Morning Links: Bike Snob takes down Venice science writer, and bike shop ticketed for city-owned bike racks

Last weekend, it seemed like every bike rider in Los Angeles had the privilege of being muted by self-described “science-based advice columnist & radio host” Amy Alkon.

Or at all the ones on Twitter.

Myself included.

Not content to merely be part of the crowd calling for the removal of the protected bike lanes on Venice Blvd, Alkon upped the ante by calling parents, and soon-to-be moms, who rode bikes on the street with their kids “assholes” who should have their children taken away for child endangerment.

And anyone who disagreed with her, no matter rudely or politely, was seen by her as part of a mob of “cycling ideologues” — or worse — who were attempting to bully her into silence. And then summarily muted before they could contradict her.

Once again, myself included.

Never mind that I can’t recall a single instance of a child being killed while riding with a parent anywhere in the LA area in the six years I’ve been keeping track.

Neither, apparently, can Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss, writing about it in Outside Magazine.

Can carrying a kid on a bike be dangerous? Sure. I’d imagine hillbombing in San Francisco on a brakeless fixie with junior in tow could end pretty badly. Then again, so would doing the same thing with a Bugaboo, and it’s a virtual certainty you’re not going to be attempting either. The bottom line is that, despite drivers’ best efforts to hit us, cycling itself just isn’t that dangerous (you can even argue it’s the safest form of transport)—and the conservative approach any halfway sensible parent takes to riding with a kid onboard is even safer.

On the other hand, if your goal is to endanger your children in transit, then you can’t do any better than using a car. Setting aside the thousands of children who die in collisions every year, an average of 37 kids are killed annually due to being left in hot cars, and even more suffer “backover deaths,” which are exactly what they sound like.

It’s a good read, and more than worth a few minutes of your morning.

Because these are the people we have to deal with on a daily basis, whether fighting for safer streets or just trying to ride down them in peace.

And like Alkon, too many refuse to listen to reason.

Or anything else.

………

By far the best story of the day.

A Florida bike shop was cited for installing a pair of spiral bike racks on the sidewalk without the proper permits or inspections.

Except they had actually been installed by the city two weeks earlier.

Oops.

………

Local

Brace yourself for wet riding, with heavy rains predicted for the LA area over the next few days.

Voting is open for Streetsblog’s Civil Servant of the Year.

A letter in the LA Times says a proposed bill wouldn’t automatically open wilderness areas to mountain bikers, but leave it up to local administrators instead.

The New Yorker takes a walking tour of sites used by Nazis, fascists and the spies who fought them in the City of Angels in the years leading up to WWII, which you could undoubtedly do by bike, as well.

Planning is moving forward for a 1.7 mile Complete Streets project on Broadway in Long Beach.

 

State

Ventura police bust a bike thief using a bait bike. Something that’s still not being used here in Los Angeles.

Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties are trying to attract bike tourists with a 160-mile grand loop though the both counties.

Google is losing up to 250 of their company bikes every week, as some residents of Mountain View see them as a community asset, and others see bike snatching as an act of retribution.

Sad news from Livermore, where a woman was killed when her bike went off the road on a descent.

A Marin County driver got his road rage case tossed after completing an anger management course. Never mind that he was caught on video threatening to get a shotgun and shoot a bike rider’s head off.

 

National

A writer for Bicycling talks about falling in love with bikepacking.

Your next bike could be a weird-looking DIY front-wheel drive cross between a bicycle and a unicycle.

Even in cold and windy Laramie WY, it’s possible to ride a bike year-round. And yet people still think you can’t ride through the winter in sunny Southern California.

A Dallas TX suburb decides the solution to dockless bikeshare bikes being left in inconvenient places is to ban them entirely; although this might have something to do with it.

Bicycling is now the official exercise of Illinois. Unlike California, where the official exercise appears to be complaining about bike lanes and the people who use them.

I think I’ve found my new career. A Philadelphia man is riding around the city with his dogs on his bike, charging people to take their picture.

