Morning Links: Water-blocked in a Santa Monica bike lane, and real sportsmanship in a Spanish bike race

Water keeps posing a risk to cyclists, and El Niño hasn’t even started yet.

Wes High wants to know why a Sparkletts truck has to park in a Santa Monica bike lane to make a delivery, when there’s plenty of parking just a couple spaces up the road.

Why indeed?

Then again, that’s nothing new in Santa Monica.

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Caught on video: When the third place rider in a Spanish race suffered a flat shortly before the finish, he picked up his bike and ran for the finish line. A competitor followed closely behind, refusing to pass even though it would have meant a podium finish.

Unfortunately, not all of the day’s bike racing news showed sportsmanship, as Olympic track cyclist and US national champ Bobby Lea gets a 16 month ban for doping; he claims it was an accident. Then again, so does everyone else who gets caught these days.

A Dubai cyclist gets a four year ban for doping.

And the official pro cycling team of India’s Uttar Pradesh state gets to share just one bicycle between all 21 cyclists on the team. On the other hand, the state government has distributed 4,500 bikes to the poor, though you’d think they could spare a few for their racing team.

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‘Tis the season.

The San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Department donated 167 bicycles to children in need, while another 33 bikes went unclaimed.

Twenty kids get new bikes and helmets from the Tulare County Sheriff’s Police Athletic League.

Two hundred children in Pacheco, CA got new toys and bikes through Toys for Tots, thanks to the generosity of one woman.

An anonymous donor gave a St. Helena, CA girl a new trek mountain bike to replace one she lost in a fire; her two-year old sister got a new tricycle, too.

And a Maui car dealer gave away 250 bikes to kids from the local Boys and Girls Club.

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Local

The LA Planning Commission approves minor amendments to the Mobility Plan, which had been stripped from the approved plan a few weeks ago to address a lawsuit filed by the non-profit group Fix the City; more serious amendments to remove streets from the plan will be considered after the first of the year.

Speaking of Fix the City, they re-filed their lawsuit to address the city council’s action to address their initial lawsuit. Odd that a group named Fix the City is fighting LA’s efforts to do exactly that, attempting to use the courts to undo six years of public process.

The Bike League looks at the LACBC’s efforts to build bike equity in the cities of southeast LA County.

Bicycling profiles Boyle Heights’ Ovarian Psychos Cycles, sponsors of monthly Luna Rides and the annual Clitoral Mass.

CiclaValley offers advice on what to wear for those cold LA winter bike rides. Relatively speaking, of course.

 

State

San Diego attempts to fix a dangerously congested intersection by increasing capacity and changing signal light timing; the redesign will also include much needed bike lanes and sidewalks.

Santa Ana approves a citywide bike safety program, including workshops to teach bike safety skills, light and helmet distribution, and certifying new cycling instructors.

The San Jose paper discusses how drivers can politely toot on the horn to warn cyclists they’re approaching. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing; as one person notes, even a light tap can startle a rider and cause a dangerous fall.

San Francisco’s Market Street bike counter records its one millionth rider. Meanwhile, the city completed a road diet and added cycle tracks to improve safety on a dangerous street after two boys were hit by a drunk driver. People get hit by cars in LA all the time, but it seldom results in a significant safety improvement to the street where it happened.

Marin County “foot people” complain the county is catering to mountain bikers after cyclists are given access to just six of the 50 miles of trails in local preserves.

 

National

Lifehacker offers a practical guide to urban bicycling. Which actually offers some pretty decent advice, for a change; thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

People for Bikes looks at America’s 10 best new bike lanes. You don’t need any fingers to count how many are in Los Angeles, but the new Harbor Drive cycle tracks in Redondo Beach check in at number nine.

Bicycling looks at what eight top bicycling cities have done to promote safer cycling. CicLAvia draws as more people in one day than Minneapolis drew all year with their eight Open Streets events.

Lincoln NE gets a two-way protected bikeway spanning 17 blocks through the downtown area. Which as Better Bike’s Mark Elliot points out, is 17 more than Beverly Hills has; then again, LA isn’t much better.

The DC-area AAA objects to an increase in fines targeting dangerous drivers, complaining that they don’t address law-breaking cyclists and pedestrians. Maybe because people on bikes and foot don’t pose the same risk to others that speeding and distracted drivers do.

 

International

E-bikes are becoming more popular, but at the loss of bicycling’s long time carbon neutrality. Meanwhile, the Netherlands is developing standards for e-bike helmets, which will be required in the country by 2017.

Bike lanes could be included on a new bridge spanning the international border between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

A Toronto website says “vigilante” cyclists posted a video showing the dangers riders face in designated bike lanes. “You keep using that word…”

A Zimbabwean cyclist sets a new record by riding the length of Africa from Cairo to Cape Town in just 38 days.

 

Finally…

Seriously, don’t throw your bike at a car that just barely missed you, and don’t punch the driver through the open window, no matter how much you think they deserve it. Don’t quit mountain biking when the snow falls; just replace your wheels with skis.

And you don’t have to worry about cold weather flats if your tires don’t have any air in them.

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In case you missed it yesterday, here’s a link to the second piece in our new Describe Your Ride series; we’ll have a third one on tap next week.

 

5 comments

  1. PatrickGSR94 says:

    Sorry but, if you’re so skittish and oblivious to surroundings on a bike that a light horn tap causes you to crash, then you have no business riding a bike, especially on public streets.

    • D G Spencer Ludgate says:

      There is no such thing as a polite tap on the horn for cyclists. Just like there is no polite way a Caucasian can say a racial slur; when a motorist honks a horn a cyclists hears, “You do not belong here”.

    • bikinginla says:

      There is no such thing as a light horn tap. Car horns have no volume control, so a light tap is exactly as loud as an aggressive honk; even if you know the car it there, a loud unexpected noise like that can startle you.

      It’s human nature to swerve in reaction to any loud noise like that, whether turning your head to see what it is, or trying to get out of the way. After 30+ years of urban riding, I still haven’t gotten used to it, and it still takes all my self control not to react to it, which is one of the hardest things for any cyclist to learn.

      I’ve seen far too many people crash their bikes in reaction to a “friendly toot” to ever excuse it, no matter how well intentioned.

    • It’s not that anyone is so skittish that every honk will cause him or her to veer off the road; it’s that every honk is a slight increase in the chance that something will go wrong. I’ve been startled. I haven’t crashed, but I was always distracted. Many believe that the risks of honking outweigh the rewards.

      Last week, I was sweeping for a small group on a straight, narrow road. An SUV beeped from about 25 yards back to warn us of his approach. I appreciated it. If it had been only a car length back, it would’ve been a different story.

      Oh, and there is such a thing as a light horn tap. In the linked Q&As, for example, they mention a secondary horn that’s not as loud as the primary horn. Also, I’ve owned several cars that would honk softly when the touch was light enough.

  2. Thanks for sharing the Worldcrunch e-bike article! As an e-bike dealer, it’s important for me see things like this.

    E-bikes are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, but it can depend on your specific circumstances. If you’re one of the few L.A. residents that primarily use a conventional bicycle and to get around, that’s great, but virtually every ride I take on an e-bike is one less car trip. Actually, that’s not true. Now that I have an e-bike, once or twice per month, I’ll take a ride just for fun, something I did maybe once or twice per year when I was pedal only.

    Granted, my e-bike uses more electricity than a conventional bike, or even what I’d probably use while watching TV and using a computer, but at about 10 cents per charge, I’m not polluting much. I wasn’t polluting at all at my old house, because it had solar. By the way, I can do about 50 miles per charge with light to moderate pedaling.

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