Archive for Anti-bike bias

Morning Links: LA River Greenway to expand through the Valley, Louisiana lawmaker says don’t play in the street

Good news on the LA River front.

A design firm has been selected to build a bike and pedestrian path along a 12-mile segment of the Los Angeles River in the San Fernando Valley, from Vanalden in the West Valley to Forest Lawn and Zoo Drives in Griffith Park.

Which means, if the seemingly endless series of closures and construction projects finally wrap up, you’ll be able to ride uninterrupted from the West Valley through Elysian Park.

Unfortunately, I haven’t heard any word on when we can expect an extension of the bike path through DTLA and points south, to connect with the pathway leading up from Long Beach.

Meanwhile, you’ll soon be able to combine bikes, bagels and beer on the newly re-opened segment of the LA River bike path in Frogtown.

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This is the sort of attitude we have to deal with.

A Louisiana state legislator actually said “If you don’t want to overdose, don’t do drugs. If you don’t want to get hit by a car, don’t play in the street,” in quashing the state’s proposed vulnerable user law, out of fear his constituents could go to jail for “accidently” killing someone.

‘Cause you know, these things just happen, right?

Then again, this is the same public servant who tried to pass a law prohibiting strippers from being too fat or too old, then claimed it was just a joke.

Apparently, so is he.

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Mark Cavendish has pulled out of the Tour de France in order to focus on the Rio Olympics.

Two-time Tour runner-up Nairo Quintana faces his last chance to overtake leader Chris Froome as the race enters the Alps, while second-place Nairo Quintana has been in this position before.

If you can’t shave any more weight off the bike, shave a few seconds off your time with a 3D-printed skinsuit.

And women’s cycling is taking a big step forward with the creation of the first all-black African women’s cycling team.

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Local

The Source’s Steve Hyman demonstrates remarkable restraint when an impatient driver tells him to get on the sidewalk as he rides on Cordova Street — while riding in a bike lane, no less.

Downtown News says DTLA’s new Metro Bike bikeshare system is better late than never; over 1,600 people bought passes by the end of the first week.

KPCC wants to know what traffic laws should be enforced more vigorously, including violations by those darn scofflaw cyclists. Remarkably, they include cars driving below the speed limit, which isn’t against the law, but fail to include speeding, which is.

 

State

Eighty-five year old Apple Valley cyclist and community advocate Chuck Hanson passed away from cancer over the weekend; he had ridden nearly half a million miles over his lifetime.

Apparently, the San Francisco DA takes traffic crime seriously. A 19-year old man has been charged with murder in the hit-and run death of a bike rider while driving a stolen car last month. He faces additional charges of vehicular manslaughter, hit-and-run and auto burglary, and is being held on $1 million bail.

A new bike shop, café and social club is due to open in downtown Oakland, serving beer and advocacy without the pressures of a “jerk bike shop.”

A Redding man was able to hold onto his bike when he was attacked by two teenagers while riding on a bike path.

 

National

Portland joins the bikeshare revolution, unveiling a new system with 1,000 smart bikes at 100 stations.

Great idea. A Wichita KS program will donate bikes recovered by the police to provide homeless people with a form of transportation.

Life is cheap in Nebraska, where a careless driver gets a whopping 30 days in jail and a $100 fine for killing a bike rider.

Cleveland is using bike cops to keep the peace at this week’s Republican National Convention.

A Wisconsin writer learns the hard way that no one is impervious to injury, as he describes firsthand what it’s like to break your collarbone falling off your bike.

A Minnesota family finally finds closure as the hit-and-run driver who killed a 24-year old woman as she rode a bike has been sentenced to 39 months in prison.

Michigan proposes a five-foot passing law in the wake of the Kalamazoo massacre.

Massachusetts considers a bill that would make it illegal to park in bike lanes statewide.

Philadelphia police are looking for a mountain bike-riding man who has violently attacked three prostitutes, killing one.

 

International

A sports psychologist explains how to tell if you’re addicted to cycling.

A new Brazilian study says 72 hours may not be long enough for your body to recover from an 80-mile race. And yet professional cyclists are expect to compete on much longer routes every day, with no recovery time.

A Vancouver planning consultant says the way to reign in those annoying scofflaw cyclists is to make bike couriers ride three-speed upright bikes. No, really.

Also in Vancouver, a writer says it doesn’t look right when a Nigerian-Canadian bike rider is detained by six police officers for over an hour, apparently for the crime of riding on the sidewalk while black.

A ten-year old British hit-and-run victim asks how anyone could just leave him lying in the street.

Caught on video: A London cyclist suffers the equivalent of a left cross, hit-and-run crash the first time he used his new GoPro.

A proposed five and a half mile protected bike lane would run under a bridge to connect East and West Berlin.

Now that’s more like it. An Aussie telecom company is offering employees $1,000 to buy the bicycle of their choice and ride it to work. Thanks to David Wolfberg for the heads-up.

The General-Secretary of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, who also serves as chair of the Japan Cycling Association, was injured while riding his bicycle on Saturday; official reports are he was just slightly injured, but other sources say his injuries may be serious.

 

Finally…

The way to improve safety is to tame motor vehicle traffic, not helmets that turn bicyclists into hi-viz mini-cars. The Tron-inspired spokeless bicycle has met its Kickstarter goal, but no, it is not the future of bicycling.

And it’s one thing to promote veganism by riding your bike, another to break all the rules doing it. Seriously, Strava only encourages you to ride like a jackass; it’s your fault if you actually do.

 

Morning Links: Energizer Bunny says upgrade your bike for a motorcycle, and a SaMo bad driver triptych

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton justifiably takes Energizer Batteries to task for a badly off-base ad in which the Bunny magically converts bicycles into high-powered motorcycles.

In the Energizer commercial’s world, there are lots of cyclists, but all their bikes are old and crappy. One bike, at o:02, has a derailleur but no chain. Few of the bikes actually fit their riders, so the cyclists look cramped and uncomfortable.

Secondly, how does electricity help cyclists? Does transforming a bicycle – a truly environmentally-friendly human-powered vehicle – into a petroleum-burning motorcycle really serve the environment? Do urban cyclists really want to ditch their trusty steeds?

Seriously, the takeaway from Energizer’s misguided ad isn’t that their batteries are good for the environment, but that motorcycles are better than bicycles.

Which is a load of crap.

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Now that’s more like it.

A Niagara-area town supervisor makes a video supporting his vision of converting an eight-mile parkway into a bikeway.

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While we’re on a video kick, bike commuter and KCRW sound engineer Steve Herbert posts series of Facebook videos depicting a triptych of Santa Monica drivers who insisted on making his ride to work far more dangerous than it needed to be.

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The AP says Chris Froome is turning into a master tactician on the bike, although he was outsprinted on Wednesday’s 11th stage of the Tour de France. But seriously, don’t film Mark Cavendish when he’s taking a leak.

Yahoo offers a offers a bizarre report that blames cycling’s doping culture of the of the ‘80s and ‘90s for corrupting East European cyclists — like East Germany’s Jan Ullrich — after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Never mind that the former Soviet Block countries maintained extensive systematic doping programs, which undoubtedly included many, if not all, of their top cyclists. Something that clearly continues today.

As for that doping culture, at least some of it may have been a placebo effect. Although cyclists aren’t the only ones doing it.

And it’s been 49 years since Britain’s Tommy Simpson died while riding up Mont Ventoux, possibly as a result of chasing amphetamines with brandy before the race; the peloton will likely pause to remember him when they climb Ventoux in today’s stage.

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Local

The Milt Olin Foundation, started by the wife of the fallen cyclist, has launched the #HandsOff app to encourage drivers to pledge not to use their phones behind the wheel. The sheriff’s deputy who killed Olin on Mulholland Highway in 2013 had been texting with his wife, and was using the patrol car’s onboard computer at the time of the crash.

KCET rides the LA River bike path with the Senior Lead Officers from the LAPD’s Northeast Division, helping bust a bike thief in the process.

New Malibu Mayor Lou La Monte is promising to improve safety on PCH, such as implementing some of the 130 suggested improvements listed in the recently completed the PCH Safety Study, including proposed bike lanes.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson reports from Tuesday’s Palos Verdes Estates council session, where bicyclists turned out en masse to call for improved signage in the not-so-bike-friendly community.

