Morning Links: Bike thefts from Westwood Expo Line station, and blocked MyFig bike lane

How many people would continue to use transit if they had to worry about their cars being stolen from the station while they’re away?

Yet that’s exactly the problem people in West LA are facing after a series of bike thefts from the Westwood Rancho Park station on the Expo Line.

Jonathon Weiss writes to report that his son’s bike was stolen from the bike corral at the station, just months after his own bike was stolen from the same place.

And as he continues to wait for a response to his request for temporary bike lockers at Metro stations without a Bike Hub.

Which would be almost all of them.

He also notes that his son’s bike was securely locked with a good quality U-lock; the thieves apparently pried it open to get the bike.

That doesn’t bode well for most of us, who have long been told that a good U-lock was the most effective theft deterrent.

Weiss is right to call for more bike lockers at Metro stations. I’m told the Westwood Rancho Park station has a waiting list over 50 names long for the few available lockers on site.

Rather being reserved 24/7 for one person, like Metro’s existing bike lockers, the kind he proposes would be available for a single, short-term rental, allowing users to lock their bikes securely without having to worry about frequent bike thefts, while only paying for the time actually used.

And making it much safer and more convenient to use bicycles to solve the first mile/last mile problem.

Because no one is going to be comfortable leaving their bikes at the station if there’s no guarantee they will be there when they get back.

And right now, there isn’t.

The bike that was stolen Monday

Let this serve as yet another reminder to register your bike for free before something like this happens. Because that offers your best hope of seeing it again if it does.

Top photo shows the empty Expo Line bike corral where Weiss’ bike should have been earlier this year.

………

Chris forwards a brief video clip of yet another driver blocking the MyFigueroa bike lane at 22nd Street Friday afternoon.

Or as he calls it, the MyFig Loading Zone.

He also notes that the semi-protected bike lane didn’t manage to protect one rider.

Also, there was a crash involving a cyclist further up at Fig between 7th and 8th, in the far left lane, closest to the plaza. Did not witness the crash but I did see police questioning a motorist and a witness. The cyclist was in an ambulance and the police put the bike in the ambulance with him or her. Not sure how it happened or the condition of the cyclist. Perhaps something to look into, but I couldn’t find any news or police reports.

………

The exceptionally popular beachfront Marvin Braude bike path will be closed for construction work near the border of Santa Monica and Venice through the end of October, except for Sundays.

Hopefully there will be a well marked detour around the construction zone.

Thanks to Alt Housing California for the heads-up.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on.

And it claimed a new victim in Seattle, where an 18-year old man was hospitalized after crashing into a tree because some sick schmuck cut the brakes on the Lime Bike he was riding.

Let’s hope they find the person responsible, and lock ’em up for a long damn time.

………

Local

LA Downtown News says the MyFigueroa Complete Streets project has potential — if the bugs can be worked out.

A new proposal would build a pedestrian bridge at the secluded Los Angeles River & Aliso Creek Confluence Park in the San Fernando Valley, as well as adding bike and pedestrian paths leading from the bike lanes on Reseda Blvd.

A Pasadena columnist invites e-scooters to besmirch the city’s streets now that Metro Bike has been given the boot, while blaming high user fees for the demise of the bikeshare program.

 

State

Streetsblog questions whether recent news stories about the dangers of e-scooters are an attempt to derail a newly passed bill that would remove the requirement to wear a helmet, as it sits on Governor Brown’s desk.

The CHP is recommending a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge against the woman who killed Grossmont College professor Brian Jennings near El Cajon while allegedly sleeping behind the wheel.

Sad news from Sacramento, where a bike rider was killed in a collision with apparently driverless pickup.

Sacramento police are looking for whoever brutally attacked a 73-year old bike rider on a secluded trail; a 76-year old man was killed in an attack on the same trail earlier this year.

 

National

A new report suggests that improving transit systems can improve traffic safety, because cities with a higher level of public transit usage have a smaller proportion of road fatalities.

REI offers advice on how to chose an ebike.

A Texas public radio station asks if e-scooters are the key to getting better bike lanes in San Antonio. We can only hope that works in LA, since the limited adoption of bikeshare hasn’t done the trick.

Friends struggle to make sense of the hit-and-run that left a popular San Antonio restaurant manager in the hospital with critical injuries; she was injured when her bike was rear-ended by the driver, knocking her into a tree. Thanks to Stephen Katz for the link.

Detroit is rapidly shedding its reputation as the Motor City, with a five-year plan to build out a complete protected bike lane network, as well as making improvements for pedestrians. Compare that with LA’s mobility plan, which calls for improvements over the next 17 years. And which we’re told is only aspirational.

The hit-and-run epidemic has hit Ohio, with a 50% increase in drivers fleeing the scene since 2012.

