Morning Links: Torrance tri canceled, Riverside carnage continues, and bike advocate ponders if it’s time to quit

If you haven’t read it yet, don’t miss yesterday’s guest post Letter From St. Louis, from CyclingSavvy’s Karen Karabell.

Go ahead. We’ll wait.

Then buckle in. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover today.

………

Don’t bother showing up for this weekend’s triathlon in Torrance.

Word comes from Todd Munson that the race has been called on account of apparent greed and billing irregularities from the cities involved, and not involved.

This is what the organizers had to say.

Yesterday, the city of Torrance canceled the 2016 LA Triathlon at Torrance Beach.  With much regret, we are forced to announce this cancellation to our participants and sponsors only 4 days prior to race day.  We understand that the cancellation will come with great disappointment to those of you who have worked hard and prepared for months toward this year’s triathlon.  We are disappointed by the unexpected and unprecedented circumstances and demands that have unfolded to cause this cancellation.

We have listed the key points that led to the city’s cancellation of our event in an effort to offer some immediate transparency to all participants:

  1. On August 31st, the City of Torrance sent to Pacific Sports an email demanding advanced payment, in full, to the city, prior to the event, for city services.  There was no detail of the charges, simply amounts in total and the requirement to bring two cashier’s checks by 5pm.   This is not standard practice in other municipalities and certainly not in those where all previous invoices had been paid in a timely fashion.
  2. In the same email on August  31st, we were informed that a significant separate payment was also required to be paid to the neighboring City of Palos Verdes, a city in which we have no footprint, no permit, no participants enter their city as part of our course, no liability coverage, and no relationship of any kind.  This demand is unprecedented in our 36 year history as an event production company, and to our knowledge unprecedented in the event industry in the United States.    This payment is demanded by Torrance (to be paid to Palos Verdes) although we have never been made aware of the apparent business relationship (although it has been requested) between Torrance (where we do have permits) and the city of Palos Verdes.
  3. Also in this email, it was finally revealed by the City of Torrance, after an audit requested by Pacific Sports, the city had significantly overbilled us by an amount in excess of 30% to the total in 2015 for city services.   We have strong evidence that the 2014 invoice may have been overbilled as well.   Importantly, we have no reliability that the advance payment demanded for 2016 (without detail of its calculation) is backed up by verifiable charges which will only be available after the event has occurred.
  4. Since August 31st, we have worked tirelessly with all levels of the city government including the city council and Mayor’s office in an attempt to bring resolution.  We offered a structured and fair written compromise on these issues in attempt to  insure the event went on as planned on September 11th.  Ultimately, the city offered no compromise or proposed solution and informed us they had unilaterally canceled the event.

We are upset and deeply disappointed by the cancellation, but the requirements were unreasonable and excessive.  Accepting the terms would have compromised the entire event and were untenable for us to continue at the current site for the LA Triathlon.

………

Yet another teenager has been injured riding her bicycle in Riverside, where it’s apparently open season on bike-riding school kids.

A 14-year old girl is in stable condition after being hit by a pickup while riding in a crosswalk just 100 feet from her school Wednesday morning. The driver fled the scene after stopping briefly; she was taken into custody on a nearby highway about 10 minutes later.

Although despite what the story says, it’s hard to imagine the driver was “fully cooperative” with police when she tried to make a getaway before being caught.

………

Lucas James Guidroz pled not guilty to in the hit-and-run death of math and music teacher, musician and cyclist Rod Bennett as he was riding on Placerita Canyon Road last May. Guidroz faces felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run driving resulting in death or serious injury.

Note to Santa Clarita Valley Signal: Show a little respect, and get the victim’s name right in the caption.

………

In the wake of yesterday’s blog post from Surly’s Skip Bernet, in which he said he’s done riding on streets due to the dangers posed by cars, long-time LA bike advocate Examined Spoke questions whether he wants to keep riding his bike.

Is cycling in traffic safe? I can find statistical support for any answer I want: yes, no, who knows. My own experiences suggest the answer should be no, not safe. In 2009 I was rear-ended while riding on Los Feliz Boulevard; last year I was brushed (side-swiped) on Fountain Avenue. I can recount several other close passes, terrifying moments — the usual stuff that you will hear from almost any cyclist. I shrugged off these experiences when they happened, but they still haunt me. They’ve also made me into a poor advocate; I cannot argue for cycling’s essential safety, I am a personal testament to its dangers. As much as I want to believe the opposite, little by little I’ve had to admit to myself that I don’t feel safe on the road. I never feel safe out there.

It’s a very well-written and challenging piece, and one that poses some very difficult questions.

