Archive for Advocacy & Politics

An open letter to the LA City Council in support of the Mobility Plan 2035

Dear Councilmember Ryu and Honorable Councilmembers,

As a resident of the 4th Council District, and someone who walks, bikes, drives and uses transit throughout the City of Los Angeles, I strongly urge you to support passage of the Mobility Plan 2035 to increase safety on our streets, while encouraging alternative transportation, increasing livability and creating a more sustainable future for our city.

It is vital that we have a well-connected bicycle network, including protected bike lanes, bike friendly streets and other safety enhancements, in all parts of the city to encourage people to leave their cars at home and embrace alternative transportation methods to improve the health of both our city and its residents. Bike lanes have been repeatedly shown to reduce injury collisions for all road users by as much as 50% — protected bike lanes by up to 90% — while improving the livability and health of neighborhoods and commercial corridors, resulting in increased property values, commercial occupancy and business receipts.

Our city’s current reliance on automotive transportation is clearly unsustainable. Our streets are already at or near capacity, with little or no room to expand; even where expansion is possible, increasing capacity will only increase demand. We have no choice but to provide safe, viable and inviting alternatives to help remove some of those cars from the roads. It only takes a small reduction in traffic volume to create a significant reduction in traffic congestion.

There are currently no safe bike routes in or out of my neighborhood in Hollywood west of La Brea, with few bike lanes and only sharrows on a handful of streets, most of which are too heavily travelled by motor vehicles to accommodate the overwhelming majority of people on bicycles, not to mention the 65% of people who say they would like to bike more if they had safer alternatives. We desperately need both the east/west and north/south bike lanes contained in the plan to encourage people to commute to work and school, as well as ride to shopping or family recreation. And I need them for my own personal safety; even as an experienced bicyclist, I must ride in fear anytime I leave my home on my bicycle, and take extraordinary steps to ensure I’m seen by motorists, even in broad daylight.

I am also concerned by the unprecedented recommendation to remove bike lanes on Westwood Blvd from the Mobility Plan — after they were unanimously approved by a vote of the city council as part of the 2010 Bike Plan, which has been subsumed into the Mobility Plan, and which was part of a long public process leading to its approval. Westwood is one of the city’s most dangerous streets for people riding bikes, with over eight times as many bike-involved collisions as on similar streets in Los Angeles. Westwood is already heavily used as a commuter route by UCLA students, faculty and employees, as well as people who work along the boulevard and on the Wilshire corridor; this will only increase, perhaps dramatically, once the Westwood Expo Line station opens early next year. In addition, bike lanes could help revive the long declining commercial corridor along Westwood Blvd and bring more life to commercially failing Westwood Village.

I urge you to vote to adopt the Mobility Plan 2035 as written to ensure greater safety and livability for everyone who uses our streets.

Thank you for your consideration,

Ted Rogers

bikinginla.com

 

Morning Links: It’s Mobility Monday — contact your councilmember to support LA’s Mobility Plan as written

Today is Mobility Monday

A day designated to voice your support for the LA Mobility Plan 2035, which includes the hard fought bike plan passed unanimously by the city council in 2010. Yet that same plan is under attack by members of that same council, including some who voted for it just five years ago.

And yes, I’m looking at you, Paul Koretz.

We’ll let the LACBC explain, as I shamelessly lift from the coalition’s weekly newsletter.

Action Alert: Mobility Plan 2035 Goes to Committee On Tuesday and Needs Your Support

The long-awaited Mobility Plan 2035 is coming before a joint council committee hearing at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 4th at City Hall Room 340 (Council Chambers). In the past several weeks, opponents have launched baseless attacks on the Plan’s bicycle and transit networks, with particular vengeance against proposed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd connecting to UCLA. The campaign was hot enough to get picked up by the Los Angeles TimesKPCC’s Airtalk, and UCLA Green Commuter Blog.

As reported by the Times, Councilmember Paul Koretz opposes these critically needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd. Worse yet, he wants to remove them from the Mobility Plan, not just block the project from being installed. Such a move would be totally unprecedented and reverse nearly a decade’s worth of bicycle advocacy on the Westside.

The integrity of the Bicycle Plan itself is at stake. We need your help demonstrating the community’s strong support for a safer, more accessible streets in Los Angeles.

Take Action Now!

  1. Mark your calendar and come to the hearing at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 4th at L.A. City Hall Room 340 (Council Chambers)
  2. Email the council committee: use the sample email at la-bike.org/mobilityplan
  3. Join us for another #MobilityMondayLA day of online action this Monday. For more info, go to: la-bike.org/mobilityplan

Below you’ll find the email address, where available, and Twitter handles for each of the councilmembers; you should be able to contact the councilmembers without public email addressed through their webpages.

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Cyclists aren’t even safe from drivers on the race course, as yet another pro racer has been taken out by an official vehicle; Greg Van Avermaet had a 15-second lead on a solo breakaway when a race moto ran him down from behind.

A British rider is the only one who didn’t know he’d just won the biggest race of his career.

And cycling has lost the lead when it comes to doping.

………

Too much sad news from the world of cycling this weekend.

Ghana’s top cyclist was killed in a traffic collision while training. A 22-year old women’s racer died from an apparent embolism while on route to a Women’s World Cup race. And a Colorado mountain biker died following a crash near the finish line of a Crested Butte Enduro race.

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Local

Richard Risemberg complains about being unable to get a sinkhole fixed, in a bike lane that doesn’t connect to anything.

 

State

A man was found dead in an Anaheim alley with his bicycle around 4 am Sunday; no word on whether he was riding his bike or if it just happened to be nearby. Hopefully, we’ll get more details in the next few days.

Who says cyclists aren’t tough? A former Marine from Escondido who lost both legs and part of his brain in an Afghan explosion just finished a 3,000 mile handcycle trip across the US.

Marin County parks officials are being trained to use radar guns to catch speeding cyclists on fire roads, despite the lack of posted speed limits.

 

National

Spokane cops bust twelve bike thieves with the help of a bait bike. On the other hand, when Chico cyclists tried to same thing, no one took the bait.

Boulder CO motorists declare the “right sizing” of a city street to add buffers to existing bike lanes a failure in the first week, rather than wait to see if it actually works; the local paper explains what all the markings mean. Meanwhile, a law professor at the local university says buffered bike lanes cause car collisions and encourage law breaking by bike riders, resulting in traffic congestion that will increase noxious emissions and greenhouse gases. And evidently, will basically lead to the end of life as we know it.

A letter writer from Pueblo CO says they should rip out that city’s bike lanes before it becomes a laughing stock for visitors, since there’s not a single bike lane in the UK or the rest of Europe. No, really, that’s what he said.

A Houston lawyer bikes across the country just to talk to people and figure out what makes America tick.

Two Iowa reporters created the world’s largest bike tour in the 70s because they wanted to ride across the state, and have their newspaper pay for it.

A Kansas City paper says the city needs to move faster to finish promised bike lanes.

Boston encourages people to park for free, and pedal the last few miles to work.

When Bono honored the woman who came to his aid following his bicycling wipeout in Central Park, New York concert goers booed her off the stage.

Bikes not guns, as 50 Baltimore men ride across the city calling for an end to violence.

A Virginia advocacy group mails a users guide to local residents explaining how sharrows work, four years after they were installed and the city neglected to do it.

This is why you never say you’re not hurt following a collision, as a 14-year old New Orleans boy is hospitalized with a brain bleed days after he and a friend were hit by a cabdriver while riding their bikes.

 

International

A new movie looks at how bad planning is the real cause for the conflict between bikes and cars.

Other children pitch in to raise funds to buy a special bike for a four-year old boy with cerebral palsy in Ottawa, Canada.

London drivers have a meltdown when roads are closed for a cycling event.

An Irish paper catches 22 rule breaking bike riders in just half an hour. No word on how many motorists broke the law in the same period, though.

Bangladesh factory workers beat a man to death for allegedly stealing a bicycle.

A passing plumber with a second-hand defibrillator saves the life of an Aussie cyclist who was having a heart attack.

Instead of improving safety on Western Australia streets, government councils want to let people ride on the sidewalk.

China discovers randonneuring thanks to the efforts of a single cyclist.

 

Finally…

A style website explains how to make a bike your best fashion accessory, because how you look with it is far more important than where it can take you. But if you really want to make a statement, try riding a Big Wheel to the first day of an NFL training camp.

