“Oh I used to be disgusted, and now I try to be amused.” — Elvis Costello, (The Angels Want to Wear My) Red Shoes
Tour de Fat has officially set a date for this year’s return engagement, coming back to Los Angeles on October 8th. Better yet, that’s one day before the city’s 4th scheduled CicLAvia, making for a full weekend celebration of cycling in L.A.
The bad news is, October 8th is also Yom Kippur.
You’d think someone would check the calendar before scheduling a date in a city with such a large Jewish community, many of whom are active cyclists. And might appreciate having a day full of beer and bikes to atone for.
File this one under the heading of They Just Don’t Get It.
Malibu City Council approved a three-hour Bicycle Safety public workshop, to be held on a Saturday morning at a date to be determined. Great news so far, as cyclists have been pushing for an open discussion of the problems we face riding in and through the ‘Bu, while city officials — particularly members of the city’s Public Safety Commission — have been surprisingly open to dialogue with the biking community.
And then there’s the Sheriff’s Department.
“It should be noted that the Sheriff’s department expressed concern about whether a workshop would be a benefit to the city’s goals of improved safety. During previous discussions with members of cycling organizations and bike clubs, the Sheriff’s liaison stated that the cyclists continued to disagree with the Sheriff’s interpretation of the law. There was additional concern expressed that the goal to open communication between motorists and cyclists would not likely be achieved through the workshop as it is doubtful that many non-cycling members of the public would consider attending,” the staff memo adds.
So, discussion is only worthwhile when we think they’re right?
Maybe we continue to disagree because the Sheriff’s Department in Malibu continues to interpret state law incorrectly. Despite the best efforts of cyclists to point out that we do in fact have a legal right to ride in the traffic lane, and that nothing in state law prohibits riding side-by-side in order to safely control the lane when necessary, even — or especially — on busy highways like PCH.
And somehow, given the passionate hatred expressed towards cyclists by some Malibu residents, I doubt getting the non-riding public to attend will be a problem.
Oh. My. God.
The driver who ran down cross-country cyclist and former USC Athletic Department employee Roger Grooters has had his license suspended for just six months and fined a paltry $1,160 by a Florida judge.
Six lousy months of being prohibited from driving — and no jail time — after carelessly killing another human being. Before being allowed back on the roads to do it again to someone else.
That isn’t even a slap on the wrist. They might as well have given him a cigar and a pat on the back for reducing the state’s surplus cyclist population.
Clearly, life is cheap in Florida.
There are no words. At least, none that I’d want to use here.
But I can tell you where I won’t be spending my next vacation.
In our continuing coverage of former Tour de France winners accused of doping, Lance officially retired once again on Wednesday. Contador’s decision to ride this year’s Giro may be a polite way to avoid being banned from Le Tour, while Spanish meat producers say he’s full of mierda. A physician says he was fired from a Spanish bike team when he refused to dope the riders. And UCI threatens to sue Floyd Landis over his allegations of a cover-up; Dave Moulton says Landis has a right to be ticked off.
If you’re as disgusted as I am with all the endless doping and cheating charges, denials and countercharges, try following the Twitter feed of rising star Taylor Phinney, whose cheerful optimism could restore your faith in pro cycling.
Or even in humanity.
The Seattle Times offers an in-depth and very insightful look at the seemingly inevitable conflicts between drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, and the anger that springs from it. If you don’t read any of the other links on here today, read this one.
Santa Monica’s Planning and Community Development Department invites you to participate in a special workshop to help transform the Bergamot area into an urban transit village, including pedestrian and bike linkages to the Expo Line, Bergamot Arts Center and other destinations. The meeting takes place from 6:30 – 9 pm tonight at Pier 59 Studios, 2415 Michigan Ave in Bergamot Station.
Bike Long Beach is hosting a bike ride for the city’s next Bicycle Master Plan workshop this Saturday, Feb. 19th. The ride departs from the Silverado Park Community Center, 1545 W. 31st Street at 10 am; the workshop begins at 11:30 am. And take a look at what they’ve accomplished already.
Big bike happenings Downtown this week as DTLA Bikes opened on Wednesday, and the city’s first bike corral officially opens Friday. If you liked October’s first CicLAvia, you’ll love April’s on the same route. Glendale’s Safe and Healthy Streets Plan moves forward to make the city safer for cyclists and pedestrians; meanwhile, Glendale and Burbank cooperate to request Metro funds for transportation improvements, including a bike boulevard on Kenneth Road. At least some San Diego business people get that bikes are good for business, encouraging people to Bike the Boulevard this Saturday. The 2011 NorCal High School mountain bike racing season kicks off Feb. 27th; why didn’t they have that when I was in school?
Sunset Magazine lists bike sharing, bike planning and car-free festivals — including CicLAvia — among their top 100 cultural trends in the West. Actor Matthew Modine and filmmaker David Holbrooke will host a nationwide mountain bike event on October 8th — yes, once again on Yom Kippur — to call attention to women’s rights in Afghanistan; then again, you haven’t mountain biked until you’ve bombed straight down a volcano. Bikes in the national parks are not just for tourists. The 17-year old Utah driver who killed a cyclist because her vision was obscured by birthday balloons will face misdemeanor charges. Bike Portland offers an alternate explanation for a recent cycling death. Favorable results are in for Portland’s cycle track and buffered bike lanes. The rich and powerful try to take down New York’s Prospect Park West bike lanes, including former NYDOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall and her husband, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. Current ABC and former CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour rolls on two wheels. In an all-too-familiar story, a Florida family is devastated when the father is killed in a cycling collision. In case you ever wanted to see what it’s like to vicariously run down a jay walking cyclist, here’s your chance.
In a typically illogical, knee-jerk motorhead response, a UK Member of Parliament suggests banning bikes from a highway to keep cyclists from getting killed, rather than doing something to keep drivers from killing them. A new car hood design promises to protect cyclists and pedestrians in collisions; instead of building safer cars, why not make safer drivers? Creative things to do with old bike parts. An Irish man accidently runs down and kills his own biking father. A triple confrontation with a road raging driver convinces a Sydney rider that angry drivers can make a cyclist’s life hell. Kiwi cyclists call for repealing New Zealand’s mandatory helmet law.
Finally, KCET’s Departures offers an exceptional in-depth look at the abused, and slowly recovering, L.A. River from the Headwaters to the Sepulveda Basin. Kudos to KCET; this one of the best examples I’ve seen of using online media to tell a story. Meanwhile, Flying Pigeon blogger Rick Risemberg looks at the graffiti and grace of the Downtown section of the river and its bike path.
Congratulations to new LACBC board members Lourdes Lopez, Steve Boyd and Carrie Ungerman.