Archive for October 22, 2010

Your weekend reading and upcoming events — starting with Tour de Fat

This weekend’s can’t miss event marks the marriage of fun, bikes and beer as New Belgium Brewery’s Tour de Fat makes its first L.A. stop on Saturday, October 23rd from 9 am to 5 pm at Downtown’s Los Angeles Historic State Park.

Sunday, October 24th, Sony sponsors their bikeless, but probably still fun, Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, which means the closure of several Downtown area streets.

Explore the effects of bicycles on art and culture at Re:Cycle — Bike Culture in Southern California, at U.C. Riverside’s newly relocated Sweeney Art Gallery at the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts3834 Main Street in downtown Riverside, exhibition continues through December 31st.

Glendale will host meetings to get public feedback on the proposed Safe & Healthy Streets Plan on Monday, October 25 at the Glendale Central Library Auditorium, and Wednesday, October 27 at the Sparr Heights Community Center; both meetings will run from 7 pm to 8:30 pm.

The first public hearings for L.A.’s proposed bicycle anti-harassment ordinance takes place at the City Council Transportation Committee at 2 pm on Wednesday, Oct. 27th at City Hall; a second hearing takes place on Monday, Nov. 1st before the far less bike-friendly Public Safety Committee.

Friday and Saturday, November 12th & 13th, celebrate the city’s favorite cuisine by riding your bike to the LA Tamale Throwdown sponsored by the Eastside Bicycle Club at Our Lady of Guadalupe church in Rose Hill; free bike valet sponsored by Flying Pigeon LA bike shop.

Flying Pigeon and the Bike Oven host the free Spoke(n) Art Ride on the 2nd Saturday of every month; the next ride will take place on Saturday, November 13th, starting 6:30 pm at 3714 N. Figueroa St. in Highland Park

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Everyone is praising next year’s Tour de France route; then again, that’s what they said about the last one before half the peloton crashed in the first week. Veteran rider Jens Voight follows the Schleck brothers to their new team for next year’s pro tour. After being cleared on a doping charge, Italian rider Franco Pellizotti considers legal action against the International Cycling Union (UCI); meanwhile, the Court of Arbitration rules UCI does not have authority to fine banned rider Alexander Vinokourov.

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Streetsblog says Public Safety Committee Chair Greig Smith won’t stand in the way of the proposed anti-harassment ordinance; on the other hand, some people think he doesn’t quite seem to get it, either. Gary makes his endorsements for Santa Monica City Council. Three cyclists will end a cross-country ride to raise awareness of child sexual abuse in Santa Monica on Sunday after nearly two months on the road. Pick the best recent roadside PSA. Famed L.A. photographer Gary Leonard offers his take on CicLAvia. Courtesy of the Claremont Cyclist comes word that L.A. will have its own Gran Fondo next year on a date to be determined. Video of an epic tall bike fail; evidently, it happened right here on the Westside at L.A. Brakeless. New Newport Beach Police Chief Jay Johnson talks bikes with members of the local cycling community. Bad bike parking in San Diego, contrasted with some that actually works. Cal State Fresno attempts to solve bike parking problems on campus with a bike barn. Just in time for Halloween, a haunted Sacramento bike shop. Giving bike corridors priority in pavement repairs.

Problems with the nation’s largest local bike organization evidently go far beyond firing, then rehiring, the executive director. Portland has a new bakfiets-based mobile bike service station. Seattle Transit offers graphic evidence that bike crashes go down as ridership goes up. An Albuquerque driver — and motorcycle safety instructor — is accused of intentionally running over a cyclist. Dozens of old autos, 449 horses, 10 covered wagons, 3 oxen, and 5 jackasses — and no, they weren’t the ones on the bike. A pajama-clad cyclist is charged with domestic battery, resisting arrest and riding without a headlight. For the second time in just six weeks, a cyclist is fatally doored in New York City; the driver received a summons for “unsafe exiting.” Just because a bike path is on the map doesn’t mean it’s actually a bike path. A reminder from the NYDOT why the speed limit is set at 30 mph; maybe we should try that out here where speed limits are just suggestions. Brooklyn has its own version of the Wilbur Ave road diet controversy; pro bike lane demonstrators outnumber those against 4 to 1. A nice story about bicycling for the blind on tandem bikes. A bicycle bakery in Burlington, Vermont. Remembering a Boston cyclist killed in a collision. Zeke takes a ride through the autumn Carolina countryside.

Evidently, it’s open season on cyclists in Canada, since killing two riders only costs $2000 and your license for two years. An Ontario cyclist is seriously injured when a dog walker lets go of the leash. Could this strange contraption really set a land-speed record for wooden bikes? Oxford cyclists fight back against a proposal that could create a hostile environment for cyclists. A motorist and cyclist come to blows after the rider somehow comes in contact with the vehicle’s side mirror. A profile of Taiwan’s Giant bicycle brand, while the island nation’s first professional bike race is cancelled by a typhoon. Does Mark Ronson’s The Bike Song represent the death of hipsterism?

Finally, BikeRadar offers scientific evidence that just about everything you thought was bad for you will help your riding. So go ahead and drink, swear, eat chocolate, flirt and have sex.

But if you’re biking to do a drug deal, don’t take your kid with you.

This weekend Tour de Fat is where it’s at

I admit, I’ve thought about it.

This Saturday, someone will get a new bike from New Belgium Brewing. And all you have to do is turn over your car keys and agree to commute by bike for the next year.

It’s tempting.

I mean, my little car is just two years away from the age of consent. And I’ve been using it less and less in recent years as I’ve turned from driving to biking, transit and walking, and my clients no longer seem to feel a need to see me in person in this digital age.

In fact, my tax records show I put less than one thousand miles on my car last year; many Angelenos do more than that in a slow month.

There also seems to be a perfect symmetry to it, since New Belgium is located in my hometown, and makes one of my two favorite beers — and trust me, I’ve probably tried a few thousand beers just to get it down that far. Though which of those two I like best seems to vary from day to day, depending on my mood and what I happen to have on hand.

And I doubt I have to tell you which one I find myself craving as Tour de Fat approaches.

Someone will be riding this bike home — and to work for the next year.

But then there are days like Wednesday, when I ferried three people home from a meeting on a rainy night. And that’s a damn hard thing to do on a bike.

So I’ll be keeping my car, if somewhat reluctantly.

But I will be riding bright and early to the first-ever Los Angeles edition of the Tour de Fat on Saturday, scheduled to take place from 9 am to 5 pm this Saturday, October 23 at Los Angeles Historic State Park just east of Chinatown.

