Archive for Advocacy & Politics

Morning Links: Road raging Malibu driver assaults cyclist, and the Times looks at the politics of LA road diets

A PCH cyclist is in serious condition after being attacked by a road raging driver.

According to the Malibu Times, the victim got into an argument with a pickup driver as he rode west on the coast highway between Busch Drive and Morning View Drive. After the rider moved on in the right hand lane, the unnamed driver sped past him, then stopped, got out of his truck and pushed him off his bike into the left lane.

Fortunately, it was either a rare moment when there was no traffic on the highway, or oncoming drivers were able to stop in time to avoid him. Even so, the victim still suffered serious injuries and lacerations.

The paper quotes a sheriff’s deputy as saying the dispute was over “use of the shoulder lane,” though he doesn’t clarify whether the driver wanted to use it or, more likely, incorrectly thought the cyclist belonged there.

Although you’d think someone with the rank of lieutenant would know that the shoulder of PCH — or any roadway — is not a lane, since it’s not legally part of the roadway.

Not surprisingly, the driver, who wasn’t publicly named, was arrested for felony assault.

Although it should be attempted murder if there was any traffic coming at the time.

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The LA Times examines the politics of road diets, and correctly suggests that biking and walking will be issues in next year’s city council elections. At least if we have anything to say about it.

It would have been nice, though, if they’d mentioned that the primary purpose of most road diets is to improve traffic safety for all road users; better livability is just a bonus.

And as John Lloyd pointed out, despite the way the Times piece characterizes it, CicLAvia is more about opening streets for people than closing them off to cars.

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Caught on video: Across Los Angeles takes a look at the first half of Sunday’s Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer hill climb competition.

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Local

Nice piece on Medium.com, as Steven Corwin explains why he shouldn’t have to justify his decision to live car-free.

The Eastsider asks if a freeway cap can make freeway-severed Belvedere Park whole again.

The former Governator and friend ride in one of Santa Monica’s many bike lanes.

Downtown Hawthorne gets a $300,000 makeover, complete with bike lanes. Eventually.

 

State

San Francisco safety advocates say it’s time to end traffic violence; the mayor promises quick action.

A writer for Streetsblog clarifies that Sacramento is not seriously planning to license bicyclists, despite that breathless TV report we linked to last week.

A Modesto letter writer wants cyclists to explain what makes us so special that we don’t have to obey traffic laws — unlike motorists who never speed, use hand-held cell phones or roll through stop signs. Maybe we’re not so special after all.

Nice. After losing his wife, a Chico Iraq war vet finds peace through Ride 2 Recovery.

 

National

A new city bike promises to fold up in seconds.

People for Bikes explains how Denver got an oil company to help crowdfund a protected bike lane. I wonder if anyone has ever asked any of the many companies that suck LA oil out of the ground to pitch in to make the city a little safer. Probably not.

After a special needs woman has her bike stolen, a Michigan TV station replaces it with a better one.

A Maryland woman makes it back on her bike a year after a near-fatal collision, and brings her previously non-biking husband along for the ride.

West Palm Beach’s Jack the Bike Man is looking for used bikes to fix up so he can give 1,000 bikes to children this Christmas.

 

International

The Guardian takes a look at the world’s best cycling infrastructure, none of which is located south of the Canadian border. And says the BBC still gets it wrong in a week-long look at bicycling.

It takes a major jerk to steal an autistic British man’s bike.

Rather than require motorists to drive safely, a Swiss canton orders children to wear hi-viz vests when biking to school.

That Dutch solar bike path opens this week; the question is whether it’s really as dirt and skid resistant as advertised.

 

Finally…

The difference between an ticket and a night in a Santa Monica jail? Not stopping when a cop tries to pull you over for riding on the sidewalk without a headlight (last item). Caught on video: an Edinburgh cyclist uses entirely appropriate inappropriate language given the circumstances, as he’s nearly run over when a van driver decides to use the bike lane as a shortcut.

And now you can play Chutes and Ladders without shame, as Copenhagenize unveils a game based on the best and worst ways to promote bicycling.

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Thanks to all veterans for your sacrifice in service of our country.

 

Today’s post, in which I don’t exactly endorse anyone — and urge you to wake the sleeping bike giant

The future of bicycling in LA County and the State of California is in your hands.

Or more precisely, awaiting your vote.

Bike the Vote LA offers a full slate of endorsements for your voting pleasure in tomorrow’s election.

I’ll leave it to you to make your own choices.

Though I will point out, for those in his district, that District 43 Assembly Member Mike Gatto has proven himself to be one of the most effective members of the legislature — and one of the best friends bicyclists and pedestrians have among California’s elected officials.

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As for myself, I plan to cast my ballot for Bobby Shriver for LA County District 3 Supervisor to replace Zev Yaroslavsky.

While I have a great deal of respect for Shiela Kuehl and all she has accomplished at the state level, I’m troubled by her responses to the LACBC’s candidate survey earlier this year. Especially this one, in response to a question about whether she would support protected bike lanes in her district:

Yes, I would, so long as it doesn’t reduce the total number of lanes available to cars.

In other words, she would automatically rule out road diets, even though a US government study shows they can improve safety for all road users by 20 to 50%. And protected bike lanes have been shown to reduce injuries by as much as 90%.

Meanwhile, Shriver expressed strong support for complete streets, and pledged to build at least 40 miles of new bikeways each year.

But don’t take my word for it. Click the links above to read both candidates’ responses, and decide for yourself.

I also plan to vote for Jim McDonnell for LA County Sheriff.

While I’m troubled by his heavy-handed crackdown on the nascent Lang Beach Critical Mass — including bogus tickets and the illegal seizure of some riders’ bikes — I’m impressed by his responses to the LACBC survey. Especially his willingness to meet with cyclists and establish a bike liaison program similar to the LAPD’s to help resolve conflicts between the department and the riding community.

And I have a real problem voting for a candidate who has barely campaigned for the office he’s seeking, and has spent his entire career in a department riddled with allegations of corruption and civil rights violations, as his opponent, Paul Tanaka, has.

