Archive for November 14, 2013

Today’s post, in which I repeat myself and offer my heartfelt thanks

I don’t often repost something I’ve written before. 

In fact, I recall doing it just once before, when I repeated the Father’s Day post thanking the man who instilled my lifelong love of bike riding. 

But I’m going to make an exception today.

Because it was exactly one year ago that my wife nearly died from a heart attack that seemed to come out of the blue — although in retrospect, there were warning signs. As there usually are, if you know what to look for.

What you’ll see below is probably the most heartfelt piece I ever have ever written. Or ever will.

And the message is still worth considering.

Because you never know where life will take you.

Or your loved ones.

……..

Before you ride, before you work, before it’s too late

I almost lost my wife today.

Not the way I often do at the mall, where her petite five-foot frame too easily disappears behind department store racks.

And not the way I sometimes fear, when I foolishly question whether love is stronger than the anger that never fails to fade following a fight.

This time the heart I fell in love with gave out without a warning.

Or rather, without one we heeded.

Like the odd pain she complained about last night, that felt like someone punching her between the shoulder blades.

Or this morning, when she was too tired to help make the bed. Something we put off to a long standing iron deficiency still awaiting approval for another round of treatment.

But off to work she went, just like any other day.

Then a little after noon, she told her boss she wasn’t feeling well. Moments later, she was passed out at her desk.

Fortunately, the people she works with found her right away, and knew exactly what to do. And within minutes, paramedics from the Beverly Hills Fire Department had her on a gurney and on her way the ER, red lights and siren blaring.

She was already in surgery before I was halfway to the hospital.

That was followed by a tense couple hours in the waiting room, surrounded by strangers with worried faces just like mine, waiting for word on loved ones of their own.

A steady parade of physicians walked through the door, calling names that weren’t mine. And breaking news that brought smiles to faces that weren’t mine, either.

Finally I heard my name, and looked up as a doctor in surgical scrubs beckoned me down a hall leading to the cardiac ICU.

His words didn’t make me smile. That heart I loved was badly broken.

But unlike Humpty Dumpty, they were able to put it back together again. And the prognosis, thankfully, is good.

Only time will tell how much damage was done. If any.

Her life will be different. She’ll be on medication for the foreseeable future, and under the care of a cardiologist for life.

But at least she’ll have one. And I’ll still have her.

It could have been different.

If her coworkers had been at lunch. If the hospital had been farther away. If it had happened tonight, when I would have been away at a meeting, and she would have been home alone, with only the dog to call 911.

And the dog can’t reach the phone. Even if she did know how.

As cyclists, we accept a certain degree of risk. We understand that bad things can happen when we ride, but probably won’t.

And we get angry when it does, usually to someone else. Maybe because we’ve all had enough close calls to know it could be us, some other place, some other time.

People are fragile.

And bad things can happen to anyone. Anytime. Anywhere.

And sometimes, there’s no second chance to say the things you wish you’d said.

So say them. Please.

Now.

Take a moment to tell the people you love that you do. Before you ride. Before you go to work. Before it’s too late.

Because one day, hopefully not soon, it will be.

Tonight I’m going to sleep in an empty bed, with just the dog to keep me warm. And my heart will be miles away, badly broken. But getting better.

And thankfully, that bed won’t be empty long.

……..

A year later, the news is good.

Whatever damage there was to her heart has healed almost completely. And she is back to where she was before a blood clot nearly took her life. 

But they never figured out why it happened, as she had none of the common factors that normally lead to clotting or cardiac arrest. Which means that it could happen again at any time, for whatever reason.

Or it could have been a one time thing that will never repeat.

I’m hoping for the latter.

But let it be a reminder to you, as it is to me, every day, that life is short. And the people in your life precious and irreplaceable.

And far more important than all the things and worries and events that too often distract us.

So take a moment to remember who you love, and why. Then let them know.

It may be the most important thing you do today.

And you may not get another chance.

……..

One more thought.

I love what I do. This blog is my passion, and one day soon, it will, hopefully, be my job.

Even when the writing is hard, and the subject painful, there is nothing I would rather do. But writing is meaningless without readers.

So whether this is your first time here, or you’ve been with me since the beginning, please accept my sincere thanks, from as deep within my soul as I’m capable of.

Because without you, nothing I do here matters at all.

Thank you.

BOLO Alert: White 2009 LeMond Reno stolen off Metro 222 bus in Hollywood

Just got word that a bike was stolen off a Metro bus on Hollywood Boulevard Wednesday night.

Stolen Lam LeMond

I’ll let the bike’s owner, popular LA cyclist Johnny Lam, describe what happened.

It was stolen off the 222 Metro bus line heading Eastbound on Hollywood Blvd at 8:40PM.  The theif lifted it off at the bus stop on Ivar Ave and Hollywood Blvd and rode southbound on Ivar Ave.  By the time I saw it happen, I could only see that he was wearing a backwards baseball cap and was pedaling away with my bike around the corner.  The bus driver was honking and people on the bus was yelling, “the bike”.

It was a 2009 Lemond Reno 51cm.  They can email me at johnny.m.lam@gmail.com or contact Detective Savedra at (323) 563-5000 at the LA Sheriffs referencing case #913-06822-6874-386.

Keep your eyes open, especially if you see a similar bike listed on Craigslist or some other online forum, or see a bike on the street that matches the description.

Let’s get this one back.

And catch the son of a bitch who stole it while we’re at it.

Anti-bike hatred rears it’s ugly head once again, wrapped in seeming rationality

There’s been another rash of bike hate in the media recently.

As well as a story a lot of cyclists loved. With a few notable exceptions.

In that particular case, a San Francisco rider writes an OpEd piece for the New York Times, saying it shouldn’t be okay to kill cyclists and walk away without charges. Even though that’s what usually happens.

His message clearly struck chord with bike riders, as links to the story flew across the weekend blogosphere and Twitterverse. Even the LA Times used it as a platform to ask why the driver usually gets the benefit of the doubt when a cyclist is killed.

Why indeed.

As both writers point out, and too many of us have learned the hard way, justice can be a hard thing to find when there’s a bike involved.

Meanwhile, another writer used the story to object that the driver who killed Paul Lin in Newport Beach last week hasn’t been charged. Although what I’m hearing suggests that the driver may not have been entirely at fault this time. (Update: other sources indicate Lin was at the end of a group of riders making a left turn, and may have still been in the intersection when the light changed, and that the driver may not have slowed in anticipation of the light changing.)

Not everyone approved, however.

