Morning Links: Ramsay endorsement, a way to measure 3-foot violations, and Sagan takes the AToC by 3 seconds

Don’t forget to Bike the Vote in tomorrow’s election if, like me, you live in LA’s 4th council district.

I’m casting my vote for Carolyn Ramsay.

Then again, so is every other bike rider I know who has publicly expressed an opinion. Endorsements for Ramsay range from Bike the Vote LA to the LA Times, as well as Mayor Eric Garcetti and the candidate previously favored by many cyclists, Tomas O’Grady.

If anyone in the cycling community has endorsed David Ryu, I’m not aware of it.

It’s not that there aren’t a few questions marks surrounding Ramsay.

Like the fact that her boss and mentor, outgoing councilmember Tom LaBonge, has publicly supported bicycling for years, while quietly stabbing us in the back time and again. LaBonge was personally responsible for the death of the long-planned 4th Street bike boulevard, as well as killing bike lanes on 6th Street and Lankershim Blvd, at least until he leaves office.

Which can’t happen soon enough.

She has also publicly questioned current plans to put bike lanes on Hollywood Blvd, preferring crowded, high traffic and high speed Sunset Blvd as an alternative.

Yet Ramsay has tried to make it clear she is not LaBonge, and thinks for herself.

When I spoke to her after a debate, she seemed stricken to learn just how poorly her boss was perceived by cyclists. And said her support would go beyond words and an occasional bike ride.

She also said that she would keep an open door and an open mind. And was willing to be convinced in cases like Hollywood Blvd.

Unlike her former boss, who turned a deaf ear to pleas from bike riders if they conflicted with demands from home or business owners. And would often cave in at the first sign of objection, rather than trying to find a workable compromise.

The one advantage I can credit Ryu with is that, unlike Ramsay, who has spent years working in LA’s less than democratic city hall, he would bring a much-needed outside perspective to the office.

But as Ramsay points out, there are advantages to knowing how to get things done on the council, without having to learn on the job.

You can read the responses from both candidates to bicycling issues on the LACBC’s detailed candidate survey.

But whatever you do, get out there and vote.

Because your right to vote doesn’t matter if you don’t use it.

And with turnout expected to barely reach the double digits, every vote matters; this election could be determined as much by who doesn’t vote as by who does.

LA bike riders are depending on you to make the right choice.

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In what could be a huge step towards enforcing three-foot passing laws around the country, Chattanooga police develop a radar device that measures the distance between a bike rider and a passing car.

The LAPD, LA Sheriff’s Department and CHP need to get their hands on this ASAP.

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You don’t have to understand French to get the message behind this beautiful TV spot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smREcqxm6D0&sns=tw

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Now that’s more like it. The Amgen Tour of California comes down to mere millimeters in the final stage from LA to Pasadena, as Peter Sagan wins by just three seconds. VeloNews looks at the winding road that put him atop the podium.

Meanwhile, Contador continues to lead the Giro whil taking nothing but over-the-counter pain killers for his dislocated shoulder; a writer for the Guardian says his toughness puts a lie to all-too-frequent homophobic slurs against cyclists. Cycling Weekly looks at what a solo breakaway feels like.

Former pro Jens Voigt settles into life off the bike as a race ambassador and quasi philanthropist, while Wiggo calls for mandatory bike helmets.

And women’s racing has a long way to go to catch up to the men; pay is so low some riders can’t afford to join a pro team even if they get the invitation.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton says the decision to keep traffic lanes over sidewalks on the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge was based on outdated Level of Service metrics.

KCET’s Krista Carlson looks at how local resources and social rides can help turn every week into Bike Week.

The Westwood Business Improvement District applies for a Great Streets grant. And considers using the funds for parking improvements. No, really. This is the kind of thinking that has helped keep storefronts empty in what should be one of the city’s most vibrant shopping districts.

The first phase of Santa Monica’s MANGo Neighborhood Greenway opens May 30th.

 

State

Not surprisingly, Governor Brown once again ignores active transportation in his proposed state budget.

Writing for Bike Newport Beach, David Huntsman says bicycling would look less dangerous if you’d just take your helmet off when you get off the bike.

The San Diego Association of Governments goes back to the drawing board after an auto-centric regional transit plan was rejected by the courts.

A planned 50-mile Coachella bike path is threatened by a dispute over funding for maintenance.

Writing for the Fresno paper, a CHP officer says cyclists and pedestrians can be discourteous, just like law-breaking drivers. I’d call breaking the law in a dangerous, multi-ton machine more than mere discourtesy. But hey, that’s just me.

Fresno riders take over a local freeway. Hopefully, courteously.

The cyclist who crashed into an 80-year old woman on a Marin County pathway tells his side of the story, insisting she stepped into his path as he tried to avoid her; the CHP is investigating the crash.

Instead of embracing a socially and environmentally friendly form of tourism, the Sausalito city council continues to complain about the up to 1,000 bikes and riders who visit the city each day. Maybe the town should find a way to accommodate bikes instead of fining the people on them. Or bike riding tourists may decide to spend their money somewhere they’re actually wanted.

A 50-year old cyclist is killed in a collision with a truck during a double century race in Solano County; witnesses report he went through a stop sign.

The Turlock newspaper apparently believes a bike helmet could have kept an 11-year old bike rider from suffering a leg injury in a collision.

 

National

A planned Montana bike path is rerouted to preserve a century-old landmark tree.

Three upstate New Yorkers face charges for the hit-and-run death of a bike rider; the driver was on the phone when she veered off the road, and her sister and boyfriend allegedly helped cover up the crime.

Today Show host Matt Lauer will be riding 250 miles from New York to Boston, in support of NBC’s Red Nose Day to call attention to children living in poverty.

