Archive for General

Morning Links: A brief visit to the Santa Monica Bike Expo, and bicycling loses a good friend over the weekend

SaMo Bike Expo 1For a first time event, it seemed to go pretty well.

I stopped by the Santa Monica Bike Expo on Sunday, wife and Corgi in tow, since neither seems inclined to let me out of their sight for too long for fear I’ll drop dead from my newly diagnosed disorder, and/or the multiple meds I’m on to treat it.

Not that I don’t appreciate their concern.

There was a good selection of bike shops and manufacturers represented, including Xtracycle, Tern and Linus, who had the classiest booth by far. And there was a heavy emphasis ebikes; evidently beachside biking no longer requires actually turning the pedals yourself.

While the turnout wasn’t huge, there were quite a few people strolling the booths in the pier parking lot where the Cirque de Soleil tents stood until recently. I’m told Sunday was busier than Saturday; then again, it’s hard to compete with the day-long Long Beach Bike Fest a relatively short ride to the south.

SaMo Bike Expo 2And the beachfront location seemed to work in their favor, as a number of riders stopped in as they were riding by on the bike path; one rider even purchasde new grips to cover the bare handlebars on his long-neglected cruiser.

All in all, it seemed to be a good start.

Hopefully organizers will bring the free event back again next year, and encourage greater participation from shops and groups beyond the Santa Monica borders. And maybe pick a date that doesn’t conflict with other major bike events next time.

This is something LA has needed for a very long time. Let’s hope it proves successful for everyone involved.

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Sad news, as the best friend bicycling ever had in the halls of Congress passed away on Saturday. Former Minnesota Representative Jim Oberstar died in his sleep at age 79, after serving 18 terms in the US House.

We owe him a round of thanks for all he did to promote bicycling and alternative transportation over the years. He will be sorely missed.

Thanks to Patrick Pascal for the heads-up.

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Okay, so it has nothing to do with bicycling. But this is probably the most breathtakingly beautiful video of Los Angeles you’ll see today. And make sure to click on the full-screen option for full effect.

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Local

A 53-year old North Hollywood bike rider is seriously injured in a Mission Hills hit-and-run on Sunday morning.

Orange 20 Bikes urges you to fight to save the North Figueroa bike lanes, and questions why bike riders who have a stake in the area are considered “outside interests.” Very good question.

The LAPD’s Rampart Division celebrates Star Wars Day, aka May the 4th, with a badly Photoshopped photo of cops wielding light sabers — lifted from a 2009 Bikeside post criticizing the department for not giving a damn about cyclists in the relatively recent bad old days.

A gossip website says celebrities are avoiding rising gas prices by riding their bikes. Yeah, that’s the reason they ride, because they can’t afford to fill the tanks on their Bentleys. Then again, we can all be glad Lindsey Lohan is choosing not to get behind the wheel these days, for whatever reason.

 

State

The CHP encourages everyone to be a Roll Model — get it? — on the streets. And thankfully, directs the message to motorists as well as bicyclists for a change.

Five women’s riders were injured in a crash just 100 feet from the finish line at Sunday’s Dana Point Grand Prix of Cycling; three riders were transported to a local hospital.

Santa Cruz County held an open streets event — aka ciclovia — in Capitola Sunday.

Eureka is named a bronze-level bicycle-friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists.

 

National

The Centers for Disease Control calls on Americans to walk or bike instead of driving, in part due to the risk of car collisions.

Bicycling lists 50 rides of a lifetime around the world; PCH checks in at number four, while Mt. Baldy ranks 42nd.

That’s one way to stop a dangerous driver. After a Las Vegas motorist struck a 12-year old bike rider, a nearby man opens fire, claiming he shot to protect the boy and other neighborhood kids. Fortunately, no one was hit.

In 1897, one out of every five Chicago residents rode a bike. No wonder they call it the good old days.

The Washington Post conveys a bike-friendly safety message from AAA. Yet somehow overstates the number of bike riders killed each year by a factor of seven.

 

International

Injury rates are up for Montreal bike riders. So are traffic tickets. Then again, there’s no point in fixing dangerous streets when you can just tell cyclists to ride on the sidewalk.

A new video offers advice on how to be a gentleman cyclist. Evidently either women don’t ride, or they already follow the rules.

A record-setting Brit cyclist celebrates her 100th birthday; in 1938, she set out to ride every day of the year, eventually covering nearly 30,000 miles.

An Oxford, England cyclist is shocked! shocked! that the U-lock he swung at an angry driver actually hit him. Is it just me, or is the best way to ensure you don’t hit anyone is not to swing your effing lock at them in the first place?

An Aussie website says a government minister’s call to license cyclists is an “exceptionally silly idea,” noting a recent study found drivers at fault in 79% of cases.

 

Finally…

Must be one hell of an app. When a New York bike rider is arrested for — legally — filming a cop with his cell phone, the cop claims iPhones are being used as guns.

And a blogger says please stop blaming me for what other bike riders do.

Indeed.

Born in West LA — LABAC member traces the beginnings of BMX to a Westside park

The Palms neighborhood has a long bike history dating back to the 1890s; click and zoom in to read. Thanks to Jonathan Weiss for the image.

The Palms neighborhood has a long bike history dating back to the 1890s; click and zoom in to read. Thanks to Jonathan Weiss for the image.

Let’s give notoriously auto-centric Los Angeles the credit it deserves.

Santa Monica’s Z-Boys have long been credited as the fathers modern skateboarding, and the city’s self-proclaimed Dogtown neighborhood its birthplace.

But who knew BMX — aka Bicycle Motocross — racing was born right here in the City of Angels? And that a city employee gets credit for turning a kid’s pastime into one of the most exciting events in the X Games and Summer Olympics.

At least, that’s what a new history from Jonathan Weiss, chair of the LA Bicycle Advisory Committee’s Advocacy & Education subcommittee asserts.

The official history of BMX racing dates the beginning of the sport to the late 1960s or early ‘70s when kids took to their Schwinn Stingrays on a vacant lot somewhere in Southern California. But according to Weiss, the first organized race took place right here in 1969 at the Westside’s Palms Park before evolving to a full-fledged racing season a few years later.