And an eight-year old boy completes his first triathlon, despite suffering from cerebral palsy.

Now then, what was your excuse?

Weekend Links: OC hit-and-run driver to face trial; parking meter bike racks approved for Westwood, but not lanes

Apparently, justice delayed is not justice denied after all.

At least not in Orange County.

Nearly two years ago, 19-year old Manuel Morales Rodriguez was his riding bike on Missile Way in Anaheim when he was struck by a semi-truck driven by 49-year old Filemon Reynaga as he was pulling out of a driveway.

Reynaga dragged Morales Rodriguez and his bike under his truck onto Orangethorpe Ave, leaving him lying in the street where he was struck by another vehicle. There’s no way to tell which one struck the fatal blow, but Morales Rodriguez might have had a chance at survival if Reynaga has stopped as the law, and human decency, dictate.

Reynaga is scheduled to go on trial Monday, charged with felony hit and run causing death and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. He faces up to four years if he’s convicted.

And the OC DA’s office has a good track record of getting convictions and serious jail time in traffic cases.

 

Filemon Reynaga trialThanks to OC cyclist and attorney Edward Rubinstein for the heads-up. That’s Rubinstein with an I, not an E, as I bone-headedly spelled it in an earlier post.

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Westwood Village points out that it’s technically illegal to lock a bike to a parking meter in Los Angeles, though the law is seldom enforced.

The reminder was made after the city council approved a motion to install bike racks on over 100 parking meters in the village, at the urging of Westside councilmember Paul Koretz. Never mind that they could have just changed the law to allow locking up to meters.

So evidently, Koretz supports bike parking in Westwood, just not safe ways to get there.

Be A Green Commuter looks at the needless controversy over bike lanes on Westwood Blvd through the eyes of UCLA students who have to ride it, dangerous or not. And describes the dispute as “a handful of anachronistic curmudgeons and an LA City Councilmember pitted against transportation experts, UCLA and many Westwood businesses.”

Meanwhile, Joel Epstein calls out Koretz for caving into the demands of “a handful of NIMBYs who haven’t gone out without their car since LA hosted the Olympics.”

And since he broached the subject, Forbes examines just how much NIMBYism costs us.

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On a related subject, the LA Mobility Plan is scheduled to come up before a joint session of the city council’s Transportation and Planning and Land Use Management committees on Tuesday.

Some of the bikeways, such as Westwood and North Figueroa, are under attack in an unprecedented attempt to remove them from the bike plan, which was already unanimously approved by the city council and incorporated into the Mobility Plan.

If approved bikeway plans that were developed as part of an extensive public process are allowed to be removed at the whim of individual councilmembers and others who failed to participate in the process, the whole thing becomes meaningless.

As a result, a coalition of advocacy groups have designated this Monday as Mobility Monday, urging you to contact your councilmembers to urge them to approve the plan as written.

You’ll find email addresses and a sample email at the link above.

And if you’re free on Tuesday afternoon, drop by City Hall to let them know how you really feel.

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Great news from the BMC racing team, as Taylor Phinney and Peter Stetina, both badly injured in horrific bike racing wrecks, will make their comebacks in next week’s Tour of Utah.

Maybe they’re onto something in the UK. Just a week after British rider Chris Froome won the Tour de France, a pair of Brit road riders take gold in the Special Olympics.

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Local

LADOT Bike Blog says corridors and plazas are the malls of the future. Like this car-free plaza that just opened in Pacoima, for instance.

CicLAvia presents a neighborhood guide to the Culver City Meets Venice open streets event coming up a just a week from Sunday. Hopefully, we’ll have the Militant Angeleno’s guide by then, too.

CiclaValley says LA’s first bike park could be coming to the Valley.

The LACBC’s monthly Sunday Funday ride takes a family friendly roll through Lakewood this Sunday, led by board president Steve Boyd.

 

State

San Diego’s new bikeshare program may be off to a bumpy start.

The chair of the San Diego Bicycle Advisory Committee explains how improving bicycling conditions will benefit the city and its residents.

The local paper suggests that giving 60 Coachella Valley kids refurbished bikes abandoned on the local bus system could lead to culture change.

Cyclelicious discusses public safety and bike commuting after an Antioch cyclist is mugged while riding home from work.

The San Francisco Police Department has officially revised their deadly driving campaign to target people walking and biking who, unlike dangerous drivers, pose little risk to others around them. Meanwhile, the SF Weekly looks at what happens when bike riders follow the letter of the law.

 

National

USA Today names the nation’s top 10 beachfront bike rides; our own Marvin Braude trail, stretching 22 miles from Palos Verdes to Pacific Palisades, tops the list.

A Portland paper offers advice for riding in a heat wave as Pacific Northwest cyclists face temperatures in the 100s.

Oddly, a bike helmet didn’t keep a Spokane cyclist from suffering a serious spinal injury in a solo fall; a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with medical expenses.

Bicycle Colorado says three is the magic number when it comes to traffic lanes and road diets.

Minnesota Public Radio asks what will it take to get you to put your damn phone down while driving, while Georgia cops pose as construction workers to nab texting drivers. Maybe the LAPD, LASD, and CHP et al could take a page from the Georgia playbook; thanks to F3nugr33k for the heads-up.

Bike commuting is up a whopping 400% in Pittsburgh, despite the usual arguments over bike lanes versus parking. Nice way to bury the lede, though.

Philly’s bikeshare system may take a back seat to His Holiness, even though the pope is a bike rider himself.

It looks like some of New York’s bike lanes are being allowed to fade to black.

 

International

People for Bikes says Canada is leaving the US in the dust when it comes to protected bike lanes; separated lanes helped Vancouver reach its goal of half of all trips being made by bike, foot or transit.

News is just coming out of a horrifying case of vigilante murder in Hamilton, Ontario, as a driver deliberately stalked and ran down a bike rider in the mistaken belief he was a pedophile; police still haven’t solved the case despite keeping a lid on it for two years.

Caught on video: A road raging British driver chases a bike rider after being called out for a close pass, and takes a tumble in the street.

Bicycling is going upscale in the UK as part of a luxury lifestyle. Try telling that to the people who rely on a bike for transportation instead of an expensive fashion accessory.

A Brit rider is fined the equivalent of nearly $1300 for riding off after plowing into a toddler. And deservedly so.

A government minister for the Isle of Man calls for the equivalent of a nearly five-foot passing law after a driver walks away with a suspended sentence for killing a cyclist.

More on Munich’s plans for a series of radschnellverbindungen, the equivalent of bike autobahns spreading across the city like a spider. No, really, look at the map.

A study from an Australian university identifies the most dangerous intersections for cyclists in Perth. No one knows the most dangerous intersections for bike riders in LA, because the city has never bothered to find out.

 

Finally…

A cyclist admits what so many drivers already think — we’re just here to fuck with them. A Chicago gas station owner would probably agree, as the bike-riding residents of the Wicker Park neighborhood force him out of business.

And maybe drones could be used to make sure you straighten up and ride right on your next group ride.

 

Morning Links: Good news on Mt. Hollywood Dr; Calabasas driver busted for DUI after injuring two cyclists

Good news regarding Mt. Hollywood Drive at the Griffith Park Advisory Board meeting Thursday night, as reader dangerd explains.

The board motion was passed for currently closed roads to remain closed to private cars as per the vision plan for Griffith Park.

Also Superintendent of Recreation and Parks Operations Joe Salaices stated officially to the board that the Department recommends keeping Mount Hollywood Drive closed also.

They also discussed but did not motion that they would like to find a way to have a shuttle service that would loop around the park on the open roads to places such as the zoo, observatory, Fernwood and Travel Town and possibly out to the local subway stations if they could in order to help mitigate traffic in the park (not on the closed roads). As most of the people visiting are tourists with a majority of them from outside the USA (Europeans, this was found out in the “study” when the road was opened) and as such are used to public transportation so they would be receptive to this kind of service.

Some board members mentioned also trying to guide the tourists to view the sign from the observatory instead of guiding them up the closed roads and trails as the observatory is where there are bathroom facilities etc.

Hopefully the City Council will take their recommendations.

Speaking of the City Council, or ex to be exact, Tom LaBonge stopped by and talked on end about a million of his ideas about the park but did state also that he was in favor of keeping the road closed also.

The Board is definitely headed in the right direction as far as the roads and traffic mitigation is concerned and should be commended for their work to make the park a better place with less traffic.

