Archive for Advocacy & Politics

Weekend Links: Bicyclist voices heard in Griffith Park flap, but not in San Diego; Seattle driver doesn’t give a f***

They got the message, anyway.

The LA Weekly covers Thursday night’s meeting of the Griffith Park Advisory Board, which discussed the controversy over the ill-advised test project to turn Mount Hollywood Drive, which had previously been closed off to cars, into parking for tourists visiting the Hollywood Sign.

The predictable outcome was a promise to look into the matter, though it’s clear board members got the message from hikers, equestrians and bike riders that another solution has to be found. What, if anything, they’ll do about it after the project’s planned April 12th closing remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, an online petition asks the city to keep cars and trams off the road, but KTLA-5 says pity the poor tourists who just want to get a close-up view of the sign.

And CiclaValley offers video evidence of what all the fuss is about.

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Bike SD offers a report on Wednesday’s meeting to discuss planned bike lanes in the city’s Hillcrest neighborhood, where the Urban Planners group voted unanimously to protect parking spaces instead of human lives; the OB Rag says passionate pleas for safer streets fell on deaf ears.

Even though a new study shows complete streets not only result in improved safety for everyone, but also lead to increased sales, higher employment rates and greater property values.

But sure, keep fighting for those parking spaces while you chase potential new customers away.

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If, like me, you had to miss Thursday’s discussion between former NYDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and our own LADOT transportation maven Seleta Reynolds, you can watch it again for the first time. Thanks to Dennis Hindman for the link.

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Clearly, not all cyclists oppose the proposed law that would require all California cyclists to wear bike helmets, as well as reflective gear after dark. Even if Bike Snob calls anyone who supports a helmet law a traitor and a heretic.

A new temporary clear spray paint from Volvo could solve the reflective problem. Maybe if you just spray your head it will look like you have a helmet on, at least after dark.

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The Bike League is calling on you to contact your Senator to help preserve federal funding for biking and walking.

Meanwhile, over 120 organizations joined together to call for increased funding for active transportation in California.

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A Seattle driver tells a bike rider she literally doesn’t give a fuck about anything he has to say after she parks in a supposedly parking-protected bike lane. And right next to a sign saying she can’t do it, no less.

Although, I think she meant figuratively, not literally, unless she was actually declining a free sexual encounter.

A writer for c|net asks if the rider, while right, might have been a tad sanctimonious.

See what you think.

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More transportation clickbait, as Thrillist ranks the 10 best cities to get around without a car.

LA checks in at a surprising number nine, despite ranking lowest among the top 10 for bikeability, and second from the bottom for walkability.

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Local

A Los Angeles woman makes chandeliers out of used bike parts; her work can be seen at Sunset Plaza, as well as Neil Patrick Harris’ New York home, if he lets you in.

Big improvements are coming to North Broadway in DTLA.

A new Glendale greenway will connect three parks in the city via bike lanes and sharrows.

Join Metro, From Lot to Spot and CICLE on Saturday for the Hot SPOTS bike tour of formerly blighted lots that have been converted to urban green spaces.

 

State

A La Mesa cyclist was critically injured in a horrific wreck when he was hit by an armored car, which proceeded to run over him with both sets of tires.

A trio of Palm Springs thieves are arrested after apparently trading a possibly stolen bike for the SUV they’re accused of taking.

San Bernardino students get bikes for perfect attendance. If they’d done that when I was a kid, I might not have faked a fever so often.

A 32-year old bike rider becomes the year’s first, and hopefully last, traffic fatality in Salinas.

A Silicon Valley bicycling movement is powered by wine, women and chocolate. None of which my wife will let me have these days.

San Francisco police are once again accused of conducting a crappy investigation and unfairly blaming the victim of a bicycling fatality.

 

National

A new documentary examines the conflict between bikes and cars — or more precisely, the overdependence on the latter — including LA voices like Wolfpack Hustle’s Don Ward and Don Koeppel, founder of the Big Parade.

Smart move. To reduce costs and build better relations with the community, Albuquerque police plan to take officers off their inexpensive bikes and put them in expensive patrol cars, where they will be isolated from the public.

The Dallas Observer says a new bill to ban texting while driving will only give cops an excuse to pull drivers over; evidently, they expect people to stop texting behind the wheel on the honor system, which has clearly worked well so far.

A former Mad City mayor calls for a Wisconsin bike highway system.

A Pittsburgh bridge gets a road diet and bike lanes, even if a local carpenter calls them useless.

Showing a rare skill for making a bad situation worse, a Tampa Bay man faces a burglary charge for attempting to get his impounded bike back.

 

International

Welsh police needs at least four cops and a helicopter to arrest a wine drinking bike rider.

A new 700 space bike parking structure gives a whole new meaning to Stockholm syndrome; thanks to joninsocal for the heads-up.

A new documentary looks at Italian Jews who survived WWII and the goys gentiles who helped them, focusing on legendary cyclist Gino Bartali, who should be on a fast track to sainthood already.

A West Australia driver gets five years for killing a cyclist in a wreck he was too drunk to remember.

Thailand will build bike lanes leading to two international airports, while a 14 mile bike path circling another airport will get toilets, lights and security cameras provided by a local bank. We have a lot of banks in LA, right?

The mayor of Kuala Lumpur promises to build more bikeways if enough buildings turn their lights out for Earth Hour. So if they don’t, bike riders get screwed?

 

Finally…

A new women’s jersey is designed to carry your choice of concealed weapon while you ride. If you’re carrying three kilos of coke and heroin in the trunk of your car, don’t obscure the license plate with your bike rack.

And an Illinois town asks bike riders to please stop pooping on the bike path.

 

Morning Links: Justice for San Diego thrill kill victim, Griffith Park feeder ride, and CD4’s Ryu finally responds

Sometimes there’s justice after all.

Even if it takes awhile.

When a bike rider gets shot, it’s almost always gang involved in some way. The 2011 death of San Diego cyclist Jordan Hickey was the exception.

The developmentally disabled man was just minutes from his home while riding back after visiting his girlfriend when he was gunned down for no reason.

Or more precisely, just for the hell of it.

Two men were allegedly driving around just looking for someone to kill when they spotted Hickey on his bike, and one leaned out of the car window to fire the fatal blast from a shotgun.

On Wednesday, the driver, Juan Ignacio Gomez, was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder; he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Humberto Emanuel Galvez, the accused shooter, faces a possible death sentence when he goes on trial in May.

Which is exactly what he’s accused of sentencing Hickey to, without a trial.

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A feeder rider to tonight’s Griffith Park Advisory Board meeting will roll out from Sweet Salt in Toluca Lake to protest plans to open Mt. Hollywood Drive to cars to placate Beechwood Canyon homeowners, who are tired of being overrun by tourists looking for the Hollywood Sign.

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While I wasn’t looking, CD4 city council candidate David Ryu finally responded to the LACBC’s candidate survey; turns out like most bike riders, his remains in the garage most of the time. Carolyn Ramsay, his opponent to replace Tom LaBonge in the May 19th runoff, submitted her response back in February.

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Local

LADOT offers up a Pico Blvd bike love story with a happy ending.

Hollywood’s Amoeba Records is holding a charity auction hosted by comedian Kurt Braunohler on April 4th; proceeds will benefit the kids ride and activities at the LACBC’s River Ride in June.

