Archive for Advocacy & Politics

Morning Links: Atwater paper calls legal cyclists lane hogs, a handful of links and a long list of upcoming events

photo from Atwater Village News Facebook page

photo from Atwater Village News Facebook page

First up, a local newspaper manages to get it wrong. And brings out the ire of the Facebook cycling community.

The Atwater Village News posted a photo on its Facebook page, showing four bike riders taking the lane on a two-lane ramp, labeling them “Lane Hogs.” Then cites CVC 21202(a), which says that cyclists are required to ride as close to the right as practicable when traveling below the speed of traffic.

If only they’d read a little further, they would have seen the many exceptions contained in sections 1 ­through 4, particularly the one that says that the law doesn’t apply on substandard width lanes. And defines substandard width as any lane too narrow for a bike and motor vehicle to safely share while traveling side by side.

Kind of like the one shown in the picture.

So for any journalists, police officers, motorists, online commenters or anyone else who’s still unclear on the concept, let’s get it straight.

Bicycles aren’t in the way of traffic, they are traffic as defined by law, with a legal right to the road.

Bikes are required to right as far to the right as practicable whenever traveling below the normal speed of traffic. Which does not mean as far to the right as possible, but only as far as is safe under the current circumstances, allowing riders to position themselves further to the left to avoid gravel and glass, potholes and swinging car doors.

However, cyclists aren’t required to ride to the right if they’re traveling at the speed of traffic — which means the legal speed limit, or less if traffic is moving slower than that. Or if the lane is too narrow to safely share, which is defined as a safe distance from the curb, plus the width of the bike and any motor vehicle, along with a three-foot passing distance.

By that standard, most right lanes in the LA area are substandard.

There is also nothing in California law that requires cyclists to ride single file. Not one word. Bike riders can travel two, three or more abreast, as long as they remain within a single lane, and that lane is too narrow to share with a motor vehicle. Doing so improves safety by making the riders more visible while forcing motorists to change lanes to pass.

And the law requiring slower traffic to pull over to allow faster traffic to pass only applies when there are five or more vehicles stuck behind and unable to go around. Which means it doesn’t apply on any road with two or more lanes in the same direction, where a driver could simply change lanes to pass.

Got it?

Thanks to LA Bicycle Advisory Committee member David Wolfberg for the heads-up.

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Let’s catch up on some of the upcoming events.

Helen’s Cycles and ThinkCure! are holding a training ride tomorrow for The Life Ride; the two day event will roll in March to raise funds for the fight against cancer.

Also on Saturday, the Eastside Bike Club is teaming with Stan’s Bike Shop in Monrovia and the Monrovia Cyclists Against Diabetes to ride down to the Tour de Cure Kickoff at the Reef in Long Beach.

Pasadena Complete Streets holds their monthly meeting on Monday, February 2nd at Day One, across from Pasadena City Hall.

Speaking of the Bicycle Advisory Committee, the next meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 3rd at Hollywood City Hall; BAC meetings are always open to the public.

Helen’s is also hosting a 2015 Cannondale demo and group ride on Saturday, February 7th on Mulholland Drive; another will be held in Westwood, with a ride up world famous Nichols Canyon on the following day, Sunday the 8th.

Also on the 8th, Stan’s Bike Shop is the kickoff point for a fun ride celebrating the birthday of GoBici president Jorge Rodriguez. But aren’t most bike rides fun?

The Eastside Bike Club brings back their Friendship Love Ride on Saturday, February 14th.

Streetsblog is celebrating the seventh anniversary of LA’s most influential transportation website and champion of livable streets on Saturday, February 21st.

The Sakura Ride will be held at Lake Balboa on March 14th to honor the fourth anniversary of the disastrous March, 2011 East Japan earthquake and tsunami.

And LA’s favorite fundraising ride, the annual LA River Ride, is set for Sunday, June 28th to benefit the LACBC.

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A few other quick notes:

We’ll soon find out if it’s really true that you should use a car if you want to get away with murder. Notorious — as the LA Times calls him — rap mogul Suge Knight is charged with deliberately running down two men with his truck following an argument on a movie set, killing one.

An LA cyclist who lost his leg in a collision with a big rig truck is awarded a whopping $33.8 million settlement.

KPCC is once again auctioning off a chance to ride with political reporter and triathlete Sharon McNary, with your choice of beach cruise or coastal bike tour. I had a chance to join in on last year’s beach cruise until my diabetes knocked me on my ass, dammit.

Two cyclists came to the aid of an unconscious woman being raped on the campus of Stanford University; the riders caught the suspect, a member of the university swim team, as he tried to run away. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Portland officials use magnetic sweepers to pick up the tacks someone is spilling on a popular bike route.

In an extreme case of driveway rage, a Nevada man boils over when his neighbor’s son uses his driveway as a turning point for the kid’s bike. And shoves his pistol down the neighbor’s throat to make his point.

Maybe the cop can’t read. A New York cyclist fights a ticket he got for riding on a bike path; the officer wrote him up for disobeying a sign — right next to one saying bikes were allowed there.

A Florida man fights a ticket for riding in the traffic lane, and wins.

Finally, even elected officials can’t catch a break when they ride, as a Toronto city councillor — yes, that’s how they spell it up there — sees the case against the driver who hit her dismissed because the police forgot to give the driver a ticket.

 

Morning Links: A sad goodbye to Long Beach’s Octavio Orduño, and it’s up to you to Bike the Vote this spring

Sad news from Long Beach.

Octavio Orduño, one of the world’s oldest bike riders, passed away recently at the age of 106.

Orduño rode his three-wheeled bike nearly every day, after giving up his two-wheeler at the insistence of his wife — at the ripe old age 100.

Here he is riding on his 104th birthday, captured on bike cam by his good friend and neighbor, former Long Beach mobility coordinator and Calbike board vice president Charlie Gandy.

I don’t even know what to say.

Except we should all be so lucky as to live and ride that long.

Rest in peace, Octavio. You’ll be missed.

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More on your chance to bike the vote in this spring’s elections.

