The anti-bike writer in the Financial Post who called for banning bicycles last week, saying cities made a huge mistake in promoting bicycling, is back with a second screed even less informed than the first.
Fake news, indeed.
Lawrence Solomon, executive director of the Urban Renaissance Institute, is back to misstate and misinterpret bicycling crash statistics to suggest that bikes have made the streets more dangerous, going so far as to cite unnamed studies “not funded by bike-path proponents” that show bike infrastructure actually increases crashes.
It’s the worst kind of drivel, taking unrelated data points to support his arguments, such as suggesting that the recent increase in overall traffic fatalities is somehow due to the increase in bicycling, and that bike riders are almost always the ones at fault in any crash.
The problem is, his baseless arguments have given cover to other writers to attack bikes and bike lanes, like a Staten Island columnist who asks if we’re watching the beginning of an anti-cycling bikelash, or the writer for an alt-right website who does little more than repost Solomon’s arguments.
However, few of those echoing his arguments have bothered to consider who it is who’s doing the writing — a leading climate change denier and anti-vaxxer funded by the oil and gas industry, posing as “one of Canada’s leading environmentalists.” Solomon has gone so far as to call the groundbreaking Kyoto Protocol “the single biggest threat to the global environment.”
Which would suggest that everything he says should be taken with a grain of salt.
If not an entire bag.
Thanks to Erik Griswold for the alt-right link.
A writer for Outside captures succinctly the problems bike riders face on the roads.
Let that sink in: I was in a bike lane, wearing a bright orange helmet, sans earphones, when a car traveling over the speed limit and completely off the road struck me from behind—and the police tried to ticket me and let the driver go free. I realized that day that altercations between cars and bikes aren’t so much about the risk factors, like distracted driving, bike lanes, or mountain versus road. They’re about a car culture that devalues bikes.
Over the years, passing motorists have thrown and struck me with eggs, fountain drinks, and, once, a half-empty can of beer. I’ve been shouted at, flipped off, menaced, driven into the shoulder, and even chased on foot. My own father-in-law grouses regularly about cyclists on the road and likes to joke about “door-popping” them. If cyclists can’t even rely on our families or the police, it’s clear that we are on our own.
It’s worth taking a few minutes to read.
If you’ve been hit by a driver, you may recognize yourself in the story. I certainly do; when I was run down by a road raging driver, the police officers who responded believed her story. And ended up threatening to arrest me for filing a false police report, leaving me to limp home with a broken arm and damaged bike.
If not, it’s fair warning that you may be blamed in a crash even if you didn’t do anything wrong.
It’s not right. But it’s the battle we have to fight far too often.
Note: I originally left out the link to this piece; thanks to Mike Wilkinson and J. Patrick Lynch for the heads-up.
BOLO Alert: A bike rider was seriously injured in a hit-and-run in La Tuna Canyon on Saturday; the victim was still unconscious after 20 hours in the ICU. The vehicle was described as a newer black Mazda SUV. Thanks to Mike Kim for the tip.
A reminder that if you haven’t signed it already, you can support one of LA’s most underserved communities by signing a petition calling for bike lanes in DTLA’s Skid Row.
We the undersigned residents of the City of Los Angeles, sign this petition calling on Council member Jose Huizar of the 14th District and the Department of Transportation to begin the process of creating Skid Row specific bike lanes on 5th street heading west and 6th street heading east. Skid Row has one of the largest bicycle riding populations in Los Angeles and because of this, we feel that we need bike lanes on these streets to improve public safety.
Thanks to Bobby Peppey for the heads-up.
‘Tis the season.
Over 400 Cathedral City students got new bikes for getting good grades.
One hundred ninety Clovis kids got new bikes and helmets thanks to a local nonprofit group.
Hundreds of Sonoma County fire victims got new bikes on Sunday.
Five hundred kids in Tucson got new bicycles thanks to a local community activist.
Eighty Aurora IL volunteers built 350 bicycles to donate to kids.
Roughly 100 San Antonio kids took home new bikes as part of an earn-a-bike program.
One hundred bikes were donated to children of law enforcement officers in College Station TX.
Around 35 Santas rode their bikes to raise $5,000 for a Green Bay, Wisconsin children’s hospital.
Around 90 people took part in a 1.2 mile bike ride through an underground cavern in Louisville KY, decorated with more than 2 million lights and past 850 holiday displays.
An Ulster NY bicycle club donated 30 bicycles and helmets to the local county children’s services.
It’s Day 18 of the 3rd Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive.
You can help keep SoCal’s best bike news coming your way with just a few clicks by using PayPal. Or by using the Zelle app that is probably already in the banking app on your smartphone; send your contribution to ted @ bikinginla dot com (remove the spaces and format as a standard email address).
Any donation, in any amount, is truly and deeply appreciated.
As an added bonus, frequent contributor Megan Lynch will provide a free download of her CD Songs the Brothers Warner Taught Me to anyone who makes a contribution during the fund drive. If you’ve already contributed and would like a copy, just email me at the address above and I’ll forward it to her.
