Morning Links: KPCC calls LaBonge a bike advocate, CicLAvia rolls, Kerry breaks a leg and Hövding sort of works

KPCC offered an hour long show to celebrate bicycling in Los Angeles over the weekend.

Okay, 45 minutes without station breaks.

It’s worth a listen; Cyclelicious breaks down the program, and archives the full hour if you’d rather hear the whole thing.

But in a major WTF moment, they interviewed outgoing Councilmember Tom LaBonge, discussing his support for bicycling, while acknowledging in passing that some bike advocates would disagree with that assessment.

Or how about, virtually all bike advocates would disagree.

While LaBonge has been a supporter of recreational riding, including completion of the LA River path, he seems unable to comprehend that some people have an actual need to get from here to there on the streets of LA, on two wheels and in one piece.

Like Paul Koretz and Gil Cedillo before him, LaBonge has personally halted plans for vital bikeways contained in the 2010 bike plan that was unanimously approved by the city council.

Which means he was for it before he was against it.

For instance, Lankershim Blvd was supposed to have a bike lane by now.

But LaBonge agreed with at least one neighborhood group that bikes belong on nearby Vineland instead, a quieter street that parallels Lankershim. Although the real issue isn’t giving cyclists a more serene street to ride, but rather, preserving traffic lanes and street parking along the dangerous boulevard.

Never mind bike riders need to go to the same places drivers do, and that shunting them aside merely forces them to ride further and bypass places where they might otherwise do business.

Or that bike lanes have been shown to help calm traffic and improve safety for everyone. And that businesses usually benefit by having a calmer, more walkable and rideable street passing by their storefronts, encouraging people to stop in rather than speed by.

LaBonge is also responsible for the death of the long-planned bike boulevard — excuse me, bike friendly street neighborhood greenway — on 4th Street.

Local residents objected, not to plans for a bike boulevard, but the idea of traffic lights at Highland and Rossmore that would allow riders to cross the busy streets safely, fearing that drivers would use the quiet side street to bypass busier streets on either side.

Instead of explaining that the planned traffic lights would be a demand lights that would only work if someone pushed a button on the side of the road, or that traffic diverters would keep motorists from driving more than a few blocks on 4th — or any of the other options that would have improved safety and livability for everyone along the corridor — LaBonge simply killed the whole thing.

Leaving both bike riders and local residents worse off.

As the program touched on, he’s also one of the prime movers trying to force a pedestrian-unfriendly Glendale-Hyperion bridge through the city council before he leaves office.

And before the less auto-centric David Ryu can replace him.

That’s not to say LaBonge isn’t a likable person, or that he’s not the closest thing to a cheerleader the City of Angels has had in years. In fact, he’d be the perfect choice to replace the late Johnny Grant as the honorary mayor of Hollywood.

But he’s been a mediocre and unpopular councilmember at best, which is one of the primary reasons his protégé Carolyn Ramsay lost to Ryu in the recent council race to replace him.

And he has been the enemy of anyone forced to ride the unwelcoming streets in his district. Something KPCC should have considered before allowing LaBonge to celebrate himself on the air.

Let’s hope Ryu will revive some of those projects LaBonge sent to an early death.

And that KPCC will do something like this again. But talk to a few more real bike advocates first.

……..

Pasadena police estimate attendance at Sunday’s CicLAvia at just 40,000, which would make it the lowest attended of any CicLAvia.

However, as Henry Fung points out, that’s most likely an estimate of the crowd at any given time, rather than the attendance for the full day, as people came and went throughout the day. The actual attendance was probably two or three times that.

The Source offers some truly great photos of the day, as does the Times, although the responses to the Time’s piece are sadly predictable. And while Boyonabike proclaimed the day potentially subversive, his son termed it awesome-tacular.

The next official CicLAvia will take place August 9th with a route along Venice and Washington Boulevards from Culver City to the coast. Hopefully, the redesigned and shortened route will avoid the problems with 2013’s CicLAvia to the Sea, which resulted in bike traffic jams that rivaled the 405 at rush hour.

