Archive for Anti-bike bias

Morning Links: Biking backlash to misguided WaPo bikelash, and a fund for injured Manhattan Beach racer

Nice.

The transportation beat reporter for the Washington Post responds to yesterday’s anti-bike screed from a fellow WaPo writer.

Here’s my bias: No matter how you go — bike, car, bus, train, boat or plane — I want you to get there safely.

I’m sick to death of people who take risks with other people’s lives.

And lately I’ve become disgusted with all the venom aimed at cyclists.

It’s a great piece. Take a few moments to read it.

I’ll wait.

Back already?

A writer for the Washingtonian offers his own response. The editor of Greater Greater Washington — the site that innocently set off the misguided screed — suggests letting understanding win over hatred. The Brooklyn Spoke says embracing the crazy is the best way to stop the bikelash.

And Streetsblog USA cites still more sources giving the misguided rant the smackdown it deserves.

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Great Le Tour coverage from VeloNews.

Defending champ Chris Froome is out after falling on rain-soaked cobbles, his third crash in two days; Team Sky’s decision to leave Wiggins at home is looking pretty foolish, despite what the team manager says. Then again, things aren’t looking so good for the Spaniards, either. American Tejay van Garderen is growing into his role as team leader for BMC.

And China’s first Tour de France rider is hanging in there, while Garmin-Sharp domestique Jack Bauer says in a Bicycling video that Wednesday’s Stage Five was as bad as it gets.

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A fund has been set up for SoCalCycling.com Team rider Ronnie Toth, who was severely injured in the final sprint of the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix this past Sunday.

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Streetsblog’s Joe Linton adds to the discussion of the OC cyclist threatened with arrest for swearing at the road raging driver who tried to run him off the road.

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Local

Bike liability lawyer and BikinginLA sponsor Jim Procrass answers an intriguing question on Streetsblog: Can city council members be held liable after killing bike safety improvements?

PCH remains a dangerous place, as a 58-year old rider is injured in a collision in Pacific Palisades; thanks to Barry Goch for the heads-up. Meanwhile, a writer for the Weekly says riding a bike in LA can be deadlier than Mumbai or Shanghai.

Protesters march on Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s office to demand a safer North Figueroa.

Levi’s will open a pop-up bike commuter hub in Los Angeles next month; other hubs will open in Brooklyn and London.

Bike in to the Frog Spot on the LA River bike path in Elysian Valley.

Santa Monica police insist their announced July crackdown on bike riders is about education, not writing tickets. So remind them about that if they pull you over; I’m sure they won’t mind.

Long Beach police catch a thief with a taste for $1000 bikes.

Santa Clarita will add more off-road bike trails to their existing 76-mile network.

Westlake Village resident and former pro rider Dave Zabriskie, aka Captain America, calls on everyone to use common sense to improve safety for cyclists.

 

State

A Newport Beach bike rider goes from collision victim to wanted criminal after whacking the driver with a bottle.

Turns out that USA Today report listing San Diego as one of America’s top 10 bicycling cities was based on a single bike path across the bay in Coronado. But admittedly, it’s a nice path.

A writer for Wired takes a three-day, 77-mile journey through the Mojave Desert.

When you’re a known Ukiah meth user on probation with a recent firearm arrest, stop for the damn police car already. Or at least, don’t ride in front of it.

 

National

An NPR producer describes the lessons learned from her high-speed solo cycling fall. Like know your limits and stop when your body says enough.

A Portland rider discovers the risks of falling of your bike include contracting flesh eating bacteria.

Nice to see some businesses get it. Instead of fighting bike lanes, a group of Portland business owners ask for a protected bike lane in front of their storefronts.

Lance gets props from cops for trying to help catch a notorious Austin bike thief.

Instant Karma? An Atlanta thief is severely injured doing a faceplant while trying to ride off with a purloined bike.

 

International

Caught on video: After a speeding motorist nearly runs down a Brit cyclist, he tries again. In reverse.

Scotland’s Town Mouse takes the long way home through the rural countryside. Looks like a lovely ride; maybe she can show me the way someday.

Corking intersections may be controversial, but a network of new bike lanes in Cork, Ireland should be reason to celebrate.

 

Finally…

Don’t get drunk and ride through the middle of a police investigation. Just don’t. Bikeyface says it’s hard to talk to a machine, let alone understand what it’s trying to say.

And bike friendly Beverly Hills toasts their 12th annual Cycling Classic with a special brew. No, sadly, not that Beverly Hills.

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Morning Links: Santa Monica cracks down on cyclists again; OCSD drags its feet charging threatening driver

Once again, police in bike friendly Santa Monica show a less friendly face to cyclists.

As they have done in recent years, the department announced a crackdown on law-breaking bike riders in the month of July, as part of a rotating focus on behavior they believe causes traffic collisions. Even though they say the other party is usually at fault when it comes to bike wrecks.

Just a slight logical disconnect there.

But the real problem is that bike riders are people, not behaviors. And that makes the crackdown questionable, at best.

The department has every right to ticket cyclists who violate the law, just as they do anyone else on the road. And we’ve all seen reckless riders who probably deserve to be written up by making the roadway more dangerous for themselves and everyone around them.

The problem comes when they target their actions at a specific group, rather than a specific type of violation.

If the SMPD were to focus on people who fail to observe red lights and stop signs, for instance, they could justifiably ticket everyone who failed to stop, on a bike, on foot or in a motor vehicle. But directing their efforts towards a specific group, whether bicyclists, motorists or hipsters with handlebar mustaches makes it selective enforcement.