The Economist calls it Onion-like before going on to compare the way the US handles such cases with how they’re handled in The Netherlands. Not favorably, I might add.

And Bike Snob declares his hatred for the piece. Especially the coda that calls for cyclists to be on our best behavior so we’ll earn the respect of police and motorists.

He’s got a point.

We shouldn’t have to be perfect ambassadors on the streets to get the same respect — let alone justice — which too many motorists too often seem to consider a God-given right, regardless of their own behavior behind the wheel.

Then there’s the anti-bike lane diatribe from last weekend’s Wall Street Journal, in which an Alexandria VA homeowner complains of attempts by bicyclists to besmirch his quaint little town with bike lanes. And warns that we’ll soon be coming to your town, too.

Unfortunately, this steaming pile of hate appears to have slunk back behind the Journal’s paywall, although your luck in accessing it may be better than mine.

But at least you can still see DC Streetsblog’s response to the WSJ once again allowing anti-bike bigots to sully their pages.

Then again, we’d all be better off if The Weekly Standard had locked its bike-smearing diatribe behind a paywall where no one would see it.

In a piece with a publication date that’s still nearly a week away, it starts out bad, blaming cyclists for the New England cop who dangerously stood in the roadway to halt a group of riders — seriously, what would the reaction have been if he’d stepped in front of a group of moving cars — and goes downhill fast.

His argument is that American streets are already crammed to over capacity, and there’s just no room left for anyone traveling on less than four wheels. And we bike riders don’t share the road so much as take it over to the detriment of motorists and the American way.

So, except in a few spots where roads were built too wide and can now accommodate bike paths, adding bicycles to the mix means squeezing cars. Bike-riders don’t “share” the road so much as take it over. Their wish is generally that the right-hand lane of any major or medium-sized road be turned into a bike lane or, at best, a shared-use lane. This would place drivers in a position of second-class citizenship on roads that were purpose-built for them. There are simply not enough cyclists to make that a reasonable idea. What is going on is the attempt of an organized private interest to claim a public good. Cyclists remind one of those residents in exurban subdivisions who, over years, allow grass and shrubbery to encroach on dirt public sidewalk until it becomes indistinguishable from their yards, and then sneakily fence it in.

The worst part is, like a few Congress members I could name, he sounds reasonable at first.

Until you realize that he’s getting many, of not most, of the facts and all of the opinions wrong. And it eventually dawns on you, if you’re paying attention, that his ranting conveys no more logical sense than a rabid monkey flailing on a keyboard.

And that he is actually the motoring equivalent of a Klansman explaining with seeming reasonableness why Jim Crow was a good idea.

And that’s the worst kind of hate of all.

………

A new online petition calls on local officials to investigate that anti-bike sign in East San Diego County encouraging drivers to run over cyclists. And yes, I signed it — the petition that is, not the sign.

Unfortunately, though, I’ve lost track of who sent this to me, so please accept my apologies and thanks.

………

Efforts are still underway to fix LA’s crumbling streets. It looks like LA’s mayor heard our complaints, and said slow down on the killer high-speed Hyperion-Glendale bridge design. In case you missed Artcrank last weekend — like me — JoJo offersgreat photo set showing most of the posters. Downtown News says bike share is a natural fit for DTLA. Downtown gets buffered bike lanes through the iconic 2nd Street tunnel. Another Perfect Day looks at the sad decline of Westwood Village, and call for protected bike lanes to help turn it around; speaking of which, here are the benefits of protected bike lanes in a single graphic. Santa Monica police bust a trio of bike thieves; they used to hang rustlers where I come from, and bike thieves don’t seem all that different to me. San Marino council considers the city’s proposed bike plan today, along with bike lanes and declaring next week Bike Week.

Turns out corporate bike fleets aren’t a risky investment after all. Chico businesses do the right thing, as they raise funds for a rider killed in the city recently. Following the recent California Bike Summit, the Times says bikes are an equal opportunity opportunity. Women on Bikes SoCal blossoms into the statewide Pedal Love.

A new study discovers just what kind of bikeway images people like, even if it seems to put the SF Weekly in a bit of a snit. Your next helmet could fold flat and look like a turtle. Eleven signs you might be a cyclist. Oregon infographic clearly shows who pays for the roads. Kill a Washington cyclist, claim you had a seizure and walk away with a hefty fine. A Montana paper says educating road users is important, but you can do everything right and still get run over; too true. If a driver doesn’t get a ticket following a collision, that doesn’t mean you can’t collect. Kill an Ohio cyclist while driving drunk, and get a whopping 30 days in jail. Louisville KY gets sporadic bike lanes. The person accused of killing a cyclist in a hit-and-run ran down another rider two years before. Clearly, blocking bike lanes isn’t just an LA problem. The big hearted people of Mobile AL decide ghost bikes are eyesores that should be removed; maybe they should be writing for The Weekly Standard.

One of Britain’s leading architecture experts is killed in a riding crash. London bystanders lift a car off a trapped cyclist. UK Parliament Member wants to encourage bike riding by mandating registration, taxes and insurance. Repeat after me — don’t punch the drivers, not matter how much you think they deserve it; just don’t. Someone is trying to decapitate cyclists in Edinburgh; deliberate sabotage aimed at cyclists should be considered a terrorist attack. After yet another triathlete is run down, bike clubs in the United Arab Emirates say roads were built for cars and bikes don’t belong on them; seriously? Someone please tell Lance to get over it, already, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. Bike riding Aussie father dies after hitting a rock in the road, despite an origami crane campaign. Australian trucks will warn motorists a meter matters when passing cyclists. A Kiwi mom wants to know why the front wheel of the bike she bought collapsed as she was riding it; maybe because it cost $159 and came from Kmart? A New Zealand doctor says one-way separated bikeways are safest. Bike without brakes and face arrest in Japan.

Finally, after a 75-year old UK woman dumps dog shit on a cyclist’s head for riding too close, she tells him to go cry to his mummy; nice lady. And speaking of dumping a load of crap, you can now find me on the VeloReviews website.

Wait, that didn’t come out right.

Making the perfect case for Westwood bike lanes

This is how you win the fight for bikes on the streets.

For the past year, I’ve been following the fight over bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard.

Particularly since attending the single most unpleasant bike meeting in my experience earlier this year, as a group of Westside home and business owners railed against the loss of a single parking space to improve safety for those on two wheels.

Even though the upcoming Expo Line extension promises to vastly increase the number of riders on the street, as countless students, professors and other employees will take the train to the planned Westwood stop. Then bike the last couple miles from and from the station and the UCLA campus.