 

State

Huntington Beach police are looking for a white man who rode up on a bicycle before yelling racial slurs and throwing a rock through the door of a black family.

Another homeless man was attacked in San Diego, the fifth in the last few weeks; the hammer-wielding attacker was riding a blue mountain bike.

Bakersfield bicyclists will ride to remember a local man who lost his life while riding in Chicago recently.

Menlo Park is planning to remove up to 18 parking spaces to make room for bike lanes. Although the torches and pitchforks will likely come out once the affected homeowners get wind of it.

How do Bay Area chefs love cycling? Let me count the ways…

A Santa Rosa cyclist is 90% of the way through his campaign to ride up the top 100 climbs in the US; he’s now planning to ride up Mt. Whitney — starting from Death Valley — then climb the last 6,000 feet of elevation on foot.

A Truckee woman passed away in her sleep, just hours after she was involved in a bicycling collision. No matter how you feel after a wreck, always assume you’re injured. And if you feel dizzy or lightheaded, get to an emergency room immediately.

 

National

The BBC looks at how the “humble” bicycle is making a comeback in US cities, including a visit to LA’s own newly renamed Pure Cycles.

Portland’s transportation chief talks bikeshare, and explains why women seem to like it.

Nevada cyclists question the lack of serious penalties for drivers who injure or kill bike riders. Which is pretty much the same concerns held by bike riders everywhere.

Nice story from Kansas, as a father works with students at a local community college to develop a 3D-printed device to allow his three-year old son, who was born without his left hand, to ride a bicycle.

A Chicago weekly wonders what’s behind the recent rash of serious bicycling collisions.

The Michigan driver who ran down nine cyclists in Kalamazoo reportedly downed handfuls of pain pills and muscle relaxants before getting behind the wheel; police also found marijuana, meth, more pills and a pipe in his car.

Bloomberg looks at Detroit Bikes, which specializes in making bikeshare bikes, including assembling bicycles for New York’s Citi Bike.

A Pennsylvania cyclist helps save the life of a woman who drove off the road, after he found her unconscious in a stream.

A Florida bike rider was killed when he rode over a live power line that had fallen on a bridge; the line may have been down for as long as seven hours. Never, ever cross or touch a downed power line, even if that means finding another way to get where you’re going.

 

International

A Montreal study shows building bike lanes really does get a few people out of their cars.

Peru reopens a historic outdoor velodrome that had been closed for nearly 30 years.

A Canadian columnist calls for bicycling training, and asks why encourage people to ride their bikes if they’re just going to break the law anyway? After all, licensing drivers has worked so well to discourage any form of scofflaw behavior, right?

Toronto puts its money where it’s mouth is, considering a $12.2 million boost in spending for bikeway construction over the next five years, on top of the $68.1 million already approved.

A London bicyclist says it was like hitting a brick wall when he slammed into a distracted man who stepped into a bike lane without looking.

“Despicable” is the right word for whoever stole an ambulance bicycle from a London paramedic as he was treating a patient.

Bicycling levels remain flat in the UK over the past year.

Scottish authorities are looking for a driver who made a U-turn to deliberately crash into a cyclist after they had exchanged gestures following a close pass.

 

Finally…

Pedal your way to cleaner clothes. Evidently, it’s not considered self-defense if you slap the driver who almost ran you over.

And if you’re thinking about commenting on a woman’s body, just… don’t.

Whether you’re on a bike. Or anywhere else.

 

Morning Links: Anti-bike PVE strikes back, from freeway to bikeway, and ridiculously road raging Ramona driver

Just days after the Palos Verdes Estates Traffic Safety Committee voted to improve bike safety signage, local residents rose up with their metaphorical pitchforks and torches to demand that bikes be banned from some public roads in the seaside community.

Never mind that it would be illegal.

Under state law, bicycles are allowed on any public street where motor vehicles are allowed, with the exception of some limited access freeways.

So they’re welcome to have bicycles banned.

As long as they’re willing to ban their own cars, trucks and SUVs while they’re at it.

Meanwhile, Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson notes that it’s surely just a coincidence that days after the cyclists’ victory at the committee meeting, a PVE police officer lurked on a side street waiting for a popular group ride to blow a stop sign. Then drove his squad car directly into the middle of the riders to stop them — needlessly risking their safety when he could have just as easily pulled them over with a red light and siren.

Maybe someone should tell him civilians can be charged with assault with a deadly weapon for doing the virtually the same thing (see road raging Ramona driver, below).

Davidson urges everyone who can make it to attend this evening’s Palos Verdes Estates city council meeting to show your support for bike safety and the improved signage. Because the anti-bike forces have already made it known they will come out in farce.

Excuse me, force.

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A Harvard landscape architecture professor takes the LA Time’s Christopher Hawthorne up on his challenge to envision a new use for the currently useless mile-long spur of the 5 Freeway that ends in Silver Lake and Echo Park.

The plan would include features to clean the air and replenish groundwater, while providing parks, elevated bike paths and pedestrian walkways.

New Zealand took a similar approach in converting an unused offramp into an award-winning, Pepto Bismol pink bikeway.

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This is who we share the roads with.

A Ramona SUV driver faces charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon, and misdemeanor battery and vandalism for a bizarre confrontation filmed by a professional photographer.

Even though they were doing a photo shoot on quiet, pubic road in San Diego’s sparsely populated East County, the man claimed they were on a private road and blocking his non-existent driveway, and repeatedly tried to run them over.

He ordered them to leave in an expletive-filled tirade, culminating in the driver knocking the photographer’s phone out of his hand to stop him from filming the confrontation.

When the photographer demanded $200 for his broken phone, the man dropped his pants and said “Suck the $200 out of my d**k.”

Real classy.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

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Not only does the US have the highest rate of traffic fatalities compared to other high-income countries — whether measured per capita or by vehicle ownership — it has also shown the slowest rate of improvement over the last 13 years, as much of the world has gotten significantly safer.

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Chris Froome grabbed the leader’s jersey at the Tour de France on Saturday with an awkward, high-speed decent that looked he was humping his handlebar stem, just one day after he was fined for punching an overly aggressive fan who probably deserved it. Bicycling questions the tactics of Froome’s Team Sky, but no one seems to question bike art made entirely of tractors.

Alberto Contador blamed a virus for pulling out of the race, while Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez announced his retirement from pro cycling at the end of this season.

American Megan Guarnier edged teammate Evelyn Stevens to claim the biggest win of her career at Italy’s Giro Rosa; the two women dominated the race, along with fellow American Mara Abbott. Meanwhile, Stevens describes her journey from investment broker to the Rio Olympics.

A group of German cyclists call for safety improvements in pro cycling, such as replacing motorcycles with mopeds and banning them from overtaking riders.

And Los Angeles cyclist Nick Brandt-Sorenson, aka Thorfinn-Sassquatch, owner of many of the area’s Strava KOMs — as well as a now defunct performance-enhancing dope dealing website — accepts a lifetime cycling ban.

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Local

Flying Pigeon owner and LA city council candidate Josef Bray-Ali explains how he got his stolen bakfiets back.

CiclaValley displays his not-insignificant bicycling photography skills.

Santa Clarita offers a complimentary bike valet service at the city’s summer Concert in the Park program.

Santa Monica lowers rates for pass holders for its Breeze bikeshare program, while raising pay-as-you-go rates to $7 to match fees for the Beverly Hills, WeHo, UCLA and Long Beach bikeshares.

Bike-friendly Long Beach Councilmember and Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal is stepping down after ten years; she was a driving force in making the city a leader in SoCal bicycling.

 

State

Streetsblog talks with Cantrans’ new Chief of Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety, who says the organization needs a shift in thinking. The state DOT has committed to tripling bicycling levels and doubling pedestrian and transit trips by 2020, while calling for an underwhelming 10% decrease in fatalities. Think small and you get small results; think big and you might actually accomplish something.

A San Bernardino woman was badly mauled by an unleashed German shepherd accompanying a woman on a bicycle; authorities are presumably looking for the bike-riding dog owner, despite failing to respond when the victim was bitten.

A Redlands couple reach Minnesota on the first leg of a 10,000-mile tandem journey around the US.

