Morning Links: Creed calls for a safer Westwood, SaMo PD gets Share the Road wrong, and bike rap & Corgi bikes

Maybe there’s still hope.

Yesterday morning, Jesse Creed, who’s running against incumbent Paul Kortetz in LA’s 5th Council District, announced that his one of his first actions as a councilmember will be to call for a safety study of Westwood Blvd, saying “a safer, better Westwood will the bedrock of a more vibrant Westwood Village.”

Photo by Eric Bruins

While it’s not an outright endorsement of the shovel-ready bike lanes Koretz singlehandedly killed at the behest of wealthy homeowners, it’s a huge step towards improving the dangerous street following its shameful removal from the city’s Mobility Plan.

It should be noted that a study of the proposed bike lanes was already underway when Koretz halted it, insisting that they would not be built no matter what the study showed. And even though I’ve been told by multiple sources that it would have shown the bike lanes would improve safety, with no significant impact on travel times or parking.

While Westwood is part of LA’s Great Streets program, it’s also part of the Vision Zero High Injury Network, indicating that it’s one of the city’s most dangerous streets — especially for pedestrians and the many bike riders who have no other viable route to get to Westwood Village from the Expo Line or other areas further south.

As Creed notes, despite the Great Streets designation, nothing has changed on the street under Koretz’ watch, unlike some of the others which have made great strides since receiving the designation. And despite the councilmember’s apparent belief that the best solution to a dangerous street is to keep it that way.

Creed seems to get that Westwood — or any other street, for that matter — can’t be a Great Street if it’s not safe and inviting for everyone who uses it, and that it needs to serve more than just a handful of local residents who claim it as their own.

You can see video of the full press conference on the Bike the Vote LA Facebook page.

………

Santa Monica police revive a three-year old victim blaming bike safety spot that twists the meaning of Share the Road; the ad ran on yesterday’s KABC-7 evening news.

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Now get the bad taste that left you with out with a little nerdcore bike rap from Santa Monica’s Public Bikes.

And somehow, I’d forgotten about their Corgi-themed holiday video, which is still worth a watch even if the holidays are over.

………

VeloNews profiles the slow and steady rise of Megan Guarnier, calling her America’s best cyclist, male or female.

A final verdict may never be reached in the Italian pay-to-race cycling scandal after lawyers and officials were driven from the hearing room by a broken heating system.

After taking up cycling to keep up her fitness in the offseason, a Canadian skier became the first from her country to compete at three different Olympics in three different sports; now she’s set her sights on becoming just the sixth person to medal at both the summer and winter games.

………

Local

Evidently, LA had an ulterior motive in agreeing to host the world para-cycling championships at the last minute, hoping it would boost the city’s chances of winning the 2024 Olympics.

After experiencing the walkable streets and pedestrian plazas of New York, DTLA Rising’s Brigham Yen calls on LA to cut the backward bullshit and focus on road diets to create a more walkable — and by extension, bikeable — city.

The LACBC will host their rescheduled Ask An Officer panel discussion, featuring representatives from the LAPD, LA County Sheriff’s Department and the CHP, along with bike lawyer and BikinginLA title sponsor Jim Pocrass, on the 30th of this month.

LA’s Groundwork Coffee opens in NoHo’s restored Historic Train Depot, offering a bike repair and accessories shop, and plenty of bike parking.

Pasadena will likely approve bikeshare next month, but the locations are still to be determined following public workshops.

Speaking of the City of Roses, the Brooklyn Bicycle Company offers a photo bike tour of the city. Thanks to Vesley Reutimann for the heads-up.

 

State

Despite projections of a budget shortfall, Governor Jerry Brown proposes increasing funding for active transportation by $1 billion over the next ten years; Calbike notes that the funds are prioritized for disadvantaged communities.

A New Jersey website recommends Orange County as a cyclist’s mecca for riders trying to escape the state’s cold winter.

The San Diego Union-Tribune wants your bike commuting stories. Actually, they want everyone’s commuting stories, which means they’ll need bicyclists and pedestrians to balance out all those people in cars.

Riverside plans to use a state grant to repair trails on Mt. Rubidoux, while installing benches, bike racks and a water fountain for cyclists along the Santa Ana River Trail in nearby Carlson Park.

 

National

New bike composites that blend polypropylene, polyethylene or steel with carbon fiber offer light weight and strength with less fragility.