And even though the current proposal for a floating bike lane avoids the elimination of a single traffic lane or parking space.

I was impressed when I was forwarded a document written by Calla Wilmer last May to other members of the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners’ Association laying out all the arguments in favor of accommodating bike riders on the boulevard.

And even more impressed this last week when I received a brilliantly researched follow-up document she’d written, offering the clearest, most detailed argument I’ve seen yet on why these lanes must be built.

Or any other bike project, for that matter.

With footnotes, no less.

So I asked for permission to reprint her email here, and she graciously agreed.

Wiemer has addressed every argument against the lanes, and made the case for them as strongly as I’ve ever seen. In light of this, if anyone can still oppose them, they’re going to have some serious explaining to do.

It’s not a quick read. But definitely worth your time.

And a perfect example of how to lay out an irrefutable argument in favor of bicycling infrastructure.

……..

Cyclist Endangerment on Westwood Blvd II:

A Response to Critics and Skeptics

Calla Wiemer*

Westwood Blvd has been designated a backbone of the LA 2010 Bike Plan and targeted for the extension of now segmented bike lanes.  The leadership of the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners’ Association has opposed bike lanes for the stretch of Westwood Blvd that runs through the WSSM neighborhood between Santa Monica and Pico.  The case in favor of bike lanes rests on a desire to mitigate the dangers that now confront cyclists on Westwood Blvd.  I presented analysis of the safety issues (along with a design proposal for bike lanes and a discussion of the parking situation) in a previous report submitted to the WSSM Bike Committee, hereafter referred to as “Cyclist Endangerment I”.[1]  The report generated much discussion and criticism.  This follow-up report offers a response to points raised by critics and skeptics.

Both reports are motivated by a desire to help inform stakeholders as to just how dangerous cycling is along the WSSM stretch of Westwood Blvd and to encourage the WSSM HOA leadership to reach out to HOA members with information on the situation.

This report begins with a recap of highlights from the WSSM HOA’s history related to bike lanes.  It then takes up a number of topics that have proven controversial in an effort to bring greater clarity to the discussion.  Finally, it concludes with a safety based argument in favor of bike lanes for Westwood Blvd.

WSSM HOA Bike Lane Activity

In recognition of the complexity of the bike lane issue, the WSSM HOA formed a Bike Committee which held a series of meetings.  Committee members, as appointed by the President, are:  Margaret Healey (co-chair); Craig Rich (co-chair); Marilyn Cohon; Randy Garrou; Janet Garstang; and Calla Wiemer.

A timeline of main activities is as follows:

  • 5 March 2013    WSSM Board discusses Bike Committee formation
  • 22 April 2013     first meeting of the Committee
  • 15 May 2013      Wiemer’s “Cyclist Endangerment I” submitted to the Committee
  • 9 July 2013          last meeting of the Committee (to date)

Other than my “Cyclist Endangerment I”, no written documents have been prepared by members of the WSSM Bike Committee.

The WSSM leadership has disseminated a number of e-mail communications expressing opposition to bike lanes for Westwood Blvd.  The most recent communication on this subject, dated 15 October 2013, objected even to the LA Department of Transportation undertaking study of a design proposal for bike lanes.  The only mention of safety in this communication appeared in the statement:   “The safety of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers is a critical goal.”

Discussion of Cyclist Endangerment on Westwood Blvd

My further input on five aspects of the safety discussion follows.

1)  Safety of cyclists the focus.  The WSSM e-mail of 15 October 2013 lumps together the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers.  Drivers are encased in steel and glass, and further protected by air bags that inflate on impact.  Their safety is not at serious risk at speeds characteristic of Westwood Blvd.  Cyclists and pedestrians, by contrast, are exposed bodily in spaces shared with motor vehicles.  Bike lanes have been proposed to address the problem of danger to cyclists specifically.  The three-year period 2009-2011 saw 12 reported collisions involving cyclists on the WSSM stretch of Westwood Blvd and none involving pedestrians.[2]  By absorbing cyclists into the broader grouping of “pedestrians, cyclists and drivers” the critical problem faced by cyclists is diluted.  The dangers faced by cyclists call for specific attention in connection with the debate on bike lanes. 

2)  Significance of cyclist collision data.  “Cyclist Endangerment I” reported data on the number of collisions involving cyclists by year for the WSSM stretch of Westwood Blvd.  In 2011, six collisions resulted in police reports for this six block stretch of roadway.  A WSSM Board member responded to this information as follows (8 Oct 2013, e-mail):

“I personally think the raw number isn’t very meaningful. Some may see it as low, some may see it as high. I don’t think there’s enough context to interpret the value …”

Let us develop the context.

  • One way to provide context is to compare the rate of cyclist-involved collisions per mile for the WSSM stretch of Westwood Blvd with the rate for a broader geography.  At six collisions in 0.8 miles, the per mile rate was 7.5 for WSSM Westwood.  For the county of Los Angeles in the same year, the number of collisions involving cyclists was 2219.  The number of non-freeway road miles in LA County is 20,245.[3]  That makes for a cyclist-involved collision rate countywide of 0.24 per mile.  Thus the per mile rate of cyclist-involved collisions for the WSSM stretch of Westwood Blvd in 2011 was nearly 32 times that exhibited on LA County roads in general.
  • Another way of providing context is to examine the ratio of cyclist-involved collisions relative to all collisions for Westwood Blvd versus the same ratio for the county overall.  Conceivably, Westwood Blvd is so congested and treacherous that collision rates are high for all modes of transport, with cyclists just getting caught up in that broader milieu.  As it turns out, however, for WSSM Westwood, 43 percent of all collisions in 2011 involved cyclists while for LA County as a whole the ratio was only 9.0 percent.  This means collisions involving cyclists as a share of total collisions were 4.7 times higher for the WSSM stretch of Westwood Blvd than for LA County generally.

Skeptics might still counter that the six collisions in 2011 were a statistical aberration.  Such a short stretch of roadway is subject to a high degree of variability in collision rates from year to year, after all.  But even if we take the average number of cyclist collisions over the three year period 2009-2011 to represent the statistically expected number of collisions in 2011, the count still comes to four.  On a per mile basis, that number yields cyclist collisions for the WSSM stretch of Westwood Blvd at a rate 21 times higher than for LA County as a whole and a share of cyclist collisions relative to all collisions at a rate 3.2 times higher.

Bottom line, it is hard to imagine a standard by which six collisions involving cyclists (or even four) in six blocks in one year may be seen as low.