A Palm Springs writer says residents will come to appreciate the 50-mile CV Link bikeway circling the Coachella Valley if they just let them build it.

Needless to say, auto-centric Atascadero residents question the need and advisability for a Complete Streets makeover along a busy highway.

When San Francisco police learned the bike a man relied on for work had been stolen, they immediately took up a collection to buy him a new one. Then took him to Target, where the store managers gave it to him, allowing the cops to spend their money on a lock and helmet.

A two-year experiment will convert half of San Francisco’s Twin Peaks Boulevard to bikes and pedestrians only, while leaving the other half for cars.

A Sonoma paper says the county’s roads have something for every kind of bike rider.

The law enforcement exemption from California’s distracted driving law has claimed yet another life, as a CHP officer failed to notice the cars ahead had slowed while he looked down at his computer screen, killing a 15-year old boy. Thanks to Colin Bogart for the link.

 

National

A new project on Kickstarter will allow you to convert your bike to a Dutch-style cargo bike in just minutes. And for just $725 if you order now.

Tom Hanks is one of us, as he celebrates his 60th birthday with an offroad ride. Life is like a mountain bike; you never know where it’s going to take you.

My hometown continues to make the streets I used to ride safer decades after I left.

Sad news from Colorado, as a Good Samaritan who stopped to help a motorist retrieve a bicycle that fell off his car was killed when his own car was rear-ended.

Montana public radio talks with the editor of a new book about the cross-country TransAmerica Bicycle Trail.

Davide Martello, the piano-towing bike rider who performed in Paris following the terrorist attacks, plays Imagine outside the Dallas police headquarters.

Indiana police officers will join others in riding 1000 miles around the state over the next 13 days to honor fallen officers and raise funds for their families.

A Boston bicyclist tells the story of the road rage assault that left him with serious facial injuries, and probably could have been avoided if the street had a protected bike lane instead of a painted lane.

This is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. New York is considering safety improvements to an intersection where a woman was killed riding on a bike path.

Relax, New Yorkers. Hordes of bike riders will not be invading Queens cemeteries.

 

International

Toronto will consider a Vision Zero plan, after initially proposing to reduce causalities just 20%. Which was already double what Caltrans is aiming for.

The Toronto paper gets it, saying it’s time to kill the pointless idea of bike licenses once and for all.

It’s against the law to ride your bike on the sidewalk in one Ontario city. Unless you can pass the small-wheeled bicycle exemption.

Bike-riding London paramedics rush in to save local residents from minor emergencies.

If you build it, they will come. A new Cambridge study attributes 85% of the increase in bicycling to the use of new infrastructure.

The Telegraph asks if Andorra is cycling’s best kept secret.

A Singapore ebike rider gets five weeks in jail for running down a woman while illegally riding on the sidewalk.

 

Finally…

Please don’t urinate on historical landmarks. Bikes may take the full lane, so keep your horn to yourself.

And if you’re going to carry a gun on your bike, put the damn safety on.

 

Morning Links: Bike race-inspired wallpaper, and bikelash begins to newly bike friendly Caltrans

Just in time for today’s start of Italy’s Giro Rosa and tomorrow’s Tour de France kickoff, a Brit company wants to paper your walls with Tour de France-inspired images.

Great Britain’s Murals Wallpaper offers images of classic bicycles with the headings Grand Tour, Vélo and Peloton.

All that’s missing is Le Doping. Motor and otherwise.

Tour-De-France-Grand-Tour-Web

Tour-De-France-Pelaton-Web

Tour-De-France-Velo-Web

Seriously, if I still had an office, one or more of these would go up as soon as I could have them shipped overseas.

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Now that Caltrans has finally embraced bicycling and walking, the inevitable bikelash has begun.

A writer for the Spectator calls the agency’s 2040 transportation plan more of a social-engineering than transportation-engineering document, complaining that we need to fix the “roads, freeways, and bridges that most of us actually rely on to get places” instead of building bike lanes.

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The Santa Monica Spoke says your voice is needed to get the Feds to count bikes when determining performance measures for our national transportation system.

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Mark your calendar for Bike With Your Dog Day on July 10th.

Seriously, the Corgi would flip my bike the first time she saw a squirrel or motorcycle. Let alone a sandwich lying in the street.

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On the eve of the Tour de France, the Wall Street Journal calls Peter Sagan the rock star of cycling.

French rider Nacer Bouhanni will miss the tour after injuring his hand punching out some loud drunks in the next hotel room.

Nineteen-year old Roseville CA cyclist Neilson Powless is being compared favorably to Lance and LeMond as the future of American cycling. Hopefully more like the drug-free latter than the former.

American BMX rider Amanda Carr will be competing in the Rio Olympics. Just not for the US.

And Cycling Tips remembers a time when Donald Trump didn’t ridicule government officials for riding a bike, but actually sponsored a bike race back when he still had hair.

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Local

Los Angeles Magazine provides an in-depth profile of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti; unfortunately, it barely touches on transportation, let alone bicycling.

Los Angeles offers a $50,000 reward for the person who mistakenly shot a ten-year old girl in the head while aiming for a man on a bicycle in Boyle Heights last month.

LAist wants to know if you live car-free in LA.

Discover Los Angeles rides from Playa del Rey to Torrance Beach along the beachfront Marvin Bruade bike path.

The LACBC is hosting a pre-4th of July Sunday Funday Ride through the Westside this weekend.

Palos Verdes Estates officials promise they’re already working on plans to improve safety for cyclists in the community.

 

State

Bike-friendly Newport Beach city councilmember Tony Petros will step down at the end of his first term.

KPBS asks how blocking bike lanes is good for the environment, as plans for San Diego’s North Park neighborhood call for widening roads to alleviate congestion.

Celebrate the 4th with a little Mammoth Mountain downhill, on skis and two wheels.

An off-duty Santa Barbara cop interrupts his bike ride home from work to stop a racially charged knife attack on a homeless man.

A Fresno bike shop relocates to nearby Hanford after the owner gets fed up with break-ins at the former downtown location.

No bias here, as a San Jose paper says Atherton is about to be invaded by hundreds of bike riders.

San Francisco cyclists call for safer streets at a meeting of the city’s Vision Zero committee, after two bike riders were killed in separate hit-and-runs last week; one of the victims was remembered as a rising star in the tech world.

In the wake of the deaths, San Francisco’s mayor announces 57 new high priority Vision Zero projects.

CamelBak teams with local groups to give away 80 kid’s bikes and helmets in Petaluma.

 

National

People for Bikes is taking applications for a new program to double or triple bike ridership in select city neighborhoods while reducing crashes. I’d like to nominate Hollywood, thank you. That leaves nine others.

Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama and Washington DC, still have contributory negligence laws that keep cyclists from recovering any damages in a crash if they’re found just one percent responsible.

Portland’s bikeshare system will offer adaptive bikes for disabled riders starting next year.

A Washington appeals court rules that bicycles are an integral part of the state’s multimodal transportation plan, so cities must make streets safe for bike riders. Now if we can only get California courts to follow their precedence.

More bighearted cops, as Fairbanks AK police replace an autistic man’s stolen bike.

Colorado authorities widen the shoulder of a highway after a cyclist was critically injured while riding on the fog line; fortunately, the victim is slowly recovering.

A 15-year old Nebraska boy tows his lawn mowing business in a trailer behind his bike.

San Antonio TX is facing a lawsuit for diverting funds from a transportation sales tax to build sidewalks and bikeways.

Good news from Kalamazoo, as the most seriously injured survivor of the hit-and-run DUI wreck that killed five riders and injured four others is released from the hospital.

The Boston Globe looks at the ritual of installing ghost bike memorials. Which are needed far too often, there and here.

Caught on video: New York’s 8th Street bike lane is consistently filled with everything and everyone but bike riders.

Pastors of Black churches in DC’s Shaw neighborhood continue to fight plans for bike lanes. Evidently, African Americans must not ride bikes to church in DC. Then again, they might if they had a safe way to get there.

A CNN reporter samples the coffee-infused business bikewear from the Ministry of Supply.

Santa Monica’s CycleHop is one of three companies still in the running to build the planned New Orleans bikeshare system.

 

International

This is why you have to lock up a ghost bike. A Canadian man simply walks off with one, claiming he didn’t know its significance. On the other hand, he probably did know it didn’t belong to him.