A Maine driver has admitted to driving under the influence of a sleep-inducing medication when he allegedly hit a bike rider in the face with the mirror of his truck, before crashing into two other cars; police suspect he was on other medications, legal or otherwise, but were unable to get a blood sample after the crash. He had a previous DUI, as well as a long string of other traffic violations. Yet another example of authorities keeping dangerous drivers on the road until they kill someone. Or in this case, nearly.

A Delaware man faces up to 30 months behind bars after he was convicted of killing the bike-riding owner of a TV station; he unsuccessfully tried to blame the victim by saying the rider swerved out onto the roadway.

Another reason to hate Elon Musk. A New York Tesla dealer is converting the streets, sidewalks and two-way bike lane in the Red Hook neighborhood into its own private car storage.

Bicycling helped save the life of a DC Iraq War vet who suffered from Gulf War Illness; she’s now competed in 27 triathlons.

No bias here. Black bike riders get two-thirds of the bicycling traffic tickets in New Orleans, but make up just one third of the city’s riders.

 

International

After a Toronto city councilor urges pedestrians to point in the direction they want to go to cross a street — even in a crosswalk with the right of way — a columnist compares it to using an automotive air bag or a bike helmet to improve safety.

An Anglican bishop rode his bike nearly 4,500 miles across Canada, raising over $187,000 to support his church’s ministry; that converts to over $147,000 US.

A European website looks at the adoption of graphene in bike tires and clothing, predicting internet-connected bikewear with embedded electronics to help prevent collisions.

This is the benefit of ebikes. A 93-year old English letter writer says his ebike has changed his life, allowing him to get uphill to the local market — and pass younger riders along the way.

In a new survey that should surprise absolutely no one, most people in the UK — but especially women — prefer riding in bikeways that are physically separated from vehicular traffic.

Britain offers incentives to buy any kind of electric vehicle — except ebikesThat’s also true in the US, something that will have to change if the country every gets serious about reducing traffic and fighting climate change.

A pair of bike tourists from Slovenia and the Czech Republic pause in Pakistan on a world tour that began twenty years ago.

Bicycling is making a comeback in India.

A sharp eyed South African driver helped bust a bike theft ring when he spotted a pair of vans with $26,000 worth of high-end bikes carelessly thrown in the back; the bikes had been stolen from a bike shop that same day.

Nothing has been done to fix a deadly Brisbane, Australia intersection, despite the city’s promise to install protected bike lanes after a woman was killed riding there four years ago.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews says five moments in the last two weeks have given American cycling fans a reason to cheer.

Cycling Tips profiles America’s newest cycling hero, newly crowned world mountain bike champ Kate Courtney.

 

Finally…

Now you can get on your bike at spin class, and get off somewhere else. You can own Robin Williams’ fixie — if you have an extra $4K to $6K lying abound.

And apparently, Alabama has repealed the law of gravity, and mountain bikers can now ride horizontally.

………

Join the Militant Angeleno and BikinginLA for the first-ever Militant Angeleno’s Epic CicLAvia Tour at the Celebrate LA! LA Phil 100 CicLAvia on September 30th!

Just RSVP to [email protected] We want to guarantee a relatively small group to make sure we can keep the group together, and everyone can hear.

 

5 comments

  1. keith says:

    Bike theft Metro Station… Reminds me back I had a bike stolen, when I unknowingly tried to bring my bike on the red line without a ‘bike permit’ back in the day when the line only went to Alvarado. “Oh just lock it up at the bike rack,” the officer recommended.

    Was a ratty old bike with a heavy chain & lock. And was gone by the time I returned to the station in the evening. Yep there was a time when cyclists were required to have a permit to wheel a bike on board the redline. Permit required going to the downtown Metro office, a photo & think cost $10.

    In my opinion bike lockers aren’t installed at stations much these day because of the problems with people using them for storage.

  2. Brian says:

    Part of the problem with the bike lockers at expo stations is that they’re so scarce that people who have them won’t give them up, even if they don’t use them. Someone offered to let me “borrow” theirs that they “never use” at Westwood station. As much as I appreciated the offer, I asked them to give it up instead, as I’ve been on the waiting list since they put the lockers in a few years ago, but they declined as they didn’t want to have to join that same list in the event they needed it in the future.

  3. jennix says:

    Why leave your bike? Take it with you, so it doesn’t get stolen.

    • Amy says:

      Taking your bike on the train isn’t always the answer. Trains can be full, making getting me and my bike onto the train difficult. Also, Metro stations have lots of stairs, escalators and elevators (that aren’t always in service.) It would be nice to have a safe place at the station to store my bike. Thanks Jonathan Weiss for working to get bike lockers available.

  4. Eric says:

    You should know that the problem with stolen bikes atg the Expo Line stations is worse than you’ve reported in your story. Even the bike lockers aren’t safe!
    A few weeks ago, Metro sent a warning message to people with bike lockers notifying us that there had been several instances of lockers been broken into, mostly at night and on weekends. Within one week of that warning, I found the locker right next to mine (at the Culver City Expo station) had been broken into and the owner’s bike had been stolen.

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