On the other hand, I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to throw my vote away by casting it for Republican Neel Kashkari, who has virtually no chance of beating incumbent Governor Jerry Brown. Particularly in light of his misguided pledge to halt California’s planned high-speed rail system — or as he calls it, Jerry Brown’s crazy train — which was approved by voters in 2008, long before Brown took office.

But I can’t in good conscience vote for a man who vetoed every piece of hit-and-run legislation that passed his desk, as Brown did this year.

Is it too late to vote for Meg Whitman?

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One last note. Or rather, vote.

I will be voting in favor of LA County Proposition P, which in effect replaces two soon-to-expire property taxes that have funded parks and bikeways throughout the county.

Prop P would create a 30-year stream of funding for parks and open space, beaches and trails — including, possibly, a 22-mile bikeway from Claremont to Rosemead.

Yes, we could all benefit from lower taxes.

But if Prop P fails, everyone in LA County will be poorer for it.

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Finally, a quick reminder.

As we’ve noted before, LADOT estimated in the 2010 bike plan that there are roughly 400,000 people in the City of Angels who ride a bike on a monthly basis.

Which is about 22,000 more than bothered to vote in the last city election.

And there’s no reason to believe the same doesn’t hold true throughout the county, where only 17% of registered voters bothered to cast their ballots in the June primary.

That makes bicyclists the sleeping giant of LA politics, with the power to sway elections — especially close ones.

But only if we remember to vote in terms of our own self interests.

Or bother to vote, period.

Because we have the power to ensure a bike-friendly future for the City and County of Los Angeles.

And as we’ve seen, it only takes electing the wrong person to undo hard-won the gains we’ve made.

 

Morning Links: Deadline for LACBC ED apps extended; Bike League politely abandons Kentucky’s Cherokee Schill

One quick note before we get started.

The LACBC has extended the deadline to apply for the Executive Director position (pdf). If you think you’re up to the challenge of leading one of the nation’s most vibrant and innovative bike advocacy organizations — or know someone who is — you’ve got just a few more weeks to apply.

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The League of American Bicyclists has decided not to actively support Cherokee Schill, the Kentucky cyclist arrested for the crime of riding her bike in the traffic lane.

After analyzing the unique qualities of the state’s antiquated traffic laws, they determined that an argument could be made either way. And since it doesn’t have national implications, they’d rather work to change the law than help fight in court for her right to ride.

Their reasoning makes perfect sense.

But I can’t help thinking they’re leaving her alone to face the legal lions, when they could easily step in to lend a hand.

Because moral support ain’t worth a damn on the streets. Or in the courts.

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Local

The lawyer for the South LA bike rider allegedly beaten by police offers his side of the story.

Bicycling magazine describes the merits of bike-friendly city #28 on their list, also known as the City of Angels.

Santa Monica College is the first California community college to be designated a Bicycle Friendly University.

 

State

California’s own — and now America’s only — Tour de France winner moves forward after 12 years of hell for taking a stand against doping in the peloton.

Laguna Beach riders get a new, continuous north-south route that avoids dangerous PCH.

The Newport Beach City Council is scheduled to vote on adopting the city’s new Bicycle Master Plan on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, friends and family come to the support of the wife of fallen cyclist Shaun Eagleson, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Newport Beach last week.

A teenage bike rider may have suffered serious head trauma when he was hit by a car in Phelan in San Bernardino County.

An estimated 10,000 people turn out for Santa Barbara’s second annual open streets event.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife is going to the mattresses to stop scofflaw off-road riders in the Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve; thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Mountain bikers compete in a 24-hour endurance race in Oroville.

 

National

Bicycling is the new wonder drug.

A new smart bike helmet promises to beam data on your heart rate, calories and performance to your cell phone.

Corvallis OR police are puzzled by a 100% increase in bike thefts over last year.

A Springfield MO man gets seven years in the death of a cyclist who was killed as the man’s girlfriend attempted to flee from him as he chased her through the streets of the town in a stolen car after flashing a gun. Sounds like he got off way too easy.

A Clarksville TN mountain biker wanted a challenging trail to ride, so he built one. Then got hired by the city to build more.

A Chicago cyclist is critically injured when he’s hit by a stolen semi-truck; the driver is arrested after fleeing the scene.

New York’s financially troubled Citi Bike is purchased by a real estate company that owns other bike share programs in North America and Australia.

 

International

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 76-year old UK track cyclist sets a world’s record in the over 75 class.

The Afghan Women’s National Cycling Team has Olympic dreams, despite the difficulties facing women — let alone women cyclists — in their home country.

Nearly 50% of Aussies would bike to work if they received financial incentives to do it.

Evidently, cyclists in Singapore face the same anti-bike clichés as riders in the US. And everywhere else, apparently.

Clearly, distracted driving isn’t just an American problem, as a Chinese bus driver faces criminal charges for killing an elderly bike rider while checking his cell phone. (Fair warning, this story includes video of the collision from the driver’s perspective — something you may not want to see. I know I didn’t.)

 

Finally…

If spandex impacts cyclists’ ability to observe stop signs, then it must affect drivers as well, since 80% of today’s clothes contain at least some of the material. No, seriously, when a highway patrol officer tells you to move your bike, don’t threaten him with a knife.

And in a brilliant idea, Edinburgh, Scotland bans cars from school zones in an attempt to improve safety, something that would undoubtedly cause parental rioting here.

 

Morning Links: Another reason to ride, as traffic congestion costs LA drivers; Flying Pigeon calls out Tom LaBonge

As if you needed another incentive to ride a bike.

The LA Weekly says the city’s traffic congestion costs motorists $5,700 a year, compared to an average of just $1,700 nationwide. And that’s in addition to the estimated $2,458 LA drivers lose due to bad roads.

On the other hand, traffic congestion doesn’t cost bike riders a dime. Although those bad roads can bust wheels and frames.

And bones.

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Writing for Flying Pigeon, Richard Risemberg says as if anti-Fig4All City Councilmember Gil Cedillo isn’t bad enough, CD4 Councilmember Tom LaBonge manages to insert himself into bike photo ops while blocking much needed bike safety projects.

