Morning Links: Road raging New York mobster, LA transforming to city of the future, and a kindhearted bike gift

These are the people we share the roads with.

An 82-year old New York mobster skated on charges that he participated in the legendary 1978 Lufthansa heist that inspired the movie Goodfellas.

But now he’ll spend the next eight years behind bars after using a law enforcement database to track down a driver who cut him off on a freeway, and setting the man’s car on fire.

Evidently, road rage is dish best served cold.

Unless you get caught.

………

Nice KCRW interview with UCLA urban planning professor Bryan Taylor, who says LA’s traffic problems are the result of the city transforming from a “bucolic Southern California bungalow environment” to an “urban global city of the future.”

And one in which people will walk, bike and take transit in denser communities — and where the 30-mile commute is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

I think that the idea that we should build a system that allows someone to live 30 miles from where they work is ridiculous. If you went that far in Tokyo, you’d cover an area that has most of the population for California. The expectation that someone should be able to get in their car and drive through one of the largest cities in the world unimpeded from one end of the metropolitan area to the other is an expectation that could have existed when L.A. wasn’t a global city of that scale. We now have 17 million people. It’s just not going to be possible for them to live in in Pasadena and drive to Santa Monica and feel like they can do that comfortably. Those days are over.

Which is a point I’ve been trying to make with drivers and reporters for some time, with limited success.

As in none.

………

This is by far the best news story of the day.

After an Indiana woman’s bike broke down on her way to work Christmas Eve, a kindhearted stranger stopped to help. And ended up giving her a bicycle she’d bought for her grandchild’s Christmas present.

………

Local

Metro Bike is planning to expand into the San Gabriel Valley, Culver City and around USC, while it struggles to meet ridership projections in the face of competition from dockless bikeshare.

Curbed offers 18 things to look forward to this year, including the opening of the long-delayed My Figueroa Complete Streets project on South Figueroa, and September’s Disney Hall to Hollywood Bowl CicLAvia.

You have until noon tomorrow to vote for Streetsblog’s annual Streetsie Awards for Elected Official, Civil Servant, Media/Journalism, Individual Advocacy, and Advocacy Group of the year.

The latest episode of Bike Talk interviews prolific bike writer Peter Flax, one of the journalists nominated for a Streetsie this year.

South Bay bike riders can now go to bicycle traffic school instead of paying a fine for traffic tickets. Los Angeles has been talking about doing that, but so far, it doesn’t appear to have moved beyond talk at this point.

A man on a bicycle shot a Norwalk man in the hand after talking with him briefly; police suspect it may have been gang-related.

 

State

San Diego opens the new bicycle-themed Bikeway Village along the bayfront bike path in Imperial Beach.

An Aussie BMX champ vowed to walk down the aisle to marry his fiancé on New Year’s Eve in San Diego, where he’s in rehab for a training accident that left him paralyzed for awhile.

A couple hundred Bakersfield riders get the new year started right with an early morning ride. Although that doesn’t compare to riding with a wind chill factor of 12 below.

Things are getting better for bicyclists on the Bay Area’s Mount Diablo after a number of safety improvements designed to reduce conflicts with motorists.

Sad news from San Raphael, where a bike rider died after hitting an object on a paved trail.

 

National

Motor vehicles are now the leading source of CO2 emissions in the US, as what now passes for the EPA is busy dismantling regulations intended to protect us.

Oregon’s new $15 tax on new bicycles over $200 went into effect yesterday.

A Tucson woman is looking for the beloved bike belonging to her late brother, which was stolen shortly after he died of pancreatic cancer.

Life is cheap in New Mexico, where a man convicted of careless driving in a crash that severely injured a woman riding her bike walks with just 90 days probation, and a whopping $156 court fee that the judge may have waived.

Engineering students at the University of Colorado build an adaptive bike for a girl with autism and limited motor skills.

A Denver paper says ebikes could help reduce traffic congestion, but questions whether they belong on singletrack trails.

While some Los Angeles residents are demanding that the city rip out bike lanes, residents of Amarillo TX are begging the city to put bike lanes in their neighborhood to slow speeding traffic.

A San Antonio man is finally under arrest, seven months after he fatally ran down a bike rider while struggling with a couple of passengers trying to stop his out-of-control driving.

A recovering addict from Missouri rode 3,300 miles across the US to promote recovery.

 

International

A new book tells the story of four young Canadian women who took off on a 400-mile bike ride in the middle of WWII.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 81-year old man rode 4,300 miles across Canada. So much for all those people who say older people can’t ride bikes.

Young Toronto residents are passing on getting a driver’s license, and choosing to live in complete communities where walking, biking and transit take precedence.

