L.A. bikes the vote, kneejerk anti-bike bias rears it’s ugly head, and a massive weekend list o’ links

A busy week of bike meetings and breaking news meant pushing back a lot of stories.

So grab a cup and settle in for a full weekend worth of the latest bike news from L.A. and around the world.

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The LACBC provides responses to candidate surveys from 13 candidates for L.A. city council; surprisingly, some very bike-friendly candidates, such as Odysseus Bostick in CD 11, failed to respond.

Meanwhile, a writer for the L.A. Times offers a one-sided windshield-perspective look at the CD 11 candidates; I thought the Times had outgrown that sort of crap in recent years.

And I’m sick to death of people who don’t ride a bike stating with presumed authority that no one would ever ride from the Westside — or the Palisades — to Downtown when there are riders who do that, or its equivalent, every day.

I make the Westside to Downtown ride several times a month myself. And find it easier, cheaper, faster, more enjoyable — and yes, safer — than driving a car. But it’s so much easier to claim no one would do it than talk to someone who does.

As for the race for L.A. Mayor, Streetsblog offers video interviews from all five leading candidates. And the Times sort of makes up for their misstep above by getting them on the record for their stands on transportation issues, including bicycling.

If you want to do more than just cast a vote to ensure the city’s next leaders support bicycling — or any other city in L.A. County for that matter — come to the the LACBC’s Civic Engagement Committee meeting on Tuesday, February 26th at 6:45 pm at the Johnnie’s Pizza at Museum Square, 5757 Wilshire Blvd.

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Has it really been two years since L.A. adopted a new bike plan? The city is making real progress, but anti-bike critics remain.

LADOT considers floating bike lanes for Westwood Blvd, but an LA Observed writer with a terminal case of windshield perspective says those damned bike lanes are going to ruin the streets for the rest of us. Examined Spoke responds, while Boyonabike smells anti-bike bias.

Rampant anti-bike NIMBYism rears its ugly head at the Westside bike lane meeting, as local neighborhood councils and business owners came in with minds already made up and their ears closed. On the other hand, Rancho Park Online offers a surprisingly well reasoned analysis of the Westwood proposal.

Meanwhile, Eagle Rock business owners question whether bike lanes are good or bad for business; that pretty much depends on whether their business can benefit from bike riders’ money. The Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council says keep bike lanes off Lankershim and put them on Vineland, instead; if you want to see a perfect example of irrational anti-bike bias, read the comments — seriously, elitist bike Nazis? And NoHoArtsDistrict tries to get the facts straight.

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In one of the most outrageous cases in recent memory, a Buenos Aires driver runs down a cyclist, then flees with his victim’s body still on the hood of his car for 17 kilometers — 10.5 miles — until he’s stopped at a toll both.

And when the attendant pointed out he had a body on his car, he responded “Does that mean you’re going to charge me twice?”

Thanks to Ralph Durham for the heads-up.

Meanwhile, closer to home, the Glendale News-Press finally reports on last Sunday’s horrible hit-and-run collision in which a cyclist was knocked off his bike and dragged onto the 5 Freeway by the fleeing minivan; I’ve updated the original story.

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Even pro teams are victims of violence these days.

According to Cycling News, the Jamis-Hagens Berman team was on a training ride outside otherwise bike-friendly Tucson when a car pulled up next to them and the driver started swearing at them.

The car then swerved into the lead riders before speeding off, causing the riders to crash; fortunately, no one was seriously injured. And just as fortunately, the team car was following the paceline and managed to get photos of the driver’s license plate.

Hopefully, there will be an arrest — and serious charges — soon.

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KNBC-4 recommends the LACBC’s ‘80s Bike Prom this Saturday, as do I; if I wasn’t still keeping a close eye on my wife thanks to her foot-dragging insurance company, I’d be there myself. Streetsblog is hosting a fundraiser with outgoing councilmember Bill Rosendahl the same night. A Midwestern transplant discovers you can bike in L.A. without dying, and borrows this blog’s name in the process. Here’s your map for April’s CicLAvia to the Sea; there will be a community meeting to discuss it next Thursday. New pavement and bike lanes for Cypress Park. Burbank adopts its new general plan; naturally, the only no vote came because the plan includes a bigger bike network. Universal Studios will fund projects to alleviate Burbank traffic caused by their expansion, and extend the L.A. River bike path they’ve long tried to block. Long Beach wants to help you become a street savvy cyclist.