Tom LaBonge intrudes his bulky self into every bike-related photo op anywhere in or near his district, often wearing his signature red sweater to catch the eye (and the cameras). But he has stopped the Fourth Street Neighborhood Greenway, is trying hard to stop the Lankershim Boulevard road diet, and stands stubbornly against a community-friendly Glendale/Hyperion bridge rebuild.

And now, Sixth Street in the Miracle Mile, a narrow four-lane that impatient scofflaws use as a fast alternative to Wilshire one block away, sometimes hitting speeds of 60 and 70 miles per hour…

Sixth Street was slated to receive a road diet, but—yes, you guessed right!—Tom LaBonge chose to “defer” it. His rationale? Road work on Wilshire might send more traffic onto Sixth. But his presumptions have led him into error: road diets, while they restrain top speeds, often smooth out traffic flow and result in quicker, if calmer, A to B transits of a street.

Something is seriously wrong when a single councilmember can derail already-approved road treatments designed by people actually qualified and paid to make those decisions.

If Mayor Garcetti really wants to do something about our dysfunctional city government, this would be a damn good place to start.

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In pro cycling news, the Astana cycling team risks losing its license for the pro tour after yet another rider is caught doping. Good thing the sport has cleaned itself up.

Meanwhile, VeloNews attempts to fit injured cycling scion Taylor Phinney for next year’s yellow jersey in the Tour de France, even though he’s still working on his comeback and has never ridden — let alone won — a single stage of the Tour.

Give the man a little time, already.

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Local

Metro moves forward with a mealy-mouthed, weak-ass Complete Streets policy.

Flying Pigeon hosts another of their popular Get Sum Dim Sum rides on Sunday.

The 2nd annual Long Beach AIDS Ride rolls on November 15th with rides of 40 and 70 miles, along with an eight mile family ride.

 

State

BikeSD reports bike and livability advocates in the Hillcrest neighborhood are subject to death threats.

San Francisco’s police investigate a series of attacks on bike riders in the city’s Panhandle.

 

National

A new government study confirms Millennials are driving less and biking and walking more.

A Kickstarter project promises jeans cut to accommodate the massive thighs of serious cyclists, which won’t always fit in regular jeans. A problem I once had, and sincerely hope I will again someday.

Grist gushes over the beautiful bike freeways in Minneapolis.

Three years ago, the NYPD recommended a mandatory helmet law for cyclists, but can’t be bothered to enforce traffic laws to protect them.

Nice. Atlanta’s working on a citywide network of protected bike lanes.

 

International

A Calgary writer explains why he rides in the road when there’s a bike path nearby.

Seriously? An Edmonton city councilor wants to discourage bike commuting by requiring licenses for anyone who rides to work.

The Guardian says bicycling is good for everyone; mass cycling could save the National Health Service £17 billion — the equivalent of $27 billion — over 20 years, and prevent 500 road deaths a year.

Britain’s Department for Transport calls for doubling cycling by 2025, but lacks the funding to do it.

Copenhagenize’s Mikael Colville-Andersen discusses how cities around the world are adapting to bike riders.

A group of cycling physicians call for more to be done to improve bike safety in Perth, but the equivalent of a three-foot law fails in West Australia.

 

Finally…

A Scot cyclist goes for an unplanned swim after swerving to avoid a dog. You thought LA potholes were bad — a New Zealand cyclist rides into a sinkhole and can’t get out; his dog stayed with him until help finally arrived.

And a road raging Kiwi cyclist goes off on the driver who rear–ended him following a roadside dispute; something tells me there are no innocent victims in this one.

 

Weekend Links: A massive list o’links and a whopping videopalooza

It’s a veritable link and video-palooza today on BikinginLA.

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Caught on video: This is what anti-bike harassment looks like, in all it’s brutal ugliness.

Here in LA, this video would be all the evidence needed to file — and win — a suit against the driver under the city’s cyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

Instead, the Kentucky cyclist, Cherokee Schill, was charged and convicted for the crime of riding a bike in the traffic lane. And the police look the other way when she’s threatened and harassed by angry motorists.

Which is a polite way of saying they don’t give a damn because they don’t think she belongs there to begin with.

Fortunately, she’s less than $200 away from the $10,000 needed to appeal her illegal conviction.

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Caught on video: Before Governor Brown signed the current three-foot passing law, he vetoed a much better version that would have allowed drivers to briefly cross the center line to pass cyclists when it was safe to do so, fearing endless carnage and lawsuits.

Even though the state is largely immune from being sued. But still.

Evidently, it’s not that big a deal, as this video from the Austin TX police department shows.

Any chance we could get Brown to watch this?

No, I didn’t think so.

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Caught on video: An irate woman berates a Chicago cyclist for riding on the sidewalk, nearly getting herself arrested in the process. And being unclear on the concept, tells him to ride in the street before wishing he gets hit by a car, which is probably why he was on the sidewalk to begin with.

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Caught on video: I missed this one earlier this year, as three cyclists experience a viscous goathead attack on the San Gabriel River trail. Thanks to David Wolfberg for the link.

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And one more while we’re at it.

Caught on video: Wolfpack Hustle offers video of the recent Huntington Park Gran Prix.

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Good advice, as a writer suggests three things all cyclists should do.

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Great idea. UCLA is hosting Bike (Re)cycling Day on Sunday the 19th; the university’s police and transportation departments will give out free abandoned bikes and parts to UCLA students, staff and faculty members.

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If you hurry, you may still be able to make one last training ride today before next Saturday’s first ever El Gran Fondo de Angeles Crest. And my apologies for not getting this notice up sooner.

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Local

Okay, so it’s not bike related. But in an apparent case of induced demand, travel times on the 405 freeway have increased a full minute following the $1 billion —that’s billion with a b — project to add an HOV lane through the Sepulveda pass.

Good news for Valley cyclists, as the second phase of the San Fernando Road bike path opens.

Turns out there will be three workshops to discuss the Las Virgenes Malibu Regional Bike Master Plan, in Malibu on the 21st, Westlake Village on the 22nd and Calabasas on the 23rd of this month.

The Pasadena Star-News calls out one of the San Gabriel Valley’s most bike unfriendly cities while endorsing Eric Sunada for Alhambra city council. Thanks to Wesley Reutimann for the tip.