3)  Impact of bike lanes on safety.  The above statement from the WSSM Board member continues:

“… nor is it clear what will happen to that value in the future should the lane proposal succeed or fail.”

A 2012 academic study is instructive in this regard.[4]  The authors estimate the likelihood of cyclist injury associated with different infrastructure configurations using an inventive methodology to control for cyclist and environmental characteristics.  The most dangerous configuration for cyclists is identified as “major street with parked cars and no bike infrastructure”.  Other configurations are benchmarked against this standard.  The risk measure for cyclist injury was found to be lower by nearly 50 percent for “major streets with parked cars and bike lanes”.   Although interpretation of the statistical results is complicated,[5] the authors were heartened to discover that their results conformed closely with cyclist perceptions of the relative dangers of different infrastructure configurations.

Ultimately, if bike lanes are installed on Westwood Blvd, there will be no way of knowing just how much bloodshed is avoided.  Nor can we know exactly how many people will take to riding bikes on Westwood Blvd who would otherwise have been deterred.  But as Teschke and co-authors ascertained, danger is palpable when you’re in it on a bike.  Anyone who is out riding Westwood Blvd regularly can attest to how scary it is and to the difference bike lanes would make.

Among the six cyclists involved in collisions on WSSM Westwood in 2011, five were male, only one female.  This is consistent with gender proportions tabulated by the LA County Bicycle Coalition in its biennial counts of cyclists on LA roadways.  LACBC analysis of the data has revealed, however, that when bike lanes are present the share of female riders more than doubles.[6]  The interpretation offered is that females are typically more risk averse in their cycling choices than males, and that given safer conditions they are prepared to take advantage of the opportunities.  The upshot is that installing bike lanes on Westwood Blvd would make it a more inclusive biking environment for women.

4)  Complaints about cyclist behavior.  My reporting of collision figures at the June WSSM board meeting met with outcries over the perceived recklessness of cyclists.  There may be many reasons why cyclists do not consistently adhere to rules of the road as designed for motor vehicles:  attempt to avoid conflict; laziness; haste; capability to maneuver in ways that cars cannot.  There may also be many reasons why motorists violate the right-of-way of cyclists:  distraction; haste; didn’t “see” cyclist; “couldn’t help it”.  Fault is to be found on both sides.  Solutions are nevertheless more likely to be achieved through creating safer spaces for cyclists and motorists to coexist than through changing human nature.

For the six cyclist-involved collisions reported on WSSM Westwood in 2011, case reports show the motorist at fault in four and no party assigned fault in the other two.  In all six cases, the cyclist was injured while the motorist escaped unharmed.  To state the obvious, the contest between cyclists and cars is highly unequal.

5)  Collisions involving cyclists on an upswing.  Collisions involving cyclists have trended sharply upward in Los Angeles since the mid-2000s.  Between 2007 and 2011, the number rose citywide by nearly 70 percent.  Westwood Blvd has similarly seen a dramatic increase from only two cyclist-involved collisions between 2002 and 2007 to 15 between 2008 and 2011.  For the period since 2011, we do not yet have full collision data but we do have numbers on cyclist fatalities culled from news accounts, and these show an alarming leap.  The number of cyclist fatalities in LA County for all of 2012 was 22; for the first ten months of 2013 the count had already reached 32.[7]

BikeWestwoodII-chartBy contrast the incidence of collisions of all types has been declining, as has that for collisions involving pedestrians, as the accompanying figure shows.  A major factor in the increase in cyclist-involved collisions is presumably an increase in the number of cyclists on the road.  The LACBC bike counts show ridership trending strongly upward for Los Angeles generally.  A pattern of ever more cyclists on the road incurring ever more injuries is at the heart of the case for better cycling infrastructure.

Assessment

Current conditions on Westwood Blvd are extremely dangerous for cyclists.  This is a problem for two reasons.  One is that cyclists now braving these dangers are being injured in significant numbers.  The other is that people who would like to travel the corridor by bike are afraid to do so.

Westwood Blvd would present a very different atmosphere if bike lanes were installed and people in numbers gave up their cars to cycle.  For those getting around by bike, local shopping and dining would be more convenient without the stress of having to park a car.  No time would be wasted in transit as the time spent would double as exercise.  But even those traveling by car would be better off if freed of the frustration of getting trapped behind slow moving cyclists.  Cars and bikes would have their own spaces to move at their own speeds.

The problem of cyclists impeding motorists will only get worse with the opening of the Westwood Blvd Expo Line station.  This station will not offer parking for cars.  Cyclists and pedestrians will be its mainstay.  Many who now drive to UCLA or Westwood Village will find the combination of rail and bike an attractive alternative.  We need to prepare for this.

The decision whether to install bike lanes on Westwood Blvd, or even to study proposed designs, will be made by District 5 Councilmember Paul Koretz.  In reaching a verdict, he will take into account input from neighborhood stakeholders.  As a community, we must hope that the input he receives is well informed.


* The author is a member of the Bike Committee of the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners’ Association.  This is a revised version of a report submitted to the WSSM Board of Directors at its 5 November 2013 meeting.  It reflects the views of the author alone and is not a product of the WSSM Bike Committee.   It can be found online at www.callawiemer.com/Documents/BikeWestwoodII.pdf.

[1] The full title is “Cyclist Endangerment on Westwood Blvd … and How to Mitigate It”.  The report is posted online at www.callawiemer.com/Documents/BikeWestwood.pdf.

[2] All collision data are from the Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS) of the University of California Berkeley, http://tims.berkeley.edu/page.php?page=tools.

[4] Kay Teschke, et al, “Route Infrastructure and the Risk of Injuries to Bicyclists:  A Case-Crossover Study”, American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 102, No. 12 (December 2012).

[5] The reduction in the risk measure does not translate directly into an equivalent reduction in the probability of cyclist injuries, and the study does not present results in such a form.  The statistical significance of the results is sensitive to the confidence interval chosen.  Stronger significance in risk reduction is associated with a road configuration involving bike lanes and no parked cars than with bike lanes and the existence of parked cars.

[6] Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, “Results from the 2011 City of Los Angeles Bicycle and Pedestrian Count,” p. 21, https://lacbc.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/2011_labikecountreport.pdf.

The intersection of art and bikes; Vancouver Cycle Chic; and notes from Metro’s Bicycle Roundtable

By Dennis Bredow

By Dennis Bredow

Art and bicycling will collide in Los Angeles this weekend.

