Morning Links: Cut off in a green lane, an 11-year old voice of reason, and an insightful look at LA’s Mobility Plan

Even with a green Santa Monica bike lane, some drivers can’t be bothered to look for bikes before cutting into it.

Thanks to John Montgomery for the video.

………

It’s kind of sad that the voice of reason at Monday’s town hall meeting to discuss the Rowena road diet came from an eleven-year old boy.

Let alone the hate it inspired in some quarters.

Matty Grossman has become the perhaps unwilling star of LA bike advocacy, with an interview on KCBS-2 and a profile in the LA Times that features the following video, recorded by Sean Meredith.

It’s a little hard to hear — after all, he is just eleven — but it’s worth cranking up the volume as far as it goes to catch every word

Especially this segment excerpted from the Times’ story.

“I have lost track of the number of cars who have purposely violated my legal right to three feet of safety or shouted obscenities at me,” Matty said at Monday’s town hall. “Can you imagine the kind of monster who yells ‘F you’ to a child?”

And Matty, a sixth-grader, is over it.

“It’s whiny, entitled behavior you wouldn’t tolerate from a kid,” he told the room. “Why should I tolerate it from adults?”

Why should any of us?

Maybe it was being shamed by a kid that caused one rabidly anti-bike commenter to lash out in protest over a kid interrupting the conversation on “adult issues” like bike lanes and transportation policy.

But that’s exactly the point.

Because if some drivers will treat a little kid like that, imagine how they treat a grown-up on a bike.

According to the press reports, Matty wants to grow up to be mayor of Los Angeles. Or an astrophysicist.

He’s got my vote.

But if that doesn’t work out, I think we can get him a job with the LACBC.

………

Speaking of Rowena, and by extension, the new mobility plan, Times’ architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne offers an insightful explanation of just why it’s so desperately needed, despite rumblings from some quarters.

Sometimes we tell ourselves it has been this way for all time. Recently a reader sent me an email that included this line: “Driving by car is how it’s done here.” (The word “son” at the end of the sentence was implied.)

But that’s not really true — not if you take a broad view of Los Angeles history. Look at a photograph of, say, Broadway in downtown L.A. in the late 1920s. It is full of people walking. But it is also full of people in cars, on bikes and on streetcars.

It looks vital. And guess what? It also looks very congested. In the decades that followed, in our tireless efforts to stamp out the congestion — something we became truly expert at — we wound up stamping out the vitality too.

Seriously, take a few minutes and read it all the way through.

I’ll wait.

………

Yet another young man has been fatally shot while apparently riding a bike in South LA, this time in the Florence neighborhood just after midnight Friday.

Excuse my language, but just when are we going to stop this fucking waste of life? The right to keep on living is the most basic of all human rights.

………

There’s a new world record for a human-powered vehicle, set by a bullet-shaped bike ridden by Canadian Todd Reichart and the AeroVelo team at the annual World Human Powered Speed Challenge. It was clocked at 85.71 mph, beating the old record by 2.58 mph.

………

That didn’t take long. The world championships haven’t even started yet, and a bike thief already made off with a $10,000 Specialized S-Works belonging to the Dutch team. And no offense to The Verge, but I’ve done a lot faster than 30 mph.

Former world champ Mark Cavendish is the latest high-profile rider to pull out of the worlds, along with Aussie Rory Sutherland.

WaPo offers a quick 11-point world championship overview, while Men’s Journal proffers seven reasons why you should care. One small problem with the course, though, is its made-for-TV tour through a virtual shrine to the Confederacy.

And it’s been 21 years since the carbon frame conquered the world of racing.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton takes an in-depth look at LADOT’s new annual report, and offers four metrics to guide future bikeway implementation.

Bicycling isn’t a luxury in South LA, where a bike count shows people who can’t afford cars riding to or from work and school. And people there have more to fear than dangerous streets and drivers.

He doesn’t mention bikes, but 3rd District Councilmember Bob Blumenfield writes about revitalizing Reseda through the Great Streets program on Sherman Way. Let’s just remind him to include some decent bike lanes while he’s at it. And slow the damn traffic down.