Haven’t checked in with Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson for awhile; here he puts the great helmet debate in perspective.

 

State

Evidently, the DMV has reworked their website and made everything harder to find, including bike laws.

Around 4,000 people took part in last Sunday’s first ever Santa Ana ciclovia.

A San Diego writer says the new three-foot law will increase tensions with drivers, but gets it right in calling for more protected bike lanes. Another writer on the same site calls cyclists “scourges of the road,” while decrying that bikes aren’t required to stay three feet from drivers; seriously, I could spend all day just pointing out the fallacies in this piece of bikelash drivel.

Palm Springs gets its first bike corral.

Caltrans did the right thing for a change, building a pedestrian bridge and off-road bike path connecting Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties as part of a six-mile carpool lane project; I’m told it has dramatically improved safety for riders along the coast highway. Thanks to Alan for the heads-up.

Too typical. Santa Cruz creates up a sandwich sign to warn drivers to give cyclists three feet. Then puts it in the bike lane.

Yet another teenage driver faces charges in the hit-and-run death of a bike rider, this time in Milpitas.

A Monterrey couple ride 2,300 miles to attend their 50th reunion in Kansas.

San Francisco cyclists are the victims of violent assaults to steal the bikes they’re riding.

 

National

A blogger offers a great list of some truly badass biking women, including Elly Blue and our own Nona Varnado.

In the latest attempt to thin the herd by enabling more distracted drivers, a new app promises to let drivers use all their apps behind the wheel.

Despite that, it looks like the Feds are finally taking bike safety seriously, as the Department of Transportation releases new guidelines to make the streets safer for you and me. Maybe they could ban the use of onboard computer systems by drivers next.

A bike-friendly Portland convenience store finds sales exceed expectations, as 34% of customers arrive some way other than driving.

Unclear on the concept. An Ohio driver complains about cyclists riding in the traffic lane, then insists bike riders need to act like motorists.

Yet another caught on video, but one that can’t be embedded: A cyclist accuses a Penn university cop of using excessive force in a confrontation partially caught on camera.

After a New York driver runs down a cyclist from behind — and is found at fault by her own insurance company — she sues the victim for damaging her car. No, really.

Bike Snob introduces you to suddenly bike-friendly New York.

 

International

Here’s what’s wrong with London’s pie-in-the-sky proposals that would remove bike riders from the street.

“Old men in limos” are working behind the scenes to derail London’s plan for separated bike lanes.

The Daily Mail freaks out when Kerri Russell rides a bike sans helmet and talking on a cell phone.

A former British soldier recalls liberating a Dutch town in World War II by bicycle 70 years ago.

Sad to see Andy Schleck retire from pro racing at 29, after a career that started with such promise.

Okay, so maybe bicycling isn’t really the fastest form of transportation in Perth. Then again, the results might be a little different coming from a less biased source, no?

 

Finally…

Probably not a good idea to ask your Twitter followers to shoot another bike journalist, even if you’re not serious. Or especially if you are. If you profess to be a psychic, don’t channel a recently fallen rider, all the details of which could probably be found by picking up the local paper.

And one more benefit of bicycling — you probably won’t have a secret police file from scanning your license plates.

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Thanks to John Hall for his generous donation to help support this site.  

Morning Links: Sign up online for BAC agendas and minutes, and LAPD cracks down on USC cyclists

Maybe LA city government really is becoming more open and accessible under Mayor Garcetti.

For the first time, you can sign up for reports and agendas from a long list of city agencies and committees — including the city’s long-neglected Bicycle Advisory Committee.

You’ll find them listed under the LADOT heading, where you can opt to receive BAC agendas and minutes, as well as other LADOT groups including the Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

And just below, you’ll find reports from the police and fire commissions. Both of which have a lot to say about your ability to ride legally and safely.

Thanks to BAC members David Wolfberg and Glenn Bailey for the heads-up.

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The LAPD cracks down on salmon cyclists at USC, calling it a last resort in response to a rising number of bike collisions on and around the campus.

Actually, the last resort appears to be campus officials acknowledging the high level of bike commuting students, and working with city officials to accommodate bike riders so they don’t feel a need to break the law.

There’s a reason UCLA is recognized as a bike-friendly campus. And USC isn’t.

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Local

Laemmle Theater president and LACBC board member Greg Laemmle says we need good policies and urban planning, and smart business practices to encourage bicycling and walking in LA County.

A 16-year old LA student transforms his life — and his formerly 250 pound body — by biking to school.

Flying Pigeon’s Richard Risemberg attends a glum Bicycle Plan Implementation meeting, which brightens considerably when he discovers new LADOT head Seleta Reynolds had been listening patiently for the whole meeting. Turns out she stopped by Tuesday’s BAC meeting, too.

Ride to celebrate the new San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, expected to be announced by President Obama on Friday; CORBA offers only conditional support for the designation.

Cyclists are invited to participate in a public workshop on October 22nd to develop a joint bike plan for Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Malibu and Westlake Village.

A new two-mile stretch of bike path opens along Coyote Creek in La Mirada.

 

State

Inland riders are gearing up for Sunday’s Temecula Valley Century, with five rides ranging from 6.4 to 101.5 miles. None of which is a bike race, regardless of what the Press Enterprise might say.

Local merchants are on board this time for Salinas’ second ciclavia.

The SF Gate talks with the Sonoma County Gran Fondo cyclist felled by a squirrel through the spokes; he was lucky to get away with a concussion and minor facial fracture. And you don’t want to miss that amazing photo of the squirrel jammed in his wheel; then again, maybe you do. Thanks to Kent D for the second link.

 

National

HTC unveils a periscope shaped cam to compete with GoPro.

A Seattle website explains what happens after your bike is stolen. And it ain’t pretty.

Now that’s more like it. A Texas driver gets 18 years — yes, years — in jail for killing a cyclist while under the influence. He was caught attempting to hide the victim’s body after driving away with his headlights off when the bike rider tumbled into the bed of his truck following the collision.

A Kentucky teenager apologizes for throwing a cup of ice at a cyclist and goes for a ride with his victim; does it matter that a judge ordered him to do it?

