Morning Links: NTSB report concludes speed kills, Press-Enterprise misses the mark, and a new SoCal bike film

Traffic safety advocates already know that speed kills.

One of the basic tenets behind Vision Zero states that a pedestrian — or bike rider — hit at a speed of 20 mph has a far greater chance of survival than one hit at 40 mph or higher.

A difference of a 10% chance of death at 20 mph versus 80% at 40, according to one federal government study.

Although a study by AAA cites a much lower risk of death at similar speeds.

Now the National Transportation Safety Board — the group that brought you air bags and graduated driver’s licenses for teens — says speeding is responsible for roughly as many deaths as both drunk driving and not wearing a seat belt.

And they say it’s long past time to do something about it.

That something ranges from automated speed cameras — currently illegal in California — and cars that alert drivers when they’re exceeding the speed limit, to a national anti-speeding campaign and changes in how speed limits are set.

And yes, it also includes the sort of lane reductions that have been much maligned in Playa del Rey and Mar Vista. Even though they’ve proven hugely successful in improving safety and revitalizing Santa Monica’s Main Street and York Blvd in Northeast LA.

So, increasingly, traffic engineers are trying to design roads that reflect the needs of all users, not just motorists. “The design of a facility can help send the message of what the proper speed is and encourage people to drive at that speed rather than a faster speed,” Lindley says.

The NTSB report did not explore the issue of road design, and that’s a missed opportunity, says Atherton, the director of the National Complete Streets Coalition. “You have to pair speed limits with physical traffic-calming measures for them to be effective,” she says. “Just lowering the speed limits is insufficient.”

One of the NTSB commissioners asked the agency’s researchers during their presentation why road design wasn’t emphasized in the report. One of the authors said that other publications, like street designs by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and the Federal Highway Association already explained in great detail how to improve road design to improve safety.

The people fighting to have the lane reductions ripped out insist they’re not anti-safety.

In which case, they need to step up and work with those who have already been focused on improving traffic safety, rather than just standing in the way of community-driven improvements.

Because speed kills.

And it’s already taken far too many of us.

………

The Riverside Press-Enterprise tried to clarify California bike laws after getting the rules on sidewalk riding wrong.

Yet they still get it wrong when they say that bicyclists have to use bike lanes when they’re available, but fail to point out that bike riders can legally ride on any public street, with or without a bike lane or sharrows, with the exception of some limited access freeways.

Or that bicyclists are legally allowed to ride in the center of the lane on any right-hand lane that’s too narrow to safely share with a motor vehicle. Which is the case on most of the roadways in LA County, and many in the rest of Southern California.

Although nothing says riders have to take the lane if they’re not comfortable there. Even though riding to far right increases the risk of unsafe passing by motorists.

And if bicyclists are traveling with the speed of traffic, they can legally ride anywhere on the road they damn well want to, as long as they travel in the direction of traffic.

………

A new experimental film dropping this weekend paints a portrait of Southern California’s Cryptic Cycles, award winner at the 2016 North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

The trailer below offers a first look at what the filmmaker describes as “the unique handmade build process of crafting a one-of-a-kind carbon fiber bike frameset and the amazing feeling it gives you on your first ride.”

………

Ex-Tour de France winner Floyd Landis talks with Cycling News, saying nothing has really changed since he broke cycling’s omertà.

VeloNews says the Colorado Classic represents the future of bike racing, while the Denver Post offers some great photos from last weekend’s race.

Riders in the Tour of Britain could be breaking the law when one stage starts in a town where bicycling is banned in the city center.

Food & Wine examines the decidedly non-gourmet 7,000-calorie diet of a professional cyclist.

……….

Local

LA Downtown News explains what happened to the protected bike lane and other streetscape improvements that were promised as part of the Wilshire Grand construction project; city officials insist it’s still coming as part of a longer corridor improvement project leading into the Arts district.

Plans for safety improvements on North Figueroa are on hold, as Roadkill Gil Cedillo attempts to block any road diets in his district without his prior approval. Which would simply codify the virtual fiefdoms councilmembers currently enjoy in their districts, but for just him.

A smart essay on the Los Angeles Walks website says Vista del Mar offers a sad but instructive lesson for LA, and calls for more productive conversations to ensure pedestrians are protected.

 

State

The husband of an Encinitas hit-and-run victim calls for help in finding the coward who left his bike-riding wife lying injured in the street.

Great idea. The annual Victor Valley Bicycle Tour has donated 600 traffic signs promoting California’s three-foot passing law, to be posted in Apple Valley, Hesperia, Victorville and San Bernardino County.

A local TV station talks with the Atascadero man who won this year’s Tour Divide, despite being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last year.

Tragic news from Fresno, where a 51-year old bike rider was killed after allegedly running a red light.

Streetsblog looks at last week’s pop-up protected bike lane in San Jose.

 

National

Bicycle Times offers advice on how to pack your bike for travel. Or better yet, you could just pack your panniers and ride it there.

Post-Charlottesville, conservative media sites are deciding that maybe it’s not a good idea to encourage people to drive through protesters. Although conservative lawmakers don’t seem to be getting the message. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

The Today Show profiles a DC doctor who only makes house calls — often by bicycle.

A Savannah GA weekly says widening roads can make them more dangerous, rather than the other way around. Which is putting it mildly.

A Florida business is raising funds to build a new custom bicycle, compete with speakers, for the town’s “bike man” after his was destroyed in a collision that left him hospitalized.

This is why so many people hate lawyers. A Florida attorney blames the hospital for a bicyclist’s death, even though the victim wouldn’t have been there if his client hadn’t dragged the man under his car for two miles following a collision, then dumped him into a trash bin.

 

International

Caught on video: A road raging Brazilian driver rams a bicyclist from behind, then repeatedly runs up onto his bicycle before the rider jumps up onto the hood of the car to keep him from fleeing. That last part’s not smart, as we saw in this week’s Long Beach crash.

A Vancouver cyclist is doing a double Everest — 58,058 feet of vertical climbing — to fight depression.

The war on bikes continues, as someone strung fishing line at neck height across a popular English biking trail. A particularly dangerous crime, since fishing line tends to be virtually invisible, even in daylight.

Caught on video too: A bike rider suffers a too close call in the British equivalent of a right hook.

Cyclists in South Africa’s Western Cape region complain about life-threatening drivers who run them off the road. More proof that you’ll find LA drivers everywhere.

Gold medal-winning Australian track cyclist Stephen Wooldridge died at age 39 after taking his own life; like many athletes, he struggled to cope after his cycling career ended.

The vice mayor of Brisbane, Australia calls for scrapping the country’s mandatory bike helmet law.

 

Finally…

Just because a bridge doesn’t have a bikeway doesn’t mean you can’t find a scary way across. Your next smart bike could cost 1999 yuan.

And it’s easy to go incognito on a bicycle.

Even if you’re dressed in spandex shorts and a hunting shirt.

 

2 comments

  1. David says:

    How come LA does not have any/more 3-feet bicycle passing signs around the City?

    Some cities have them.

    I don’t think a lot of motorists know about it.

  2. Ralph says:

    The 3 foot passing distance is one problem that could be helped by increasing motorist knowledge. A way to do that would be to give the ‘written’ test to drivers upon every renewal of their license. New laws would be added to teh questions asked. Could be online also. Laws have changed since I got my license 40 years ago.

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