Windsor, Ontario’s mayor enjoys his first bike ride to work so much he promises to keep riding over the summer.

Former Brit pro David Millar ranks the world’s ten best places for a bicycling vacation. Surprisingly, he puts Boulder and Aspen CO number two, ahead of Tuscany and anywhere in France, while Maui checks in at number ten.

UK fashion designer Paul Smith discusses his lifelong love of cycling, as well as his new line of bikewear.

Bike riders aren’t always the good guys. A BBC presenter is the victim of a racist attack after she intervenes with a bicyclist who was telling an Asian man to go home. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with the UK these days?

Vice offers photos of Berlin’s brutal Bike Wars competition, which one of the founders describes as a destruction derby with bicycles.

The Guardian asks if inter-city bikeways like Germany’s coming bicycle autobahn could revolutionize our daily commute. I’d settle for a decent bikeway connecting Los Angeles with itself. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

An Aussie woman is in critical condition after colliding with a bicyclist.

 

Finally…

Maybe if you didn’t call it the Loop of Doom it might go better next time. Probably not the best idea to throw a knife at — let alone try to shoot — the bike-riding acquaintance you owe money to.

And whatever you do, don’t slap a fireman if he tells you to stop your bike.

Just… don’t.

Thanks to Helper for the link.

 

Morning Links: Bike lane blocking LA CM cuts WeHo ribbon; MI takes fatal crash seriously, Ventura DA doesn’t

No hypocrisy here.

Twitter user fig4all attended the ribbon cutting for the new Fairfax Blvd bike lanes in West Hollywood on Thursday. And was surprised to see LA’s 5th District Councilmember Paul Koretz participating, since the bike lanes connect to existing lanes in his district.

Particularly since Koretz has single-handedly blocked badly needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd at the behest of wealthy homeowners, while leading the fight to have them removed from the Mobility Plan.

Fairfax Ribbon Cutting

Is it just me, to does Paul Koretz looks a little pissed off?

Is it just me, or does Paul Koretz looks a little pissed off?

On the other hand, let’s give credit to the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition for working to get the new Fairfax bike lanes on the street, regardless of who shows up to cut the ribbon.

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Kalamazoo bike riders say Tuesday’s tragedy is a wake-up call for cyclists to always be aware of their surroundings on the road, while others decry the news coverage focused on telling cyclists how to protect themselves from two ton ballistic missiles, rather than telling drivers not to kill innocent people on bicycles.

Over 700 members of the local community came together to pray for the victims.

Prosecutors have shown they’re taking the case seriously, filing five second degree murder charges against the driver, along with four counts of reckless driving. However, police have still not given a reason for the crash.

The mother of driver Charles E. Pickett, Jr. insists her son is not a murderer and would never crash into anyone on purpose, although his Facebook page doesn’t exactly instill confidence. Thanks to Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious for the Facebook link.

Meanwhile, Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson says another Ride of Silence isn’t going to change anything; we need to stop being silent, start filing police reports and demand changes from our local leaders if crap like this is ever going to stop.

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Contrast the Kalamazoo case with last year’s Moorpark massacre, in which a distracted driver plowed into a cyclist, then overcorrected to hit a motorcycle rider head-on, killing both men.

Yet somehow, the Ventura County DA’s office inexplicably filed misdemeanor manslaughter charges, rather than the felony charges recommended by the CHP. Guaranteeing that the driver, 26-year old Rachel Hill of Ventura, will receive nothing more than a slap on the wrist, at best.

And eliminating whatever leverage the DA may have had to negotiate a guilty plea requiring any real jail time before the case even starts.

Needless to say, the widows of Maciek Malish and Jesse Cushman are outraged.

As any rational person would be.

KABC-7 reports Hill’s lawyer denies she was using her phone at the time of the collision; they admit she had used it a few minutes prior to the crash, but swear she’d stopped before the wreck occurred. Which fails to explain why she couldn’t manage to see the first victim or avoid either one.

So maybe she crashed into them just for the hell of it.

The charges in the Kalamazoo case shows what happens when authorities take traffic crime seriously. And this case shows what happens when they don’t.

Hopefully, the justifiable outrage to the misdemeanor counts will convince Ventura County DA Gregory D. Totten to re-file the case as a felony.

If not, maybe Ventura County voters should consider whether he belongs in the job.

Come back next week when we’ll have a guest post from the daughter of one of the victims.

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If you wonder why LA drivers speed with abandon, it’s because police can’t legally use speed guns on 75% of LA streets, thanks to the city’s failure to conduct speed surveys in compliance with California’s murderous 85th percentile law, which requires that speed limits be set to the rate 85% of drivers speed travel.

Yet conducting the surveys means limits will most likely have to be raised in order to be enforced.

Putting speeding drivers in charge of setting speed limits is like leaving armed robbers in charge of bank security. Contact your state legislators and demand a change.

………

The CyclingTips website asks if professional cycling’s WorldTour is really so desperate for sponsors that it needs a team owned by a Bahraini prince with a dossier thick with human rights abuses and torture allegations; activists threaten to block next year’s Tour de France if the team participates.

Turns out a British extreme cyclist didn’t go missing on the unsupported cross-country Trans-Am Bike Race after all; he was just the victim of dehydration and a broken GPS.

………

Local

Twitter user captainandstoker offers a bike cam view of the new curb-protected bike lane on Los Angeles Street. Meanwhile, groundbreaking is finally scheduled to take place on the long-promised MyFigueroa project this summer.

Richard Risemberg calls for volunteers to help out with Flying Pigeon owner Joseph Bray-Ali’s run for city council against anti-bike incumbent Gil Cedillo.

The Eastsider talks with Bicycle Kitchen founder Jimmy Lizama.

LA Eater examines a quartet of area coffee shops where cycling and caffeine collide.

Forget hi-viz. If you really want to be seen, join the LA edition of the World Naked Bike Ride tomorrow, at a location to be announced later today.

Don’t get that confused with Sunday’s non-clothing-optional LA River Ride, though, with routes ranging from a 15-mile family ride to a century ride around Long Beach and back.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks with Bike SGV Programs Director David Diaz about this weekend’s Viva SGV open streets event.

 

State

The annual AIDS/Lifecycle Ride will pass through Ventura and Malibu before ending at LA’s Fairfax High School on Saturday.

A 13-year old eighth grader becomes the youngest person to graduate from Moorpark College; like the genius he is, he enjoys riding a bike when he’s not studying.

A Vacaville man has been selected as the Solano County Bike Commuter of the Year.

NorCal AAA is using ebikes to rescue drivers in San Francisco’s Embarcadero area.

 

National

Elly Blue is back to suggest that the best bike trips start on a train.

This is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. After a bike rider was killed in a collision, Tucson considers how to improve the intersection so it won’t happen again.

You don’t have to see to ride a bike, as a group of Missouri tandem riders volunteer their time and bikes to take blind people bicycling on local trails.

 

International

The Winnipeg Free Press calls the city’s proposed bike helmet law well-intentioned but misguided.

Caught on video: A British cyclist records a number of too-close passes, including one so close you can almost taste the hay bales on a passing truck.

A South African writer complains about “arrogant” cyclists who insist on using the sidewalk — albeit legally — to get around dangerous road construction work. If you’re going to ride on the sidewalk, show some courtesy to other people using it.

A Kiwi website looks at the bike-mounted device developed by the Chattanooga police department to accurately measure a three-foot passing distance. Something the LAPD needs to get its hands on so they can start enforcing the passing law here, even if they can’t use speed guns.

An Aussie writer says your safety on the streets depends on wearing fluorescent hi-viz during the day and reflectorized clothing at night. Because expecting drivers to actually pay attention to what’s on the road ahead of them is just too much to ask.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to use a blowtorch to cut a bike lock on a public beach in broad daylight, leave the controlled substances and drug paraphernalia at home. No, cyclists aren’t safer riding against traffic, and militant bike riders hardly ever interfere with traffic on purpose.

And this is what happens when you try to ride a bike through a presidential motorcade.

 

Morning Links: A bike hate blast from the past, take your baby skid lid back, and ready answers to bike myths

Thanks to a couple of new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition yesterday, we’re now up to 21 people who’ve joined in the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive.