Flying Pigeon points out how easy it is for a few voters to make a big difference, thanks to LA’s dismal voter turnout. Which could be a big opportunity for bike riders — if we get out and vote for our own self-interests.

With that in mind, be sure to make your reservation for the CD4 Livable Streets Candidate Forum at the Hollywood United Methodist Church on February 5th to meet the candidates in LA’s most competitive district. And yes, I’ll be there, after moving into the district a few weeks ago.

Meanwhile, the LACBC has developed a list of hard-hitting questions for city council candidates to gauge their support for bicycling in their district.

Can’t speak for anyone else, but I won’t vote for anyone who doesn’t complete it.

After all, let’s not forget that CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo didn’t respond to the LACBC’s questionnaire when he was running for office two years ago, despite promising elsewhere to support the planned bike lanes on North Figueroa.

And look how that turned out.

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Interesting idea.

Instead of insuring their bicycles, some riders are forming syndicates by agreeing to pitch in to pay for each other’s bikes if they get stolen, so they only have to pay up if something bad happens.

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Local

A cyclist who lost his leg when a big rig truck cut a corner on Alameda Street now struggles to lead a normal life and support his family.

An OpEd in the Daily News says we should embrace climate change as an opportunity to rethink transportation in LA, and get people out of their cars by making it easier to walk, bike and use transit.

KCRW talks with Streetsblog’s Joe Linton about LA’s proposed bike share program.

Boyonabike joins in on a exploratory ride through east Pasadena to raise awareness of the need for better bike infrastructure. Or virtually any, for that matter.

The Milt Olin Foundation and Yield to Life are sponsoring a fundraising rally against distracted driving next month.

 

State

Yet another bike rider has been killed by a heartless hit-and-run driver, this time in Berkeley.

Oh, please. Despite successful bike share programs around the world, the Orange County Register concludes it just doesn’t work, based strictly on the recent failure of the Fullerton system. Evidently, they think the world ends at the Orange Curtain.

 

National

The conservative AASHTO bikeway guide, the bible for street planners across the country, is slowly moving towards endorsing protected bike lanes.

Cyclelicious offers photos of Viking biking from the East Coast blizzard.

Young professionals come out in force to support endangered bike lanes proposed for Cheyenne WY.

The Oklahoma City council calls for uniform regional bike regulations after turning down a ridiculous reverse three-foot law requiring bikes to stay three feet from motor vehicles.

A pair of mixed-use developments in New Orleans and Baton Rouge are offering their own private bike share programs.

Now that’s what I call a good life. A 93-year old South Carolina woman passed away Saturday; she’d toured Europe by bike shortly after the end of WWII.

 

International

Bike riding is up in Calgary thanks to warmer weather; I’d love to see a bridge like that over the LA River.

London’s Mayor Boris gives the okay to begin work on two protected bikeways crisscrossing the city at a cost of over $88 million.

London planners ask for one bike parking space per bedroom to approve a new residential project.

Celebrate the Cannibal’s birthday with a $17,500 limited edition Eddy Merckx bike.

Egyptian women defy conservative social norms to ride bikes; actually, it doesn’t sound all that different from what women bike riders complain about here.

At least that’s one thing we don’t usually have to deal with here. South Africa attempts to increase cycling despite a rash of bikejackings.

 

Finally…

Evidently, kangaroos have declared open season on cyclists Down Under. You may never have to wash your bike again.

And repeat after me: When you’re carrying a stolen driver’s license and credit card, don’t swerve in and out of traffic while riding salmon.

 

Morning Links: Bikes could sway the race in LA’s CD4; WeHo candidates debate banning sidewalk riders

It’s election time once again in and around the City of Angels.

The LA Times looks at the very crowded race to replace Tom LaBonge in CD4, where LA’s pitiful voter turnout and 14 candidates splitting the vote means it could take only a few thousand votes to win the race.

Which means that a single dedicated group — like bike riders, for instance — could be enough to sway the outcome.

Let’s hope the candidates remember that. And that we do, too.

Meanwhile, candidates for the West Hollywood City Council discuss pedestrian safety and whether to ban all sidewalk cycling in the city.

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Local

Public Radio station KPCC wants to know how you learned the rules of the road. Would that be the legal rules of the road, or the ones we have to live by to survive on them?

UCLA Transportation shares an infographic that makes the case for protected bike lanes.

A man walking on a Santa Clarita bike path is pepper sprayed, then whacked on the head with an unknown object.

 

State

The good news is, it’s not going down; the bad news, it’s not going up. Caltrans’ director assures legislators that the state’s funding for active transportation will remain unchanged for the next two years.

San Diego’s Business Association has discovered a great new way for its members to network and get to know each other: form a bike club.

A Salinas teen receives a national extraordinary courage award for competing on his school’s mountain bike team after losing a leg to cancer.

Nice. After a pancreatic cancer patient on a national bike tour had his bike and equipment stolen in Turlock, locals pitch in to get him back on the road.

A cyclist killed in a rear-end collision on a Sunnyvale highway over the weekend was allegedly under the influence of alcohol, which is likely where the investigation will both begin and end, regardless of any other factors.

 

National

It should come as no surprise to anyone that 75% of people who have had their licenses suspended continue to drive anyway, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Shocking, but not surprising.

People for Bikes offers up five reasons why you should talk your boss into allowing a lunch ride; personally, I usually get my best ideas on a bike.

Bikes are under attack once again in bike-friendly Oregon, as a bill in the state legislature proposes licensing all riders over 18, instituting a mandatory $10 bike registration plan, and barring the use of state highway funds for bike projects.

I don’t even where to start with this one, as a teenage St. Louis-area driver is charged with the hit-and-run death of a man sleeping on a bike path.

Evidently, they take human life seriously in New Hampshire, as the unlicensed driver who killed two cyclists when she plowed into a group of riders while under the influence of drugs gets up to 40 years in prison, with a minimum of 15.

 

International

Next City says cyclists and pedestrians are the best of frenemies, as a Canadian study shows shared paths and sidewalks increase the risk of severe injury. Which you probably already know if you’ve ever ridden the beachfront bike path through Santa Monica.