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Two cyclists were seriously injured when they were hit by a car on Mulholland Highway in Calabasas Thursday evening. The collision occurred just after 7 pm at the intersection with Old Topanga Canyon Road.

A street view shows bike lanes on Mulholland, with a 45 mph speed limit.

In a report that doesn’t appear to be online as of this writing, KNBC-4 reports that at least one of the victims became trapped under the car, and had to be extricated by emergency personnel.

The driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Update: Chris Willig sends word that the collision may have occurred southwest of Old Topanga Canyon, where there are no bike lanes.

image

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Romain Bardet soloed to victory in Thursday’s 18th stage of the Tour de France, as Chris Froome continues to cruise in the yellow jersey. Froome admits his rivals’ tactics are pushing him to the limit, even if he doesn’t seem to be breaking a sweat. Then again, maybe he did.

Teejay van Garderen says the hardest part of withdrawing from the Tour was looking his teammates in the eyes. One day after Teejay dropped out, fellow American Andrew Talansky leapt up to 12th; he has two more days in the Alps to make up over 16 minutes. It could happen, right?

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay looks at the seemingly endless rumors of motor doping, which Greg LeMond insists is already happening. Although that doesn’t include getting a tow from a support vehicle, even if Jakob Fuglsang did just get clipped by an official motorcycle.

And Ireland’s Nicholas Roche says pro cycling is cleaner than in Lance’s day. Which isn’t really saying much, is it? Most drug dens are cleaner than cycling used to be.

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Local

Metro decides that bikeshare interoperability is kind of important after all, but doesn’t commit to actually doing anything about it.

The inconvenience caused by tearing down the current 6th Street Viaduct may be worth it, as the replacement promises to have a protected bike lane.

In what reads like a Greek tragedy, Better Bike says say goodbye to bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd.

That stinky, often ugly flood control basin just off Washington Blvd by the bike path in Marina del Rey will finally get a much needed beautification makeover, including separate paths for cyclists and pedestrians.

The LA Times says you can fend off dementia by exercising, including riding your bike. After all, that same advice worked so well in helping me avoid diabetes, right?

Celebrate the first of LA’s planned Great Streets on the newly bicycle-friendly Reseda Blvd next Thursday.

 

State

San Diego has the nation’s eighth worst roads. Not surprisingly, LA streets are number two — in more ways than one.

BikeSD invites you on a conversationally paced 22-mile ride through San Diego’s Uptown and beach communities on the 1st.

Sometimes, you just can’t win. A Coronado senior citizen complains about bikes on the boardwalk, in the street, at the coffee shop and in the restrooms, as well as on bikeways that haven’t even been built yet.

A popular San Francisco bike route could get traffic circles instead of stop signs to calm motor vehicles without squeezing out bike riders.

 

National

The US Senate begins debate on the new transportation bill, which contains some good news for bike riders. The problem will be getting it past the rabidly anti-bike members of the House.

A new study says police crash report templates should be improved to collect better information from bicycle crashes. Something many of us have been long been advocating.

A writer for Slate says wait a minute, crashes really are accidents if they’re just the result of a momentary lapse in judgment. Sure, let’s go with that. No point in expecting people to actually pay attention in those big, dangerous machines.

An Oregon cyclist is suing the overly courteous driver who waived another motorist through to make a turn, directly into her bike.

A bike-riding Boise four-year old helps save a neighborhood home from fire.

The Department of DIY strikes again, as Michigan bike riders raise enough money to pay for their own four-foot wide bike lane.

New Jersey bicyclists call for a crackdown on double parking in bike lanes. Then again, you could substitute any other state in the Union and write the same story.

Queens NY is giving the Boulevard of Death a bike-friendly makeover.

It’s not always the pedestrians who get hurt in bike collisions; a New York salmon cyclist is critically injured when a man stepped into the street in front of him.

City Lab looks at what it’s really like to haul tourists around DC in a pedicab, while a DC writer says put the damn phone down when you ride.

 

International

I just can’t help being a fan of the Wheelies foldout tricycle mobile coffee bars, and evidently, I’m not alone; their latest version was 90% funded on Indiegogo after just 11 hours.

Caught on video: A Winnipeg cycling instructor gets Jerry Browned* by a honking bus driver passing on the wrong side.

In the last seven years, over half of all London bicycling deaths have involved large trucks; many, if not most, of those victims have been women. Meanwhile, hit-and-run is more than just an LA problem, as over 1000 London cyclists have been injured and two killed by fleeing drivers in just the last year alone.

Forget texting. One in five British drivers take selfies behind the wheel.

An Irish bike rider is fined for crashing his bike into the side of a car driven by his 75-year old parish priest. After all, a man of God couldn’t possibly have cut off the sidewalk-riding cyclist in the fog. Although I’d like to know how someone who’s just 23 could manage to rack up 30 previous traffic convictions.

Munich plans a network of 14 two-way, separated bike autobahns. Wouldn’t that be a radbahn?

 

Finally…

At least she managed to make it all the way across the country before her bike was stolen. If you’re going to bike under the influence, try not to ride into the side of a minivan; thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

And if you have to take a dump in the woods while riding your bike, try not to set the forest on fire.

 

*Passed at an unsafe distance, aka being buzzed. Named in honor of the California governor who twice vetoed safe passing legislation before finally signing a weakened three-foot passing law.

 

Morning Links: Killer OC hit-and-run driver jailed, Westwood Blvd bike lanes threatened, and Beverly Hills lanes fail

Justice came too late for another fallen OC rider on Thursday.

Forty-four year old Daniella Palacios was riding in Anaheim last November when she was hit by a truck driven by Junior Rigoberto Lopez. Lopez fled the scene, leaving the mother of eight to die in an Orange County Hospital.

He tried to hide the damage by fleeing to Mexico, where he had the truck repaired before returning to the US six weeks later.

It didn’t work; he was arrested after police examined the truck and discovered the repair work.

Lopez was sentenced to three years.

With credit for time served, he should be out in less than two. Probably far less.

In fact, he’s already eligible for parole.

But to the judge’s credit, parole was denied; according to the according to KNBC-4, the judge called Lopez’ actions “outrageous and nearly unforgivable.”

What do you mean, nearly?

Junior Lopez sentence

Thanks to Ed Rubinstein and an anonymous source for the heads-up.

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Both the LA Times and KPCC look at the needless controversy over bike lanes proposed for Westwood Blvd, which have so far been halted by councilmember Paul Koretz at the demand wealthy homeowners.

The homeowners cite safety concerns, fearing for the poor riders who could face harm from increased bus traffic, despite having their own lane which would keep them out of the way of buses. Unlike now, when riders are forced to share the same congested lanes with them.

Why is it that people who oppose improving safety for bike riders always seem to stress how concerned they are about the safety of bicyclists, while doing absolutely nothing about it?

And seriously, don’t read the comments to either of those pieces unless you want to lose all hope for the future of humanity.

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Speaking of needless battles, the fight over re-opening long-closed Mt. Hollywood Drive to motor vehicles at the resumes tonight at the meeting of the Griffith Park Advisory Board.

Homeowners in the wealthy Beachwood Canyon neighborhood, who evidently didn’t notice the Hollywood Sign when they moved in, are trying to turn their community into a virtual private enclave to keep tourists from besmirching their streets in an attempt to get selfies in front of the sign.

And they want the park to open the popular biking and hiking street to cars so those tourists can have a much less attractive view of the sign, at the expense of everyone else who uses the park.

………

Yet another failure of rationality in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills, as Better Bike’s Mark Elliot reports the city council voted not to include bike lanes on the soon-to-be-revamped Santa Monica Blvd.

This despite the fact that space for bike lanes will be available on almost the entire length of the boulevard, and require the loss of just a few feet of parkland in just one short section. And despite the fact that state law now calls for Complete Streets that meet the needs of all users, not just motor vehicles or over-privileged residents.

I’m old enough to remember a time when some towns still had signs warning minorities not to let the sun set on them inside the city limits.

That’s the same feeling I get from Beverly Hills.

They send a clear message that bikes, and their riders, are not welcome there, and they will do whatever it takes to run us out of town.

Although some of their elected leaders get it. Just not enough to make a difference.

Not surprising, Elliot also reports the city fails to address the safety of bicyclists in construction projects on the boulevard.

………

Albertor Contador insists the Tour de France is not over, despite Chris Froome’s overwhelming dominance.