By 1973, BMX racing was thriving. Los Angeles Recreation and Parks youth counselor Ronald (Ron) Mackler, who had planted the seeds for its success with the initial race in ’69, organized a full 10-week Thursday-night racing season. Mackler, who passed away in 2010, is remembered as someone whose “main thing was getting kids on the right track.” Palms Park was the “right track” for pioneering BMX champion Perry Kramer, who had been racing around the park’s sandbox and trees and up a hill on his own modified Stingray. Perry became one of BMX racing’s earliest stars. His namesake PK Ripper bike is still in production, and Perry’s now a Giant Bicycle sales representative and mountain biker.

Meanwhile, racing continued on what Perry described as the ‘prehistoric’ Palms Park track through the ‘70s and into the 1980s.

When Weiss found a nugget about BMX racing and Palms Park, he contacted Kramer to get a first-hand history from one of the sports founders, and started a Palms Park BMXers Facebook Page, which now connects BMX fans from around the world.

Some of what he put together on BMX racing’s birth can be found the History section of the ExpoGreeway.org website. He started that website to support the new water-cleaning, sustainability-demonstrating, open-space preserving Westwood Neighborhood Greenway about a quarter mile west of Palms Park and adjacent to Expo’s Westwood/Rancho Park station, expected to open in 2015/16.

And of course, there’s a Facebook page for the Greenway, too.

According to Weiss, Palms is already one of the most bike and pedestrian friendly neighborhoods in the City, and he sees it being even more so when the Expo bike path opens.

Once it does, he plans to bring BMX royalty and fans together to mark the birthplace of BMX where the bike path connects to Palms Park. And hopes publicity from the BMX connection will encourage school kids to take the new bike path to Hamilton High, Palms Elementary and Overland Avenue Elementary schools.

In addition, Weiss wants to help Angelenos appreciate their city’s history – something that can be missed by those speeding past Palms Park at the northeast corner of the Santa Monica Freeway at Overland Avenue.

Then again, that’s not the area’s only page in LA bike history.

Weiss also notes that “The Palms,” which was subdivided in unincorporated Los Angeles County in 1886 and annexed to the City of Los Angeles in 1915, played an important part in late-Nineteenth Century bike racing.

Palms was the midpoint of the Los Angeles to Santa Monica bicycle races, and its depot — now relocated to Heritage Square — provided convenient access to those who wanted to watch early racers barreling down Palms Hill.

That, too, can and should be marked on the Expo Bike path, though there are currently no plans in place.

Thanks to Jonathan Weiss for sharing his research with us, and his help in putting this together.

Look for the red arrow marking reference to Palms; image courtesy of Jonathan Weiss.

Look for the red arrow marking reference to Palms; image courtesy of Jonathan Weiss.

Ditto.

Ditto.

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Today’s post, in which a terrified little dog reminds us what it means to be brave in the moment

Sienna Profile

The hero of today’s story.

There’s one image from Monday’s early morning Shamrock Shake that sticks out in my mind.

Living just a few miles from the epicenter, we were awakened by some serious rocking and rolling that jolted everyone instantly awake.

The Corgi had been sleeping on the floor next to my side of the bed. At the first jolt, though, she flew to the foot of the bed and, adopting her best firmly planted, I-shall-not-be-moved-by-man-or-God stance, bravely barked out a warning about the earthquake. As if we were somehow unaware of that our bed and building were shaking around us.

Still, this is a dog that takes her self-appointed guard duties very seriously. And she took it upon herself to let everyone within hearing range know that something was very, very wrong.

And in this case, that hearing range was undoubtedly a several block radius.

She did not cower. She did not flinch. She did not hesitate.

Then as soon as the shaking stopped and we’d gathered our wits about us, she came back up into the bed and buried her head into my chest, remaining there until we got up a couple hours later, since my wife had the morning off.

Clearly, she’d been terrified and turned to me for comfort. Which is understandable, since at seven years old, this was the first serious earthquake she’s experienced.

But she overcame that fear to do what she felt was her duty, barking out her warning until the shaking stopped.

And I found myself thinking how many times we do just the opposite, allowing a little fear to stop us from what we want or need to do.

Whether that’s riding in traffic, commuting to work or school, tackling that hill or speaking up in front of government groups to demand safer streets.

In years past, my problem was just the opposite.

I was a human kamikaze, throwing myself headfirst into whatever bike-borne whim struck a nerve and worrying about the possible consequences afterwards. From light-free rides through the Colorado plains illuminated only by the moon, to bombing down a mountain pass in pre-helmet days, passing startled drivers on the right as if they were standing still. And knowing one stray piece of gravel could be catastrophic.

More than once I paid the price. But still, if there was a chance, however slight, I took it.

That changed the day I got married. And realized that there was someone counting on me coming back home again from every ride.

It changed even more the first time she picked me up from the ER after a failed ride, and I realized I never wanted to see that look on her face ever again.

As a result, I became more conservative in my riding. I now wait for a clear space in traffic instead of shooting through a gap if I’m reasonably sure I can probably make it. I feather my brakes on a downhill to control my speed, rather than hoping no one pulls out in front of me at the bottom.

And I no longer turn with my knee just inches off the ground in absolute confidence in my abilities and a smooth and dry road surface.

Because if I get it wrong, the cost could be too damn high. And not just for me.

I have a wife and dog that depend on me.

Yet over the course of the past several years, I, like so many others, have been battered by the absurdities of life and an uncaring economy. And that caution has sometimes turned into a trembling reluctance and experienced-based fear of taking unnecessary risks.

And not just on the bike.

Yet the funny thing about fear is that most of the things we worry about will never happen. And those that do are usually nowhere near as bad as we’d feared.

Even if the worst occurs, we can usually withstand far more than we think we can.

It’s been a hard few years for a lot of us. But I hope you’ll join me in recommitting to confront the fears that hold us back, and keep us from attempting, let alone accomplishing, the things we desire most.

So let’s try to be like that brave little dog. And focus on doing what needs to be done in the moment.

Then deal with our fears after it’s over, instead of letting them keep us from even starting.

“It’s better to make a mistake with the full force of your being than to carefully avoid mistakes with a trembling spirit.”