No. Just no. After a man calls out a bike rider for rolling a stop sign, the rider returns a few minutes later and beats him with a baseball bat.

In an interview with the BBC, Lance Armstrong says if he had to do it all again, he would do it all again.

A cyclist in a UK city suffers two broken fingers when he’s kicked off his bike by a moped rider, something that seems to happen there every January.

A 65-year old woman sets off on a 5,000 mile tour around the British Coast to raise money for charity, and takes her golden retriever in a trailer behind her. Which is exactly what I’d do if my wife ever kicks me out, except she’d probably keep the dog.

Bike riding is booming in Ireland; unfortunately, deaths are on the rise, as well.

Government officials debate whether to pull the cord on Melbourne’s troubled bike share program or exempt it from Australia’s ill-advised mandatory helmet law.

Once again, a Facebook page is accused of inciting violence against bike riders, this time in New Zealand; operators insist it’s not a hate site, despite the death threats to cyclists. Well, what the hell did they think would happen?

 

Finally…

In today’s nod to literature, an ode to a nun on a bike. And for those of us who are cash-challenged, the next edition of English bike scribe Carlton Reid’s excellent Roads Were Not Built for Cars will be published online for free.

 

Weekend Links: UCLA Transpo group honored; Bike the Vote next month and score a Wolfpack Hustle T-Shirt

Congratulations to UCLA Transportation for winning California’s top environmental award.

The university group was honored for developing a sustainable transportation program that led to a 23% drop in driving to the campus; nearly half of UCLA commuters use alternative transportation.

Just imagine how many more might bike to campus if they only had safer ways to get there.

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Bike the Vote by riding to the February 5th Livable Streets Candidate Forum to replace Tom LaBonge in LA’s 4th Council District, and get a free Wolfpack Hustle T-Shirt.

Speaking of which, the Times published profiles of the candidates; of the 14 people in the race, only one — Tomas O’Grady — even mentioned bicycles, making him the early favorite in my book.

Meanwhile, 3rd District Councilmember Bob Blumenfield leads his constituents on an eight mile bike ride through the district, including the Orange Line and LA River bike paths.

And the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition posts the first responses to their questionnaire for candidates for mayor of the Rose City.

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Local

A study of transit users in LA, Atlanta and Minneapolis-St. Paul suggests that making the area around transit hubs more bike friendly could help get more cars off the road.

The executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance asks if it’s time for a road diet on Hollywood Blvd. The correct response would be yes. Or maybe, hell yes.

Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt goes for an LA bike ride with wife Anna Faris.

Sometimes, you don’t even have to ride a bike, as a man just walking his bike in West Covina is seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver.

 

State

Wait, are they pranking us? The director of California’s traditionally auto focused state transportation agency says they need to consider pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users in planning Complete Streets.

Eighteen teams sign up for this year’s Amgen Tour of California, including eight of the world’s top pro teams.

Bosch opens their American eBike headquarters in Irvine.

Maybe cluelessness is another cause of hit-and-runs. A Santa Barbara driver keeps going after hitting a cyclist; a friend of the victim had to chase her and tell her she’d been in a collision.

Santa Rosa goes to court to preserve the right for cyclists to ride on a bike path through private property.

Bike advocacy jobs open up in either side of the San Francisco Bay.

 

National

Biking while blind through echolocation.

Bicycling looks at the 10 best car-free bike paths in the US, not surprisingly, none of which are located in Southern California.

A Santa Fe sheriff’s deputy ends up using a Taser on cyclist he stopped because the guy looked “suspicious” walking his bike, despite — or maybe because — of its flat tire.

A Wyoming newspaper says educating drivers about the rights of cyclists could save more lives than a three-foot law. Then again, who says they can’t do both?

A Chicago Alderman suggests allowing seniors to bike on the sidewalks; evidently, making the streets safe enough for older people is just too darn hard.

 

International

A British mom uses the power of Facebook to get her autistic son’s stolen bike back.

Germany considers banning drunk bicycling. Or very drunk bicycling, anyway, since the proposed max is well over the limit for drunk driving in the US. Thanks to D D Syrdal for the heads-up.

Huh? A member of a British driver’s group says not only is bicycling dangerous, but without drivers, we’d all be dead. I’m sure that must make sense to someone.

An Aussie paper says cyclists should be required to carry liability insurance. Or maybe jerks who string ropes across routes popular with cyclists should, instead.

 

Finally…

If you’re carrying three kilos of heroin and coke under the hood of your car, make sure your bike rack doesn’t obscure the license plate. Here’s your chance to buy a British bike shop for less than $1.50; most I can scrape together right now is about a buck seventeen.

And when a driver asks if you want him to crash into your bike, the correct response is “no.” A Brit cyclist sarcastically said yes to a road raging driver, who promptly backed his car into him.

 

Morning Links: Rolls Royce driver shot by bike rider, Times looks at North Fig politics, NFL bike victory lap

Well, I wanted to live in a more exciting neighborhood.

Friday night, the sirens on the streets and news helicopters hovering above Hollywood signaled something big was up; as it turned out, LA real estate investor Kameron Segal was shot while sitting in his Rolls Royce, just blocks from out new apartment.

Fortunately, he’s expected to survive.

To make matters more interesting, the shooter was riding a bike, described variously as a 10-speed or racing bike.

Evidently, no one involved has ever heard of a road bike.

Or maybe seen a bike in the last 30 years.

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The Times examines the political conflict over the cancelled North Figueroa road diet and bike lanes, asking if it’s better to aggressively confront an elected official or work quietly behind the scenes.

Personally, I’d suggest all of the above, thank you.

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In a video that’s gone viral around the world, Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett commanders a police bike to celebrate the Seahawk’s come-from-behind victory on Sunday to secure a spot in the Super Bowl.

Naturally, the Taiwanese animation is just a little more dramatic.