There’s a special place in hell for someone who’d shoot a seven-year old Detroit girl out riding her bike; she was collateral damage in a car-to-car shootout.

Bad enough when people drive in the bike lane; worse when they get high and drive down a Michigan bike path.

Bikeyface complains about bike lane bike creeps.

We may have to worry about rabid LA drivers, but New Jersey cyclists have to deal with rabid coyotes; I’m not sure which is worse.

Many cyclists have ridden along the Hudson River, but not many have actually pedaled across it.

The Orlando paper endorses a plan for a continuous 275-mile bike trail from the Atlantic to the Gulf coasts.

 

International

London, Ontario cyclists reject the city’s new bike plan as too little, too late.

A Brit police and crime commissioner says cyclists should be forced to wear numbered plates big enough to be read at a distance so they can be identified and prosecuted when they break the law. After all, that’s worked so well to curb law-breaking by motorists, right?

Despite what the local authorities say, the jerks who stretched a cord across a British roadway at neck height aren’t morons, they’re terrorists attempting to injure or intimidate bicyclists and motorcyclists.

Good thing cycling has cleaned up it’s act. Otherwise, the Astana team could be in trouble after not one, but two riders test positive for EPO.

Tres shock! An Aussie study suggests cyclists break the law because they don’t feel safe on the streets.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: Extreme off-road Lego bike stunts. Yes, Lego. Evidently, they really are out to get us, as a car — a real one — crashes into a Brit bike shop, at least the 10th time it’s happened to the same store.

And a rare condition can give cyclists a third, non-functional testicle — including riders who weren’t born with two.

 

Gov. Brown tacitly endorses hit-and-run; LA finally says enough is enough when it comes to traffic deaths

Once again, California cyclists have been Jerry Browned.

And this time, we’re not alone.

Everyone who uses the state’s streets and highways has been put at risk by our severely out of touch governor, who may be one of the last people left who has no idea that hit-and-run has reached epidemic proportions.

The state legislature gets it.

LA-area legislators Mike Gatto and Steven Bradford, and Corona’s Eric Linder — two Democrats and a Republican — successfully shepherded bills through both houses to address the rampant problem of drivers fleeing the scenes of collisions.

Although problem probably isn’t the right word. Crisis fits a lot better for a crime that afflicts nearly 50% of all collisions in the City of Los Angeles, and countless others throughout the state.

And yes, it is a crime.

One that kills and cripples far more people than mass shootings every year — even though that was something Governor Brown was quick to sign a bill to address.

Yet he apparently doesn’t think hit-and-run is a problem.

In vetoing four bills addressing hit-and-run — modestly increasing penalties, ensuring fleeing drivers lost their licenses for a mere six months, creating an Amber Alert-style warning system for the most serious cases and preventing wealthy drivers from buying their way out of criminal charges — he helped ensure that the crisis will remain one.

And that untold numbers of Californian’s will continue to bleed and die on our streets, since the governor sent a clear message — four, in fact — that it’s no big deal.

Thanks, Jerry.

Granted, he paid lip service to the seriousness of the problem (pdf). But then he went on to insist that current penalties are high enough.

Never mind that if penalties really were high enough, drivers would actually remain at the scene instead of driving home to sober up before turning themselves in. Or just pretending it never happened and hoping they don’t get caught.

And knowing they probably won’t.

Actions speak far louder than words. By vetoing all four widely varied bills — as well as another that would have increased penalties for vulnerable road users — Brown sent a clear message to heartless drivers to go ahead and flee.

Because even if you do get caught — which is less likely thanks to his veto of the Yellow Alert system — you’ll face a slap on the wrist, at best.

It took three tries to get a three-foot passing bill past his misguided veto pen. Each time weakening the bill by removing key features Brown objected to before he finally accepted a relatively toothless measure, with advocates making a mental note to strengthen it once he left office.

Which isn’t likely to be anytime soon, since he continues to enjoy a nearly two-thirds lead over his Republican challenger.

And that means, unless someone can manage to get the seriousness of the problem through his thick bald skull — hello AAA and CHP — we face another four years before we’ll finally have a new governor who may decide that too many people have been killed and maimed by cowardly motorists unwilling to face the consequences of their actions.

Then again, if his opponent in this year’s election, Neel Kashkari, were to come out strongly in favor of actually doing something about hit-and-run, he might change a few votes.

Including mine.

………

At least there’s better news from Los Angeles.

I was told over a year ago by someone involved in the process that the city’s new mobility plan would call for reducing — though not eliminating — traffic deaths. And that the words Vision Zero would appear nowhere in the document.

What a difference a year makes.

Whether it was the influence of Mayor Eric Garcetti, or new LADOT head Seleta Reynolds already putting her stamp on it, the just released document calls for eliminating traffic deaths in the city by 2025.

The new strategic plan, Great Streets for Los Angeles, reflects a fundamental rethinking of our streets, from the traditional focus on automotive throughput — moving as many vehicles through a given intersection as quickly as possible — to ensuring that everyone on those streets gets home safely.

And that, instead of destroying our neighborhoods, our streets will finally become the key to revitalizing them.

After years of never uttering the phrase — despite nearly ceaseless prodding from myself, the LACBC and others — city officials have finally joined New York and San Francisco in committing to a Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic fatalities.

Make no mistake. It won’t be easy.

In fact, as others have pointed out, it may be impossible.

But the key to Vision Zero is that it is a process as much as a goal. What matters are the steps taken to reduce the risk of traffic deaths, from calming traffic and reducing speed limits to improving crosswalks and bikeways. As well as increasing enforcement and education for everyone on the streets, and studying traffic deaths to determine why they happened and how they could have been avoided.

All based on the realization that even one fatality is one too many.

About time.

Or course, there’s more to the plan. As Streetsblog put it,

There’s plenty more in the plan that Streetsblog readers will love. We can’t get to all of it in this short article, but the plan includes: neighborhood traffic calming, bike share, car share, dedicated bus lanes, an improved bikeway network, transportation demand management, reducing disabled parking placard abuse, and plenty more.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Eric Bruins calls it “an ambitious yet achievable framework for the department over the next three years of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s term” and commends “LADOT’s new mission [which] prioritizes safe and accessible options for Angelenos of all ages and abilities, no matter their chosen mode of transportation.”

