Archive for Streets and Infrastructure

Morning Links: BOLO for dangerous San Fernando Valley driver and disappearing Bike Plan bikeways

An impatient Ford truck driver allegedly ran over a cyclist at Winnetka and Roscoe last Saturday morning, after honking and telling the rider to get out of his way so he could make a right. He then backed up and fled the scene.

A photo included in the report clearly shows the license number of the truck; no word on whether the rider was injured or if incident has been reported to the police.

If not, it should be.

Update: Frequent contributor Micheal Eisenberg reports seeing two apparently uninjured riders talking to a police officer at Roscoe and Winnetka as he rode by Saturday morning.

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LA’s city council-approved 2010 bike plan has been incorporated into the draft Mobility Plan 2035. Except, apparently, the parts that haven’t. Could this mark the return of the much maligned — and deservedly so — “Currently Infeasible” category from the original draft bike plan?

Meanwhile, City Planning is hosting a webinar Thursday evening to discuss year two of the bike plan; maybe you can ask them where the missing miles went.

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Local

The rebranded Gran Fondo Italia has dumped the Beverly Hills edition.

Joe Anthony captures a hyper drive nighttime ride through the streets of LA on his bike cam.

Make your plans for Thursday night, when a Treats and Beats ride will be held to celebrate the opening of a new Huntington Park bike parklet.

Monterey Park and BikeSGV host a free, family friendly community bike ride for Earth Day. Meanwhile, the very busy BikeSGV hosts an Open House Bike Social to kickoff Bike Month.

Five Azusa Pacific students are biking from Seattle to New York to raise funds for clean water.

 

State

Streetsblog updates transportation bills before the state legislature, including a proposed vulnerable user law and a rapidly sinking bike tax.

Orange County officials host a workshop on bike safety following recent bicycling deaths; that should be the response to every bike and pedestrian fatality, anywhere.

Cross champion Tim Johnson bridges the gap between racing and advocacy.

In advance of Bike to Work Day, the no sweat way to bike to work.

San Francisco commits to 24 Vision Zero projects to eliminate bike and pedestrian deaths.

A Chico State student sees the thief ride by as she’s reporting her stolen bike to the police.

 

National

A new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center looks at the whack jobs people and groups behind the anti-Agenda 21 conspiracy theories and the damage they do.

Bob Mionske discusses what to do when you’re not the slowest vehicle on the road; California also allows cyclists to pass on the right.

Is the Internet threatening the iconic bike-riding Mormon missionaries?

A Seattle bike shop owner is charged with running a chop shop to fence stolen bikes. Schmuck.

Yes, says a writer from my hometown, drivers have a responsibility to keep cyclists safe.

American bicycling may have been born in Newton Mass.

Needless to say, the alleged jackass who killed a triathlete in New Orleans over the weekend blames the victims for swerving into his path; physical evidence and witness testimony suggest he plowed into them instead of changing lanes to go around — while driving with a suspended license, no less.

 

International

London will cut speed limits to 20 mph in the central city in a bid to save lives.

Anti-bike saboteurs have struck once again, strewing nails in the path of riders participating in a UK sportive. Crap like this is a crime, not at prank; a sudden flat could cause a rider to fall, leading to potentially catastrophic injuries.

A bike-centric service was held for the world’s fastest bike-riding police officer, killed in a British velodrome accident last month.

While Brit bike commuting is on the upswing, it’s dropped over a quarter in the Cotswolds.

Velonews wraps up Sunday’s unpredictable Paris-Roubaix.

After running down a bike rider while texting, an Aussie driver complains to police about the damage the rider caused to her car, and says she doesn’t believe texting while driving could cause a collision with a cyclist, even though she swears she wasn’t. Nice.

 

Finally…

Your next text could be from your bike. Telling you it’s been stolen.

And Major Taylor’s 101-year old track bike could be yours for just $20,000; why isn’t this in a museum already? Seriously, if you don’t know who Major Taylor was by now, you should.

A happy and blessed Pesach to all who observe it!

Weekend Links: First Great Streets unveiled, say hello to Allo, and bikes as weapons of war

I wasn’t expecting any bike news in Mayor Garcetti’s State of the City address.

So I confess, I wasn’t paying that close attention as I worked on other things. Fortunately, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton confirmed what I thought I heard on Thursday.

And that is that six LA streets have been identified as the city’s first to be unveiled under the mayor’s Great Street’s initiative:

  • Crenshaw Blvd
  • Figueroa Street
  • Gaffey Street (San Pedro)
  • Reseda Blvd
  • Van Nuys Blvd
  • Westwood Blvd

Hats off to the mayor for selecting streets that represent a broad cross-section of the city. Only Westwood could be described as passing through an upscale neighborhood, while Crenshaw and Figueroa are every bit as iconic as Wilshire Blvd, home of last Sunday’s CicLAvia.

The goal is to make these streets accessible to everyone — including bicyclists, pedestrians and the handicapped — with green streets, plants, art and people-focused plazas.

