Archive for Advocacy & Politics

Morning Links: LACBC wants to empower local advocates, and a passel of mid-Passover/pre-Easter links

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is holding a series of workshops designed to empower local advocates.

We’ve already missed the first one; the next in the series takes place in the Edison Room of LACBC headquarters, 634 S. Spring Street, on Tuesday, April 29th.

LACBC Empowerment Workshops

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Local

LA County spends $1.3 a week in healthcare costs. Spending one week’s healthcare costs to revitalize the LA River for biking and walking would be an investment in prevention.

Malibu letter writer complains about cyclists on PCH not riding single file. But doesn’t bother to vote in the city election.

Streetsblog explains to Metro’s CEO that those interesting treatments he saw in Portland are called Bicycle Boulevards. Except when they’re not.

Formerly bike unfriendly Cal Poly Pomona is slowly adapting to alternative transportation, including bicycling, though funding remains an issue. They could start by changing the mindset that biking and walking are alternatives to anything.

 

State

Orange County transportation officials are finally taking bike safety seriously; thanks to Nick Gerda for the heads-up.

CycloFemme hosts a series of worldwide bike rides on May 11th, including a ride and festival in Ojai.

Pismo Beach could get its own bike share before we do.

Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious fame shows you can ride down a flight of stairs with a bike trailer. A small flight, anyway.

Once again, “I didn’t see her” is the universal Get Out of Jail Free card for a killer driver; nice to know there’s still no expectation for motorists to be aware of others on the road before they kill them.

Bike commuters are healthier, no matter what standard you use; when a bike wholesaler encouraged workers to ride, their healthcare premiums dropped 4.4% compared to an average increase of 24.6%.

 

National

Streetsblog offers a five point summary of the Alliance for Biking and Walking’s 200 page biannual benchmark report; things appear to be slowly trending in the right direction.

Eight depressing bike theft statistics. About half of all active cyclists have had their bikes stolen; only 2.4% of stolen bikes are ever recovered.

Sarah Goodyear asks if there is such a thing as a feminine way to ride a bike, while Elly Blue offers her take on the subject. I’m staying out of this one.

The problem with taxing cyclists in Seattle. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

My hometown is voted the second best bike friendly town in the US; Davis CA claims the crown as number one.

A Dallas bike task force promises to build out the city’s bike plan. And get rid of the helmet law.

A Baltimore bicyclist catches a frightening attack from a group of strangers on his helmet cam.

A South Carolina lawmaker backs off a proposed bill to license and insure bike riders, but still pretends it was intended to protects cyclists. Right.

 

International

In a shocking development, a British driver is actually sentenced to serious jail time for killing two cyclists while nearly two-and-a-half-times the legal blood alcohol limit.

A new study shows 28% of Brits haven’t been on a bike since childhood; another 35% haven’t ridden in the past decade.

The widow of a fallen UK cyclist pledges to finish the charity ride he couldn’t complete.

Scottish cyclists prepare to Pedal on Parliament again; the first time it was a flash mob, today it’s a movement.

Lovely Bicycle says the right bike for you is the one you’ll ride.

Veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars ride through Vietnam to raise funds for veterans of that war who’d like to return but can’t afford it.

Kiwi parents are too afraid to let their kids bike to school.

Hong Kong’s competitive cyclists say rules restricting them to cycle paths hurt their training and are killing their sport.

 

Finally…

There’s a special place in hell for someone who’d steal a Santa Barbara cyclist’s bike while emergency personnel are tending to him after he’s hit by a car.

And it turns out Kim Kardashian can’t ride a bike after all.

 

Morning Links: LA County candidate questionnaires, and insights and smiles from Cycling in the South Bay

Believe it or not, there’s yet another local election on the horizon.

And like last year’s race for LA mayor and city council, this one could have a long-lasting effect on your ability to ride safely and comfortably in the County of Angels.

As well as whether you’ll get a ticket for things like taking the lane or riding two or more abreast.

Two of LA County’s longtime supervisors are termed out, and the battle is on to replace them. District 1’s Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky in District 3 are both leaving office this year. And while they’ve both been bike supporters, this election provides an opportunity to ensure that we vote in bicycle friendly candidates to replace them.

Because whoever replaces them will play a big role in ensuring the roll-out of the new county bike plan, as well as ensuring bikes are considered in county spending and any new laws that get passed.

Like adopting a bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance on a countywide basis, for instance.

Perhaps even more important to your daily ride, at least in the short term, the county is also electing a new sheriff who will determine how laws affecting bicycling are interpreted by sheriff’s deputies patrolling the streets. And how seriously crimes affecting cyclists — from bike theft to hit-and-run — will be taken in the county and cities patrolled by the department, including West Hollywood and Malibu.

Working with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Planning and Policy Director Eric Bruins, the LACBC’s Civic Engagement Committee has developed a list of questions for the candidates in all three races to measure their support for cycling, and how they would address the issues facing bicyclists once they’re elected.

You can read the questionnaires for County Supervisor and LA County Sheriff by clicking on the links here.

And you can help by reaching out to the candidates for District 1, District 2, and County Sheriff and urging them to complete the questionnaires, and asking about them at any meet-the-candidate events.

Because you have a right to know where they stand on the issues that matter to you before you cast your ballot.

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It’s been awhile since we’ve checked in with the always entertaining Cycling in the South Bay.

Today’s offerings include a great remembrance of chasing down a rude roadie on a 30 pound bike. In flip flops. With a kindergartener on the back.

Along with a look at the “long term stress caused by being taken within an inch of your life, every day, multiple times a day, for the simple act of riding a bicycle on a public road,” which Seth aptly terms Post Traumatic Jackass Syndrome.

You know, I think I suffer from that one myself.

……….

Local

It’s been a busy bike weekend for LADOT and the Bureau of Street Services, with the first hint of new bike lanes installed in Highland Park and the York Blvd bridge.

