Talking back to L.A. Weekly, Newport Beach decides it’s safe enough, a London look at U.S. car culture

A cyclist, bike activist and long-time volunteer responds to the recent L.A. Weekly article about Stephen Box and the rise of bike activism in the city, complaining that more than just straight, white males were instrumental in building the bike community, including himself.

He makes a very valid point.

It doesn’t detract in the slightest from the amazing efforts of CD4 candidate Stephen Box and the others mentioned in the story to note that the LACBC and other groups, such as C.I.C.L.E., Midnight Ridazz and Bikeside and other groups, have done a lot to make this city safer and more inviting for cyclists of all types. As well as the efforts of countless individuals of every possible description, working together and on their own, to advance the cause of cycling in Los Angeles.

Singling out any one person or group, however deserving, ignores the efforts of everyone else who has done what they can to make this a better place to ride.

And we wouldn’t be where we are today without all of them.

Be sure to read the comments, as well. And thanks to Chris Kidd for the heads up.

.………

Newport Beach, home of yet another cycling fatality this week, plans to shut down the city’s Bike Safety Committee at the end of this year.

Evidently, the recent crackdown on dangerous riders and drivers has solved all their safety problems, and local cyclists can now ride the city’s streets without worry. Even though Amine Britel was the fourth cyclist killed in the city in just the last two years. And even though he was killed just days after the first weekend of the crackdown.

Or maybe they expect to solve any remaining problems during the second weekend this Saturday and Sunday — despite the fact that this seemingly wealthy seaside city can’t afford to buy a single Share the Road sign. Let alone one that says Bikes May Use Full Lane.

Because, you know, they still have to pay for that new $131 million City Hall.

Meanwhile, Danae Miller, the driver arrested for killing Britel, never had enough points charged against it to have her license suspended, despite receiving somewhere between 15 and 17 tickets in the last five years, depending on who’s doing the counting.

And a writer for the Examiner questions whether the law should be changed to keep people like her off the road.

If that’s what it takes, I’m all in favor.

.………

London’s Guardian offers an overseas look at America’s car culture — and trust me, it’s not pretty. However, there may be hope:

Before Communist China became partner with Capitalist America in a new world order of union-free sweatshops, Americans used to laugh at all the bicycles on Chinese streets. Now, as the Chinese become more car-dependent, as their cities become more clogged and polluted, many Americans are rediscovering the pleasures, healthiness and sanity of bicycling or walking. Suddenly, a street full of bikes seems positively idyllic. In a country, and empire, in a downward spiral, this will be one of the few changes for the better.

Riding and walking through one’s community at a more human pace, one will also regain one’s sense of belonging. One will also discover that one has two legs, arms and a set of lungs. Sprung from the steel prison of the automobile, Americans will be glad to see other faces and limbs. They will realise that they actually have neighbours.

.………

Grab another cup of coffee, and relax with our longest ever list of upcoming events:

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

Call it the art of bike maintenance, as C.I.C.L.E. and Bikerowave team with the Santa Monica Museum of Art at 2525 Michigan Avenue in Santa Monica, for a tour of the museum, bike maintenance workshop and a mini-ride through the neighborhood on Saturday. The free event requires preregistration and will be cancelled in the event of rain. Note: The workshop has been rescheduled for 1:30 pm due to this weekend’s storm.

Mr. Bicycle Fixation, Rick Risemberg, invites cyclists to join him for a birthday ride on Sunday, Feb. 27th; riders meet at Sabor y Cultura at Hollywood and Gramercy at 10:30 am.

Also on Sunday, 4th District City Council  candidate Stephen Box partners with Flying Pigeon LA to provide free bike repair and service at the Hollywood Farmers Market, 1600 Ivar Avenue in Hollywood.

The long and difficult path to a new bike plan should come to a completion when the L.A. City Council takes it up for final consideration at 10 am on Tuesday, March 1st at Downtown City Hall, 200 North Spring Street.

The 2nd meeting of the Bike Plan Implementation Team (BPIT) takes place from 2 pm to 3:30 pm on Tuesday, March 1st following the council meeting in room 721 of the Downtown City Hall, 200 North Spring Street.

Make a full bike day of it by helping plan CicLAvia’s advance to the Eastside with a meeting at 5:30 pm on Tuesday, March 1st on extending the route into Boyle Heights, Roosevelt High School cafeteria, 456 South Mathews Street, Los Angeles.