And for once, no one will get hurt. Unless maybe you get there too late to get the limited edition poster of your dreams.

This Saturday, ARTCRANK LAX returns to the city, offering original, limited edition bicycle-inspired prints from 32 different artists. Better yet, each signed and numbered poster will be available for purchase for just $40 each.

And yes, I have my eye on a few.

The popular show has been a huge success in cities across the country, from the original show in Minneapolis, to New York, Austin, Portland and San Francisco, as well as London and Paris. This is their second visit to Los Angeles, and it promises to be a huge hit.

By Coby Gewertz

By Coby Gewertz

The night will also be a fundraiser for LA Streetsblog.

Just buy an exclusive ARTCRANK pint glass filled with beer from Widmer Brothers Brewing for $5, and the proceeds will go to support the city’s best reporting on transportation issues; the same goes for raffle tickets.

It all takes place from 4 pm to 10 pm on Saturday, November 9th at Space 15 Twenty, 1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd, just above Sunset Blvd in Hollywood.

You might even see me there if I can convince my notoriously bike-averse wife to make an exception this time.

Anything’s possible, right?

By Cache

By Cache

………

Another event you won’t want to miss on Saturday.

The authors of Vancouver Cycle Chic are coming to town to present a workshop on Marketing Bicycle Culture at the New Urbanism Film Festival.

While city officials around the world focus their efforts on bicycle policy and infrastructure, they continue to overlook a critical third prong of increasing ridership: marketing the cycling lifestyle. This gap is currently being filled by advocacy groups and the bicycle industry, who often fall into the trap of dangerizing, politicizing, and overcomplicating the act of citizen cycling. Enter the Cycle Chic Movement, which exploded from the streets of Copenhagen in 2006, inspiring millions around the world to dress for the destination, and choose “style over speed”. Vancouver Cycle Chic – an active member of the Cycle Chic Republic – produced a series of short films to promote the simple and stylish act of getting on a bicycle, in the hope they would also motivate authorities to reconsider how they market bicycle culture to their citizens.

It takes place this Saturday at 5:30 pm at the ACME Theater in Hollywood, 135 N. La Brea Ave.

And don’t forget The Long Bike Back, which screens at 4 pm Saturday at the All Sports Film Festival at the El Portal Theater, 5269 Lankershim Blvd in North Hollywood.

………

I had planned to attend Metro’s Bicycle Roundtable earlier this week, and report back about the latest developments.

Unfortunately, life got in the way when a last minute client deadline I couldn’t push off kept me from attending.

However, Eric Bruins, Planning and Policy director for the LACBC, took exceptional notes, and graciously agreed to share them with us.

Bikeshare

Metro staff was tasked by the board last month with conducting a business case analysis for bikeshare in LA County.  Metro is investigating two basic options:

Metro as Facilitator

  • Metro would establish a bench of qualified vendors for cities to choose from.  Vendors on the bench would agree to a technology compatibility standard.
  • Cities would issue individual RFPs to vendors on the bench.
  • Metro would provide technical assistance and limited funding.

Metro as Lead

  • Metro would issue an RFP and select a single countywide vendor.
  • Metro would set the business model and have an active role in managing the system deployment.
  • Cities would determine station locations and other infrastructure within their public rights-of-way.  Cities would likely manage redistribution of bikes at the local level.

There will be an update at the December 5th Metro board meeting and the final report and recommendations will be released in January.

Bike Hubs

Metro is developing three initial bike hubs (a.k.a. bikestations/bike centers) at El Monte, Hollywood/Vine, and Culver City.  All will be operating by summer of 2014.  An RFP for operations will be released at the end of the month and a contract awarded in February.  Metro is intending these facilities to be cost-neutral. All bike hubs will feature:

  • Secure access and CCTV monitoring
  • Membership (fee TBD)
  • Self-lock parking for minimum 50 bikes
  • Unattended layout with flexible area allowing for potential tenant to staff and operate

Open Streets Program

Metro board allocated $2 million for CicLAvia-like events around the county, to be competitively awarded to local jurisdictions.  Guidelines are available now.  Application will be released early next year and a workshop held for interested jurisdictions.  Cities are encouraged to partner with a nonprofit/community-based organization.  20% local match required, but can be in-kind.

Education/Encouragement

Metro contractors (LACBC, BikeSGV, Multicultural Communities for Mobility) conducted 88 classes and reached 863 participants for a cost of ~$150,000. Everyone wants to find a way to make these a regular program.

CICLE has conducted 4 of 20 rides they will do over a 26-month period.  Next one is in Northridge in two weeks.

Campaigns

Universal praise for “Every Lane is a Bike Lane.”  Metro can and will do future campaigns.  Next educational messaging will provide tips for putting your bike on the bus with brochures and Transit TV PSAs.  9 bikes are forgotten on buses every day!  Bike theft from buses is an increasing problem.

Rail Car Refurbishment

Metro is doing a midlife refurbishment of its rail cars, offering an opportunity to reconfigure the layout and improve bike accommodation.  This will be a multi-year capital improvement from 2015-2018.  New features may include:

  • Digital displays
  • Separate wheelchair and bike locations in car
  • Bike securements
  • New flooring
  • New train controls
  • Sideways seating for wider aisles & greater standing capacity

Next meeting tentatively scheduled for February 4th @ 5:30 PM.

One quick aside.

If you don’t know Eric, you’re missing out on one of the most dedicated, skilled and hardest-working bike advocates in Los Angeles. Many of the recent victories for bicycling in the city can be traced directly back to his efforts.

The LACBC — and the City of Los Angeles — are lucky to have him.

………

Finally, I’m told we can expect the city to install permanent street signs along the LA River bike path by the end of this month. I’m waiting for confirmation from my source, but it looks like you may soon be able to know where the heck you are on one of the city’s most popular bikeways.

And Margaret Wehbi forwards photos of the new bike racks in newly bike-friendly downtown El Segundo.

El Segundo bike racks

Update: Cyclist found dead on side of the road in San Bernardino County, apparent victim of hit-and-run

If this doesn’t piss you off, maybe it should.

According to the Lucerne Valley Leader, an unidentified man was found dead on the side of the road in eastern San Bernardino County this morning, the victim of an apparent hit-and-run.

The victim was discovered with his bike on the south side of Highway 18 just east of Post Office Road in Lucerne Valley around 8 am; paramedics declared him dead at the scene after arriving about 10 minutes later.

According to the CHP officer investigating the death, it appeared his mountain bike was hit from behind as he rode along the white line on the right side of the highway. His bike showed damage to the rear end, and there was evidence that the driver veered off the road after striking him, then continued without stopping.