Which means we need just three more people to sign up or renew your membership today to make it 24 new members by May 24th.

As you’ll see below, the bike coalition is active in getting political candidates on the record for their support for bicycling, as well as getting you discounts at businesses throughout the county. And if you sign up through this site, you’ll get some great bike gear to wear when you vote or chow down.

………

Clearly, bike haters are nothing new.

My Altadena-based friend Tim Rutt sends proof in the form of a 1987 column by political satirist P.J. O’Rourke, in which he calls for an examination of “the actions necessary to license, regulate or abolish entirely” the bicycle menace.

Our nation is afflicted with a plague of bicycles. Everywhere the public right-of-way is glutted with whirring, unbalanced contraptions of rubber, wire, and cheap steel pipe. Riders of these flimsy appliances pay no heed to stop signs or red lights. They dart from between parked cars, dash along double yellow lines, and whiz through crosswalks right over the toes of law-abiding citizens like me.

In the cities, every lamppost, tree, and street sign is disfigured by a bicycle slathered in chains and locks. And elevators must be shared with the cycling faddist so attached to his “moron’s bath-chair” that he has to take it with him everywhere he goes.

On the other hand, his skills at prognostication leave something to be desired.

Bicycles are quiet and slight, difficult for normal motorized humans to see and hear. People pull out in front of bicycles, open car doors in their path, and drive through intersections filled with the things. The insubstantial bicycle and its unshielded rider are defenseless against these actions. It’s a simple matter of natural selection. The bicycle will be extinct within the decade. And what a relief that will be.

Actually, we’re still here.

So deal with it, P.J.

………

If you bought your baby’s Schwinn bike helmet at Target, take it back; the infant helmets have been recalled due to a choking hazard. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

………

A new British bike website provides instant answers to refute any bicycling myth bike haters and NIMBYs can throw at you.

………

The New York Times looks at the movement to call collisions crashes instead of accidents. But doesn’t promise to make the change themselves.

………

VeloNews asks if Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk can hold onto the pink leaders jersey in the Giro d’Italia.

The financial fallout from pro cycling’s doping scandals continue, as another team will fold at the end of this year for lack of sponsorship.

Who says the men’s pro tour is too tough for women? A Ukrainian woman will team with a group of 13 other riders to take on every stage of the Tour de France one day before the men get there.

CiclaValley looks at the fun side of last week’s Amgen Tour of California.

A comment from tdf65 suggests we should continue to link to stories about bike races here, but withhold the actual results, since some people record the races and don’t get to view them until later. However, I’ve always assumed it was safe to mention winners and losers, since the daily nature of this site means we’re at least a day behind the race’s finish.

But what do you think? Are we spoiling the fun by saying who won, or do you want to know now?

………

Local

The Expo Line may be convenient, but it still doesn’t beat a bike from Downtown to the beach.

The LACBC posts a response to their candidate survey from County Supervisor District 4 candidate Janice Hahn, who promises to follow through with the county Bicycle Master Plan.

The LACBC also talks with the bike-friendly owner of Uli’s Gelateria in DTLA, who offers a discount for members of the bike coalition. Just one more reason to click that link above and sign up today.

CicLAvia posts a great collection of photos from the recent Southeast Cities CicLAvia. Which only makes me more disappointed that I had to miss it with a bad back.

Los Angeles Magazine looks at plans for Metro’s coming bikeshare program in DTLA, as well as a system — not a network, since there are no east/west routes currently planned — of protected bike lanes.

A Pasadena group considers the possibilities if Caltrans would kill the unneeded and unwanted extension of the 710 freeway, and build a sequel to the city’s popular Old Town instead. Maybe we could even see bikes running through there instead of semi-trucks.

 

State

The San Diego cyclist paralyzed in a drug-fueled wrong way collision is suing the city for maintaining dangerous conditions on Fiesta Island where the wreck occurred.

A San Diego letter writer suggests drivers are entitled to be rude to bike riders because we’re all scofflaws and cyclists are just a middle-class affectation. No, really.

Damien Newton’s latest podcast talks with Dave Campbell of Bike East Bay, sponsors of what may be the “biggest, baddest Bike to Work Day in the world.” Newton also offers advice on how to make a Livable Streets presentation to little kids.

The Sunnyvale actor accused of nearly killing a Berkeley bike rider while high on weed finally turns himself in to face charges.

 

National

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx sees a gradual shift away from car culture. Which can’t come non-gradually enough.

Seven tips for how to teach a child to ride a bike. All of which work for adults, as well.

A Cincinnati councilmember says a parking protected bike lane can stay, but needs improvements to avoid the city’s easily confused motorists.

If you drop something on the railroad tracks with a train coming, just leave it there for crying out loud. Seriously, nothing you own is worth dying for. Things can be replaced, lives can’t.

Sixteen-hundred Buffalo bike riders take a leisurely slow roll around the city to support a plan for 300 new bike lanes in the next ten years.

A New York letter writer shows just how much she doesn’t get it, insisting that bike lanes don’t help pedestrians and that Queens Blvd was not intended to be a playground. Because obviously, no one ever rides a bike to actually get anywhere or anything. And bike lanes really do slow traffic and improve safety for everyone, while providing a cushion to protect pedestrians from motor vehicles.

Call it the not-quite naked Pittsburgh bike ride.

Philadelphia will host a national conference next month on how to improve equity in bikeshare systems.

A DC website says if you’re crushing on a fellow bike commuter, try crashing into ‘em. Or just, you know, talk to him or her.

NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson is one of us, finishing a 103 mile South Carolina ride with a 10,000 foot elevation gain in just over six hours.

A Mississippi bike camp helps children with disabilities learn how to ride a bike.

A bighearted stranger insists on buying a Florida boy a new bike his parents couldn’t afford, after learning the child was recovering from heart surgery.

 

International

Fashion designer Paul Smith is one of us as well, as a new book features his extensive collection of classic cycling jerseys.

Nothing like finding a secret Canadian cycle track hidden in plain sight on the roadway.

A London cyclist has started an online gallery of no- and lo-viz bike riders to capture the archetypical inner city road user.

Brit cyclist Chris Boardman says the country needs to invest more than the price of a cup of coffee to boost bicycling in the county.

A group of friends are riding over 1,500 miles from Brighton, England to Lagos, Portugal to honor a popular 21-year old British surfer who drowned riding the waves in Bali.

Maybe you should take your next family bike vacation in the Netherlands. And bring me with you.

A writer says if you plan to ride your bike in Zagreb, Croatia, bring five locks and a security guard if you’re going to leave it outside. Sounds a lot like LA, too.

Caught on video: Adventure cyclist Rebecca Rusch rides and climbs 19,341-foot-tall Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise funds for World Bicycle Relief.

A Kiwi man gets just 13 months for a drunken attack on two separate bicyclists, despite a whopping 118 previous convictions; he claimed he punched them repeatedly because he was fighting off wasps.

An Aussie Roads Minister says a high number of bicycling tickets proves bike riders aren’t doing the right thing, while only four tickets for unsafe passing means drivers are. On the other hand, it could just show that police are targeting people on two wheels and ignoring more dangerous violations by the ones on four.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could be solar powered, if you don’t mind riding with a couple of massive solar cookie sheets attached. No matter how close a driver cuts you off, don’t follow him home and stab his spare tire to death.

And if you successfully escape from a halfway house by bicycle, just keep going next time.

 

Morning Links: Anti-bike bile from a Tucson radio host, a bike-riding Prince in LA, and still more big bike hearts

The great thing about our society is that even people who don’t have a clue can get their own radio talk show.

Take this bike-hating Tucson “news personality.”

Please.

I do not like bikers. I’m not talking about real bikers, like Harley riders. I’m talking about bicyclists, the privileged weekend riders of Southern Arizona… the real 1%-ers of Pima County.

That’s how KQTH’s James T. Harris starts out a typically uninformed rant on the station’s website.

Never mind that many of those 1% ride a bike because it’s their only form of transportation. And that compared to cars, bikes receive an infinitesimal amount of funding and an even smaller amount of real estate.

So who’s the real privileged ones?

It takes a special kind of asshat arrogance to be a rider in Tucson. I almost killed a few on Hwy 83 a few weeks ago.