It will be interesting to see how far Garcetti’s initiative gets in the face of Westwood’s infamous NIMBYism, and local Council Member Paul Koretz opposition to bike lanes on the street.

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The Kickstarter for the Allo combination speaker and handlebar cell phone mount has been fully funded, so you’ll soon be able to listen to music, use navigation, make phone calls or use any app you want while you ride. And now you can pre-order your Allo for $35 until the campaign ends on Sunday.

Personally, I’d rather keep my hands on the handlebars and my attention on the road in front of me.

But that’s just me.

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Local

Metro honors six-month bike commuter Nick Rosenblum as part of their monthly Why You Ride series.

How to report broken LA bike racks or other street repair problems.

USC’s Neon Tommy talks with Maria Sipin, one of the city’s leading — and one of my favorite — bike and transit advocates.

MIT Media Lab has combined LAPD records and Google Map data to create a detailed map of LA bike crashes. Not surprisingly, the worst streets are Olympic, Venice and Sunset Boulevards.

 

State

I shoehorned this one in at the last minute last night, but it deserves more attention. Historically risk — and modern times — averse Caltrans has adopted the forward-thinking NACTO Guide, which could be a real game changer for California streets and cyclists. Streetsblog explains why it matters.

Bike Newport Beach calls for more, and more visible, bike cops to improve safety. And they suggest taking your helmet off when you’re not actually on your bike.

San Diego County goes all eminent domain on property owners’ asses to build seven miles of bikeways, but regional leaders still think freeways first.

A memorial ride will be held Saturday for fallen San Diego cyclist David Voight, killed by a suspected drunk driver in a stolen car last month.

San Diego bike thieves target high-end bikes.

Stockton police are looking for a woman wearing a purple coat and head wrap, riding a purple bike, who whipped another woman in a dog dispute; no word on what her rival, or the dog, was wearing.

Ciclovia comes to Yosemite, as 17-mile Yosemite Road opens to bikes only this weekend.

 

National

A new Minneapolis study shows bike lanes don’t adversely affect vehicular traffic if you put them in the right places.

Wisconsin gets a new vulnerable user law; a similar bill is under consideration in California.

 

International

Maybe they need to bring back the mythical war on the car in Toronto. See below for just the bikes to do it with.

Brit advocacy group protests the incredibly light sentence given a youthful careless driver who took the life of a cyclist out for the maiden ride on his new bike.

The Guardian asks if shaming bike riders is a good thing when the cams are turned back on us.

A 125-year old Yorkshire cycling club discovers materials documenting members returning to bicycling after coming home from the war. In 1919.

David Hembrow says shared spaces don’t protect the vulnerable, but prioritize the powerful.

Former Amgen Tour of California and defending Vuelta winner Chris Horner suffered serious injuries when he was apparently hit by a car while training near Italy’s Lake Como.

 

Finally…

A new Japanese bike is designed to unfold into a wheelchair, allowing riders to turn into rescuers in emergency situations. Or it could come in handy the next time I attempt to ride Wilshire on a non-CicLAvia.

And Rex Reese forwards word that the peaceful, unassuming bicycle has had its place as a weapon of war in sometimes silly, sometimes frightening ways. Which could also come in handy the next time I try to ride Wilshire. Although that photo of the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corp posing in Yellowstone in 1896 is seriously cool.

 

Help stop hit-and-runs, stop a Burbank equestrian bridge grab, and your Morning Links

Stop whatever you’re doing — like reading this, for instance — and sign this petition in support of AB 2197.

You’ll find my signature there among the 800 plus current signees.

The bill, currently before the state assembly, would require every car sold in California to leave the dealership with some form of license plates.

Currently, drivers have up to 90 days to license their cars. But some never do, as you may have noticed; if not, try counting all the unlicensed cars, trucks and SUVs you see the next time you ride.

And imagine how the police would find them if one were to hit you and take off, even if witnesses were able to give a description of the vehicle.

Without a plate number, hit-and-run drivers too often get away with it.

And too often, we pay the price.

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I’m told Burbank equestrians are attempting a land grab by demanding that bikes be banned entirely from the Mariposa bridge over the LA River.

The bridge was originally built to provide bike riders, pedestrians and horse riders access to both sides of the river near Griffith Park. The proposal would prevent cyclists from even walking their bikes across the bridge, as most do now.

The City Council will take up the matter on Tuesday, May 6th at pm, Burbank City Hall, 275 E. Olive.

Thanks to Mike Kim for the heads-up.

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Local

A real estate developer proposes putting a 9-mile extension of the LA River bike path directly on the concrete riverbed through Downtown LA. Sounds good in theory, but wouldn’t that adversely affect plans to restore the river to a more natural state?

The next Spoke(n) Art Ride rolls this Saturday, while the USC Bicycle Coalition invites you to join them in biking to the beach the same day.

Mark your calendar for the first bike-in movie of the year on April 26th at Reseda Park on the LA River.

