Archive for Streets and Infrastructure

Morning Links: Survey asks what residents really think about Westwood bike lanes; cars vs. cyclists in Flanders

Enough with the posturing.

A new group called Westwood for All wants to know what local residents really think about bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

This is from the press release announcing the questionnaire.

A community group called Westwood4all has released an online questionnaire to advance the discussion about bike lanes on Westwood Blvd. The aim is to provide accurate numbers about local support for bicycle facilities on Westwood Blvd. Results will be shared with elected officials so that they can make an informed decision.

When planning a transportation network, the opinion of local residents is just one factor in a very complex equation. An informed decision by elected officials will also consider the network as a whole, the effects on the neighborhood, on business, safety, parking, environment, congestion, public health, etc. But if the general attitude of the local community towards bicycle infrastructure is known, then a controversial issue can be settled more easily.

So far, the cycling community has posted a petition with 500 signatories. A number of UCLA stakeholders have also called for bike lanes. The Business Improvement District in the Westwood Village has recently voted for bike lanes in the village. One the other hand, the leadership of some local homeowner groups and of the Westwood Neighborhood Council have objected to the plan. Our effort may help to resolve this conflict by documenting local attitudes for or against bicycle infrastructure on Westwood Blvd.

You can take the short survey here.

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The first LA bike has been reported stolen using our new Bike Index stolen bike notice. So be on the lookout for a gold Rocky Mountain Bicycles full suspension mountain bike.

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Italian rider Elisa Longo Borghini won the women’s Tour of Flanders, while Alexander Kristoff took the men’s title. And an Irish rider won his weight in beer.

Although in the aftermath of the race, the story is more about who didn’t win than who did.

The real story, though, is that Shimano service cars took out two riders, one in a collision with another race vehicle; evidently, you’re not even safe from hit-and-run drivers in a bike race, as the video below shows.

Injured New Zealand cyclist Jesse Sergent is expected to be out about a month after successful surgery for a broken collarbone.

Meanwhile, American pro Peter Stetina will be out for the foreseeable future after he breaks his leg, kneecap and four ribs in a peloton pile-up in Bilbao, Spain.

And Jaguar and Pinarello came up with a unique suspension system to ease the discomfort of riding the cobbles, reducing road vibration 50% without adding significantly to the bike’s ultralight frame.

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Local

KCBS-2 looks at Reseda Blvd’s new protected bike lanes.

Evidently, close bicycle access to Mulholland Drive is now an amenity for new housing developments.

WeHo council candidates discuss whether bikes should be kicked off the city’s sidewalks.

A Pasadena mansion up for sale originally belonged to a man who made his fortune by inventing a more comfortable leather bike seat in 1892.

Metro, Bike SGV and CICLE invite you to take a tour of art, bikes and history in El Monte on April 26th.

 

State

In California, bicycling is somehow seen as a greater risk than polio and measles. Yet the state’s mandatory helmet law for kids, unlike voluntary vaccinations, shows no obvious benefit.

San Diego advocates call on the city to emphasize bicycling, pedestrian and mass transit infrastructure in the next budget. Meanwhile, the city gave approval a new retail development catering to cyclists and pedestrians.

Not exactly instant karma, but close. A San Diego County shooting victim was arrested, but evidently not convicted, in a 2006 head-on hit-and-run that seriously injured a cyclist.

A new three-mile stretch of the Coyote Creek Bikeway adds another link to the 66-mile OC Loop.

The popular Tour de Palm Springs could move to January.

This is why you always carry your cell phone when you ride. A Loma Linda mountain biker is rescued after injuring his head; a call to his wife following the fall triggered the search effort.

Santa Barbara will open a new bicycle skills park on April 19th.

Porterville residents pitch-in to buy a new bike for a Navy vet after the bike his great-grandson gave him was stolen.

A San Jose road diet gets mixed reviews, even though it seems to be working. I love this quote from a local resident, which should be recited at every public meeting to discuss one: “I suspect that folks truly wanting to speed are simply finding alternate routes, but who cares about them anyway?”

The Easter Bunny brought bicycles to 24 Suisun City kids at the annual egg hunt.

 

National

The right on red law, which was pioneered here in California, may make life easier for motorists but it raises the risks for everyone else.

The biggest thing keeping Americans from bicycling more is a fear of being hit by a car.

The Department of DIY gets to work in Salem OR as cyclists post their own homemade Bikes May Use Full Lane signs.

A Minneapolis writer says Pittsburgh should embrace bicycling because it makes a city more welcoming. Even though he won’t get on one for fear of being killed.

A Detroit man was killed when he was run over by a bus as he was trying to remove his bike from its rack.

A Muncie IN bike shop celebrates its 150th anniversary, although the shop has changed names, locations and owners. But other than that, it’s exactly the same, right?

Seriously? A Pennsylvania letter writer says bike lanes are a bad idea because they have to be maintained — unlike the rest of the roadway, evidently.

Florida police are ticketing drivers for violating the state’s three-foot passing law, but the courts are letting them off.