 

International

A Canadian letter writer says a bike path extension was a waste of money because it doesn’t get plowed after it snows. Which seems to be a better argument for clearing the path so it can be used all year.

London will roll out e-cargo bike deliveries in the historic city center in an effort to cut pollution, following a successful trial over the holidays.

A UK paper writes about a 13-year old boy whose bike was stolen shortly after Christmas. Then illustrates the story with a photo of a kid’s balance bike.

Caught on video: A Brit bicyclist nearly gets nailed by a driver who rolls through an intersection onto the wrong side of the road.

A British business site talks with the CEO of Brompton, who says the secret of the folding bike’s success is to focus on the product, stick to what you know and obsess about it.

Get your very own semi-bespoke British bike for the equivalent of $2,400.

After a UK parliament member loses his license for distracted driving, people in his district start a pointed crowdfunding campaign to buy him a new bicycle.

A pair of Indian bicyclists are riding nearly 12,500 miles across the country to raise awareness of polio, health and hygiene.

More proof that bicyclists everywhere face the same problems. An Australian writer says ordinary bike riders are afraid of drivers — especially the ones who honk, shout and hurl profanities.

Speaking of profanities, an Aussie bicyclist was caught on video screaming obscenities at a woman and smashing the side mirror on her car after she apparently cut him off. Don’t do that. Period.

A Kiwi writer asks New Zealanders to imagine a country where everyone rides ebikes and public transit.

A Japanese train just for bicycles and their riders rolls out of Tokyo every weekend, headed from the prime bike riding routes of Chiba Prefecture.

Singapore opens an automated bike parking garage that can hold over 500 bicycles.

 

Competitive Cycling

Head up to Lake Tahoe for the Cyclocross National Championships starting this Wednesday.

Atlanta music teacher Ayesha McGowan is on a mission to become the first African American female pro cyclist. It seems ridiculous that there haven’t already been many, let alone one.

American pro Tejay van Garderen has traded Aspen for Girona, Spain.

Pro cyclist Mia Manganello qualifies for the US Olympic team on her return to speed skating after a five-year break.

 

Finally…

Note to self: If you see something that looks like a hand grenade while riding your bike, leave it alone. Anyone can ride around the world sober; the challenge is to do it stoned.

And nothing like turning a city into your personal Strava doodle pad.

Or Labra-doodle pad, in this case.

 

4 comments

  1. Google “bicycle fatalities in California.”

    With regard to bicycling being the safest form of transportation: statistics on the benefits of exercise (n.b. I’m a lifelong fitness and healthy diet devotee — former triathlete, current swimmer and runner, two marathons in the last 3 months, training for Boston and then the HB pier to Seal Beach pier 10 mile ocean swim) cited in your link are very misleading.

    The stat of 6 times the fatalities per mile for cycling v driving is the most relevant. And generic exercise in clean air isn’t the same as exercise in traffic exhaust — so generic exercise benefits can’t be extrapolated to cycling. And the bike fatality stats are dated — every year it gets worse, as distracted driving gets worse.

    I stopped cycling on even suburban (Huntington Beach) city streets — even with designated bike lanes, e.g. Heil Avenue between home and work) after one too many close calls with distracted drivers. It just started feeling like Russian roulette — it was only a matter of time until one of those distracted idiots swerved and ran me down from behind.

    You are fortunate to be young enough that you may one day see the day when all the cars on the road are emissions free non distracted autonomous vehicles. Alas, I am doomed to stationary bikes and occasional recreational rides on the river trails.

    Larry Weisenthal / Huntington Beach

  2. Biked says:

    The monthly fee is 160 plus hours but otherwise clearly Singapore dollars are not ours, and cost maybe high but for the most premium functionapity to store _anything_ quickly that fits in a coffin like ‘elevator.’

    Four years to build is unbelievable for almost any construction and the vastness of space below ground is of course the answer to shared biking being too visible above.

    • Biked says:

      The ratio of hourly to monthly is trending to number I plugged different dates cost into perhaps but all pricing is promotional now.