Celebrate the presumed victory of the bike plan with a rally and press conference in front of City Hall from 9:30 am to 10 am on Wednesday the 2nd.

Streetsblog LA somehow managed to survive the terrible twos. So come out and celebrate its third birthday at Downtown’s Spring Street Bar, 626 S. Spring Street, beginning at 5 pm on Friday, March 4th; RSVP and help spread the word on Facebook.

GOOD is hosting a fundraising party for CicLAvia from 2 to 7 pm on March 5th, at Atwater Crossing, 3229 Casitas Ave in Los Angeles; tickets range from $20 to $500. As part of the fundraiser, leading L.A. bike activist and Creek Freak Joe Linton will lead a very short, family friendly ride starting at 1:30 pm.

The third LACBC Sunday Funday ride will roll 62 miles through the North San Gabriel Valley on Sunday, March 6th. Lead by board member Alex Amerri, the fast-paced ride for advanced cyclists will explore the area’s architectural and historical highlights; riders assemble at 8:30 am at Parking Lot K at the Rose Bowl, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive in Pasadena, with the ride starting at 9 am.

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 March 12th, starting 6:30 pm at 3714 N. Figueroa St. in Highland Park.

Flying Pigeon’s Get Sum Dim Sum ride takes place on the third Sunday of each month; the next ride will be Sunday, March 20 from 10 am to 1 pm, starting at 3714 N. Figueroa St. in Highland Park.

The Santa Clarita Century is scheduled to roll on Saturday, April 2nd with rides ranging from a family ride to a full century.

The next three CicLAvias will take place on April 10th, July 10th and October 9th; if you missed the first one, don’t make the same mistake again.

The Antelope Valley Conservancy sponsors the 16th Annual Antelope Valley Ride on Saturday, May 7th with rides of 20, 30 and 60 miles; check-in begins at 7 am at George Lane Park, 5520 West Avenue L-8 in Quartz Hill.

L.A.’s 17th annual Bike Week takes place May 16th through the 20th, with an emphasis on bike safety education, and events throughout the city. This year’s Blessing of the Bicycles will take place as part of Bike Week on 8 to 9:30 am on May 17th at Downtown’s Good Samaritan Hospital, 616 S. Witmer Street. And Metro is looking for Bike Buddies to guide inexperienced cyclists on Bike to Work Day; heads-up courtesy of the marathon-training danceralamode.

The San Diego Century ride takes place on Saturday, May 21st with rides of 37, 66 or 103 miles, starting in Encinitas, along with free admission to an expo featuring sports, local cuisine and live music.

L.A.’s favorite fundraiser ride rolls on June with the 11th Annual River Ride; advance registration is open now. Volunteers are needed now and on the day of the ride, email RRvolunteer@la-bike.org for more info and to sign up.

And mark your calendar for the 2011 L.A. edition of the Tour de Fat on October 9th; unfortunately, Yom Kippur also falls on that date this year, so Jewish cyclists will have to choose between atoning and having something else to atone for.

.………

L.A. authorizes work on a key quarter-mile stretch of bikeway at the confluence of the Arroyo Seco and L.A. River. KCET’s Departures talks with LACBC River Ride coordinator JJ Hoffman about the comeback of the L.A. River. Santa Monica issues a BOLO alert for a bike convicted sex offender. Long Beach’s biking expats will make their next big adventure on much smaller wheels. A San Diego man has his throat slashed trying to protect his bike from a thief. The Union-Tribune says San Diego area governments plan to spend $2.58 billion — yes, billion — on biking infrastructure over the next 40 years, and profiles one of my favorite bike bloggers, Sam Ollinger of Bike San Diego. San Francisco Streetsblog interviews the city’s new bike friendly mayor. San Mateo police recover a $10,000 stolen bike that had been sold on Craigslist; what was it made of, crude oil? U.C. Berkeley police agree to stop giving cyclists expensive tickets for failing to dismount.