Note that he says that without the slightest touch of irony.

Bikers don’t care. Bikers own the road. Deal with it (it’s called enabling…)!

Maybe he’s right. Maybe Tucson is the one place in North America where bike riders outnumber motor vehicles, and those poor unfortunate drivers are rudely shunned off the road by arrogant, entitled cyclists.

It could happen, right?

So what’s got our friendly news personality’s panties in such a twist?

Pavement.

To wit, smooth new pavement where a bike path crosses a street, while the poor unfortunate drivers must content with crappy asphalt.

Look at this “intersection” at Overton between La Cholla and La Canada. Look at how smooth that path is where bikes cross to ensure a smooth ride…
No potholes. No buckles, chips or peeling asphalt. Just smooooooth.

Note to the unintelligent, unimaginative and uncomprehending: Any new pavement is going to be smooth.

Granted, they could make the crossing rough and potholed when they pour it, if that makes him feel better. But it will get that way soon enough in the Arizona heat.

But what’s really driving — and I use the term advisedly — his online apoplexy?

The reason why I have disdain for cyclists in this town is not because they are engaged in a healthy activity. It’s because they are being catered to on the taxpayers’ dime!

Naturally.

Because as we all know, people who ride bicycles don’t pay taxes. There’s actually a box you can check on your 1040 Form that indicates you ride a bike, and therefore get back every penny of your withholding.

And when we make a purchase, all we have to do is whisper “bicycle” to the clerk, and the sales tax magically disappears.

No, really.

Then there’s the undisputed fact that no one who owns a car would ever dream of getting out on two wheels. So bike riders never pay the same registration fees and gas taxes that everyone else does.

Rants like this seem like just so much hot air and clickbait.

Except they can do real damage when equally uninformed people nod their heads in agreement, and take out their anger on the very people trying to make the streets safer and more welcoming for everyone.

Or worse, on those who have the misfortune of sharing the roads with them.

As Arizona resident Brendan Lyons, who tipped me to Harris’ bike-hating bile, put it —

This is the stark reality so many law-abiding, vulnerable road-users (cyclists) face on a daily basis. He fails to recognize the tragic consequences of the distracted motorist. He fails to comprehend the families who are left-behind, forced to pick up the pieces. He fails to recognize that beyond the lycra-clad cyclist briefly impeding his commute- is the law enforcement deputy who serves & protects, the firefighter who responds to his emergency, the soldier defending his country, the teacher educating his child, the scientist fighting to cure cancer, or simply his neighbor (a father, mother, son, or daughter) who want to get home safely to their family.

Maybe someone could explain to Harris who the real privileged ones are, on the roads of Arizona, California or Kalamazoo.

But I doubt he’d get it. Or even listen, for that matter.

Nothing affect hearing like a closed mind.

………

A nice memory of Prince, as he rode his bike from an LA rehearsal to a grade school to invite a seven-year old girl to perform onstage with him after discovering she was learning one of his songs.

………

Evidently, there’s a lot of big hearts out there.

Like the Virginia TV station that teamed with a local bank to replace a boy’s bike after he was tricked out of his by older boys.

And the Michigan bike shop that unwittingly bought a hot $2,500 custom bike, then gave it back to the retired Marine it was stolen from, eating their $800 loss.

………

Somehow, bike racing keeps making the news, even this early in the season.

A crash by the great Dutch rider Marianne Vos is caught on video as she hit the barrier while sprinting towards the finish like at the Dwars door Westhoek; fortunately, she wasn’t seriously hurt in what was just her fifth race back after missing all of last season with a hamstring injury.

Former world time trial champ Michael Rogers wisely retires from racing after doctors detect a heart arrhythmia, combined with a previously discovered congenital aortic valve malformation.

American pro Andrew Talansky says a rule preventing top riders from participating in lower level races is hurting cycling in the US, since fans now only get to see the WorldTour riders compete in the Amgen Tour of California.

Peter Sagan can do anything on a bike. Except finish his first mountain bike race in seven years in Austria.

And former Giro winner Danilo Di Luca says he had to dope to finish first, but he has no regrets despite receiving a lifetime ban. Nice to see everyone continues to follow Lance’s lead and blame the sport instead of taking responsibility themselves.

………

Local

Bike the Vote LA invites you to attend the debate between candidates for L.A. County Supervisor District 5 tomorrow night at the Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church in Pasadena.

The first ever Los Angeles Bicycle Festival scheduled for May 8th has exceeded its fundraising goal; as funding increases, organizers can donate more free tickets to people who might not otherwise be able to attend.

CiclaValley offers a nice photo-recap of last weekend’s all-too-brief Burbank open streets event.

Work on widening Agoura Road in Conejo Valley, including adding bike lanes, is nearing completion and should be completely finished by August.

 

State

The bicycle industry has raised $60,000 to help promote Calbike’s proposal to offer a rebate up to $1,000 on the purchase of a “utilitarian” transportation bike. Of course, if would be nice if they’d show the same support for bicycling issues that don’t benefit them directly.

A Turlock letter writer says backpack bans in retail stores discriminate against bike riders, who have to carry their belongings with them.

Sad news from Sacramento, as a woman riding her bike has lost her life in a hit-and-run.

 

National

A new study from the University of Duh says roof racks may be a great way to transport your bike, but it’s bad for gas mileage.

Elly Blue says placing bike racks outside local businesses is one of the most revolutionary, yet simplest, ways to advance the bike movement.

Next City says as cities invest more in making way for people on bicycles, investing in bike equity must be more than just talk. The LACBC was one of the first organizations to start that conversation on both a local and national level, and continues to lead the way.

USA Today notes where to bike by bikeshare when visiting cities around the US. Except in Southern California, of course.

An Iowa lawyer tries to exclude a TV interview in which his client admitted to driving drunk when he allegedly killed a cyclist, because he didn’t have a lawyer present. Even though Miranda rights only apply to law enforcement, not the news media.

The 18-year old man who shot two people outside a Wisconsin prom over the weekend arrived there by bicycle, armed with a rifle.

Once again, the anti-bike bias of the NYPD rears its ugly head, blaming a fallen cyclist for riding the wrong way, even though a witness riding behind her says she was riding with traffic.

 

International

Strava wants you to log your commuting miles on their Global Bike to Work Day on May 10th, the week before LA’s Bike to Work Day on the 19th.

Rio’s mayor says the bikeway that collapsed and killed three people will be rebuilt in time for the Olympics. Hopefully they’ll build it as if lives depend on it this time. Because they do.

When a London lawyer insists bike lanes will increase pollution by increasing auto congestion, a local councilor correctly notes that cars cause pollution, and asks why she’s not campaigning for restrictions on motorists instead.

Thousands of Budapest cyclists ride to call attention to bicycling and point out the lack of bicycling facilities in the city.

Police in Sydney, Australia crack down on bike riders on the city’s most dangerous street for cyclists. But drivers, not so much.

Shanghai cyclist are ticketed for riding in the roadway instead of a bike lane where they have to dodge pedestrians.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to haul a trailer on your bike to commit a burglary, remember to take them with you when you run away. If you’re riding salmon with drug paraphernalia, pills and three jars of dope in you backpack, just get on the damn sidewalk when the cops tell you to.

And a new bike cam turns on automatically when your heart rate spikes.

Of course, by then it’s probably too late to catch the Arizona news personality that caused it.

 

They drive among us: Letter writer threatens all cyclists for the water-squirting actions of one

I recently received the following letter from an anonymous source.

I’m told the writer, a Hollywood screenwriter, has circulated it among his friends as a joke. Apparently, one of them didn’t think it was funny.

I can’t imagine anyone else would, either. Let’s hope he specializes in horror; if he’s a comedy writer, he’s in the wrong business.

My source also said he may be trying to get the letter published. So I’m going to do him a favor and publish it for him.

Read it for yourself, and we’ll discuss afterwards.

………

An-Open-Letter-To-Bikers-Page-1-max

An-Open-Letter-To-Bikers-Page-2

An-Open-Letter-To-Bikers-Page-3

……..

Let’s answer that last question first.

No one who isn’t a psychopath is likely to accept that invitation.

Now let’s get this out of the way.

The cyclist who squirted his girlfriend was a jerk. By the simple act of squirting her with water, he committed misdemeanor assault, punishable with a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in county jail.

