A fitting tribute to Mark Bixby, and biking’s (not so) obvious appeal to fiscal conservatives

More on the death of Long Beach bike activist Mark Bixby and four others in a fiery Long Beach plan crash last week.

Long Beach bike lane opponent Doug Krikorian recalls friendly disputes with Bixby, while Charlie Gandy remembers bike advocate Mark Bixby’s work on the city’s iconic Penny Farthing sculpture. And LACBC co-founder Ron Milam remembers his single meeting with Bixby.

His family asks that donations be made in lieu of food or flowers, while a public Mark Bixby Celebration of Life is planned for 10 am on Friday, Mark 25th.

Personally, I think it would be fitting to name the new replacement for the Gerald Desmond bridge in Bixby’s honor, since he fought so hard — and so successfully — to get separated bike lanes on it.

Meanwhile, the lone survivor of the plane crash continues to make progress, as Mike Jensen recovers from 2nd degree burns on his back and legs.

.………

Writing for Commute by Bike, conservative bike advocate Tom Bowden points out that every dollar spent on properly designed bike infrastructure can ultimately defund $10 in automotive infrastructure.

And he nails it when he writes —

As long as we keep on putting so much emphasis on helmets as the most important safety issue, we perpetuate the myth that cycling is inherently dangerous. Cycling is not inherently dangerous, cars are inherently dangerous to cyclists, pedestrians and motorists. But all this helmet focus does is place the responsibility for safety on cyclists, rather than on the root cause of the problem, which is unsafe driving.

As Bowden points out, when you look at it rationally, biking isn’t a liberal or conservative issue.

Bicycling offers a common sense solution to many of the problems we face, from over-crowded streets to high gas prices. And rather than the wasteful spending some conservatives would suggest, spending on cycling and bike projects can provide benefits that far outweigh their nominal costs.

As Portland’s mayor points out, Portland’s entire biking infrastructure cost as much to build as just a single mile of freeway construction. Let alone what it costs to put a car pool lane on the 405 through Sepulveda Pass.

There was a time when I called myself a conservative, until the political winds shifted far right of where I stood. But even in these Tea Party times, it makes far more economic sense to invest less money to move more people more efficiently — without reliance on expensive foreign oil.

Which should make support for cycling and for bicycling infrastructure a no-brainer.

Wherever you stand on the political spectrum.

.………

KPCC reports on the proposed bike anti-harassment law. Gary reports that Santa Monica’s proposed Michigan Avenue Bike Boulevard could move a step closer to reality at Tuesday’s SaMo City Council meeting. And he argues that if the city wants people to buy local, bike racks matter, while Rick Risemberg looks at efforts to get bike parking around L.A. Next time you’re riding up Nichols Canyon, keep an eye open for Hatfield’s chef and co-owner Quinn Hatfield. A visit to Pete’s Lemonade Stand to talk bikes and sample a Breezer folding bike. Ride through Camp Pendleton to support wounded service members this Saturday. Streetsblog interviews LACBC and CicLAvia board member Stephen Villavaso about San Francisco’s Sunday Streets. Streetsblog’s Damien Newton and Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious report on the past weekend’s Transportation Camp.

Where’s the disconnect in getting more people of color on their bikes? Tucson delays efforts to cut back on bike parking. After riding 1,100 miles to win the Iditarod Trail Invitational in record time, Jay Petervary sets his sights on RAAM. Denver gets its first coffee bar by bakfiets. A biking blue-blood inventor and entrepreneur in Cleveland. The Columbus Dispatch offers a rare balanced and accurate accounting of how to share the road. A video tribute to winter cyclists in Minneapolis. Keeping up the pressure to get Vermonters out of their cars and out in the open air. Evidently, some New Yorkers like their bike lanes, regardless of what the wives of some U.S. Senators may think. Unlike other transit systems attempts to limit bikes, Washington DC’s Metro wants to quadruple the number of bike commuters on their trains; a writer reminds the Washington Post that it’s really not that hard. Just four counties in Florida account for 7.5% of all the cycling deaths in the U.S. The Lovely Bicycle asks why we’re surprised by the anti-bike backlash.

After a local paper argues that Toronto’s famously anti-bike mayor may not be so bad after all, a writer says yeah, right. The Brazilian banking equivalent of the Good Doctor who drove through a recent Critical Mass ride will be charged with attempted murder.

The New York Times looks at London’s Boris Bikes. Five tips on how to get your bike stolen. Cyclists are accused of hijacking public process. A UK MP proposes a bill targeting cyclists who kill or injure pedestrians, even though only 3 such deaths have been recorded in the last 10 years. More Welsh cyclists are getting ticketed for riding on the sidewalk; bike advocates say it just shows more infrastructure is needed. Servicing Dutch F-16s by bike. More springtime cyclists does not always mean more cyclists. HTC-Highroad cyclist Matt Goss tops the UCI rankings after his dramatic victory in the Milan – San Remo classic on Saturday. Speaking of UCI, at least some pro teams are threatening to leave in dispute over race radios. North American cities offer evidence for Aussie’s that more infrastructure spending results in rising riding rates. A recent comment points our attention to Bishop’s Path Racers of Christchurch NZ, dedicated to restoring classic, and building custom, path (track) bikes; those bikes on their site are damn pretty. Japanese cyclists send bikes to quake-hit Tohoku. Fuel shortages and a lack of visitors mean bikes are back in a formerly popular Japanese tourist town. On vacation in Thailand, Will Campbell offers proof of Bangkok bikeways, even if they do have 90 degree turns. Ten more places to ride your bike before you die.

Finally, Bike Radar asks if dangerous cyclists put us all at risk. And a rider who crashed the marathon course with Wolfpack Hustle on Sunday gets a little help from a few of the 300 riders who came out in the pouring rain.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in Sunday’s L.A. Marathon — and especially to those who accomplished the nearly superhuman feat of finishing despite the record downpour.

2 comments

  1. If I’m ever going to ride the crash race, I’m going to have to skip the marathon. Geez, decisions, decisions.

  2. [...] Ted remembers deceased bike advocate Mark Bixby. [...]

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