A La Habra teen is stabbed by two men for his bike. Huntington Beach plans to widen Atlanta Avenue and add bike lanes in both direction; hopefully they won’t follow the murderous OC pattern of striping wide lanes to encourage more speeding drivers. A Coronado driver says yes, it is my job to make you obey the law. Not so fast on those new bike lanes on the Coast Highway in Leucadia. San Diego plans to add bike lanes and sidewalks to fix a dangerous stretch of road in San Ysidro. Temecula’s Sarah Hammer takes gold in the women’s individual pursuit at the World Championships. This has got to be the crappiest name ever for a bike ride; no, I mean literally. Camarillo adds two miles of bike lanes. Cambria riders push Caltrans to fix the damage they did to one of California’s favorite riding routes. Turn any shoes into cleated bike shoes. Cyclists on San Francisco’s King Street are at the mercy of cars once the bike lane ends mid-block. San Francisco police bust a fugitive sex offender for riding on the sidewalk. Supporters of a fallen Oroville cyclist says it’s time to end hit-and-runs.

The man whose name graces my bike says he wants to get back into the business; makes sense since he’s now America’s only Tour de France winner. Not surprisingly, traffic fatalities rose nationwide in 2012. The USDOT questions whether dead cyclists and pedestrians count enough to count. L.A.-style bicyclist anti-harassment laws are spreading nationwide. Dave Moulton says lighter isn’t always better. Ninety members of my old fraternity plan to bike across the county to raise awareness for disabilities this summer. Sorry Wired, fat bikes don’t huck and bikes can’t outrun wolves. Washington considers a $25 fee on the sale of any bike over $500; even the woman who wrote the bill doesn’t support it. A bike rider is killed by a train because a Utah driver couldn’t be bothered to clean the frost off her windshield. Rocky Mountain National Park considers its first off-road bike trails. If you’re stopped for biking under the influence on your birthday, it’s probably not a good idea to celebrate by strangling the cop. A Chicago newsman panics over planned bikeways and bus lanes on the Loop. Now that’s more like it, as an Indiana driver gets 18 years for killing two teenage bike riders after smoking meth. New York plans a crackdown on bike delivery riders. Former Bogota mayor Enrique Penalosa says Gotham could be more livable. A Philly writer wisely suggests that instead of focusing on how to get women to ride, we should consider what works for everyone; Elly Blue says just invite everyone to the party. Bike safety goes down in flames in Virginia legislature. Wannabe Latin pop star Carlos Bertonatti finally pleads guilty in the 2010 drunken hit-and-run death of a Miami cyclist; Bertonatti faces up to 35 years, but it’s unlikely he would have changed his plea if there wasn’t a deal in place.

Once again, a study supports the obvious conclusion that lower speeds and separated bike lanes significantly reduce the risk of cycling injuries. Five lessons from the world’s most bike friendly city, winter edition. How to travel with your Brompton. Looks like next year we can look forward to the Giro d’Eire. A look at the five best Hollywood bike scenes from a Brit perspective, without mentioning Breaking Away, American Flyers or Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. A major failure of education and traffic planning, as English children are banned from biking or walking to school. A New Zealand writer asks if hi-viz makes you a target. Australia, which mandates bike helmets for everyone, also requires bike bells in an apparent attempt to help more angels get their wings. Adelaide police statistics show drivers are at fault in an overwhelming 80% of all collisions; thank God Aussie cyclists have their bells to protect them.

Finally, this is why some people hate lawyers. A defense attorney claims his client wasn’t impaired when she killed a cyclist, but only took the drugs afterwards — apparently to cope with just having killed someone while driving distracted at over 70 mph.

Or maybe you just need a little bike rap to kick off your weekend; the language may be offensive to some, including heavy abuse of the dreaded n-word.

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Thanks to Chris and the gang at the Westwood Helen’s, I no longer have a busted bearing in my bottom bracket. And neither does my bike.

If you’re looking for a great LBS, tell ‘em I sent you.

3 comments

  1. Why so fretful about bells? The Netherlands, among other bicycle paradises, requires them; so does Germany. Both also require lights on any bike over 24 lbs. Japan has similar requirements. And all have a huge and happy bike culture.

    I ride in LA traffic day and night, always with a bell. On my fixie! Much nicer than yelling.

    • bikinginla says:

      I have nothing against bike bells; they can be very cute. But cute and safety aren’t the same thing. Mandating bells is as misguided as mandating helmets. It makes non-riders feel like they’re doing something to improve safety, without actually providing any real benefit.

      • I’ll have to disagree with you this time. A good bell cuts through traffic noise quite nicely–remember I use one all the time and run daily “tests” of how well they work.

        More important, it’s an assertive yet non-aggressive way to make your presence known. Shouting (or those awful air horns) can lead to confrontation; a bell usually defuses tension. It’s a more human way to obtain attention from drivers, who are often already amped up with frustration as they crowd into each other’s way. We could do like the Germans and exempt racing bikes from safety equipment (lights & bells) requirements.

        And I’m lucky enough to have an Italian bell for my Italian racing bike!

        I do think they should get rid of car horns–I rarely hear them used legally. Or at least scale the volume to the car’s speed, with the horn muted if it’s stopped.

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