Expect rolling closures on PCH in western Malibu for the next two days as work continues on the highway’s Bike Route Improvements project.

A Burbank writer looks back on Sunday’s Valley CicLAvia and asks what effect a similar event would have on the city.

Ride for a great cause, as the Bear Claw Classic rolls this Saturday in Westlake Village to raise funds for Ride 2 Recovery.

 

State

Clear registration stickers from California’s Anti-Theft Dots could help recover your bike if it’s stolen.

Once again, the CHP rules harm, but no foul, as a driver escapes responsibility for taking his eyes off the road and seriously injuring a cyclist when his vehicle drifted to the right. Evidently, drivers are no longer required to pay attention and maintain control of their cars and trucks in California.

Sad news from Sacramento, as a bike rider becomes the latest victim of a fatal hit-and-run.

A San Jose writer provides a first-person account of simple solo fall with a not so simple result — multiple broken bones, collapsed lung and nearly a half million dollars in medical bills.

San Francisco supervisors want more bike education classes in their districts.

 

National

AAA Distracted DrivingDashcam video in a new PSA shows texting teen drivers swerving off the road; as the BAC’s David Wolfberg asks, how much of teens’ distracted driving behaviors did they learn from watching their parents?

Denver prosecutors throw the book at a driver who nearly killed a bike cop while having a seizure; he faces up to 32 years in jail for crashing into the officer after hiding his medical condition when applying for driver’s license.

A Houston website says it’s open season on bike riders in the Texas city following a horrific hit-and-run that left a cyclist critically injured.

Good news from North Dakota, as bike collisions are down 50% in Rapid City.

A 70-year old man who collapsed on the street can credit his life to the quick actions of a couple of Chicago bike cops.

Whether a protected bike lane on a busy Boston street is a good thing or a bad thing depends on who’s telling the tale. Meanwhile, a Boston city councilor bemoans the loss of revenue from the 73 parking spaces that will be removed to make room for the cycle track, evidently valuing money over the lives of people on bikes.

Baltimore plans to add up to 100 miles of bike lanes over the next 15 years; the question, as always, is whether the plan will be funded.

A Florida driver faces up to 30 years in prison for the death of a bike rider; he was reportedly doing at least 102 mph at the time of the impact.

 

International

The UK’s Cycling Weekly reminds us all why we got on a bike to begin with; however, they forgot to mention the most important reason. It’s fun.

Formerly anti-bike Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson rides off on one after being fired by the BBC for punching a producer; he faces possible criminal charges, as well.

Caught on video: A first person view from the hero cyclist who chased down three British bike thieves.

Dubai develops a specialized six-wheel ambulance — including bike rack on the front — to rescue cyclists injured while riding in the desert.

An Indian official sets out on a “bicycle march” to end injustice, lawlessness and corruption in the country. Although he disappointed his mother, who wanted him to get married first.

A Bangkok writer calls for his countrymen to stop using the term accident to refer to crashes, saying most, if not all, are preventable. You’re preaching to the choir, dude.

 

Finally…

After riding 5,000 from Los Angeles to Miami, then up to Charleston, a cyclist gets a ticket for unlawful passing — just one hundred yards from his final destination. That silly looking German adult balance bike is now a real thing, for no apparent reason.

And how many times has this happened to you?

Morning Links: Carfree Griffith Park could be sacrificed for well-healed homeowners; LA beats New York

It’s your park.

But that could change, as Streetsblog explains more about the plan to open Griffith Park’s previously car-free, and carefree, Mt. Hollywood Drive to cars.

In fact, the street has already been partially opened in an experiment to provide additional parking near the Griffith Observatory.

As many surmised, it appears to be a plan to divert tourists wanting a close-up view of the Hollywood sign from the pricy Beechwood Canyon neighborhood, in effect trading their privacy for the safety of cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders.

Although I wonder how many of those homeowners knew the sign was there when they moved there.

While I understand the problems caused by the sudden influx of internet-driven tourists, it’s kind of like Parisians in the last century demanding the streets be closed because they had no idea passenger jets would bring so many tourists to see the Eiffel Tower.

We need to find a solution that works for everyone, not just the those wanting to protect their streets; shuttle buses along a mutually acceptable route is just one possibility.

The park is one of the few places in this city that belongs to people, not cars.

CiclaVally asks you to invest 45 seconds to send an email to help keep it that way.

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The BetterDoctor website ranks the most bike-friendly cities, with four of the top 10 — Portland, Oakland, Sacramento and San Francisco — on the Left Coast.

Needless to say, LA checks in at a relatively modest number 23. Yet somehow, we’re still two notches above New York, Bicycle magazine’s number one city for bike friendliness.

Which suggests that these sort of clickbait lists should be taken with a grain — or maybe a 10-pound bag — of salt.

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Local

Just five years ago, LA cyclists had to fight to preserve bike lanes that were promised for Reseda Blvd. Now the street is scheduled to get the city’s first parking-protected bike lane as part of the Great Streets program.

Speaking of parking-protected bike lanes, I haven’t given up the fight to put one on the uphill side of Temescal Canyon, where Australian tourist James Rapley was killed by an allegedly intoxicated and possibly distracted driver just before Christmas 2013. There may not have been enough cars there to save his life on that Sunday morning, but it might keep it from happening again.

New County Supervisor Hilda Solis tells Downtown News she supports bikeshare and its automotive equivalent, suggesting there may not even be a need for private cars in DTLA.

 

State

A new Oso Creek trail gets unanimous approval; the three-quarter-mile pathway will have a 12-foot asphalt bike path along with a 10-foot wide decomposed granite horse and pedestrian trail. Which means pedestrians will choose to use the paved path, of course.

The battle for bike lanes in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood sound a lot like the fight for bike lanes on Westwood Blvd — intense opposition that ignores the benefits and insists the lanes go somewhere else, but fails to come up with any viable alternatives. No bias in the San Diego media, either, as a local TV station says the plan would take streets away from drivers and give them to bicyclists.

San Francisco gets three more visible bike counters, bringing their total to four visible bike counters and 24 hidden counters buried in the pavement along popular riding routes. That compares favorably to LA, which has exactly zero that I’m aware of.

 

National

AAA says drivers continue to take needless risks even though crashes affect one out of three motorists. And too often, it’s the people who aren’t encased in two tons of glass and steel that pay the price.

Why the bike bell everyone remembers is nearing extinction on American streets.

The OC Register says riding the Oregon coast is a slice of heaven, except for 11 miles of hell.

A Portland station looks at bike chop shops in homeless camps, where stolen bikes are dismantled and sold for parts.

Washington moves forward with a proposed dead red law, which would allow cyclists to ride through red lights that don’t change for them.

Chicago alderman candidates raise the question of licensing cyclists, which refuses to die no matter how many times it’s refuted.

An Ithaca NY bike cop says officers on bikes are less threatening, stealthier and can go where cars can’t.

 

International

City Lab says Woonerfs are wonderful, citing six places where everyone successfully shares the streets without traffic controls.

Saskatoon approves a long debated protected bike lane through downtown, including funds to clear winter snow from the lane.

A road raging Brit driver punches a cyclist, knocking him into the path of an oncoming car; needless to say, the jerk didn’t stick around to take responsibility for his actions.

The leader of Britain’s Near Miss Project, which collects anecdotal accounts of close calls and road rage incidents involving bike riders, says the country’s roads call for constant vigilance.