One rider who won’t be challenging Froome is Teejay van Garderen, who was forced to abandon the race due to illness after struggling in Wednesday’s stage; he says he just wants to disappear after dropping out while still in third place.

Despite doping controversies, viewership of the Tour de France is up except in France; America’s only remaining TdF champ gets a warm embrace after returning to the race as a broadcaster.

The owner of the Tinkoff-Saxo team calls for a revolution in pro cycling.

Good news for Ivan Basso, whose successful surgery for testicular cancer means no further treatment is necessary.

And a Singapore cyclist competing in the South East Asian Games is under investigation for repeatedly slapping a teammate on a training ride.

………

Local

Streetsblog looks at multiple motions regarding bikeshare at today’s Metro meeting; Santa Monica’s system is scheduled for a limited opening in August, while Long Beach should open next year.

The East Side Riders fulfill a longtime dream by opening a bike co-op in Watts.

The LAPD is on the lookout for a pair of Brentwood bike thieves caught on camera stealing a bike from inside a building.

Bike LA’s battle with Hollywood over green bike lanes goes on… and on… as LA’s newly installed chief film liaison is working to find a compromise shade of green that will allow the city to finally put some paint on the streets; the city caved to filmmakers demands and stripped the paint off LA’s first green lane on Spring Street in DTLA.

 

State

Apparently having nothing better to do, the state legislature passes a bill requiring bike riders to pull over on narrow roads when five or more vehicles are following behind and unable to pass. Even though current law, which already applies to cyclists, already says exactly that.

BikeSD reports on a new study that concludes the cost of driving a car is six times the cost of riding a bike.

The next time someone says police never ticket bike riders, show them this: San Bernardino police ticketed 12 bicyclists and 31 pedestrians as part of a safety sting; not surprisingly, motorists still lead the way with 57 violations.

The weeklong Big Bear Cycling Festival kicks off this Saturday.

Sixty kids in Mecca — no, not the one in Saudi Arabia — get refurbished bikes, locks and helmets courtesy of a local transit agency.

A pair of East Palo Alto brothers, one on a bike and the other on a skateboard, help subdue a man accused of attacking an 89-year old priest.

San Francisco settles with a father who was choked by police for riding a bike with his 10-month old son in a baby carrier, but without a baby helmet. No, really.

Alameda cyclists will ride Sunday to remember a popular bike shop owner who lost his battle with cancer earlier this month.

The idiotic Orinda bike lane that places riders in the path of high speed traffic entering a freeway on double onramps is due for a safety makeover; the city’s chief engineer admits the current design is “not ideal.” A little green paint is not going to solve the problem, or encourage riders to risk their lives there.

The death of a bike rider in St. Helena last May is blamed on alcohol, even though the victim’s rental fixie had a substandard brake; the Ohio woman, who was celebrating her first anniversary, had a BAC of .18 when she rode into the side of a slow moving truck.

 

National

Outside Magazine sums up the HBO Real Sports look at the state of bicycling in the US, for those without premium cable.

AT&T offers their latest public service ad showing the devastating consequences of texting while driving.

Portland advocates say an increase in reported bike thefts means more people are trying to get them back instead of just giving up.

An Arizona driver gets nine years for killing a cyclist while high on synthetic marijuana; the victim’s friends complain the sentence wasn’t stiff enough. California cyclists are just happy to see DUI drivers get any jail time.

Colorado cyclists call a bizarrely designed bike lane a death trap. This is what happens when people who apparently don’t ride bikes design bicycling infrastructure.

Note to business owners fighting bike lanes — you’re shooting yourself in the foot. When Denver installed bike lanes on a pair of streets downtown, retail sales skyrocketed.

The Slow Roll movement spreads to Minneapolis, encouraging leisurely rides through neighborhoods where bicycling is less popular. Which is their overly polite way of saying lower-income and minority areas.

Vermont police somehow conclude a bike rider made an abrupt U-turn just to collide head-on with the wife of a cop, who was found not at fault even though she was driving drunk while high on Xanax.

A 560-pound man is riding across the country to lose weight; he’ll be getting a new donated bike after he was stranded in Rhode Island when his broke.

A bike rider is a hero after grabbing a woman’s ankle to keep her from jumping off New York’s George Washington Bridge. But bikes are the problem, right?

A seven-month pregnant woman was stabbed in the shoulder while riding her bike home from work in DC.

An Atlanta man wasn’t even safe from a hit-and-run driver while walking his bike on the damn sidewalk.

 

International

The family of a fallen Saskatchewan bike rider call her death senseless after her bike was clipped by a passing delivery truck. Actually, all traffic deaths are senseless; it’s long past time we stopped tolerating them.

Instead of fixing a dangerous railroad crossing, British authorities urge cyclists to be careful when riding near it.

More Brit women are taking up bicycling despite safety fears. Evidently, it’s okay to kill a cyclist there due to a momentary lapse in concentration.

Irish police are accused of misleading cyclists into thinking riders without helmets and hi-viz are subject to on-the-spot fines.

A Turkish adventurer has ridden through 19 countries on his bike, as well as a failed attempt to ride to the North Pole; however, authorities wouldn’t let him pedal up Mt. Everest.

 

Finally…

A Michigan SUV driver somehow couldn’t avoid hitting a cyclist, or an elementary school. Drivers parking in a bike lane is one thing; placing a permanent bus stop in one is another.

And if you’re going to threaten to permanently injure the person who stole your bike, it helps if you spell it right.

………

Thanks to everyone who expressed concern about the Corgi.

Three days, two vet visits and several hundred dollars later, we learned that she has Giardia, most likely as a result of all the irresponsible dog owners who don’t clean up after their pets around here.

The good news is, she should be back to her feisty self in a week or so.

Sienna-Foot-Back

Morning Links: Glendora cyclists buzzed by CHP officer; LA Times maps the most dangerous intersection

I received the following email from cyclist Ken Adams Sunday night, relating a dangerous encounter with a CHP officer who buzzed their bikes, then came back to argue his apparent misunderstanding of California bike law.

Re: Encounter with Maniac CHP Officer While Cycling on Glendora Mountain Road / Glendora Ridge Road

I’m trying to spread the word of my experience yesterday as far and wide as possible, because it was quite unbelievable and extremely dangerous.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the roads I mentioned, but they are very popular cycling routes, especially for Saturday morning rides.  I was riding with a friend, starting from his house in Glendora.  There was another training ride with about 9 people starting from a coffee shop in Glendora that I was aware of because of an event invite on Facebook.

We started our ride just after 8 am.  We started the climb on GMR at about 8:15. At approximately 8:30, about 2-3 miles North of Sierra Madre, a CHP SUV passed us dangerously close – probably about 2 feet away. Neither of us gave the incident much thought, as it happens frequently, although it is unexpected from law enforcement.  A few miles later, the same CHP vehicle was stopped and the officer had exited the vehicle.  He was standing on the shoulder and commented something to the effect “watch out, there are cars coming up”.  We turned and looked, but saw nothing.  We assumed he was referring to some type of event that was occurring, so we were extra vigilant.  We never saw any unusual vehicle traffic – in fact, traffic was unusually light for a weekend.

We continued riding, past East Fork road, where GMR becomes GRR.  Approximately 13 miles from the previous incident, the same CHP SUV passed us again, this time much more closely.  He was no more than 1 – 1.5 feet from us.  At that point, the road was straight, there were clear sight lines for at least ½ mile, no oncoming traffic and we were riding single file on the white line.  There are also no lane demarcation lines painted on the road, as the road is less than 2 lanes wide at that point.

We both raised our arms as he passed in a “what the heck” gesture.  The officer continued down the road, but we could see that in the distance he was turning around.  My friend started recording as he returned.  I raised my arm again in a “what the heck” gesture and the officer slowed and started lowering his window.  We stopped our bikes and an animated conversation ensued.  I have included a link to that video on my FB page:

https://www.facebook.com/ken.adams.9484/videos/1116460408367279/

Subsequent to this incident, we continued our ride.  We encountered additional riders and described our experience with the CHP SUV.  Incredibly, they told us they had experienced the same thing.  When I returned home, I went to the FB event page I mentioned earlier and posted about my experience, asking if anyone else on that ride had experienced an issue with a CHP SUV.  I got a number of responses from cyclists who had either witnessed or experienced brushes from this same CHP officer.