Correction: I initially misidentified the animation as coming from Japan, when it’s clearly identified as Taiwan on the YouTube page. Thanks to James for the correction

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Local

The LA Weekly suggests a cheaper, and possibly better, way to patch LA’s crumbling streets.

Long Beach homeowners complain a new pedestrian path paralleling the beachfront bike path is too damn close to their homes.

El Monte is just the latest area city to step up police enforcement to prevent bike and pedestrian injuries; Anaheim is doing it, too.

KNBC-4 looks forward to March’s first-ever Valley CicLAvia, while the Weekly simultaneously holds their nose and says it’s about time.

You’re invited to ride with the Milt Olin Foundation and Yield to Life on February 22nd.

 

State

A Laguna letter writer says it’s those damn cyclists that make the streets unsafe, not all those angelic, law-abiding drivers. Well, okay then.

Back-in parking is much safer for cyclists and drivers — and so easy an 80-year old could do it.

Ten new bike infrastructure projects will be coming to the Bay Area this year.

Oakland rallies support for that bike rider who was robbed of his wallet after being hit by a truck; it’s worth noting the driver had his stolen, as well.

Natomas volunteers build bikes for 50 kids in honor of Martin Luther King day.

A Fresno-area man is arrested for threatening people with a knife while riding his bike inside a market. And mothers everywhere were proven right when his face did freeze like that.

 

National

City Lab looks at the problems associated with Biking While Black.

NPR says food bikes are crowding into food trucks’ turf.

A Portland company has developed a $50 bike counter that could revolutionize bike planning; LADOT should order a thousand or so.

That hit-and-run Baltimore bishop has checked into rehab after posting $2.5 million bond; these days, that’s the first resort of a scoundrel.

A German cyclist receives a $21 million settlement for the life-changing injuries he suffered when he was hit by a truck in Virginia while on a tour of the East Coast.

A representative of the Bike League sees first hand just how bike friendly Southwest Florida isn’t.

 

International

That UK van driver caught on video attacking a cyclist turns himself in to police, but the victim declines to press charges.

A British teacher quits his job to go on a 5,000 mile bike tour of Europe.

A new bike light projects an image of a bike ahead of you to alert drivers of your presence; the BBC talks with woman who developed it.

Even in The Netherlands, a driver flees the scene after running down eight bike riding teenage girls from behind, sending two to the hospital.

An Aussie cycling fan channels his inner superhero, preventing an inflatable arch from collapsing while using his other hand to catch a bike that was knocked off a team car.

Cadel Evans retires as Australia’s greatest ever pro cyclist.

The bikelash is in full effect Down Under, as a news columnist tells cyclists to get off their high horses since there was this one woman who got hurt when she evidently stepped out in front of a bike — never mind how many cyclists are hit by cars every day. And get off our tall bikes would seem more appropriate.

 

Finally…

Pubic enemy #1: A Florida woman crashes her car while shaving her genitals on the way to meet her boyfriend — with her ex-husband holding the steering wheel, no less. Ride a penny farthing in Bagdad by the Bay and the local weekly will call the cops on you; bet that doesn’t happen when Jay Leno takes one of his antique cars out for a spin.

And pro cyclist Mark Cavendish finally snaps when asked if biking is really, truly 100% clean; well, maybe not 100%. Then again, Stuart O’Grady, like Bill Clinton, only did it once. Honest.

 

Morning Links: CicLAvia comes to the Valley, bike confusion east of Barstow, and why our roads are dangerous

CicLAvia Valley MapThe route for the first ever — but far from last — San Fernando Valley CicLAvia has been announced.

The March 22nd open streets event will follow Ventura and Lankershim Blvds, and be the first of four this year; later stops include Pasadena, Culver City/Venice and the ever popular Heart of LA route.

Th best part is, for those of us south of the Hollywood Hills, Metro’s Red Line will drop you off right to the middle of the route.

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Adventure Cycling notes that it either is or isn’t legal to ride on Interstate 40 east of Barstow.

According to Caltrans, bikes are banned from the highway, even though the only alternate on famed Route 66 was washed out last year.

On the other hand, signage on the Interstate clearly says bikes are allowed.

Nope. No confusion there.

Thanks to prinzrob for the link.

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In a touching must read piece, a New York cyclist opens her heart, and her wallet, to the pregnant girlfriend of the man who stole her much loved bike.

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In another must read, a writer clearly explains why the current rules of the road don’t keep people from dying. In fact, they’re often a contributory factor — including the 85% rule used to set deadly speed limits throughout the US.

And it includes this statement from the executive director of New York’s Transportation Alternatives, which should become the new mantra for every traffic planner and government official.

“It’s completely unacceptable for someone to die in a plane crash or an elevator,” he said. “We should expect the same of cars.”

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Local

Streetsblog looks at what may be a positive end to the long-running fight over bike lanes on North Figueroa. I’m not holding my breath, but I’m willing to be surprised.

Milestone Rides offers six road safety tips for dealing with angry drivers, noting it’s not if you’ll be harassed but when.

Things are getting serious in the campaign for the March LA city council election. This weekend you’re invited to help canvass for Jose Huizar, one of the most effective voices for bike riders on the city council, on both Saturday and Sunday. Huizar is in what promises to be a tough re-election battle against termed-out county commissioner Gloria Molina.

Somehow I missed this one earlier this month, as Boyonabike discusses bike advocacy and the importance of getting involved to change our streets.

 

State

Calbike looks at the state’s bike bests of 2014, including the hiring of Seleta Reynolds to head LADOT and Tamika Butler as Executive Director of the LACBC.

San Clemente plans to beautify a bike trail along the beach; replacing the guard rail with a planted median should improve safety for riders, as well.

No bias here. After a Palm Springs cyclist suffers major injuries in a collision with a van, all the local paper seems to care about was the road closure.

Wait, what? A Palo Alto commissioner wants a new bike and pedestrian bridge redesigned to make it less of a landmark; maybe what he really means is less expensive.