It just happens to be happening just two weeks after a surprisingly successful CicLAvia, leaving local cyclists lusting for another fun bike event.

And from what I’ve heard, Tour de Fat is a hell of a lot of fun.

There’ll be a bike parade through the streets of Downtown starting around 11. And music and entertainment — and yes, beer — throughout the afternoon.

Tentative Schedule:

  • 10:00 a.m.     Bike Parade Registration
  • 11:00 a.m.     Bike Parade Launch
  • 12:00 p.m.     Performances Begin
  • 12:20 p.m.     The SLOW RIDE
  • 1:30 p.m.       Great Bike Story Contest for New Belgium Cruiser Bike
  • 2:35 p.m.       Car-for-Bike Trade Celebration
  • 4:50 p.m.       Faux Finale
  • 4:55 p.m.       Faux-Real finale
  • 5:00 p.m.       Curtain Closes

Acts:

In fact, I have it on good authority that the New Belgium people were teaching their volunteers the proper way to pour a beer on Wednesday evening, just one floor below the LACBC board meeting.

And yet, they didn’t send a single pint our way or ask for any volunteers to test their efforts.

But the event is free — and no, the beer isn’t — but any money raised will go to a good cause. Or three, since it’s a fundraiser for C.I.C.L.E., LACBC and the Bicycle Kitchen.

You can preregister here to save some time waiting in line. And costumes are strongly encouraged.

Personally, I’m thinking about going as a MAMIL.

Remember, biking under the influence is illegal in California, so limit your alcohol consumption just like you would if you were driving. And 25% of the biking fatalities in the U.S. involve cyclists who have been drinking, so have fun, but be careful on your way home.

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Council hearings are scheduled for the proposed anti-harassment ordinance before the Transportation Committee on Wednesday the 27th, and the far less bike-friendly territory of the Public Safety Committee on Monday, November 1st. Full details on Streetsblog and LAist.

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Looks like LADOT has lots of bike racks, and wants your suggestions on where to put them (be nice). Romance is in the air as the Car-Less Valley Girl falls in back in love with her bike. Long Beach bike maven Charlie Gandy provides an online slide show showing what’s next for our bike friendly neighbors to the south. Speaking of Long Beach, it looks like the biking expats are going to hole up in Portland for the winter. Bike planning continues to spread throughout the county as West Hollywood gears up for a new Bike Task Force. One more reason to ride — you hardly ever hear about police finding a mummified body on a bike. Biking to the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition; check out the double-decker tall bike. Riding from Alaska to Key West to raise awareness for suicide prevention. Bicycling offers a good examination on the state of helmet design; thanks to Stanley for the heads-up. A graphic comparison of bike share programs around the world shows the U.S. has some work to do. Instead of having a basket on your bike, why not have bike that is a basket. A Colorado Springs cyclist slowly recovers two months after being left for dead by a hit-and-run driver. Why is Nashville’s new bike share program being kept under wraps? A bike rider in Ohio is convicted of dragging a dog behind his bike, in what his lawyer claims was a misguided attempt to help a stray pup. Schmuck. New York prepares to crack down on scofflaw cyclists — and speeders too — but apparently, things are so good in Brooklyn the only thing left to complain about is bikes. Mountain Bike magazine bites the dust. The BBC looks at the surge in American cycling, as we struggle to overcome a century of auto-centric planning. Italian cyclist Franco Pellizotti is cleared of doping charges. Biking through the streets of Adelaide naked from the waist down.

Finally, congratulations to Simi Valley cyclist Katie Cook, the newest national BMX champ.

And to think she only took off her training wheels two years ago.

Compare and contrast: taking the Times and other local media to task for unbalanced reporting

One was a 17-year old cyclist killed on the streets of Pacoima. The other was a 16-year old runner who died on the streets of Sherman Oaks.

Daniel Marin and Connor Lynch.

One attended a public school in Granada Hills; the other went to an exclusive private school. Daniel Marin died alone on the streets of a disadvantaged neighborhood; Connor Lynch died trying to catch up to teammates in one of the Valley’s most desirable communities.

Both deaths devastated family and friends, and brought tears to classmates.

Yet one received a massive outpouring of news coverage in the local media and around the state and nation, while the other barely made a ripple in the local press and was soon forgotten — without once mentioning the victim’s name.

It’s not that the death of runner Connor Lynch was any less tragic than Daniel Marin’s, or that it shouldn’t have been reported the way it was. Any death on our streets is a loss to the entire community; every story deserves to be told, and every victim remembered.

It’s just that Danny Marin deserved to be remembered too.

Maybe it’s because Danny died on a weekend, when the severe cutbacks in the local press mean there’s often no one around to report the story, while Connor’s killing occurred just in time for the evening news.

Or maybe it’s because some people questioned why a 17-year old would be on the streets at that late night hour. Yet it only took a little investigation by the only reporter who took the time to talk to Danny’s family and friends to uncover a perfectly benign and banal reason why he was coming home so late.

It might be because Danny’s death occurred in a largely forgotten section of the city, while Connor was killed on a busy street in an upscale community; I really don’t want to believe that the difference in coverage is due to the ethnic background of the victims or their respective communities.

Maybe it’s because Connor was participating in school activity as part of an athletic team, while Danny was just a guy trying to get home.

I don’t think it was simply because Danny was on a bike, or because traffic deaths have become so commonplace in our society; countless other pedestrians have died, even in hit-and-runs, without attracting the outpouring of news and grief that Connor Lynch received.

Frankly, I can’t explain it, any more than I can explain why the driver who ran Connor down was immediately arrested when she turned herself in to officers a few blocks away. Yet authorities initially failed to take any action against the woman who ran down Ed Magos, even though she didn’t turn herself in at a police station until hours later.

Yes, Connor was killed, while Magos was “merely” injured. But in both cases, the drivers took the same actions to turn themselves in — and much more promptly in the more recent case.

Maybe the police learned something from the Magos case, after all.

And maybe the press will take a hard look at themselves, and accept that the life of a teenage cyclist in Pacoima is worth every bit as much as that of a runner from an exclusive private school.

Or maybe the Times, the Daily News — which purports to report on the Valley — and the city’s other media outlets will finally publish Daniel Marin’s name, nearly three weeks after they reported his death. Let alone actually tell his story.

I’m not suggesting that one column inch or a single minute of airtime should be taken away from Connor Lynch. But maybe the press could find a little time and space for some of the other victims of our streets.

And by the way, Friday’s memorial ride for Daniel Marin was a success.

Even if it got exactly one mention in the press.