Then again, as bold as the plan is, it’s doomed to failure as long as individual councilmembers such as Koretz, LaBonge and Cedillo can opt out of already approved safety plans to ensure the streets in their districts remain dangerously auto-focused.

In other words is, we have to find a way to protect our nascent Vision Zero from elected officials with zero.

Vision, that is.

Two year sentence in Dotson case, Brown yields his veto pen in support of hit-and-run, dooring caught on video

Just a quick update today, since I’m having some major computer problems. Assuming I get things straightened out, I should be back Saturday night with some Weekend Links. If not, you may not hear from me for awhile until I can get my laptop fixed.

Keep your fingers crossed. 

Update: The jury is still out. Reinstalling the OS may have solved the problem. Or not.

……..

First up, in case you missed it, the driver who killed postal worker Jesse Dotson as he rode his bike to work in Gardena last year has been officially sentenced to two years in prison.

Twenty-four year old Vanessa Yanez, the daughter of a veteran LAPD sergeant, was behind the wheel when she struck Dotson’s bike and fled the scene, leaving him lying on the street; he died in a hospital three days later.

After running Dotson down, Yanez drove to a nightclub to meet a friend before reporting her car stolen the next day in an attempt to cover-up the crime.

The sentence was a given, having been worked out in a plea deal last month.

It’s not enough. The meagre sentence reflects the lack of seriousness with which our society takes traffic crimes, even when they kill.

And even when drivers try to cover up their crimes.

She should have faced a murder charge on the assumption that Dotson might have been saved if he’d gotten emergency care sooner.

But given the lax hit-and-run laws and weak penalties currently on the books, it’s probably the best we could have hoped for.

……..

Speaking of lax hit-and-run laws, there is one person who doesn’t seem to think it’s a problem.

And unfortunately for all of us, he’s the governor of our state.

Three-term Governor Jerry Brown vetoed AB 2337 on Thursday; the bill would have ensured that a hit-and-run driver would lose his or her license for two years if they injured someone.

The only governor in the US to veto a three-foot passing two times, before finally signing it last year, Brown wrote in his veto message (pdf) that penalties for hit-and-run are already stiff enough.

Evidently, he’s the only person in the state who still has no idea hit-and-run has reached epidemic proportions. If the penalties really were strict enough, most drivers would stop at the scene and render aid to their victims, as the law requires.

And quite frankly, a two year suspension for leaving another human being bleeding in the streets isn’t nearly strong enough. Anyone who lacks the basic human decency to obey the most basic requirement of the law has shown that they are undeserving of the privilege — not the right — to drive.

Our governor clearly doesn’t get that.

Instead of a mere two-year suspension, a hit-and-run driver should face lifetime revocation of their license.

Instead, Brown is fighting to keep the most dangerous and callous drivers on the streets.

Thanks, Jerry. No, really, we owe you one.

Meanwhile, Calbike is calling for everyone to contact the governor to demand that he sign AB 1532, which would increase the fines for hit-and-run — though not the prison sentences — to match those for drunk driving, in order to reduce the incentive for drivers who have ben drinking to flee the scene.

And it would ensure that hit-and-run drivers would lose their licenses for a minimum of six months — regardless of whether anyone was injured.

Given that Brown has already expressed his opinion that penalties for the crime are high enough, it’s very questionable whether he’ll sign this one.

If not, the blood of every future hit-and-run victim will be on his hands.

……..

One of the best jobs in bike advocacy just became available.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is looking for a new Executive Director to replace Jen Klausner, who is stepping down after nearly a decade of successfully leading the organization.

Under her stewardship, the LACBC has grown to become a leading voice for Southern California bicyclists, and one of the most influential bike advocacy groups in the US.

The organization has had an exceptional track record in recent years, from nurturing CicLAvia in its earliest stages to developing award-winning programs like City of Lights. They were a driving force behind the initial Give Me 3 efforts that recently became California’s new three-foot passing law, and the key backer of the cyclist anti-harassment ordinance that is being copied across the nation.

In just a few short years, they’ve helped turn one of the nation’s most car-centric cities into a certified bike-friendly community. And they were one of the first organizations to reach out to underserved ethnic and economic communities, and to push for cycling infrastructure in less affluent areas — not because that’s where their members are, but simply because it was the right thing to do.

Now they’re looking for a superstar capable of leading the LACBC to the next level and building it into one of the nation’s pre-eminent bicycle advocacy organizations.

Maybe it’s you. Or someone you know, anyway.

……..

Recently we mentioned that the Santa Monica Bike Center had been named the area’s only Platinum level Bicycle Friendly Business by the League of American Bicyclists.

But dig a little deeper into the list of honored businesses (pdf), and you’ll find Santa Monica marketing communications agency Phelps.

The agency was honored by the Bike League for amenities including on-site showers, secure bike parking and financial incentives for bike commuters.

It’s also home to WesHigh, whose YouTube videos from his 15-mile commute from Silver Lake to Santa Monica have often been featured here.

In celebration of the honor, the agency created this infographic encouraging their employees to ride.

And maybe even you.

Phelps-Bike-InfoGraphic

……..

Might as well buy a used bike off Craigslist. After all, it’s probably your bike, anyway.

……..

Finally, I was forwarded this security cam footage showing a dooring that occurred in Burbank recently.

The shocking thing is just how quickly it happens, and how little time the rider has to react.

Fortunately, I’m told the rider was okay; his bike, maybe not so much.

And just to be clear, drivers are required to ensure that it’s safe to open their car door without interfering with the operation of other road users (CVC 22517).

So unless you’re doing something stupid, like riding the wrong way or without lights after dark, the driver is almost always at fault.

……..

Don’t miss this weekend’s most exciting bike action — the Lucha Libre-themed HP Gran Prix from 5 to 9 pm tonight in Huntington Beach.

HPimage004

 

(Late) Morning Links: The OC Register says hell no to Give Me 3, and the New York bikelash beat goes on

Leave it to the Orange County Register to get it wrong.