The collision most likely occurred sometime during the night, which means the victim could have been lying there for several hours before he was discovered — which could have been the difference between life and dead.

All because some heartless son of a bitch didn’t have the basic human decency to at least stop and call for help before running away like the coward he — or she — is.

As far as I’m concerned, once the driver is found, he or she should face a murder charge on the assumption that the victim might have lived if they hadn’t made a conscious decision to let him die.

This is the 77th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 10th in San Bernardino County. That compares with 10 in the county for all of last year, and six in 2011.

Update: The Victorville Daily Press identifies the victim as 47-year old Angelo “Andy” Douglas Azzato of Lucerne Valley.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Azzato and all his loved ones.

Update 2: According to the Victorville Daily Press, the CHP reports Azzato was hit by a truck between 5 pm and 10 pm on November 6th, which means his body was on the side of the road for 10 to 15 hours before he was discovered. Authorities are looking for a silver 1999 or 2000 Dodge Ram pickup with damage to the right front bumper and/or headlight assembly. 

Anyone with information is urged to call the CHP Victorville office at 760-241-1186.

 

Alleged hit-and-run killer of Jesse Dotson faces charges; LA bike share dead in the water

Last night’s breaking news meant a couple other important stories got pushed aside.

Like the news that we may finally see some justice for the death of Gardena bike rider Jesse Dotson.

According to the LA Times, Vanessa Marie Yanez, the 23-year old daughter of an LAPD Sargent, pled not guilty to charges of vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run, as well as a perjury charge for lying to police investigators by claiming her car had been stolen.

Dotson was riding to work at the local post office just before 10 pm on Wednesday, October 26th when he was allegedly run down by Yanez’ car. She reportedly left him to die in the street, then drove to meet a friend at a Huntington Park club before reporting her car stolen in hopes of evading responsibility.

Her father was not charged, despite extensive speculation that he may have actively aided in the cover-up, or at least been aware that his daughter had been involved in a hit-and-run.

According to the Daily Breeze, Yanez faces up to six years in prison.

Meanwhile, Dotson’s family faces a lifetime without their husband and father.

Thanks to Jim Lyle, Linda Campbell and Mike D for the heads-up.

……..

In news that should surprise absolutely no one, LA’s long-promised Bike Nation bike share program appears to be dead in the water.

The announcement of the bike share plan was unexpectedly made at the April, 2012 CicLAvia, apparently with no competitive bidding — or much thought, for that matter.

Now the Downtown News reports that the program appears to be on terminal hold due to the city’s famously burdensome permitting problems, as well as a contract giving exclusive rights to advertise on sidewalk furniture to another company. Without the income from advertising, it would be impossible for Bike Nation to make a profit on the program, which they had promised to provide at no charge to the city.

The good news is, without the Bike Nation program in the way, Metro is free to explore a county-wide bike share program, which may or may not include Bike Nation as a participant. And which could prevent the Balkanization caused by each city developing their own incompatible bike share systems.

……..

Connecting UCLA is attempting to start a conversation on traffic and mobility surrounding the campus, and how that affects the livability of the neighborhoods around it.

So far, the conversation is surprisingly civil.

Then again, there’s only two comments up to this point.

……..

Finally, a San Bernardino patrol car left crosses cyclist, resulting in minor injuries. And of course, the local press blames the rider. The question is whether the SBPD will hold their own accountable for cutting off the bike rider, or follow the Sun’s lead in blaming the victim.

And a Brit writer complains — tongue-in-cheek, by his own account — that far too few bike riders are being killed on the country’s roads. Is hate any less ugly when it’s well written, or when you’re supposed to get the alleged joke?

Update: Cyclist killed in Newport Beach collision; 7th cycling death in city since 2010

It’s happened again.

For the second time this year, and the 7th in the last four years, a bike rider has been killed in Newport Beach.

Unfortunately, details are still extremely limited.

However, Corona del Mar Today and Newport Beach Patch both report that the victim, identified publicly only as a man in his 30s, was hit by a passenger vehicle at the intersection of San Joaquin Hills Road and Marguerite Ave at 7:42 Wednesday night. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

No word on which street the victim or the car that hit him were traveling on, or how the collision occurred.

The rider died just half a mile away, and on the same street, from where triathlete Amine Britel was killed by Danae Miller while riding his bike in 2011.

This is the 76th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 10th in Orange County. It also matches the total of two cycling deaths in Newport Beach in 2010 and 2012.

Far too many for a city of just 87,000.

My deepest prayers and sympathy for the victim and his loved ones. 

Thanks to Lois for the heads-up.

Update: The victim has been identified as 41-year old Paul Lin of Irvine. 

According to the Daily Pilot, Lin was turning left from northbound Marguerite onto San Joaquin when he was hit by a car traveling west on San Joaquin. 

Unconfirmed reports indicate Lin was riding with a group when he was killed. A comment from Leo90604 cites one of the other cyclists on the ride as blaming a short light cycle, as well as a driver that may or may not have slowed for the light.

I was able to get a hold of one of the people who was on this ride. The cyclist was turning left and from one of the riders, it is a fast changing light from yellow to red ( I have experienced protected left turn lanes change from green to yellow within 5 seconds)  He checked his left and did not see any oncoming car and he was hit from the right side as the light changed to green. If the cartruck was at a stop he would’ve seen the cyclist turning.

Meanwhile, the always excellent Corona del Mar Today is on top of the back story, detailing the too many bicycling fatalities that have occurred in the city since 2009.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Investigator Scott Grecco at (949) 644-3747 orsgrecco@nbpd.org.

Update 2: According to a comment by Elvis — and apparently confirmed in part by KCBS-2 — Lin was part of a Meetup group ride that had ridden to watch the sunset before returning via Marguerite and San Joaquin

Pointing the finger where it belongs — LA cyclists don’t die because of their own careless actions

Uh, no.

Hell no.

Tuesday morning’s LA Times contained a column by formerly auto-centric, anti-bike columnist Sandy Banks, who seemingly saw the light following her first exposure to CicLAvia.

After a recent column in which she related the tale of a mother who launched a battle against distracted driving when her son was killed crossing a busy street, she followed up with unexamined criticisms from readers who blamed pedestrians — and cyclists — for their own deaths.

Needless to say, none of the responses took drivers to task for failing to pay attention, observing the speed limit or putting down their damn phones.

No, the comments she highlighted blamed the victims, placing full responsibility for avoiding collisions squarely on the shoulders of those not driving the big, dangerous machines capable of killing other road users.