It is my opinion that this officer had some type of agenda yesterday.  He either has some type of antipathy towards cyclists, was trying to prove a point, or was trying to provoke a confrontation that he hoped would escalate to the use of force.  Even in a best case scenario, as you can ascertain from viewing the video, he is woefully misinformed about cycling laws and vehicle interactions with cyclists.  Most troubling to me was his cavalier attitude about endangering my life and the life of my friend.  He seemed completely unconcerned, not to mention excessively arrogant.

I filed a complaint on the CHP website yesterday, but I hardly trust the CHP to police themselves with this matter.  In case you’d like to read the content of that complaint, here is what I wrote:

I was riding my bicycle on Glendora Mountain Road and Glendora Ridge Road on the morning of 7/11/2015. At approximately 8:30 am, on Glendora Mountain Road, about 2 miles north of Sierra Madre, a CHP SUV with license plate number 1365395 passed me and the cyclist with whom I was riding with significantly less than 3 feet (I’d estimate about 2 feet). We continued riding and at approximately 9:55 am, on Glendora Ridge Road, approximately 13 miles from the previous incident, the same CHP SUV passed us again, barely missing us, by approximately 1 foot. The officer continued on for some time, then turned around and returned. We flagged him down and had a conversation with him. We have a video of this interaction, which I would be happy to share with you. I would like to point out that Glendora Ridge Road is a very desolate spot with minimal vehicular traffic. The road is less than 2 lanes wide and has no lane demarcation lines painted on the road. At the point we were passed by the CHP vehicle, there was no oncoming traffic, the road was straight with clear sight lines for at least 1/4 – 1/2 mile and we were riding single file on the white line. During our conversation, the officer claimed that he must drive on the right half of the road and that he “cannot violate a law to follow a law” when asked about California’s 3-foot cycling law. He seemed completely unconcerned when I pointed out that he had just needlessly endangered my life. In the course of the rest of my ride and subsequently via social media, I learned that this same officer passed numerous other cyclists dangerously close during this same time period on the same stretch of road.

This officer endangered my life twice, the life of the person I was cycling with twice, at least 4 other cyclists that I’ve been in contact with and who knows how many others. I suspect this type of aggressive and unsafe driving behavior is not what you expect from your officers. This incident has significantly affected my trust in the professionalism of the CHP as an organization. Cycling on California’s roads is sufficiently dangerous without our law enforcement officers adding to the danger. I sincerely hope that this officer receives some additional training on correct and safe vehicular interaction with cyclists, because it is clear that he currently is lacking in this area.

I would very much like to get the dash cam video from his tour yesterday, as I’m sure it clearly shows his two assaults on us, as well as the numerous other assaults on other cyclists.

This officer is a menace to cyclists and needs to be dealt with, swiftly and harshly IMO.  It is bad enough when Joe Citizen behaves this way.  It is completely unacceptable when law enforcement does.

………

The LA Times crunches the numbers, and identifies LA County’s most dangerous intersections.

According to the story, just 1% of intersections account for 25% of pedestrian collisions; chances are, those same intersections are just as dangerous for people on bicycles. And bike lanes could be part of the solution, along with other traffic calming efforts.

They also report LA Mayor Eric Garcetti will announce a Vision Zero plan next month to eliminate traffic fatalities in the city within 10 years.

The question is whether the city is really willing to make the hard choices necessary to get there.

After all, they can’t even get bike lanes promised in the unanimously approved 2010 bike plan installed on Westwood, Lankershim and North Figueroa, thanks to roadblocks thrown up by a few councilmembers.

………

Chris Froome keeps the lead in the Tour de France, as his Team Sky finishes just one second behind BMC in the team time trial; the injury riddled Orica-GreenEdge team tanks it. Cycling Weekly offers five talking points following Sunday’s ninth stage.

Chris Froome continues to lead, but Teejay van Garderen is just 12 seconds behind.

The New York Times looks at the unexpected success of Eritrean riders at the Tour, while WaPo explains why it matters.

Mayuko Hagiwara becomes the first Japanese woman to win a stage at the Giro Rosa. Meanwhile, it looks like the Tour de France’s La Course stiffed some of the women competing in last years race out of their already ridiculously low prize money.

And US women sweep the bronze mountain biking medals in the Pan Am Games. Am I the only one who didn’t know the Pan Am Games were even going on right now?

………

Local

A teenage boy was shot and killed while riding his bike in the Florence neighborhood of South LA. Something that’s happening far too frequently these days.

Bike Metro posts a photo of what looks like secure bike parking at the Beverly Connection shopping center on La Cienega.

 

State

Another bike rider has been hit by a car in Newport Beach; fortunately, he’s in stable condition. Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

The Orange County Bicycle Coalition urges you to sign a petition to preserve plans for a Class 1 bike trail through Peters Canyon.

CSU Fullerton police recover three stolen bikes off campus.

A San Diego cyclist’s life was changed forever by the alleged stoned driver who plowed into a group of riders on Fiesta Island last year.

Oceanside’s Strand will be widened, including a shoulder for cyclists and pedestrians, only 35 years after it was damaged in a storm.

San Francisco’s Sunday Streets visits some of the city’s sketchier neighborhoods in the Tenderloin.

A Sacramento bike advocate says the city is lagging behind in planning for bicycles.

A distracted driver killed a Sacramento father and critically injured his eight-year old son as they rode their bikes; the 25-year old driver was reading a text message when he drove into the bike lane they were in. Tragically, the victims were refugees from war-torn Afghanistan, and had only been in the city for a few weeks.

No Trespassing signs go up on a Modesto bike and pedestrian trail, presumably by mistake.

 

National

Redbook suggests riding a bike together could make you fall in love all over again.

My hometown considers joining other Colorado city’s in embracing bikeshare; the city already enjoys a successful bike lending library.

Someone apparently deliberately rigged a truck to crash into an Oklahoma bike shop.

Tragic news from Minnesota, as a small town ambulance crew responds to a bicycling collision, and finds their own boss fatally injured.

Fifteen-hundred cyclists ride 160 miles across the state of Indiana.

Connecticut bike riders no longer have to ride as far to the right as practicable, only as far to the right as they deem safe. We so need that wording change here.

New York is working to improve safety by reducing left turns. Banning left turns on busy streets would improve safety in LA, while allowing the near-ubiquitous center turn lanes to be reconfigured to make space for bike lanes. And yes, it is possible to avoid a left turn and still get where you’re going by just driving around the block.

The NYPD has issued a BOLO Alert for the hit-and-run bike rider who critically injured pedestrian last month.

 

International

A Winnipeg paper calls for approval of the city’s proposed bike and walking plan, despite the overt objections of some city councilors.

Londoners react to the latest subway strike by doubling usage of the city’s bikeshare system.

A new Brit bike satnav system attaches to your handlebars and lights up to indicate where to turn.

Once again, UK police stop a “silly cyclist” from riding on a major highway.

A British soldier tracks down the thief selling his stolen bike on Ebay, and finds the trail leads to a fellow soldier in his own barracks. Oops.

No offense, but who would confront 25 angry teenagers to stop a bike-jacking? Props to this British man for trying, but seriously, when you’re outnumbered 25 to three, just let the damn bike go, already.

Copenhagen may be a bicycling paradise, but it’s also a popular spot for bike thieves; a bike shop owner was arrested after being caught with hundreds of hot bikes.

Israel will construct a nearly 100 mile bicycling network, including 10 cycling expressways.

A writer for the New York Times gets busted for borrowing a bike from Japan’s unofficial bikeshare.

Bangkok officials clean up the streets to prepare for a bike event in honor of the queen’s birthday.

 

Finally…

Talk about crappy customer service; a Utah bike shop employee decks a deer that wandered into the shop. You can get Audi’s new limited edition racing bike, as long as you’re willing to travel to Dubai. And not a deer, presumably.

And a Kiwi website offers advice on how to deal with the bike haters on social media.

 

Morning Links: LA advocates sue over Glendale-Hyperion redesign; bike lanes and bikeshare dominate the news

For the first time in memory, LA bike and pedestrian advocates are taking to the courts.

According to LA Streetsblog, a coalition calling for Safe Streets 4 All has filed a lawsuit over the city council’s rushed vote to approve the ill-conceived and unsafe design for the coming rebuild of the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge.

The suit challenges the city’s declaration that the removal of a sidewalk from one side of the bridge would have no impact on the environment or public safety — even though it would force pedestrians to a) take an unsafe half-mile detour to use the sidewalk on the opposite side, b) walk in the bike lane, forcing riders out into traffic, or c) just give up and drive.