If anyone wants to respond to it, let me know. I’ll be happy to share your thoughts here.

………

The bus carrying Britain’s Team Sky pro cycling team nearly made mince pie out of a cyclist on a narrow country road.

The team contacted him a few hours after the video went online to apologize.

They should give him an autographed team bike, at the very least. And a new pair of shorts, since he probably needs them after that.

Meanwhile, Lance’s doping ban has been partially lifted, so he is now free to compete in non-bike related Olympic sports, like ski jumping, pole vaulting and synchronized swimming.

………

Local

Props to CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo for beginning work to create a pedestrian plaza, including bike racks, on the Hoover Triangle in University Park. Now if he could just do something to make it safer to bike or walk there.

More honorees at the LACBC’s upcoming Firefly Ball include Culver City Council Member Meghan Sahli-Wells and The Walt Disney Company.

CiclaValley shares video of the new Spring Street bike lane between 1st and 2nd Streets in DTLA.

Damien Newton talks with Marisa Creter of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments about plans for a 200 mile bike superhighway crisscrossing the entire valley.

WeHoVille examines the 18-month timeline to reconstruct Santa Monica Blvd through Beverly Hills; the street will be widened, providing enough room for the bike lanes that won’t be installed. Increased costs and the objections of residents to widening one narrow section of the street was given as the reason not to install much-needed bike lanes on the boulevard. So why won’t they commit to adding them now that the street is being widened anyway?

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson reports on Wednesday’s meeting of the Palos Verdes Estates Traffic Safety Committee as only he can.

 

State

A Canadian man is riding over 1,500 miles to attend next month’s Desert Trip music festival in Indio on his Pedego ebike.

Pismo Beach votes to move a bike path into a busy parking lot to keep it from besmirching a coastal subdivision for wealthy homeowners.

Fresno jurors find an accused career criminal not guilty of attempted murder of a police officer in a struggle that began when the cops tried to stop him for riding without a light.

 

National

Streetsblog says the US has the worst per capita traffic fatality rate in the developed world because we drive too damn much. Not to mention too damn fast, too damn drunk and too damn distracted.

Zocolo Public Square says modern roads resulted from a coalition of early bicyclists and rural farmers banding together to demand better streets, only to see cyclists squeezed out with the advent of the automobile.

Build your own DIY ebike that looks like it would probably alert the bomb squad.

Bicycling offers advice on how to ride through your pregnancy.

Exploring Hawaii’s Lanai island by bicycle, where only 3,200 people live and there are no traffic lights.

The Tacoma teenager tackled by police as she rode her bicycle through a mall parking lot is suing the police department, as well as the officer in question, the mall and its security company.

American Denise Mueller hopes to set a new motor-paced bicycle land speed record of over 168 mph at Utah’s famed Bonneville Salt Flats this weekend.

A Chicago area writer can’t seem to figure out if he’s pro or anti bike, saying allowing bicycles in wilderness areas is a bad idea, but giving bicyclists the same rights as drivers is a good one — especially if it means more riders get tickets.

An Op-Ed writer in the Chicago Tribune complains about a parking protected bike lane, and insists that bike riders can’t be ticketed — or pay fees — because they don’t have operators licenses. Never mind that most bicyclists have driver’s licenses, like most other human beings in this country, and can be ticketed even without them.

Cleveland officials say the bike lane that was removed to provide parking for the Hilton hotel wasn’t really removed because it was never really a bike lane to begin with.

A retired Boston doctor encourages drivers to open their doors with their right hands to avoid dooring cyclists.

New York protected the security of the presidential candidates from bike riders by forcing the riders onto a busy highway at rush hour.

A Pennsylvania website says bicyclists face a life and death struggle for space on the state’s roads.

 

International

Ottawa officials say it’s okay that bike lanes on a newly opened bridge are too narrow to meet official guidelines, because they’re not really bike lanes. Evidently, they’ve been talking with the people in Cleveland.

It only took 120 years to get a bike lane on one Toronto street.

The Guardian looks at the Rails to Trails movement in the UK, where abandoned rail lines are being turned into world class biking and walking trails.

Curbed introduces Amsterdam’s first Bike Mayor, elected as an unofficial representative for the city’s bicyclists.

Apparently Belgrade, Serbia fails to make the grade when it comes to being bike friendly.

A new report says Adelaide, Australia isn’t ready for bikeshare because of its immature bikeway network, mandatory helmet law and crushing car culture. Los Angeles can cop to two out of three.

An Aussie writer calls for a network of segregated cycle routes to replace painted bike lanes, augmented by a network of shared quietways where cars don’t own the roads. Which sounds a lot like the apparently forgotten Bicycle Friendly Streets called for in LA’s Mobility Plan.