— Dan Millman

The Times winds down their look at biking in the City of Angels, and the day’s best bike links

I love it when someone does my work for me.

Today it’s the LA Times that takes a look at the sometimes contentious relationship between bike riders and drivers, just a day after columnist Steve Lopez took a moving look at the ghost bike phenomenon.

And quoted yours truly in the process.

The Times follows up with twin videos offering a look at biking in LA from both a motorist’s and cyclist’s perspective.

They’re not exactly hard-hitting. But both step away from the angry give-and-take that too often defines the discussion. Even between cyclists.

And maybe they can start a more civil conversation about how to safely make room for everyone on the streets.

Meanwhile, they kick off the conclusion of their RoadshareLA series with a look at the state’s new mandate for complete streets.

Yet oddly, drawing no conclusion in the process.

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Just a few other quick notes.

Huntington Beach police are using Facebook to identify a bike thief; thanks to Geri for the heads-up.

LAist may have misstated the purpose of this website, which does a lot more than just chronicle fallen riders. But they offer a haunting series of ghost bike photos, along with a brief documentary, from ghost bike builder and photographer Danny Gamboa.

A Santa Cruz writer says we can do more to protect cyclists. And we should.

If you see something, say something. The NYPD is urging residents to call 911 if they see a dangerous threat to peace and security in the city — like bicycle pizza delivery people riding on the sidewalk.

Got to be more to this story, as a Texas man is shot to death in a dispute over a bicycle. As much as I love my bike, once the guns come out they can have it.

Does anyone really buy this “Dear Abby” style story of a Toronto cyclist who repeatedly rams into right-hooking drivers — on purpose? In real life, I’d suspect that’s the sort of thing someone might try once, as the bruises and broken bones dissuade a second attempt. Let alone a third.

Good news for Virginia drivers as dooring remains perfectly legal. So get out there and slam a few bike riders in the name of freedom.

As if aggressive and careless drivers weren’t enough, now we have to worry about suicidal rabbits.

If you have more time to kill, take a couple minutes — or maybe a few hours — the check out the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain’s massive list o’ bike links.

I hadn’t ridden past the Santa Monica pier for awhile. So I was surprised to see a new bike corral has sprouted on the sand next to the bike path. Great idea.

Bike-Parking-Still

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As you may have noticed, I’m trying something a little different today.

When I first started linking to news stories about bicycling, there weren’t many stories out there. Sometimes I had to struggle to fill a single paragraph.

These days, the explosion in bicycling has resulted in an equal explosion in news stories. Which is why I end up with those massive lists of links that take nearly a full day just to write, let alone read. And why you now only see them a few times a week.

So I’ve been thinking about offering a daily list of just the best links instead, sort of like you see above. Which would mean you’d get a daily fix of bike news from around the world. Just less of it, more often.

And still have time to actually have a life once you’re done reading.

So what do you think? Would you like to see something like this every day? Or would you prefer to keep doing what we’ve been doing?

Any thoughts?

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Finally, a brief reminder that if you like this site, you can help support my work through a much needed and deeply appreciated personal donation, advertising or sponsorship. This is a more than full-time job, and the only income I receive these days is what comes through this site.

Your decidedly un-presidential President’s Day bike news roundup, including mayoral support for MyFig

Oddly, it doesn't look any different.

Looks like cyclists could be getting some support from City Hall after all.

Lots of weekend news to catch up with on this semi-observed holiday.

And for a change, most of it is good.

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LA’s bright and shiny, barely broken in new mayor offers a look at a better, brighter and bike-friendlier city to come, and wants to connect LAX to the Crenshaw Line to serve everyone coming for the 2024 Olympics.

He also comes out in favor of a freeway CicLAvia in the first story. And he sides with the embattled My Figueroa project; the question is whether he’ll throw enough support behind the project to win the day over entrenched auto-centric opposition.

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The proposed Plan for a Healthy Los Angeles is now available for online review, along with the Mobility Plan 2035 and re:code LA.

I haven’t had a chance to dig into the 193 page Mobility Plan (pdf) yet, even though this is the document that will shape our streets — and how they’re used — for the next 20 years, which could be close to how long it will take me to get through it.

However, the LACBC says it will add:

 …a 180-mile network of protected bikeways and high-quality neighborhood streets that will “provide safe, convenient, and comfortable local and regional facilities for cyclists of all types and abilities.”

A series of seven citywide meetings will be held to discuss the plans starting next month.

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It looks like LA is finally getting serious about hit-and-run, at least after the fact, with a proposal from CD15 Councilmember Joe Buscaino to offer $50,000 rewards in fatal hit-and-run cases, and lesser amounts for injury and property damage cases.

Of course, the key is stop drivers before they flee by eliminating the incentive to floor it after a collision.

But this is a valuable step until we can get Sacramento to wake up and give a damn.

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In the wake of the recent announcement that the Tour de France will be adding a women’s race on the final day, the Amgen Tour of California doubles up with a second women’s event at this year’s tour.

It’s not enough.

But at least it’s a move in the right direction, and a step beyond the tokenism of giving women a single stage during the ToC. Though not the full multi-stage race women riders deserve.

Now if they’d just do something about the embarrassingly anachronistic podium girls. Women belong on the podium because they earned it with their racing skills, not because some guy did.

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The city begins work towards improving the decidedly bike and pedestrian unfriendly Lincoln Blvd bridge over Ballona Creek; personally, I don’t even like driving over that one. LA Fire Department transports a cyclist hit by a car in Northridge today; hopefully, not you or someone you know. Wolfpack Hustle has good advice for group riders. More and presumably better bike parking at Dodger Stadium. Wayfinding, restriping and pop-up cafes on the LA River bike path. The less-than-bike-friendly Boulevard Sentinel disputes statements that the York Blvd road diet was conducted to improve safety. Better Bike calls for a Beverly Hills Hovenring; funny thing is, it actually makes sense and it’s no more unrealistic than my own Wilshire Blvd pipe dream. Santa Monica Next’s Gary Kavanagh offers a defense of the humble traffic diverter in the wake of neighborhood objectors. You don’t have to drive to the El Monte Metro bus station anymore, as a dedicated entrance has been opened for cyclists using the Rio Hondo Bike Path; thanks to Bike SGV for the link.