Pasadena gets a brief open streets, aka ciclovia, event of their own on Saturday, May 17th, while Glendale offers the Jewel City Fun and Fitness Ride the next day.

CICLE’s next bike Traffic Basics Class will be held at Caltech on June 7th.

A double-amputee Marine will arrive in Long Beach on Friday after a 5,200 mile cross country bike trip driven by prosthetic legs.

 

State

In a remarkable display of common sense, Redlands builds a new bike trail after a dispute over whether riders are allowed on an access road.

NACTO brings their Cities for Cycling Road Show to Oakland; maybe they’ll make it down here eventually. Meanwhile, Caltrans has finally joined the 21st Century by endorsing the NACTO guide in a surprise announcement.

A three-year old San Francisco boy is hit by a truck, even though he was riding his bike in a crosswalk with the walk signal and family members nearby.

Yo, Sacramento Bee — what’s wrong with this sentence? “Many drivers similarly are discourteous toward the rare cyclists who do obey rules of the road.”

Rare my ass.

 

National

A Muncie IN man is arrested for intentionally running down a bike rider, telling police that drivers have the right-of-way and cyclists were taking up the whole road. He also claimed he hit the rider because the cyclist somehow struck his driver’s side mirror — even though the rider was on his right.

A Boston writer explains why he rides a bike, and why you should, too.

Two Iraq veterans are biking from Boston to Seattle in memory of a fallen fellow Marine.

A New York Community Board bars on-street bike corrals to protest the imaginary war on cars.

An Alexandria VA writer says becoming friendlier to bikes shouldn’t come at the expense of pedestrians, something I’d have to agree with.

A Tennessee town anticipates up to 500 cyclists for the fourth annual Pedal for Paws event to raise money for spaying and neutering. So who wants to bring something like that to LA?

 

International

In tragic examples of what not to do, a London cyclist is killed jumping a red light, while another celebrated his 21st birthday by getting drunk — then riding into the path of an oncoming bus.

British Cycling says it’s succeeding in getting more women on the saddle.

A 25-year old rider gives up on pro cycling in protest of his 15-month doping suspension.

An Aussie paper gets its knickers in a serious twist over bike riding young women taking a selfie.

 

Finally…

Police in my hometown find a fleeing driver locked in the restroom of a nearby auto parts store after she runs away from a collision with a bike rider, leaving her car behind.

And would you ride a big wheel bike with hind legs instead of wheels?

 

Bypassing busy traffic on 7th Street, notes from the LAPD bike task force, and Beverly Hills bike lanes redux

When is a bike lane not a bike lane?

When it’s a traffic lane allowing impatient drivers to bypass backed-up traffic for a whole block, shaving maybe a few seconds off the evening commute.

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A few notes from last week’s meeting with the LAPD’s bike liaisons.

First off, Sgt. Lazlo Sandor has taken over as bike liaison for the West Traffic Division; you’ll find his email address on the Resources page.

As part of Chief Beck’s proclamation that this will be the year of traffic enforcement, the LAPD has transferred a number of officers to work the city’s four traffic divisions. The good news is, the city is now focused on cracking down on dangerous drivers — like the one in the video above, for instance. The bad news is, bike violations are considered traffic offenses as well, so be forewarned.

One of the biggest problems in fixing traffic problems has long been that no one has been tracking bicycling and pedestrians collisions, injuries and fatalities. Which meant no one had a clue just what and where those problems might be, let alone how to solve them. Fortunately, the LAPD is now keeping track of all of the above as part of their Compstat program, requiring traffic officers to appear four times a year to discuss problems in their areas. And the department is tracking the most dangerous intersections for all road users to determine what has to be done to improve safety for everyone.

Last week’s story that Houston police officers were conducting traffic stings to improve safety for the city’s cyclists made news around the world. Which may have come as a surprise to LA officers, who have been doing the same thing for some time without public notice. In fact, LA’s West Traffic Division has conducted nine such stings since the first of the year — eight to enforce bike lane issues and one for stop sign enforcement. A total of 53 people were cited, including both cyclists and drivers; LAPD policy does not allow for selective enforcement, so they’re required to write up any violations they see during a sting, regardless of who commits it.

Finally, they stressed the importance of getting permits in advance for events that will require police participation. When the recent Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race was cancelled at the last minute, the department cancelled the officers who had been scheduled to work the event. Then when it was rescheduled at the last minute as a ride, they had to scramble to get enough officers to work the event on such short notice, and ended up paying out over $10,000 in overtime. While they understood the situation with the Marathon Crash, they ask for a minimum of 28 days advance notice to avoid any issues if you’re planning some sort of event.

On the other hand, if you break the law, they’re happy to show up with little or no notice.

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The subject of bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd through Beverly Hills is back on the council agenda this Tuesday. Except they’re not, but maybe they are. It’s a complicated subject explained well by Better Bike.

Meanwhile, a Beverly Hills homeowner’s association offers their reasons why bike lanes are a bad idea, few if any of which actually hold water.