And that’s against the law.

They are required to treat everyone equally, without regard to race, creed, color, sexual orientation or socio-economic status. Or mode of transportation.

They can no more single out cyclists for selective enforcement than they can anyone else.

That’s not my opinion. That comes directly from conversations I’ve had with high-ranking members of other, apparently more enlightened local departments, including the LAPD.

Evidently, Santa Monica didn’t get the memo.

In the meantime, I’d recommend holding on to that news story announcing the crackdown.

Because that could be your best defense if you get a ticket while riding in Santa Monica this month.

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Bike safety website Look! Save A Life offers an open letter to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, which has been dragging its feet in investigating the driver who was caught on viral video threatening the life of cyclist Bryan Larsen in Dana Point.

As the letter points out, while officers are normally required to witness a traffic violation in order to ticket the driver, this goes far beyond a mere traffic infraction. And similar video evidence has been used to charge drivers across the country for threatening bike riders.

There should be no question that a charge of assault with a deadly weapon is more than warranted in this case. The only question is why it hasn’t been filed already.

The proof is there. All they have to do is view the video.

And take the safety of cyclists seriously.

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A fund has been established to help pay burial expenses for 12-year old fallen San Bernardino bike rider Tewon Woods. Sadly, as this goes online, it has only raised $112 out of a hoped for $5000.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link. 

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Marcel Kittel takes the first stage of the Tour de France’s UK start, but Mark Cavendish suffers a separated shoulder in a crash and has to abandon the tour. Nibali wins the second stage, while the peloton asks fans to just back off. And stop taking selfies, already.

Meanwhile, Yorkshire has it’s own unique ways to welcome the first UK start of Le Tour.

And instead of starting his first TdF, cycling scion Taylor Phinney faces a long and painful road to recovery.

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Local

Knitting the city together, bike lane by bike lane.

A new road diet and bike lanes are coming to Pacific Ave in San Pedro.

Construction begins on a new bike lane and bike route improvements in west Malibu.

Pasadena is formally studying protected bikeways in the city.

Carlos Morales and the Eastside Bike Club lead a Riff Raff Ride into snooty San Marino over the holiday weekend, the San Gabriel Valley town too good for bike lanes and the people who use them.

 

State

Get a discount on registration for the Bike MS Coastal Challenge: Santa Monica to Santa Barbara through July 13th.

Laguna residents band together to demand safer streets following the death of cyclist Greg Colvin.

You wouldn’t think you’d have to worry about getting killed by a drunk driver in Auburn at 6:40 on a Friday morning. But you’d be wrong.

 

National

Science says bicycling can help you lead a happier, healthier life and make you a better person. But we already knew that, right?

A single Universal Bike frame adjusts to fit multiple riders and riding style configurations. But how does it ride?

Lenient and/or uncaring courts keep a dangerous New Mexico driver on the road, despite killing a cyclist and multiple DWI arrests.

Someone is vandalizing an Albuquerque ghost bike, apparently because his widow is speaking out to demand justice.

 

International

Someone is sabotaging Vancouver Island streets by stringing fishing line where they can severely injure bike riders.

An anonymous writer for the Guardian says the worst thing about bicycling is other cyclists.

Dublin is installing special bicycle traffic lights to give cyclists a jump on traffic at busy intersections.

Bangalore gets protected bike lanes.

An average of three bike riders a day are knocked off their bikes in Australia’s New South Wales.

 

Finally…
In an absolutely disgusting assault, a car passenger uses a high-powered urine-filled water gun to soak a bike rider after signaling him to come over. A Winnipeg rider crashes into a parked car, then stabs the driver when he gets out to see if the cyclist is okay.

And NPR’s Scott Simon tweets himself in the foot by equating scofflaw cyclists and Lance Armstrong to demonize us all.

Seriously, Scott, you should know better.

 

Morning Links: Turns out most bike riders don’t run red lights after all, and TdF winner LeMond fixes le flat

The next time someone tells you all bike riders run red lights, show them this.

According to a new study from Portland State University, an overwhelming 94% of bicyclists in four Oregon cities — not just bike-friendly Portland — stopped for red lights. And 89% were observed obeying the rules perfectly, while 4% jumped the light just before it changed.

Only a paltry 6% actually blew the lights.

The study was based on a review of over 2,000 videos from intersection crossing cameras. Which means there was no observational bias from researchers at the scene, or riders acting on their best behavior because they knew they were being watched.

As Bike Portland’s Michael Anderson notes, that compares to an estimated 36% to 77% of drivers who break the speed limit.

Which makes you wonder just who the real scofflaws are.

Interestingly, the study also notes that nearly four times as many helmetless riders ran their lights than helmet-clad riders.

Make of that what you will.

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America’s only remaining Tour de France winner responds to that recent video of Lance Armstrong fixing a flat with one of his own. And proves he’s a real blowhard in the best possible sense.

And speaking of TdF winners, the first women’s winner in recent years will be crowned with one-day circuit race before the men arrive on the Champs-Elysees on the final day.

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Local

Looks like there will be 10 of those new LA bike repair stations in the initial rollout.

NELA’s anti-bike Boulevard Sentinel accuses bicyclists of successfully hijacking this past weekend’s Neighborhood Council elections; a better description might be democracy in action.

BikeSGV is looking for bike count volunteers starting this weekend.

Long Beach ranks third on a list of the country’s 20 most bicycle-friendly cities behind San Francisco and Austin; Portland ranks a surprisingly low 15th.