Arch rivals USC and UCLA come together over bicycling, as the two school’s bike coalitions join together to host Bike Talk.

LADOT Bike Blog explains why this month’s Finish the Ride matters. And yes, it does.

Kidical Mass returns to Santa Monica April 26th.

CLR Effect looks at Sunday’s LA-Roubaix ride; the ride looks incredible, and as usual, Michael offers some amazing photos.

Downey’s Firestone Bridge is undergoing reconstruction and widening, with bike lanes to be added to connect with existing lanes on either side.

 

State

Two public meetings and a bike ride have been scheduled to consider a request to limit bike use on Newport Beach’s Back Bay Drive.

Roughly 150 San Diego cyclists turn out to remember fallen cyclist David Voigt.

A former Marine who lost his legs in Afghanistan finishes a 5,200 mile cross-country bike ride at Camp Pendleton. He may not have legs anymore, but that guy’s got some serious huevos.

Pedal Love talks with the director of People Power of Santa Cruz County.

Actually, you can ride with diabetes, as these competitive cyclists prove.

 

National

Sometimes it’s okay to create congestion if it leads to a seamless network of bikeways.

A DIY lighting project can turn your bicycle into something from TRON.

Even Topeka KS is investing in bikeways, leading to more respectful drivers and fewer scofflaw riders; just imagine what Illinois can accomplish with $52 million.

After raising $61 million to fight cancer through an Ohio bike ride, a cancer survivor starts a new company to stage similar rides across the country.

Speaking of which, you can raise money to fight childhood cancer by riding from Austin to New Orleans. Best part is, at the end of a great bike ride through the bayou country, you’re in the Big Easy.

Although that’s not always a good thing, as a firefighter from Atlanta is killed and another rider critically injured in a rear-end collision while training for a New Orleans triathlon.

We’ve mentioned this one before, but it’s worth repeating as a 10 year old boy celebrates his birthday — and devotes his spring break — to riding his bike across South Carolina to raise funds for safe drinking water.

 

International

Egypt’s likely next president sets off a firestorm by riding a bicycle; debate seems to center on the price of his bike.

A Philippine writer calls for an end to the language of neglect and denial, and urges everyone to stop calling collisions accidents. Couldn’t agree more, and I hope the LA press is listening.

Another day, another pro rider seriously injured in a car collision while training.

 

Finally…

Repeat after me. If you’re going to ride a bike at 3 am carrying burglary tools, dope and someone else’s ID and credit cards, put a damn light on it.

And a San Diego area man deliberately runs down a bike rider and gets away with it. Then again, the rider was attempting to flee after robbing a convenience store and attacking the clerk with a hatchet.

 

Help stop hit-and-runs, stop a Burbank equestrian bridge grab, and your Morning Links

Stop whatever you’re doing — like reading this, for instance — and sign this petition in support of AB 2197.

You’ll find my signature there among the 800 plus current signees.

The bill, currently before the state assembly, would require every car sold in California to leave the dealership with some form of license plates.

Currently, drivers have up to 90 days to license their cars. But some never do, as you may have noticed; if not, try counting all the unlicensed cars, trucks and SUVs you see the next time you ride.

And imagine how the police would find them if one were to hit you and take off, even if witnesses were able to give a description of the vehicle.

Without a plate number, hit-and-run drivers too often get away with it.

And too often, we pay the price.

………

I’m told Burbank equestrians are attempting a land grab by demanding that bikes be banned entirely from the Mariposa bridge over the LA River.

The bridge was originally built to provide bike riders, pedestrians and horse riders access to both sides of the river near Griffith Park. The proposal would prevent cyclists from even walking their bikes across the bridge, as most do now.

The City Council will take up the matter on Tuesday, May 6th at pm, Burbank City Hall, 275 E. Olive.

Thanks to Mike Kim for the heads-up.

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Local

A real estate developer proposes putting a 9-mile extension of the LA River bike path directly on the concrete riverbed through Downtown LA. Sounds good in theory, but wouldn’t that adversely affect plans to restore the river to a more natural state?

The next Spoke(n) Art Ride rolls this Saturday, while the USC Bicycle Coalition invites you to join them in biking to the beach the same day.

Mark your calendar for the first bike-in movie of the year on April 26th at Reseda Park on the LA River.

Pasadena gets a brief open streets, aka ciclovia, event of their own on Saturday, May 17th, while Glendale offers the Jewel City Fun and Fitness Ride the next day.

CICLE’s next bike Traffic Basics Class will be held at Caltech on June 7th.

A double-amputee Marine will arrive in Long Beach on Friday after a 5,200 mile cross country bike trip driven by prosthetic legs.

 

State

In a remarkable display of common sense, Redlands builds a new bike trail after a dispute over whether riders are allowed on an access road.

NACTO brings their Cities for Cycling Road Show to Oakland; maybe they’ll make it down here eventually. Meanwhile, Caltrans has finally joined the 21st Century by endorsing the NACTO guide in a surprise announcement.

A three-year old San Francisco boy is hit by a truck, even though he was riding his bike in a crosswalk with the walk signal and family members nearby.

Yo, Sacramento Bee — what’s wrong with this sentence? “Many drivers similarly are discourteous toward the rare cyclists who do obey rules of the road.”

Rare my ass.

 

National

A Muncie IN man is arrested for intentionally running down a bike rider, telling police that drivers have the right-of-way and cyclists were taking up the whole road. He also claimed he hit the rider because the cyclist somehow struck his driver’s side mirror — even though the rider was on his right.

A Boston writer explains why he rides a bike, and why you should, too.

Two Iraq veterans are biking from Boston to Seattle in memory of a fallen fellow Marine.

A New York Community Board bars on-street bike corrals to protest the imaginary war on cars.

An Alexandria VA writer says becoming friendlier to bikes shouldn’t come at the expense of pedestrians, something I’d have to agree with.

A Tennessee town anticipates up to 500 cyclists for the fourth annual Pedal for Paws event to raise money for spaying and neutering. So who wants to bring something like that to LA?

