Morning Links: No Carmageddon on Venice Blvd, auto-centric capitalism, and four-wheeled scofflaw cyclists

Yesterday, I wasted far too much of my life.

Hours, in fact, that I will undoubtedly regret on my dying day, trying in vain to defend the Mar Vista and Playa del Rey lane reductions, both here and on Twitter.

And yes, I should know better.

But I’m a firm believer in engaging with people of all viewpoints, in hopes that I can correct inaccurate beliefs, and that I might learn something from them. And maybe, just maybe, we could come to some kind of a consensus.

Hopes that were quickly dashed on the rubble heaps of online discourse.

The best one, by far, was a comment from someone complaining that traffic backups caused by the Venice Blvd Great Streets project had pushed cut-through drivers onto the surrounding side streets. So he insisted that since the project included bike lanes, bike riders should be licensed and taxed to mitigate the problems caused by… drivers.

Uh, sure.

However, the primary argument cited by virtually everyone opposed to the projects was the accusation of soul crushing traffic congestion causing total gridlock and destroying the vehicular lifeblood of the communities.

But as the song says, it ain’t necessarily so.

Yesterday, we included a bike cam video made by Jon Phillips as he rode on Culver Blvd through Play del Rey, showing almost no congestion during the evening rush hour. Though as we noted, that was just one trip, and another journey at another time might have shown something different.

John Montgomery thought of that.

The author of the excellent Digital Slurry website, he set out to explore traffic on Venice Blvd following the lane reductions, and made a point of riding at different times of day, and on multiple days, to get a feeling of what traffic is really like on the street.

What he found was similar to what Phillips found on Culver. Traffic did back up at times, but it started flowing again once the light changed. And at least part of the problem appeared to stem from poor synchronization of traffic lights.

But don’t take his word for it. Or mine.

Read his report and watch the videos, whether the full 14 minute version, or the three minute highlight reel.

And decide for yourself is this is really the return of Carmageddon.

Which turned out to be no big deal, either.

………

Montgomery also forwarded this screen shot from the North Venice Beach Nextdoor, giving what may be the single most bizarrely auto-centric and capitalistic perspective ever on using a bicycle for transportation.

Meanwhile, the other argument used anytime the subject of bicycling comes up is the accusation that bike riders don’t deserve equal treatment on the streets because we all break the law anyway.

So he set out to record those scofflaw cyclists in action.

And this is what he found.

………

Sad news from Iran, where a 19-year old member of the national women’s cycling team was killed in a car crash.

Next month’s Colorado Classic four-stage race is attempting to reinvent pro cycling by charging a fee to participate in a music festival and view the final two stages.

Cyclists participating in Sunday’s Manhattan Beach Grand Prix will race backwards in pursuit of a total $21,500 purse.

……….

Local

LADOT has selected a new polymer color treatment for green bike lanes that was developed in conjunction with the film industry. Because Hollywood should always have the last word when it comes to traffic safety.

REI will open their first flagship store in LA County next month, taking over an old Sports Authority location in Burbank.

A Pasadena bike rider stole a 64-year old man’s backpack, then discarded it after rifling through it and stealing two beers. Let’s at least hope they were crappy beers.

West Covina is hosting a community open house – workshop tonight to discuss the city’s proposed Active Transportation Master Plan.

The Santa Monica Lookout talks with the rest of the SaMo city council about how they go carfree at least part of the time; the first part of the story appeared on Monday.

The rich get richer. Construction will begin on Monday on another east-west bike boulevard in bike friendly Long Beach.

 

State

Pink’s seven-month old son is one of us, too.

A Simi Valley bike tour operator could be out of business after thieves stole over $25,000 worth of high-end mountain bikes out of his garage.

San Diego is looking for people to adopt one of the city’s 54 largely abandoned bike and pedestrian counters.

Lompoc is experimenting with closing streets to cars for a weekly Friday evening market, while the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition gave dozens of kids refurbished bicycles to take advantage of it.

A DUI hit-and-run driver faces up to ten years in prison after pleading guilty in the death a Watsonville cyclist last year; she was also texting at the time of the crash, as well as driving with a suspended license.

San Francisco’s Public Works Department will enforce a proposed ban on bike chop shops, rather than the police. Because why would you want to arrest anyone for trafficking in stolen bikes and parts?

