Fight back against blocked bike lanes, SoCal bike crime beat, a brief rant and a long list of events

It’s not like we have enough of them as it is.

I mean, I can’t speak for you. But few things tick me off more than riding through one of the all-too-few bike lanes in this megalopolis we call home — let alone the even rarer ones that are actually worth using — only to suddenly have to dart into unforgiving traffic without warning.

All because some jerk decided to double park in the bike lane. Or maybe leave their garbage bins in our designated riding right-of-way.

Or my ultimate annoyance, a movie or construction crew that felt a need to place their orange cones in our way on the off chance that someone might actually stray a little too close to one of their precious trucks.

Which makes me want to slap the side of the damn things as hard as I can while I ride by. Something I have only barely managed to avoid doing.

So far.

Fortunately, there are cooler — and wiser — heads in this world.

Take I Block the Bike Lane.

A new nationwide bike safety program, IBBL invites riders to place non-destructive, static-cling stickers on vehicles and objects blocking bike lanes.

And not, as I am often tempted, to tell them what jerks they are. But rather, to start a constructive dialogue that maybe, just maybe, might make the driver think twice about doing it again.

I’ll let Michelle, one of the founders of I Block the Bike Lane, explain the rationale behind the program — and how you can get involved.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s most recent statistics, 603 bicyclists died on US roads in 2009 and another 50,000 were injured in traffic. The state of California is consistently second only to Florida in cyclist fatalities. A new and national campaign is seeking to cut those numbers by making motorists aware of the dangers associated with blocking bicycle lanes.

iblockthebikelane.com is a sticker campaign aimed at driving motorists to a friendly and educational website. At the heart of the initiative are Bike Lane Sticker Teams, who place iblockthebikelane.com easy-peel stickers on vehicles illegally standing or parking in clearly marked bicycle lanes. The stickers are invitations to visit the website, which houses a safety plea from bikers, as well as current bicycle-related news and information.

The campaign also stresses to bikers the importance of riding responsibly and peacefully coexisting with motorists.

Visitors to the website are encouraged to leave comments. One of the goals of the campaign is to foster a constructive dialogue between drivers and bikers, in the hopes that mutual understanding will make everyone feel better about sharing the streets.

As the campaign builds momentum, its organizers are looking for Bike Lane Sticker Team volunteers in cities across the country. Information about participation and sticker orders can be found online at www.iblockthebikelane.com/jointheblst.

I often have guest authors on here because I enjoy offering a variety of perspectives and seeing cycling issues through someone else’s eyes. Even if I don’t always agree with what they have to say.

But this is one program I can get behind without hesitation.

So place your order.

And go out and stick it to ‘em.

Just a quick aside — if, like Michelle, you have something you’d like to share with the biking community here in L.A., California and around the U.S., just let me know. You can find my email address on the About BikingInLA page.

.………

In the local SoCal bike crime beat, Patricia Ann Izquieta has been sentenced to three years in prison for killing cyclist Donald Murphy while high on prescription medications in a 2009 Newport Beach hit-and-run. And arraignment has been postponed for the woman for allegedly killed Jose Luis Carmona in a drunken hit-and-run while he walked his bike on the side of PCH.

Meanwhile, this somehow flew under my radar, as Jose Luis Huerta Mundo pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence in the death of cyclist Michael Nine in Newport Beach last year, and was sentenced to 360 days in jail on February 7th. However, cyclist/attorney Dj Wheels reports that he was released from custody two days later on February 9th; even if he was credited with time served from the time of his July 21st arrest, that works out to a lot less than 360 days. He may soon be deported, if he hasn’t been already, since ICE had a hold on him pending his release.

.………

At a Thursday Community Board meeting, New York’s embattled Prospect Park West bike lanes were supported by 86 people, with just 11 opposed.

But let me get this straight.

People affected by the earthquake in Japan are fighting for their lives right now, while people in Libya are fighting for their freedom. And a bunch of rich people in New York are fighting over a goddam bike lane?

Seriously?

Sometimes it seems like if you’re not pissed off, you’re just not paying attention.

.………

Metro throws down a challenge for local developers to build a mobile app or mash-up using their transit data; winner could get a cash prize of up to $2000. A kickoff event will be held March 31st, with entries due May 20th.

.………

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

The next Folk Art Everywhere ride rolls this Saturday from noon to 3 pm starting at Rudy Ortega Park in San Fernando, giving you a chance to tour the Northeast Valley is a fun and easygoing way, while you learn about the Valley’s past and present Native American tribes. Speakers will represent Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural, Pacoima Beautiful and Pukuu Cultural Community Services.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day a few days early at the Hermosa Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade beginning at 11 am on Saturday, March 12th along Pier Avenue; you may recognize some familiar faces in the bike parade.

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.

Also on the 12th, Long Beach continues their series of workshops for the city’s new Bicycle Master Plan with a bike ride from 10 am to 11:30 am, and a community workshop from 11:30 to 1 pm at the Expo Center (Bixby Knolls)
4321 Atlantic Ave in Long Beach. Additional workshops take place on Saturday the 19th and Wednesday, March 23rd.

Help refine the route for CicLAvia’s planned expansion into South L.A. with a monthly bike ride starting at 1 pm at Trust South LA, 152 West 32nd Street; email tafarai@trustsouthla.org for more information.