A San Francisco jury awards $4 million in damages after concluding the truck driver who killed a San Francisco bike rider was negligent in causing her death. Police had brushed the case under the rug, blaming the victim until a member of the local bike coalition found security camera footage that captured the impact — which the SFPD hadn’t bothered to look for. Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

 

National

Virtual traffic lights on a heads-up display promises to revolutionize driving. Of course, no one else will be able to see them, but who really cares about cyclists or pedestrians, anyway? Thanks to John Montgomery for the tip.

A Nevada video shows how to sell Vision Zero to a skeptical public.

Bike-friendly Colorado gets it. The state’s governor calls for a system of bike trails connecting the entire state. A Colorado professor says drivers think we’re rude if we obey the law and criminals if we break it. And Denver will close a busy interstate highway through the heart of the city to install a new bike and pedestrian bridge.

Cheyenne, Wyoming considers bailing on plans for bike lanes on a pair of busy streets, since people only ride bikes for recreation and no one would ever actually use one to get anywhere.

Now that’s more like it. Nebraska considers a far tougher version of the three-foot passing law, requiring drivers to change lanes to pass a bike rider, or give three feet if that’s not possible.

Evidently, they take traffic crime seriously in the Midwest. A Nebraska driver who fled the scene, leaving left a cyclist paralyzed from the neck, down gets six to ten years in jail, while a hit-and-run driver who killed a Kansas cyclist is sentenced to 11 years on a second degree murder charge.

Even in Iowa, a new apartment building is being designed around the needs of bike riders.

The spin has begun. The Austin TX paper says the cancelation of last Sunday’s national cyclocross finals was a mutual decision between city and race officials to protect heritage trees; USA Cycling’s VP of national events says not so much.

Interesting case from New Jersey, where an appeals court ruled that someone who texts another person when they’re behind the wheel can be held responsible for any injuries caused by the distraction.

Bad road design may have been a contributing factor in the case of the allegedly drunken, hit-and-run Baltimore bishop who killed a popular cyclist last month. And the city’s new draft bike master plan calls for cutting the red tape and getting serious about bike improvements — especially with intoxicated prelates careening around the streets.

 

International

An Australian writer who doesn’t ride a bike says outrage over the anti-bike Family Feud question is misplaced, while a cyclist responds with eight annoying things a bike hater might say.

A road raging Singapore cyclist is lucky to get off with a light charge after throwing his bike at a car; of course, no reason is given for why he might have been so angry with the driver.

 

Finally…

If the police catch you in the act of cutting the cable on a key-operated bike lock, don’t tell them you forget the combination. An Aussie family of four and their two dogs travel 3,700 miles by bike along the country’s coast, subsisting on what they could forage along the way — including road kill.

And caught on video: a Brit cyclist is knocked off his bike by a van, then attacked by the driver; police are looking for the victim to investigate the case. Be patient, it get’s interesting about 50 seconds in. And thanks again to John McBrearty.

Morning Links: New hope for North Fig and Santa Monica Blvd; bike rider attacked on San Gabriel River trail

Maybe bike lanes on North Figueroa aren’t dead after all.

According to the LACBC, discussions with Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s office have yielded a number of safety improvement options for a five block stretch of the roadway — including a possible road diet and bike lanes.

Of course, a five-block bike lane unconnected to a longer bikeway, let alone a network of lanes, won’t do anyone much good.

But at least it’s a step in the right direction, and it opens the possibility for further improvements.

That is, assuming the councilmember is sincere in working with bike riders, after giving cyclists the cold shoulder after taking office and accusing bike advocates of bullying in an open council session.

And leaving them feeling jerked around — if not stabbed in the back — during the process of needlessly examining, then killing, what was already a fully approved, funded and shovel-ready project.

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Meanwhile, it looks like bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd survive for another day.

After a vocal turnout by bike riders at Tuesday’s city council session in the Biking Black Hole, the proposed Beverly Hills Greenway appears to have gained traction (pdf, scroll down).

As usual, local advocacy website Better Bike offers the most complete recap of the day’s events, as well as reviewing local coverage of the story — including a highly biased piece from the Beverly Hills Courier that should have been printed on yellow stock.

Or maybe toilet paper.

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Allyson Vought forwards word of a bike rider who was assaulted by a pedestrian on the San Gabriel River bike path in Seal Beach earlier this month.

The man reportedly stepped into the pathway and punched the cyclist in the face hard enough to knock him off his bike, then proceeded to pummel him severely before casually walking away. The victim was discovered by another rider crawling up the rocky embankment leading to the river, bleeding from the face, head, arms and legs.

Disturbingly, police never showed up in response to the 911 call, even though riders followed the attacker for over 20 minutes.

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Once again, you can win a ride with Laemmle Theaters president and LACBC board member Greg Laemmle.

Just explain why you want to ride with Greg, and you could win free entry to the 2015 Climate Ride, and $2500 towards your fundraising requirements, along with an Unlimited Laemmle Movie Pass for the rest of this year.

Not a bad deal.

……..

When is it too muddy for cyclocross?

When parks officials in Austin TX, home of this year’s national championships, decide to postpone the final day’s events because of wet conditions; stunned riders who refused to leave the park were threatened with arrest.

Donations are being raised for competitors who hadn’t budgeted for the extra day.

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The New York Times looks at Baltimore’s allegedly drunken and texting hit-and-run Bishop; thanks to George Wolfberg for the link.

The Baltimore Sun reports she was charged with manslaughter, hit-and-run and DUI, after blowing nearly three times the legal limit. As of Friday, she was in custody, being held on $2.5 million bond.

Meanwhile, a local letter writer says shock does not excuse the moral depravity of refusing to stop after hitting someone. Well put.

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Local

LA’s long promised bike share system could actually come to DTLA next year, with the first test stations opening as early as October of this year.

Santa Monica police are expanding patrols looking for violations that threaten the safety of cyclists, regardless of whether they’re committed by drivers or bike riders.

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition offers a questionnaire for candidates in the city’s mayoral race; they’re also participating in a forum for mayoral candidates on the 14th. The LACBC should have a questionnaire for candidates in LA’s council elections soon.

Milestone Rides hosts a session on Bike Touring 101 at Stan’s Bike Shop in Monrovia on Saturday the 17th.