      The youtube videos lie about newness, other designs date to prior millenia, remain unoptomised despite gee whiz appearance.

      The cost engineer is our greatest God but she has not yet glanced our way, what matters is how many per second can arrive or leave some parking garages For cars spec dozens of times faster! The bike has to be stored one way for hours, another while waiting for owner, because now we can predict owners arrival to second minutes before.

      The humans must not wait at all ever! They arrive in predicted sequence and there bike is in motion they on conveyor belt climb on it and are launched at decent speed into ramp so as not to congest facility. The walk up corraling path is only long enough to do final sort of bikes and the number of parallel launch belts is small, cars got assembly lines we need modernised reunification systems like airport baggage claiming would be if bags arrived well before us, like valets handing us keys as we exit to briefly idling car seconds from indoors.

  3. Frank lehnerz says:

    Oh Laramie. Laradise as they call it.
    It’s a town of roughly 30,000 people (3rd largest in the state) and it’s small enough to go nearly anywhere in under 30 min on a bike. Most of the businesses have bike racks too.

    The wind seems to come from all directions in that valley. Winter is no joke. It’s at 7200 feet too. Summers are really nice though, it’s practically a ghost town with all the students gone. The wind dies down and the temps hardly rise over 80, thunderstorms roll in almost every afternoon. Of course these gorgeous days are when all the prospective university students come for orientation and have no idea what they’ve signed up for. 🙂

    I’ll never forget some of the NIMBYs here in CA protesting bike share because they thought nobody would want to ride a bicycle in Southern California winters. If only they spent a day in Laradise. We’re so spoiled out here with our climate!

    Laramie had zero bike lanes when I lived there and in fact it was the place where I fell in love with road riding – as in I stopped riding my mountain bikes on the roads. I borrowed my neighbor’s road bike once, he used it to train for the Nordic ski team, and I was hooked. The next summer, I saved up for my first road bike. When the next fall rolled around I’d go for long rides out on each of the highways. There’s nothing spectacular about the road riding, no curvy highways, no crazy hills but it was a great way to get out and escape the stress of college life.

    We regularly took our mountain bikes up to Happy Jack/Vedauwoo and to Curt Gowdy State Park too. Those nuts on the ski team would ride the shoulder up I-80 to the summit to go train on roller skis out on Happy Jack Road until the snow fell and then they’d drive up there to ski.

    Another buddy of mine and I used to go ride everywhere. One spring break we even threw our bikes in the back of his pickup and drove all the way out here. We drove down the coast from SF to SD camping in state parks and took turns with one of us riding, the other driving the pickup down the PCH. Most of our sightseeing/tourist activities involved riding out of the places we camped.

    Surprisingly motorists, with the exception of a few of the pickup truck drivers, who were mainly WyoTech students, respected our right to use the road. This was before coal rolling became a thing too. I had far fewer issues with close passes and/or harassment than I did living in Fort Collins, an hour south down in Colorado. Most of Wyoming was like this. Motorists treated us like farm vehicles and gave us a lot of room when passing, even solo riders.

    Most of the traffic lights were of the old upside down metal detector variety and never picked up bikes or motorcycles. Idaho stopping at reds was common. The condition of the roads were really bad too which meant we had to be extra careful on road bikes. The state raised the gas tax a few years ago and locals are still upset about it, not as much as some here are though. Snow and ice sticks around on the roads for months so anybody who rides that stuff including those on the article are champs.

    Sometime in the last five years though, the city installed hazardous door zone bike lanes on the road I used every day to ride to campus. On another road they improperly placed shared lane markings too close to the door zone, and this is in an area near campus where there’s high parking turnover. The bike lanes don’t drop at intersections either where right turns are allowed. I can only imagine riding around isn’t as good anymore because people will now expect you to “be out of their way.”

    Pedal House, the bike shop mentioned in the article is a great place. Their slogan is “We still hang bike thieves in Wyoming.” Also, downtown there’s a cool shop called Atmosphere Mountainworks which makes handmade one-of-a-kind outdoor gear including bike luggage.

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