An off-road rider in the San Diego area survives a frightening face-first fall into a ravine. The usual dispute over parking spots rears its ugly head in a fight over a San Diego bikeway; so why are a relative handful of on-street parking spaces for cars more important than improving safety and mobility for people? An upcoming Carlsbad roundabout promises to ease traffic and made a dangerous intersection more bike-friendly. Two Simi Valley cyclists are injured when one gets her wheel trapped by a train track and the other falls over her. A call for Vision Zero in Kern County. An Aptos rider was flown to a Bay Area hospital after getting doored Sunday morning; fortunately, the injuries aren’t life-threatening. A Sausalito cop recognizes a wanted bike thief. Looks like you’ll be able to keep renting bikes in Yosemite after all.

Portland becomes the latest city to commit to a Vision Zero; here in LA <crickets>. Life is cheap in New Mexico, as a Border Patrol agent faces a sentence of as little as five days and $25 for killing a cyclist in a suicide swerve last August; thanks to Michael McVerry for the heads-up. Two cyclists are hit by a left-crossing, non-signaling driver near my hometown; a local LCI says it’s time to talk about hit-and-runs involving bicyclists. Continuing today’s theme of multiple riders down, four cyclists are seriously injured in an apparent bike-on-bike collision in a Texas women’s stage race. A new Bike Pittsburgh campaign says pass with care, because we’re people, too. Boston officials say if you want your bike paths cleared after every snow storm, move to another city. Must be some damn good drivers in the Big Apple, as 32 cyclists are cited for moving violations in one precinct, but no motorists are ticketed. NYC cyclists are getting a portable bike counter. The wife of a fallen Long Island cyclist says the law has too many loopholes, as the methadone intoxicated driver who killed him gets a six-month sentence. Why the Big Easy is not, in fact, the worst place in the world to ride a bike. Miami cyclists remember a fallen comrade and call for tougher penalties for dangerous drivers.

Uruguay’s capital city wants to become bike friendly. Two UK riders become collateral damage in a deadly police chase. Daily bicycling wards off heart disease, and bike share benefits outweigh any risks. A drunk Polish father calls his 8-year old son to ride his bike to a bar and drive him home, with predictable results. The Finnish hockey team bikes to their first game at the Olympics, and it clearly hasn’t hurt them; thanks to Ness for the tip. Indian cyclists want to know why they can’t ride to work in their own city. An Indian cop rear-ends a cyclist while attempting to get around a road barricade. An Aussie site offers a realistic look at practical riding attire. A Kiwi cyclist makes the oft-repeated call that everyone should be required to ride a bike before they get a driver’s license.

Finally, when N+1 meets S-1, some subterfuge — and a cooperative bike shop — is clearly called for. A UK call girl is really looking forward to the arrival of all those Tour de France cyclists this summer. And it turns out the trolls who leave hateful comments online really are horrible people.

Well, no shit.

Dramatic dooring video, and a hit-and-run survivor is haunted by ghost bikes

LA rider weshigh offers video of a near dooring on Fountain, dramatically capturing one of the closest close calls I’ve seen.

And showing just how fast it can happen.

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In a haunting piece, a bike rider is troubled by ghost bikes, especially since one now honors her mentor. And she came too close to earning one herself.

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Santa Monica Spoke reports that Safe Routes to School plans for Santa Monica High were unanimously approved at Tuesday’s city council session, along with modified plans for the city’s first Neighborhood Greenway.

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Crenshaw’s own national crit champ Rahsaan Bahati puts his own victories in context. Cyclists are urged to attend Thursday’s meeting of the Atwater Village Neighborhood Council to support a bike-friendly Hyperion bridge. A 73-year old Aptos cyclist is killed a collision. A Sacramento cop tackles a bike thief on camera. A Menlo Park bridge could be named after a long-time local bike advocate. Great idea, as Bay Area lovers can have their V-Day flowers delivered by bike, if not winged, messenger. Hats off to this Ceres CA top cop and acting city manager who won’t give up on a 2003 hit-and-run case that killed an underprivileged bike rider.

Is it wrong to steal a stolen bike if you plan to give it back? Hit-and-run driver admits guilt to police after killing a cyclist near my hometown. A UT cyclist suggests living a life in which we all get flipped off less; I can go for that. Off-duty Chicago cop blows a stop sign and runs down a cyclist before bravely running away, then gets off on the more serious charges. A Long Island driver gets a whopping six months for crossing onto the wrong side of the road and killing a cyclist while high on legally acquired methadone. Interesting piece, as an Alexandria rider says bicycling upends the social order on our streets. An accused Baton Rouge drunk driver was nearly four times the legal limit when he killed on cyclist and critically injured another, so naturally, the defense attorney blames the victims for having marijuana in their systems. Schmuck. Someone is attacking cyclists on a St. Petersburg bike trail. Ditto.

Mostly middle-aged white men bike to work in the Calgary winter. Don’t buy your next TI bike, print it. A Manchester UK cyclist is killed by a cement mixer in front of badly shaken witnesses; I can attest from personal experience that’s something you never forget. Tough town, as a Manchester cyclist is attacked by four teens for the crime of being a redhead. After surviving 20 brain surgeries, an Oxford student suffers a setback when she’s hit by a cyclist who ran a red light. A Glasgow shopping district will transform into a racing circuit for the Commonwealth Games. Syrian college students take to their bikes in the midst of the country’s civil war. A speeding Aussie driver steals a bicycle in a failed attempt to escape a police chase. Aussie have as much risk of being attacked by a great white shark as being injured while riding.

Finally, just a tad touch of sarcasm from the university paper in my hometown when a skateboarder is ticketed for riding in a bike lane.

It’s getting scary out there — dogs attack Pasadena bike rider; driver flees police with bike dangling from car

A Pasadena cyclist walking his bike barely avoided serious injury when he was attacked by three apparently road raging dogs.

He was smart enough to place his bike between himself and the raging pit bulls, then jumped onto the hood of a car for protection. Police shot all three dogs, killing one; the rider suffered minor bite punctures.

If they shot humans for attacking cyclists, there might not be many drivers left.

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Horrifying video footage shows a car fleeing police in Laguna Beach with a bicycle dangling from its side, leading to speculation that it was a hit-and-run.