 

International

In tragic examples of what not to do, a London cyclist is killed jumping a red light, while another celebrated his 21st birthday by getting drunk — then riding into the path of an oncoming bus.

British Cycling says it’s succeeding in getting more women on the saddle.

A 25-year old rider gives up on pro cycling in protest of his 15-month doping suspension.

An Aussie paper gets its knickers in a serious twist over bike riding young women taking a selfie.

 

Finally…

Police in my hometown find a fleeing driver locked in the restroom of a nearby auto parts store after she runs away from a collision with a bike rider, leaving her car behind.

And would you ride a big wheel bike with hind legs instead of wheels?

 

Morning Links: City Council may not be PLUM crazy when it comes to MyFigueroa after all

Finally, good news on the needlessly delayed MyFigueroa project, as the City Council’s Planning and Land Management Committee moves forward with it.

Sort of.

In the face of overwhelming support for the project, the committee voted to discuss the matter again in three weeks, while tasking staff with the following:

  1. Report back on the project’s expected impact on traffic delays using more realistic assumptions than the conservative projections in the environmental impact report.
  2. Develop an education and marketing campaign to promote the project and businesses along the Figueroa corridor.
  3. Convene technical working groups to address remaining access and driveway concerns, including concerns about film permit restrictions during rush hour.
  4. Convene a technical committee to evaluate traffic plans for special events.
  5. Convene a technical committee to advise the before and after project evaluation.

Even the Shammas Auto Group, owners of Fig-side Felix Chevrolet, has implied they’ll drop their lawsuit against the project if consensus can be reached before it comes back to the committee on Tax Day.

……….

Local

Yet another reason to ride a bike, as the LAPD and Sheriff’s Department are tracking the license numbers of every vehicle on the street.

That alleged wrong way DUI driver faces a possible life sentence for killing six people — including her own sister — on the 60 Freeway in February; her lawyer says she’s “very scared.” She should be.

Streetsblog is talking to community leaders to get their take on the city’s proposed Mobility Plan 2035.

LA Councilmember Jose Huizar says it’s time to fix the sidewalks.

Wait. Dodger Stadium has bike lanes now?

Work finally gets underway on improving safety on PCH through Malibu.

A Redondo Beach bike rider is hospitalized following a collision with a pickup Wednesday afternoon; let’s hope it’s nothing serious. Thanks to My Redondo Beach for the heads-up.

Long Beach gets a second mini-ciclovia from 11:30 am to 1 pm next Tuesday as the course for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is opened to the non-motorized — and dog-free — public.

 

State

OC vigil celebrates the life of fallen rider Sean Severson on his 16th birthday; you can contribute to a fund in his honor here.

A Redlands website talks with the founder of the Inland Empire Biking Alliance.

A Big Bear cyclist says it’s people like us who give cyclists a bad name, while a writer for Bicycle Retailer suggests it’s better to be an appeaser than a hater. Surely there’s a middle ground in there somewhere.

A Monterrey man is ordered to remain in the mental institution he’s been confined to since throwing sulfuric acid in the face of an unsuspecting bicyclist in 2000.

Tragic news as an 89-year old woman dies following a collision with a bike rider on a pathway on the San Jose State University campus. No word on how or why it happened, but this is why you always ride carefully around pedestrians — especially children and the elderly, who are far more fragile than others.

A Napa man faces charges after he was spotted by the original owner riding a bike that was stolen last August.

Nice story, as a Healdsburg boy creates Bikes Peak, and finds it still standing nearly 20 years later.

 

National

Now that’s my idea of heaven. Yellowstone opens to bikes only for the next few weeks. Just watch out for early rising bears. And angry buffalo.

The mother of a fallen Chicago cyclist sues the drunk driver who killed him, along with his employer, the appropriately named AllYouCanDrink, LLC. They’re about to find out just how limited their liability is.

Eleven women cyclists recreate a 1928 ride by five women from New York to DC.

 

International

No matter how angry you get, don’t slam a truck driver’s head into his door after he gets out to confront you. Just don’t.

An Australian writer says cycling Down Under is getting more dangerous and it’s time for government action.

A blind Aussie cyclist plans to ride through Southeast Asia to raise money for guide dogs.

A New Zealand man dies from a night of binge drinking in celebration of the next day’s mountain bike trip.

 

Finally…

A Vancouver soccer star is questionable after suffering a bicycling-related injury without ever getting on one. He tripped over a bike rack walking down the sidewalk.

And San Francisco may have the state’s first parking protected puppy lane; thanks to Cyclelicious for the link.

LA-style cyclist anti-harassment laws continue to spread, but there’s a catch; plus your Morning Links

Oakland is the latest city to consider an LA-style bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

However, there’s a hidden problem with these kind of ordinances, as LA bike lawyer Josh Cohen recently pointed out.

LA’s law, and most, if not all, of the similar ordinances that have followed throughout California, allow the court to award lawyer’s fees if you win your case, as an inducement for attorneys to take cases that might not otherwise be worth their time.

The problem is, lawyers usually collect their fees from insurance companies when they win a case. But insurers don’t pay for intentional acts. And the whole point of the anti-harassment ordinance is to punish drivers for their intentional actions in harassing riders.

Which, by definition, lets the driver’s insurance company off the hook for any damages, including attorney’s fees.

So unless the driver who harasses you has a major bank account or significant assets that can be converted into cash, it may be difficult to find an attorney to take your case. Which is no knock on lawyers; while some may take a case pro bono when they can, they still need to pay the bills like anyone else.

And that means lower income drivers could have carte blanche to threaten you on your bike with little fear of any consequences.

The short term solution is to act as your own attorney in small claims court; Cohen says he’s working on an online tool kit that that will teach riders how to build a case and guide them through the legal process.