While LA is already overly litigious, with self-described community groups filing suit at the drop of a hat to halt any project that threatens their perceived interests or keep tourists from besmirching their streets, this is one that is both necessary and predictable, given the council’s failure to live up to their own calls for a safer and more livable community.

Then again, the suit might also have focused on the council’s apparent violation of the Brown Act, as demonstrated by once again unanimously approving a controversial project with little public discussion.

Which, unless the councilmembers share a hive mind, raises the question of just where that discussion is taking place and why the public isn’t allowed to participate, as the law requires.

Maybe the next lawsuit should be over the ability of individual councilmembers to halt bike lanes on Westwood Blvd and North Figueroa, even though they were previously approved by the full council with a similar unanimous vote.

……..

There seems to be a common theme to today’s news.

Contra Costa County’s El Cerrito plans improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians, including bike boulevards. LA riders are still waiting for the first bike boulevard — aka bike friendly street — that actually goes somewhere. Anywhere.

A proposed Phoenix sales tax increase would fund an expansion of light rail, as well as over a thousand miles of new bike lanes.

Construction begins Monday on Boulder CO’s plan to right-size several major streets to make more room for bike lanes. Meanwhile, a DC-area street shows the long-term benefits of eliminating excess road capacity to make room for bikes and parking.

The Orlando Sentinel calls funding for bike trails the one bright spot in the state’s new budgets.

Looking north of the border, new protected bike lanes will open in Saskatoon next week.

Unfortunately, not all the work is going in the right direction, as Edmonton, Canada votes to undo a road diet and strip out a lightly used pair of bike lanes, much to the glee of a cranky local columnist.

……..

The other theme to today’s news is bikeshare, as the Times’ Laura Nelson explains the state of bikeshare in the LA area, and it’s ability to solve the first mile/last mile problem.

Boise’s new bikeshare system suffers growing pains.

Chicago’s Divvy bikeshare offers a $5 annual membership for low income users, saying Divvy is for Everyone. Something operators of the upcoming bikeshare systems in LA, Long Beach and Santa Monica should seriously consider, since not everyone can afford a high annual membership or rental fees.

Like bicycling in general, New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare faces a gender gap.

……..

Germany’s Tony Martin takes the yellow jersey with a solo win on the cobblestones in Tuesday’s stage of the Tour de France, while Andre Greipel takes stage five in another wet and crash-filled day.

Some of the leading competitors dealt with the cobbles by changing bikes, others with suspension systems. Am I the only one who thinks you should have to ride the whole race with the bike you started on?

A body-cam video captured by a team mechanic shows the chaos of Monday’s massive crash.

Does anyone really care who will be on what pro teams in 2016 when we’re still in the middle of this year’s racing season?

And with all the attention paid to the hour record lately, no one seems to have noticed there’s a women’s record, too.

……..

Local

The annual summer concert series at the Santa Monica Pier kicks off this Thursday with 80’s funkmeisters Morris Day and the Time. Along with free bike and skateboard valet.

CiclaValley lists 10 streets in the San Fernando Valley in need of a Complete Streets makeover. That may be possible now that Tom LaBonge isn’t in office anymore to block them. Although pseudo-environmentalist Paul Koretz still is.

 

State

Santa Maria-area bike thieves take advantage of the fireworks to stage Fourth of July break-ins in one Orcutt neighborhood.

NorCal’s Caltrain moves to make more room for bikes onboard. But you may have to hold it until you get off. And I don’t mean your bike.

A Calistoga cyclist is blamed for making an unsafe turn into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

 

National

People for Bikes asks bike lane designers to complete a short 15-minute survey.

A Portland bikemaker is building beautiful wooden bikes ready for the road. Or maybe you’d prefer this stylish three-speed roadster from New York.

Portlander Elly Blue’s latest Kickstarter project is a book of feminist zombie bike fiction. When the zombie apocalypse finally arrives, it will start with people on the same drugs I take at night for my neuropathy.

Sad news from Arizona, as a married couple have both died as a result of a collision last week; they owned a bike shop in Lake Havasu, and had won a number of cycling championships.

A Denver bicyclist asks for justice after a pickup driver accelerated over his bike and body to flee the scene.

A Denver man was riding to work when he saw the barrel of a gun emerge from a passing car moments before he was shot with a pellet gun.

Wyoming cyclists get a new three-foot passing law, but only if space exists and only if they’re riding legally. And even then, it’s only a $70 fine. Apparently it’s okay for a driver to Jerry Brown you if he thinks you shouldn’t be in the traffic lane.

Fort Worth’s bike-riding mayor leads a series of rolling town hall meetings every summer. LA Mayor Eric Garcetti agreed to meet and ride with cyclists as part of the LACBC’s candidate survey before he was elected. But to the best of my knowledge, no one has asked him to do it yet. Maybe it’s time we did.

Missouri celebrates the 25th anniversary of the 240-mile Katy trail, the nation’s longest rail-to-trail conversion.

An upstate New York public radio station catches up with the Bike and Build tour, as they ride across the country building homes for Habitat for Humanity.

 

International

The Calgary Stampede provides corrals for more than just horses this year. The horses probably don’t get valet service, either.

A London cyclist makes a lucky escape from a collision with a large truck; his bike didn’t fare as well.

A Brit bike rider receives a bottle of Prosecco as an apology after another rider locked his bike to hers. Then again, that’s also a common technique for bike thieves, who come back later to steal it. Locking to your bike that is, not leaving you sparkling wine.

The 2014 Tour de France’s Grand Départ has had lasting benefits for England’s Yorkshire region, financially as well as increasing ridership.

A British nurse leaves a note for the lowlife scumbags who stole her bike. Her words, not mine. Though I wouldn’t disagree.

 

Finally…

Bad enough to threaten someone with a gun, but what kind of schmuck abandons his bike in a ditch? Or throws it through a restaurant window to break in and drink Tabasco straight from the bottle?

And if you’re planning to fall off your bike, learn how to do it right.

 

Guest Post: The Benefits of a Bicycle for Urban Transport

Every now and then — okay, nearly every day — I get a request to write a guest post for this site.

Most turn out to be from marketers hoping to slip in a link to their client’s website. Which are promptly ignored.

But this week, we’ll feature three new guest posts; two from a long-time contributor, and one from a new one.

The first comes from Nik Donovic, who describes himself as a lifelong, if casual, cyclist and new-found fixie enthusiast with a passion for road safety — especially after a driver hit his dad a few months ago.

And yes, before you ask, his father is okay, though it was scary for both of them.

This may be preaching to the choir on here. But it’s worth reading.

……..

Remember your first bike and how exhilarated you felt when you were finally freed from the confines of the wobbly training wheels? Your first bike is memorable. The polished chrome that was almost blinding in the sun, the smooth curve of the banana seat, and the streamers that whipped around from the end of your handlebars as you rode fast and without a care in the world. Your bike was your main source of transportation from trips to the park, to school, and to your best friend’s house. Jump ahead 20 years and you consider yourself lucky if you’re able to hop on your bicycle to ride to the neighborhood coffee shop on a Saturday morning. Part-time bicycle riders are full of excuses as to why they “don’t have time” to ride: I’ve got groceries to pick up. I don’t have proper riding gear. I’m too tired. I can’t ride THAT far. It’s not safe. I would, but…

 

Are There Any Valid Excuses Not to Ride?

The reasons seems endless, but what’s the point of owning a bicycle if you aren’t going to ride? Sure, bicycling requires a time commitment, but so does sitting in your car while commuting to and from work. While a substantial amount of bicyclists are hitting the streets, more than a decade ago, the majority remains to be strictly recreational riders.

In a 2014 U.S. Bicycling Participation Benchmarking Report, commissioned by PeopleForBikes, 16,193 adults were surveyed on their bicycle usage. The results revealed that 54% of adults believe that bicycling is a convenient form of transportation, but 48% of adults don’t have access to a bicycle at home and 52% of adults fear being struck by vehicles. 46% of surveyed adults would ride a bicycle if motor vehicles and bicycles were physically separated. Finally, 70% of bicyclists only ride for recreation or leisure while 46% ride to travel to and from school or work.

Although the concerns are reasonable, bicycling is safer and more accessible than people may think. While it’s true that sharing the road with motorists can be dangerous (and a little scary), bicycling is often safer than driving. The National Safety Council reports that for every million cyclists in the US, about 16.5 die each year in comparison to the 19.9 motorist deaths each year.