The historically conservative paper has been, if not a supporter of bicycling, a fair voice in reporting on bicycling issues behind the Orange Curtain. And they’ve largely lifted their paywall when it comes to reporting on bicycling collisions, allowing subscribers and casual readers alike to get the details we need to stay safe and informed.

But evidently, AB 1371, the state’s new three-foot law, went about a yard beyond their comfort zone.

In a remarkably knee-jerk auto-centric editorial, the paper can’t conceive of how any driver could manage to give a rider a three-foot buffer without creating a calamitous situation.

Never mind that the Orange County is famous — some might say notorious — for its wide, highway-like streets that leave plenty of room to pass without even slowing down.

Or that drivers have always been required to pass cyclists at a safe distance. Which they evidently would define as anything that does not actually cause contact with the bike or its rider.

Sort of like a lot of drivers in the county, from what I’m told.

And instead of expecting drivers to operate their vehicles safely and simply change lanes to pass a bike rider, they trot out the usual tired clichés about scofflaw cyclists — as if the bad behavior of a few riders justifies driving dangerously around them or anyone else.

Nor can they conceive of bikes as a solution to the area’s transportation ills. Even though many riders — undoubtedly including a number of their readers — already ride to work, school and shopping on a regular basis.

To them, bicycling is simply a recreational activity that interferes with the region’s vital transportation needs.

“Drivers will figure it out,” editorialized the Los Angeles Times, but drivers shouldn’t have to choose between following the law and using the roads for the purpose for which they were intended.

The LA Times gets it.

The Register, on the other hand, could use a boost into the current century. And a lesson in exactly who and what our roads are intended for — which is moving people, goods and services.

Not cars.

Thanks to Frank Peters for the heads-up.

……..

HPimage001-650

……..

Meanwhile, OC cyclist Matt Kelley offers his own response to the Register’s misguided editorial.

Editor:  I agree that AB 1371 is a poorly written law. It is unenforceable; and vague, unenforceable laws create a societal ignorance and apathy toward the law. 

And I can’t excuse poor cycling behavior by my fellow cyclists. But, an honest observer must also acknowledge the reasons for some of the behaviors that cyclists exhibit. Riding on the sidewalk is legal in California; except when specifically prohibited – which doesn’t excuse operating a bicycle in a dangerous fashion to pedestrians. Many cyclists ride on sidewalks because it is a rational response to the great many carelessly incompetent motorists that endanger cyclists. Cyclists riding on streets with on-street parking are directed to ride outside of the “door zone” in order to avoid dangerous accidents with careless motorists opening doors without checking for oncoming traffic.

While we’ve all seen examples of inconsiderate cycling, how many examples do we see from motorists?

As for the recreational nature of cycling – does the Editor then assert that all of the cars driving down PCH or Santiago Canyon Rd. on Saturday are engaged in “vital transportation?”

Laws like AB1371 are unnecessary if all road users are acknowledged as being legitimate users of a roadway – and in fact that is the crucial question; who are the roads for?  And if the answer is for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, why is our infrastructure designed and built in so many cases only for the safe use by cars?

……..

 

The East Coast bikelash beat goes on in the wake of last week’s Central Park collision that resulted in the death of a pedestrian.

A writer for the New Yorker bemoans the self-righteousness of the city’s overly aggressive scofflaw cyclists — except for him, of course — while recalling that time he was hit by a bike.

In 2003.

And in what may or may not be satire, a DC writer calls for bikes to be banned entirely, claiming they maim, maul and kill countless innocent people. Although it does contain the following extremely cutting line:

All my bikes combined have killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy’s car.

Meanwhile, a more rational writer says bad bicyclist behavior may be memorable, in part because it’s rare.

The biker who flips the bird is held up as an example; the queue waiting at the light is not.

……..

Polaroid jumps into the action cam market with a cute little cube. It may not offer the picture quality of a GoPro, but at $99, it opens the door to capturing their rides for many more people. And offers the insurance every rider needs against anti-bike bias to prove what really happened in any collision or traffic dispute.

……..

Local

Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s staff presents their alternative (pdf) to the planned, approved and funded road diet and bike lanes on North Figueroa at the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council’s Ad Hoc Transportation Committee on Thursday.

Streetsblog examines the latest census data on bike commuting in Los Angeles, which has a 1.2% mode share — a 33% increase over 2010. I’m not a fan of census data, though, as it fails to count the many people who use their bikes for transportation, but not riding to work; for instance, I work at home, but regularly ride my bike to meetings and errands.

Streetsblog and Santa Monica Next follow up on their interview with Sheila Kuehl by talking to her competition for County Supervisor, Bobby Shriver, who says he’s a bicyclist himself.

 

State

The US Department of Transportation will issue their own manual on how to build protected bikeways; unfortunately, a narrowly written new law permitting protected bikeways in California will prohibit its use unless it’s adopted by Caltrans or NACTO.

Turns out Beyoncé isn’t the only performer who bikes to her shows, as Katy Perry tweets that she rode 22 miles from Palo Alto to last night’s performance in San Jose.

Caught on video: A cyclist takes to San Francisco’s heavily trafficked Bay Bridge. And yes, bikes are banned from the bridge, other than a separated bikeway that only goes part way.

 

National

REI becomes the exclusive US retailer for the German Ghost bicycle brand — neglecting that ghost bikes mean something very different here. And good luck defending that copyright.

Grist offers advice on what to do if you’re hit by a car; you can find my advice here.

Adventure Cycling lists this year’s favorite bicycle touring blogs.

A new study says users of active transportation — aka bicyclists and pedestrians — are the happiest commuters. But you knew that, right?

A major flap in the world of bike journalism, as the Bikerumor website is accused of plagiarism. And not for the first time.

The five best fall bike rides in Colorado; I’ve done both the Cache la Poudre and Peak to Peak rides many times, back in the days when a motorist was more likely to give you a friendly wave than run you off the road.

American cycling legend Dale Stetina is still struggling to recover from the near collision that almost killed him, as the Colorado driver responsible enters a guilty plea.

Once again, we send a bike riding visitor to the US back to his home country to recover; this time it’s a deaf and blind cyclist from Norway who was injured in a collision while riding tandem in Iowa.

Bicycling looks at the world’s first underground mountain bike park in Louisville, KY.