So let that be your warning.

But it was water. Unless his pretty 20-something girlfriend is a witch, she probably didn’t suffer any lasting injury.

And let’s not forget she was breaking the law by parking in the bike lane, which, despite the perceptions of some people — apparently including our humble letter writer — wasn’t striped on the street to provide a waiting zone or a secondary parking lane.

Under California law, a bike lane is a legal lane of traffic reserved for bicycles, just as HOV lanes are reserved for vehicles with two or more occupants.

And on a busy street like Main, blocking the bike lane can force riders out into traffic, risking their safety in front of drivers who are more focused on finding a parking space than looking for bikes where they don’t expect them.

If the guy on the bike had been hit by a car, she could have been held liable, at least in part, for any injuries he suffered as a result.

Yes, what the guy did was wrong. But so was what the woman in the car did.

And the writer of this letter clearly doesn’t get that.

Then there’s this notion.

Not a Saturday morning goes by that I don’t witness some menace on wheels screaming “Hey watch where you’re going asshole!” at a peaceful and law abiding driver.

Which, unless he encounters an unusual number of mentally unstable people on two wheels, is highly unlikely; few cyclists feel a need to yell at “peaceful and law abiding” drivers.

Unless maybe they’re yelling at him.

Perhaps he just doesn’t understand traffic law well enough to recognize when drivers put people on bikes in needless danger. Like his girlfriend’s parking issues, for instance.

Which leads us to the real problem with this letter, and the person who wrote it.

Back in my starving writer days, the convenience store where I worked nights was robbed by a couple of kids in their early teens. One of whom had to talk his friend out of shooting me to see what it felt like to kill a white guy.

That marked the beginning of a multi-week crime spree that culminated in their arrest for pistol whipping another clerk so badly that he lost an eye.

I could have concluded, as have some I’ve had the misfortune of knowing, that all members of that particular ethnic group, or maybe minorities in general, were somehow to blame.

Even though that would have included my boss, her boss, and the friend-of-a-friend psychologist who volunteered over two hours of his time to talk me through it. Not to mention the woman I was dating at the time.

Yet this writer somehow blames every spandex-wearing person on two wheels for the action of one.

Never mind that some of those who appear to be riding recreationally may actually be riding to work, as part of the group he immediately absolves of collective guilt.

And never mind that some people at the agency that represents him are undoubtedly cyclists themselves. Not to mention at least a few of the studio execs capable of greenlighting his projects.

Which is I’m withholding his name.

It would easy — and admittedly, tempting — to let his own words destroy his career. But rather than grasping just how foolish he was in writing this letter, it would probably just reinforce his belief that we’re the evil creatures he thinks we are.

That brings us to his self-professed life of crime, which ranges from vandalism and simple assault, to criminal stalking and assault with a deadly weapon. Not to mention inciting violence by encouraging others to do the same.

His plan to repeatedly brake-check groups of cyclists — what he calls the “speed up slow down tactic’ — is exactly what got Dr. Christopher Thompson sentenced to four years hard time for slamming on his brakes in front of three riders in Mandeville Canyon.

And we’ll ignore his final chloroform fantasy, which he should take a good whiff of the next time he’s tempted to dash off another letter like this.

So on behalf of recreational bike riders everywhere, I’d like to apologize to his girlfriend, while politely suggesting that she watch where she parks in the future. And maybe reconsider her taste in men.

As for the letter writer, maybe he’d like to join us for a bike ride some time. And see that there’s another way to see the world in which bike riders aren’t the bad guys he thinks we are.

Once he calms down, that is.

……..

Check back this afternoon for today’s Morning Links.

Morning Links: 75-year old cyclist cuffed and ticketed for riding legally on I-15; Specialized says they’re sorry

03-15-2016 Jerry ticket from CHPMaybe the cop didn’t get the memo.

Or maybe he was confused after losing an hour of sleep two Sunday’s ago when the nation switched to Daylight Savings Time.

Either way, Jerry Counts was well within his rights on March 13th to ride his bicycle along a section of I-15 north of San Bernardino, where bikes are legally allowed on the roadway.

Yet he was handcuffed and ticketed by a CHP officer for violating CVC 21960(a), using a non-motorized vehicle on the freeway.

Yes, they handcuffed a 75-year old man to write a traffic ticket.

An invalid one, at that.

When was the last time you heard of a 75-year old man being pulled from his car and cuffed for a simple traffic violation?

As Ginny Sullivan of the Adventure Cycling Association points out in an email, this section of the freeway is part of the ACA’s Bicycle Route 66, running south of Oak Hill Road between exits 138 and 129, where no viable alternate route exists.

The DMV puts it this way,

Of the more than 4,000 miles of freeways in California, about 1,000 miles are open to bicyclists. These open sections are usually in rural areas where there is no alternate route. California Vehicle Code Section 21960 says Caltrans and local agencies may prohibit bicyclists from traveling on freeways under their jurisdiction and that they must erect signs stating the prohibition. There are no signs permitting bicyclists on freeways. When a bicyclist is legally traveling on a freeway, he/she may be directed off the freeway at the next off-ramp by a sign that says “Bicycles Must Exit.” The freeway will be posted at the next on-ramp with a sign that says “Bicycles Prohibited.”

Exit 129 going North

Exit 129 going North

As the photos she pulled from Google Earth show, there are no signs at either entrance prohibiting pedal-powered bicycles from riding on the freeway.

I’d like to write this off as a simple mistake.

However, it fits a long pattern of CHP officers being unaware of the rights of cyclists, whether it’s riding on the freeway, or ticketing cyclists for riding two abreast or in the traffic lane. Which points to officers receiving inadequate training both at the academy and in the field.

Exit 138 going South

Exit 138 going South

Although the bigger question is why the officer felt the need to handcuff a man well past retirement age, for the simple crime of riding a bicycle.

Advocating on his behalf, Sullivan has contacted both the CHP and Caltrans District 8 asking that the ticket be dismissed, and that Caltrans provide the CHP with a letter stating that bicyclists are allowed on that section of the freeway. And that the CHP train its officers accordingly.

I’d take it a step further, and request a formal apology to Mr. Counts.

I’d also ask that the notoriously auto-centric CHP follow Caltrans lead, and accept that bikes are legally a part of the California traffic system, and we’re here to stay.

Because we shouldn’t have to know the laws regarding bicycling better than they do just to defend our right to the road.

………

Specialized apologizes for last week’s Playboy Bunny fiasco, claiming the models were hired by their German affiliate, without knowledge of its global marketing staff.

Which is kind of hard to believe, since they were hired to promote Specialized’s new Playboy-branded e-bike.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks with Glendale Mayor and Metro Boardmember Ara Najarian and Bike SGV Executive Director Wes Reutimann about Metro’s proposed transportation sales tax measure. And reminds us about Thursday’s celebration to benefit Streetsblog and Santa Monica Next.

Once again, Santa Monica police will step up enforcement of traffic violations that put pedestrians and bicyclists at risk this Saturday, regardless of who commits them. So straighten up and ride right, for one day at least.

The WeHo Bike Coalition announces that the West Hollywood city council has approved bike lanes on Fairfax Ave; when completed, they’ll join existing lanes in LA to create a continuous bike lane from Hollywood Blvd to Melrose.

The World Cycling League debuted in Carson over the weekend as teams from Pennsylvania and Mexico battled it out for the inaugural victory.

Bike Long Beach offers photos of last weekend’s successful Beach Streets Downtown.

 

State

Santa Barbara bike riders compete to see who can ride the slowest down a 50-foot course without putting a foot down or swerving out of their lane. Meanwhile, promise to ride slow yourself and you could win a new bike from People for Bikes.

A Salinas man is riding 40 miles a day for 40 days to raise funds for the homeless.

 

National

Yes, it is possible to ride cross­-country sans chamois or other bike gear.

BuzzFeed offers 19 things every cyclist needs. Most of which most cyclists could probably do without.

Former pro Alex Candelario is offering bike tours through usually off-limits back country on Hawaii’s Big Island.

A bighearted firefighter replaces a bike that was stolen recently from a 10-year old Spokane boy.