Stockholm improves safety and livability by virtually eliminating motor vehicle traffic through certain neighborhoods. Here in the US, we take the opposite approach, virtually eliminating safety and livability by routing countless cars and trucks through ours.

Evidently, life is cheap in Hong Kong, where a cargo van driver gets off with a $5,400 fine for killing a British bike rider last year.

 

Finally…

Would you use an edible water bottle made from an algae-based gel? No, really, you first. An Arlington VA bikeshare bike rider is doored by an Uber passenger when the car stops next to a bike lane, which is only news because it involves Uber, unlike the countless other bike riders who get doored every day.

And writer and cultural critic Fran Leibowitz says seeing men in shorts is disgusting, questions why people need special costumes to ride bikes, and asks why you need a helmet if you’re not an astronaut.

I’m may not be an astronaut, but I have been a space cadet at times.

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Thanks to Tai Wan Kim for a generous contribution to help support this site

(Late) Morning Links: Griffith Park road under attack, more on Sunday’s CicLAvia, and stupid Scot cop tricks

LA doesn’t have many carfree places where people can walk and ride carefree.

And right now, one of the most popular ones is under attack.

I’ll let CiclaValley’s Zachary Rynew explain.

I’m not going to mix words. Griffith Park is the greatest urban open space in the country.

Bar none.

While the park is filled with many attractions that would take days to frequent, the star is its natural beauty.

Many homes are blanketed across the Santa Monica Mountains, but Angelenos have been eternally blessed to be gifted this land that largely preserves its original character.

In what seems to be a move to placate those living below the Hollywood Sign, the Griffith Park Advisory Board is considering opening up Mount Hollywood Drive to vehicular traffic. I don’t have specifics, but cars would be allowed to travel and park close to the peak of the road.

While we already have examples of these traffic problems across the park, this move would pave the way for trams taking tourists up to the Hollywood sign, impacting yet another prized local resource.

Speaking as a cyclist, Griffith Park has the only paved accessway that climbs the hills of Los Angeles without the threat of vehicular traffic. The road is used by cyclists of every age, skill level and bike style.

To the many hikers and horse riders that also utilize the same paths, we share the same plight.

Not only does the addition of cars ruin this stretch for those that frequent it, but it would also add congestion to both stretches of Vermont and Western Canyon.

Please come to the Griffith Park Advisory Board Meeting this Thursday at 6:30pm at the Ranger Station on Crystal Springs & Fire Rd to show your support to preserve the nature of the park.

Griffith Park is our park. It should never be anything other than that.

There are very few places in this city that have been given over to people, rather than cars. Griffith Park needs to remain one of them.

The Sierra Club agrees.

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Writing for HuffPo, Joel Epstein makes the point I’ve been trying to drive home — CicLAvia is good for business.

I was particularly impressed by the car dealer who handed out lip balm to passing riders, as well as the pet store employees who called out to ask people going by if they owned a dog or cat, then gave out pet-specific shopping bags to anyone who said yes.

Just two examples of smart marketing that will undoubtedly result in more sales later. Which beats the hell out of complaining about any possible negative impact on sales for a single day.

I was also impressed by an 80-something grandfather I met who rode to Studio City from Sylmar to meet his grandson to bike the full CicLAvia route, and planned to ride back home afterwards. Then again, he said he barely drives anymore, preferring to take his bike everywhere — despite, or perhaps because of, a hip and knee replacement.

I want to be like him when I grow up.

CiclaValley explains what CicLAvia means to the Valley, and provides great photos of the day, as does Curbed LA and LA Magazine. Streeetsblog offers an open CicLAvia thread, allowing anyone to voice their mostly positive opinions on the day.

LA’s wildly popular open streets event even makes an appearance in fictional Springfield.

Meanwhile, CicLAvia visitors give a thumbs up to a temporary parking-protected bike lane demonstration; unfortunately, it had been taken down by the time I got there. And Boyonabike paraphrases Che in saying we need “one, two, many CicLAvias” to overthrow the tyranny of the automobile.

Note to press: ‪CicLAvia is not a bike festival, it is a human festival, open to all regardless of travel mode, as long as they leave their motors behind.

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Somehow, Scotland cops manage to get it unbelievably wrong, as cyclist picks up a cup a littering driver had tossed out, and tosses it back into the man’s car.

The driver responded by getting out of his car and demanding to know if the rider wanted to fight.

So instead of citing the driver for littering or threatening the bicyclist, police naturally threaten to file assault charges against the cyclist for instigating the incident.

I’ve often wanted to do the same thing to jerks besmirching our planet.

Then again, I may, in my younger days, have politely attempted returned a lit cigarette or two to those who tossed one out of an open car window, inquiring if the driver had lost it.

The response was usually an embarrassed apology. Though on occasion, the reaction may have been an offer to break my face, which I invariably declined.

These days, it’s just not worth the aggravation.

But I’m glad someone, somewhere, picked where I may have left off.

Let’s just hope the local Scottish authorities manage to get their heads out of their collective posteriors and do the right thing.

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Local

A writer for calls for banning right turns on red rights in the City of LA to protect pedestrians and bike riders.

Peloton takes the day off for a casual 27-mile, five stop ride through the LA area.

Bike SGV holds their monthly meeting tonight.

New bike lanes make their appearance on Mission Street in South Pasadena.

A Lennox bike rider was killed when he was shot repeatedly by a man who exited a car to fire before getting back in and being driven away.

An El Segundo surfer encourages wave riders to bike to the breaks instead of driving.

 

State

An Orange County mountain biker was airlifted to safety after suffering serious facial injuries while riding in Crystal Cove Park.

A teenage girl suffers minor injuries when she’s the victim of a hit-and-run driver while rider her bike in Stanton. Thanks to BikinginLA sponsor Michael Rubinstein for the link.

Someone is apparently sabotaging signs calling for a community meeting in opposition to planned pedestrian and bike improvements in San Diego’s Hillcrest; things like that only convince people we’re exactly who they think we are.

Despite a threatened $50 impound fee, San Diego State students continue to lock their bikes to railings instead of the school’s bike racks; which suggests that the bike racks are either inadequate or in the wrong damn place.

A San Diego bicyclist offers a classic retort to the standard complaint about unemployed cyclists on five-figure bikes ruining everything for people who have to get to work.

A project to widen the 101 Freeway from Ventura to Carpenteria, which includes a bike path on the ocean side of the highway, finishes ahead of schedule. Let’s hope it’s more successful than the effort to widen the 405 through the Sepulveda pass, which didn’t even include bike lanes despite the more than $1 billion cost.

A Lompoc bike rider suffers life-threatening injuries, despite wearing a helmet, when a mechanical failure caused him to go over his handlebars. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Scofflaw bike riding children somehow take to a San Francisco freeway, apparently by mistake, in a case reminiscent of LA’s Crimanimalz, who did it entirely on purpose.

San Francisco police refuse to explain why they blamed the victim in a bicycling collision, even though a witness saw the driver blew through the red light.

 

National

Just one day left to get in on an interesting Kickstarter campaign for a new and improved kind of air pump head that promises to be easier to connect and disconnect to your tires; for $180, you can get a new bike light that’s as bright as a car headlight.

Grist says the most ecologically sound material for your bike frame is anything as long as you actually ride it.

Yuma AZ cyclists want more bike lanes in unincorporated areas of the county.

That wasn’t a gunshot that prompted a lockdown of the St. Cloud MN sheriff’s office, it was a bike tire blowout.