A longer term solution is to pass a statewide version of the anti-harassment ordinance, so enforcement no longer depends on invisible city limit lines. An offense that occurs in Santa Monica or San Gabriel is just as offensive as one that takes place in Los Angeles, and the offender should face the same consequences.

And while we’re at it, let’s change the law to require insurance companies to pay for all adverse traffic acts, intentional or not.

Maybe when they face the costs for the threatening actions of the drivers they insure, they’ll actually do something about it.

And maybe get some of these jerks off the road once and for all.

……….

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton takes an in-depth look at the proposal to increase the sales tax to fix LA’s streets and some, but not all, sidewalks.

While virtually everyone benefits from better streets — bike riders not the least — there needs to be a firm commitment to build out the bike plan as streets are repaved and striped, rather than the vague promises we’ve been offered so far.

And since everyone walks, there should be at least as much commitment to fix every broken sidewalk as there is to repave failed streets.

The question is whether Angelenos will swallow yet another sales tax increase that places the burden of street repair on everyone, whether or not they use them.

Or whether they contribute to the disrepair of our streets by rolling massively oversized multi-ton and highly destructive vehicles over them.

……….

LA City Councilmember Mike Bonin hosts a free Fireside Chat on Transportation: The 405, Traffic, Transit, Biking & More on Friday, April 11th. That’s one I’d like to attend.

LADOT and City Planning are hosting a webinar on Year Two of the bike plan rollout (pdf) on Thursday, April 17th from 7 to 8 pm

Frequent contributor Erik Griswold looks at the city that bans play; yes, that would be our very own LA.

Flying Pigeon says the bike infrastructure infection is spreading. Meanwhile, those new green bike lanes in Santa Monica may be nice, but they’re not what cyclists were promised, and there’s still more work to do. Not the least of which is figuring out what to do with the city’s airport, which may be best done by bike.

Now this sounds like fun, as a planned May ride will visit the murals of Northeast Los Angeles.

LA students call for fixing San Fernando Road, including bike lanes and better sidewalks.

How Sweet Ride USA’s Steve Isaacs went from musician to creating a unique mash-up of bikes and deserts.

Mark your calendar for California Bike Advocacy Day on May 21st.

A Riverside hit-and-run driver gets nine months for leaving a seriously injured bike rider to bleed in the street. More than a slap on the wrist, but hardly what the crime deserves.

This is why you always carry ID when you ride. Oakland police were trying to identify a man who was critically injured in a solo fall when he went over the handlebars; fortunately, the 80-year old rider was eventually identified. Your loved ones deserve to know where you are and what happened if you’re too injured to speak for yourself, and you deserve to have them by your side.

Can protected bike lanes push bicycling into the mainstream? If they can’t, maybe the rise of the combination bike shop/bar can.

A new team-based East Coast track cycling league is set to roll out next year.

My hometown is nominated as one of the nation’s top 10 bicycling cities; needless to say, Los Angeles isn’t, and neither are leading local candidates Long Beach and Santa Monica. Wait, what the hell is Malibu doing on the list?

Fargo cyclists may be afraid to use a new bike lane because motorists certainly aren’t.

Eighty-two-year old Omaha driver opts to kill the person on two wheels rather than collide with the vehicle stopped ahead of her.

Nothing stops Minneapolis bicyclists from riding, even in the dead of winter. Same with most LA riders, as long as it’s at least 70 degrees out.

More proof that hit-and-run isn’t just an LA problem, as a Pennsylvania Amish buggy driver hit an SUV twice before trotting sedately from the scene.

He still doesn’t get it. The Aussie cab passenger who doored a cyclist refuses responsibility, but does admit to acting like a jerk afterwards. And Melbourne’s top bike cop says the city’s patchwork bike lanes give riders a false sense of security.

Finally, chances are, you’ve already seen this one by now. But if not, you definitely need to, as a cyclist is hit by a mattress carried by a passing truck — which miraculously flips under him and cushions his fall, saving him from serious injury. Thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up.

And it’s been over a century. So where’s my flying bicycle, already?

Hermosa Beach allows LA County’s first cycle track to dangerously deteriorate; and a fresh batch of Morning Links

Photo of the crumbling Hermosa Beach cycle track by Carol Detrick.

Photo of the crumbling Hermosa Beach cycle track by Carol Detrick.

What good is a bikeway if it’s not in ridable condition?

That’s the question South Bay cyclists are asking as the area’s first cycle track continues to crumble dangerously, with no response from city officials in Hermosa Beach.

The cycle track tucked along Hermosa Avenue has long served as the connection between the beachfront bike path in Manhattan Beach and the Strand in Hermosa, as well as a vital link in the Marvin Braude Bike Trail that stretches from Palos Verdes to Pacific Palisades.

Unfortunately, as these photos show, the short two-way section of bikeway has long been in need of repair. The last time I rode through there, I was struck by just how badly it had deteriorated.

I’m told many riders who know the area have given up on the cycle track and are riding the relatively recently repaved Hermosa Avenue, preferring to take their chances with distracted beachside motorists rather than risk a fall due to bad pavement — exactly the situation the cycle track was built to avoid.

It could also leave the city on the hook for any injuries that might occur there, as I’m told they’ve repeatedly been informed about the dangerous conditions, but have done absolutely nothing to correct the situation or warn riders about the risks they face from the cracked and rutted pavement.

Which is exactly what is required to create liability under California law.

The curb divider is literally falling apart; photo by Carol Detrick.

The curb divider is literally falling apart; photo by Carol Detrick.

And if city officials somehow weren’t aware of the situation before, they are now.

This should also serve as a warning to all of us fighting for better bike infrastructure throughout Southern California. Because it doesn’t matter what gets built if we can’t get our government officials to maintain it.

Even the best bikeways will eventually increase the risk to riders if they’re allowed to deteriorate while the roadways next to them are maintained for the benefit of motorists, as is the case here.

That leaves our local governments liable for whatever injuries may occur, whether due to bad bikeways or bicyclists riding in the street to avoid them.