Fortunately, no victim has yet appeared. Other reports suggest the bike may have started out on a rack on the car before it was knocked off in the pursuit.

Thanks to Steve Messer and sonofabike for the heads-up.

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KTLA-5 offers a look at Ghost Bikes. Maybe if more people understand what they are, we might not need so many of them.

Thanks to Lois Horwitz for the link.

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Charges in the case of Donald Johnson, the Calimesa driver arrested for the hit-and-run death of Philip Richards earlier this month, have been upgraded to gross vehicular manslaughter and fleeing the scene of a vehicular manslaughter; bond has been increased to $1 million.

In addition, his wife, Kerri Johnson, has been arrested on a charge of accessory after the fact for aiding in the coverup.

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Bikes lanes are now a near certainty on the Glendale-Hyperion bridge, after serious blowback from pissed off advocates; now the fight is to get sidewalks on both sides. Bicycle Fixation’s Rick Risemberg gets it; whatever you wear to ride — or play social games — is okay. On the other hand, the LAPD clearly doesn’t. The next Metro Bicycle Roundtable is scheduled for Tuesday, February 11th. Former DA and current mayoral dad Gil Garcetti talks Paris: Women & Bicycles. Yes, you really can live car-free in Los Angeles. Pedicabs could be coming to Hollywood and San Pedro; a previous trial in Westwood failed, just like every other business seems to do there sooner or later. UCLA Bicycle Academy rightfully demands better safety and access; but is anyone listening? The LACBC’s Operation Firefly distributes bike lights in Long Beach. Hawthorne approves $11 million renovation of Hawthorne Blvd, including bike lanes; thanks to Margaret for the tip.

Independent review says Caltrans is out of date, operating out of a culture of fear and acting too much like the highway department it is and not the mobility department it should be; I could have told them that. Newport Beach’s proposed bike plan can now be viewed online. San Diego’s planned bike share program has been delayed until Spring; it should still beat LA’s by a few years, at least. San Francisco woman does everything wrong, but still gets her stolen bike back — $260 later. San Francisco’s cycle tracks are paving the way for safer cycling throughout the state. Caltrans approves $2.7 million for a Monterey bike lane. Mountain View man is busted with a truck full of hot bikes. A Redding man is seriously injured in a possible BUI solo crash.

New bi-partisan bill in Congress would bring equity to bike and pedestrian funding, as well as boosting funding for bike and pedestrian projects in low income communities. It takes a real schmuck to steal a bike from someone suffering from Parkinson’s. The law is stacked against bike riders in Alaska; there are reasons Alaskans ride year round, though. Wounded warriors mountain bike to recovery in Las Vegas. Fear and loathing in Las Vegas, as a German reporter attempts to cover CES by bike. The hit-and-run victim killed near my hometown turns out to be a gifted elected motor scientist who could breath fire; no, really. The good get better, as Denver bridges gaps for cyclists and pedestrians. Fort Bliss Afghan vet rides his way back from battlefield injuries. Infamous bike lane hater and tweeter Anthony Weiner now rides them; bike lanes, not tweets. NYPD targets drivers and jaywalkers in a traffic safety crackdown; evidently, cyclists are still fair game. Freezing temperatures don’t stop DC cyclists. Baltimore police ignore evidence and the law to illegally blame a bicyclists. A Chattanooga cyclist takes the local paper to task in the wake of a teenage assault on a bike rider.

The Vancouver bike rider assaulted by a road raging driver tells his side of the story. The death of a British cyclist has turned into a murder investigation. London finally bans large trucks without pedestrian and cyclist safety features; vehicles that kill by design should never be allowed on the road, anywhere. Forty-two-year old Chris Horner, the oldest Grand Tour winner, gets a ride for 2014. Spanish cyclist riding through Pakistan denies reports six policemen were killed protecting him. Family of Japanese woman killed in collision with cyclist awarded equivalent of nearly half-a-million dollars. Sydney’s bi-directional bikeways take the wrong path.

Finally, outgoing County Supervisor Zev Yaroslovsky profiles LACBC board member, bike advocate and alternative transportation fan Greg Laemmle; they couldn’t feature a nicer or more deserving guy.

Transportation rock star Gabe Klein comes to City Hall; HBPD hits a cyclist and Milton Olin investigation drags on

A little this, a little that. And not much bad news, for a change.

So let’s dig right in.

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A real transportation rock star visits the city as former DC and Chicago DOT chief Gabe Klein will talk bike share at City Hall Friday afternoon. Maybe our esteemed mayor can convince him to stick around for a job interview afterwards.

Or even before. Or during, for that matter.

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I’ve gotten a report that a Huntington Beach patrol car struck a bicyclist around 11 pm last Tuesday; no word on how the collision occurred, the officer involved or the condition of the rider.

Not that they’re being tight lipped about it or anything.

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The investigation into the death of former Napster exec Milt Olin continues over a month after his death, while the Times notes that the slow pace raises questions of a cover-up.

You think?

I’ve only heard fears of that from, lets see, everyone I’ve heard from about this tragedy.

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Nine ways LA is ditching its auto-centric reputation, while Salon says the City of Angeles is experiencing a renaissance for biking and walking. But maybe not so fast, as Metro decides cyclists and pedestrians deserve only one lousy vote on their Technical Advisory Committee; God forbid they should let the hoi polloi have a say. Another meeting added to discuss the reconstruction of Santa Monica Blvd — and possible bike lanes — in Beverly Hills; Better Bike recaps the last meeting. Join Stan’s Bike Shop and the Eastside Bike Club on Saturday, the 25th to kick off April’s Tour de Cure. Manhattan Beach approves new bike lanes on Rosecrans and Manhattan Avenues. Long Beach gets to keep its green sharrows even though the Feds have pulled the plug on the popular super sharrows and green-backed sharrows. Bike Long Beach invites you to hear the Bike League’s Steve Clark talk about what we can learn from the best bike infrastructure from around the world this Thursday. Share your thoughts about the proposed San Gabriel Valley bike master plan before the end of the month. Hopefully, bicycling at Cal Poly Pomona is now a little safer, as the campus gets its first bike path; they still need to fix the streets leading to campus, though.

