Morning Links: BikinginLA on Spectrum News 1 tonight, the war on bikes, and brazen bike theft in DTLA

Once again, we have a veritable metric ton of bike news today.

But before we start, I’m going to be on the Spectrum News 1 channel’s Inside the Issues program tonight, hosted by former NPR and KPCC anchor Alex Cohen.

I’ll be joining Curbed LA’s inestimable Alissa Walker, new LACBC Executive Director Eli Akira Kaufman, and Romel Pascual, Executive Director of CicLAvia to paint the Spectrum audience a portrait of biking in Los Angeles, good, bad and otherwise.

I tried to recommend a few other bike advocates with better insights and more TV-friendly faces, but for some reason, they wanted mine.

Go figure.

So let’s just hope I don’t break your TV.

Inside the Issues airs at 7 pm on channel 1 if you’re an LA-area Spectrum Cable subscriber. If not, it should be posted online at the above link sometime after it airs.

Who knows. Maybe I can parlay this into a talking head role as the highly paid bike pundit for CNN.

It could happen.

Let’s all play a drinking game tonight.

Take a sip every time I mention aggressive or distracted drivers, and take a shot every time I say “traffic safety deniers.”

If I do my job right, by the time the show’s over, no one will care whether I screwed up or not.

………

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

Leaders of a town in Maine wisely rejected a draconian anti-bike ordinance proposed by a local man after being told that parts of it conflicted with state law.

Or more likely, nearly all of it.

According to the local paper, the ordinance would have imposed the following restrictions, which probably would have killed bike riding entirely in the town.

  • Bicyclists are not allowed to ride on streets that have no bike safety lane
  • Bicyclists are  not allowed to ride side by side and must be at least 10 feet apart.
  • Bicyclists older than 16 must register their bike with the town;
  • Bicyclists are not allowed to wear head phones, sound-preventing device or any type of hearing distraction; and
  • Bicyclists could be fined $250 for the first offense and $500 for subsequent ones.

The man claimed he drafted it “out of concern for ‘human lives'” after seeing some people ride unsafely.

Just a reminder that there are people out there who would gladly take away our right to the road based on the actions of a few.

Or just restrict it in ways that serve the same purpose.

………

The war on bikes, part two.

A San Diego cyclist says a truck driver attempted to run him and his riding partners off the road.

Reporting the miscreant driver to his employer was the right thing to do.

However, it’s also a crime; attempting to deliberately run down someone on a bicycle or run them off the road is assault with a deadly weapon. Which means he should also be reported to the police, especially if there’s video evidence of the attack.

Even if the police can’t do anything now, they’ll have a report on file that may be useful if the driver does it again to someone else.

It was the prior police reports that didn’t result in prosecution that finally helped make the case against Dr. Christopher Thompson in the infamous Mandeville Canyon brake check.

………

Somehow we missed this one last month.

David Drexler forwards video of a brazen tag-team bike theft in broad daylight on a busy street in DTLA, directly in front of Whole Foods.

Watch to the end to see just how much teamwork went into it.

………

The Anaheim Police Department says share the road in a new video posted on Facebook, explaining to an angry driver that bike riders have the right to take the lane.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link.

………

British TV personality Jeremy Vine had what has to be the close call of the day, if not the year, as an impatient and overly aggressive driver buzzed him while passing in the bike lane he was riding in.

………

Local

Los Angeles has opened applications for Great Streets Challenge Grants to improve a traffic corridor near and dear to your heart. Or not.

Metro Bike’s docked bikeshare hasn’t been a hit in San Pedro, where it has the lowest use rate of any of the four regions in Los Angeles County.

Metro’s Boyle Heights public meeting to discuss plans to close an eight-mile gap in the LA River bike path was briefly interrupted by anti-gentrification activists. The final meeting will take place tonight in Cypress Park — hopefully without further interruptions.

A Moreno Valley bike rider was busted in Santa Monica for riding salmon, riding without a light, and delaying a police officer — evidently by making them look for her when she tried to flee the traffic stop. The first two are just ticketable offenses, so she must have really pissed them off.

State

State officials announced the latest round of active transportation grants; a project in Compton was removed from the list, while Pomona received $9.2 million to improve bicycling and walking, including 10 miles of new bike lanes.

A homeless man was sentenced to two years behind bars for beating another transient with his bicycle before attacking two Santa Ana police officers who tried to intervene.

San Diego’s Bicycle Advisory Board held a news conference yesterday calling for more protected bike lanes.

A woman in San Diego’s South Park neighborhood is on a one-woman crusade against e-scooters.

A San Diego County bike rider is suing the county and Caltrans after he was seriously injured as he attempted to dodge a clump of asphalt in a bike lane not far from a road construction site.

The annual Tour de Palm Springs returns this weekend, with a focus on safety after the death of Mark Kristofferson in last year’s event.

Cycle Central Coast recommends a romantic bike weekend for two in Cambria this Valentines Day.

Horrifying story from Fresno, where a pair of 22-year old twins got a well-deserved 12 years for beating up a Good Samaritan who rode his bike to the rescue of a woman they were attacking, and leaving him lying in the road, where he was run over by a passing motorist.

Maybe you want to try a little Viking trail biking around Mount Shasta.

National

At least one American company is absorbing Trump’s 25% tariff on ebikes, rather than passing the added costs onto their customers.

Curbed looks at plans for the coast-to-coast, offroad Great American Rail-Trail rail-to-trail conversion bikeway.

Hawaii’s Big Island is establishing a Vision Zero program.