As in, I don’t want to kill you. So it’s your responsibility to get the hell out of my way.

Like this one, for instance.

“I know that there are plenty of inconsiderate drivers, but I see just as many inconsiderate pedestrians that need to take some personal responsibility for their own safety,” wrote Wayne Pedersen.

His drive along busy Foothill Boulevard resembles a dangerous game of chicken, with pedestrians oblivious to stoplights, crosswalks and even corners, he said. “Not a month goes by that I do not have a close call, [almost] hitting someone.”

Call me crazy, but if I almost hit someone at least once a month, I’d take a long, hard look at my own driving, rather than pointing the finger at others.

On the other hand, I won’t waste your time pointing out all the problems with this piece. Streetsblog’s Damien Newton did that already.

And as usual, did it well.

I don’t think Banks is anti-pedestrian, or even anti-bike anymore. Her heart seems to be in the right place, even if she’s looking at the problem from the wrong angle.

My problem comes with the LAPD traffic officer who pointed her in the wrong direction.

“Many, if not most, of the pedestrians and bicyclists that get hit (and often die) are the cause of their own demise,” wrote reader Kurt Smith. “They are not obeying the laws, and/or not paying attention.”

Smith ought to know; he’s a traffic cop. A sergeant in the LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division, he deals “with the aftermath of poor choices” made by people who are struck while walking, running and riding bikes.

Yes, Sgt. Smith ought to know. But evidently, doesn’t.

Whether it’s a case of windshield perspective, police bias or selective amnesia, he gets it dangerously wrong. At least as a far as fatal collisions involving cyclists are concerned.

  • Take Christopher Spychala, the 49-year old cyclist killed when the driver of a parked car threw her door open in his path. He was, by all accounts, obeying the law; if he is to be faulted at all, it’s for riding in the door zone and not wearing a helmet to protect himself from a careless driver.
  • Or David Granatos, the 18-year old bike rider killed by a speeding, red light-running hit-and-run driver while riding in the presumed safety of a crosswalk.
  • Yes, 90-year old Joo Yoon was riding against the light when he was killed by a hit-and-run driver. But most likely because he couldn’t ride fast enough to get across the street before the light changed.
  • Then there’s the rider, to the best of my knowledge never publicly identified, who was the victim of a driver who deliberately ran him over in Downtown LA before fleeing the scene; kind of hard to blame a murder victim for the actions of his killer.
  • The limited information contained in the LAPD press release doesn’t explain how or why 44-year old Max De La Cruz was hit by the car that killed him. But since the driver fled the scene, I know who I’d blame.
  • You’d be hard-pressed to blame the publicly unidentified rider who was collateral damage when a driver slammed into his bike, killing him, while attempting to flee after shooting into his girlfriend’s car.
  • Yes, Jose Cuellar was probably responsible for his own death, since he died in a solo fall, although there were reports of screeching tires before witnesses saw him wobbling on his bike.
  • Forty-seven year old Samuel Martinez reportedly ran a red light when he was hit and killed by a car last July, making him at fault for his own death.
  • Eighteen-year old Markeis Vonreece Parish was walking his bike across an intersection when he was hit by a speeding car that fled the scene, leaving him to die in the street.
  • There is no suggestion that 39-year old Victor Awad was doing anything wrong when he was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Chatsworth last August.
  • There is also no suggestion that the publicly unidentified rider killed by a turning car in Tarzana in August broke the law in any way.
  • Luis “Andy” Garcia certainly wasn’t at fault in any way when he and two other riders were run down by a drunk driver who fled the scene, leaving him lying in the roadway where he was hit and killed by a second vehicle.
  • You’d be hard-pressed to blame 20-something cyclist Billy Martinez, who was killed when a driver turned left directly in front of him as he rode home from his job in Sunland.

Thirteen cyclists killed in the City of Los Angeles since the first of this year; several of them in the same San Fernando Valley district Sgt. Smith patrols.

Of those, there’s no indication that 10 were in any way responsible for the collisions that took their lives, while only three could be clearly blamed for actions that resulted in their own deaths.

Or looking at it another way, seven of the riders were clearly not at fault, three were, and for another three, we don’t have enough information to point the finger one way or the other.

Either way, that’s far from the “many, if not most,” who cause their deaths through their own carelessness, as Sgt. Smith suggested.

I can’t speak for riders who have been injured, rather than killed; there are far too many for any one person to keep up with.

And I leave it to someone else to track pedestrian deaths. While my heart goes out to all traffic victims, this blog is about bicycling, and it’s all I can do just to track the bike riders who lose their lives on our streets.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure Sgt. Smith’s heart is in the right place. And he’s speaking based on his own perceptions, in an attempt to keep cyclists and pedestrians in one piece.

But any suggestion that bike riders are responsible for their own deaths just doesn’t stand up to even the slightest scrutiny.

And it is irresponsible for anyone to suggest otherwise.

………

There’s one important though I forgot to add when I wrote this.

It is true, as Banks said, that some cyclists and pedestrians put their own safety at risk through carelessness or distraction when they ride or walk, just as some drivers are careless, distracted or overly aggressive behind the wheel.

The difference is, even the worst rider or walker is a danger primarily to him or herself, while bad drivers are a danger to everyone around them.

However, there is nothing you can do to control the actions of others.

All you can do is control your own behavior.

And ride, walk or drive defensively, in a way that protects your own safety and doesn’t pose a danger to those around you.

………

One other quick note.

I got an email today from Mark Elliot, author of Better Bike and one of the area’s leading bike advocates, almost single-handedly taking on the challenge of making the former Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills a little more bike friendly.

And it’s largely thanks to his efforts that we can call it the former Black Hole.

He writes to let us know that meetings are starting this Thursday to discuss the planned remake of Santa Monica Boulevard through the city. And the need for bike riders to be heard to ensure there’s space for us when the work is finished.

I wanted to give you a heads-up that City of Beverly Hills this fall will be developing design options for tomorrow’s SM Blvd as part of our reconstruction of the corridor. As you know, much-needed bicycle lanes must be on the table, but there is some public (and City Hall) opposition to be overcome.

To facilitate public input, the city recently created a ‘blue-ribbon’ committee. I’ve been appointed; I’ll be representing cycling interests. More important, this presents an opening for the cycling community to be heard. Anyone with an interest in plugging the  SM Blvd bike lane gap in Beverly Hills should be aware of the process and the opportunity for comment.