For instance, someone should tell them that California law requires that drivers merge into bike lanes before making right turns, rather than turning across the lane as they suggest (#2). And surprisingly, blind spots exist on motor vehicles, which can hide the presence of bikes from careless drivers like themselves, whether or not bike lanes exist.

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Finally, this just in as a friend of mine reports an assault while riding home on PCH in Orange County.

I was riding on the super dark stretch of PCH between the oilfield and 10,000 miles of ocean. An empty car was stopped, no blinkers, on the shoulder. With cars coming up behind me at 60mph, the only option is to stop and wait for them to pass, or hike over the shrubs on the slope to the right of the (red) curb.

I take a picture of the car, and an angry guy kicks the driver’s side door open, emerges, and comes at me barking, “What the fuck are you doing?”

I dismount in case I have to run for it and start backing away while he repeatedly demands the camera, which he ain’t gonna get.

Long story short, he ends up throwing me, my bike & my bag (containing the Coolpix he was so interested in, plus my MacBook Air & iPad) into the ice plant.

I’m not injured, but my glasses are still out there because I gave up looking for them when the damn sprinklers came on. Also, I called Hunny PD back, and arranged them to just meet me at work for the report. The officer arrived before me AND TOLD MY COWORKER I HAD BEEN HIT BY A CAR. Boy, was she relieved when I grumped up my boss’s porch stairs with bike on shoulder & no visible injuries.

Lesson: Assume even parked cars are full of ex-convicts who will be violently angry with you for nothing.

I’m scared to check my MacBook.

Morning Links: City Council may not be PLUM crazy when it comes to MyFigueroa after all

Finally, good news on the needlessly delayed MyFigueroa project, as the City Council’s Planning and Land Management Committee moves forward with it.

Sort of.

In the face of overwhelming support for the project, the committee voted to discuss the matter again in three weeks, while tasking staff with the following:

  1. Report back on the project’s expected impact on traffic delays using more realistic assumptions than the conservative projections in the environmental impact report.
  2. Develop an education and marketing campaign to promote the project and businesses along the Figueroa corridor.
  3. Convene technical working groups to address remaining access and driveway concerns, including concerns about film permit restrictions during rush hour.
  4. Convene a technical committee to evaluate traffic plans for special events.
  5. Convene a technical committee to advise the before and after project evaluation.

Even the Shammas Auto Group, owners of Fig-side Felix Chevrolet, has implied they’ll drop their lawsuit against the project if consensus can be reached before it comes back to the committee on Tax Day.

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Local

Yet another reason to ride a bike, as the LAPD and Sheriff’s Department are tracking the license numbers of every vehicle on the street.

That alleged wrong way DUI driver faces a possible life sentence for killing six people — including her own sister — on the 60 Freeway in February; her lawyer says she’s “very scared.” She should be.

Streetsblog is talking to community leaders to get their take on the city’s proposed Mobility Plan 2035.

LA Councilmember Jose Huizar says it’s time to fix the sidewalks.

Wait. Dodger Stadium has bike lanes now?

Work finally gets underway on improving safety on PCH through Malibu.

A Redondo Beach bike rider is hospitalized following a collision with a pickup Wednesday afternoon; let’s hope it’s nothing serious. Thanks to My Redondo Beach for the heads-up.

Long Beach gets a second mini-ciclovia from 11:30 am to 1 pm next Tuesday as the course for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is opened to the non-motorized — and dog-free — public.

 

State

OC vigil celebrates the life of fallen rider Sean Severson on his 16th birthday; you can contribute to a fund in his honor here.

A Redlands website talks with the founder of the Inland Empire Biking Alliance.

A Big Bear cyclist says it’s people like us who give cyclists a bad name, while a writer for Bicycle Retailer suggests it’s better to be an appeaser than a hater. Surely there’s a middle ground in there somewhere.

A Monterrey man is ordered to remain in the mental institution he’s been confined to since throwing sulfuric acid in the face of an unsuspecting bicyclist in 2000.

Tragic news as an 89-year old woman dies following a collision with a bike rider on a pathway on the San Jose State University campus. No word on how or why it happened, but this is why you always ride carefully around pedestrians — especially children and the elderly, who are far more fragile than others.

A Napa man faces charges after he was spotted by the original owner riding a bike that was stolen last August.

Nice story, as a Healdsburg boy creates Bikes Peak, and finds it still standing nearly 20 years later.

 

National

Now that’s my idea of heaven. Yellowstone opens to bikes only for the next few weeks. Just watch out for early rising bears. And angry buffalo.

The mother of a fallen Chicago cyclist sues the drunk driver who killed him, along with his employer, the appropriately named AllYouCanDrink, LLC. They’re about to find out just how limited their liability is.

Eleven women cyclists recreate a 1928 ride by five women from New York to DC.

 

International

No matter how angry you get, don’t slam a truck driver’s head into his door after he gets out to confront you. Just don’t.

An Australian writer says cycling Down Under is getting more dangerous and it’s time for government action.