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Speaking of reporting, was it a case of sloppy writing or a police officer suffering from an unbelievable ignorance of the law? In a story about Segways in La Jolla, the head of the San Diego PD Northern Division says it’s against the law to “ride a skateboard or a bicycle on business district streets.” Maybe he meant riding on the sidewalk, since California law allows bikes on any surface street or highway, with the exception of some freeways and expressways.

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Condolences to our friends at the LAPd, as another officer is killed while deployed with the Marines in Afghanistan. Officer Joshua Cullins had just two days left in the field when he was killed by an IED; he had just recently recovered from injuries received while attempting to disarm another explosive device in July.

And my sympathy and condolences to Chief Charlie Beck on the death of his mother.

If you’ve noticed a change in the way L.A. cyclists are treated on the streets, don’t forget that it all started with the appointment of Chief Beck last year.

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Maybe they need a bike safety course at City Hall, as new Planning Director Michael LoGrande becomes the latest city official to be injured on a bike. Another Santa Monica City council candidate responds to Gary’s survey on biking and transportation issues. KCRW’s Kajon Cermak looks back on CicLAvia. How to stay dry on your commute during L.A.’s early winter, following our virtually nonexistent summer. The world is rediscovering the odd-looking Pedersen bike; at least one L.A. bike shop actually sells them. A Modesto musician becomes the latest cyclist to die from the hit-and-run plague. San Jose’s Bike Party gets thousands of people on their bikes to celebrate cycling without the conflict of Critical Mass. A look at Oakland’s Scrapertown scene. A Walnut Creek cyclist suffers major head injuries after falling from his bike; that’s exactly the sort of accident helmets were designed for.

A Utah teenager drives with her windows decorated for 17th birthday, and crosses onto the other side of the road to kill a cyclist. An Iowa father deliberately runs down his son’s bike because the teenager hadn’t been home in two days. Two Wisconsin hockey players face murder charges after knocking a cyclist off his bike, while another faces obstruction charges and eight teammates have been suspended for one year. Hundreds rally is support of New York’s new Prospect Park West bike lane; the downside is that yes, you do have to look both ways when you cross the street, a skill most non-New Yorkers master by age 7. The off-duty NYPD officer accused of threatening a cyclist with a gun says it was just his badge instead; easy mistake, since guns and badges look so much alike. A Tampa Bay homeowner is up in arms about the “20-plus” cyclists who invade her quiet equine community each weekend.  Now can we look forward to mandatory cyclist airbag laws? Yet another cyclist/driver complains about how those darn bike riders could ruin his life by forcing him to kill them.

A Montreal man gets 8 years for killing a cyclist during a police chase. Removing traffic signals to improve road safety. The UK’s bike-to-work plan may survive the country’s budget cuts after all. A London rider says he loves bicycling, but he’s not prepared to advertise a bank for the privilege of doing it. Viscously beat a cyclist unconscious, and get community service. Speaking of community service, that’s what a van driver got for killing a rider after a 13-hour, all-night shift. A new autobiography from the other Isle of Man cyclist. Biking through the Italian countryside.

Finally, in the Netherlands, bike theft isn’t just a crime, it’s an avocation.

Riding random thoughts on a semi-rainy day

This is me climbing the walls.

Between today’s semi-threatening weather and an unrelenting workload — not that I’m complaining about having work in this economy, mind you — I find myself riding a wave of seemingly random thoughts rather than the bike I’d like to be on.

Partly because the bike I’d like to be on is finally ready to ride.

For some reason, I’ve never had the love for the 6-year old LeMond at the top of this page that I had for my now 30-year old Trek.

Maybe because it feels every little bump, and never felt nailed to the road like my old bike did. Or maybe because I’ve had my old bike longer than I’ve had my wife, and haven’t built the memories on the new one that I made on the old one — my bike, that is, not my wife.

Before

Although I’m sure the infamous beachfront bee encounter would certainly stand out, if only I could remember what happened.

Then again, that was before a broken wheel kept me off my bike for the last three weeks. Although I was happy to have the loan of a surprisingly lithe, plush and easy to ride red Urbana bike in the meantime.

After

But over the weekend, the kind folks at Trek and Beverly Hills Bike Shop — which isn’t actually in Beverly Hills, even though the sidewalk in front of it is — replaced my wheel under warranty, for which I thank both. So now I find myself jonesing to get out for a long ride on my own bike, and realizing just how much I’d missed it.

Especially since I got a report today that the virtually unridable sidewalk bike path along Sepulveda Blvd that we discussed yesterday may have finally seen a little improvement, along with the badly cracked Class 1 path through the Marina.

And unfortunately, that time off my bike is starting to show in the snugness of my waistband. And evidently, there’s a reason for that.

According to a formula in a recent issue of Bicycling, I burn about 1,000 calories an hour. (Weight divided by 2.2, multiplied by 12 if you ride between 16 –19 mph; my normal cruising speed is 18 – 20. Or multiply by 16 if you ride 20 mph or higher, by 10 if you ride 14 – 16, 8 for 12 – 14, 6 for 10 – 12, or by 4 if you ride less than 10 mph.)

So that’s somewhere around 10,000 –12,000 calories a week I haven’t been burning. And 3,500 calories plus or minus equals 1 pound of weight gained or lost.

The fun, not-so-little Urbana I borrowed — love those big, bouncy glow-in-the-dark tires

It also explains, in least in part, why a recent study suggested that biking on a regular basis could add up 14 months to your life. Although as far as I’m concerned, extending the quality of life is every bit as important as extending the length of it.

Which is why I plan to keep riding as long as my body will let me. That and the fact that there’s almost nothing I’d rather do.

And that could help explain yesterday’s article in the Times, which said that sales are down for electric bikes. While an e-bike may provide efficient, sweat-free transportation, it can’t provide the same health benefits or the sheer satisfaction and physical joy of pedaling a bike.

E-bikes can also cost every bit as much as, and sometimes more than, a Vespa-style scooter — even an electric one — while being more difficult for a beginner to ride. And you can’t always ride them everywhere bikes are allowed.

So I think I’ll stick with my bike, thank you. The one with the new wheel, tire and cycling computer.

And I plan to pedal its skinny GatorSkins Downtown for Tour de Fat this Saturday — and burn a few thousand calories in the process, which should just about make up for the calories I expect to consume there.*

* Biking under the influence is illegal in California, so limit your alcohol consumption just like you would if you were driving.

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Word broke Monday that a SoCal golfer died after being struck in the head with a golf ball; there’s no truth to the rumor that Mayor Villaraigosa may propose a mandatory helmet law for everyone on the links. Contrast the massive media coverage his death received with the minimal coverage given most biking fatalities; then again, golfing deaths a pretty rare, while a death on the streets just isn’t that usual. Thanks to Rex Reese for the heads-up.