The first meeting is this Thursday, November 7th at 6pm in Beverly Hills (in the library). The 2nd meeting follows in December with a third (and final) meeting in early January. Design recommendations will go to Council in late January, most likely, and we want to be sure that the recommended option(s) includes Class II bike lanes.

Here is the project page:
www.beverlyhills.org/SMBLVD
 
Here are my posts about it:
http://betterbike.org/2013/11/mark-your-calendar-sm-blvd/
http://betterbike.org/2013/10/beverly-hills-calls-for-public-input-on-sm-blvd-project/

I’m not sure I can make there it this time; if not, you’ll see me at one of the other meetings.

But if you can make it on Thursday, I urge you to show up and make you voice heard to close the dangerous gap between the bike lanes on the boulevard through West Hollywood and Century City.

Your safety, and mine, could depend on it.

Today’s post, in which I catch up on all the latest news, including cyclists who come out of nowhere

I can’t even tell you how much stories like this piss me off.

According to the Daily Pilot, a Costa Mesa rider suffered major injuries when she was hit by a car before sunrise Monday morning.

The driver was headed east on Bay Street when he turned right on Newport Blvd and heard a loud noise, then found 44-year old Michelle Lounsbury trapped underneath his car.

In other words, he had no idea she was anywhere around when he made his turn.

Now, it’s always possible that it could have been her fault, at least in part.

She may or may not have been using lights in the early morning darkness. She may or may not have been properly positioned on the roadway, and riding in safe manner. The story doesn’t offer enough information to know what really happened.

On the other hand, if she’s close enough to run over, she should be close enough to see.

Every driver has an obligation to be aware of anyone and everyone else on the roadway. If someone is capable of being seen, it’s the driver’s obligation to see them — especially before making a turn.

Too often, that doesn’t happen.

Too often, someone gets hurt as a result. Or worse.

And too often, police accept “I just didn’t see her” as the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, as the last line of that story may suggest.

Best wishes to Michelle Lounsbury for a full and fast recovery.

………

I’ve gotten several reports of other serious SoCal bike collisions that have left riders badly injured over the past few days, so far without any follow-up.

In cases like this, no news is usually good news. So let’s hope that continues to be the case.

But some prayers or good thoughts might be in order if you’re so inclined.

………

After Mayor Garcetti lets LADOT chief Jaime De La Vega go, the Times questions whether NYDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan might be the right replacement. Word is Chicago’s exceptional DOT Commissioner Gabe Klein is about to become available, as well.

That’s a hint, Mr. Mayor.

Meanwhile, the LACBC’s Executive Director Jen Klausner offers an OpEd in response to a Times opinion piece claiming LA will never be a bike-friendly place. According to Klausner, our streets aren’t safe enough, but we’re getting there.

……..

Thanks to John Stesney for sending word of an upcoming bike race at the StubHub Center. Since he did a pretty good job of describing it, I’ll let him tell the story.

The Los Angeles Grand Prix will be held at the Velo Sports Center (i.e., the velodrome)  at the StubHub Center in Carson, Friday, November 22, through Sunday, November 24. It’s a UCI event, with UCI points, which means international fastest-of-the-fast fields. It isn’t free, but it’s not expensive either, especially since you can see the whole race, and you actually get a seat. (It beats standing alongside a road for hours just to watch the guys come by once.)

………

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition calls on the city to move beyond low-hanging fruit in building bikeways, and sponsors a petition calling for cycletracks in LA. Cracks begin to show in official support for the deadly, highway speed proposal to remake the Hyperion-Glendale bridge complex, as CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell promises mores study; meanwhile, the LACBC calls for action. A new bike corral opens in Atwater. You’re invited to ride in the NELA Holiday Parade December 1st. Streetsblog says the new 7th Street bike lanes are looking good. A look at the Dia de los Muertos altar to fallen cyclists in Grand Park over the weekend; thanks to Joni for the link.

The San Diego Bicycle Coalition needs your help to help create a more livable Coastal Rail Trail. Cyclelicious looks at the ideology of bicycling. It looks like the beavers are back to destroy Bakersfield’s Kern River bike path. Boyonabike enjoys a car-free Santa Barbara weekend, along with several thousand other Open Streets participants. Cyclists say the recent fix for Caltrans’ Highway 1 chip sealing disaster has been a failure. San Luis Obispo is getting a $64 million bike plan. Turns out electric cars are just as deadly as the other kind — especially if the driver is asleep behind the wheel. A 12-year old Berkeley bicyclist rides the entire Left Coast to draw attention to climate change. It’s that time of year to focus on being seen after dark.

How to work with police for smarter enforcement. How Complete Streets became hip. A new bike alarm uses a sort of crowdsourcing to recover your stolen bike. A look at bicycle insurance and the nation’s most dangerous states for riding. The battle to make Yuma bike friendly. The “six kids and no car” mom has her bakfiets stolen. Bike Portland offers an ode to bicycle butts. Portland tests solar powered lights to call attention to a bike path; reviews are mixed. Mad City offers cyclists a choice of bike path or bike lane along the same route. Building right hooks by design in Chicago. The Chicago Reader offers an in-depth look at a fallen cyclist, the driver who killed him and our lenient drunk driving laws. A Columbus OH reporter and bike blogger is critically injured in a cycling collision; the driver is charged with his second DUI in two weeks — but amazingly, it’s just a misdemeanor offense. Seriously? A New Hampshire hit-and-run driver ran over and killed her former boyfriend; just a coincidence, right? A Boston cyclist has a dangerously close encounter with a spoiled motorist and her driving dog. Ridership is up for New York’s Citi Bike bike share program, which isn’t the death trap critics had feared, or perhaps, hoped for, in some cases; but no jokes about riding Brooke Shields, please. Delaware no longer says Share the Road.

Canadian pediatricians call for mandatory helmet laws for everyone, perhaps hoping to reduce the rate of cycling, as well as injuries. Is Toronto’s bike-hating mayor a crack-smoking serial drunk driver? If you build it, they really will come; study shows investing in bikeways results in increased journeys while reducing motor trips. The rate of cyclists killed or injured on London streets went up 18% last year. Bristol England prepares to go Dutch. Indian cyclists are getting crushed — sometimes literally — in the nation’s rush to prosperity. An Aussie site asks if the media helps whip up anti-cyclist rage; well, duh.

Finally, how to survive the coming Zombie Apocalypse through bike share, including advice that wearing a helmet makes it harder for zombies to feast on your brain. On the other hand, how you ride your bike could offer prospective employers insight into yours.

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