The Long Beach Post looks at Stylish by Bike, part of the city’s annual Bike Fest this Saturday.

 

State

Bicycling suggests a few classic rides to create your own tour of California.

A Newport Beach city council member says improve safety on the Back Bay, rather than restricting usage as some have called for.

Bike share is coming to La Jolla and the rest of the San Diego area this June. Meanwhile, LA’s bike share program is scheduled to open a week from who the hell knows.

Riverside cyclists can look forward to a Cinco de Mayo ride next Monday.

The Times offers more details on that 17-year old Sacramento County driver who deliberately chased down a 10-year old boy after someone threw a water bottle at her SUV. The victim was riding bikes with his brother when the girl attacked him, dragging him 10 feet beneath her vehicle; according to a CHP spokesperson, she was non-remorseful and didn’t seem to care that she’d just committed assault with a deadly weapon.

 

National

Forget hockey — if you really want organized violence, try bike polo. But do we need yet another story saying cycling is the new golf?

Utah police can’t explain how a collision that took the life of two bike riders happened, but somehow conclude the driver wasn’t at fault.

Denver cyclist with early-onset Alzheimer’s plans to ride 100 miles to fight the disease.

Dallas considers repealing its rarely enforced helmet law to encourage bicycling and allow a successful bike share program.

America’s most famous college bike race — and the setting for Breaking Away — took place with another successful Little 500 last weekend.

The NYPD cracks down on Critical Mass while ignoring speeding drivers. So which one poses the greater threat to the public, I wonder?

 

International

Sadly, a British adventurer on a round-the-world bike tour is killed in a Bolivian collision.

People for Bikes offers three lessons from Calgary’s great bike leap forward.

Bike racing’s governing body establishes a commission to promote non-competitive events. Despite what the article suggests, there is no governing body for riding your bike down the street.

Caught on video: A Brit driver deliberately runs down a bike rider from behind, then backs up and flees the scene.

Evidently, Aussie women go out of their way not to commute by bike.

 

Finally…

There’s a new poster child for drunk driving, as an intoxicated motorist drove onto an off-road trail — and plowed into a marathon raising funds to fight drug and alcohol abuse.

And I don’t even know what to say about this one, as a Santa Rosa woman assaults customers and staff in a Dollar Store, steals not one but two bikes, and is finally arrested with Vicodin, a meth pipe and some things she stole from the store.

 

Morning Links: A disgustingly auto-centric driver, and the rest of the story on that biking tech exec beating

They drive among us.

Commenting on the Facebook page Look! Save A Life / Arizona, a gigantic motorhead asshole driver makes it clear he could care less about the lives on any cyclists who happen to ride — legally — on the road.

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Thankfully, jerks like this are a very small minority of drivers, most of whom do their best to drive safely and accommodate everyone.

As for the others, comments like this live forever on the internet. And can be used as evidence if he ever does hit someone.

Thanks to Cyclelicious and Brendan Lyons for the heads-up.

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Speaking of Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious, trust him to get the whole story on that bike riding Silicon Valley tech exec arrested for beating the crap out of a driver.

Turns out the driver did hit the cyclist, as the exec had claimed. And both people in the truck — including the guy behind the wheel — were reportedly drunk, and got out to throw the first punches.

Which makes it a case of self defense against a drunken idiot, rather than the vicious assault the local press implied.

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And it turns out there’s a lot more to that story of the sick, twisted Ontario, Canada driver who sued the parents of the teenage bike rider she killed for her pain and suffering in having to live with what she did — including the incredible pain of the boy’s parents and allegations of police misconduct.

There’s a special place in hell for people like that.

Thanks to Stanley E. Goldich for the links.

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More on Sunday’s Finish the Ride from KNBC-4, as well as KCBC-2 and USC’s Annenberg TV. Maybe the word is finally getting out about hit-and-runs. As usual, though, it takes Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman to offer real insight and put it all in perspective.

And an LA mom says f*** you to speeding drivers and actually rides her bike on the streets of LA.

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Local

CicLAvia co-founder Aaron Paley says we need to get rid of the us vs. them attitude on our streets.

New bike lanes appear next to LA’s Eco-Village, and vandal-resistant bike repair stations pop up on LA’s not-quite Eastside.

Naomi Watts rides a bike in Brentwood.

Repeat after me. If you’re carrying a stolen Glock and a high-capacity magazine on your bike in Pasadena after dark, put a damn light on it. The bike, not the gun.

I love this one. Three bike-riding Palos Verdes financial advisors dig into their own pockets to donate 100 bikes to underprivileged kids. Seriously, hats off to these guys.

 

State

Huh? HuPo offers seven spots in California you can only reach by bike. Like auto, transit and pedestrian-accessible Downtown San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Venice Boardwalk, where bikes aren’t even allowed.

Oakland is racing to meet the demand for bike lanes for non-racing riders.

In a move that could improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians, Google promises their self-driving cars can now recognize objects better than a human driver can — including gestures made by bike riders. Yeah, but can they recognize this one? Thanks to Ed Cable for the heads-up.

A teenage Sacramento driver deliberately chases down and pins a 7th grader to a tree after someone throws a water bottle at her SUV. Yeah, that’s equivalent force.

 

National

Grist sort of answers whether it’s safer to ride a bike or drive a car; thanks to Kevin Hopps for the link.

A new wearable bike light promises to be fashionable, but doesn’t look very noticeable.

Kansas residents pitch in when a man suffering from arthritis has his three-wheeled bike stolen.

An aggressive Austin driver intentionally targets — and fortunately misses — pedestrians and cyclists.