 

State

The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition names Long Beach-based folding bike maker Tern as their Community Partner of the Year for the company’s support of the city’s CicloSDias open streets event.

San Diego’s bike share program is about to put 1,500 bikes on the streets.

Davis police recover 69 stolen bikes, but need to find the owners so they can press charges.

Sadly, a Folsom fireman is fighting for his life after being struck from behind by a bike rider while out running on a pathway.

 

National

The new Close Call Database tracks driver-on-cyclist hate. I’m afraid I’ve lost track of who sent me this link, so please accept my apologies and thanks.

A Portland cyclist says bicycling won’t change the symptoms of menopause, but it does make it more fun.

Bicycling contributes over $3.1 billion — that’s billion, with a b — to the economy of Washington state.

You’ve got to be kidding. An Oklahoma City councilman proposes a three-foot passing law — except this one requires cyclists to keep three feet from motor vehicles.

A Tulsa man dedicated the last two decades of his life to the belief that every kid should have a bike; sadly, he passed away last week.

A Chicago cyclist explains why bicycling tends to be less popular among African Americans. And how it helped rescue his own life.

Bad enough when a cyclist is killed in a collision; even more heartbreaking when a 74-year old PA man dies nine months after he was hit by a car.

The Washington Post offers a thoughtful examination of why cyclists break traffic laws, which basically boils down to trying to stay safe on roads that weren’t designed with us in mind. Thanks to LACBC board member Patrick Pascal for the heads-up.

 

International

A new rain-proof riding jacket will indicate your turns for you. And your bike can now keep you upright, no matter how clumsy or balance challenged you may be.

A Canadian study shows helmet use doesn’t impact your overall risk of injury while riding a bike, since they only protect against head injuries. The study, evidently conducted by Obvious University, concludes the biggest injury risk factor cyclists face is… wait for it… getting hit by a car.

A Brit cyclist is convicted of punching another rider in a fit of bike rage, then doing it again to someone else just nine months later.

Increasing cycling rates could save at least 80 lives a year in Stockholm.

The seat and handlebars vibrate on a new bike from the Netherlands when fast moving objects get to close; on most LA streets, that could make it a virtual mobile sex toy.

Firefighters pedal bikes to the blazes in Varanasi, India. But do they get to make siren noises when they ride to the rescue?

The debate over scofflaw cyclists rages on, even in the UAE.

New Zealand’s national women’s cycling championships was nearly decided by a poodle peloton pile-up.

 

Finally…

You can now buy a ridable bike for the equivalent of just $10, as long as you don’t mind if it’s made of cardboard. Nothing like a bike rack on the back of your Lamborghini.

And if you thought playing Jingle Bells on a bike was something special, how about a veritable bike orchestra?

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Thanks to John Hall for a generous donation to support this website.

Your generosity is what allows me to keep doing this.

Morning Links: Doublespeak in NELA, SaMo guide to Smart Cycling, and an ex-Bond bikes in the ‘Bu

Orwellian doublespeak lives in Northeast LA.

LA cyclists staged a ride and die-in in front of CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s Downtown condominium on Sunday to protest Cedillo’s flip flop — to put it nicely — on his campaign promise to support bike lanes on North Figueroa, as well as his depiction of cyclists who want a safe place to ride as “bullies.”

According to the story in the Eastsider, Cedillo spokesman Louis Reyes responded by saying the councilmember wants to improve safety for all residents, not just a single segment.

Except that studies have repeatedly shown that’s exactly what a road diet and bike lanes do, slowing traffic and improving safety for everyone. And that is what the already-approved 2010 bike plan calls for — and what cyclists are asking for.

Reyes went on to depict Sunday’s demonstration as the “tyranny of the minority.”

To paraphrase a popular movie, he keeps using that word, but I do not think that means what he thinks it means.

Someone is being a bully in this case, but it doesn’t seem to be the bike riders.

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Local

LAPD is looking for a bike rider who’s been groping women on a Canoga Park bike path.

CycleHop, the bike share vendor selected for Santa Monica’s planned program, has systems operating in Phoenix and Tampa, with others scheduled to open in Orlando and Ottawa.

Santa Monica produces a Smart Cycling guide (pdf) and gets it mostly right, including instructions to take the lane on narrow streets. But implies that cyclists can’t use left turn lanes unless there’s a bike box, and equates not wearing a helmet, and texting while riding — both of which are legal — with riding while intoxicated, which isn’t. And should note that sidewalk riding is banned in Santa Monica, not everywhere in the state.

The former Bond, James Bond rides his bike in Malibu.

 

State

Surprisingly, AAA embraces parklets.

Now that’s progress. Irvine approves a traffic plan study that will look at all forms of transportation — including bikes — rather than just motor vehicle traffic.

Bikes seem to be the new getaway vehicle of choice as a San Diego bank robber is the latest to ride from the scene of the crime.

San Jacinto Valley cyclists are devastated by the death of a popular rider who fell ill at a family Christmas gathering.

San Francisco’s BART transit police are using predictive policing to deal with a spike in bike thefts.

A San Rafael nonprofit donates 65 bikes to at-risk kids.

 

National

Turns out most people like protected bike lanes. And dedicated bike traffic signals are a hit with riders.

Someone spilled — or intentionally scattered — thumb tacks on a popular Portland bike route.

A Portland cyclist has started a Go Fund Me account to pay for a bait bike program to fight bike theft, while a local college is using GPS to catch thieves.

Denver drivers are increasingly turning away from cars in favor of alternatives, including bikes.

They get it. The Lubbock TX paper says bicycling would be beneficial for community and local college.

A Missouri legislator thinks your bike is dangerous, and wants to require cyclists to carry liability insurance.

A Chicago Good Samaritan uses a jack to lift a truck off a bike rider until paramedics arrived.

Now that’s serious bad luck, as a Chicago cyclist has his bike stolen at the police station while reporting a stolen iPhone.

A bike-hating DC columnist suggests bike riders should have their own paths through the woods. And then have to get off their bikes and find alternate transportation once they reach city limits.