 

Finally…

Bicycling may be good for your health, but good sex may kill you. Seriously, if you’re already on probation for drug charges and carrying an “unknown white substance” on your bike, don’t ride on the damn sidewalk.

And just in time to beat the Halloween rush, a bicycle on a kickstand pedals itself, both forward and back, with no one but the camera around.

5 comments

  1. PatrickGSR94 says:

    Those sorts of sentiments like the ones from Skip at Surly truly sadden me. They make cycling sounds like some sort of super dangerous, life threatening activity, when that is NOT the case at all! All it takes is a little knowledge and awareness while on the road, just the same as when operating any vehicle out among other vehicles. Unfortunately posts like this probably do more to scare other people away from riding than anything else.

    • Tim Forkes says:

      I respect your opinion Patrick, but that just hasn’t been my experience. And I would suggest cyclists riding in traffic need a lot of knowledge and near perfect, 100% situational awareness when biking in traffic. You can’t be just a little aware. That’s dangerous.
      Despite my careful bike riding, in the bike lane, and my efforts to avoid a collision, I was knocked off my bike by a man texting while his vehicle slowly moved forward. Even after I yelled at him he never looked up until after his car bumped my back wheel sending me to the pavement and breaking my wrist. And then he sped off.
      After nearly 10 years of using the bike/public transit (for ecological reasons) to get around my city, I’ve stopped. Too many close calls, too many road ragers trying to hit me (okay, it was only two), too many time hitting the pavement because of evasive maneuvers to avoid motorists who were not paying attention.
      Until we get serious about building and promoting good public transit and segregated lanes for cyclists and joggers, riding in traffic will be dangerous.

  2. Terence says:

    Hi,

    I don’t believe that I can tell another experienced cyclist “how to do it right.” I’m sure “The Examined Spoke” is a better cyclist than I am (it’s a pretty low bar to cross). However, I have ridden over three thousand miles through LA with my kid over the last two years. Prior to riding with my kid I had scary interactions on a near daily basis, now I can only recall only one incident that frightened me since having my kid on a bike. This is my own narrow experience:

    The difference is now I take routes that rarely interact with cars and the cars we do interact with are on residential streets. For a time, I continued to bomb down direct arterials to my destination after I dropped my kid off at school, but after having too many scary interactions like yourself, I’ve started taking the safer, scenic route most of the time even when cycling solo. I’d like to see my kid grow up.

    The reason I started labikedad.com was to change the image of cycling in the city in order to encourage the installation of cycle tracks by the city. I also wanted to catalogue child-safe routes for parents getting started. My last post coincidentally was on the Silver Lake to Westside route:

    http://www.labikedad.com/single-post/2016/09/04/Bike-Your-Child-to-Work-Day-Silver-Lake-to-Santa-Monica

    Don Ward made some improvements to it that I included as edits to the post. It will probably add 10 minutes to your commute, but there will be very few fast moving cars. Adhering to the principals of Vision Zero – the safest thing we can do is stay away from cars going over 20mph in the first place.

    Finally, the safest route to Century City to the south of Silver Lake – 4th St – ends at Cochran. We desperately need the road diet on 6th which would safely connect the end of the 4th Street bike route all the way to San Vicente. Then it would be easy to drop down to Gregory Way all the way to Century City & the SM Blvd. bike lane. There is a vitally important neighborhood council meeting to debate the road diet for 6th on:

    Tue, September 20, 6:30pm – 10:00pm
    National Council of Jewish Women
    543 N. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90036, United States

    We need all hands on deck to come out and support this vital piece of safe cycling infrastructure. Best of luck.

    T

  3. Tim Forkes says:

    I’m with Skip Bernet and Examined Spoke: riding on the street, in traffic, especially alone, is too dangerous. I still do it when needed, but now I take my bike someplace where the only dangers are clueless pedestrians and their pets. Pepper spray works well for unleashed dogs and the walkers who do not pay attention to everyone else around them walk slow enough that collisions can usually be avoided. I still on occasion need to shout at someone to pay attention, including other bike riders (WTF?), but they are not zipping at or past me at 45 mph.
    Plus, here in San Diego we are getting backlash against bicycle and pedestrian-oriented measures with motorists claiming the roads were made for them.
    I agree there are too many cars on the road, driving way too fast and often painfully drunk.

  4. I have had one serious interaction with a driver and several less serious interactions in more than 100K miles of riding since JFK was President. All of the interactions have been in this century, starting with the guy that tried to kill me in 2001. My point being that the majority of drivers are sane and not homicidal, but it only takes one nutjob behind the wheel to end your ride or even your life.

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