An LSU football player is arrested for bike theft, and says he’s very sorry. Well, okay then.

Two women take off on a bike tour of the East Coast. In 1944. Thanks to Chris K for the tip.

Shockingly, the father of a hit-and-run driver who killed a Florida cyclist says it wasn’t his son’s fault, he wasn’t intoxicated, he didn’t flee and it was all that damn bike rider’s fault. For a change, the police disagree.

 

International

Calgary’s city council votes to defy the bike haters and build three separated bike lanes as a pilot project.

A new bike lock promises to be unpickable. But does anyone actually bother to pick bike locks these days?

Caught on video. A bike riding Dutch woman breaks up a fight the hard way.

This might not be the best time for a politician to ride a bike in the Ukraine, as the mayor of the country’s second largest city is shot while riding his.

Aussie streets are designed to tolerate minor “bingles” but bicyclists aren’t. Is it just me, or does bingle sound like the name of an elf?

 

Finally…

Letters reveal the great feminist author Simone de Beauvior and philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre rode bikes to help organize the French resistance in World War II.

It was de Beauvior who brilliantly wrote “There are two kinds of people in the world: human beings and women. And when women try to act like human beings, they’re accused of trying to be men.”

Which I learned from a Doonesbury cartoon.

 

Morning Links: An inspiring and horrifying interview, outrageous bike news, and send a guy on Climate Ride.

Send this boy to camp. Or rather, Climate Ride.

Send this boy to camp. Or rather, Climate Ride.

Lots of news to catch up on before the weekend. So let’s jump right in.

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Sweet Ride USA’s Steve Isaacs offers an amazing, horrifying and ultimately inspiring interview with hit-and-run survivor Damian Kevitt in advance of Sunday’s Finish the Ride. Choose between the short 4:15 minute version and the full 16 minute one.

Unfortunately, it looks like illness is going to keep me from attending on Sunday, despite my best intentions. So if you’re planning to attend and would like to share your thoughts or photos, let me know.

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Here’s an intriguing invitation.

Inventor Eric F. has come up with what he describes as a “revolutionary bicycle safety device (US and international patent pending) that will save lives and visibly change the urban landscape.”

He’s looking for volunteers to participate in a focus group at Helen’s Cycles’ Santa Monica location, 2501 Broadway, on Monday, May 5th from 7 – 8 pm.

You can start your Cinco de Mayo celebration a little later. And it’s a good chance to check out the new green bike lanes in front of the shop.

Just watch out for drunks on your ride home.

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Congratulations to the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition’s Team LACBC on exceeding their fundraising goal for this year’s California Climate Ride.

But several of the team members are still short of the money they need to raise to participate in the ride.

I can personally vouch for everyone on the list, all of whom deserve to go on the bike adventure of a lifetime. And each of whom deserves your support for all they do to support your right to ride safely and enjoyably in the City and County of Angels.

In fact, I have never known a more committed and hardworking group of staff and volunteers, and as a board member for the past five years, I’m honored for the small part I play in supporting their work. Which is something I don’t say nearly enough.

But I’d like to call your attention to just one of those potential riders, and ask you to help him get from the California Wine Country to Sacramento next month.

Alex Amerri, President of the LACBC Board of Directors, has done an incredible job of guiding the organization through some turbulent times — often at the expense of his own career and personal life.

I’ve watched as he’s often put in more than full-time work in an unpaid, volunteer position. When he leaves the board — which hopefully won’t be anytime soon — he’ll leave the LACBC a far stronger, more stable and successful organization than he found it, positioned for even greater growth and influence in the years to come.

And you can’t ask any more than that of anyone.

However, the time he’s put in solving problems and creating opportunities for the coalition lately has meant he hasn’t had time to raise the funds he needs to participate in the Climate Ride. In fact, he’s less than a third of the way to his $3,500 goal.

So let’s send a boy to camp.

Or rather, a man to ride.

If you’ve got a little extra money laying around, make a donation to a good cause to support sustainability and improve our environment. And do it in the name of someone who truly deserves a few uninterrupted days on his bike.

And if not Alex, then help one of the other team members who do so much to help you.

Note: Alex has no idea I’m writing this. So let’s not tell him. Just let him be surprised when the donations start coming in, with no idea where they’re coming from or why.

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Prepare to be outraged.

It’s not unusual to find a story or two that makes a mockery of justice, and reminds us all that cyclists are still second-class citizens on our streets.

But today’s news carried three examples of just how far we have to go. And how self-centered, heartless and cruel some people can be.

First up, a Massachusetts woman is convicted of a reduced charge in a fatal hit-and-run when the judge rules that a second vehicle that hit the victim afterwards could have caused the fatal injuries. Never mind that the trailing vehicle would never have hit the rider in the first place if the hit-and-run driver hadn’t plowed into her and left her lying in the street.

Or there’s this, as Pennsylvania authorities refuse to file charges against a driver who killed a teenage cyclist — even though she was under the influence of cocaine and prescription drugs at the time. Nice to see them taking DUI so seriously.

And in a truly disgusting demonstration of genuine overly entitled, self-absorbed heartlessness, an Ontario — Canada, not California — driver sues the family of the teenage cyclist she killed for the emotional turmoil that taking his life has caused her. Evidently, she’s the real victim here, not the kid who lost his life, the parents who lost a child or the brother who OD’d because he couldn’t deal with the loss.

I never to wish ill on anyone. But I’m sorely tempted to make an exception in her case.