Bicycle Retailer starts a search for the bike shop dog of the year; and no, you can’t borrow my corgi. Your car sucks $7,000 out of the local economy every year. Sarah Goodyear asks why people in cars hate bikes so much. Dave Moulton looks at two epic rides. Tucson gets green bike lanes. Seattle’s bike friendly mayor forgets to lock his bike; you can figure the rest out. Chicago gets a bike crash map overlaid with bike count data. Zac Efron rides a bike on the set of his new movie. A New York State Senator wisely observes that if we want more order on the streets, we have to be part of that order. A New York Councilman says the controversial Prospect Park West bike lanes have reduced speeding, accidents, injuries and riding on the sidewalk, while increasing ridership and overall commuting rates — without increasing travel time; well gee, no wonder they hate it. The bike lane controversy spreads across the river to Hoboken when a local news station stuck firmly in the past suggests more parking should given a higher priority over bike lanes; could someone please send them Donald Shoup’s book? Unbelievably, Tennessee authorities acknowledge that a dump truck driver veered off the road “for unknown reasons” to seriously injure a cyclist, yet decline to file charges; evidently, maintaining control of your vehicle is optional there. A Virginia cyclist compares riding solo on the streets to battered wife syndrome; perhaps she used to ride in Tennessee. A Mobile man gets five years for the hit-and-run death of Czech student.

A Vancouver cyclist says a bike is an invitation to a hate crime, while another says Critical Mass is rude and selfish. According to the BBC, the key to happiness is work, sleep and bicycles; they just described my life, aside from the parts about work and sleep. France’s third-largest city makes great strides in welcoming bikes. After Alberto Contador walks on doping charges, Austrian Michael Knopf is banned for four years for supplying other cyclists with banned substances. Kiwi correspondent the Trickster points us to the tragic death a biking bricklayer killed by falling bricks during Tuesday’s earthquake; Olympic bronze medalist Sam Bewley is auctioning a signed jersey from New Zealand’s winning pursuit team to benefit earthquake victims. Guam is urged to add bike lanes to all major streets; be nice to see that here, too.

Finally, a beautiful Italian DEI bike catalog from 1933; thanks to Ross X for the link. And maybe one day you’ll be able to ride your bike past L.A.’s Downtown streetcar.

9 comments

  1. I really hope people will sign up to be Bike Buddies. I think we can definitely get experienced cyclists to sign up, but we have to encourage inexperienced cyclists to ask for the help.

  2. Digital Dame says:

    The dipstick that wrote that article in The Guardian sure loves hyperbole. He seems to ignore the fact that the UK is scarcely more bike-friendly than the US. You find articles all the time about bicycle accidents in the UK. I guess it’s easier for him to bash where he came from than try to improve where he is.

  3. The Trickster says:

    Dept of Corrections: Brewley was a bronze medalist… we really wish he’d won gold instead!

    I know bronze doesn’t mean much for you guys, but its a pretty big thing for smaller, more pert nations such as ours.

    • bikinginla says:

      Blame it on a late night rush to get this online after working on it all day. And it wasn’t that long ago that the U.S. was overjoyed to finish in the top 20 in cycling, let alone win any medal. Davis Phinney has been one of my heroes for almost 30 years now, even though his best medals in the ’84 Olympics were bronze, as well.

  4. Digital Dame says:

    Oh, I think anyone who wins a medal of any kind is awesome. The differences that separate gold/silver/bronze are so minute anymore.

  5. bikinginla says:

    Agreed, Ms. Dame.

  6. The Trickster says:

    Indeed – although in the lead up to the last Olympics, Leigh Hart (think that’s his name) from SportsCafe was sent over to do an Olympics special (from the “wrong” city – its kind of part of his ‘thing’ to be in the wrong place at the wrong time) and ended up interviewing the US guy who got the bronze in something like the 5000m at the 1984 LA Olympics. If he was here in NZ, there would be people at least pointing and staring if not coming up to shake the guys hand. Over there Leigh asked people on the street afterwords what the guy was famous for – nobody could name him whatsoever.

    An aside, they found out who the bloke is who was throwing the huge pieces of concrete like they were small sacks of potatoes – Ahsei Sopoaga. The guy is an absolute grade A legend.

    Also, if you read down in the comments, as a strange twist of fate, the guy who he couldn’t save is currently lying in state on a marae in Ahsei’s tiny little town about 60km from Christchurch.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/christchurch-earthquake/4709093/Hes-always-my-hero-its-in-his-nature

  7. adrian says:

    thanks for the mention. i didn’t mean for my post to imply that i thought i was, myself, instrumental in a bicycling movement. i just feel like i’ve witnessed different angles of the same institutions mentioned in the article that were problematically neglected.

    i think it’s okay for stories to focus on specific things or people; they don’t have to be representative of everyone. but the things upon which they focus or reference should be respectful and not opportunistically selective, especially when they’re used to support a questionable conclusion (i.e. box campaign = bicycling movement).

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