Nonprofit creative arts center Art Share LA is giving you one last chance to say goodbye to the soon-to-be demolished 6th Street Bridge with an exhibit called Ode to the Bridge.

After winning joint custody, Chris Brown wants to treat his daughter Royalty royally by teaching her to ride a bike.

 

State

An off-duty CHP officer spotted a man sleeping in an Oceanside bike lane; when he stopped to investigate, he discovered the man was the victim of a hit-and-run. He was in critical condition as of Friday morning.

After riding over 9,300 miles through 31 states with his rescue dog to promote pet adoption, an animal activist had his bike, iPod, GoPro and dog toys stolen in San Diego. At least he managed to hold onto the dog.

Prospects for the Coachella Valley’s proposed 50-mile CV Link bikeway aren’t looking good, as Indian Wells and Rancho Mirage both vote to block the proposed route.

Sad news from Lompoc. A bike rider was killed when he was rear-ended by an SUV, as the driver apparently tried — and failed — to pass. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Morgan Hill decides to expand efforts to make the downtown area “inviting to visitors on all modes of transportation.” Note to Morgan Hill: Sharrows don’t make for Complete Streets.

A San Ramon attorney will be sentenced next week for the hit-and-run death of a Chinese tourist three years ago. Sentencing is at the judge’s discretion; he could actually get probation for killing another person and running away to cover-up his crime.

Thanks to Google, we may one day hear the anti-bike brigades say LA isn’t Silicon Valley instead of comparing us to Copenhagen.

Not taxing bikes or bike riders wins out with 56% of the vote in the SF Gate’s very unscientific poll.

Streetsblog is looking for someone to run the San Francisco site and cover transportation issues in the Bay Area. I’d consider it, but it would mean becoming a Giants fan. And some lines a man just can’t cross.

 

National

This Tuesday is Worldwide Car-Free Day. Which is not the same as free car day, unfortunately.

In case you’re desperate for a physics lesson, Wired obliges with a discussion of pulling a bike with a giant rubber band.

Bicycling reports on the Breaking Away reunion at Interbike, although the Las Vegas Review-Journal does it much better.

The level of bike commuting in Portland has reached an unheard of — in the US, at least — 7.2%; it was only at 2.8% in 2004.

Fifty-two soldiers complete a two day, 167-mile ride from Fort Knox KY to Fort Campbell.

When some Michigan hikers looked at pictures they’d just taken off a cliff, they discovered legs and a bicycle in the photos; when rescuers arrived, they found a the body of a man in his 30s at the base of the cliff.

Now this is a great idea. Over 70 businesses and many homes in Ashland VA have bike gardens — bicycles with planters or arranged like sculptures. Love to see something that spread around the LA area.

Very strange case from upstate New York as a cyclist has been unresponsive since he was found lying in the road, suffering from a double skull fracture and a broken orbital socket and clavicle. Yet his bike and helmet were undamaged and there was no sign of a collision.

Caught on video: It takes major huevos to steal a Philadelphia cop’s bike. Or maybe just major stupidity, since the bike was clearly marked “POLICE.”

A Charlotte NC writer says both cyclists and motorists have control over whether they get out of control. However, bicycling is not particularly dangerous, as he suggests; people in motor vehicles aren’t immune from collisions and serous injuries, or worse.

 

International

A Saskatoon city counselor says new bike racks are a waste of money, since cyclists can “tie up” their bikes to loading zone signs. Sounds like he’s more used to hitching posts.

You’re kidding, right? Toronto proposes producing a paltry 2.5 miles of new bike lanes a year for the next 10 years. No word on whether those are centerline miles or lane miles; the latter would mean bike lanes on just 1.25 miles of roadway per year.

The 18-year old London man convicted of fatally stabbing a 15-year old boy to steal his bike will now spend the rest of his life behind bars.

A Singapore court cuts the sentence of a hit-and-run cyclist to three weeks; he’d originally been sentenced to eight weeks behind bars for fleeing after injuring a 69-year old woman while riding on the sidewalk.

Kuala Lumpur cyclists crowd-source a route map to make the city more bike friendly.