A South Carolina driver argues than no one will ever use a bike path to commute to work simply because she won’t. And neither will her husband, so that settles it.

After ranking as the nation’s second most dangerous city for cyclists in 2012, Tampa Bay is finally getting it’s act together.

Evidently, it’s still a crime to bike while black in Fort Lauderdale.

A brain-injured man is riding across Florida to raise awareness for medical marijuana.

 

International

A new rain-proof riding jacket will indicate your turns for you.

A 64-year old British Columbia woman is arrested for allegedly booby trapping a popular mountain bike trail.

Evidently, bicycling is the new Fountain of Youth, according to a study from the UK. But you already knew that, right?

The rules have finally been changed to allow pro cycling teams to be punished when their riders dope. It’s been an open secret that many, if not most, teams tacitly encouraged their riders to cheat during the doping era. Not that anything like that would happen now, of course.

The BBC reports on Volvo’s proposed bike safety system, and new anti-theft bike pedals.

Brit bike riders are urged to watch out for trucks’ blind spots. Instead of, you know, urging drivers to watch out for bikes.

Irish cyclists call for the equivalent of a three-foot passing law, and urge motorists to act like one already exists.

A Western Australia police official calls out motorists for a lack of tolerance when it comes to bike riders, while an Aussie pub shows an apparent lack thereof after turning away a group of Lycra-clad riders.

A former bike hater finally gets it, and urges Kiwi drivers to make room for cyclists.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: A Florida bike rider is verbally harassed by a road raging driver; seriously, if you’re in that big a hurry that you can’t let a bike slow you down long enough to pass, why would you get out of your truck to yell at the rider? A Connecticut man is suing New York City for $60 million not forcing him to wear a helmet when he rented a Citi Bike; clearly, he was incapable of choosing to wear one himself, even before banging his head.

And a Brit stockbroker is fired after tweeting a joke about hitting a cyclist and leaving the scene; naturally, a petition has been started to get his job back.

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Thanks to Adeel Mansour for making a generous donation to support this site.

Morning Links: Finish the Ride gets bigger for 2015; support the revised Beverly Hills Greenway on Tuesday

This is going to be my last post for a few day.

I’m moving to a new apartment in Hollywood on Sunday, leaving behind the Westside neighborhood my wife and I have finally been priced out of after more than 20 years. And unfortunately, Internet service won’t be installed in our new home for a few days after that.

So enjoy this post. Take your time reading the news and exploring the links. And I’ll be back later this week.

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Big news from Damian Kevitt and Finish the Ride, which not only offers the option of a more challenging route, but opens the event up to virtually everyone. Click on the images for a larger version. 

Finish the Ride Flyer for PRINT

Finish the Ride Flyer

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The Beverly Hills City Council is scheduled to discuss the planned remake of Santa Monica Blvd at Tuesday’s 2:30 pm council session, including installing much needed bike lanes on the boulevard through the city to connect with lanes in West Hollywood and Century City.

Something leaders of the Biking Black Hole have rejected more than once. Even though it already ranks as the most dangerous city of its size in the entire state.

And even though their decisions impact the city’s and people around them.

However, a new plan is on the table for what is now being called the Beverly Hills Greenway, which addresses many of the complaints previously raised to argue against the bike lanes. Or at least, the more rational ones.

Developed by Better Bike and the LACBC in conjunction with other cycling advocates, the plan would straighten out the varying widths of the boulevard, resulting in no net loss of parkland alongside — while making it safer and more inviting for everyone, including the tourists the city depends on.

You can show your support by signing the petition or attending the council session on Tuesday. Or better yet, both.

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Blame — or possibly thank, depending on your point of view — bicycling for the possible loss of Bono’s six string skills, as he says his new titanium elbow may prevent him from ever playing the guitar again.

Then again, as he points out, his band mates have reminded him that “neither they nor Western Civilization are depending on this.”

Thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up.

……….

Local

Caught on video: Flying Pigeon looks at the traffic hell that is North Figueroa during morning rush hour; notice the extreme lack of cars that makes bike lanes impossible. Or not.

LADOT is looking for a Community Affairs Advocate to serve as a liaison to the city council and other elected officials, as well as community groups.

Rick Risemberg explains why it takes so long to get bike racks installed in LA, let alone anything else bike related.

 

State

After a year of delays, San Diego’s long-promised bike share program is ready to roll this month, cross their hearts.

Turns out I’m not the only SoCal rider to have an unpleasant bee encounter.

San Jose introduces back-in diagonal parking to improve safety in advance of a planned bike lane.

As too often happens, an Anderson CA cyclist can’t remember the hit-and-run that sent him to the hospital with major injuries; evidently, according to the CHP, the victim was not wearing a flak jacket, hockey mask or other forms of safety equipment.

 

National

Next City asks why it isn’t against the law to kill a cyclist with a car. Damn good question.

Now that’s more like it. An alleged Wyoming drunk driver accused of killing one cyclist and critically injuring another faces a sentence of eight to ten years in prison, followed by ten years probation.

A Milwaukee writer looks at why drivers harass cyclists and pedestrians who aren’t even breaking the law.

A Connecticut writer complains about the $10 million cost to make a bridge safe for cyclists, but doesn’t seem to be concerned about the $33 million it will cost to rehabilitate it for cars.

Brooklyn’s Borough President says we need to embrace bicycling because cars are so old school, darn it.

 

International

Columbian pro Darwin Atapuma is recovering after being slashed by thieves attempting to steal his bike. Meanwhile, if you thought Lance wasn’t the only pro cyclist who doped, boy, were you right.

A year after a tooth-and-nail battle over a Vancouver bikeway that closed a street to motor vehicles, the plan has actually worked.

An English cyclist plans to break a seemingly unbreakable record by riding over 75,000 miles this year — over 200 miles a day, every day, for the entire year. Let’s hope he can avoid getting sick or hitting a pothole.

I love it. A UK cyclist hands out red cards to offending drivers; in this country, we’d need a whistle and a red flag.