A Connecticut man gets eight years in prison for the hit-and-run death of a cyclist, proving to California authorities that it is possible to take the crime seriously.

New York’s Daily News makes a truly bizarre argument in favor of drivers being able to kill without legal consequences.

 

International

Five thousand cyclists rode through Lima on Sunday to promote bicycling as a way to travel between Peru and Columbia, and bring the two nations closer together.

Bike officials take the doping hunt to the next level, unsuccessfully searching 36 bikes used in the Milan-San Remo race for hidden motors; next they’ll be inspecting the riders for cyborg implants.

That’s more like it. North Vancouver agrees to widen an existing causeway to make room for bike lanes and better pedestrian access. They could give lessons to Alaska’s DOT, which robbed Anchorage cyclists of $1.3 million intended for bikeways in the city.

In the latest episode of a near-universal argument, Edmonton business owners question the removal of parking to make room for bike lanes, despite studies showing it’s good for business.

A London man is punched and pushed off his bike in an attempted bike jacking; he got it back when the thieves abandoned the bike after other riders gave chase.

A Yorkshire writer asks if cycling to work is really worth the risk, despite having apparently survived his commute.

 

Finally…

Anti-bike Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson was spotted riding one himself as he awaits discipline for punching a producer on the popular BBC show; maybe if he rode one more often he wouldn’t be so angry. A Brit bike thief with 41 previous convictions explains the presence of shoe prints matching his by saying he loaned his loafers to someone else that day.

And a Euro triathlete site offers advice on how to turn yourself into a cyclist. Actually, to be a cyclist, you just have to get on your bike; to stop being one, simply get off.

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Allow me a brief personal note.

When I returned home from Sunday’s CicLAvia, I received word that a woman I knew had died after a long and devastating battle with dementia.

The first time I met her, long before her disease took its toll, I observed a small, frail woman with a heavy accent and a number tattooed on her arm.

In an attempt to make casual conversation, I asked how she came to this country.

Instead of the brief answer I expected, I got a fascinating, hours-long recitation of a journey that began as a child in Hitler’s death camps, followed by a voyage to what was then British Palestine as part of the flotilla that included the Exodus. As a young woman, she carried — and used — a rifle in the fight for Israeli independence, knew the legendary Gold Meir on a first name basis, and founded a successful kibbutz before migrating to the US to raise a family.

The world is a poorer place today.

As this older generation slips away, we lose a measure of greatness our world may never see again. Or at least, let’s hope we never again see a time that demands such greatness.

My heart and prayers go out to her husband, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and all those who loved her.

Weekend Links: Witnesses wanted in El Segundo death, Westwood votes for bike lanes, and more Valley CicLAvia

You’d think the life of a bike rider would be worth more than a single paragraph in the local paper.

Not to mention running it a month late — and incorrectly, at that.

The Daily Breeze has finally gotten around to mentioning that 25-year old Ricky Montoya was killed while riding in El Segundo on February 21st. And even then, only in the context that the police are looking for witnesses.

Never mind that Montoya was killed as he rode on Aviation at night, not 11 am as the paper reports.

Anyone with information is urged to call Officer Jeff Darringer at 310-524-2296 or email darringer@elsegundo.org.

Meanwhile, I’m told the El Segundo police have been conducting braking tests using what appears to be the same PT Cruiser the driver was in when he hit Montoya; you can see one of the tests below.

The same source tells me she overheard an officer tell a bystander the driver had to have been doing at least 60 mph in the 40 mph zone when he hit Montoya.

Note to the El Segundo Police Department: If you’d bothered to return my call asking for more information last month, it’s just possible we might have been able to find a witness already.

I’m just saying.

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Westwood bike advocate Calla Wiemer provided a short update on Thursday’s meeting of the Westwood Business Improvement District, which considered the much-needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

Here is a quick rundown on what happened at the Westwood Village BID meeting yesterday morning.

  • The board voted unanimously to request an LADOT engineering study of bike lane options for Westwood Blvd through the Village, and the message to Councilmember Koretz’s deputies was that they want it expedited and they want to make a decision quickly to endorse a plan once they get a report.
  • They ruled out requesting study of any alternatives to Westwood Blvd in order to laser focus city resources on the street that most needs improvement.
  • They took a straw poll to gauge sentiment on endorsing protected bike lanes – the more ambitious of two proposals put forth in Ryan Snyder’s “Remove Nothing Plan”, and five of ten board members indicated support even without the engineering study; the others want to see results of the study

A large number of bike lane advocates turned out, but the opposition was represented too. The results of the LADOT study will get careful scrutiny.

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A rider who prefers to remain anonymous emailed to report stumbling upon a new semi-separated and, apparently, mostly useless bike lane on Los Angeles Street in DTLA.

Don’t remember hearing/reading anything about new bollards & armadillos on Los Angeles St between First & Temple, but there they were! At first, I didn’t see them, because a texter in an SUV had pulled over to the curb (in his defense, he had his emergency blinkers on). I passed on his left, and swung back into the bike lane with enough time to swerve to the right of the bollards. There are several bollards, then several intact armadillos, then a couple smashed armadillos, then more cars parked in the bike lane which forced me back out into the “car lane.” Fun ride! I stopped in the middle of the bike lane to take pictures, ’cause you’re supposed to stop right there in the bike lane, that’s what it’s for.

I’m just gonna take the lane from now on.

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Game, set, match.

A Seattle road diet reduced high-end speeding (10+ mph over the limit) by up to 70% and reduced crashes by 45%. And at the same time, traffic volume actually increased without slowing travel times.

Show that to the next person who fears that eliminating a traffic lane will result in unspeakable disaster.

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The LA Times says there’s not enough data to mandate bike helmets, and recommends that SB 192, the proposed law that would require all bicyclists to wear helmets, be amended to require California to study whether a helmet law would even do any good.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog vets the Times’ editorial, and Calbike offers a list of Quick Facts explaining why the proposed law is off base.

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Bobby Close emailed to report that a member of his cycling club barely avoided a dangerous crash when some teenagers buzzed him, in clear violation of the three-foot passing law, as he rode on PCH. And that one reached out to smack the rider on the ass.

While the kids no doubt thought it was a pretty funny a prank, they actually committed an assault, which could have left them subject to prosecution.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get the car’s license, which is almost impossible to do when a riders is struggling to maintain control of his or her bike.

And it probably wouldn’t matter anyway; unless there was an independent witness, police would consider it a matter of he said/she said, except in the unlikely event the kids admitted what they did.

Close’s suggestion is that cyclists should use a bike cam to record such situations; he recommends the FLY6 and FLY12 bike lights that also incorporate an HD cam, including audio.

The FLY6, a taillight/cam combo is currently on the market — though sold out — while the headlight/cam FLY12 has already far exceeded its Kickstarter goal.

……..

If the media coverage is any indication, CicLAvia’s first-ever visit to the San Fernando Valley this Sunday could be one of the biggest ever.

Bike Walk Glendale is hosting a feeder ride with special guest US Congressman Adam Schiff; here’s your chance to ask for more bike funding in the federal budget, though I suspect you’d be preaching to the choir.

KPCC offers the top five things to know about CicLAvia.

The Daily News reports on the Valley’s first open streets event, citing the official CicLAvia Neighborhood Guide and Walk With Me app, along with links to comprehensive guides from CiclaValley and the Militant Angeleno.