Continuing their recent focus on clickbait, Bicycling recommends six ways to make sure you’re seen on the streets.

Like Ikea, modern furniture company Blu Dot is offering their own bicycle; the company will donate a bicycle to World Bicycle Relief for every one of the Handsome Cycles-made single speed bikes made by they sell.

It was nice while it lasted. Colorado Springs CO caves to NIMBY’s demanding they undo a road diet and remove buffered bike lanes on a formerly six lane street, even though it carried less than half the traffic it was designed for.

After failing to hire an engineer to oversee the city’s bike plan, Dallas spends $171,000 in bike lane funding to hire a consultant to design eight miles of bike lanes.

A new Minnesota study shows bikes are good for the economy and the people who ride them.

An Indiana couple who built a bike park in honor of their son after he was killed in Afghanistan receive an invitation to the presidential inauguration from bike-riding VP Elect Mike Pence.

Nice story from Cincinnati, where a cyclist spotted a familiar bike in unfamiliar hands, and assuming it was stolen, bought it from them and set out to find the real owner.

Nashville plans a low-stress bike network designed to make the city’s scary streets inviting to everyone.

A former soldier came back from serving in Kuwait with a back injury that kept him from riding a bike; now he runs a New York-based company building pedal-assist ebikes for others with disabilities.

A Canadian man depended on the kindness of strangers as he rode his bike from Montreal to Mexico, until one of those strangers stole his bike and all his belongings in Philadelphia.

Thrillist looks at New Orleans’ unique bike culture as the city takes steps to become more inviting for bike riders.

 

International

Road rage, yes; assault, yes; hit-and-run, only in the most literal sense, as Scottish police are looking for a cyclist who punched a driver through an open window following an altercation.

The UK’s Cyclist site offers advice on how to avoid solo crashes.

In a truly bizarre ruling, a British court gives a motorcyclist a year behind bars for speeding while fleeing from police, but only six months for actually killing another human being on a bicycle by riding carelessly in another case.

Indian politicians are battling over who gets to use the bicycle as a symbol of their support for the common people. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Life is cheap in Singapore, where a driver is appealing his three-week sentence for killing a cyclist instead of thanking the judge for the gentle caress on the wrist.

 

Finally…

Police rescue a purloined bike cow. If police try to stop you for riding without a headlight, just stop already.

And your next bike computer could do everything but fix your flats for you.

 

13 comments

  1. keith says:

    If police try to stop you for riding without a headlight, just stop already.

    That should be my reminder to get a headlight but there’s so many to choose from, what’s your gotta get this one recommendation?

  2. If you need to set priorities, I suggest that you get a taillight first. My wife and I tried several, and our clear first choice was the Cygolite Hotshot Pro 150. The MSRP is about $50, but we bought it when Cygolite was having a sale at the same time REI was having a sale, and our cost was less than $40. Our second choice was the Axiom Pulse 60 from Performance. The MSRP is $30, but Performance has a sale almost every week. To our surprise, we did not like the NightRider Solas 150.

    We have also had several headlights. The bike-specific lights are easy to install and remove, and they are easy to charge, too. However, we have never found one that had the right combination of good beam pattern, ease-of-use and price. If I had to choose a bike-specific light, based on our luck with Cygolite, I’d look there first. However, we use an LED flashlight mounted to the handlebar with a rubber block/velcro mount. The flashlight is a 400 lumen Anker LC40 that costs about $15 on eBay. It’s the size of a cigar, it has high, medium and flash modes, and it’s scorchingly bright. (Anker has a good reputation for cell phone and laptop accessories.) The rubber block/velcro mount is about $6 on eBay. See http://websites-graphics.biz/files/Anker_LC40.jpg for a picture of our set up.

    Lighten up!

    • I forgot to mention that the Anker flashlight can use three AAA batteries or 18650 rechargeable batteries. We use the latter.

    • FL says:

      Have you considered some of the reviews on Sweethome? Not trying to promote them or the products they recommend but they do write a good few sentences on why flashlights don’t make good bike lights.

      http://thesweethome.com/reviews/best-commuter-bike-lights/

      Bike Light Database is also a treasure-trove of information
      https://www.bikelightdatabase.com/faq/

      • I read the Sweethome article with interest. It’s well done. They make some interesting points about flashlights vs bike-specific headlights. However, my wife and I have tried several bike lights, and we didn’t like the how their wide beam patterns lit up our hands, handlebars and cables in a very distracting way. We ride quite fast, and their beams didn’t reach far enough into the distance for us. We definitely prefer the flashlight set up we have now. With 400 lumens it’s VERY visible night or day, and even when we added the cost of a rechargeable battery and charger, it was a bargain.