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Local

UCLA’s Herbie Huff and Madeline Brozen offer a rebuttal to the recent report showing bike lanes don’t cause traffic congestion if they’re put in the right place.

Cultural Weekly explains why CicLAvia has struck a chord with Angelenos. Although I’m not really sure that’s it.

Variety promotes this weekend’s first-of-the-year bike-in movie in Reseda Park.

KCRW’s DnA will host Reinventing the Wheel, a discussion on the future of mobility at the Helms Bakery complex on May 18.

Santa Monica police use a bait bike to get two bike thieves off the streets.

Long Beach offers a bike map of six downtown routes.

Santa Clarita plans a number of events around hosting a pair of stages in next month’s Amgen Tour of California.

 

State

The Idyllwild man who created the Stagecoach 400 mountain bike race finally finishes the route he designed after three failed attempts.

Streetsblog looks at last week’s California Transportation Choices Summit.

VeloNews rides the Amgen Tour of California route in reverse with the Rapha Women’s Ambassadors.

 

National

A new Strava map offers a detailed look at where people who use Strava run and ride bikes, which seems to be pretty much where people live. Then again, people who don’t use Strava ride everywhere.

A proposed MiniBrake promises to let parents stop their children’s bikes by remote control. Seems a little dangerous to stop a kid’s bike without warning, but it could keep them from riding into danger.

Treehugger lists five ways bicycling is getting better in the US. And one way it’s not.

A severely auto-focused Texas jerk letter writer says “You ‘need’ a car for business, shopping and taking your kids to Burger King. You only ‘want’ to ride your bike…” which places “an unreasonable safety burden on drivers of other vehicles.” Right. And maybe if those kids walked or rode to Burger King they might be healthier now, and as adults.

 

International

After a Brit thief steals a $4,200 e-bike, he calls the local dealer for advice on how to charge it. Which turns out to be the same guy he stole it from.

Lance says he’s still the winner of all those Tours de France, regardless of what anyone else says, while former Armstrong lieutenant George Hincapie promises an unvarnished look at pro cycling’s doping era in a new book.

Osaka police crack down on reckless cyclists — or any, for that matter — at the urging of local merchants.

 

Finally…

A cute 30-second video suggests the more you ride, the more calories you can take in. Not necessarily true, though, as I’ve learned the hard way.

 

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

Screw bike riders.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The question is, what can we do going forward?

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

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

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

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

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

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

It wouldn’t be cheap.

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

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

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

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

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

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

……….

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

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

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

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

……….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plans call for extending an Orange County protected bikeway.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then again, they aren’t always the problem.

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

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

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

Times, thankfully, have changed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

……….

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

……….

Now for the bad news.

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

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

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

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

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

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

……….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

………

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

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

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

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

Cyclists-Talebans

Seriously, you can’t make this shit up.

Near Rapid Bus road kill, and a letter from a Brit driver that questions their care for the mentally ill

First up, Michael Eisenberg forwards video of a careless LA bus driver that came too close to making him Santa Monica road kill.

I’d like to say it was shocking, or even unusual. But most of us have been in that same position too many times.

……….

A British letter writer blames all bike riders for the death of one, in one of the most bizarre anti-bike rants I’ve read.

And even though the driver got off in the case that set him off, he questions when motorists will ever get a fair deal and be listened to.

I don’t know what planet he lives on, but it doesn’t appear to be this one.

To those cyclists that complain ‘It’s our right!’: So what?

Someone has died because you all fail to follow the rules, as cyclists do every day. Even if you did, so what? No driver wants to hit you, so stop this happening: give up. …

For your own safety leave the bike at home, get in the car like any rational person would. You’ve lost the fight for your right on the road and a legal precedent has been established.

Thanks to Carlton Reid for the link.

………

This is why bicyclists need to fight for Santa Monica’s MANGo project, which is up for a vote at tonight’s city council meeting. Although someone should tell the local paper it’s actually a neighborhood greenway that will benefit everyone, rather than just a project for bike riders. Meanwhile, the NRDC voices its support.

……….

Tour de Palm Springs officials promise to review the event following the death of cyclist La Vonne Koester, who authorities now inexplicably blame for her own death.

……….

No bikes involved. Just a 21-year old drunk wrong-way driver who killed six people, including her own sister. And just four years after she was convicted of DUI at 17 — and received two other tickets while her license was apparently still suspended.

So six innocent people are dead because, once again, authorities didn’t care enough to keep a dangerous driver off the road.

As Tom Vanderbilt famously put it, drivers licenses are too easy to get and too hard to lose. And that needs to change.

Now.

……….

The LA Bicycle Advisory Committee steps up and tells the city councilmembers who appointed them to stop wasting time and money by stalling on bike projects. The City of LA may finally attempt to figure out what Complete Streets means. A member of the USC Bicycle Coalition calls on the university to stop opposing the MyFigueroa project that will help encourage non-motorized transportation to and from campus and keep students safer; but does the historically bike-unfriendly school administration give a damn are they listening? Bicycling is not dangerous, driving is. You could help fix our broken streets and have people like me on your case all the time, as LADOT is looking for a Senior Project Coordinator for the Bicycle Program. Wayfinding signage has finally come to the LA River; even if a new riverside park in Lincoln Heights remains sort-of fenced off. Santa Monica Spoke shares their excitement for the new SaMoHi Safe Routes to School Program. Better Bike is still waiting for those promised Beverly Hills bike racks. This week’s Bike Talk features some of the area’s leading women bike advocates talking, uh, bikes. Bicycling magazine offers a full spread on LA’s own Sweet Ride.