CiclaValley adds to his intensive coverage with insider travel and business tips, aa well as a guide to where to eat and drink along the route. And yes, that includes booze; just remember BUI is against the law in California.

Speaking of which, Studio City’s Flask Fine Wine & Whiskey will be hosting a beer tasting from 11 am to 5 pm; 10% of the proceeds will benefit the LACBC.

……..

Let’s squeeze in a quick listing of upcoming events while we’re at it.

San Diego’s BikeSD will benefit from the Bikes & Beers ride on Saturday, March 28th; just remember the link above about biking under the influence when riding home.

It’s not quite a ciclovia, but the Orange County Transportation Authority invites you to celebrate the Coyote Creek bikeway on Sunday, March 29th.

If you’re one of the first 35 people promising to bike to Santa Monica’s April 16th Sustainability Awards, the Santa Monica Bike Center will pick up your tab.

While there won’t be another CicLAvia until October, Long Beach will step into the breach with Beach Streets Uptown along Atlantic Ave on Saturday, June 6th.

……..

Local

Ron Milam, one of the founders of the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition, talks mindfulness while bike riding and discusses the founding of the coalition in a Pedal Love podcast.

Flying Pigeon lays the blame for the latest collision in which a driver hit a bicyclist and a pedestrian on North Figueroa at the feet of Councilmember Gil Cedillo, who unilaterally killed a planned road diet for the street. Someone should show Cedillo the results of the Seattle road diet mentioned above, although facts and studies haven’t seemed to have influenced him yet.

Rick Risemberg observes that Huntington Drive is badly in need of a diet. Speaking of Risemberg, he now has a Facebook page devoted to his fiction writing.

If you’ve got a few extra bucks for a great cause, the East Side Riders Bike Club is raising funds on Indiegogo for BEAST — Bicycle Education and Safety Training — for kids in Watts. So far, they’ve only raised $45 out of a $2,500 goal; this would be a great opportunity for some business to step in with a sponsorship.

 

State

Laguna Beach votes to create the city’s first complete street, while the police, community and city council work to improve safety.

Camp Pendleton restricts access to the base by visitors arriving by car, but thankfully, the rules don’t seem to apply to bike riders.

Caltrain will add an extra bike car to accommodate their triple digit rise in bicyclists on board.

 

National

As if texting drivers weren’t bad enough, 27% of teens surveyed said they changed their shoes or clothes while driving. Do I really have to explain why that’s a bad thing?

City Lab’s Sarah Goodyear examines the recent report on bike lanes and social equity, with a decidedly SoCal spin.

Collecting Schwinn Sting Rays isn’t child’s play.

A tweeted tip leads to the arrest of two Seattle bike thieves, and the recovery of over two dozen stolen bikes.

A Kentucky congressman promises to keep the federal Highway Trust Fund solvent by restricting gas tax revenues for highways, and banning funding for bikeways, sidewalks and transit. Yes, it’s all those bike lanes that have busted the system, not the failure to increase the tax since gas prices were a buck a gallon.

A Massachusetts cyclist gets a $300,000 settlement after breaking his hip when a loose dog ran into his front wheel; no word on whether the dog was injured or or if it countersued.

Kill a New York cyclist, and lose your license for a whopping six months.

New York Vision Zero advocates call for redesigning the city’s major arterial streets to improve safety. Something that’s long past due here in LA.

A Florida writer says the key to safe bicycling is to minimize the risks you can, and prepare for the risks you can’t.

 

International

Olympic cyclist Chris Hoy calls on British political parties to make ambitious pledges to boost bicycling, saying bikes should be at the front of the queue when designing new roads and junctions. Or redesigning old ones, for that matter.

A new Kickstarter project promises a lightweight, flexible bike lock that withstands up to five minutes of hacking; the project is fully funded with over a month to go.

New headphones promise to improve safety by allowing riders to listen to music without blocking their ears.

There’s something seriously wrong here, as British school kids are being taught self defense to fend off bike-jackings.

UK police blame the victim, declining to pursue charges against a driver who couldn’t explain why she didn’t see the cyclist she ran down, because the rider wasn’t wearing hi-viz or a helmet.

Dutch rider Thomas Dekker retires from pro cycling when he can’t find a team to sign with after failing to set the hour record.

Is New Zealand’s new Bike Tree sculpture great public art, or a waste of bikes that could be fixed up and donated to those who can’t afford one? I love art, but bikes were made to ride.

Dahon unveils a new folding electric bike built in collaboration with Ford, and based on the 107-year old Tin Lizzy. At least it’s not yet another unneeded hi-end hi-tech concept racing bike.

Vietnam is hosting its inaugural mountain bike stage race.

 

Finally…

Seriously, you can’t make this shit up, as a Key West bike rider was arrested for duct taping three live iguanas to his handlebars. A study shows men who bike more than 8.5 hours a week have a higher risk of prostate cancer than those who don’t, except it doesn’t really.

And once again, Bikeyface nails it.

 

Morning Links: Westwood BID considers Westwood Blvd bike lanes, South LA cyclist critical after collision

If you hurry, you may still have time to make this morning’s meeting of the Westwood Village Business Improvement District, which will vote on the much needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

The proposed lanes have faced intense opposition from Westwood area business and homeowners, even though the latest proposal doesn’t remove a single traffic lane or parking spot, suggesting the real opposition is to having bikes on the boulevard, period.

The meeting begins at 8:30 this morning, at the Skylight Gardens Restaurant, 1139 Glendon Ave.

………

KCBS-2 reports a cyclist is in very critical condition after being hit by a car in South LA Wednesday evening, following earlier reports that the unidentified rider had been killed

Sounds like prayers or good thoughts, whichever you are comfortable with, are in order.

………

Are you excited yet?

Streetsblog offers detailed tips on how to get the most out of Sunday’s first San Fernando Valley CicLAvia.

Walk Bike Burbank is offering free safety checks on Saturday to help you get ready, while Flying Pigeon is hosting a feeder ride from Northeast LA.

We Like LA explains what a CicLAvia is for the uninitiated.

And the Militant Angeleno once again provides his incomparable guide to CicLAvia, proving he knows the Valley as well as he does the rest of LA. Although he’s got some serious competition from upstart CiclaValley this time around.

My advice is print out both guides and carry them with you.

………

In a case way too reminiscent of the death of LA cyclist and former Napster executive Milt Olin, a Florida sheriff’s deputy is cleared of charges he killed a 15-year old bike rider while using his car’s onboard computer.

Then again, he only faced a $1,000 fine.

Evidently, life is cheap down there.

………

Local

LADOT, LA Great Streets and Bureau of Street Services officials visit the Temple City cycletracks on Rosemead Blvd. Let’s hope they were taking notes.

Very cool Strava graph shows riders convening for, then riding, last Sunday’s Marathon Crash non-Race; Milestone Rides writes about riding the Crash for the first time.

Actress AnnaLynne McCord, who was blessed with an abundance of capital letters, dons a purple robe to ride her orange Townie on Venice Beach.

Glendale is about a year away from creating a bikeable recreational riverfront across the LA River from Griffith Park.

The Easy Reader names Hermosa Cyclery as the South Bay’s best bike shop.

 

State

Two bike riders are injured in Orange County collisions, though neither appears to be seriously hurt.

An SUV driver takes out a fire hydrant in San Diego, so naturally, a bike rider gets the blame.