A blind Aussie cyclist plans to ride through Southeast Asia to raise money for guide dogs.

A New Zealand man dies from a night of binge drinking in celebration of the next day’s mountain bike trip.

 

Finally…

A Vancouver soccer star is questionable after suffering a bicycling-related injury without ever getting on one. He tripped over a bike rack walking down the sidewalk.

And San Francisco may have the state’s first parking protected puppy lane; thanks to Cyclelicious for the link.

Popular bikeway to remain open this weekend, scholarship fund for fallen cyclist, and your Morning Links

Pete van Nuys, Executive Director of the Orange County Bicycle Coalition, sends word that the popular Pacific Coast Bike Route will remain open this weekend, despite the scheduled Ironman race.

After months of emails and the threat of lawsuit, organizers of the Ironman 70.3 race through Camp Pendleton have agreed to assign volunteer course marshals at the south end of San Clemente to permit regular bicycle traffic between that city and Oceanside.

In recent years Caltrans in San Diego has been issuing permits to the event which has become increasingly possessive of the only connection between Orange and San Diego Counties for 100 miles.

Those permits violate Streets and Highways Code 888, intended to assure citizens that when Caltrans builds a freeway it will not sever connections for non-motorized travelers.

The I-5 freeway alternate is the popular Old Hwy 101 to Las Pulgas, through a portion of the Marine base. When the Marines close it for maneuvers Caltrans routinely opens the shoulders of I-5 for bicyclists. But the race permit even closed those shoulders, stranding bicyclists in Oceanside and San Clemente for up to 5 hours. With little or no notice riders from LA County usually had no choice but to turn around.

Thanks to the hard work of Seth Cutter, Bicycle Coordinator for Caltrans San Diego, the agency convinced Ironman to do what most bike race organizers do: use course marshals to cross civilian bikes and peds. Caltrans is posting signs alerting motorists to bicycle presence. And anyone riding to San Diego’s Bikes & Beers event should find the route open fast along I-5′s shoulders all the way to Oceanside.

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Australian cyclist James Rapley lost his like while biking in LA.

Australian cyclist James Rapley lost his like while biking in Los Angeles.

A memorial website and scholarship fund have been set up in honor of Australian cyclist James Rapley, killed while riding on Temescal Canyon last December.

If you want to grasp just an inkling of the love a parent has for his son — and the enormity of that loss — take a moment to read that page and browse through the website.

As you may recall, Rapley was on an extended layover at LAX on his way home from his new job in Chicago to join his family back in Seymour, a small country town in Victoria. So early in the morning of December 22nd — the last Sunday before Christmas — he rented a bike and took off to explore the beachfront bike path from LAX to the Palisades.

It must have seemed magical to ride along the nearly deserted beach at that early hour. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday morning myself.

For some reason, he made a detour onto Temescal Canyon; maybe he wanted the challenge of the steep uphill after the easy ride along the coast. I often do the same, even though it’s not a comfortable bike lane, as drivers frequently go too fast around the sweeping curves, and cut into the bike lane regardless of whether anyone is in it.

In other words, what followed could have happened to me. Or to any of us.

As Rapley rode in the bike lane, doing absolutely nothing wrong, he was struck from behind by an allegedly drunk, and possibly texting, 19-year old driver. He died there on the side of the road; I can only imagine his final thoughts, 8,000 miles from home and the loved ones who were eagerly awaiting him.

I’m told his family has dug deep to fund the scholarship, to be given to a rural student studying engineering or science at Melbourne University, as Rapley had done. But it will take a lot more money to make the scholarship a success, and honor a good and cringe man who should still be with us.

I’d love to see some significant donations come from here in LA. It’s the last place he ever saw, and we owe him and his family a debt we can never repay.

My wallet is pretty anorexic right now, but I’m going to do my best to send a little something their way. I think we owe him that.

Meanwhile, I’ve started making inquiries about how we can convert the bike lane he was riding in into the state’s first parking protected bike lane. It will take a change in state law, which currently requires cars to be parked within 18 inches of a curb.

But this is an ideal location for it, with no cross streets from PCH to Palisades High School, roughly 3/4 of a mile up the hill. And it would, for large portions of the day, help eliminate the risk riders currently face from aggressive and distracted drivers with little respect for a line a paint.

Because the best way we can honor James Rapley is to ensure it never happens to anyone again.

……….

This sort of things always pisses me off.

A friend of mine reports she was assaulted while riding in Huntington Beach over the weekend when a group of idiots in a passing car threw a cup of ice at her, hitting her on the ass.

The good news is, she was able to maintain control of her bike and avoid a potentially dangerous fall, making it nothing more than a major annoyance. The bad news is, she wasn’t able to get a license number or good description of the car, so the jerks remain free to do it again to someone else.

For anyone unclear on the subject, throwing anything at a bike rider runs the risk that they might lose control and fall, or swerve into traffic or parked cars in an attempt to get away. The result can be serious injury, whether or not that was the intent of the attacker.