The Level of Service standard that favors motor vehicles over every other form of transport could finally be replaced by the state. Pedal Love shares a little pre-Valentines bike romance. San Diego’s Uptown neighborhood may be warming up to bikes after all, while the city hopefully votes for a bike-friendly — and non-perv — mayor. A San Diego cyclist is injured when the city repaves traffic lanes, but leaves the bike lane in worse condition than it was before; thanks to Mark Ganzer for the heads-up. An Ojai cyclist is flown to the hospital after an apparent solo crash. This is why you should let the authorities deal with a bike thief, as a Santa Cruz man is stabbed trying to stop one. That Santa Cruz Tesla driver who claimed he killed a cyclist because of the new car smell faces up to a year in prison, while his lawyer should get five years just for that bogus excuse; thanks to Brother Dave for the tip. Long time state Assembly Speaker Willie Brown hasn’t changed his anti-bike, pro-freeway attitude. A Napa Valley rider imitates Rodney King by asking if cyclists and motorists can get along.

Hit-and-run fatalities are on the way up nationwide, led by our own City of Fallen Angels. Of course. Bicycling lists nine great campuses for cyclists; not surprisingly, no SoCal colleges made the cutoff; see USC above. A Spokane cyclist’s estate gets a $120,000 settlement from the city for failing to maintain the dangerous intersection that killed him. Anchorage police chief says bikes and motorists can safely coexist. A bike advocate from my hometown says you’re safer when you ride like you belong there. So who do you have to kill to get a New York cabbie’s license revoked? Philly cyclists get a new pumptrack; and no, I had no idea what that was until I read the story. Race car drivers at Daytona urge drivers to be kind to cyclists. The Florida cyclist who was dumped behind a dumpster to die by a heartless hit-and-run driver speaks out, and he’s justifiably pissed-off — and paralyzed.

Next up on Kickstarter, a combination tail light and rear-view camera to record the drivers who run you down from behind. Olympic gold medalist Chris Boardman says cycling is safer than gardening; they must have some tough slugs in the UK. British Cycling offers a 10 point plan to get the country riding. Brit hit-and-run victim says drivers hate us; he’s not far off for some. US pro cycling prodigy Taylor Phinney wins his first pro tour. No, really, that South African official’s convoy stopped to help a fallen cyclist instead of running him over. Mastering the etiquette of Kiwi group riding.

Finally, a Nepal cyclist likes to live dangerously by riding his bike backwards across Africa and Asia. As usual, Bikeyface nails it in suggesting everybody should get a bike. And once again, the Cycling Embassy’s blog roundup puts the above link compendium to shame; the student has truly surpassed the master.

City Council PLUM committee punts on My Figueroa; major sub-human scum steal an autistic girl’s e-bike

Four years ago Bill Rosendahl fought for bike riders; will anyone step up now?

Four years ago Bill Rosendahl fought for bike riders; will anyone step up now?

Four years ago, former Councilmember Bill Rosendahl famously declared the era of LA car culture was over.

Yesterday’s meeting of the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee head-scratchingly yawned otherwise, as a car dealer and seemingly confused councilmember teamed to throw a monkey wrench into plans for cycle tracks on South Figueroa.

The long-planned and bid-ready My Figueroa has been delayed, perhaps fatally, by the owner of the Felix Chevrolet group of car dealerships, who inexplicably claims to support the project while simultaneously threatening to sue to stop it.

And by Councilmember Curren Price, who has previously proclaimed his support for bicycling, as well as the Figueroa cycle tracks, but now wants further study of a project that has already been studied to death, and consideration of options that have already been rejected for good reason.

And let’s not forget a little bike hate from Hollywood thrown in for good measure, which wants to keep parking their trucks on the street instead of paying for parking like every other Angeleno. Evidently, they’re not satisfied with merely watering down our formerly effective Spring Street green bike lanes, and won’t stop until they’ve turned the entire city into their exclusive back lot.

As Damien Newtown put it on Streetsblog, the project needs a hero.

Unfortunately, Rosendahl has retired. And no one, as yet, has stepped up to claim his mantle in fighting for the rights and safety of LA cyclists on the city council.

The vacuum that exists at the top of the LADOT flowchart means no one there will take on the fight, as the mayor continues to drag his feet on appointing a permanent leader for the department, and prime candidates like New York’s Janette Sadik Khan and Chicago’s Gabe Klein move on to less problematic pastures.

Meanwhile, the mayor himself has yet to publicly take a stand in support of bicycling, other than to sign on to the city’s application to the Green Lane Project — which could be jeopardized by the turmoil over My Figueroa.

That follows other city leaders washing their hands of cyclists, as Westside Councilmember Paul Koretz killed planned bike lanes on Westwood Blvd, and self-proclaimed bike-friendly Councilmember Tom LaBonge has single-handedly stopped major bike projects on 4th Street and Lankershim Blvd, while supporting a killer redesign of the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge complex.

Meanwhile, newly elected Councilmember Gil Cedillo has inexplicably halted all progress on shovel-ready bike lanes on North Figueroa that he previously supported, apparently in a fit of pique directed at his predecessor.

The only action taken by the committee on Tuesday was to ask city staff to study the issues they’ve already studied, using money that has already been spent.

And to report back in 30 days to explain why they recommend what they’ve already recommended.

Maybe it will be enough political Kabuki theater to suggest to opponents that the council members really did consider their objections before going forward with what they should have gone forward with anyway.