A Central Coast TV station explains why green lanes are. Green, that is.

Two recent CSU Monterey graduates are riding cross country to raise funds for a homeless shelter.

Palo Alto opts for a more conservative and bird-friendly design for their new bike and pedestrian bridge.

A Napa Valley letter writer says it’s impossible to comply with the state’s three-foot passing law without risking a head-on collision with another vehicle, not realizing that the law actually allows drivers to wait until it’s safe to pass.

 

National

Nice to know the head of AASHTO, the organization representing state DOTs, says highway design has absolutely nothing to do with cyclist and pedestrian deaths. Odd that he could talk with his head buried so deeply in the sand, among other places.

More great research from the University of Duh, as a new study shows we ride our bikes because we like it better than driving.

Portland riders are about to get a new car-free bridge. And yes, we should be jealous.

A Maine driver gets 10 years for the drunken wreck that killed a bike riding father and injured his wife and 17-month old son while they were riding on the sidewalk.

The US pro national championships will return to Chattanooga for the third straight year. Let’s hope they train race moto officials a little better this time around.

After a DC cyclist has his bike stolen at gun point, he gets it back when the thief brings it into the same shop where he’d just gotten an estimate to have it fixed.

A Baton Rouge judge sentences a DUI driver to 25 years in jail for killing one cyclist and maiming another, then suspends all but 7.5 years; the driver had a blood alcohol level of .307 — nearly four times the legal limit — at the time of the crash.

Alabama considers giving cyclists a five-foot passing margin, rather than just three.

 

International

Two Cambridge UK councilors call for bike riders to be registered and insured, and have to pass a national proficiency test; an Aussie writer provides 18 reasons why that’s a bad idea, all of which apply here, as well.

France offers to pay people to bike to work. And almost no one bites.

Secretary of State John Kerry gets free service on his Serotta when it breaks down while taking a well-guarded ride during the Iran nuclear talks in Lausanne, Switzerland.

 

Finally…

Lance Armstrong is reportedly trying to get his lifetime ban reduced; let’s hope he has better luck than Pete Rose has. An NFL medical consultant says more kids get hurt riding bikes than playing football, but fails to note that a hell of a lot more kids ride bikes, too.

And new LA resident and former Bicycling Editor-in-Chief Peter Flax writes movingly about how a good ride can help you cope with life’s most heartbreaking challenges.

 

Morning Links: NoCal meat man meets justified anger from cyclists; getting ready for Sunday’s Valley CicLAvia

The too typical attitude towards bike riders in Wine County — and elsewhere. Photo by Janet Lafleur.

The too typical attitude towards bike riders in Wine County — and elsewhere. Photo by Janet Lafleur.

Once again someone who should know better has written an anti-bike screed in a failed attempt at humor.

And once again, it blew up in his face.

Adam Parks, the owner of Victorian Farmstead Meats in Sebastopol, posted the blog piece over the weekend — and on his company’s website, no less – apparently not considering that the people on “the $10,000 graphite-framed” bikes, clad in a “$500 spandex onesie,” are exactly the ones who could actually afford his high-end artisanal meats.

Never mind all the wine country chefs who ride bikes, who will now be significantly less inclined to by his products.

The single cyclist, he said, was bad enough; laying on his horn was enough to move a rider into the ditch.

Worse, in his mind, were the riders the peloton — a word he was proud to have looked up. Those should be considered fair game if they failed to ride single file or remain on the right side of the solid white line, in his humble opinion.

Even though cyclists have every bit as much ride to the road as he does. And even though anything to the right of the line is not legally considered part of the roadway.

Why some people that think inciting traffic violence against other human beings is funny will forever be beyond me.

Needless to say, his website, Facebook page and email inbox immediately blew up with thousands of angry comments.

His first reaction was to say on Facebook that he never apologizes for anything he writes, before doing just that and deleting the post.

If only someone, somewhere had save it as a pdf so you could download and read it.

Oh wait, I did: Cycle of Life | Victorian Farmstead Meat Company.

In his apology, which came after a long sleepless night, he said he was sorry for the hurt he had caused, anddonate $500 to a fund for injured cyclists, if one existed. Or start one, if it didn’t.

Actually, the only problem is selecting which of the many cyclists injured in traffic collisions most deserves his help.

Let’s hope he’s sincere in changing his beliefs, now that he’s been made aware of the dangers cyclists face on the road. And not just saying it to save his business, which went from a four star rating on Yelp to 1.5 overnight.

After all, others have make mistakes like that, and tried to turn it into something positive.

………

You are going to Sunday’s Valley CicLAvia, right?

CiclaValley has created an in-depth a guide to the ride, with stops both on and off Lankershim and Ventura Blvds.

The Source offers a list of discounts available along the route.

And if you get off to an early start, you can join a feeder ride with State Senator Bob Hertzberg. And maybe catch his ear about why that proposed bike helmet bill should find it’s way to the legislature’s trash bin.

………

Every time a city suggests removing parking to make room for a bike lane, merchants rise up in anger insisting it will harm their business.

Which is exactly what happened on Westwood Blvd, where Councilmember Paul Koretz acceded to the demands of local business and homeowners to kill a much needed bike lane on the Blvd.

Yet those business owners may have shot themselves in the foot.

City Lab has complied a list of twelve studies from around the world showing that at worst, removing parking for bike lanes has no effect on business. And can even result in an increase in sales as the street becomes more accessible for everyone, rather than just those in cars.

We should all bookmark this page.

And cite it verbatim the next time someone claims we’re trying to kill their business.

………

Local

The Canyon News looks at Damian Kevitt’s successful completion of the LA Marathon on Sunday, and reports that Kevitt hopes the support he received translates to support for Finish the Ride next month.

Santa Monica’s City Council will consider accepting USDOT Secretary Foxx’s challenge to create safer streets at tonight’s council session. Sounds like something no one would oppose, which means someone inevitably will.

The Santa Monica Bike Center now offers guided tours of the city, with six options including a street art tour and a foodie tour of Main Street.

 

State

The California Bicycle Coalition lists 10 reasons why California is becoming a great place to bike.

Camp Pendleton’s Hellfire mountain bike race returns this Saturday.

A writer for Orange County’s Chapman University school paper opposes SB 192, California’s proposed mandatory bike helmet law. For many of the wrong reasons, but still.

A Santa Barbara truck driver who doesn’t get “that crazy pack riding” says everyone is safer when cyclists ride alone or single file, not realizing that often increases the risk for riders.

An 18-year old Sonoma woman prepares to meet the hit-and-run driver who killed her father when she was just seven years old.

 

National

A new national study finally breaks down that old “interested by concerned” statistic reflecting who would like to ride their bike more; actually, every demographic wants protected bike lanes.

Now that’s my kind of triathlon — an ultra marathon along Alaska’s famed Iditarod Trail by fat bike, foot and ski.

A former LAPD homicide cop now patrols the BYU campus by bike.

Colorado becomes the latest state to work towards eliminating traffic deaths; of course, the question is whether any of the over 35 states that have made that commitment will actually do what’s needed to stop the slaughter on our streets and highways.

Evidently, cops in my bike-friendly hometown could use a refresher course in bike law. Not unlike cops just about everywhere else.

Call it a cic-Yellowstone-lovia, as the National Park opens its roads to bike riders before the park officially opens in the spring.