But if you can’t wait that long, you’re in luck. Because Long Beach is hosting its first ciclovía on Atlantic Avenue this Saturday.

……..

Calbike calls on everyone to call your state legislators to urge support for more active transportation funding.

……..

Secretary of State John Kerry broke his leg while riding in France. Kerry is said to be an exceptional cyclist, even if some people who clearly don’t have a clue say he’s too old to ride a bike; I know some people who might disagree.

The question is what effect his injury will have on current international negotiations, including efforts to rein in Iran’s nuclear program.

On the other hand, who goes out for a bike ride with a motorcade, including physician, in tow?

Thanks to George Wolfberg for the second link.

……..

Bike Radar tries out that Hövding inflatable bike non-helmet, which surprisingly enough, seems to actually work.

Although if you watch carefully, the side of her head impacts the mattress before the helmet moves around to protect it. Which could result in serious injury if you don’t happen to fall on bedding.

……..

No surprise from the Giro d’Italia as Contador cruises to an easy victory, setting up a chance to try for rare back-to-back victories in the Giro and Tour de France. The breakout star of the tour has been Astana’s Fabio Aru, who may get a shot at the TdF as a result.

And VeloNews looks at how the young American contingent faired.

……..

Local

The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee meets tonight at the Hollywood Neighborhood City Hall, 6501 Fountain Ave; you can find tonight’s agenda here. The BAC is the only official voice in the city government for bike riders, even if most LA cyclists don’t even know it exists. Correction: earlier I misidentified the location of the meeting; the address above is the correct location.

Streetsblog is the latest to complain about scofflaw cops parking in the bike lane near the old Parker Center police headquarters.

Architect Michael Maltzan’s squiggle is turning into a new 6th Street Viaduct, complete with circular bike ramps to lift riders up to the crossing while providing views of LA.

Caught on video: The first green-backed sharrows come to Venice.

David Beckham teaches his three-year old daughter how to ride a bike. And without training wheels, no less.

 

State

Orange County rescue teams had a busy day on Sunday, as they came to the aid of three mountain bike riders injured in separate incidents.

A 68-year old Los Angeles woman suffered a serious head injury when she was hit by a cyclist while crossing a street in Del Mar. Let’s hope she makes a full and fast recovery. And always give pedestrians the right-of-way; they’re the only ones on the street more vulnerable than we are.

An Oceanside road diet and roundabout designed to improve safety for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians has received a third engineering design award. Awards are nice, but the real test is whether it reduces conflicts and collisions.

Competitive mountain biking is spreading throughout California high schools; the Union-Tribune offers a nice look at a budding team from an Escondido high school.

Goldenvoice, the company behind the Coachella music festival, has offered to pay the maintenance costs for the Coachella Valley’s planned 50-mile bike and pedestrian path.

San Luis Obispo police bust a bike burglar in a stolen van after a brief chase; inside they found six high-end bicycles valued at over $40,000 stolen in a break-in at a local bike shop.

San Francisco officials hope to get a change in state law to allow speed cameras to automatically ticket speeding drivers. LA should get behind the bill, as well; we’ll never meet Vision Zero goals if LA drivers continue to be allowed, if not expected, to speed with impunity.

 

National

Okay, so don’t try to fix potholes yourself.

Next City asks when the US will embrace truck side guards to keep bicyclists and pedestrians safer.

Bicycling’s Elly Blue discusses the potentially burning question of how to drink coffee while you ride.

Vox discusses how to get more people biking and walking to work.

Portland cyclists ride to demand no more ghost bikes, while a local website asks if biking in the bike friendly city is getting more dangerous.

Yes, it’s upsetting to get into an argument after crashing into jaywalking pedestrian. But don’t pull out a knife and stab the other man multiple times; a Seattle man faces assault charges for doing exactly that.

A Colorado woman is riding from Denver to Anchorage to raise funds for Nepal earthquake victims.

Wyoming police are on the lookout for a suspected hit-and-run driver who injured a bike rider, but that doesn’t stop him from venting on Facebook. Seriously, anything you say on social media can and will be used against you in a court of law.