You could soon go mountain biking at Kentucky’s National Corvette Museum. Yes, that’s the one where a massive sinkhole swallowed eight classic Corvettes.

Hugh Jackman is one of us. The Daily Mail says he risked a $50 fine for texting while riding in the Big Apple. Except photos show he’s fully stopped on the sidewalk with one foot firmly planted on the ground.

New York advocates says the city shouldn’t cancel plans for improved bike lanes and other commuting projects, even though a planned shutdown of a major subway has been cancelled.

A Mississippi bike shop is taking community service a step further by offering naloxone to reverse the effects of a drug overdose, after the owners’ son died of an OD.

A teenaged serial horse molester — yes, that’s a thing — was arrested with a large sex toy while riding his bike in Mobile, Alabama.

International

A hacking website considers ways people around the world hack their bikes to serve various purposes, from knife sharpening to carrying multiple gas cylinders.

Snowy Halifax, Nova Scotia is gearing up for Friday’s International Winter Bike Week with a full week of winter bike events. The forecast for Halifax calls for a rainy 45° on Friday; Los Angeles should be sunny and 15 degrees warmer. Just saying.

An English man recovered his bicycle the same day it was stolen, after he spotted it being sold online by a drug dealer.

British bicyclists and pedestrians will get to be guinea pigs for self-driving cars, with autonomous vehicles hitting the street starting in 2021, even though critics say the tech isn’t ready yet.

No surprise here, as a new survey shows Brits would still rather drive a car than ride a bike or take a bus; four in ten people had a favorable view of bicycling, while nearly half took the opposing view.

Royal-adjacent James Middleton — brother-in-law to the UK’s future king — once again drew stares taking four large dogs for a ride in his covered bakfiets.

This is the cost of traffic violence, too. A British woman overdosed on heroin in her Paris apartment as she struggled to cope with killing a teenage bike rider; she had moved to Paris after the breakup of her marriage following the crash.

Unbelievable. Life is really cheap in Australia, where a road raging driver who killed a bike rider walks with the equivalent of home arrest, community service and a $5,000 fine.

The Philippines has opened the country’s first protected bike lane along the National Highway.

Competitive Cycling

Downhill snow biking is now officially a thing, with a UCI World Cup planned for next year.

Finally…

Do your cycling inside and you might get booted if Madonna wants your stationary bike. That feeling when you announce the death of BMX star just three years after it actually happened.

And that feeling when you have to cancel the annual bike ride scheduled for the worst weather day of the year, because of the worst weather of the year.

Thanks to Bob Wilkinson for the last link. And yes, that’s frequent contributor Mike Wilkinson’s dad.

9 comments

  1. John McBrearty says:

    While the Anaheim PD video is a step in the right direction it is a giant fail because it leaves viewers with the misleading impression that there must be a designated “sharrow” lane, with signs and surface markings, in order for a cyclist to legally take the lane. Every road user should have an understanding of CVC Section 21202 which outlines the exceptions to a cyclist’s obligation to ride close to the right hand curb or edge of the road.
    https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=VEH&sectionNum=21202.

  2. David Erickson says:

    Regarding the tweet from Peter Abraham, the guy on the bike in that picture is an idiot. I don’t care what the law says, if you are riding in a traffic lane on an obviously busy high speed road like that when there is an excellent wide paved shoulder available for riding a bike, then you are an idiot, period. Not only is he increasing the risk that he will get hit, he is also pissing off a lot of drivers. It is bicyclists like him that are responsible for much of the animosity of car drivers towards bicyclists.

    Incidentally, I think I know where that picture was taken. It looks exactly like the old U.S. 101 (now Torrey Pines Rd), northbound at Torrey Pines Reserve, just before getting to Del Mar. I have ridden in that area before, but I was also on a city bus once headed to Del Mar that had to swerve and hit the brakes to avoid hitting a bicyclist, just about 200 yards ahead of where that picture was taken.

    • keith says:

      Agreed. Just because I can, I don’t. Just not worth it, for me. Even if the street has a nice icon of a bike painted on it.

    • larry says:

      Will someone please think of the poor pissed off motorists!!!! OMG it’s a War On Cars! You must be an ‘avid bike rider’.

      • David Erickson says:

        I look at both sides of the controversy. I occasionally drive a car. Perhaps you have never driven a car, ridden in a car, or ridden as a passenger on a bus?

        But more importantly, I don’t like to antagonize car drivers. A 2-ton SUV going 60 MPH is a lot more deadly than a 200 pound bicycle (combined weight of bicycle and rider) going 12 MPH, even though most vehicular cyclists don’t understand that. The bicyclist usually gets the short end of the stick in any conflict. And the idiot on the bicycle in the picture is exhibit A. He almost got hit by a truck for being stupid.

        • larry says:

          This my friend is what’s called victim blaming. And I’ve spent plenty of time behind the wheel of a motor vehicle over the past 45 years.

          • David Erickson says:

            You use the phrase “victim blaming” as though it is impossible for the blame to ever be with the victim. If I jump off an overpass onto a freeway and get hit by an 18-wheeler, then I am the victim, and I am to blame. What the bicyclist was doing was almost as stupid as jumping off an overpass onto a freeway.

            • Larry says:

              But he didn’t jump off a bridge (ridiculous comparison), he was riding within his rights. He is blameless. The motorist is, however, required to give 3 feet clearance, making him to blame. Therefore you are victim blaming.

        • bikinginla says:

          Actually, he said in another tweet that they had been riding on the shoulder when the driver tried to run them down. And there is no justification, ever, for using a motor vehicle as a weapon.

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