        I sure agree on their choice of the Cygolite Hotshot taillight, but instead of the 50, we bought the 150. On the high settings it is very bright, even during the day, and that’s when we do most of our riding.

        • Michael Sullivan says:

          I have a NiteRider Lumina 750 up front and a PlanetBike SuperFlash Turbo in back. Actually, I have two of those in back and another Lumina 700 up front while off daylight savings. Long story. The 750 is plenty bright enough on the road going down a hill in the dark at 45 mph, FWIW.

    • keith says:

      thanks for info, just noticing the replies

  3. Santa Monica police revive a three-year old victim blaming bike safety spot that twists the meaning of Share the Road

    I certainly agree that the spot twists the meaning of Share the Road. Why did they add that to the end of the video?

    However, with considerable respect, I have to disagree that the spot is victim blaming. I spend more time riding than driving, and in my experience bike riders in general are far worse at observing the rules of the road than car drivers. Usually car drivers are predictable, but I often have no idea what some other bike riders are going to do next.

    Of course cars are 4,000 pound masses that need to be driven with considerable care, but bikers who zoom through stop signs put themselves at great risk of being hit by one of those 4,000 masses, even if the driver of that mass is being careful. I think that’s the main point of the video.

    Despite the irritating ending, I think the Santa Monica piece is mostly a reminder for bike riders to stop at stop signs, and that is a valuable reminder.

    • FL says:

      I’m hoping that in your driving experiences you’re counting the sheer number of motorists who fail to signal, stop, yield to pedestrians at crosswalks or use phones handheld. With the recent rains I’ve seen a great number of drivers who have not turned on their headlights or who are driving too fast for conditions. Personally, I see more motorist scofflaw actions than cyclist scofflaws (and I live in a beach community with a high amount of “cycling”) but that’s really because the number of motorists far outnumbers the number of cyclists.

      Either way, personal anecdotes are irrelevant. They are not to be used in place of good data collection methods or statistical analysis.
      Example: the folks in PVE opposing the cycling community constantly cite that 95% of cyclists run stop signs. This is based on one of those people’s observation of a group of cyclists blowing one stop sign at one location. Based on that mindset we may as well assume all aircraft are dangerous just because one crashed.

      I don’t think it’s victim blaming either but then again I am unaware of that department’s past, but I sure found it ironic they were showing a cyclist riding on the sidewalk. With the exception of a few areas, that’s actually illegal in Santa Monica. Either way I’m sure a lot of the cyclists who follow this blog and promote cycling advocacy follow the rules of the road when cycling – it’s the licensed motorists they have to worry about. They also have to worry about either being left for dead in a hit and run, being blamed for causing the crash because of ignorant or biased LEOs, or for never getting justice against drivers who blatantly threaten their lives (see pickup horse trailer driver video from a few days ago)

    • Michael Sullivan says:

      What Mike said. While I see plenty of motorists not doing the right thing (both while I’m driving and riding), I see cyclists blowing through stop signs the overwhelming majority of the time. And not just so-called “Idaho stops”, either, where you roll though a clear intersection. I’m talking cyclists who fly through intersections where cars are waiting or approaching. It’s gotten to the point where if I see a cyclist approaching a stop sign, I assume they’re going to ignore it. That’s the opposite of cars, in my experience. The PSA is spot-on.

      • bikinginla says:

        I wouldn’t consider it victim blaming if it also showed someone texting behind the wheel or some other form of irresponsible driving. Instead, it focuses solely on the person on the bike, ignoring that drivers break the law, too.

        And let’s not forget that a careless bike rider is a danger primarily to him or her self, while a careless driver is a danger to everyone around them.

        Yes, we all should pay attention when we ride, and observe traffic regulations. But it’s not the people on bikes who pose a significant danger to others.

    • keith says:

      True drivers are way more predictable for stopping at stop signs. Same here, I pedal more than drive & do stop at stop signs – if another car’s there or about to be. And I find drivers are often expecting me to run the stop since so many do. Ends up being a no you go, no you go.

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