And it takes a real jackass to attack a woman riding alone after dark.

Then again, harassment isn’t reserved just for women riders.

……….

Local

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton calls for a Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic deaths in the City of Angels. Now will our new mayor or council members step up to answer the call?

Metro’s Bike Week website is up. If you want to find me that Tuesday, I’ll be at the blessing of the bicycles.

LADOT Bike Blog looks at the problem of dooring. but let’s not forget that drivers are almost always at fault for dooring, since they’re required ensure that it’s reasonably safe and doesn’t interfere with other traffic before opening their door. And then, only as long as necessary.

A hero cyclist helps a Santa Monica woman recover her phone from a thief.

There are things you see while bicycling that should be seen by more.

 

State

California considers language that could bar bikes from most off-road trails.

Temecula could vote to support Federal legislation to create long-term, low interest loans to build biking and walking networks.

A close encounter of the potentially stinky kind.

A $9.4 million temporary bike path on the Bay Bridge will be torn down to be replaced with a permanent structure.

 

National

People for Bikes debunks the myths non-riders too often use against us; the answer for “Bicyclists think they own the road” could have been a lot better, though.

Bicycling says you may be getting too much sugar.

Evidently, life is cheap in Ohio, as a doctor gets a whopping 15 days in jail for seriously injuring a cyclist while driving drunk. Why should drivers take drunk driving laws seriously when the courts don’t?

A Louisiana schmuck driver faces charges for running over a four-year old bike rider while fleeing from police; the child suffered moderate to severe injuries.

 

International

The UK renews a campaign calling for cyclists and motorists to “Think! Cyclist” after a successful campaign that may not have changed anyone’s behavior.

Turns out Dickens — yes, that Dickens — supported safe and courteous cycling.

Customers of a Yorkshire paperboy pitch in to buy him a new bike when his is stolen while he was delivering his route.

An Aussie blog asks — and answers — what is a cyclist? My answer is a lot simpler; you’re a cyclist whenever you’re on or with your bike, just as you’re a motorist when you’re driving your car.

 

Finally…

Everyone needs a leather banana holder for their bike, right?

 

Hermosa Beach allows LA County’s first cycle track to dangerously deteriorate; and a fresh batch of Morning Links

Photo of the crumbling Hermosa Beach cycle track by Carol Detrick.

Photo of the crumbling Hermosa Beach cycle track by Carol Detrick.

What good is a bikeway if it’s not in ridable condition?

That’s the question South Bay cyclists are asking as the area’s first cycle track continues to crumble dangerously, with no response from city officials in Hermosa Beach.

The cycle track tucked along Hermosa Avenue has long served as the connection between the beachfront bike path in Manhattan Beach and the Strand in Hermosa, as well as a vital link in the Marvin Braude Bike Trail that stretches from Palos Verdes to Pacific Palisades.

Unfortunately, as these photos show, the short two-way section of bikeway has long been in need of repair. The last time I rode through there, I was struck by just how badly it had deteriorated.

I’m told many riders who know the area have given up on the cycle track and are riding the relatively recently repaved Hermosa Avenue, preferring to take their chances with distracted beachside motorists rather than risk a fall due to bad pavement — exactly the situation the cycle track was built to avoid.

It could also leave the city on the hook for any injuries that might occur there, as I’m told they’ve repeatedly been informed about the dangerous conditions, but have done absolutely nothing to correct the situation or warn riders about the risks they face from the cracked and rutted pavement.

Which is exactly what is required to create liability under California law.

The curb divider is literally falling apart; photo by Carol Detrick.

The curb divider is literally falling apart; photo by Carol Detrick.

And if city officials somehow weren’t aware of the situation before, they are now.

This should also serve as a warning to all of us fighting for better bike infrastructure throughout Southern California. Because it doesn’t matter what gets built if we can’t get our government officials to maintain it.

Even the best bikeways will eventually increase the risk to riders if they’re allowed to deteriorate while the roadways next to them are maintained for the benefit of motorists, as is the case here.

That leaves our local governments liable for whatever injuries may occur, whether due to bad bikeways or bicyclists riding in the street to avoid them.

And we all will pay the price, because the legal settlements will come out of our tax money.

Thanks to Jim Lyle and Carol Detrick — who’s been trying to get this fixed for five years — for the heads-up.

……….

Downtown’s Figueroa corridor could be the next Silicon Valley. But only if the city allows the MyFigueroa project to connect and transform the street.

Once again, a city analyst suggests going back to the same well by raising sales taxes half a cent to pay for roadway and sidewalk repair, rather than find a more innovative way to finance the much needed work. But how many times will city voters approve the same tax, especially with plans proceeding for a new Metro sales tax extension in the near future?

Streetsblog rides with last weekend’s Tour de Watts, and finds things are looking up in one of the city’s most maligned and misunderstood neighborhoods.

Somehow, the annual Bicycle Film Festival snuck up on us this year; it makes a great lead-in for the April 6th Wilshire CicLAvia.