In regards to the not having access to a bicycle at home, there are several great public bike sharing systems throughout the U.S. in cities like Minneapolis, Chicago, and San Francisco. Don’t have a bike share system in your town? Check out a local bike shop. You don’t need a top of the line, multiple geared bicycle to get from place to place. So, no more excuses. Just ride.

 

Urban Cycling Leads to Better Health

Maybe you’re only a “weekend rider” because you feel too tired or out of shape to ride a bicycle on a regular basis and maybe the “out of practice” aches and pains keep you from riding more regularly. However, like other forms of exercise, your body gets stronger and healthier with consistent movement. Sure, a sore rear end and tired legs may persist after your first few rides, but over time, you will forget that riding was ever a struggle. Unlike running and other sports, bicycling is a gentle form of exercise, putting less stress on your body and making it accessible to people of all ages and abilities. All the times that you ride, remember how good it feels after you hop off your bike? Your blood is pumping, your endorphins are high, and you might even say, “I can’t wait to ride again.” Don’t make bicycling an “every now and then”, but rather remember how good it feels to ride and use that as your motivation. From heart to lungs, there are so many health benefits related to bicycling.

In addition to all the physical and mental health benefits, a 2012 study conducted in Iowa revealed that bicycling can save a significant amount of money typically allocated to health care. When looking at statistics surrounding the cost of diabetes, breast/colorectal cancers, heart disease and stroke related treatments, recreational and commuter cyclists saved money by simply being more healthy. For instance, in Des Moines, savings from commuter cyclists includes $254,797 and in Johnson County, cyclists are estimated to save $1,018,347 in health care costs each year.

 

Don’t Add to the Urban Congestion

As a recreational bicyclist, you may stick to areas within your cities that have trails and other areas designated for bicyclists. While such areas provide a great opportunity to be “one with nature”, get exercise, and keep cyclists off the road, they aren’t as practical for commuting cyclists. As a commuter, you often need to ride side by side with other vehicles which can feel overwhelming, a little dangerous, and far from “taking your mind off of stress”.

Still, being a commuter cyclist doesn’t need to be stressful. A lot depends on space allocated for cyclists. As a commuter cyclist, you’re doing your part to reduce urban congestion, but you’re only really making a difference if there are bike lanes in place. In “bicycle friendly” cities like Minneapolis, traffic volume increased but was less congested when bicycles had separate lanes.

Here’s an example of bike lanes working correctly: in San Francisco, on busy Valencia Street, vehicle lanes were reduced from four to two and a center lane and two bike lanes were added. As a result, pedestrians were not only 36% safer, but there was a significant increase of bicycle riders by 140%. In the same report released by Smart Growth America, pedestrians and bicyclists combined (about half and half) have reduced congestion by about 30% in the nation’s 100 most congested cities. If bicycle lanes continue to pop up, we can expect the congestion to keep dropping.

 

Human and Physical Infrastructure for Cyclists

From Minneapolis, MN to Austin, TX, big cities are becoming more bicycle friendly, recognizing the importance of less traffic and better health, but most cities can’t be truly bicycle friendly without infrastructures.

 

Physical Infrastructure for Safety and Economic Gain

Biking trails, bicycle lanes, and non-motorized vehicle overpasses are essential for bicycle safety and ease of travel; they make up the physical infrastructure. This infrastructure can help avoid drivers hitting cyclists as opposed to urban roads with no infrastructure. Many cyclists may not realize that the presence of physical infrastructures benefit the economy as well. In cities like Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., home values increased the closer they were located to infrastructures like bike pathways. Additionally, businesses located in an area with physical infrastructures for cyclists (such as bike pathways and widened sidewalks) typically see a boost in business. In the study of Valencia Street in San Francisco (as mentioned earlier), businesses on the street saw a significant increase (about 66%) of patronage due to better physical infrastructure for cyclists.

 

No Physical Infrastructure Without Human Infrastructure

Despite the overwhelming need for physical infrastructure, it wouldn’t exist without human infrastructure. Such infrastructure can include biking advocates, bike shop owners, and bicycle riding groups. Without bike shops, to purchase and repair bicycles, the future of the “urban bicyclist” would be limited. By supporting a local bike shop, not only are you supporting the local economy, but you are supporting some of your biggest advocates. Bicycle shop owners and employees have a passion for bicycling. They commute by bicycle, they encourage others to ride, and they have valuable feedback when it comes to planning physical infrastructure. If you want to see an increase of physical infrastructure for cyclists, find a group of bicycle advocates and enthusiasts to join.

In cities across America, we’ve witnessed the increase of urban bicyclists who can ride the city streets more safely thanks to the passions of fellow riders who fought for a better riding environment.

 

Morning Links: An early endorsement for state senate, registration gets bikes back, and OCTA swims upstream

Getting a jump on next year’s elections, the Speaker of the California Assembly has endorsed former representative Steven Bradford for the state senate in next year’s elections.

Toni Adkins joins former LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, state Senator Robert Hertzberg and Speaker Emeritus John A. Pérez in endorsing Bradford.

And me, too.

Bradford is a bicyclist himself, and has worked in the legislature to improve safety for cyclists. Including sponsoring the first two attempts at passing a stronger version of the new three-foot passing law, which cleared the legislature before being vetoed by Gov. Brown.

It’s early in the game. But Steven Bradford has my unqualified support, having already proven himself to be an effective legislator.

And one of the good guys.

………

This is why I keep pushing the Bike Index bicycle registration and stolen bike reporting available at the top of this page.

In just the last two weeks, the site has helped 11 stolen bikes find their way back home to their owners.

It’s free, period. To register, report a theft, or check a bike against the list of ones reported stolen in the area.

And it could make all the difference if someone makes off with yours.

………

Just a week before the Tour de France, Mark Cavendish hurts his shoulder when it’s whacked with a camera by a too-close fan. Victory could be in the cards for Aussie rider Nathan Haas — literally — while Chris Froome risks being upstaged by his cat.

 

London’s Mail looks at how to get away with doping these days. Although that may not be necessary, if you can just get a support vehicle to follow you; a new study says that can be enough to affect the outcome of a race.

And writer for ESPN says women’s sports are boring and not worth watching; not surprisingly, women’s cyclists disagree. As does anyone who has watched women’s cycling for more than five minutes, or plans to watch the US take on Germany in today’s Women’s World Cup match.

………

Local

Ding dong, LaBonge is gone. LA’s most outgoing cheerleader led summer bike rides, but blocked planned bikeways on Lankershim Blvd, as well as 4th and 6th Streets, and was a driving force behind the unsafe and pedestrian-unfriendly design recently adopted for the new Glendale-Hyperion Bridge.

A writer for the Daily Bruin calls for a Westwood bikeshare hub to give students greater access to LA. Although they will still need safe places to ride.

CiclaValley looks at Sunday’s successful LA River Ride. I had planned to be there myself, but my health issues knocked me on my ass all day.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks with Richard McKinnon of Safe Streets Santa Monica about bringing data to street safety discussions. His group mapped 9,600 collisions over a 10-year period, and discovered less than fifty caused by cyclists.

Police bust a bike riding burglar perusing potentially purloin-able property in a subterranean SaMo garage.

 

State

A San Diego bike rider suffered minor injuries after he’s accused of running a red light in an early morning crash. The question is whether anyone other than the driver who hit him actually saw the victim go through the light. Because no driver would have an incentive to twist the facts, or anything.

A Santa Cruz cyclist really goes the extra mile — or more like a marathon — by riding back and getting his car to drive an injured bike-riding stranger to his home. Then replacing the man’s fluorescent lights and fixing his faucet and electric switches, as well as buying and mounting a new tire for his bike.

A San Francisco cyclist is on a one-woman mission to stop drivers from double parking in bike lanes. Maybe she could come down here next.

Bagdad by the Bay has become Bicyclists by the Bay, to the detriment of those poor, put upon drivers according one SF writer.

Streetsblog asks if a new bike lane in Orinda is the worst bike lane in the world; the lane directs bike riders to go straight between two right turn lanes, almost guaranteeing a high-speed right hook.

Remarkably, two mountain bikers are relatively okay after plunging 150 feet off a Marin County trail in separate incidents nearly seven hours apart, yet somehow landing in the same spot.