And in a story that defies rational explanation — or rather, in which the explanation doesn’t seem rational — Witch on a Bicycle points out that authorities in a Massachusetts town blame a bicycle rider for plowing down two parking meters before crashing into a car. Call me crazy, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cyclist who could knock over a solid steel parking meter post. Let alone two.

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Next year’s Tour de France looks like one of the more challenging routes in years, with six high mountain stages and four summit finishes. As expected, a Spanish cyclist ends the year ranked #1 in the world — but it’s Rodriguez, not TdF winner and tainted meat eater Contador; Tyler Farrar is the top American at #9. And Lance is well on his way to fathering his own team as he becomes a dad for the fifth time.

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Streetsblog asks where the next CicLAvia should be. The Claremont Cyclist discusses the 2nd Annual Mike Nosco Memorial Bicycle Ride; this year’s ride will benefit Andreas Knickman, the son of former pro racer Roy Knickman, in his fight against cancer. Bikeside’s Mihai Peteu reports on last Friday’s memorial ride for Daniel Marin. A Long Beach cyclist is threatened with tickets in retaliation for questioning an officer. Gary continues to shine a light on the Santa Monica City Council race, as two more candidates respond to his questionnaire on biking and land use issues. Will questions just how much a bike is really worth. Bicycle Fixation takes an in-depth look at bike parking, comparing a well-designed rack with a modern relic from the best-forgotten past. San Francisco aims for a 20% bike share by 2020, and a bold path forward for Bay Area cyclists. The Sonoma County GranFondo hit-and-run is now being investigated as an intentional assault. Advice on what to do if you’re stopped for riding in the lane, in response to a sheriff’s deputy who just didn’t get it. Bike lawyer Bob Mionske is interviewed by a Cleveland radio station. A reminder to check your auto insurance, because the uninsured motorist coverage can protect you on a bike. A Kansas City cyclist known locally as the Bike Man is gunned down and left to die in the street. New York Critical Mass riders win a nearly $1 million settlement; half will go for legal fees. An NYC cyclist shoots a cop when they try to stop him for riding illegally on the sidewalk; seems like a bit of an overreaction to me. NFL quarterback Tom Brady and supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen ride bikes sans helmets. Why drivers should love Toronto’s new bike boxes. Eight months in jail for running down a cyclist and leaving the scene while driving with impaired vision. A 6-year old cyclist is clotheslined when he rides into an over-extended dog leash.

Finally, biking can do more than just get you from here to there, it can also lead you home to a family you’ve never known. Or it can provide the path to true love — or not, as the case may be — in one of the cutest short films I’ve seen in ages.

A low-cost fix for a troubled West L.A. bikeway

Click for detailed map with description and photos

Earlier this year, I wrote about Westwood’s abandoned bikeway — a winding Class 1 route that leads from the intersection of Wilshire and Veteran to the southern edge of the VA Center along Ohio Ave.

It should be a pleasant off-road feeder route for UCLA students, especially since cyclists are no longer allowed to pass through the National Cemetery north of Wilshire. Unfortunately, a lack of maintenance has made it virtually unridable in places; yet it continues to remain on the city’s draft bike plan, for reasons only a bureaucrat could understand.

Recently Evan Garcia, a cyclist who works at UCLA, emailed me with a suggestion that could revive the route by allowing riders to bypass the worst sections and connect to Ohio without running the gantlet of traffic on narrow Veteran Blvd.

Not only is it a great idea, it could be accomplished right now at minimal cost. So I asked Evan to explain it in his own words.

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This site did a great service for all West LA and Westwood cyclists when it thoroughly dissected the problems with the Westwood Park bike path. As it currently stands, it’s a forgotten route. That isn’t to say that cyclists don’t ride through Westwood Park — I do, and I see others often — but right now it has been so neglected in parts (simply look at the photos of the path along Sepulveda) that its full length is not a viable route for cyclists. So, out of both wishful thinking and selfish reasons (it would make my bike commute between Santa Monica and Westwood Village much more enjoyable), I’m proposing some changes to the route that would extend its usefulness.

A simple change here could let bikes bypass heavily trafficked Westwood streets

If you aren’t familiar with the area, Ohio Ave. is a two lane east-west street between Wilshire and Santa Monica Blvds used by many cyclists. Veteran Ave. runs north-south, and it is between Sepulveda and Westwood Blvds. Neither Ohio or Veteran have bike lanes. The “existing” bike path, as previously described on this site, runs on a crumbling sidewalk along Sepulveda. One could of course ride along Sepulveda in the street, but there is no bike lane and drivers seem to treat it as a mini-freeway. On the sidewalk on the east side of Sepulveda are many businesses with parking lots, leading to a risk of a car entering or exiting without looking for bikes traveling on the sidewalk.

Narrow Veteran Avenue isn’t safe or inviting even for experienced for cyclists

Currently when I bike to Westwood, I travel along Ohio and turn left onto Veteran heading north. The ride along Ohio is acceptable, though of course it could be better.  I feel a major problem is alongside Veteran, however. Veteran is a street with two lanes and parking for cars on both sides, as is Ohio, but it is much more narrow than Ohio.

As a result, riding along Veteran can be very intimidating and unpleasant. If there are cars coming in the opposite direction, cars behind a cyclist cannot pass. Of course, many drivers have honked at me (or at the car waiting to pass me) and the cars parked along Veteran ensure that a cyclist is in the door zone unless they take the full lane. What I propose is linking Ohio to the bike path through Westwood Park via Greenfield Avenue, a street one block west of Veteran that dead-ends at a parking lot for the park. This would allow cyclists to travel between Ohio and Veteran through the park and without the dangers of riding along narrow Veteran Ave.

Gate at the end of Greenfield Ave

Greenfield Ave. terminates at the far end of the parking lot. Access from the street to the parking lot is currently blocked off — I assume to prevent cars traveling south on Veteran from driving through the lot quickly as a shortcut to get to Ohio — by a large swinging gate. Along the sidewalk are two stationary poles. Replacing the gate with additional poles — which could be removed by park employees to allow park vehicles to get through — would let cyclists pass between Greenfield and the parking lot without going on the sidewalk, while still preventing cars from cutting through.

Curb blocking convenient bike access

Between the parking lot and the bike path is a curb, and a small incline with a dirt path. Removing the curb would let bikes connect to the path from the parking lot. Further north near where the path exits the park and runs alongside the Federal Building is a crosswalk across Veteran at Rochester Avenue.

Installing a wheelchair cutout on the west side of Veteran — there is already one on the east side — would let cyclists cross much more easily than trying to turn left onto Veteran from one of the Federal Building driveways.