Bike advocates are fighting plans to block an abandoned British rail tunnel, hoping it can be converted to the country’s longest underground bikeway instead.

No bias here. A non-scientific survey of Brit drivers shows 73% want to force cyclists to wear hi-viz, and 80% want bike riders to carry mandatory liability insurance.

A UK letter writer says bikes were here first and it’s not the fault of bicyclists that roads are getting more dangerous, while another letter writer reminds motorists that cars are dangerous machines, and says drivers who kill should be banned for life.

Finland plans to become a bicycling mecca by 2050, with most commuters riding company-supplied ebikes. But why wait another three decades?

Sweden is now offering a 25% rebate on the purchase of an ebike, as research shows electric bicycles often replace cars.

Caught on video: A Polish mountain biker completes the world’s first backflip in the Superman position.

A 19-year old Indian woman will attempt to set a new record for being the youngest and fastest woman to complete an unsupported, 18,000-mile ride around the world.

Caught on video too: An Aussie bicyclist is caught in a left hook crash, the Down Under equivalent of our right hook, as the writer says the driver was legally at fault but the victim shares the blame.

Caught on video three: A trio of Australian bike riders were lucky to stay upright when they were passed way too close and too fast by the driver of a massive truck.

After two Australian cyclists were sideswiped by the driver of a rental camper van, all the driver had to say was “Big mirror. Sorry.”

Nothing like having to dodge a car thief speeding down an Australian bike path.

Britain’s Sky News says abandoned dockless rental bikes have turned into a social menace in China. Meanwhile, CNN says Chinese dockless bikeshare has turned into a bubble.

 

Finally…

Nothing like a purple, bike-riding octopus. Go for a New Year’s swim, come up with a new bike.

And don’t steal a bike from a pack of Santas.

………

Thanks to Gil S for his generous donation to help support this site. While the annual holiday fund drive may be over, contributions are always welcome.

And on a personal note, today is the first day my wife has been back at work in nearly two months. So let me offer a heartfelt thank you to everyone who have offered so many kind words and support over the past several weeks.

 

8 comments

  1. Biked says:

    A dozen million is enough to rename a city ebike, have everyone use single passenger drones or bike, for a tues wed thur then see what happens.

  2. Biked says:

    Several of your links are not as they appear. Car closed infrastructure can be kept Closed by biking, 2050 can look like 1970, but the ability to harness teams of students not by darpa, exon, gm, some british night or fool in watts is the real thing.

    I dating failed a teen who ate over the sink, her other parent figure told me she could not bike. She got married quickly also, abandoning her dream to work in a apple store. I told her to apply in Santa Monica. Biking has been so bad, little accomidation for extroardinary riders yet. May students given donated steel change the world not spit out inambitious tripe.

    • Jose says:

      “Spit out inambitious tripe” like the fracking antagonist hired by a fracker in a flick i saw in a corner room upper floor i had to bike down central thru that city without houses from dtla on hbo. Yeah the 2050 link was lame renting bikes is already a joke, by then we will enjoy artilery relocation no need to hover a human just shoot them in a kevlar phone booth and land on a pogo stick that just latches when you land and shoots you back via spring.

      In 2050 we will all be rocketed personally flying is pre calculus.

  3. james says:

    I love this random word association that sometimes appears on this site.

    should I start posting things from the surrealist comment generator http://www.madsci.org/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/~lynn/jardin/SCG

    “Fighting for the liberty of the fruit tree tastes nothing like the glint of sagittarius rounding itself around your uvula. I know the time will soon arrive when we will see people manufactured in crates and seives of glass.”

  4. james says:

    This reminds me, I once had the idea for a cycling oriented restaurant where you’d eat over sinks instead of sitting or standing at tables. You’d lean your bike up against the sink and eat over it standig up. Ooops I guess that is a bad idea, as it might lead to bad life decisions.

    • Jose says:

      My how video dependent some online are. People who move cant steer or keep it all going into mouth. The school engineered a bike for such a person from the still image you can see her face suggests a wild off balance gait ok and sex is not like riding a bike, nor marriage.

      This is an adult ok, able to read, not some poor watson wannabee.

      Go back to schoool if u cant read please and i wondered what causee biked to scroll off so quick! She did James inflaming by.

  5. Ralph says:

    e-bikes everywhere. The bikes are here now. They are going to be part of the future. Yes some riders will be jerks, same as now, same as some drivers. I don’t imagine a lot of people ‘zipping along highly technical single track on e-bikes. Highly technical usually means you have to take more care when you ride.
    Re-purposing the train tunnel makes sense to me, even if the actual cost is double than expected.

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