And we all will pay the price, because the legal settlements will come out of our tax money.

Thanks to Jim Lyle and Carol Detrick — who’s been trying to get this fixed for five years — for the heads-up.

……….

Downtown’s Figueroa corridor could be the next Silicon Valley. But only if the city allows the MyFigueroa project to connect and transform the street.

Once again, a city analyst suggests going back to the same well by raising sales taxes half a cent to pay for roadway and sidewalk repair, rather than find a more innovative way to finance the much needed work. But how many times will city voters approve the same tax, especially with plans proceeding for a new Metro sales tax extension in the near future?

Streetsblog rides with last weekend’s Tour de Watts, and finds things are looking up in one of the city’s most maligned and misunderstood neighborhoods.

Somehow, the annual Bicycle Film Festival snuck up on us this year; it makes a great lead-in for the April 6th Wilshire CicLAvia.

Speaking of which, CicLAvia wants you to have a free pin, while two Open Streets events proposed for the San Gabriel Valley.

San Fernando votes to move forward with the proposed Pacoima Wash Bikeway.

A bike riding child was struck by a school bus in Fontana Tuesday morning, but somehow managed to escape uninjured. Meanwhile, a 12-year old boy is hit by an SUV in Whittier, with no word on his condition; thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

Bike Newport Beach contends with harried and hostile drivers.

A 44-year old San Diego bike rider is injured after being struck from behind by a high-end hit-and-run driver.

Bike San Diego sets its sights higher after winning a national advocacy award.

One hundred 5th graders are raising funds to ride from Yuma AZ to San Diego in a couple weeks. Did I mention they’re only in the 5th grade? Seriously, those kids rock.

Ninety-two-year old anti-authoritarian, pro-bike and anti-car-industrial-complex former Caltrans engineer passes away. After reading this obit, I really wish I’d known that guy.

Who needs side reflectors and wheel lights when your entire bike glows in the headlights?

The question of how to get more women on their bikes raises its head once again. Isn’t the easiest way to increase ridership among women, as well as other human beings, simply to make our streets safe for everyone?

Bike Portland rides the Big Easy.

It’s been five years since a cyclist killed a pedestrian in New York, but that doesn’t stop a healthcare company.

Another look at the seemingly endless debate over mandatory helmet laws.

Tragedy strikes the pro peloton as a 19-year old junior champion dies of a stroke while training in Ecuador.

An award-winning British journalist sues after suffering severe brain damage when he was hit by a London police car responding to a shooting.

A UK writer confesses to being a bike-borne Mr. Hide, and proposes banning bikes and cars and buses, as well as men with glasses and short hair who wear blue jeans. Wait, that’s me.

Aussie woman is doored and brow-beaten by cab passengers, while catching the whole thing on video. Meanwhile, a police minister suggests riders invest in bike cams in advance of Queensland’s new three-foot-equivalent law.

Now that’s what I call a big bike.

Finally, a writer for People for Bikes calls for changing group ride behavior; he’s got a point in that a lot of us could behave a lot better. On the other hand, Cyclelicious quite reasonably takes him to task for unfairly blaming beginners and other group riders for the bikelash in the halls of government and the hatred we face from motorists.

………

Let me give a quick shoutout to Daveed Kapoor and Money Heaven for their generous donations to support this site. It’s your support that makes BikinginLA possible.

Beverly Hills tells bicyclists to drop dead; LAPD to focus — finally — on traffic violations this year

Screw bike riders.

That was the message sent last night by notoriously bike-unfriendly Beverly Hills in refusing to incorporate bike lanes in next year’s planned reconstruction of Santa Monica Blvd.

Even though the reconstruction gives the city a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fix one of the region’s most congested and dysfunctionally incomplete streets.

And even though it could be done for pennies on the dollar during the massive reconstruction project.

And even though it would connect the bike lanes that currently exist on the boulevard on either side of the city, completing the gap that exists between bike lanes in West Hollywood and Century City.

And even though Beverly Hills traffic already makes it the most dangerous city of its size in the state of California.

Oddly, several of the city’s council members expressed their concern for the safety of cyclists before voting to ignore their needs.

We’ll let Better Bike’s Mark Elliot, who led the seemingly Sisyphean fight in this over-privileged Mayberry tell the whole disturbing and dystopian tale.

The question is, what can we do going forward?

Personally, I think it’s long past time for a worldwide boycott of the Biking Black Hole, where the dollars of those on bikes seem to be valued far below those who arrive in Bentleys and luxury SUVs.

Maybe they’ll wake up if they start seeing hotel cancellations, as domestic and foreign bike riders choose to spend their money somewhere else. Or when the annual Gran Fondo gets moved to out of Beverly Hills because cyclists refuse to support a city that refuses to support us.

Or maybe the answer is to take a page from their own playbook, where seemingly endless lawsuits have attempted to derail the planned subway-sort-of-to-the-sea.

I don’t know if there are legal grounds to sue Beverly Hills for its hard-hearted failure to find room for bike riders on the rebuilt street, even if it does seem to conflict with the state’s requirement to consider complete streets in any road construction project. Or to accommodate all road users on streets that belong to more than just motor vehicle operators.

Maybe there’s a lawyer out there who’d like answer those questions.

But if nothing else, a lawsuit might delay their plans just enough to make it easier to compromise with bike supporters than fight.

It wouldn’t be cheap.

But that’s one Kickstarter I’d be happy to contribute to.

……….

More on last night’s breaking news that the extremely popular Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race has been cancelled, at least for this year.

And the way these things seem to go, possibly forever.

The finger is being pointed at a fear of liability in a notoriously risk-averse city. But as noted last night, I suspect there’s more going on behind the scenes than we may yet be aware of.

Like maybe a wealthy marathon operator upset about those damn bikes piggybacking on their event. Especially when they’re not getting the profits.

Meanwhile, word is some riders intend to crash the route anyway.

……….

The LA City Council celebrated the city’s first Complete Streets Day on Wednesday.