New Jersey has the nation’s second highest percentage of fatal bicycle and pedestrian deaths; a proposed four-foot passing law has stalled in committee.

The DC area’s Bicycle Bandit is busted after a series of two-wheeled getaways following bank robberies; thanks to Nancy Duley for the heads-up.

Instead of saying a bank robber used a bike to make his getaway, a Florida paper writes that a local bank was robbed a bicyclist. No bias there. Has anyone ever said that a bank was robbed by a car driver?

 

International

Famed theologians, including Albert Schweitzer and C.S. Lewis, rode bikes; the story quotes Schweitzer saying he used his “abundantly and with delight.”

Sad news from Mexico, as a 17-year old BMX rider is killed in a fall attempting to qualify for the national Olympics.

London’s Telegraph says one way to make London better would be bike lanes that don’t make riding more dangerous. Busting more bike thieves, as London police did at the famed Brick Lane Market, would help, too.

The owner of a UK trucking firm who called bike riders the worst of all road users joins with a bike shop owner to metaphorically sing Kumbaya and call for détente on the streets.

A European study says traveling by car instead of bike costs society six times more. And yes, bike riding really is environmentally friendly.

Nigerian cyclists threaten to give up the sport if there aren’t more races.

A Kiwi cyclist gets a two-year ban for doping.

 

Finally…

Brooklyn’s love affair with the bicycle goes back nearly 150 years; even before a certain baseball team threw its first pitch. An Alaska truck driver somehow manages to see a salmon cyclist sneer at him as she blows through a stop.

And both discredited American former Tour de France winners continue their legal pissing match. If anyone other than their lawyers still care.

 

3 comments

  1. Tom LaBonge also persuaded the LADOT to take Barham Blvd off the list for the first 40 miles of bike lanes that required a environmental impact report. In other words, he turned down putting bike lanes on Barham Blvd.

    He personally told me on the phone that it was too dangerous to ride on Lankershim Blvd and so he was turning down putting in bike lanes. Funny, its too dangerous was also what the manager of the Toyota dealership on Lankershim Blvd said at an outreach meeting. Was Tom LaBonge simply parroting what this manager told him, or was this just a coincidence?

    Tom LaBonge also publically stated that bike lanes should not be installed on Vermont Ave when this street was in his council district.

    Tom LaBonge also publicly stated that he was going to do a road diet on 6th St. after a pedestrian was killed there about three years ago. A few months ago, in a city council transportation committee meeting, he publicly stated that he couldn’t allow bike lanes to be installed on 6th St. because of the subway construction on Wilshire Blvd.

    I counted all the miles of bike lanes that have been installed during the first two and a half fiscal years after the 2010 bike plan was approved. Tom LaBonge’s district tied for last place with Mitch O’Farrell’s district for least amount of miles of bike lanes installed in those years.

    Tom LaBonge’s council district is tied with Mitch O’Farrell’s district for the most miles of bike lanes in the current second round of 40 miles of bike lane installations that will require community outreach meetings. The winner of this election for council district 4 will quickly be put to the test on whether they have the courage, leadership and vision to put in any of these bike lanes.

    I question whether David Ryu will have the courage, ability to lead, or vision to take away space from motor vehicles to install bikeways after he stated on the LACBC candidate questionnaire: “My approach to serving on City Council is generally to start with the neighborhoods. This sounds simple, but too often the first voice a Councilmember hears is someone who has a lobbyist or an advocate in City Hall. But I start and end any decision with the community, not paid advocates.” This seems to be someone who will follow whatever the status quo wants.

    Los Angeles does not have enough lanes to accommodate all of the motorists during peak hours on many of the arterial streets. If there is no way to create enough capacity for all of these vehicles, then why not give people more choices on ways to move around by reallocating some of the space on the street instead of forcing everyone to suffer with the motorists?

    Besides bicycling, what other form of transportation in Los Angeles do we need to have approval of safety improvements through community outreach meetings? Do walk signals and crosswalks need these meetings before they can be installed? These also can cause delays for motorists. Traffic signals cause delays for motorists and yet these are installed without seeking approval through community meetings. Motor vehicles are the reason traffic signals are installed. If there were no motor vehicles, then there would be no need for traffic signals.

    Caltrans installed traffic signals at the top of freeway on-ramps to limit the amount of vehicles entering the freeway during peak hours. This can cause motor vehicles to be backed up for blocks on the street. Did these potential delays caused by the on-ramp traffic signals require approval of community members before they were installed? No they didn’t.

    Did the Metro board and Caltrans ask for a community vote before installing toll lanes on two freeways in Los Angeles? No.

  2. Bryan J Blumberg says:

    I think that the decision to keep traffic lanes over sidewalks on the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge was based on several additional factors besides those outdated Level of Service metrics.

    For example,

    (1) Mr. LaBonge showed up and gave a rambling and incoherent speech favoring four lanes for cars and only one sidewalk.

    (2) The Bureau of Engineering claimed that the 3 traffic lane version would require a new Environmental Impact Report, which could take 12-18 months and therefore would jeopardize the funding for the entire product, which is due to expire soon.

    (3) It was brought up that there are only a few streets in the entire city that cross over the Los Angeles River, so if there was only one lane heading eastbound on the Hyperion Bridge, that would limit the number of escape routes from the city in the event of an emergency!

    (4) One member of the Board of Public Works felt that the road diet on Rowena Avenue was “a disaster” and he didn’t want to repeat the same mistake on Hyperion Avenue.

  3. This is one instance where people who frequently bicycle can be the deciding votes in an election. The Los Angeles city council runoff is the only thing on the ballot in council district four. Its very unlikely that there will be nearly as many people voting this time compared to the last election and that could create a small difference in vote totals between the two candidates.

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