Houston cyclists were involved in at least 950 vehicle collisions in a 12-month period since the city approved a three-foot passing law; at least 213 of those were hit-and-run. Clearly, hit-and-run is not just an LA problem.

A Minnesota driver warns about the dangers of distracted driving, after serving a whole six months for the death of a bike riding mother pulling her two daughters in a bicycle trailer; he’ll serve another three months in each of the next two years.

This is why so-called pranks aren’t funny. A 72-year old Ohio bicyclist was blinded in one eye when he was shot with a paintball gun by a passenger in a passing car; a 20-year old man faces a felony assault charge in the case. This is also one more example why you should always wear eye protection when you ride.

In a bizarre twist of fate, a North Carolina cyclist considers giving up bicycling after he’s the victim of a hit-and-run, five years to the day after he was severely injured in another hit-and-run while riding.

 

International

Sad news from up north, as an impaired British Columbia driver plowed into a group of three cyclists, killing two, as well as a passenger in his own vehicle.

Vancouver’s move to better bike infrastructure has resulted in a doubling in ridership since 2008.

An Edmonton man gets his knickers in a twist after he’s denied entry to a bike co-op on a women and transgender night.

Prepare to get pissed off. An Ottawa judge rules a driver not guilty of hit-and-run because he was… wait for it… too drunk to know he’d hit a bike rider. He also got off on a separate drunk driving charge because police allegedly violated his rights when he was arrested.

English police warn about yet another attempt to injure cyclists by stringing wires at neck level across a bikeway.

A British group is raising funds to put women’s bike racing on TV on a weekly basis.

Caught on video: A road raging Brit driver has a foul mouthed meltdown, threatening to eat a bike rider for breakfast for failing to use a nearly unrideable bikeway. Somehow, I feel like I’ve seen this movie before. Or maybe lived it.

Apparently not caught on video was the road raging British Brompton rider who grabbed another bicyclist by the throat and pushed him into the bushes.

Maybe it’s time to take a bike tour through the heel of Italy’s boot. Or perhaps you’d prefer to ride along the Danube. Or just retire to ride around the world.

On the other hand, this is the risk we face in today’s world, as a Chinese bike tourist is being held hostage by a Taliban group in Pakistan.

Who knew Dubai was becoming bike friendly? The emirate has constructed 110 miles of cycle tracks spanning the country.

An Aussie woman writes about what it’s like to live with a cyclist and worry about her partner’s safe return. Which is why my wife doesn’t want to know what happens on my rides anymore.

A Japanese prefecture now requires bike riders to carry liability insurance.

Hong Kong cyclists push to make the city bike friendly, while the city seems to move in the opposite direction.

 

Finally…

When a Toronto man left his $2,500 Dutch cargo bike at the airport, a maintenance crew tossed it in the trash; fortunately, a worker rescued it and returned it to its owner. Does a wrist-held smartwatch come under the ban for using hand-held devices while driving?

And yes, riding a bike can be very exciting, as a participant in a UK edition of the World Naked Bike Ride was removed by police for becoming a little too aroused during the event.

 

7 comments

  1. David says:

    1. If the Pasadena CICLAVIA had more riders than it did Sunday on that short route, it would be known as the WALKLAVIA. Fun, but way too much dismounting and braking last Sunday.

    2. You don’t want Speed Cameras. On paper, this sounds like a good idea–keep traffic speeds down and cyclists are safer. Arizona (the birthplace of photo red light radar if you are not familiar) tried this speed camera experiment 10 years ago and it failed. The last AZ Governor banned them. It was a great revenue raiser–the private company that pushed the legislature and provided the cameras made millions. The government made a lot less than that. Thousands of tics mailed everyday. But drivers trying to keep their cars steady under 60 MPH (highway) or 30 MPH (streets), were focused more on their dash and speedometer and not on the road! Drivers became less attentive to their surrounding and focused on the next speed enforcement photo van. Drivers stopping short when they saw a speed van caused many rear end collisions. Then there were the other drivers that kept speeding and ignored service of the tickets. Then there were the drivers that applied laminates over their license plates so the camera could not read them and they could continue to speed.