Which seems odd, since so many council members seem to be actively opposing complete streets on Westwood Blvd, north and south Figueroa, and Lankershim Blvd, as well as a new and improved bike-friendly 4th Street.

I’m sure Councilmembers Koretz, Cedillo, Price and LaBonge wholeheartedly support complete streets.

As long as they’re in someone else’s district.

……….

For years, bike and pedestrian advocates have called on police to increase enforcement of traffic laws in an attempt to rein in the wild west mentality on our streets, where too many drivers feel entitled to do anything they damn well please — too often to the detriment of those they share those streets with.

Finally, LAPD Chief Beck is in agreement, declaring this the “year of traffic” with stepped-up enforcement of traffic regulations, including a crackdown on hit-and-runs.

While that’s good news for cyclists who have share the road with dangerous drivers, remember the knife cuts both ways.

Representatives of the department have often said they are required to enforce the law equally. Which means if they see you go through a red light or stop sign, you’re likely to get a ticket, just like a driver would for the same offense.

……….

Writing for Flying Pigeon, Rick Risemberg fears support for bicycling is backsliding under the Garcetti administration — echoing exactly what I’ve been thinking for the past several months.

Shockingly, the Weekly discovers a group of cyclists who like to get high and ride. Who could have ever imagined?

Bike safety is an issue around USC, as a cyclist is injured in a collision near campus.

Bikable streets spread further east as Pomona approves the city’s first bike and pedestrian plan.

The 84-year old Newport Beach driver who killed cyclist Debra Deem — claiming he just didn’t see her — entered a not guilty plea to a single count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. If convicted, he faces just one year in jail; Deem’s sister doesn’t think that’s enough.

Plans call for extending an Orange County protected bikeway.

You can contribute to help Riverside cyclist Travis Freeman recover from a serious cycling injury.

This simple bar chart clearly illustrates the relative affordability of protected bike lanes. And as long as we’re talking charts, this one from the UK kind of puts the relative risk posed by cyclists in perspective.

You could own Pee-wee’s bike, some assembly required.

It’s sad to think a bike advocacy group is going out of business after 40 years when bicycling is finally on the rise.

In what seems like at least a minor miracle, Brooklyn police begin ticketing drivers who park in bike lanes.

A Florida man waves at a motorist, who responds by plowing into him and fleeing the scene.

In what may be one of the most intentionally offensive public safety spots I’ve seen, Britain’s Top Gear attempts to teach cyclists the difference between red and green. While we all need to observe traffic signals, very few cycling fatalities are the result of riders blowing through red lights; far more often, it’s a driver who fails to stop and kills an innocent victim. So for the boys at Top Gear — and I say this from the bottom of my heart — fuck you. No, seriously.

A UK bike rider is the victim of an anti-bike terrorist attack when someone strings a rope across a walkway at neck level. Oddly, despite Top Gear’s insistence, there is nothing to suggest that she ran a red light before nearly being decapitated.

Finally, South African cyclists face charges in the road rage attack against a van driver. No matter how angry you are or how justified you feel, always — always — resist the temptation to resort to violence, as hard as it may be sometimes.

Which is not to say I’m an angel; I’ve called drivers every name in the book, including some I’ve made up on the spot.

Then again, they aren’t always the problem.

An open letter to the Beverly Hills City Council

I had planned to attend tonight’s meeting of the Beverly Hills City Council to voice my support for bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd through the city, closing the gap between existing lanes in West Hollywood and Century City when the street is reconstructed next year.

Unfortunately, I am unable to attend tonight. So I’d like to share my thoughts with the Council Members here.

……….

Dear Beverly Hills City Council Members,

I am not a resident of your city.

Yet I frequently find myself traveling through Beverly Hills on my way to meetings in Downtown LA, whether by bike, bus or car. Whenever possible, I prefer to travel by bicycle; I find it more convenient, safer and less stressful than other means of travel.

With one major exception.

The journey through Beverly Hills is usually, by far, the most dangerous part of my trip.

That is not to say that some parts of my trip through the city aren’t safe and enjoyable. The bike lanes that were recently painted on Burton Way are among the best in the LA area; wide enough to keep riders out of the door zone, while moving us safely out of the way of traffic.

The problem is getting to them.

When travelling east from Century City, cyclists have only a handful options to pass through Beverly Hills.

Olympic Blvd is a high speed thoroughfare much of the day, yet dangerously over-congested during the long rush hour periods, safe for bike travel only at night or on weekends.

Charleville Blvd is a safer alternative, though it forces cyclists to either stop at every intersection or flaunt the law in order to conserve energy, while dodging impatient drivers unwilling to share the road. But it takes riders too far south to connect with those bike lanes on Burton Way.

Wilshire Blvd is simply too congested, dangerously unridable most of the day.

Little Santa Monica through the Golden Triangle connects directly with the Burton Way bike lanes, but the narrow traffic lanes force cyclists to ride directly in front of aggressive, and too often, angry motorists. It is an unpleasant place to ride during the day, and dangerous at rush hour.

As a result, many riders prefer Santa Monica Blvd, even though it currently offers a cramped space for cyclists next to traffic that can vary from high speed to severely congested, often in a matter of blocks. And puts riders at risk of being cut off by frequent buses and both left and right-turning vehicles, whose often out-of-town drivers aren’t looking for bicycles on such a busy street.

Carmelita and Elevado Avenues offer much more pleasant options, but again have the disadvantage of having stop signs on every block, and are too far north to provide a viable alternative for most riders.

We need a safe route through your city. We need bike lanes on Santa Monica Boulevard.

By installing bike lanes on Santa Monica, you will provide bike riders with a safe, convenient route through the heart of Beverly Hills, while creating a single, nearly continuous bikeway from the 405 Freeway to east of La Cienega in West Hollywood. The resulting Westside bikeway will bring bike riders — and their spending power — into the heart of Beverly Hills.