Here’s a bill to keep an eye on, as AB 1193 encouraging the use of cycle tracks in California passes its first committee test with flying colors. Newport Beach plans a community bike ride on Saturday. No surprise, as the accused road raging San Diego driver who seriously injured a cyclist pleads not guilty. A 71-year old cyclist is critically injured after allegedly riding into the path of a Riverside bus. Mark your calendar for the Thousand Oaks Ride 2 Recovery ride on May 3rd. Bay Area bike riders reject the idea of licensing fees. Is San Francisco America’s most bike-friendly city? Maybe so, as SF supervisors call for the city to adopt a Vision Zero, two words I have never heard escape the lips of an LA politician. The Bay Area Bike Share hits 100,000 trips in less than four months.

Should doctors do more to prevent traffic fatalities? Seven predictions that could drive the bike industry in 2014; is the youth bike boom going bust already? More curb-protected bike lanes are coming to America. A case before the Supreme Court could affect the viability of the Rails to Trails movement. Bicycling offers advice on how to break wind; a couple burritos usually do the trick for me. The incomparable Katie Compton wins her 10th national cyclocross title; VeloNews looks at the highlights of this year’s championships. A new Portland housing project will have nearly two long-term bike parking spaces for every unit, the most in the US. Arizona driver gets a whopping seven days — seven whole days! — in jail for first harassing, then crashing into, a group of pro cyclists before fleeing the scene; clearly, any expectation of justice for cyclists in the Grand Canyon State is just an illusion. Three Houston cyclists have been killed in hit-and-runs in the last 45 days. Walkers and runners are invading Austin TX bike lanes. The most impressive vehicles at the Detroit Auto Show have just two wheels. Drunken Michigan man busted for driving on a bike path. Someone is tossing tacks on a Tampa bike path; if anyone put something on a roadway that could cause drivers to crash, they’d call it a terrorist attack. Oddly, the solution to drunk drivers hitting cyclists on a Miami-area causeway isn’t banning bikes.

A London rider says drivers are out to kill him, perhaps literally; another responds — reasonably — that we shouldn’t exaggerate the risks of bike riding. Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson clearly doesn’t get the need to take the lane. A UK rider says few people are injured by bikes, and motorists who disagree should try riding one, while another says there is no we in bicycling. A Brit cyclist rides 1,350 miles to visit Auschwitz. Eighty-three-year old British man flees the scene after killing a bike rider in Spain; hit-and-run is clearly not just an American problem as another driver drives off after killing a Romanian rider in Cyprus. A UK paper says Spain’s Majorca is a bike rider’s paradise. Touring India by bike. A New Zealand cyclist denies he fled the scene after striking a 12-year old bike rider. New Zealand drivers don’t see cyclists because they aren’t looking for us; so would I be out of line suggesting that maybe they should start? Kiwi cyclists account for 60% of red light runners at four key intersections. The British woman who survived brutal conditions to set a record riding her bike to the South Pole tells her story.

Finally, the effects of texting and driving caught on camera; thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up. You don’t want this on video, as an Irish mountain biker suffers a seven week erection after crash landing on the top bar.

And talk about taking the high road, as Calexico border guards stop a bike rider with nine pounds of marijuana stuffed in his rear tire.

Thanks to John Hall for the generous donation!

Honor the memory of a fallen cyclist, a Santa Barbara bike smackdown, and enough links to last a weekend

Lots of news to share today, so let’s get right to it.

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John Rapley; photo from The Age

James Rapley; photo from The Age

Friends and family of fallen Australian cyclist James Rapley call for your help to honor his memory.

As you may recall, Rapley was killed by an alleged drunk and possibly distracted driver while riding in the bike lane on Temescal Canyon during an extended layover at LAX just before Christmas.

We have had a lot of people ask how they can help and if they can send flowers. Karen and his family believe that donating to a charity would help honour James memory in a more lasting way and we would like to direct you to the below everyday hero site for how you can help via a number of avenues including:

1) donating to the Amy Gillett Cycling Foundation

2) participating in a Hello Sunday Mornings challenge

3) please share these links with your friends and family and spread this important message. Remember to share the roads and to never let yourself or others drink and drive. If you can’t afford a taxi, you can’t afford to drink.

Thank you all for your support. James was very loved and will be forever missed.

They also explain the  purpose of the HSM challenge.

We are hoping to encourage 100 people to sign up for a Hello Sunday Morning’s 3 month challenge to abstain from alcohol and create a ripple affect to change Australia’s drinking culture and hopefully save a life. Each HSMer’s story has a positive impact on the drinking culture of 10 people around them. If 1,000 people stop their friends from getting behind a wheel drunk or not binge drinking we can help James make a difference and hopefully spare another family this incredible tragedy.

One last note.

James Rapley was laid to rest Thursday in Hadfield, Victoria, Australia.

If not for a drunken LA driver shattering the quiet of a Sunday morning, he’d be back at work at Groupon in Chicago. And all this would have been a bad dream.

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Yesterday, a Santa Barbara writer offered some reasonable bike safety advice. After a hate-filled, auto-centric introduction in which she collectively blamed all cyclists for the actions of a few, that is.

Or possibly, just two.

Although she never bothered to explain how her coffee ended up in lap when she slammed on the brakes to avoid one; it’s not like someone so safety conscious would have been holding it while she drove. Right?

I was debating how to respond to her piece, when I found myself reading an insightful, brilliantly constructed take down that made any response from superfluous. I wasn’t surprised when the writer mentioned he was a lawyer; yet somehow, I missed his name until I got to the end.

I should have known.

Thanks to Charles Hudak for the heads-up.

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This should put the value of our lives in perspective.

A South Carolina man who killed a police dog in a shootout gets 35 years, while an Iowa woman is fined a whopping $500 for killing a cyclist after claiming she thought she hit a deer.

Of course, a rational person might have stopped to see what she hit. Then again, a rational law enforcement agency — or judge — might have questioned such a convenient excuse.

Thanks to Michael McVerry for the link.

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If you haven’t seen it yet, this New Zealand traffic safety spot is a must watch. Even though studies show traffic safety ads don’t work.