The Idaho legislature passes a bill that would bar the use of eminent domain to build greenbelts and bike paths. But not, evidently, highways.

According to a Minnesota letter writer, people who want bikable and walkable trails are special interest groups, while those who want five lane streets aren’t. And says it’s the trails that will bankrupt the city, not the exponentially more expensive streets.

Connecticut considers modifying, but not removing, the requirement to ride to the right in order to allow protected bike lanes and contraflow lanes.

 

International

Toronto’s new cycling manager says women are the indicator species for cycling safety in the city. Actually, humans of all genders, orientations, ages, races and socio-economic status are; in other words, our streets won’t be safe until anyone feels comfortable riding them.

Once again, someone has strung wire at head level across a British bikeway, in what should only be seen as an attempt to seriously injure or kill unwary riders. Let’s hope police treat this like the serious crime it is.

An Aussie driver is just mortified at his “overreaction” after he deliberately crossed onto the wrong side of the road to run down the cyclist who cracked his windshield during an argument. I wonder if he’d be as mortified if he hadn’t been caught.

 

Finally…

Scofflaw cyclist Arnold Schwarzenegger rides the streets of Melbourne on a bike share bicycle sans the country’s mandatory bike helmet; the local police directed him to a nearby 7-11 to buy a $5 helmet. Evidently, money makes you mean; a social psychologist found all the drivers in inexpensive cars stopped for pedestrians in a beachfront LA crosswalk, while half of the drivers in expensive cars didn’t.

And thanks to my friends at CLIF Bar for sending me their new less-sweet organic energy foods to try out. Although I have to admit to approaching some of those flavors with just a tad of trepidation.

SAMSUNG

Morning Links: Dismal turnout but bike friendly results, and a new video says safer streets can make a big difference

Once again, a handful of Angelenos decide the future of the city, as less than 9% of registered voters bothered to cast a ballot on Tuesday.

Nine percent.

With a dismal turnout like that, bike riders could rule this city. Except most of us stayed home, too.

However, it looks like it will be bike friendly Carlolyn Ramsay vs David Ryu in a runoff to replace Tom LaBonge in CD4. Third place Tomas O’Grady, who finished just 61 votes behind Ryu, could still sneak in after outstanding ballots are counted.

And incumbent Jose Huizar rolls to an easy victory over Gloria “Where will we all park?” Molina.

……..

A new video from Scotland’s Pedal on Parliament illustrates how investing in safe spaces for bicycling can bring big changes for everyone.

Although the doctor who said Katie’s stick-thin father needs to lose weight should go back to medical school.

Thanks to my favorite Scottish blogger and bike advocate for the heads-up.

………

LA bike advocate, bikewear maker and bike blogger Richard Risemberg has released the e-book version of his first novel, The Dust Will Answer, described as an urban noir mystery. It’s available at Amazon and Smashwords; use the code PZ82G on Smashwords through March 28th to get a $1 discount.

………

Local

Metro is expected to award a contract for LA’s long delayed bike share program in June, with the first bikes hitting the street a year later. Although for some reason, there won’t be any stations in Chinatown, the Fashion District or City West; no station on Skid Row makes a little more sense.

Just 2.8% of UCLA employees bike to the campus, a figure that could rise dramatically if they just had a safe way to get there.

Santa Monica’s California Incline connecting the city with PCH will close for one year for reconstruction beginning in April; the new ramp will include bike and pedestrian lanes for those willing to tackle the steep slope.

Helen’s Cycles host their monthly group ride for intermediate and advanced riders this Saturday.

The traditional Marathon Crash Ride looks like a go for Sunday, March 15th, though final approvals are still pending.

 

State

Streetsblog looks at bills affecting Livable Streets in the state legislature — including one stealth bill about bikeways.

The Oxnard Fire Department raises $34,000 to distribute new bike helmets to kids. That would be a far better approach than mandating them for adults, too.

Clearly, there’s more to this story than they’re telling us. Police investigate the case as an assault with a deadly weapon after a Porterville boy is struck by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike.

Palo Alto approves the first two segments of the city’s new bike and pedestrian plan. Don’t hold your breath, though; it will take 30 years to build out the 24 planned projects.

Cupertino moves to improve bike safety near schools by restricting trucks and requiring early morning trash pickup.

A compromise plan is finally reached to place protected bike lanes on San Francisco’s Polk Street, though not to everyone’s satisfaction.

 

National

No surprise here, as fear of being hit by a vehicle is the biggest obstacle keeping Americans off their bikes.

A bill in the Oregon legislature would require cyclists to wear a reflective coat or vest after dark.

A DC writer explains why some bicyclists ride outside of the city’s bike lanes, such as the risk of being turned into a toad. He said it, not me.

 

International

CNN looks at London’s bike superhighway proposals — practical and otherwise — calling bicycles an old technology with a very bright future.

A UK TV station says every moment spent on a bike is a judgment call. And the consequences can be catastrophic when someone gets it wrong.

 

Finally…

Let’s hope it’s just a bad translation, as a Dutch cyclist on a stolen bike drove off after hitting a baby and her money; no really, that’s what it says. Levi’s finally gets around to making bikewear for women.

And it has nothing to do with bicycling, but this Kickstarter project for a film about African American cowboys in Compton looks too cool for words.

 

Morning Links: Endorsing Ramsay and O’Grady in CD4; and a blind bike rider needs your help to regain his sight

Today is election day in LA, as well as several surrounding communities.

I’d planned to write about the candidates running for the seat Tom LaBonge is vacating in Monday’s post, until the untimely death of Alex Baum — and yes, even at 92, he left us far too soon — took precedence.

So let me just offer an endorsement of sorts for the two candidates I’d most like to see make it into a runoff.

But let’s be clear on one thing first. I’m basing my choice strictly on those who bothered to respond to the LACBC’s candidate survey and participate in the recent Liveable Streets candidate forum.

Simply put, if a candidate doesn’t care enough to ask for our support, he or she doesn’t deserve it.

Of the 14 candidates in the race, only six meet both criteria. And of those, I prefer Tomas O’Grady and Carolyn Ramsay, with Sheila Irani coming in a not-so-distant third.

Either of those two would make a great choice; ideally, both will survive to compete against one another for the seat in the June general election, ensuring bicyclists will have a strong voice to replace a very weak one from the district in City Hall.

Meanwhile, the Times endorses Irani, while the Daily News picks O’Grady and Teddy Davis. And the LA Weekly calls the race total toss-up; with 14 candidates, the top two may only need a few thousand votes each to advance to the runoff.

As for the races in other districts, I’ve previously announced my unqualified endorsement of incumbent Jose Huizar in CD14.

For other races in LA and surrounding communities, check out the Bike the Vote LA voter guide. And the Times offers the rest of their endorsements, which for the most part don’t take bikes into account.

………

LA cyclist and nutritionist Matt Ruscigno sends word of a friend of his who is still struggling to recover, physically and financially, from a devastating 2008 bike wreck that left him blind and with no sense of taste or smell. Mike Vincent is looking for donations to help pay massive medical bills and recover his sight.

………

Local

The Times addresses the death of Alex Baum, focusing primarily on his bike advocacy, while promising a more complete obituary to come. Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton offers a great remembrance of a great man.

Downtown building owners are offering free bike rentals to tenants.

A woman and her Schwinn were rescued from the LA River by Pasadena firefighters.

KCET looks at LA’s recent literary ride.

