Morning Links: Mar Vista Great Streets success, 6th Street safety open house, and road rage around the world

My apologies for yesterday’s unexcused absence.

My hard drive cable failed just as I was finishing yesterday’s post. Fortunately, I was able to get it replaced, and recovered most, though not all, of what I had written.

As a result, today’s post includes news from both days. So grab your favorite beverage and settle in; we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.

And come back tomorrow, when we’ll have even more bike and safety news we couldn’t squeeze into today’s post.

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It’s working.

Despite the claims of road diet opponents, the three-month safety stats show the Venice Great Streets project in Mar Vista is working exactly as promised, with collisions, injuries and speeding down, while resulting in what should be an easily tolerable delay in rush hour traffic.

Which should put the debate to rest, but probably won’t.

Meanwhile, a new Toronto study shows what Mar Vista has to look forward to, as controversial separated bike lanes on a downtown Toronto street have significantly improved safety, while boosting business in the surrounding area.

Like Mar Vista’s Venice Blvd Great Streets Project, Toronto faced near-constant demands from drivers to remove the Bloor Street bike lanes, as well as merchants angry over the loss of parking spaces.

It’s been successful in Toronto.

And it will be in Mar Vista, if local leaders can fight off the demands to remove them.

Thanks to Norm Bradwell for link to the Toronto study.

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Speaking of traffic safety improvements, CD4 Councilmember David Ryu is hosting an open house on Saturday, October 21st, to discuss the desperately needed changes to 6th Street between Fairfax and La Brea.

As we’ve noted before, even though the Mid City West Community Council has voted unanimously to support lane reductions on 6th, Ryu has dragged his feet on the project, despite his oft-stated promises to listen to the local community.

He has suggested an alternative that would keep two lanes in each direction, while adding left turn bays at several intersections and removing parking spaces near intersections.

This would actually have the opposite effect of the safety improvements the local community has been begging for, speeding the flow of traffic rather than slowing it, while increasing the risk to bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as drivers.

It’s important that everyone who uses the street in any way, or cares about traffic safety, attend to if you can to demand a safer 6th Street.

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Long Beach bike advocate and Pedal Love founder Melissa Balmer teamed with Minnesota writer and consultant Jay Walljasper to author a new study on the Surprising Promise of Bicycling to be released today.

The study focuses on the “untapped demographic potential, growth of bike share and infrastructure, the deepening influence of grass roots advocacy,” as well as the promise of ebikes.

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Today’s common theme is road raging drivers.

And bike riders, too.

An Arkansas man faces charges for crashing into a man on a bike — evidently intentionally — then threatening him with a machete, apparently because the rider sprayed a couple dogs with a water bottle when they chased after him.

Witnesses say a driver appeared to intentionally cross over the yellow line to smash into Georgia teenager as the boy signaled for a left turn on his bike.

The Chicago bike rider who was hit with a drum by a road raging driver — after smashing the man’s rear window with his U-lock — has started a crowdfunding campaign to get his damaged teeth fixed.

An Ohio lawyer could face disbarment for brake-checking a bike rider and smashing his cellphone in a road rage incident.

Evidently, there’s no shortage of road rage in Asheville NC. Police are looking for a bicyclist who allegedly hit a driver several times with his helmet, kicked him, and stole his eyeglasses and $80. This comes just two weeks after a driver was caught on dashcam video punching a cyclist.

A London cab driver tells a bike rider to “go back to f***ing Poland” or wherever he’s from after the rider complains about the driver stopping in a bike box.

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We’ll catch up with a long list of bike events tomorrow, but I want to mention just a couple today due to the tight timelines.

Bike SGV is hosting the BEST Ride: Bike Art Night Pasadena tomorrow night, offering a free two-wheeled tour of the Pasadena art fest with stops at several venues.

And AIDS/LifeCycle is holding a pair of Kickoff AIDS/LifeCycle 2018 rides starting at Balboa Park this Saturday, to officially start training for next year’s 545-mile ride down the California Coast. You can choose from rides of 14 or 43.7 miles, with a free lunch provided for registered participants.

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Local

In what’s just the latest multimillion dollar settlement due to the city’s dangerous streets, the LA city council voted to pay $15 million to a man who suffered permanent brain damage due to a substandard Hollywood crosswalk. That’s $15 million they could have used to fix several dangerous intersections, instead of paying for not fixing one.

Paramedics at LAX will now make their way through the terminals by bicycle.

Volunteers are needed for the tenth annual Long Beach bike count.

Sports Illustrated reviews the new book Draft Animals from LA’s own former pro Phil Gaimon.

The SGV Connect podcast remembers Bike SGV staff member Brian Velez, who passed away unexpectedly last month. A memorial ride will be held in his honor this Sunday.