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An LA rider lives out his biggest bike commuting fear in colliding with a stop sign-running rider; thanks to Steve Herbert for the heads-up. Federal anti-poverty funds could be used to build bike lanes in some of LA’s least advantaged neighborhoods. LA’s 2020 Commission concludes the city is going to hell in a hand basket. We’re just over the halfway point to completing the full 51-mile LA River bike path, with 25 miles to go. Breaking Away, the movie that got me back into bicycling, will screen as a fundraiser for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition at Laemmle’s NoHo7 on Wednesday, February 12th. Experience South LA’s iconic Central Avenue by bike this Sunday. New film looks at the Eastside Riders Bike Club. SaMo police bust a homeless man for stealing a bait bike. Great pair of letters in response to an anti-bike screed in the Santa Monica Daily Press, one from a bike rider and one from a non-rider who gets it. CICLE’s Arroyo Seco tweed ride rolls this Saturday. A San Gabriel walker correctly notes we should give pedestrians three feet passing distance, too. Boyonabike resolves to be a pain in the ass for safer cycling in the SGV this year. CLR Effect is selling a classic Bottecchia I would kill for if I was just a touch more psychotic. After a friend barely survives broadsiding a U-turning car on Via del Monte in Palos Verdes Estates, Cycling in the South Bay barely avoids the same fate; I thought I recognized that deadly street.

Nine top international pro teams will take part in this year’s Amgen Tour of California. The Huntington Beach Independent looks at the local cost of distracted driving. The Bike League’s Stephen Clark talks about what it takes to be a Bike Friendly Community in Huntington Beach next Wednesday. Advocacy group BikeSD endorses David Alvarez for mayor of San Diego. Cannondale Pro Cycling unveils its 2014 team; Thousand Oaks is not LA, though. A Santa Cruz writer says “Share the Road” has failed to protect local cyclists. Palo Alto cop is faulted for using his Taser on a 16-year old cyclist, but it’s okay to knock him off his bike with a patrol car; anything that could cause a rider to fall from his bike should be considered deadly force. After a 90-year old Menlo Park driver jumps the curb and hits two small kids, his lawyer accuses them of recklessness for walking on the sidewalk. SF Gate looks at May’s Climate Ride; I’ve heard nothing but good things from those who rode it last year. A salmon cyclist is expected to survive a head-on collision with tow truck in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood. San Francisco supervisors call for a crackdown on dangerous drivers; will LA’s city council ever have the courage to demand that motorists stop killing Angelenos? Is spray painting “road kill” in a Napa bike lane a hate crime; seriously, do you really have to ask?

Powerful story from a legally blind bike rider who fought the law, and won. Agenda announced for this year’s National Bike Summit in March. Legal commentary calls for tougher rules for bike and ski helmets, while the incomparable Elly Blue offers five things more worth arguing about than bike helmets — and nails it. Riding a bike in your teens could help prevent a heart attack later in life. Maybe it is a minor miracle, as Portland residents demand that parking be removed to improve bike access. A Spokane website offers a comprehensive list of women’s bike blogs. Gay marriage is off for now in Utah, but mayors biking to work is on. Does the world really need a smarter bike bell? Talk about a good cause — a Boulder CO event raises funds for the Amy D Foundation, dedicated to introducing young girls to cycling in honor of fallen pro cyclocross rider Amy Dombroski. Turns out auto traffic really does drop on bike to work day, at least in Boulder. Nebraska cyclists protest plans to ban them from a key bridge. A South Dakota driver gets a plea deal on road rage charges, though security camera footage may raise issues. Robbers pistol whip, then shoot a Pasadena cyclist; no, the other Pasadena. Zip-off pant extensions could help you arrive at work in style. Biking is up in Boston, though 70% of riders are men; helmet use is a surprising 76%. A Boston writer looks at the recent death of fallen cyclist Pam Leven, and questions whether it, or any other collision between cyclists, is really an accident. Students at Northeastern University develop a smart bike with built-in collision warning system; is anyone old enough to get a “Danger Will Robinson! Danger!” reference? November was the deadliest month for NYC cyclists and pedestrians in nearly two years. New York cyclists get bike repair vending machines. Florida legislature could remove incentive for drunk drivers to flee collisions; that’s just the first step we need to take here.

UCI appoints its panel to examine doping in pro cycling, and Lance promises to play nice. Experts debate whether bike helmets should remain mandatory in British Columbia. Oxford cyclist drowns on flooded pathway near where a teenage cyclist drowned in 2007; never try to ride through water if you can’t tell how deep it is. Panicked Lancashire publication says speeding poser cyclists on Strava risk road death. Irish authorities urge humans to wear hi-viz rather than ask motorists to actually pay attention. Hamburg plans to eliminate the need for cars within 20 years. Aussie driver harasses a cyclist, who turns out to be the state police commissioner. Freak mini-tornado blows rider off bike in Australian time trial. Brisbane closes a toxic bikeway for asbestos removal. Kiwi cyclists fear more deaths unless a new pathway bypasses known danger zones. New Zealand writer says bike safety should be a political issue; he’s right. A rider takes a record-setting tour of the South Pole.

Finally, a Canadian driver cuts out the middleman, and crashes into bikes before they ever leave the shop. LA now has the world’s first Burrito Vending Machine — and naturally, a bike lane leading right to it. And Another Perfect Day finds a road sign anticipating lonely cyclists.

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One last bit of bad news from last year — Barrington dooring victim died of his injuries last month

Ghost bike for Julio Martinez; photo by Danny Gamboa

Ghost bike for Julio Martinez; photo by Danny Gamboa

Unfortunately, last year’s bad news didn’t end with the new year.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been trying to confirm rumors that the victim of last month’s dooring on Barrington Ave in Brentwood had died of his injuries. And had received no response, respite repeated emails to members of the LAPD.

Sadly, I finally received confirmation today, thanks to Danny Gamboa of ZKO Films, who has been documenting Southern California ghost bikes. He was able to track down the victim’s place of work, where co-workers confirmed that he had died sometime between December 10th and December 17th.

According to Gamboa, 37-year old Julio Martinez worked with his brother at Belwood Bakery at 11625 Barrington Court, just off Sunset Blvd. He was apparently riding home from work when he was hit by the door of a car on a downhill section of Barrington, where bikes can easily reach speeds of 25 mph or higher.