 

Finally…

Evidently, commie bikes are hard to find in the UK, even if the new head of the Labour party rides one. If you’re selling crack cocaine from the seat of your bike, try not to ride into a car while making your getaway from the cops.

And maybe it’s better to quaff that ale post ride rather than pre. Although after reading the effects booze has on a bike rider’s body, you may need a drink.

 

9 comments

  1. Matt r says:

    Thanks for the post! Must have reading while counting bikes (don’t worry my spot has 1 bike every 15 minutes go by- I can count and read your blog!)

  2. JD says:

    Helmets off to young Mr. Grossman, his speech was spot-on. “Out of the mouths of babes……..”

  3. Trucker Mark says:

    And to think that 80-90% of motorists across the US have absolutely no idea what a green lane even is, as well as that the Greater Los Angeles area has a fair share of out of town tourists too.

    Did you see that Seattle has changed their previous stance of narrowing roads to accommodate bicyclists and are now putting more money into off-street separated bicycle paths, as they noted that on-street bike riding in narrow bicycle lanes was exceeding the operational capability of too many bicyclists?

    Have you seen that recent study that says that 70% of all bicycle fatal involving other vehicles are the exclusive fault of the involved bike rider?

    Or the fact that 24% of all bicycle fatalities involve alcohol intoxication on the part of the bike rider?

    How about helping both motorist safety and bike safety out and requiring the installation of working brake lights on any bicycle that uses public roads, as doing so would reduce following motorist stopping distance by the 1-2 seconds that it takes the average motorist to recognize that the vehicle or bike ahead without brake lights is slowing down?

    How about bicyclists observing minimum following distance requirements and not trying to pass on the shoulder or between lanes when other vehicles are stopped or slowed? How about not running red lights or stop signs, or stopping or yielding when entering the roadway from private driveways, as is required by Federal UVC?

    There is only so much society can do to reduce bike accidents when bike riders as a group don’t operate terribly safely and are seemingly exempted from vehicular mandated equipment and operational legal standards.

    • Trucker Mark says:

      Looking at this Green Lane advocacy site there are 23 States with zero protected bike lanes, and more than 75% of the other 27 States only have a very few protected bike lanes in 1 or 2 cities.

      So while you might feel as a rider in the Greater Los Angeles area that violating a “green lane” is akin to attempted murder do realize that only a very few cities even have “green lanes” for bike riders, and that bike lane markings are substantially different in many other States too.

      For instance in Chicago bike lanes are indicated by two painted parallel lines on the right side of traffic lanes with an occasional painted version of a bicycle within the lane itself, and Greater Chicago is one of the national leaders in separate bicycle lane mileage too. Other cities have different markings and/or various kinds of barriers between vehicular traffic and bike lane traffic too.

      This story from the People for Bikes Green Lane advocacy project sounds hopeful when it says that “Between 1874 and 2011, only 78 protected bike lanes existed nationwide. By summer 2015, 213 protected lanes were on the ground across the country, and the number keeps rising”.

      However, there are several million miles of arterial highways in the US alone, and the total route mileage of these protected bike lanes, (only a few of which outside of California are actual “green lanes”) is less than 0.0001% of total US arterial route mileage too.

      http://www.peopleforbikes.org/green-lane-project/pages/inventory-of-protected-bike-lanes

      So if I rode a bike in California I would watch-out for people driving rental cars as well as watch-out for people driving any vehicle with out-of-State plates too, as the simple fact is that your system of “green lanes” is extremely rare outside of your State.

      This current database of protected bike lanes nationally is extremely helpful as it shows that only 8 States even have more than a few protected bike lanes. Take New York State for instance, which has 41 protected bike lanes, only one of which is outside New York City, leaving cities like Albany, Buffalo, and Rochester without any, all three of which are large-enough to have major airline-served airports, from which air passengers can be in LA in only a few hours renting a car without ever having seen a protected bike lane of any type.

      Just so that you are aware of how rare such facilities actually are.

      • bikinginla says:

        Thank you for commenting.

        Just to clarify, green lanes and protected bike lanes are not the same thing. While protected lanes are unusual, though becoming less so every day, green paint, while a relatively recent development, is being used with to call attention to bike lanes and sharrows throughout the US. Although as you note, people from other areas may not be familiar with such street treatments, even though they’re based on national standards.