Speaking of which, CicLAvia wants you to have a free pin, while two Open Streets events proposed for the San Gabriel Valley.

San Fernando votes to move forward with the proposed Pacoima Wash Bikeway.

A bike riding child was struck by a school bus in Fontana Tuesday morning, but somehow managed to escape uninjured. Meanwhile, a 12-year old boy is hit by an SUV in Whittier, with no word on his condition; thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

Bike Newport Beach contends with harried and hostile drivers.

A 44-year old San Diego bike rider is injured after being struck from behind by a high-end hit-and-run driver.

Bike San Diego sets its sights higher after winning a national advocacy award.

One hundred 5th graders are raising funds to ride from Yuma AZ to San Diego in a couple weeks. Did I mention they’re only in the 5th grade? Seriously, those kids rock.

Ninety-two-year old anti-authoritarian, pro-bike and anti-car-industrial-complex former Caltrans engineer passes away. After reading this obit, I really wish I’d known that guy.

Who needs side reflectors and wheel lights when your entire bike glows in the headlights?

The question of how to get more women on their bikes raises its head once again. Isn’t the easiest way to increase ridership among women, as well as other human beings, simply to make our streets safe for everyone?

Bike Portland rides the Big Easy.

It’s been five years since a cyclist killed a pedestrian in New York, but that doesn’t stop a healthcare company.

Another look at the seemingly endless debate over mandatory helmet laws.

Tragedy strikes the pro peloton as a 19-year old junior champion dies of a stroke while training in Ecuador.

An award-winning British journalist sues after suffering severe brain damage when he was hit by a London police car responding to a shooting.

A UK writer confesses to being a bike-borne Mr. Hide, and proposes banning bikes and cars and buses, as well as men with glasses and short hair who wear blue jeans. Wait, that’s me.

Aussie woman is doored and brow-beaten by cab passengers, while catching the whole thing on video. Meanwhile, a police minister suggests riders invest in bike cams in advance of Queensland’s new three-foot-equivalent law.

Now that’s what I call a big bike.

Finally, a writer for People for Bikes calls for changing group ride behavior; he’s got a point in that a lot of us could behave a lot better. On the other hand, Cyclelicious quite reasonably takes him to task for unfairly blaming beginners and other group riders for the bikelash in the halls of government and the hatred we face from motorists.

………

Let me give a quick shoutout to Daveed Kapoor and Money Heaven for their generous donations to support this site. It’s your support that makes BikinginLA possible.

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day — Main Street Santa Monica goes neon green

New green bike lanes below Pico in Santa Monica.

New green bike lanes below Pico in Santa Monica.

When the revelers stumble out onto Main Street in Santa Monica tonight, they may think the street has been dressed just for those who pretend to be Irish by getting fighting drunk for a night.

But they’d be wrong.

Even if the pavement matches the green beer they’ll soon be regurgitating onto it.

Because actually, the street has been repainted for your benefit. And not just for one night.

As of Friday, the much maligned door zone bike lane on the Santa Monica stretch of Main Street has been widened, and repainted in a vivid shade of green guaranteed to cause conniptions in a Hollywood location scout.

Or at least, that’s the effect a similar shade had in Downtown LA.

Intermittent patches of green lead up to intersections.

Intermittent patches of green lead up to intersections; you can see where the lane marker has been moved left.

Maybe that’s why the lanes are only intermittent south of Pico, where they match up with LA’s normally hued lanes through Venice. And full green only north of Pico, where they pass through the city’s civic center, where presumably, fewer film permits are in demand.

Or maybe Santa Monica just recognized the risk posed by all those drivers trying to access City Hall and the LA County Courthouse.

In fact, that’s long been on of the mostly likely places to get right hooked among my usual riding routes, as confused drivers cut across the bike lane to access Civic Center parking.

Broken lane leading to the entrance to City Hall/Courthouse parking lot.

Broken lane leading to the entrance to City Hall/Courthouse parking lot.

Whether a bright shade of green will help with that, or convince drivers they don’t belong there — despite the break in the paint — and make them more likely to turn across the lane rather than merge into it as the law and safety requires, remains to be determined.

I’d rather see the full green on the south section as a vivid reminder to drivers to look for riders before opening their doors or turning across the lane. We’ll have to see if the city’s spot job will do the job.

On the other hand, that extra foot of bike lane should make a huge difference by allowing cyclists to ride further outside the door zone without having to leave the bike lane.

Here’s a fast-forward view of the civic center lanes on both sides between Pico and Santa Monica Place.

Let’s just hope they hose them down in front of the bars Tuesday morning.

………

Just down the road and around the corner on Abbott Kinney, LADOT installed the City of Angels’ third and fourth bike corrals last week, on a street that has long suffered from a lack of adequate bike parking.

When every other parking meter has a bike attached — which is technically illegal, though rarely enforced — it suggests an unmet demand, which the city has wisely heeded.