Martinez was taken to a hospital with severe head injuries, where he later died. His brother has taken time off from work to accompany his body back to their hometown in Mexico.

The Belwood Bakery is collecting funds to help defray the expenses. If you find yourself in the area — and many popular group rides pass nearby on Sunset Blvd — stop by for a sandwich and some coffee, and drop in a few bucks. Or take up a collection and drop it off on your way home.

Because he died as one of us.

This is the 88th bicycling fatality in Southern California in 2013, and the 39th in Los Angeles County. It’s also the 18th in the City of Los Angeles — a 360% increase over 2012.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Julio Martinez and all his family and loved ones.

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A Koreatown bike rider became the city’s latest hit-and-run victim early this morning.

According to OnScene.TV — which offers raw footage from the scene — the victim, described only as a male in his early 20s, was riding with roughly 25 other cyclists down Vermont Ave when he was hit by an unknown vehicle at the intersection with 4th Street. The site reports he was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries.

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A male cyclist was shot and wounded in a Filipinotown drive-by this morning; the victim was not suspected of being a gang member. Fortunately, he’s expected to make a full recovery.

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In today’s driving news, dialing your phone behind the wheel is the most dangerous form of distracted driving, while inexperienced drivers reaching for a cell phone increases crash risk by 700%.

It turns out drivers view people more negatively than non-drivers do; maybe that’s why so many of them hate us.

The UK asks if radar and RFID can be the solution to stop drivers from killing cyclists; new technologies can’t cure bad road design, though.

Elly Blue offers motorists advice on how to drive around bike riders.

And a driving Jerry Seinfeld doesn’t want to see anymore ghost bikes. Neither do we, Jerry.

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Darren Graves offers this beautifully evocative photo of the Venice bike path from this morning's commute.

Darren Graves offers this beautifully evocative photo of the Venice bike path from this morning’s commute.

A Times’ writer offers a surprisingly good piece on sharing the road, albeit from a windshield perspective. Streetsblog talks with interim LADOT — and Recreation and Parks — General Manager Jon Kirk Mukri; now that Chicago and New York both have new DOT heads, what is Mayor Garcetti waiting for? Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman explains she rides to connect to her city. Local Los Feliz paper seems to be trying to create controversy over Rowena road diet, but the story doesn’t support it. A Santa Monica letter writer says bike on ped collisions are a problem when you’re the ped. The final meeting for Santa Monica’s MANGo project takes place on Tuesday; my suggestion is getting rid of that silly lower-case O in the name. Flying Pigeon’s Richard Risemberg finds Downtown El Segundo’s new bike racks almost perfect. Milestone Rides explores the Verdugos with Long Beach’s bike touring expats. A Carson cyclist is injured in a collision on Avalon Blvd.

The new ABCs of bike riding should include air quality. A San Diego cyclist says he woke up in a ditch several hours after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver; others suggest he got drunk and passed out. A Piru man faces charges for using his car as a weapon to injure someone he was arguing with. Uber bans an off-duty San Francisco driver after he killed a six-year old girl on New Years Eve, but maybe they should be accountable anyway. Some people just don’t get it, as an SF writer objects to bike riders’ right to take the lane. A dozen years after a Modesto-area woman killed a cyclist while drunk, she faces six years for another DUI.

A writer for Bicycle Retailer asks if bicycles are the new gay marriage for misinformed conservatives; thanks to Geri for the link. US cities are installing the first curb-protected bike lanes. The Atlantic Cities asks if distracted bicycling should be banned; having nearly been run off the road by other riders on more than one occasion, I vote yes. The Bike League highlights their 2013 accomplishments in a new infographic. The Feds finally approve bicycle traffic signals, allowing riders to be separated by other traffic by time rather than just distance. New bike gloves offer built-in turn signals; thanks to Megan Lynch for the tip.

Portland cyclists suffered zero fatalities in 10-million trips in 2013; thanks to Michael McVerry for the heads-up. Seattle’s former mayor says the city’s streets were frustrating before bike lanes were put in and probably always will be; oddly, Seattle cycle tracks draw mixed reviews when delivery drivers are allowed to park in them. Just heartbreaking, as a five-year old Nevada girl killed by possible DUI driver while riding her tricycle on the sidewalk; she was riding with her sister and grandmother when the driver backed over her bike. Montana driver requests an all-points bulletin after a rider turns in front of her car. Houston Critical Mass riders are accused of being traffic bullies. Annual Minnesota New Years Day ride has its coldest ride yet. A Tennessee pastor bikes 455 miles over two days to greet all 102 members of his congregation. Hit-and-run MA driver drags parts of a bike 1.5 miles after killing the rider on it. The streets of New York have changed dramatically under outgoing Mayor Bloomberg. DC bike riders get a legal head-start on red lights as a new bike safety law goes into effect. North Carolina cyclist is busted for doping at age 62 with 21 national championships and one world age-group title under his belt; it’s the non-dopers who should be getting the attention.

Will 2014 be the year of the bike? Brilliant Brazilian anti-drunk driving ad. Calgary also gets it right, with no bicycling deaths in 2013. Montreal cyclists say more has to be done to stop dooring. UK drivers who kill cyclists have just a 10% risk of facing jail time. Drivers are responsible for over two-thirds of collisions with cyclists in London’s Westminster district. Everyone’s talking about London’s wildly impractical SkyCycle plan; yes, separation can be good, but one of the best things about bicycling is how it brings you closer to the life of a city, so why would you want to soar above it? Speeding UK drivers are called lunatics; unfortunately, that happens to a lot of people when they get behind the wheel. Brit cyclist is removed uninjured after being trapped under car for 30 minutes — but be warned, the photos are hard to take. New Dutch cargo trike has a front door. Jakarta officials are ordered to leave their cars home once a month. An Aussie writer says it’s time for real reform on the roads. New Zealand guard rails protect careless drivers while putting cyclists at risk.

Finally, don’t pretend you haven’t been tempted; police in Ghana rescue an alleged bike thief from an angry crowd before they can burn him to death. And an Aussie cyclist responds to getting cut off on his possibly stolen bike by stealing the car of the driver who did it.

 

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