Or maybe Koretz, LaBonge and Cedillo will step up and battle for bike lanes, as long as they’re not in their own districts.

And maybe that bacon I had earlier in the week will reconstitute into its original porcine form and aviate out of my ass.

……….

In a major display of sub-human greed, a pair of lowlife schmucks have stolen a custom-made tandem e-bike from a severely autistic 12-year old girl.

The bike has a raised seat back and seatbelt that allows the girl, a double transplant recipient, to ride a bike, which would otherwise be impossible for her. And which render the bike pretty much useless for anyone else.

It was stolen November 30th at 2:32 am from a home in the 4200 block of Marina City Drive in Marina del Rey. Surveillance video shows two men — if you can call them that — carrying the bike over a locked gate at the Marina City Club condo complex.

Chances are, after two months, the bike — which was donated by the Make-A-Wish Foundation — has long been stripped and sold as parts. But the jerks who stole it are still around somewhere, and need to be taken off the streets.

For a very long time.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Sheriff’s Detective Keysha Gipson at the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station, 310-482-6022.

Thanks to Cynthia Rose for the heads-up.

……….

The LA Weekly begs to differ with the LA Times Op-Ed about the living hell Santa Monica has become. Because of, you know, bikes.

Evidently, all those cars streaming in and out of the city have no effect on traffic. Or livability, for that matter.

……….

Britain’s advertising authority bans a Scottish bike safety commercial because 1) it features a cyclist riding without a helmet, and 2) the rider doesn’t cling dangerously to the gutter in an attempt to ride as far right as possible.

The Guardian rightly asks, are they daft?

Note: As Nik points out, that should be “ride as far left as possible.”

Update: In the face of massive blowback, the ruling on road positioning has been suspended; the ruling on helmet use appears to remain in force, even though helmets are not required in the UK.

……….

Finally, Bangkok closes key intersections to become the Copenhagen of the east, even if bikes can hide bombs; thanks to Vanessa Gray for the link.

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Thanks to Erik Griswold for his generous donation to help support this site; contributions of any amount are deeply appreciated.

Lots of news — SaMo Blvd bike lanes, CicLAvia 2014, misguided SaMo Op-Ed piece, possible Olin charges

Sold out auditorium for the recent Southern California Cycling Summit; see below.

Sold out auditorium for the recent Southern California Cycling Summit; see below.

Let’s catch up on some of the recent news.

……….

First up, Westside riders owe a big thanks to Mark Elliott of Better Bike.

Elliot has led the fight — almost single-handedly at times — to improve safety and ridability in the traditionally bike-unfriendly Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills.

A comparison to a lone salmon swimming upstream would be putting it mildly; the mythical Sisyphus would be more apt.

Yet somehow Elliot persevered, resulting in a 1-year “pilot program” to install bike lanes on Burton Way, and bike lanes and sharrows on North Crescent Drive. While I’ve never had cause to ride Crescent, the Burton Way bike lanes have become my favored eastbound route out of the city — when I’m willing to risk my life riding through Downtown Beverly Hills to get there.

For the past year or more, Elliot has led the fight to include bike lanes on a reconstructed Santa Monica Blvd when it goes under the knife in 2015, providing a vital missing link between existing lanes in West Hollywood and Century City.

Despite overwhelming odds and the opposition of the city’s paid consultant and members of the Blue-Ribbon Committee established to study the issue, his efforts have once again carried the day, winning approval by a 9-2 vote of the committee.

Then again, the fight isn’t over yet.

The committee’s recommendation now goes to the Beverly Hills City Council for approval next month, on a date to be determined. Hopefully, we’ll get enough advance notice of the meeting to show up and voice our support.

But for the first time, it looks like we might actually get a near-continuous Santa Monica bike lane stretching from the 405 in West LA to east of La Cienga in WeHo. And we have him to thank for it.

Of course, there still are problems to be solved.

……….

Next up is the newly announced CicLAvia schedule for 2014.

This year offers three of the exceptionally popular Open Streets events, minus last year’s overly crowded CicLAvia to the Sea and the long-rumored San Fernando Valley CicLAvia. Both are promised for next year, though the former may see a reconfigured route to overcome some of the problems that resulted in near-impassible blocks of bike-congestion on Venice Blvd.

Yet even with just three events on the calendar, it looks like a strong line-up.

The Iconic Wilshire Boulevard route returns on Sunday, April 6th, once again following LA’s main street from Downtown to the Miracle Mile — although Mark Elliot has hinted that Beverly Hills might like to get in on the action. The route visits some of the city’s finest architecture and historical sites, as called out in this guide from the Militant Angeleno.

CicLAvia takes the summer off — perhaps because that Valley route fell through? — before returning with a reconfigured Heart of LA route through the Downtown area on October 5th. This year’s route extends from Echo Park to East LA, as well as traveling the length of Broadway from 9th to Chinatown, with a stop at the relatively new Grand Park.

Finally, the first holiday season CicLAvia will take place on December 7th, with its first full foray into South LA. The route will range from Leimert Park, the cultural center of the Southside, to Central Avenue, the birthplace of West Coast Jazz and home of the legendary Dunbar Hotel. Can’t wait to read the Militant’s guide to this one.

Of course, the question is, does any of this really matter?

And the answer is, of course it does. In ways that many of us, myself included, may not have realized.

LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne has written what may be the best and most insightful analysis of what CicLAvia is and can be. And the role it plays in transforming our city for the better.

It’s a must read.

Just don’t read the comments.

……….