The Irish Times takes a look at the 10 best international bicycling vacations, none of which are anywhere near the US.

The Economist looks at Sweden’s Vision Zero to reduce traffic deaths to, well, zero. Which is finally spreading to LA.

An escaped Greek hit man was busted while riding a bike.

Kiwi cyclists push to have the country’s helmet law repealed; someone should tell the country’s leaders it’s more effective to encourage helmet use without making it mandatory.

An Aussie cyclist is nabbed for biking under the influence on New Years Eve after blowing over five times the legal limit; on the other hand, I think we can all be glad he wasn’t driving.

 

Finally…

Instant karma caught on video: A drunk allegedly steals a bike, then loses several teeth crashing into a cement trashcan before getting arrested. A Brit woman whines about the mythical Cycling Widows Club instead of just getting on her bike and riding with her significant other.

And Bradley Wiggins reveals how pro riders stay warm on cold rides, and why their shorts may have a yellow tinge at the end.

Which is something I really didn’t want to know.

 

Breaking news: LACBC hires Tamika Butler as Executive Director

New LACBC Executive Director Tamika Butler; photo courtesy of LACBC

New Executive Director Tamika Butler; photo courtesy of LACBC

Finally, we see white smoke rising above the Downtown headquarters of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

Three months after long-time Executive Director Jen Klausner announced she’d be leaving at the end of the year, the LACBC has hired lawyer and non-profit executive Tamika Butler to lead the organization into its next phase of growth.

The hire comes at the end of an exhaustive, nationwide search that brought in resumes from nearly 100 qualified applicants, which was slowly whittled down to a final three before Butler was offered the job.

I’m told it was a very difficult decision. But at every phase, Butler stood out for her experience in leading a non-profit advocacy organization, as well as her focus on building membership and reaching out to the many diverse, and too often undeserved, communities that make up the City of Angels.

She has big bike shoes to fill.

Klausner has been the face of the LACBC for seven years, taking the bike coalition from adolescence to an award-winning organization with a national reputation and influence far beyond its size. And the only leader of the coalition most of us have ever known.

The thought of replacing her was, as the movie says, inconceivable.

Which is why Butler steps into the same role, not as her replacement, but as someone dedicated to building on the organization’s success, and leading it into even greater growth and influence.

She brings a new face, new ideas and fresh enthusiasm for building a better, safer and more enjoyable community for everyone who travels on two wheels. As well as all those who have been reluctant to give it a try, or thought bicycling just wasn’t for someone like them.

She is not the new Jen Klausner.

She is Tamika Butler, the next leader of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

And by all accounts, the coalition is very lucky to have her.

You can read the LACBC’s full press release announcing her hire below.

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Introducing the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s new Executive Director!

After an extensive national search, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is pleased to announce that our Board of Directors has selected Tamika Butler to lead LACBC into the next phase of continued growth as we further our mission to make the Los Angeles region a healthy, safe and fun place to ride a bike.

“I’m really proud of the process and results of the search and couldn’t be more excited about Tamika as our next Executive Director,” says LACBC Board President Steve Boyd.

Tamika Butler brings to LACBC a proven track record of sustainably expanding and running programs and organizations, as well as a policy and advocacy background.  She spent three years as an employment lawyer at the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center and most recently comes from Liberty Hill Foundation, where she was the Director of Social Change Strategies. She first made her mark in Los Angeles as the California Director at the startup policy and advocacy organization Young Invincibles, where she managed the west coast regional staff, was the media and policy spokesperson, organized and led coalitions, developed curriculum and trainings, and fundraised to expand the organization’s presence on the west coast. She also developed relationships with community leaders and state and local lawmakers to advance the organization’s policy goals.

“I am thrilled to have the privilege to become the next Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and look forward to continuing the success, growth, and cutting edge work of the organization.  Biking in Los Angeles County has personally changed my life and deepens my love of the region every time I go for a ride. We’re lucky to live and bike in a county full of diverse communities that motivate this talented staff and me to push towards building a healthier, more vibrant Los Angeles County.  I am excited to start pedaling, dig deep, and get to work with our members and partners, within and across sectors, as we race to the front lines of the nationwide movement to create bikeable, safe, and sustainable neighborhoods.”  One of Tamika’s top priorities is to grow the diversity of LACBC staff and coalition membership.

When Jen Klausner started as LACBC’s Executive Director in 2007, there was only one other employee at headquarters, and it was a real struggle to keep doors open. Jen and the organization faced an uphill battle at City Hall to pass the Los Angeles Bike Plan and get pavement striped with room for bikes. Seven years later, under her leadership, there are now twelve employees working on your behalf with a LOT of successes! We continue to expand across the county with twelve local chapters.  We are poised to extend that reach even further as we strive to more fully represent the diversity of those who bicycle and want to bicycle in all neighborhoods across Los Angeles County. Tamika brings deep experience in social justice work and looks forward to working with the full range of communities across the county. We couldn’t be more excited.

Jen says, “Our new Executive Director Tamika Butler brings a fresh perspective to the leadership of LACBC, and one that is so relevant to the growth of the bike-ped movement and to important dialogues happening here and in cities across the nation.  I am confident in Tamika’s ability to take LACBC to the next level, and I, for one, will be staying tuned and keeping my membership current, because this organization is poised to do great things in the coming years.  Please join me in extending a very warm welcome to Tamika!”

Jen Mishory, Executive Director of Young Invincibles, agrees that Tamika will make a great Executive Director: “Tamika is a dynamic, innovative leader who will be a huge asset to the LACBC team.  She brought Young Invincibles to new heights and I know that she’ll do the same in her new role!”

We look forward to introducing Tamika to our members, partners and supporters at the first available opportunity in January. Look for announcements of those opportunities in our weekly newsletter, on the website, and through Facebook and Twitter. And don’t forget—as part of our end of year campaign, any donation at the $250 level and above will get you an invitation to our January 22nd Donor Thank You Party—an intimate gathering with our brand new Executive Director, Tamika Butler, in attendance.  Hope to see you there!

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