Veteran Ave near exit from Westwood Park; even with a crosswalk, it can be difficult to get across

This may be a pipe dream, but also having a crosser-controlled light warning signal would alert drivers that someone — a cyclist or pedestrian — is waiting to cross (I know from personal experience that very few drivers will voluntarily stop to let someone waiting to cross; it usually takes going into the crosswalk when there is no traffic on the nearest side and hoping that drivers coming on the other side slow down).

I realize that this would not make for a perfect bike path — it does nothing to address the problems of the path along Sepulveda and Ohio — but I think it would make getting from Westwood to Ohio less stressful and dangerous.

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After challenging in the Vuelta, Philippe Gilbert won his second consecutive Tour of Lombardy. Just days after having his two-year ban for doping reduced for cooperating with investigators, Danilo di Luca is free to compete again. David Millar and the ageless Jeannie Longo win the final time trial of the European pro season. Katie Compton wins in the first round of the MTB World Cup.

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SoCal based Felt bikes rolled along with the rest of us at CicLAvia. The people behind CicLAvia are officially honored by the City Council, and deserve our thanks, as well. Examined Spoke compares biking infrastructure in the U.S. and Europe firsthand, and not surprisingly, finds us lacking. The Claremont Cyclist reports on the CORBA Fat Tire Festival — and encourages you to support the advocacy groups that work to keep us all safer. El Random Hero becomes yet another victim of bike theft. A look at Tucson Velo, that great bike website to our east. Building memories in a two-week family bike tour of the Rockies. Nearly 25% of bicyclists killed in the U.S. in 2008 were legally drunk; a BAC of .08 raises a cyclist’s risk of serious injury by 2,000%. Don’t just ride on sharrows, wear them. Building bike culture in the land of Elvis and Rev. Al Green. An 82-year old Destin FL man rides his first century just to see if he could. A Manhattan cyclists alleges an off-duty cop pulled a gun on him in a road rage incident. Taking a bike tour of the palace of Versailles. Biking for transportation means riding anytime, not just bike commuting. Kiwi cyclists can look forward to riding with Landis.

Finally, some good news over the weekend as pro BMX rider and MTV host TJ Lavin shows signs of improvement after being critically injured attempting a stunt in Las Vegas; is he’s.

And in non-bike related news, congratulations to my good friends at Altadenablog, who are now officially related to a saint, by blood or marriage, respectively. I have no idea how that would feel; most of my relatives lean the other way.

Putting flesh on a traffic statistic — the life and tragic death of Daniel Marin

Maybe I shouldn’t let it get to me.

But the news reports that a cyclist has been killed or seriously injured. Then you never hear another word about it.

No follow-up. No ID of the victim. No effort to examine what happened or why. Or to look at the lifebehind the news, or the shattered lives left behind.

That’s the way it stood on October 2nd, when a barebones report broke that a 17-year old bicyclist had been killed on Laurel Canyon Blvd in Pacoima.

For days afterward, there was no other mention in the news; no name to put to the tragedy. But as too often happens, it seemed to be forgotten by the media the moment it was reported.

Just one of the 93 people who left home that day who would never return. One more statistic in the annual tsunami of traffic deaths.

Then a week ago, I stumbled on a story in a local Valley paper, the San Fernando Sun.

Daniel Marin.

A senior at Kennedy High School, a ‘”good kid from a religious family” with good grades, “mild-mannered” and a “great looking kid with a smile that would light up any room…”’ according to the paper.

Finally, the statistic had a name. And I assumed that was the end of the story.

But the Sun wasn’t done.

This week, they followed up with another story that went beyond the first to draw a portrait of who Daniel was, and why he was on the street so late that night. And why his death will leave such hole in the lives of those who loved him.

On the night he was killed, Marin said his son had gone to a football game at San Fernando High School with his uncle and cousins. His cousin is a cheerleader at the school. Afterward Daniel went back to his uncle’s house to eat and then he got a call from his friends to get together for an evening bike ride.

“Daniel got a flat tire earlier and we ended up at Ritchie Valens Skate Park, and we all spent time hanging out and talking,” said his friend Jorge Lopez.

Daniel’s best friend, Angel Lopez said it’s been very hard for him and all of his friends. “When I was told what happened, I didn’t believe it. I had to ask four different people before I believed it. I saw Daniel every day. His absence is noticeable for all of us and really hard for me because I’m used to seeing him everyday.

A regular rider on Critical Mass, Daniel had worked with his father to build his own bike, a fixed gear bike he rode everywhere.

“This has been very hard on us,” Marin said, “Daniel has younger brothers and sisters, and it’s hard for all of us. My son was always so respectful to me, he never argued with me. I took him to work with me, doing construction and he decided that he wanted to do something else. He wanted to work in health, giving dialysis treatments to people. You expect that your kids will bury you, not the other way around.

“He was on his way home,” Marin continued. “He was less than a half mile away from home when he was killed.”

I’ve read that last sentence a dozen times. And every time I feel the pain contained in those words.

And that’s exactly how it should be. Any traffic death is tragic; any loss should hurt like hell.

We shouldn’t hide behind minimal news coverage to mask the pain. Unless we feel it, we’ll never do anything about it.

The victims deserve to be remembered with more than just a tombstone and white bike. They should be carried with us in our hearts and in our memories.

Daniel Marin was not collateral damage.

He was a loved and loving son and friend. And as the Sun makes clear, he will be very missed.

I never met Daniel. But after reading about him, I feel like that was my loss. And that our entire community lost someone special that night.

It’s a story that’s definitely worth reading; thanks to the Sun’s Diana Martinez for caring enough to tell it.

Rest in peace, Daniel.

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The CicLAvia story just keeps on going.  LACBC looks back at Sunday and asks why CicLAvia can’t be every day. Rolling interviews with bike community leaders at CicLAvia, while This Girl’s Bike offers more photos of the day. The City Council commends CicLAvia for a job well done; think you can wait another 6 months for the next one?

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Bike Talk airs Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Explore the effects of bicycles on art and culture at the Grand Opening of Re:Cycle — Bike Culture in Southern California, October 7th – 9th, at U.C. Riverside’s newly relocated Sweeney Art Gallery at the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts3834 Main Street in downtown Riverside. A reception will be held from 6 – 10 pm Thursday, October 7th; the exhibition continues through December 31st.

Bike the Long Beach Marathon course starting at 6 am on Sunday the 17th.

Also on Sunday the 17th, the 2010 Fat Tire Fest takes place at Castaic Lake, featuring exhibitions, riding contests, food and cyclocross races.