Even if, on the day I checked it out, one had as many hipsters enjoying lunch in and on it as it did locked-up bikes.

Just out of the frame, one more bike and two more guys sitting on the railing having lunch.

Just out of the frame, one more bike and two more guys sitting on the railing having lunch.

A brand new bike corral, full on a Friday afternoon.

A brand new bike corral, nearly full on a Friday afternoon.

One of the new bike corrals adorned with the new LADOT #bikeLA sticker.

One of the new bike corrals adorned with the new LADOT #bikeLA sticker.

 

 

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

Screw bike riders.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The question is, what can we do going forward?

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

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

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

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

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

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

It wouldn’t be cheap.

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

……….

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

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

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

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

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

……….

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

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

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

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

……….

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

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

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

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

……….

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

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

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

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

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

Plans call for extending an Orange County protected bikeway.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then again, they aren’t always the problem.

An open letter to the Beverly Hills City Council

I had planned to attend tonight’s meeting of the Beverly Hills City Council to voice my support for bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd through the city, closing the gap between existing lanes in West Hollywood and Century City when the street is reconstructed next year.

Unfortunately, I am unable to attend tonight. So I’d like to share my thoughts with the Council Members here.

……….

Dear Beverly Hills City Council Members,

I am not a resident of your city.

Yet I frequently find myself traveling through Beverly Hills on my way to meetings in Downtown LA, whether by bike, bus or car. Whenever possible, I prefer to travel by bicycle; I find it more convenient, safer and less stressful than other means of travel.

With one major exception.

The journey through Beverly Hills is usually, by far, the most dangerous part of my trip.

That is not to say that some parts of my trip through the city aren’t safe and enjoyable. The bike lanes that were recently painted on Burton Way are among the best in the LA area; wide enough to keep riders out of the door zone, while moving us safely out of the way of traffic.

The problem is getting to them.

When travelling east from Century City, cyclists have only a handful options to pass through Beverly Hills.

Olympic Blvd is a high speed thoroughfare much of the day, yet dangerously over-congested during the long rush hour periods, safe for bike travel only at night or on weekends.

Charleville Blvd is a safer alternative, though it forces cyclists to either stop at every intersection or flaunt the law in order to conserve energy, while dodging impatient drivers unwilling to share the road. But it takes riders too far south to connect with those bike lanes on Burton Way.

Wilshire Blvd is simply too congested, dangerously unridable most of the day.

Little Santa Monica through the Golden Triangle connects directly with the Burton Way bike lanes, but the narrow traffic lanes force cyclists to ride directly in front of aggressive, and too often, angry motorists. It is an unpleasant place to ride during the day, and dangerous at rush hour.

As a result, many riders prefer Santa Monica Blvd, even though it currently offers a cramped space for cyclists next to traffic that can vary from high speed to severely congested, often in a matter of blocks. And puts riders at risk of being cut off by frequent buses and both left and right-turning vehicles, whose often out-of-town drivers aren’t looking for bicycles on such a busy street.

Carmelita and Elevado Avenues offer much more pleasant options, but again have the disadvantage of having stop signs on every block, and are too far north to provide a viable alternative for most riders.

We need a safe route through your city. We need bike lanes on Santa Monica Boulevard.

By installing bike lanes on Santa Monica, you will provide bike riders with a safe, convenient route through the heart of Beverly Hills, while creating a single, nearly continuous bikeway from the 405 Freeway to east of La Cienega in West Hollywood. The resulting Westside bikeway will bring bike riders — and their spending power — into the heart of Beverly Hills.

Meanwhile, pass-through riders will be easily able continue on to West Hollywood or Century City, or drop down a single block to connect with the bike lanes on Burton Way.

In addition, you will improve safety and traffic flow on Santa Monica by moving cyclists out of the way of traffic — not just on Santa Monica, but on all the streets mentioned above, as cyclists will be encouraged to take Santa Monica rather than streets like Charleville or Little Santa Monica.

In fact, studies have shown that painted bike lanes reduce injuries for all road users by as much as 50% — and up to 90% for protected bike lanes. Bike lanes also act as traffic control devices by channelizing both cyclists and motorists into their own separate spaces and encouraging compliance with traffic regulations.

And bike lanes are a vital step in transforming Santa Monica Blvd from today’s traffic-congested barrier blocking access to the rest of the city, to a complete street that will enhance livability for residents and encourage the tourism local businesses depend on.

Best of all, next year’s planned reconstruction of the boulevard provides a rare opportunity to implement bike lanes at virtually no additional cost, saving future generations the cost of adding them later to correct your mistake if you fail to vote in favor of them tonight.

In fact, a vote in favor of bike lanes creates a unique opportunity in which everyone benefits — motorists and residents, tourists and businesses owners. As well as bike riders who want to pass through the city, and those who want to stop and frequent the city’s many shops and cafés.

I urge you to do the right thing. And cast your vote tonight for a better, safer and more livable future for everyone who lives, visits or passes through Beverly Hills.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers
BikinginLA.com
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