        As for the study showing 70% of collisions are the fault of cyclists, I could show you others in which the division is close to 50/50, plus or minus, and others in which 80% or more are the fault of drivers.

        It all depends on who is assigning fault, what criteria they use, and how well they are trained in bicycle law. Unfortunately, few police officers receive sufficient training in the rights and responsibilities of cyclists, or how to investigate collisions involving bikes, which respond differently than motor vehicles in a crash.

        A common error is to blame cyclists for riding too far from the curb, when in fact, they have the right to ride in the center of the lane on any roadway where the right lane is too narrow to share safely share with a motor vehicle, anywhere in the US.

        Another problem is that in many cases, the only witness to a collision are the people involved. And too often, the bike rider is unable to give his or her side of the story.

        Here in LA, the police have said that motorists are at fault in a slight majority of collisions, while the CHP has blamed bike riders for a plurality of collisions.

        Personally, I would question any study that assigns blame to one side or the other; given human nature, it would seem unlikely that any one group is more prone to errors or driving/riding unsafely.

        • Trucker Mark says:

          The city where I live in Colorado just remarked a heavily-traveled industrial street with sharrow markings in the last 90 days and our city did not use green paint.

          The only green paint-marked separated bicycle lanes in Colorado are on a couple of 12-block long streets in downtown Denver where a large percentage of Colorado residents have never been.

          Just remember that the residents of 23 States have never even seen a protected bike lane.

          So what is your opinion on the fact that given blind spot constraints on large commercial trucks that it would be safer to ride on the driver’s side of such vehicles than on their passenger side where drivers pf such vehicles can’t see you, especially when making right turns?

          Here is a good video perhaps you should take a look at. I have looked for a US version but at this point I am afraid that this British version will have to do. Keep in mind that across the British Empire as well as in Japan motorists drive right-hand drive vehicles and to us it appears that they drive on the wrong side of the road, so the passenger side of this truck is the opposite side to what we are used to.

          Just see what anyone driving this vehicle can see when making a turn toward the passenger side of the vehicle, which ought to make bicyclists feel a whole lot less protected.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lV-rhiGRFTE

          At this point in the UK the government there has the position that bicyclists should wait behind trucks and buses at intersections rather than pulling forward on their blind passenger side, as at the rear of a tractor-trailer on their blind side the driver’s flat mirror only has a field of vision 6-7 feet wide, and at the rear of the truck’s drive tires that field of vision narrows to just 2-3 feet wide.

          If you are next to the cab or even next to the steering axle on the passenger side of a tractor-trailer truck, the driver can’t see you there.

          This US-DOT “No-Zone” diagram shows the large passenger-side blind area that large trucks have pretty well.

          http://www.mainepersonalinjurylaw.com/uploads/image/no_zone.jpg

          Now let’s look at this video of an 18-wheel truck making a right turn in the city. Can the trucker see the bicyclist when they are more than 6-7 feet from the passenger side of the truck? Not in the flat mirror and convex mirrors are badly distorted, which greatly minimizes anyone in a convex view in size.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWGD0PmCHH0

          I’ll get you the study that I was referring to. I believe it was a Federal USDOT study.
          Here is a good Federal NHTSA study from this past spring that shows that bicycle accident trends have continued to worsen across the US over the last few years despite the growing number of protected bike lanes and massive bicycle awareness campaigns going-on nationally too.

          http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812151.pdf

          And although Colorado did reduce our own bicycle fatality rate marginally between 2012 and 2013 the entire difference was a single bicycle fatality between the two years, from 13 down to 12, while here we also saw 469 deaths of vehicle operators and pedestrians combined too, which means that a far higher percentage of safety spending must be focused on vehicular and pedestrian safety than on bicycle safety.

  4. Peter says:

    The greenway looks terrifying – jammed between the travel lane and parked cars. All I can think about, seeing that video, is I’m either going to get doored or squeezed by cars merging right.

  5. Peter says:

    I meant green “bike lane”. I much rather have no “infrastructure” than this door-zone bike lane

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