Traffic is only going to get worse in WeHo unless the city retools its streets for the future, including bike lanes.

CLR Effect mourns the ghost of a poorly maintained bike lane.

 

State

The California State Association of Counties endorses road diets; let’s hope our local electeds are paying attention.

That proposed bike helmet bill could put a damper on San Diego’s new bike share program.

Once again, Tour de Fat will bypass LA; the nearest stop is in San Diego. Seriously, they can have their damn football team if they’ll just give us Tour de Fat back.

A Fresno cyclist is in critical condition after being hit by a car Monday afternoon; the out-of-control driver continued on to crash into a garage.

A cyclist in San Mateo County is killed in an apparent solo crash.

A Stanford blogger relates what it’s like to be hit by a car. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

A San Francisco bike rider suffered life threatening injuries when he was hit by a car on Monday. Sheriffs deputies performed CPR for at least eight minutes until paramedics arrived; the victim was injured when the driver reportedly blew through a red light.

 

National

One third of all Americans over the age of three rode a bicycle last year; 57% of the 103.7 million US cyclists rode for recreation.

Hawaii police arrest one of their own for the on-duty hit-and-run crash that took the life of a Michigan bicyclist.

Once again, a bike rider saves the day, as an Alaska cyclist rescues a blind dog who had been lost for two weeks on -40 degree weather; he also turned the reward over to a local animal shelter.

Now that’s more like it, as a Casper WY man gets 12 to 16 years for the DUI death of a bike rider.

A 76-year old Texas man bikes 300 miles for Planned Parenthood.

It’s not that New York safety advocates want harsher penalties for killer drivers, as the NY Times says; it’s more like they want them to be charged at all.

No apology from a New York truck driver three years after the death of a cyclist. Then again, any good lawyer would tell his client not to apologize, as it could be seen as an admission of guilt.

 

International

The BBC profiles Britain’s Beryl Burton, arguably the country’s greatest female cyclist.

Sad to see racial animosity rear its ugly head in South African cycling, although I have no idea what it was that the country’s first international pro cyclist was called.

Aussie authorities reject calls to increase penalties for dooring in the wake of a cyclist killed after he was knocked into the path of a truck, while a writer calls for giving bicyclists greater rights on some roads.

A Brisbane man is fed up with rude bike riders after one leaves him lying injured on a pathway. Seriously, there’s no more excuse for a hit-and-run cyclist than there is for a hit-and-run driver.

A Vietnamese motorbike rider is killed escorting a women’s international bike race.

 

Finally…

Ford introduces two new e-bike prototypes that do not look like anything I would want to ride. I wonder if coating your bike in reflective sign paint would meet the state requirement for reflectors in all directions?

And repeat after me: If you’re carrying two meth pipes and a stolen credit card on the $2000 bike you allegedly stole, don’t hang out in front of a cop shop.

 

A giant falls — Alex Baum, the father of modern LA bicycling, dies at age 92

Alex Baum in 2006; photo from the Jewish Journal

Alex Baum in 2006; photo from the Jewish Journal

The first time I attended a meeting of the Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee, I sat silently in the auditorium at the old Parker Center, where the BAC used to meet.

Afterwards, a small man approached me unsteadily, trembling with age, but without hesitation. And asked why I was there.

It wasn’t a challenge, as the phrase so often is.

It was an offer to help with whatever problems had led me to attend.

When I explained I just there to observe the committee, he invited me to come back again. And said to to let him know if there was anything they could help me with.

Then he turned and walked away on those unsteady legs.

And with that, I had just met Alex Baum. The founder of the BAC and the father of modern bike advocacy in the City of Angels, who passed away early Sunday at the age of 92.

That alone would be enough of a resume to cement anyone’s legacy. But for Baum, it’s little more than a footnote in a truly extraordinary life.

A native of German-speaking Lorraine, France, he was in his late teens when the Nazis overran the country. Rather than flee, the young Jewish man chose to fight, joining the French resistance along with his brother.

An article in the Jewish Journal quotes him as saying “We fought the Germans any possible way we could.”

Captured while attempting to guide an English pilot to safety, Baum somehow managed to hide his heritage, and spent the next two-and-a-half years as a political prisoner in Nazi concentration camps.

According to the LADOT Bike Blog, he spent his time in confinement building — and sabotaging — the V2 rockets Hitler lobbed across the English Channel.

After the war, he rebounded to play soccer, first for the French national team, then as a center-forward for a Chicago semipro team before moving to Los Angeles in 1960 and establishing a successful business.

Yet it’s his lifelong love of bicycling that led him to leave a lasting footprint on the city, and on the sport itself at the highest levels.

In fact, it’s Alex Baum who should be credited with the rise of women’s bike racing, which this year will see professional races at the Tour de France and Spain’s Vuelta a España, as well as four days of racing at the Amgen Tour of California.

Because he was the one who ticked the box that brought women’s road racing to the Olympic Games, with an inaugural race at the ’84 Olympics that saw Americans Connie Carpenter and Rebecca Twigg take gold and silver, respectively. And let girls around the world know they could compete at the highest levels.

In fact, he was instrumental in bringing the games to LA, after serving first as a board member of the United States Cycling Federation — which would later be rebranded as USA Cycling — then later as the first American appointed to the Union Cycliste International, the governing body for international bike racing.

That alone should have been enough for anyone.

But for Baum, it was just a start.

He also gets credit for building velodromes in Encino and Dominguez Hills, and at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. And he was influential in the birth of the Tour of California, according to the LADOT site.

It was also Alex Baum who first approached then-Mayor Tom Bradley about forming a city committee to serve the interests of bicyclists and improve the streets for everyone on two wheels, serving as chairman of the BAC for over 30 years under four successive mayors. And continuing as chairman emeritus of the committee right up to his death.

As leader of the BAC, he can be credited with helping in the development of the 1996 and 2010 bike plans, and leading in the creation of the LA River Bike Path. As well as working towards completion of the path all the way from LA to Long Beach.

In other words, if you ride a bike anywhere in Los Angeles, you owe Baum a round of thanks.

Despite the obvious effects of age, it almost seemed like he’d be here forever, guiding the city forward to a more bike friendly future.

And maybe he will be.

Because his influence will live on right here on the streets of LA as long as any of us ride them.

Word of his death came Sunday afternoon in an email from his longtime friend and associate, LADOT Senior Bicycle Coordinator Michelle Mowery, who said he passed away surrounded by family early that morning.

In some ways, though, we are all his family. And he will be long missed by a city that he changed for the better, yet one that barely knew him.

According to Mowery, his memorial will be held at 1:30 pm this Wednesday at Santa Monica Synagogue at 18th and Broadway. If you plan to attend, you’re asked to RSVP to his daughter at dgardnersm @ aol.com.

Personally, I’d like to see LA’s current mayor and the BAC Baum served for so many years host a public memorial at the bicycle bridge named for him over Los Feliz Blvd.

It would be a fitting chance to say goodbye to one of the true giants of our city, and our time.

Update: David Wolfberg has written a wonderful remembrance of Alex Baum on the BAC’s Facebook page, adding much detail to his time in the French resistance, as well as with the Olympics and LA bike advocacy. It’s definitely worth reading. 

My prayers and deepest sympathy for Alex Baum and all his loved ones.

Thanks to the Jewish Journal and LADOT Bike Blog, whose profiles provided the basis for this piece.

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