A teenage driver in my hometown will be sentenced to 100 hours of community service at a bike nonprofit, and a $1,500 donation to a nonprofit bicycle organization, as part of a new diversion program for killing a cyclist after falling asleep at the wheel.

CNN looks at Chicago’s Heritage Bicycles, which has made bikes for everyone from Beyonce and Jay Z to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

Washington’s popular bike-riding running back departs for the hated Cowboys.

Once again, someone used a DC bike rack to jump the fence at the White House. Considering how often that keeps happening, wouldn’t it be prudent to move that rack just a little?

An Orlando doctor says yes, riding a bike really can help with Parkinson’s.

 

International

Despite numerous studies showing bikes are good for business, Vancouver business owners oppose a bike lane on a busy shopping and dining street, which the city says is needed for safety.

Saskatoon’s mayor questions the cost of clearing snow from a protected bike lane; then again, he opposed building it in the first place.

Toronto’s notorious crack-smoking, anti-bike former mayor Rob Ford has died at 46.

A Belgian bike race is expected to go on despite Tuesday’s terrorist attacks.

Indian police crack down on bicyclists riding without a helmet.

An Australian program is working with kids as young as 10 years old to develop the first aboriginal cycling star.

A road raging Aussie driver is fined a whopping $100 plus $169.10 in court costs after smashing a cyclist’s helmet cam in a fit of anger.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could be grown and printed. Now you really can be replaced by a robot, even on your bike. But does it still have to wear a helmet if it’s under 18?

And any t-shirt that combines Corgis and bicycles can’t be all bad. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

 

Morning Links: The bi-coastal bikelash goes on, and good news on the medical and track racing fronts

The bikelash goes on.

Sometimes, even from people who profess to be cyclists themselves.

Take this writer from Goleta, just outside Santa Barbara.

Please.

He starts with a suspicion of a grand conspiracy to force drivers out of their cars.

According to him, road diets, bulb-outs and bike lanes are planned, not to improve safety or provide transportation options, but to make driving so miserable that people have no choice but to give up on their cars and take to bikes.

Never mind that if bicycling somehow miraculously reached the level of ridership found in the Netherlands, it would still only amount to 27% of all trips.

He insists that those behind it are those damn progressive politicians and traffic department bureaucrats, environmental advocates, and the “well-funded, politically powerful Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition.”

Which would no doubt come as a surprise to the SBBC. And make it one of the few well-funded bike advocacy groups anywhere.

Or maybe the only one.

Then he pivots to the standard complaint that bicyclists don’t pay for the lanes they ride on. Which is based on the false assumption that drivers do, rather than being the most heavily publicly subsidized form of transportation.

The obvious solution, in his mind, anyway, is licensing cyclists.

Even though the money raised by licensing is unlikely to bring in enough to even cover its own operating costs. And even though bike riders already pay more than their share for the roads through their own taxes.

Naturally, he also complains that bike riders break the law. Except for him, of course.

And unlike motorists, who would never, ever dream of speeding, driving distracted or making an unsafe lane change in a vehicle capable of doing far more harm than even the worst scofflaw cyclist.

So the law needs to crack down on cyclists, he insists. And we all need to carry liability insurance, because maybe someday, in the bike utopian world he so fears, a distracted cyclist could cause a massive bike pileup that forces a poor, innocent driver off the road.

No, really.

It’s worth the read if you need a good laugh.

Unlike the New York Post’s latest attack on former NYDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

In what passes for an exceptionally auto-centric, yet pedestrian review of her acclaimed new book, a writer for the paper goes on the attack, less for what she wrote than what she wrought.

He complains about “her ruinous tampering with historic traffic patterns” as she sought to turn the city into one of the world’s great bicycling cities, “everyone else be damned.”

Even though surveys consistently show most New Yorkers support the city’s bike lanes and the changes she helped make, and traffic fatalities have reached historic lows.

He goes on to complain that public plazas around Times Square are so crowded and overrun with tourists and hucksters that New Yorkers “assiduously” avoid it. Sort of like Yogi Berra’s famous proclamation that “No one goes there’s anymore. It’s too crowded.”

And in his eyes, moving parked cars away from the curb to form protected bike lanes makes the streets look like parking lots. Unlike before, when the same cars were far more attractively parked on the same streets.

Somehow, those cars also make it harder to see what’s on the other side of the street. Because they were apparently transparent before being moved a few feet to the left.

He tops it off with the assertion that the city’s bike lanes are only used by food delivery people most times of the day.

Never mind that bike commuting doubled in just five years, and more people are riding that ever before. Let alone those 22 million Citi Bike riders, who have to be riding somewhere.

He ends by complaining that the damage done by Sadik-Khan’s reign is with us to stay.

For which most New Yorkers are undoubtedly grateful.

And the rest of us can only envy.

………

If you haven’t already, take a few moments to sign the petition asking for all new or used cars sold in California to leave the lot with a temporary license plate.

It doesn’t take much effort watching traffic to realize that too many cars are on the streets with no front plates — or any license plates at all — making them virtually impossible to identify in the event of a hit-and-run or other traffic crime.

And enforcing the law requiring front and back plates on every vehicle seems to be a very low priority.

………

Exciting news on the medical front, as stunt cyclist Martyn Ashton takes his first mechanically assisted steps with a new hi-tech walker, three years after he was paralyzed from the waist down.

And after an injection of neural cells taken from his nose, a Polish firefighter can now ride an adaptive tricycle, four years after he was paralyzed from the chest down after a stabbing.

………

US women win their first-ever gold in team pursuit at the track cycling world championships; Temecula’s Sarah Hammer was part of the winning team, and qualified for the Rio Olympics in another event.

………

Road raging drivers are one thing. Getting chased by an ostrich is another.

And he really needs to learn to hold his line.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks with Amy Wong of Women on Wheels.

Russell Crowe goes mountain biking on Sunset Blvd, while the Brit press goes gaga over his biceps.

Burbank residents beg for safety improvements on Edison Blvd, including a proposal to install bike lanes to tame traffic.

A Pacoima man was shot to death Thursday night, apparently while riding his bicycle.

The next LACBC Sunday Funday ride with roll this Sunday, with a pre-St. Patrick’s Day themed ride through DTLA led by board member Patrick Pascal.

 

State

It’s been over 49 days since the Marines impounded a number of mountain bikes after their riders strayed onto the Miramar Marine base in San Diego, with no resolution in sight.

A Silicon Valley bike commuter creates a website to provide consumers with more information about insurance companies in an effort to force them to improve their customer service.

 

National

Here’s your chance to work in bike advocacy, as the Bike League is hiring a new Education Director and a Member Services Coordinator.

The Tucson truck driver who plowed into a group of cyclists while allegedly high on meth is being held on $1.5 million bond. Which somehow seems too low.

Two-thirds of Iowans support proposed legislation that would require drivers to change lanes to pass bike riders. Although someone there clearly doesn’t like cyclists, as a popular Des Moines bikeway is sabotaged with tacks.

Chicago is building three curb-protected bike lanes, with an eventual goal of 50 miles of low-stress bikeways.

The Washington Post argue that the federal government should not reclassify bikeshare as mass transit programs, which would qualify it for Fed transit funding.

 

International

The new Audi A4 has lights on the doors to warn drivers if a bike is coming to help avoid doorings. Because actually looking before you open the door is just too hard.

A Vancouver business site says instead of investing $5 million in bikeshare, the city could have bought bicycles for about 200,000 children in low-income households. Which kind of misses the point.

A Toronto lawyer says cars are becoming the weapon of choice, yet drivers who use them to attack others still get their licenses back.

Nice piece on bicycling in Victorian England, which suggests that the bike-riding men of the day were the original hipsters.

Belgian rider Femke Van den Driessche is just 19 years old, and facing a lifetime ban for motor doping.

An Aussie writer says the only thing the country’s mandatory bike helmet law protects you against is fines. Meanwhile, an Australian news network does its best to whip up a panic over e-bikes.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 85-year old Kiwi cyclist refuses to let a collision with a trailer keep him off his bike.

 

Finally…

The next driver who runs you off the road could have two left feet; no, literally. Ford wants to save you from those embarrassing moments when you can’t unclip from your pedals.

And I think we can all agree BikinginLA deserves a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. So who has an extra $30,000 lying around?

 

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