By all reports, Los Angeles enjoyed another successful CicLAvia yesterday; next year could see one in running through San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona and Claremont.
Metro Bike Share wants your feedback, whether or not you’ve ever used bikeshare.
David Wolfberg points out that even the LA Auto Show doesn’t recommend driving there.
Smoking dope will soon be banned in motor vehicles in California. But bikes aren’t considered motor vehicles under California law, so puff away. As long as you don’t do it in public or ride under the influence.
The Orange County Register’s David Whiting looks at efforts to clear homeless camps off the Santa Ana River Trail, even though the people living in them have nowhere else to go.
UC Santa Barbara students are having to bike through smoke and ash from the Thomas Fire to get ready for finals.
Life is cheap in San Luis Obispo, where a 60-year old driver gets 90 days behind bars for illegally crossing a double yellow line to pass another vehicle, and killing a bike rider in a head-on crash; he’s expected to actually serve just half of that. The driver is reportedly grief-stricken. Although likely not as much as the relatives of the victim.
A San Luis Obispo man responds to recent anti-bike columns by asking city officials to make it safer for people on bicycles, and for local residents to spare a few moments for the safety of cyclists.
Sad news from Fresno, where a bicyclist was killed by a suspect drunk hit-and-run driver.
A tragic find, as a bike rider discovered a young woman’s body in the water along a Sunnyvale bike trail.
Life is even cheaper in Napa, where a 77-year old woman got three years probation and had her license permanently revoked for the hit-and-run death of a popular cyclist.
A Boston website says Marin County’s West Ridgecrest road up Mt. Tamalpais may be one of the best bike rides in the US.
An Oak Park man in riding his bicycle around Sacramento, collecting garbage and scraps to turn into compost. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.
The Wall Street Journal says gadget obsessed cyclists need a data detox, while a writer for Slate complains that he doesn’t even know how turn off the tech and ride his bike for fun anymore. Seriously, turn everything off, and for the rest of this month, just ride for the fun of it. You might even remember why you love bicycling again.
NPR looks at automakers attempts to woo members of Gen Z, who have shown little interest in owning cars so far.
California Congressman Tom McClintock discusses his bill to allow bicycles back in wilderness areas.
A Denver weekly looks at how the murder of mountain biking legend Mike Rust was finally solved, seven years after he disappeared; his killer was found guilty of 1st degree murder last week, along with a host of other charges.
A Colorado newspaper applauds plans to make the town more walkable and bikeable, but worries about the loss of 162 downtown parking places. Because everyone knows people never walk or bike to go shopping. Right?
A group from my hometown is asking the public for another 75 bicycles so they can donate 400 bikes to kids for the holidays. And they can drop off those bikes at the shop where I bought my first bike, back when dinosaurs still walked the earth.
A Chicago letter writer suggests everyone walking on the river walk should wear a bike helmet, since city hall somehow ignored his letter demanding that bikes to be banned from the path.
Still no explanation for what drove a bike-riding doctor to attack his neighbor, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
The surgeon who treated Bono after his Central Park bicycling crash was found dead in his New York apartment with a knife plunged into his chest, the victim of an apparent suicide.
I want to be like him when I grow up. A 79-year old Georgia man is riding from Northern California to Atlanta.
Seriously? A Tallahassee FL writer welcomes dockless bikeshare to town, but worries where people will park their cars to use them.
A Canadian cycling magazine calls on the country to adopt a National Cycling Strategy. Something you’re not likely to ever see in the US.
The war on bikes continues, as someone vandalized a bike belonging to the mayor of Victoria, British Columbia for the second time; she doesn’t want to believe it has anything to do with her support for bike lanes.
Roughly 180,000 Quebec residents ride their bikes all through the winter, despite the cold and snow. Tell that to the next person who tells you Angelenos won’t ride their bikes to work year-round.
This is what happens when you install a temporary bike lane around a Toronto construction site, but don’t do anything to accommodate people on foot.
Shades of Children of the Corn. A British town is installing bollards designed to look like little children, and stare back at drivers to get their attention. Thanks again to David Wolfberg.
A Bulgarian expat has formed a volunteer crew to rescue damaged and abandoned dockless bikeshare bikes in Singapore; he may have his work cut out for him.
A Pakistani woman became the first woman to ride a bike up Mt. Kilimanjaro.
An Indian man is riding across the country to encourage people to ride to work.
A freshly bearded cycling great Bradley Wiggins craps out in his attempt to make the British rowing team, after mistakenly lowering his oars in a “schoolboy error.”
The very busy Peter Flax has written a great profile of lifelong bike racer Bill Elliston, saying that Elliston, while never quite fast enough to make the pros, “represents much that is pure and good in the sport of bike racing.”
And Australia chose their bird of the year even though it attacks bicyclists.
Or maybe because of it.