Glendale will host meetings to get public feedback on the proposed Safe & Healthy Streets Plan on Monday, October 25 at the Glendale Central Library Auditorium, and Wednesday, October 27 at the Sparr Heights Community Center; both meetings will run from 7 pm to 8:30 pm.

The city’s next big bike event take place in one more week, when New Belgium Brewery’s Tour de Fat makes its first L.A. stop on Saturday, October 23rd.

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The Times profiles UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup. More on the success of the LACBC’s City of Lights in getting bike parking for the city’s invisible cyclists. Streetsblog interview’s LACBC’s new Planning and Policy Director Alexis Lantz. The Claremont Cyclist rides to Crystal Lake, with photos. No Whip looks back on 508 merciless miles through the desert. LADOT Bike Blog looks at this weekend’s Fat Tire Fest, not to be confused with next weekend’s Tour de Fat. A Long Beach firefighter finds his life changed by the 525 mile Arthritis Foundation’s California Coast Classic. Riding in Riverside reports on our inland neighbor’s latest Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting. The hit-and-run epidemic strikes again the San Diego area. Plans for a bikeway in Santa Cruz’ Arana Gulch fall one vote short of success. San Francisco puts bike counters in bike lanes; hey, why didn’t anyone here think of that? Dealing with the trauma of killing a cyclist.

Peter Jacobsen explains his vision for zero traffic deaths. Calling all LAB member — Cyclelicious says it’s time to reform the board. Why is AAA picking on cyclists, when so many cyclists are drivers, too? Bicycling rates 16 essential bike tools. Riding a bike for perfectly selfish reasons. Evidently, there’s nothing suspicious about running down a cyclist from behind. The anti-bike backlash rears its ugly head in NYC. Buffalo Bills Safety Bryan Scott rides his bike to practice. Biking through the drive-through window. Dave Moulton encounters cyclists who seem to have no idea how to ride in traffic, or a bike path. Bob Mionske offers advice on riding in poor light conditions following the death of a popular cyclist. A Connecticut man pedals to the hospital after being shot in the ankle. Baltimore doubles its rate of bike commuting. An Army Major remains in critical condition more than two weeks after a distracted driver plowed down five riders on a group ride, saying he just didn’t see them.

So much for Omerta, as Danilo di Luca’s two-year ban for doping is cut to 15 months for cooperating with investigators. Pro riders plan to protest at Saturday’s Giro de Lombardia over the Italian anti-doping chiefs recent comments that all riders already dope; maybe it only seems that way. Stiffer sentences for crimes against cyclists in England than north of the border in Scotland. Brit cyclists are up in arms over a needless warning stripe marring a bikeway. Belfast cuts its cycling budget by 98%. Park your bike illegally in Copenhagen, and you could get your tires pumped and your chain oiled. Wellington, New Zealand’s new mayor says she’d rather ride her bike than trade it for the $70,000 official mayoral car. Good advice on riding in traffic; just remember it’s written for the UK, so substitute right side for left. Or you could just check out this American refresher on how to share the road.

Finally, a Bay Area dog earns a merit badge for bicycling.  No, really.

While 33 men were rescued from a Chilean mine, 6500 people died on American streets

Like everyone else, I kept an eye on the TV since the rescue of the Chilean miners began late Tuesday night.

My spirits soared when Florencio Avalos reached the surface, the first of 33 miners to be saved. And I’ve said a prayer of thanks for every one who has been brought out safe and alive, and rejoiced when the rescue capsule was raised for the last time and the final rescuer stepped out.

But let’s put this in perspective.

In the 10 weeks since the 33 miners were trapped on August 5, the world watched in rapt attention as an international team of rescuers literally moved the earth to bring them out.

But during the same 10 weeks, over 6,500 people died on American streets, based on statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

In the same period, roughly 850 pedestrians and 140 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle collisions.

By my count, 12 cyclists were killed by motor vehicles here in Southern California alone since August 5 alone; another died as the result of a collision with a pedestrian.

And no one even noticed.

No massive press response. No live coverage.

No 24/7 media watch tracking the safety of every motorist, cyclist, pedestrian and transit user throughout their journey, and breathlessly reporting when each arrived safely at their destination. Or breaking the tragic news to the world when one of the 33,963 people who were killed on our streets last year didn’t make it back again.

Those same statistics tell us that of the millions of people who will leave their homes today, 93 won’t return.

It could be you. Or me. It could be someone you love, or someone you barely know. Someone who once crossed your path, or someone you’ll never meet.

It’s just collateral damage. The price we’ve come to accept for the privilege of getting from here to there. 93 people every day. 651 every week. 2830 every month.

Roughly one person killed on American roads every 15 minutes.

And it touches virtually every life in this country.

So when does it become unacceptable? When do we reach the point when we decide as a society that the price is too high, that the last death was one too many?

And we’re willing to put the same effort into saving the 33,000 that we put into saving the 33.

I’m already there.

I thank God the miners are safe.

And I’ll be just as glad when the rest of us are.

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An Orange County mom takes to Facebook to find the Mercedes Benz driver who apologized for hitting her bike-riding son in Lake Forest before driving off. Meanwhile, a repeat drug offender gets four years in prison for killing a cyclist in an Orange County hit-and-run, and police search for an SUV that fled the scene after hitting a rider in last weekend’s Sonoma County GranFondo.

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More on CicLAvia from the Occidental Weekly, and the Times publishes letters in support of it, as well as letters on both sides of the Wilbur Ave controversy. (The car is the “most efficient means of transportation ever devised”? Really?)

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In an incredibly shortsighted move, the new Brit government cut funding for Cycling England, the successful program that trained over 400,000 children how to ride safely each year, even though it will only save £200,000 — about $330,000; the Bikeability program will continue for now.

Hopefully, they’ll increase funding for the National Health Service to make up for it; just one injured child could cost far more than they’ll save.

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For the second year, the Amgen Tour of California will end in Thousand Oaks. Long Beach is getting another Bike Station, offering free secure bike parking, bike shop, rentals and repairs; my goal is to get one at L.A. City Hall to make it easier to ride to city council meetings. The Bus Bench complains about an inconsiderate schmuck with a bike on the Gold Line. Evidently, bike industry insiders just don’t like Anaheim. Riverside’s new Culver Center opens with an exhibit on bike culture in Southern California. Your choice for governor: big bucks Whitman vs bike-lane Brown. Give all the angry people Dutch bikes. Advice on how to ride a bike in a dress. A key rule for bike safety — when car traffic slows down, watch out. Portland cyclists get their own green light. Three members of the Cutters, the Indiana University the 11 time Little 500 champion bike team made famous in Breaking Away, are injured in a head-on collision a week after another team member was hit by a car. What happens when sidewalk cafes swallow bike parking. A beautiful shot of DC bike lanes. A Baltimore cyclist explains to drivers why he sometimes has to take the lane. The World Anti-Doping Agency says they’ve heard Contador’s tainted meat excuse before. If regular bikes are just too boring for you, how about one without a seat? Kiwi police crack down on a bike pub crawl. A Sydney paper is up in arms over lawless cyclists terrorizing the city’s new bike lanes. Buenos Aires aims to be the Amsterdam of South American biking.

