the Tags page in the main menu. This gives an entry point into common themes. It's not the most earth-shattering improvement, but we hope you like it anyway, as we needed a way into the tags listings.

    Library items now are geographical: Adding a Library item now enables a geographical area to be added. We will gradually enforce this once a complete reworking of the area-setting workflow has been done.

    Library listings: The library is now paginated. This is one of a number of long-needed improvements to the Library, which had been left in prototyped state for many years, but we're now starting to prioritise this a bit more.

    Spam filtering: Various admin controls have been added.

    Twitter sharing buttons: A button to 'Tweet this' has been added on each issue page.

    We've gone HTTPS: For your further improved privacy, all traffic to the site is now HTTPS (i.e. encrypted). Previously, just password login pages were HTTPS. Any HTTP links will redirect to HTTPS automatically.

    Leaflet.js: We've completed a major change 'under the hood' which is to replace our map framework from OpenLayers 2 to Leaflet.js. Now that this is in place, this unlocks a major interface change that we're planning.

    Developer API: A fledgling developer API is now documented. London Cycling Campaign are using this to create a map of current consultations in London, thanks to work by Camden Cyclists. More will be added in future. Let us know if you have any particular requests for the API.

    Lots of other little bugfixes! We welcome any suggestions via the feedback link at the top of any Cyclescape page, or via our Github issues page, which is read directly by the development team.

    This work has been possible kindly thanks to grant support from the Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation. Thanks also to Nikolai and other developers who have made these improvements possible.

    Filtering planning applications

    We recently added a feature where planning applications in your area are automatically pulled into Cyclescape, so that new developments which affect cyclists can be turned into issues easily.

    We knew this would need some tuning, and a common request has been to filter out tree works, advertisement applications, and similar applications that are almost never of relevance to cycling.

    So we've added a feature to filter out planning applications on an area-by-area basis.

    For instance, in this listing, the first application is useful and has been converted to an issue, but the second issue is a tree works application and so ideally shouldn't have appeared in the list at all. So ideally we should aim to filter out this type of application for the area listed:

    Planning filtering

    For instance, in Cambridge all the tree works applications like 13/046/TTCA end in /TTCA , so we've added that as a filter.

    Because each Local Authority area has its own web-based planning application system (though some use the same backend), the filters currently have to be defined as patterns to exclude.

    Please look through the applications and see if you can spot the patterns for your area, and let us know via the feedback link at the top of any Cyclescape page.

    (We plan to make this directly editable by groups directly soon.)