Morning links, a defensive riding tip, a BAC Bikeways Committee Agenda, and a Metro ciclovia of your very own

Just a few quick notes to wrap up the week.

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First up, let’s go back to that video we shared yesterday, in which I was Jerry Browned by a pair of our fellow cyclists.

But this time, instead of looking at what they did, take a look at what I did. Or more precisely, didn’t do.

Which is, react.

Notice that in both cases, I held my line without swerving in either direction.

Not exactly the easiest thing to do.

It’s human nature to react — or too often, overreact — to the unexpected, either by swerving away from it or, counter intuitively, swerving into it. Many people react to being startled by turning to look towards whatever it is that surprised them. And naturally, if they’re on a bike, their bikes follow.

Either one can increase your risk exponentially, as a rider startled by an unexpected pass on the left could swerve right into parked or turning cars, or risk injury by falling or crashing over a curb. Meanwhile, a swerve to the left can result in a crash with the person or vehicle that startled you, or a cutting dangerously or falling in front of traffic.

If I’d reacted to the first rider by jerking my bike to the right, I could have collided with the cars in the right turn lane; to the left, I could have been hit by the cars going straight.

That’s why one of the most important skills you can develop — and a key to defensive riding, as well as driving — is learning not to react unless you need to.

Practice holding your line — that is, continuing to ride in the same path you were headed — regardless of what is going on around you.

And learn not to overreact to a situation that may already be over before you can respond — like a swinging door when you’re already riding outside the door zone, for instance — as was the case with both of these riders.

It could make all the difference between a minor annoyance and a major disaster.

……….

Metro wants to hold a ciclovia in your neighborhood.

The Metro Board approved the Open Streets Program in September 2014 to include up to $2 million annually for open street events in Los Angeles County that will be distributed through a competitive grant application process. Open streets are events which temporarily close the streets to automobiles and open them up to people to re-imagine and experience their streets while walking, biking, rollerblading or pushing a stroller in a car-free environment. The goals of the program are to encourage sustainable modes of transportation (biking, walking and transit), provide an opportunity to take transit for the first time, and provide an opportunity for civic engagement that can foster the development of multi-modal policies for cities.

The Metro Open Streets Program application is now available to cities to apply for grant funding and the deadline to apply online is Friday March 14, 2014. For more information contact Avital Shavit at shavita@metro.net.

Click here for the Metro Open Streets Application

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The LA Bicycle Advisory Committee’s Bikeway’s Subcommittee meets next Wednesday, March 19th — despite the date on the agenda below. The public is invited to discuss upcoming improvements on the city’s streets.

Planning-Agenda

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Mark your calendar. According to the LACBC, the MyFigueroa project is due back before the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee on the 25th of this month.

The Times editorial board is no fan of the Supreme Court’s ruling against the Rails to Trails movement.

The first step in becoming a biker in LA: buying a bike.

Big bike-friendly changes are coming to Downtown Santa Monica. But once again, much needed safety improvements in LA only seem to come after someone gets killed.

Calbike’s Dave Snyder says there may be hope for Caltrans yet.

Twelve-year old middle school student was injured in a collision with a Chevy Suburban in Whittier. No word on what happened or who was at fault.

Once again, a foreign visitor comes to this country and is sent home in a box, as a Dutch cyclist is one of two victims of a murderous Austin TX driver who injured 23 other people — 5 critically — when he plowed into crowds at the South By Southwest festival. The suspected drunk driver was fleeing from police, and now faces two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault. If only we could get the authorities to take less high profile cases so seriously. Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

Minneapolis police reopen the case of a cyclist killed in a hit-and-run over five years ago.

WaPo says maybe we’ve reached peak car, which is bad news for global auto makers. And as we’ve noted recently, that seems to hold true for California, as well.

Brit bike rider makes friends with a golden eagle.

Pyscho cyclist terrorizes a Brit couple in a road rage incident. Or at least, that’s one side of the one-sided story.

Now here’s a great idea. Paris makes their Velib free for three days to combat dangerous air pollution. I wonder what other city that suffers from bad air could benefit from something like that? Oh wait, we don’t have a bike share system here.

Tracing the growth of Parisian bike culture.

Bet that comes out of his salary, as pro cyclist Marcel Kittel smashes his $11,000 Giant Propel bike into the asphalt.

The Cannibal, possibly the greatest un-banned cyclist of all time, says that Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso could be the best thing to happen to (pro) cycling. Oddly, he’s not expected to have any significant impact on recreational riding or bike commuting.

Finally, despite six previous DUI convictions — and seven arrests — an Ohio driver was still on the streets so he could kill a cyclist in a drunken hit-and-run. I’d like to know why the hell someone like that wasn’t banned for life from getting behind the wheel — let alone not behind bars already?

3 comments

  1. David says:

    “It’s human nature to react…”

    This is why I’ve stopped the “on your left” callout before passing. More often than not, people react by looking over their left shoulder causing them to drift left into my line. I prefer just to get around them before the can react and start to wobble.

    Just like the guy in the video, I’ll give more space to someone who looks less experienced.

    Also, when I pass on the road, I always look over my shoulder, both for cars and to see if someone is passing me. You should be able to do it without having your bike drift left.

  2. Joe B says:

    It makes me sad that a 3-block cycle track and some green paint are what qualifies as “big bike-friendly changes” in our current climate.

  3. […] First of a couple of SoCal links from Ted Rogers of BikingInLA. Morning links, a defensive riding tip, a BAC Bikeways Committee Agenda, and a Metro ciclovia of your… […]

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