On the opposite side of the coin, there’s this misguided Times opinion piece from a long-time resident of Santa Monica, who blames bikes and urban planning for all the traffic problems in the city.

In it, he laments the young urbanites who have invaded his city, while simultaneously proclaiming that the majority of the city’s 92,000 residents can’t ride bikes and live too far to walk to the city’s newly hip urban core.

So wait.

Despite the influx of moneyed young people, most city residents are too out of shape — or maybe just too lazy — to get on a bicycle? They can’t be too old, given the number of riders I know in their 70s, 80s and even 90s who somehow manage to ride on a regular basis.

And if no one can ride, where do all those casual bike riders come from?

As someone who used to work in the city over decade ago, I can testify that Santa Monica’s traffic problems existed years before more than a handful of bike lanes appeared on the street. It frequently took me over an hour to drive the 6.5 miles from my beachside office to my apartment just 6.5 miles to the east — and not because of any bikes on the streets.

And don’t even get me started on virtually impassible Lincoln Blvd, which has long been avoided by bicyclists — despite being a designated bike route — because of the heavy automotive traffic.

Then he complains about bicyclists who position themselves in traffic — “because they can!” — moments after complaining about the bike lanes that move riders safely out of the way.

For someone who claims to have lived in Santa Monica for nearly three decades, he doesn’t seem to understand the city very well.

Or urban planning, for that matter.

Or bicycling, at all.

……….

The investigation into the December 8th death of cyclist, entertainment lawyer and former Napster exec Milt Olin is nearly complete. According to the LA Times, the case will be presented to the District Attorney to determine whether charges will be filed.

The Daily News reports the Sheriff’s Deputy who killed Olin when his patrol car somehow drifted into the bike lane on Mulholland Hwy could face a charge of vehicular manslaughter, or possibly even felony manslaughter.

“Could” being the key word.

It’s also possible, if not probable, that the DA will decline to file charges based on the evidence presented by the Sheriff’s investigators. And no word on whether charges will be filed against the department if it’s found that the deputy was following policy by using the onboard computer in his patrol car while driving, as some have suggested.

And while the department has gone out of its way to stress the independence of the investigation and deny any special treatment, they have guaranteed that the results will be second guessed — no matter what they conclude — by investigating a death involving their own deputy, rather than turning it over to an outside agency such as the CHP.

……….

The Metro Board approved a motion calling on the transit agency to look into a countywide bike share program (Item 58).

While there’s no guarantee such a program will actually be approved, it could provide deep pockets to back the system, while avoiding the Balkanization caused by competing and possibly incompatible programs in various cities.

………

(L-R) Anthony Reguero, President PTE Events, Chris Carmichael, author Time-Crunched Cyclist, Rahsaan Bahati, President Bahati Foundation and Michael Bell, Oakley.

(L-R) Anthony Reguero, President PTE Events, Chris Carmichael, author Time-Crunched Cyclist, Rahsaan Bahati, President Bahati Foundation and Michael Bell, Oakley.

I received a press release this past weekend from the Bahati Foundation about the SoCal Cycling Summit 2014, held at Oakley Headquarters in Foothill Ranch, CA.

Unfortunately, I found out about it long after the January 14th event was over.

I say unfortunately because I’m a big fan of the efforts of the foundation, founded by former National Criterium champ Rahsaan Bahati, to bring the joy of bicycling to inner city youths.

And because I would have enjoyed hearing from famed cycling coach Chris Carmichael, author of The Time-Crunched Cyclist.

Summit attendees representing a diversified audience that ran the gamut– Olympic medalists, serious weekend enthusiasts as well as international competitors, filled the 400-seat amphitheater to hear Carmichael discuss his revolutionary time-crunched cyclist technique. “The SoCal Cycling Summit is a wonderful platform for our foundation to share its vision in providing assistance to inner-city youth through cycling,” said Rahsaan Bahati, founder Bahati Foundation.

“Athletes want to stay engaged in the sports they love, but it can be a difficult balance for working parents and career professionals. The time-crunched athlete program is a new approach to endurance training, one that actually takes advantage of a busy athlete’s limited training time. It’s been successful for tens of thousands of athletes, and I look forward to sharing the program with everyone at the SoCal Cycling Summit,” stated Carmichael.

Maybe next year.

………

Things aren’t looking good for long-planned bike lanes on North Figueroa Blvd, which had been approved and ready to implement until new City Councilmember Gil Cedillo appeared to throw a wrench in the works — despite his previous support for the plan.

As a result, the LACBC is calling on bike riders to contact the councilmember to express their support for the lanes, especially if you live or work in the area.

Since the candidate forum we sponsored in 2013, we have seen bike lanes installed on Colorado and the Eagle Rock bike lanes extended to Colorado.  All that is left to complete the backbone network in Northeast LA is N. Figueroa.

The residents of Northeast LA are scratching their heads thinking why haven’t they been installed yet?  After all, they were packaged for last year’s projects alongside Colorado/Eagle Rock.  This is a good opportunity to raise the question and urge Councilman Cedillo to keep his promise and install bike lanes on this very important corridor. Please join us TODAY for a day of action urging Councilmember Cedillo to add bike lanes on N. Figueroa between York and San Fernando!

Call Cedillo’s office and share your thoughts.  Dial his downtown office (213) 473-7001 and let his staffer know why you think bike lanes on N. Figueroa are good for everyone.  Then, email alek@la-bike.org and let me know how it went.  Remember to stay positive!

You can find a sample script here.

………

Finally, the CEO of Ford gets it. Even if certain residents of Santa Monica don’t.

 

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