 

National

City Lab offers advice on how to hold onto your bike seat. And they take a look at that device developed by Chatanooga police to catch drivers violating the three-foot passing law.

A new bill in Congress would require the DOT to research new technology to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Las Vegas is fighting an epidemic of bicycling fatalities, with seven deaths this year compared to just one last year; four of those have been hit-and-runs. The story advises bicyclists to stay safe by walking across crosswalks, but has anyone ever done a study to determine if that really reduces risk?

Nice piece from Wichita KN, as cyclists surprise a riding buddy who suffered a massive stroke with a custom-made three-wheel ‘bent to get him back on the road. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

LA’s own Swrve is among the bike brands sponsoring musician Ben Weaver’s planned tour around Lake Superior next month.

A Connecticut driver faces a negligent homicide charge after left crossing a cyclist, even though the driver said he never saw him. Although the cops suspect the cyclist may have been speeding, based on nothing but speculation.

A new Delaware bill would encourage transit-friendly, walkable and bikeable economic development.

Boston may be the first proposed Olympic site without a velodrome, since no one seems to want it.

Athletes fight in every sport. But when bicyclists do it at the end of an Massachusetts race, it somehow becomes news.

As Philadelphia has become more bike friendly, surrounding counties have fallen behind.

New York’s Central Park goes partially car-free. Parks are for people, not cars — a lesson the people running Griffith Park still need to learn.

A New York cyclist shoots a TV quiz show, which could go national, from the seat of his bike.

New Orleans plans to narrow the massive neutral ground — aka median, to everyone else — on the city’s Napoleon Ave to make room for a walking path and bike lanes.

 

International

Two cyclists are competing against themselves and each other, riding a combined 150,000 miles in an attempt to break the year record.

An Ottawa writer gets it, saying there’s so much more to bike safety than just wearing a helmet. Note to Metro News: When you show a photo of a bike helmet, a caption saying it’s a bike helmet really isn’t necessary.

A handful of Canadian cities are building protected bike lanes; Montreal leads Saskatoon by 184 km to one.

The owners of a British trucking firm are banned from the business after an unlicensed and uninsured driver killed a cyclist while driving one of their trucks. Too bad we can’t hold business owners accountable like that over here.

A Brit bike rider is convicted of using “racially aggressive language” when a security guard tried to stop him from riding in a mall.

Bicycling could be the answer to providing care givers in rural areas in the UK.

France bans hands-free cell phone headsets, while Paris is making the massive roundabouts at seven major intersections safer for cyclists.

Burundi’s president may be controversial, but at least he bikes the vote. Even if his wife, soldiers and bodyguards had to walk behind him.

Injuries and fatalities blamed on Japanese bike riders have fallen dramatically, but authorities are cracking down on riders because the ratio of fatalities blamed on bicyclists has gone up. So it’s now illegal to hold an umbrella while you ride.

Instead of trying to make a car with two wheels, why not just build a better Korean e-bike?

 

Finally…

Why let facts get in the way, as Donald Trump evidently doesn’t understand the difference between a bike race and a bike ride, even though he used to sponsor one; the former, not the latter. A writer from my home state says bike lanes, potholes and marijuana are all part of a plot to force his city to go car-free; someone should tell him bikes need decent pavement, too.

And a seriously strange video from the Orange County Transportation Authority says don’t be a salmon.

 

Morning Links: Statewide hit-and-run alert bill in trouble; Gil Cedillo shares the outrage at tragedy he helped cause

As we noted last week, today is the last day to voice your support for the proposed California hit-and-run alert system before Tuesday’s vote in the state senate.

The bill faces unexpected opposition from the CHP, which evidently favors letting fleeing drivers get away with it.

………

Boyonabike says the death of a bike rider in Friday’s Highland Park hit-and-run is another outrage. As was the cancellation of the road diet that might have saved him; Richard Risemberg blames city council overreach for keeping our streets dangerous.

Meanwhile, Councilmember Gil Cedillo, who was single-handedly responsible for that cancellation, says he shares the outrage over this tragedy, and suggests we have to make better choices.

Let’s hope he takes his own advice.

……..

Looks like LA had a big turnout for Saturday’s World Naked Bike Ride.

LAist offers all the NSFW photos you could want, although the best photo might just be a mirror image; thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Meanwhile, a Portland writer describes what it’s like to ride buck naked, while Breitbart doesn’t seem to get it — or the difference between #pdx and #lax, for that matter.

……..

An Aussie site looks at the big four in the upcoming Tour de France, which kicks off on Independence Day. Ours, not theirs.

Vincenzo Nibali is on a mission to defend his title, while some seem to question Chris Froome’s mental fortitude. In the absence of sprinter Marcel Kittel, it should be Mark Cavendish’s time to shine. And a parcel service offers an infographic explaining the tour’s logistics.

A team of Baltimore cyclists bike like a girl over 3,000 miles across the US while setting a team RAAM record.

Thankfully, the Danish cyclist critically injured in a collision while competing in the Race Across America is showing some improvement. Something is seriously wrong when someone can’t come to this country to compete without an American driver putting his life in jeopardy.

And UCI, cycling’s governing body, is seriously out of control as they fine an amateur racer for tweeting his objections about a lack of water and neutral support at the amateur national championships, where several cyclists succumbed to heat stroke.

Maybe someone should fine UCI for risking the safety of their riders.

……..

Local

Evidently, California’s police chiefs don’t want you to see what really happened when Gardena police fatally shot an unarmed man whose brother’s bike had been stolen.

 

State

The LA Times’ David Lazarus asks why bike riders aren’t entitled to free air at gas stations, like motorists are.

The Orange County Register explains how to report bad or hostile drivers to the DMV.

 

National

Bicycling offers advice on how to get your stolen bike back, including reporting the theft for free with Bike Index. Which you can do right here; you can also register it before it’s stolen, which is a lot smarter.

One cyclist finds serenity riding the Columbia River Gorge outside Portland, while another loses his life there after losing control of his bike on a descent.

Apparently, Albuquerque bikes climb light poles.

Denver police say if you steal a bike, it just might be one of theirs; over 20 would-be thieves have taken their GPS-equipped bait so far. On the other hand, Georgia sheriff’s deputies go low tech by using scent dogs to track a 15-year old thief.

An Iowa City paper asks if removing traffic lanes can curb aggressive driving and promote bicycling. That would be, yes.

Hats off to a team of Houston cops riding to New York to raise awareness for leukemia and lymphoma, who stopped along the way to save the life of an Alabama driver after he’d gone off the road.

Vermont’s transportation secretary says the recent deaths of three bike riders should be a catalyst to further safety in order to meet the state’s goal of zero traffic fatalities.

Boston gets a new bike counter. Not that we’re going to get one, but where would we put it if we did?

A Connecticut teen steals a $3,000 bike because he got tired of walking. On the other hand, what kind of idiot who leaves a bike like that unlocked on the porch at two in the morning?

A Bethlehem NY boy gets a new bike as a reward for quick thinking after his is destroyed in a collision where he could have been collateral damage.

 

International

A new Canadian study says those scary reports that bike riding can cause prostate cancer are probably wrong.

A Canadian recreational cyclist offers tips on bicycling etiquette — including advice to ride in the door zone.

A new bike light projects symbols on your back — like a stop sign, turn signals or a bicycle — while you ride; it can also be programed to project your own symbols. Yes, even that one.

Good article from London’s Telegraph, asking why serious bicycling injuries are increasing while fatalities are going down — and at a rate greater than the rise in ridership.

Brit bike riders go back to the future. Or maybe forward to the past.

Someone stole a $100 bike 20 minutes after it was donated to a British charity store. They seem to define racing bike a little oddly, though.

The Times of London looks at Dublin’s plans to ban cars from the city center and convert traffic lanes to segregated bike paths. Riots would break out if anyone suggested that here.

A New Zealand paper says if the country’s planned bikeways do what they’re supposed to, everyone wins.

 

Finally…

At least we only have to worry about LA drivers; six Florida cyclists were injured, one seriously, when his bike slipped on the remains of a roadkill gator. When you’re chasing a bike-riding suspect on foot, be sure to lock your patrol car first.

And when you’re riding with a digital scale, meth and heroin on your bike, put some damn lights on it. And don’t ride on the sidewalk.

And don’t crash into pole trying to get away.

……..

It has nothing to do with bicycling. But just thought I’d share the view out our window last night.

Dusk-6-28

 

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