Meanwhile, pass-through riders will be easily able continue on to West Hollywood or Century City, or drop down a single block to connect with the bike lanes on Burton Way.

In addition, you will improve safety and traffic flow on Santa Monica by moving cyclists out of the way of traffic — not just on Santa Monica, but on all the streets mentioned above, as cyclists will be encouraged to take Santa Monica rather than streets like Charleville or Little Santa Monica.

In fact, studies have shown that painted bike lanes reduce injuries for all road users by as much as 50% — and up to 90% for protected bike lanes. Bike lanes also act as traffic control devices by channelizing both cyclists and motorists into their own separate spaces and encouraging compliance with traffic regulations.

And bike lanes are a vital step in transforming Santa Monica Blvd from today’s traffic-congested barrier blocking access to the rest of the city, to a complete street that will enhance livability for residents and encourage the tourism local businesses depend on.

Best of all, next year’s planned reconstruction of the boulevard provides a rare opportunity to implement bike lanes at virtually no additional cost, saving future generations the cost of adding them later to correct your mistake if you fail to vote in favor of them tonight.

In fact, a vote in favor of bike lanes creates a unique opportunity in which everyone benefits — motorists and residents, tourists and businesses owners. As well as bike riders who want to pass through the city, and those who want to stop and frequent the city’s many shops and cafés.

I urge you to do the right thing. And cast your vote tonight for a better, safer and more livable future for everyone who lives, visits or passes through Beverly Hills.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers
BikinginLA.com

Two of SoCal’s best bike advocates are finalists for national Advocate of the Year award

When I started this site, it seemed like you could count the female bike advocates on one hand.

And still have enough fingers left over for the inappropriate gesture of your choice. Wherever you chose to direct it.

Times, thankfully, have changed.

In only a few short years, women riders have risen to the ranks of the most notable advocates fighting for the rights and safety of cyclists with organizations throughout the US. As well as right here in suddenly soggy Southern California.

Two, in particular, have drawn attention for helping reshape the cities in which they live and ride. And I’ve had the privilege of watching both develop into people I would not want to meet in a metaphorical dark alley if I stood on the wrong side of support for bicycling.

Which is not to say Santa Monica’s Cynthia Rose isn’t one of the most pleasant human beings I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting.

Hard to believe that it was only a few years ago that she was asking me for advice on how to work with city officials to improve the lot of bike riders and improve relations with police in the LA area’s city by the bay. Fortunately for all of us, she didn’t take it.

Instead, she forged her own path, building close working relationships with city officials and forming Santa Monica Spoke — now an affiliate chapter of the LACBC — in the process. And leading to her election to the board of the California Bicycle Coalition.

Now she is one of the most knowledgeable, insightful and persuasive advocates anywhere. And the formerly less than bike-friendly city she represents is challenging, if not surpassing, Long Beach for supremacy as the area’s top bike city.

Whenever someone says change is too hard, if not impossible, I point to Cynthia as a perfect example of what one highly motivated person can do.

And yes, I know it’s not polite to point.

On the other hand, San Diego’s Sam Ollinger is a force of nature.

I first got to know Sam as a fellow blogger who I often linked to as she covered the nascent bike scene in our neighbor to the south with rare passion and intelligence.

It was enough to get her an invitation to join the board of the local bicycle coalition, just as it did me a seeming lifetime ago. But she soon found herself butting heads with the entrenched interests of vehicular cyclists who have long dominated the city John Forester calls home.

She also asked my opinion more than once in late night emails on how she should proceed against seemingly unbearable friendly fire. Frankly, I don’t know if she ever took it.

But she quickly went from board member of the SDBC to founder of BikeSD, the city’s first and only 501(c)4 bicycling non-profit dedicated to political action.

And in the process, has helped reshape the future of bicycling in San Diego, as well as the present. Including the recent election for mayor in which both candidates came out strongly in support of bicycling.

Like Cynthia, she finds also herself on the board of the state’s leading bicycling organization.

Together, they have already significantly improved bicycling in Southern California, and are working to put their stamp on the state as a whole. And inspiring women and bicycling advocates of all stripes throughout the US.

Especially now that both are finalists for next week’s Advocate of the Year Award.

I can’t speak for any of the other nominees. But based on from my own personal experiences with both, don’t ask me to choose between the two.

Each has grown to be among the most outstanding people and bicycling advocates it has ever been my pleasure to know.

And both Cynthia Rose and Sam Ollinger more deserve the award.

If it was up to me, it would end in a tie.

……….

Speaking of Cynthia Rose, the Spoke is asking for tax deductible donations to send her to next week’s National Bike Summit 2014. Just $1500 is needed to add her voice to the national bike congress.

……….

Now for the bad news.

In an incredibly misguided decision, a California appeals court has ruled that the next distracted driver who plows into a cyclist with face firmly planted in his or her cell phone map app won’t be breaking the law.

In a case involving a Sacramento motorist, the 5th District Court of Appeal said the state’s ban on hand-held cell phone use only applies to making calls or texting, rather than using it for any other purpose.

So in theory, a driver could be looking at a phone for virtually any purpose, from texting to reading email or downloading porn behind the wheel.

And if a cop happened to spot him or her, all they’d have to do is call up their mapping app before pulling over, making the hand-held cell phone ban virtually unenforceable.

Hopefully, this case will go to the California Supreme Court where, with any luck, the judges won’t have their heads planted so far up their own posteriors.

Because this wrong-headed decision just put the lives of everyone on our streets at risk.

……….

After years of complaints from lost bike riders, LADOT promises wayfinding signs throughout the city. And offers you a chance to check them out in advance.

A writer for the Times says less parking for cars, more parking for bikes. On the other hand, the usual bike-hating letter writers aren’t so understanding.

Loz Feliz locals say they’d rather keep all their traffic lanes on the Hyperion bridge, and screw anyone who doesn’t use a car to cross it.