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 County of Los Angeles begins a series of 11 workshops for the new 2011 draft Bicycle Master Plan on Tuesday, March 28th from 6 to 7:30 pm at Topanga Elementary School, 141 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd, in Topanga. Additional workshops will be held March 29th, March 30th, March 31, April 4th, April 5th, April 6th, April 11th, April 12th, April 13th and April 14th; click here for locations and times.

There should be an app for that. Metro invites anyone with a good idea to develop useful mobile apps or web mash-ups utilizing their transit data, with a goal of enhancing riders ability to use transit and encouraging more people to go Metro — and you could win up to $2,000 for your efforts. Learn more on Thursday, March 31st from 6 to 7:30 pm at Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza Downtown.

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

If you’re looking for something a little more relaxed, visit the free Magical Magnolia Bicycle Touron Saturday, April 2nd from 3 to 7 pm in the Magnolia Park neighborhood in Burbank; be sure to visit Porto’s Bakery for a great Medianoche or Cubano sandwich and Cuban pastries.

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; word is that Lance won’t.

Keep the post-CicLAvia good bike feelings going on Thursday, April 14th with Bike Night at the Hammer Museum, starting at 7 pm at 10899 Wilshire Blvd in Westwood. Free admission, free food, drinks and screenings of the 1986 BMX classic Rad.

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 Rideadvance registrationis 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 cyclists of the Jewish Persuasion will have to choose between atoning and having something else to atone for.

.………

The American Prospect says L.A. could be the next great cycling city, while the city breaks ground on the new West Valley River Bike Path, though not everyone approves. The city finally fixes 4th Street’s infamous Hudson River, yet leaves the pavement looking like a war zone. For anyone who struggled to finish a century, try riding 256 miles in a single day. The City of Covina wants your opinion for its new bike plan; the South Bay is working on a bike plan of its own to connect seven local cities. Long Beach continues to outpace the rest of us, with construction starting on a 3rd Street road diet. Find a bike safety class near you.

The Feds are already greenlighting innovative bikeway designs based on the new NACTO standards. A look at bike commuter trends in the U.S. The National Bike Summit rides in honor of Gabby Giffords. Bike pins are popular in the halls of Congress, let’s see if that translates into votes on the floor. Oregon Democratic Rep Earl Blumenauer says opposing bike lanes is bad politics; please tell that to the guys on the other side of the aisle. Las Vegas is trying to make access to its new transit center bike friendlier; if they really want to make Vegas bike friendly, try turning down the daytime temperatures and taming the traffic a little. Portland cyclists actually get little street icons to show where to trigger a traffic signal. Nine rules for riding in a paceline. Rhode Island considers a vulnerable road user law. NY Post gossip columnist Cindy Adams calls NYDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan “that transportation insect;” hmmmm, I wonder which of those two is actually making the city a better place to live? Hint: it ain’t the gossip maven.

Developing better aerodynamics on the cheap. After suffering serious injuries in his first bike race, a cyclist sues for $20 million. Once, bike tunnels were built before car tunnels; now they’re nearly forgotten. The Beeb takes a beautiful look at the beauty of the bicycle. London Cyclist once again ranks the top 50 bike blogs, and once again, I’m not on it. Take part in a 115 mile pre-Olympic ride around London this September. Four months in jail for a drunken bike theft and crash while fleeing the police. A Dublin bike counting system can count bikes on the bike path, but not the road next to it. Relatives of a British cycling victim get the support of over half the members of the European Parliament to improve bike safety. Bike shops do big business as people look for alternative transportation after Friday’s earthquake, while the fancy automated bike parking facilities don’t work. Cyclelicious explains what we’re seeing on the news from Japan — and why he’s concerned about it.

Finally, writing for City Watch, a university professor professes a knowledge of economics while demonstrating an auto-centric misunderstanding of street planning, claiming that Angelenos who want more bike lanes need a reality check.

Funny, you’d think an Econ professor would understand that traffic is not a zero sum equation. On the other hand, Zev seems to get it.

And boy, do I know this feeling.

6 comments

  1. Or my ultimate annoyance, a movie … crew that felt a need to place their orange cones in our way….

    Ha ha, the hardships of living in L.A.! :-)

  2. [...] her March 11 opinion piece for CityWatchLA (h/t BikingInLA), CSUN economics professor Shirley V. Svorny says that bicycle lane supporters (like Stephen Box) [...]

  3. PlebisPower says:

    Well said – and thanks for the lead on the stickers. Great idea! I like the constructive approach, though sometimes I’m tempted to deploy a valve stem remover and a big adhesive window-sized label to make the point. My cooler head often prevails. The post also reminds me to snap a photo next time and keep a log. Read my own frustrations with this issue:
    http://www.betterbikebeverlyhills.org/spare-parts/moreimpedimentstofuncycling-1

  4. PlebisPower says:

    Thanks for linking to that amazing UK bike tunnel. I can only imagine the peril for an American cyclist in that tube. It’s not only Brit motorists who traverse the wrong side of the road. HEADS UP!

  5. [...] taste of success when a fairly well-known blogger asked me to write a guest post for his blog, Biking in LA. My post resulted in a flurry of traffic to the website and several orders for static clings. But [...]

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