Dockless bikeshare is getting closer to LA, as Spin is moving into South San Francisco after colonizing Seattle.

No justice for the Sacramento running legend who was hit by a bicyclist on a river pathway, because prosecutors aren’t sure if California’s hit-and-run statutes apply to bikes ridden on trails instead of streets. Here’s a crazy idea: File charges and let a judge decide if the law applies. Because that’s what they do.

 

National

Most US students can legally drive a car before they’re old enough to legally ride a bikeshare bike, even though a bikeshare membership can be provided for a fraction of the cost of busing them to school. We should be encouraging students to ride any kind of bicycle rather than clogging the roads with more buses and cars. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson and David Drexler for the heads-up.

Streetsblog says autonomous cars should have to rely on their own sensors, rather than forcing bicyclists and pedestrians to wear sensors to avoid getting run over.

If you ride offroad, book your trip to Oregon now, where they’ve just opened a 668-mile singletrack course that covers the entire state.

A Colorado Republican legislator is shocked that anyone was shocked that he proposed taxing bicycles.

A generous Milwaukee man bought a stolen bike for $20 to return it to its owner after she posted the theft on Facebook.

A university website profiles MIT emeritus professor David Gordon Wilson, author of Bicycle Science, which they call the industry bible for bike design.

Talk about getting Vision Zero wrong. After a New York cyclist was killed in a hit-and-run, the NYPD responds by cracking down on bike riders, rather than the people in the big dangerous machines. Thanks again to Mike Wilkinson.

A proposed New York state law would require all bicyclists in New York City to wear bike helmets, including users of the Citi Bike bikeshare — even though there’s only been one fatality, and just 50 injuries requiring medical attention, in over 43 million Citi Bike rides. The real question is why the law would only apply to NYC; evidently, no one else in the state has heads worth protecting.

After a kindhearted South Carolina cop fails to recover a boy’s stolen bicycle, he buys him a new one.

A group of three boys and two girls in their early teens have been arrested for beating and stomping a 19-year old Orlando man, stealing his bike and sandals, and throwing away his groceries.

 

International

Bike Radar offers advice for how to manage riding during your period. Assuming you have one, of course.

The war on bikes continues, as a Canadian jogger stepped on a nail-filled board concealed on a bike trail.

The Guardian’s Peter Walker says that no matter what the safety issue, bike-hating commenters always shift the blame to cyclists. Which is exactly what’s happening in Mar Vista and Play del Rey, and pretty much everywhere else in Southern California; more proof that cyclists face the same issues virtually everywhere.

Caught on video: A British bike rider is shown riding through a red light as cars turn into his lane. No, seriously. Don’t do that.

After a 91-year old English man was killed in a collision while participating in a time trial, the proposed solution is banning bikes from divided highways, rather than expecting people to actually pay attention when they drive.

A 15-year old Irish boy received a twelve-month sentence for bashing another boy over the head with a board to steal his bicycle, on top of the eight-month sentence he’s currently serving for threatening to kill someone else. Along with his previous 24 convictions. Did I mention he’s only 15?

Caught on video too: An Irish cyclist gets doored; notice the driver not rushing to his aid.

World Bicycle Relief has distributed 78,000 bicycles in Zimbabwe after a 2010 New York Times story about a then 17-year old man who longed for a bike instead of walking nine miles to school.

The Guardian says cycling campaigns focusing on women and girls are changing the dynamics on African roads.

More Malaysian office workers are choosing to bike to work.

An Aussie writer says drivers in Western Australian can’t handle the concept of an Idaho Stop Law.

 

Finally…

No, Graeme Obree is not a fictional character. Now you, too can ride a modern take on a commie bike.

And now you won’t have to choose between a Bianchi and a Ferrari.

 

2 comments

  1. “Yesterday, I wasted far too much of my life.”

    I don’t think it was a waste. It may have been frustrating, and it may have been too much, but it wasn’t a waste.

    You may not have changed the minds of those who were responding directly to you, but others read your words, too. You may have changed their minds, or if they already agreed with you generally, you may have added to their understanding.

    Thank you!

  2. Brent says:

    From what I can see, slowed traffic speeds on these new road-diets would be a welcome speedup on my Century City to Silverlake commute.

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