 

State

Governor Brown once again pulls out his veto pen to strike down a bike bill, negating a law that would have required the California Department of General Services to expand an employee bikeshare program it currently runs for staffers in Sacramento to other departments, and other areas of the state.

Goleta considers building a separated bike and pedestrian path through the city.

The very cool new Johnny Cash Art Trail officially opens in Folsom this Saturday.

San Francisco is preparing to issue permits to an e-bikeshare operator, portentially violating the non-compete agreement they have with Ford’s GoBike.

Oakland explores a new approach to fixing a dangerous intersection with paint and bollards, by adding bike lanes and a widened median for pedestrians, in just ten weeks for a mere $30,000. The result has been a 7% drop in speeding with no decrease in median speeds, and a whopping 86% increase in drivers stopping for pedestrians in the crosswalk.

A seven-year old Oakland bike shop provides local youth with job training and affordable transportation.

A Marin writer questions the wisdom of reopening a closed-off tunnel for bike and pedestrian use.

A new study from UC Davis shows that many trips that could be made by foot, bike or transit are now being made by Uber and Lyft, adding to the congestion on our streets.

 

National

Doctors call for cities to do more to keep bike riders and pedestrians safe, as the US faces its biggest jump in traffic deaths in 50 years.

If you’ve spent much time walking or riding a bike, you may be surprised to learn that traffic engineers have an ethical duty to protect public safety, which they’ve too often ignored. Okay, maybe shocked is a better word.

Yes, it is possible to ride a bike from the airport in major cities around the US, including Los Angeles.

An article in Bicycle Times calls bicycling the ultimate social sport.

No irony here. A Nebraska bike rider was hit by a car on the way home from a bicycle safety meeting; needless to say, the driver wasn’t ticketed.

A retired Wisconsin legislator says the state’s governor is no friend to bicycling.

A pair of Detroit men have been arrested for at least three separate daylight abductions and sexual assaults of women as they rode their bicycles. Let’s hope they get thrown into a deep pit for a very long time.

An Indianapolis man entertains passing drivers by juggling and riding his bike backwards in a parking lot.

Massachusetts’ abolition-themed 1854 Cycling Company hires recently released inmates, giving them a second chance in life; the owner grew up in South Central LA.

New York police are targeting people on bikes, rather than focusing on the operators of more dangerous vehicles.

Lawyers are challenging a recent New York Vision Zero law making right-of-way violations a misdemeanor offense; three judges have found the law unconstitutional on the grounds that people can’t be held accountable for violations they don’t know they’re committing.

There’s a special place in hell for the guys who tried to jack a New York bikeshare bike from a 13-year old Hasidic boy; police are investigating it as a possible hate crime.

Delaware is now officially the second state to authorized the Idaho Stop law, allowing bike riders to treat stop signs as yields on two-lane streets.

Officials say a proposal to build a bikeway alongside a North Carolina freeway could reduce congestion while boosting the local economy.

There is something seriously wrong when a soldier can receive multiple Purple Hearts on four overseas deployments, only to be killed in a collision while riding a bicycle back to his Georgia base; he was an advocate for wounded vets through the Operation Enduring Warrior program.

 

International

This is what happens when people who ride bicycles get involved in the political process, as both major candidates in Montreal’s mayoral election court the bike vote. Unlike, say, Los Angeles, where bicyclists should be a major political block, but aren’t.

A writer for a Canadian university says traffic laws apply to those cocky cyclists too, while apparently confusing the rate of fatalities caused by bicyclists with those caused by motorists.

An independent commission has urged London’s mayor to be bold in reducing congestion and air pollution, and create transportation system centered on walking, bicycling and transit.

A British bike rider has been jailed for three weeks for crashing into a four-year old kid while riding brakeless.

Britain’s Chris Boardman offers a ten-point plan to enjoy bicycling in your middle age. I can shorten that to two points: 1) get on your bike, and 2) ride it.

A councilmember in Bengaluru, India has demanded that the city fix the streets and make it pothole-free within 15 days. Let us know if it works; I know a few other cities that could use it.

A writer for the Nikkei Asian Review says a simple formula can reflect the affluence of a country by measuring those who ride a bike because they choose to, as compared to those who ride because they have no alternative.

 

Finally…

No, attaching a flashing light to your helmet will not ward off magpie attacks. Forget Pinarellas and Conalgos; if you really want to impress the guys on your club ride, show up on a gold-plated Giant.

And your new $4,000 BMW ebike would offer as much torque as a small car.

Okay, a very small car.

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A special thank you to Linda Campbell for her generous contribution to help support this site. Or maybe to the BikinginLA computer repair fund.

 

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