Better Bike offers an open letter to the Beverly Hills City Council in support of bike lanes on a reconstructed Santa Monica Blvd through the city, which comes up for a vote before the council next Tuesday.

A Santa Monica police sting helps a theft victim get his stolen bike back after spotting it on Craigslist, along with two others.

The first local non-LA ciclovia could follow Huntington Drive through the San Gabriel Valley: thanks to BikeSGV for the tip. Maybe you were photographed at one of the previous CicLAvias.

A permanent memorial was installed on the Cal Poly Pomona campus today to honor fallen cyclist and Cal Poly student Ivan Aguilar, who was killed on the campus one year ago today.

When you’re riding in Carson with meth and a concealed shotgun, don’t commit vehicle code violations, whatever that means. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

Cycling in the South Bay looks at who brakes for whom. Or at all.

The Santa Clarita Valley Signal reports a cyclist was injured in a collision with an SUV on Thursday. But why do they insist on putting “Cannondale” in quotation marks when they don’t do that with “Acura RDX?” Not that bikes are treated like others or anything.

More on California’s proposed vulnerable user law. Personally, I’d much rather see a modified version of the European strict liability laws, which places greater responsibility for avoiding collisions on the operator of the more dangerous vehicle.

Introducing a new line of bike-to-boardroom bicycling business attire, and creative ways to light your bike at night.

Yesterday’s road raging Portland bike rider attempts to explain himself, sort of.

Yeah, let’s blame the victim for riding on the street, not the hit-and-run driver who killed him.

It’s not the New York bike lanes that cause double parking, even if the local press thinks the ones getting the tickets are the victims. And sometimes, it’s the cops doing the blocking.

Good thing the era of doping is over, as a Venezuelan pro tests off the charts in blood screening tests.

London will spend £300 million — the equivalent of $500 million — to fix 33 killer junctions; does LA even know where the most dangerous intersections for cyclists and pedestrians are?

A shocking Chinese study shows the higher the speed at which a car is travelling, the more likely it is to kill a cyclist or pedestrian. In other surprising results, water is wet and it gets dark when you turn out the lights.

An Aussie paper calls for a 6 mph speed limit for bikes to prevent injuries to pedestrians, but doesn’t suggest a mandatory helmet law for anyone on foot. Or slowing down drivers to prevent injuries to cyclists.

Another Aussie paper says there’s no suggestion that a fatal bike crash was deliberate. So why did they suggest it?

………

Finally, a bike-hating Chicago columnist says fuck cyclists because they — we — are worse than Hitler, and no one should be on a bike if they’re older than 13.  Or rather,

Bicyclists are worse than Hitler carrying a cancer death-ray shooting puppies, playing Justin Bieber music on repeat while your cell phone has 2 percent battery.

I realize he’s trying — and failing — to be funny. He should also fail at keeping his job.

Then again, he could take lessons from the semi-literate bike hater who called London cyclists wretched “Talebans” who poison people’s lives.

Cyclists-Talebans

Seriously, you can’t make this shit up.

Your morning links: Neighborhood Council elections, and somewhat questionable bike editorials

Sometimes, what happens inside is as inspiring as the view outside.

Real bike power starts at the neighborhood council level. And too often, ends here.

It’s a lot easier to fight the power from the inside.

It’s become pretty clear in recent months that LA City Councilmembers are relying on local neighborhood councils for input on major proposed bike projects. Or maybe just political cover.

Either way, a successful Bike LA starts from the ground up. And that means electing more bike riders and supporters to their neighborhood councils.

And that’s where you come in.

The deadline to register as a candidate in some Eastside — and possibly other — races is today. Which means you’ve got to move fast.

Click here for election and registration dates in your area.

Thanks to Patrick Pascal for the heads-up.

……….

The LA Times Opinion pages continues its weeklong wrap-up of their RoadshareLA series, to lesser or greater effect.

Mostly lesser, today.

The first complains about the traffic backups caused by the recent road diet in the 2nd Street tunnel that gave us the city’s first protected bike lanes. But concludes maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

That was followed by a much more problematic piece that takes “self-righteous” cyclists to task, while complaining about the new three-foot passing law. And characterizes a road raging driver knocking down a cyclist as just a nudge. One thing for sure — bike riders usually only look self-righteous when viewed through a windshield.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton offers some decidedly on-point criticisms, and asks for your thoughts.

And hey, welcome home, Joe.

……….

Here’s your morning linkage.

Burbank wants feedback on a proposed bike and pedestrian path; a meeting will be held tonight (Wednesday) to discuss it.

That Facebook campaign conducted by the Huntington Beach Police Department led to the arrest of a suspected bike thief. But the not the return of the bike, at least not yet.

Santa Ana talks bike safety just two days after a rider is killed there, which oddly isn’t mentioned in the story.

Streetsblog takes a look at a raft of bike and livable streets-related bills before the state legislature. But a bike tax may not be the best idea.

Santa Barbara discovers fixies, and oddly doesn’t declare them a scourge in a surprisingly even-handed report.

A San Francisco cyclist uses her stolen smartphone to track her stolen bike, and gets both back in just 45 minutes — thanks to a beat cop that took the theft seriously, which doesn’t always happen in real life.

Bicycling lists six up-and-coming women’s riders now that women are finally getting a well-deserved place on the world stage. After all, you can’t tell the players without a program.

Don’t try to buy a bike with the credit card you just found in the street.

New UK product results in near-instant protected bike lanes. And they’re recycled, too. The barriers, not the bike lanes.

A British columnist examines the irresponsibility of failing to promote and/or mandate the wearing of bike helmets, with prototypically dry humor.

Brit bike rider follows his phone directional app onto a busy, bike-banned freeway.

At least we only have to worry about drunk, distracted and/or aggressive drivers, as a Swedish cyclist is killed by wild boars.

Call Sochi the bike-borne Winter Olympics.

Finally, no. Just… no. And a pro cyclist is felled by a flying mattress in the Tour of Oman.

Yes, a mattress.

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