Finally, Sir Paul McCartney was hopping mad over a rude cyclist.

Casting a critical eye on Times columnist Sandy Banks’ Wilbur Ave auto-centric bias

You didn’t really think I was going to forget about Sandy Banks, did you?

CicLAvia may have pushed her recent one-sided column about the Wilbur Avenue road diet to the back burner. But far from out of mind.

There it was on Saturday morning, on the second page of the L.A. Times — the same paper that recently flaunted their new journalistic standards by replacing their front page with an ad for Law & Order Los Angeles.

And don’t get me started on the entirely inappropriate photo that accompanied Banks column.

Maybe all the paper’s photographers had the weekend off. Or maybe they were stuck in Valley traffic and couldn’t make it back in time to meet the paper’s new early press deadline.

Still, I expected better from her.

Her column usually focuses on feel-good stories about her family life, or those of ordinary Angelenos trying to make it in this megalopolis we call home.

This time, though, it was all about her anger and frustration over the road diet that cut Wilbur from four through lanes to two, making room for a center turn lane with bike lanes on either side.

For years, Wilbur Avenue had been a free-flowing community secret, a commuter street that bypassed the congestion of Northridge’s main routes. Then a “street improvement” project last month turned our speedway into a parking lot.

It wouldn’t have taken much research to reveal that her speedway was never intended as a bypass to the Valley’s more crowded boulevards, as drivers turned what should have been a quiet, safe residential street into a cut-through throughway that only benefitted the people who don’t live there.

The road diet merely returned a little sanity to a single local street. And if that slightly inconveniences the people who don’t live on it, it’s a small price to pay to preserve the livability of the neighborhood.

Despite denials from the people who should actually know, she also suggests that the mayor’s recent Road to Damascus conversion to bike advocate may have had something to do with the sudden, unannounced striping of bike lanes — forgetting that we live in a dysfunctional city where bureaucrats seldom speak to one another, let alone the public. And even though she notes herself that bike lanes have been slated for that street since 1996.

Then again, she’s probably not the only one who was shocked that something from the ’96 bike plan actually made it onto the streets.

Despite talking to LADOT’s John Fisher and Bikeways Coordinator Michelle Mowery, she fails to mention that the actual purpose of the road diet was to slow high-speed drivers like herself and return a little sanity to Wilbur Avenue. Or that the bike lanes were added almost as an afterthought because there was finally room for them.

Instead, she based her entire column on the mistaken concept that her inconvenience was due to the city giving cyclists priority over drivers.

Like that would ever happened here.

Needless to say, she had 12th District City Councilmember Grieg Smith, who never met a speed limit he didn’t want to raise, firmly in her corner.

“Wilbur is the wrong street for this kind of improvement,” said Smith, his sarcasm clear. His district office is on Wilbur, at the bike lane’s southern terminus. “I’ve driven that street for 30 years, and I have probably seen a total of 30 bicycles on Wilbur in all that time.”

Maybe he really was blindsided by the unannounced road diet. On the other hand, you’d think a council member would be able to pick up the phone and find out what’s going on in his own district.

And why.

Instead, he responded in typical knee-jerk, car-centric, anti-bike fashion, saying that the 98% of the public who drives shouldn’t be inconvenienced for the 2% on two wheels.

Never mind that many of us do both. And a lot more might if they felt safer on the streets of the council member’s own district.

In fact, the city’s new bike plan suggests that up to half of L.A. adults ride a bike from time to time, and roughly 12% ride on at least a monthly basis.

Smith should also know, as the mayor and many of his peers on the City Council seem to have figured out, that this city can no longer afford the same failed focus on automotive throughput that has destroyed the livability of many parts of our city. By focusing all our efforts on moving more and more cars through our streets, we have created gridlocked streets, destroyed our air quality and blighted countless pass-through neighborhoods.

On the other hand, by providing effective alternatives to driving — like well-designed bike lanes, for instance — we can create a safer, more walkable, ridable and livable Los Angeles that will improve the quality of life for everyone.

What we need to do is increase our 1% share of bike commuters on the street to the nearly 6% in Portland — or even the 3% currently enjoyed by San Francisco — rather than mercilessly drive them off the streets as Smith would do.

And make it safer and more convenient for people to leave their cars at home for short errands around their own neighborhood, which currently account for nearly half of all car trips.

Then everyone would benefit from the reduced congestion.

Even drivers like Banks who feel hopelessly inconvenienced by the first baby steps to get there.

Damien Newton looks at the Wilbur Ave controversy, and embeds a report from KNBC-TV 4.

Reports indicate that last night’s Northridge West Neighborhood Council meeting did not go well for the cyclists in attendance. Word is that drivers are on the offensive, and ready to steamroll cyclists and local residents to regain their high-speed Wilbur Avenue throughway. Although how effective it would be now that they’ve told everyone about their secret speedway is another matter.

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Frequent Kiwi contributor the Trickster forwards a link to a fascinating Aussie study of the role of traffic violations in collisions reported to the police. In over 6,000 crashes between bikes and motor vehicles, the cyclist was found at fault in 44% of the time, while cyclists were held at fault in 66% of crashes between bikes and pedestrians. However, you may want to note that the results are based on police reports, without independent analysis of their investigations.

He also forwards a report on a study of cycling injuries in Australia that suggests efforts to improve road safety for drivers have done little to improve safety for cyclists, and that cyclists are over-represented in their share of traffic injuries and under-represented in efforts to prevent them.

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Still more cicLAvia news, with photos from This Girls’s Bike, a report of Grist and an out of town visitor’s view of our fair city, Metro and a car-free Sunday from Plan Bike. Meanwhile CicLAvia wants your ideas for the next one.

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The Source offers an update on Metro’s bike efforts. New bike racks at the CARECEN day labor center in MacArthur Park. Photo’s from San Diego’s Tour de Fat, which will be hitting L.A. on the 23rd. It’s back to Vegas after all for Interbike. Portland looks beyond cyclists to promote biking as an everyday means of transportation. Cycleliscious updates the Black Hawk bike ban, along with new rules for large rides in lieu of the proposed ban in St. Charles County MO. St. Louis blocks many streets already, so why not let bikes through? Crain’s New York Business asks if the city should give up on Manhattan bike lanes; so far, the vote is running 9 to 1 in favor of keeping them. It’s fall back in the midlands. After killing a cyclist, a London dump truck driver is fined £165 and forced to get new glasses.