 

International

Around the world in 365 days and 11,200 miles by bike.

Even stunt bike star Danny MacAskill is the victim of a bike thief when his is stolen in Glasgow.

Shimano agrees to work for bike advocacy in Europe; every bike company should support advocacy efforts wherever they do business.

A week after Jens Voigt set a new hour record, Bradley Wiggins announced plans to go after it as well.

 

Finally…

A poster for a class on how to steal bikes actually leads to a vasectomy clinic; no, I don’t get it either. Following up on a recent item, the Bieb has reportedly given up drinking and partying for bicycling, tennis and clean living. Yeah, I’m not holding my breath.

And Budweiser offers a surprisingly subtle, but hard-hitting call to avoid drunk driving.

Thanks to David Wolfberg for his generous contribution to support BikinginLA; his gift came as a very pleasant birthday surprise. 

L’shanah tovah!

 

 

Morning Links: Protected bike lanes are now legal; WeHo considers removing crosswalks to improve ped safety

It’s perfect bike weather in LA.

And the tourists are gone, most of them, anyway. Which means it’s relatively safe to return to our usually over-congested bike paths.

So tell your boss you’re coming down with a bad case of bike flu. And hit the road to show your bike some much needed love for a few hours.

Work will wait.

And so will today’s post. I promise we’ll still be here when you get back.

As for my bike, it’s still sitting in the corner of my office feeling neglected, waiting sadly for the day I can get back on it.

And so am I.

……..

Governor Brown signed two new bike bills, one permitting protected bikeways — which are currently considered experimental under state law — and another allowing voters to add a $5 fee to car registration on a local basis to fund bike infrastructure.

AB 1193 directs Caltrans to develop standards for protected bike lanes, while at the same time allowing cities to use guidelines included in the NACTO guide, rather than rely on Caltrans, which tends to be overly conservative and decades behind the times.

SB 1183 allows local governments to impose an additional $5 fee on car registrations to fund bicycle networks. However, it requires approval by a two-thirds majority. And getting two-thirds of voters, almost all of whom are drivers, to tax themselves to pay for bike lanes seems pretty damned unlikely.

……..

Under the heading of they just don’t get it, West Hollywood authorities consider removing crosswalks and increasing traffic speeds to improve pedestrian safety. No, really.

Maybe someone can explain it to them.

……..

Very sad news from Portland, as Kerry Kunsman, a League Cycling Instructor and board member of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, is critically injured in a rear-end collision while on border to border bike ride. The SDCBC asks for your prayers for his recovery from a severe brain injury.

Update: The news gets even sadder, as I’m told Kerry Kunsman passed away this morning. My deepest sympathy and prayers for him and for all his family and friends.  

………

According to the New York Post, bikes kill; a bike-hating writer for the paper calls even average cyclists assassins on wheels — neglecting the fact that cars kill roughly 5,000 times more people than the average of six people killed in collisions with bicycles in the US each year.

Meanwhile, the paper is still raging over the recent collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian, who sadly passed away over the weekend.

……..

Bike racing’s governing body will try out on-bike cameras and real-time GPS positioning at this week’s road cycling world championships.

BMC wins the men’s time trial at the world championships; Teejay van Garderen says it’s the highlight of his young career. Specialized-Lululemon takes the women’s title for the third year in a row.

And pro cycling’s God of Thunder calls is a career.

……..

Local

Hats off to the LACBC, which filed a public records request with the LA County DA’s office for information on the Milt Olin case.

Bicyclists respond to the anti-bike letters in the LA Times. Meanwhile, Walk Bike Burbank responds to anti-bike letters in the Burbank paper.

A Glendale letter writer says bicyclists should pay a “fairness fee,” failing to realize that cyclists and other non-drivers subsidize our streets for the benefit of motorists; what would be fair is giving every bicyclist, pedestrian and transit user a refund on the portion of their taxes spent on roadwork.

 

State

Orange County opens another two-mile segment of the planed OC Loop, which will eventually create a continuous 66 mile bikeway through the county.

A Fountain Valley woman barely avoids falling debris from a crippled airliner as she rode along the bike path in Huntington Beach.

A helmetless San Diego area cyclist suffers a fractured skull in a solo fall. This is one of the rare instances when whether the victim wore a helmet is actually worth reporting, since relatively slow speed falls are exactly what bike helmets are designed to protect against.

Yes, you’re required to pull over when five or more vehicles back up behind you and are unable to pass, just like any other slow moving vehicle. But only when it’s safe and there’s space to do so.

 

National

Elly Blue looks at the future of bicycling and how to ensure everyone has a seat at the table. Or on a bike, anyway. Which brings us to the good, the bad and the ugly of marketing bicycling to women.

Bicycling offers the 10-best car-free bike paths in the US, and calls the newly combined Bike Index and National Stolen Bike Registry the most powerful tool to fight bike theft.

A survivor of the horrific 1970 plane crash that killed most of the Wichita State University football team plans to ride from the school’s football stadium to the site of the crash in Colorado.

If you’re going to steal a bike, probably not the best choice to snatch one from a San Antonio bike cop. Or one in Zimbabwe for that matter — especially not if you’re a fellow cop.

Delaware is the nation’s second most dangerous state for cyclists on a per capita basis.

What will it take to make Macon GA safe for cyclists and pedestrians?

 

International

A shift to bicycling, walking and transit could save 1.4 million lives by 2050; Hamburg Germany plans to go car-free in 20 years; could other cities follow suit?

The oldest Tour de France stage winner in the post-war era passed away in Belgium on Saturday at age 92, 51 years after he won he race’s ninth stage.

An Aussie take on exploring The Hague by bike.

Explore Israeli history by bike. Though you might want to wait until things settle down just a tad.

British bike advocacy group Sustrans applauds an Australian state’s consideration of bike safety reforms. But why does even a bike website think the Idaho stop law is radical?

 

Finally…

As if cyclists didn’t have a bad enough reputation, are we ready for the Bieb on the bike? For God’s sake, someone buy that boy a belt, already.

And caught on video: a Russian bike rider barely avoids becoming collateral damage in a traffic collision — twice.

 

 

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