    3. I would stick to building protected bike lanes.

    • bikinginla says:

      The problem is that LA doesn’t have enough police officers on the street at any given time to enforce the traffic laws. As a result, most people drive 10 to 15 miles over the limit; in fact, anyone who observes the speed limit is often subjected to honking and harassment from angry drivers.

      And those extra 10 to 15 mph can mean the difference between life and death in a collision.

      When I go back home to Colorado, I have to watch my speed carefully because there are more police on the street in relation to the lower population, and drivers there usually adhere more closely to the posted limit.

      Until we can afford to put more cops on the street, we need to do something to rein in routine speeding. Speed cameras are one solution; redesigning our streets to slow traffic is the other.

      Speed cameras are cheaper.

    • The motoring lobbies who claim speed cameras increase danger cherry pick their data. The reality is speed cameras reduce the risk of all collisions, reduce the injury rate, and reduce fatalities.

      The other outright lie they use is so-called “regression to the mean.” The story they tell: authorities notice a sudden spike in fatalities at a location, install speed cameras, and the fatalities drop because the initial spike was a statistical anomaly. The truth is that speed cameras are installed a long-time trouble spots.

      Finally, any maniac who drives 60 MPH on surface streets in San Francisco should be thrown in jail. Even 30 MPH is too fast for probably a majority of the streets in SF. The prima facie speed limit for surface streets in any business or residential area throughout California is 25 MPH unless otherwise posted

    • calwatch says:

      On the other hand, shorter routes make the event more accessible for families – I saw more families and children under 12 at this Ciclavia than any previous event. It also allows for a more walkable route, as I and my mom chose to walk the entire route again.

      As far as speed cameras, I would support them as long as speeding infractions were made an administrative infraction and the fine was more like a parking ticket – $70 or so for 1-10 mph, maybe twice that for 11 mph and up.

      With the increased focus on how policies disfavor the poor and result in them not being able to go to work and raise their children, we need to not create a cycle similar to Missouri where residents get warrants for their arrest because they can’t pay. There will be a tension between those fighting for speed cameras and those who recognize that these tickets could perpetuate the cycling of poor individuals into the criminal justice system.

  2. Stvr says:

    i was only a casual observer of the CD4 election but from my perspective it seemed the bike community endorsed Carolyn Ramsay (and therefore LaBonge’s tenure as CM). I don’t think Ryu got nearly as much support. You could understand KPCC’s confusion. Not sure Ryu owes the bike community anything after the cold shoulder he got. But this is just what I hear from the Ryu people.

    • bikinginla says:

      Ryu didn’t get the cold shoulder, he gave it. He chose not to participate in the only forum focused on bicycling and pedestrian issues, and was the last candidate to complete the LACBC’s candidate survey, months after the others responded.

      The first rule of politics is if you want support, you have to ask for it. I waited until the day before the election to hear something, anything from the Ryu camp asking for the support of the bicycling community. Ramsay repeatedly reached out to me and other bicyclists; Ryu didn’t. My endorsement of Ramsay was based as much on his failure to engage as it was anything she said.

      Clearly, Ryu calculated that he could win without our support, and he was right. That’s what happens in an election where everyone but the most committed voters stay home.

      That said, I have nothing against Ryu, and I don’t know anyone who does. He won the election, and will represent the 4th district for the next four years, and probably the next 12. He has an obligation to represent everyone in his district, just as we have an obligation to work with him.

      Ryu owes us nothing but fair representation, just like he does anyone else.

  3. James says:

    I listened to the program on KPCC for a few seconds until I heard someone say, quite predictably, that “no one walks in LA, so why not put bike lanes on the sidewalk.” The official? responded by saying they “looked into it” but it wouldn’t work because pedestrians are too distracted by smart phones. He didn’t bother to challenge their assertion that “no one walks” and didn’t offer up any of the many sensible arguments sidewalk bike lanes. Why did they have someone from the OC register co-host the show?

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