Finally, Hermosa Beach officials want your input regarding the sharrows on Hermosa Avenue; if you’ve ridden them, you know how effective they are; if not, they’re the gold standard for what SoCal sharrows can and should be.

Wednesday links — more CicLAvia, memorial ride for Daniel Marin and a lot of bike news

I’ve got too many links for just one post. So click away, and come back later today for my take on Saturday’s auto-centric column by the Times’ Sandy Banks.

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More great videos from CicLAvia, including the first L.A. Streetfilm paid for by user donations, as well as EzraHome and Los Angeles Cycle Chic, and photo sets from L.A. Cycle Chic and the Koreatown Youth and Community Center. Chimatli catches a little rocker in one of those perfect vignettes that defined the day. Or spend a few hours catching up with the 101 and counting CicLAvia videos currently on YouTube. Mark Elliott writes why CicLAvia matters, while a writer in the Times says he enjoyed CicLAvia, but would rather have more bike paths, instead. The CSUN Daily Sundial says it was a lot of pros, with a few minor cons mixed in.

And while we’re at it, here’s Mayor Villaraigosa’s somewhat underwhelming bike safety video to go along with the Give Me 3 campaign created by the LACBC and Midnight Ridazz.

Note: Initially, I mistakenly called the mayor’s Give Me 3 campaign; while he was involved in the approval and unveiling, he was not involved in the creation of the poster campaign.

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There will be a memorial ride this Friday in honor of Daniel Marin, the 17-year old cyclist killed on Laurel Canyon Blvd on October 1st; link courtesy of Claremont Cyclist.

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lawsuit has been filed in the case of four cyclists injured on PCH when Caltrans allegedly left unmarked hazards and debris on the shoulder for an entire weekend, despite warnings. After last week’s rain induced washout, Santa Monica students celebrate Bike It! Walk It! Day today. LADOT Bike Blog interviews the team behind the new SCAG Bike/Ped Wiki. Bikeside unveils the details behind the Life Before License campaign. L.A. County is about to have a new bike riding health services director. CNN offers a view of what L.A. could look like in the near future.

Long Beach makes Bicycling’s list of five up and coming bike cities. Clint Worthington, formerUltraMarathon record holder for biking from San Diego to Seattle in 4 days, 18 hours and 29 minutes, ison the ballot for city council in San Juan Capistrano. Thirty-one cyclists ride from Mammoth Lakes to Big Bear to raise funds for the U.S. Adaptive Recreation Center; sounds like a worthy cause to me. Cyclistsneed taming in Santa Cruz; to be honest, I ignore most “walk your bike” signs, too. The San Francisco cyclist killed by a Muni bus is remembered by his aunt. A Modesto college student recognizes her stolen bike, follows the rider and gets it back.

Attention male cyclists — just because a woman looks a lot better on a bike than you do does not mean she has any less knowledge or skills, capice? A new Portland store opens with more parking spaces for bikes than cars. Just days after getting fired, the former head of the 13,000 Cascade Bicycle Club willreturn for the next 6 months while they find a replacement; hey, I’m available. Then again, Maine’s Bicycle Coalition is looking for a new Executive Director, too. Colorado’s high school mountain bike racing league is taking off. An 89 year old Boulder CO man is injured in a collision with another cyclist. After sharrows are installed, Austin TX cyclists enjoy a 5.5 foot cushion from parked cars, compared to one foot before. Baton Rouge extends a bikeway on the Mississippi River levee, with plans to eventually extend it all the way to New Orleans; that was just a pipe dream for cyclists when I lived down there. A Philadelphia area woman is killed after being shot seven times while riding her bike. A memorial ridewill be held Sunday for Roger Grooters, the former USC athletic staffer killed last week on a cross country ride. A Tampa man hits a stranger eight times with his bike; no word on what caused the altercation.

A new ghost bike for a Canadian First Nation rider who died doing what he loved. Toronto cyclists and drivers don’t know what to make of the city’s new bike boxes, while the local branch of the Department of DIY installs bi-directional sharrows. Peugeot eyes a comeback to the world of biking. The UK’s Carbon Trust wants to get other people to reduce their carbon footprint, but won’t let their own employees ride bikes. Note to L.A. officials — London’s new bike share program is the city’s only transport system on its way to turning a profit. Australian cyclist Stephen Hines has been banned for two years for using clenbuterol, the same drug three-time Tour de France winner says he got by eating tainted meat. UsingPortland as a model for Melbourne, where cyclists will be able to get their next helmet from a vending machine — for just $5.

Finally, if you find yourself riding your bike past Paris Hilton’s house, don’t knock on the door.

Calling all cyclists — NC meeting tonight to discuss Wilbur Ave road diet and bike lanes

Just days after the success of CicLAvia, L.A. cyclists once again have to defend the little bit of infrastructure progress we’ve made.

Drivers long used to using Wilbur Ave are up in arms about the recent road diet that reduced it from four lanes to two through lanes and a center turn lane, along with bike lanes on either side of the street — and they have one of the city’s most car-centric Council Members in their corner.

Angry drivers are blaming a cabal of bicyclists for imposing unwanted bike lanes on the street. The truth, though, is that the reduction was made to stop the all too frequent practice of using Wilbur — an otherwise quiet residential street — as a high-speed throughway to bypass backed-up Valley streets; the bike lanes were just an added benefit once street capacity was already reduced.

Tonight there’s going to be a neighborhood council meeting to discuss the situation on Wilbur Avenue. The meeting will take place at 7 pm at the Northridge West Neighborhood Council at Beckford Avenue Elementary School, 19130 Tulsa Street, Northridge, 91326; cyclists are encouraged to attend.

I know it’s short notice. But if you can make it, wiser voices than mine encourage you to focus your comments on the benefits of the road diet for the local residents of the Wilbur Ave area.

By reducing the traffic capacity, it will reduce the high rate of cut-through traffic and slow down speeding drivers, making the street safer for everyone. And resulting in a more pleasant, livable and walkable neighborhood for the people who live there.

And the fact that bikeways tend to increase property values can’t hurt, either.

Unfortunately, I’ll be home tending to a sick wife tonight. But if anyone who attends wants to share their thoughts afterwards, just let me know. You can find my email address on the About Bikinginla page.

Thanks to Patrick, aka Trickmilla, for the heads-up.

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