Morning Links: A moving look at Dave Mirra and the need to succeed, and bike racers get blown and disinvited

Let’s just jump right in today.

Triathlete Jordan Rapp writes movingly about the suicide of BMX legend Dave Mirra, and the emptiness that comes with a constant need to excel at the highest level.

Rapp himself was nearly killed in a collision with a Camarillo hit-and-run driver in 2010, and survived only because a passing stranger saved his life. Yet came back just eight months later to nearly podium in the Ironman Arizona triathlon.

………

Even in the off season, it’s hard to get away from racing news.

Let’s start with word that motor doping may have been going on a lot longer than anyone realized, as a video surfaces of an electric motor hidden in a 1970’s era road bike.

American cycling great Evelyn Stevens will attempt to set a new women’s hour record at the Olympic training center velodrome in Colorado Springs CO at the end of this month.

Russia, which appears to have returned to its Soviet-era state-sponsored doping, takes a page from the Lance/Lloyd playbook by denying any problems in its cycling program.

The world’s number one ranked cycling team gets treated like number two, as they’re disinvited from the Tour of Qatar for demonstrating a lack of respect — by taking too long to get dressed and walk to the podium.

And sometimes bike racing blows, as wind knocks cyclists competing in a Spanish race off their bikes. Thanks to joninsocal for the link

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Local

Here’s a warning for anyone riding Mulholland Highway, as a motorcycle site reports someone may be sabotaging the roadway by pouring oil on curves. That could pose a real danger for bicyclists as well, especially on fast descents.

Glendale residents discuss what changes they want for local parks; one calls for a bikeway along the Verdugo Wash.

The latest podcast from Streetsblog’s Damien Newton discusses Pasadena parklets and Complete Streets on Las Tunas Drive in Temple City.

Metro suggests 16 places you’ll be able to explore once the Gold Line extension opens, including the Duarte Bike Path and Santa Fe Dam Recreational Area. Or spice up your ride with a visit to the Sriracha factory.

 

State

You only have until end of business day today to offer comments on Caltrans plans to close eight miles of Highway 101 through San Luis Obispo County to bicyclists, cutting off a key route for bike tourists without providing any alternative.

When paving engineers work in a different department from city planners, the result can be dangerous for cyclists, as a recent Berkeley collision shows.

Sad news from Sacramento, as a bike rider was killed by a driver heading back to a Super Bowl party; somehow, the victim “came out of nowhere” despite being in the roadway. Seriously, no one, ever, comes out of nowhere; the question is why the driver failed to see him.

 

National

A Seattle writer tries to connect the dots to say there’s a vast bikeshare conspiracy in the city.

A Las Vegas paper looks at the city’s coming bikeshare program in the downtown area.

Tres shock! An El Paso TV station catches a pair of cyclists running a red light to catch up to their riding partner, who made it through on the green. Although you have to wonder how many scofflaw drivers they might have caught by leaving their camera running at the same location.

A $9,000 investment in enclosed showers and a camping area for cyclists helped save a Montana town at the crossroads of two major bike touring routes.

A Cincinnati protected bike lane comes under attack before it can even be finished, despite support from neighborhood councils.

Wisconsin legislators nix a plan for a contraflow bike lane through the Capital Square in Madison; instead, bike riders have to keeping going all the way around the square and up a hill.

Over 20% of residents in three DC districts commute by bike, pointing the out the need for better bikeways through the city.

A Virginia epilepsy foundation wants to eliminate bicycle collisions resulting in death or serious brain injury. So naturally, they tell kids to wear helmets, rather than urging people to drive safely.

Just weeks after a man rode one of New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare bikes across the US, a former Spice Girl evidently rode one all the way to Miami Beach. Or maybe the Daily Mail just has no idea what city they’re actually in.

 

International

London businesses overwhelmingly support a proposed new cycle superhighway through the city. Meanwhile, a London cop is caught on video taking advantage of one of the city’s cycle superhighways to bypass traffic with his emergency lights flashing. Which could be an argument for bikeways, since people often raise imaginary fears of emergency vehicles stuck in traffic to argue against them.

A British bicycling website sings the praises of bananas, calling them a superfood that proves God is a cyclist.

Not even the mayor of London can bike past security at a top secret high-end fundraiser ball for Britain’s Conservative Party.

Remarkably, no one was seriously hurt when a speeding Irish driver tried to pass a group of cyclists on a training ride, only to realize too late there was an island in the middle of the road and cut back in, hitting several riders; one rider was reportedly thrown 75 feet through the air.

South African police stress that bikes are not allowed on a freeway after a drunk driver plows into a group of 30 cyclists on a training ride, killing two.

Australian police issue 806 tickets in a three-week bicycle safety crackdown, only 89 of which went to motorists. And even then, mostly for driving or parking in a bike lane. If half of all safety violations involve riding without a helmet, maybe it’s the law, not the behavior, that has to change.

More proof bicyclists face the same problems everywhere, as a cyclist in the Philippines regrets her reaction but refuses to apologize to the driver who harassed her for riding in the traffic lane.

 

Finally…

Seriously, don’t go off on someone in a wheelchair when she asks you to move into the street so she can get by. If you really want to see that video of a Brit cab driver whacking off while he reads a porn magazine, feel free. Or you can just read about it, which seems like a much better alternative.

And for the equivalent of just $56,000, you can own a 92-year old British bike shop once bombed by the Luftwaffe.

 

2 comments

  1. Peter says:

    An El Paso TV station catches a pair of cyclists running a red light to catch up to their riding partner, who made it through on the green. Although you have to wonder how many scofflaw drivers they might have caught by leaving their camera running at the same location.

    I’ve never understood this rationale.

    First, follow the rules the road. Those rules are there for everyone’s safety.

    Second, I can certainly understand people trying to beat the light. If you’re approaching the light at full tilt and it turns yellow and then red and you end up entering the intersection shortly after the light turns red, you misjudged and you shouldn’t have done it, but I can understand it. I’ve seen plenty of cars do that. Heck, I’ve been guilty of it myself–both on a car and a bicycle.

    It’s another thing to come up on an already red light, slow down, and then decide to go through it. It’s pretty rare that I see a car perform that particular stunt.

    Third, though, is the whole “Well, cars do it, too!” Now, if a car did that stunt, I’d be annoyed with the driver. I’d say, “What an asshole!” So, what you’re saying is that cyclists can be assholes like car drivers? Shouldn’t cyclists strive to be better than that?

    • bikinginla says:

      I couldn’t agree more that the trailing cyclists should have come to a full stop and waited for the light to change, just like anyone else. I also think the rider in front should have stopped and waited for his companions, so they didn’t feel a need to go through the light to catch up.

      My comments were directed at a TV report that caught two people breaking the law, and somehow extrapolated that to safety concerns over lawbreaking cyclists. If they had shown an endless series of scofflaw cyclists blowing the light, I’d think the story was appropriate; for two riders, it was overblown.

      And the point about drivers wasn’t what we can be assholes just like them. It’s that on any given intersection, in any city, you’ll find countless people breaking the law, many of them posing far more risk to others. To focus on these two riders is to ignore the greater problem, which is that we live in a society where traffic laws are mere suggestions. However, that’s something I’ve said many times before, and a little more than would fit in one or two lines, though I probably could have phrased it better.

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