 

International

Bicycling looks at the race to the year record.

Two UK candidates blame immigrants for clogging the country’s bike lanes.

Two women are riding from London to Hong Kong to call attention to global food waste.

City Lab looks at the steps Paris is taking to become the world capital of cycling.

A new Spanish collapsible bike helmet appears to flatten down to the size of a large dog dish.

Indian villagers riot after police kill a cyclist while chasing down a driver who failed to stop for a DUI checkpoint.

An Aussie study says riding a bike at least once a week will lead to a higher quality of life. As long as you’re a man.

Bicycle sidecars remain a popular mode of transit in Myanmar.

China’s Flying Pigeon bike maker collaborates with a video website to introduce a “super” smart bike, which will incorporate a music player, navigation, social networking, health monitoring, anti-theft lock and turn signals. Or you could, you know, just ride a bike.

 

Finally…

Seven very tongue-in-cheek tips for urban cyclists, from always strapping a baby onto your bike, to politely taking up as little space as possible when you’re sprawled on the pavement. A Kiwi cyclist pedals to work in a giraffe-print onesie to calm aggressive driving; a requirement for adult animal-print onesies is no doubt being added to California’s proposed helmet and reflective clothing law as we speak.

And before you impatiently honk your horn and buzz a group of cyclists while shouting obscenities out the window, make sure it’s not a group of bike cops on a training ride.

Just a suggestion.

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Thanks to John Hall for his generous donation to help support this site. If the mood strikes, you can contribute here

Weekend Links: Parking protected biking finally comes to LA; gunman guilty in shooting of San Diego bicyclist

LA takes a big step forward, as Northridge gets the city’s first parking protected bike lane.

The new Reseda Blvd bike lane uses the parking lane, and the cars in them, to form a protective barrier between bikes and motor vehicle traffic on the busy street. Even if some drivers don’t seem to get the idea.

The sidewalk got a makeover, too.

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The man accused of shooting and killing a developmentally disabled San Diego bike rider just for the hell of it has pled guilty to first degree murder.

Twenty-two-year old Humberto Emanuel Galvez leaned out of a car window and shot Jordan Hickey with a shotgun as Hickey was just blocks from his home as he rode home from visiting his girlfriend four years ago.

Galvez will be sentenced to life without parole for the shooting; by pleading guilty, he took a possible death sentence off the table.

His partner in the crime, 24-year old Juan Ignacio Gomez, also faces life without parole after being convicted last week.

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Local

Routing bike riders onto alternate back streets that don’t form a complete grid isn’t the right answer, a lesson CiclaValley says ostensibly bike-friendly CD4 candidate Carolyn Ramsay needs to learn.

Flying Pigeon explains why the upcoming school board election should matter to you, whether or not you have kids.

KPCC correctly notes that LA’s incomplete bike network makes it impossible to cross the city using designated bikeways. Although they could have found a more current map.

Good ideas are contagious. The success of CicLAvia prompts Glendale to consider their own ciclovía on Brand Blvd this September.

 

State

A 13-year old bike rider suffers non-life threatening injuries when he’s apparently right hooked by the driver of a car.

Build it, and they will come in droves. Buffered bike lanes in San Diego result in a 347% increase in ridership since 2012.

Former baseball great Curt Schilling joins with other San Diego residents to help replace the 18 custom bikes stolen from wounded vets; so far, they’ve raised $25,000 to replace bikes valued at $45,000.

San Diego cyclists will gather on April 19th for the second annual 35.5-mile memorial ride to honor long-time cyclist and bike advocate Gordy Shields. We’re still waiting for LA to do something, anything, to memorialize our own Alex Baum after his passing.

Plans for a 48-mile bike path through the Coachella Valley could be jeopardized as Rancho Mirage threatens to pull its support.

San Francisco’s bike share program could expand from the current 700 bikes to 7,000 bikes in cities throughout the Bay Area.

A San Francisco bike theft victim gets his $7,000 ebike back when the built-in GPS pinpoints its location.

Police are looking for a hit-and-run driver who plowed into three SF cyclists, seriously injuring one, as she fled after rear-ending a car and before hitting another one.

 

National

I want one. Or maybe two. Trek’s Bontrager line introduces a new tail light designed for daytime use, said to be brighter than a car taillight and visible for over a mile away.

A Harvard study says police are still using outdated collision report forms, missing out on vital data that could help prevent bike collisions; Los Angeles cyclists have been asking the LAPD to improve their forms for years.

Despite complaints, a Portland road diet slows drivers an average of just one minute per trip.

Nice story. A 12-year old boy in my hometown who was born without arms will soon be able to ride a bike for the first time, thanks to the efforts of his new friend.

A Milwaukee writer says it’s not riding a bike that’s hazardous to your health.

A Minnesota public library is introducing The Book Bike, a bicycle-towed trailer designed to bring books to local kids.

Even the Motor City is getting its first parking-protected bike lane.

Some people just don’t get it. A Syracuse paper says parking is more important than bike lanes, even though getting more people on bikes could reduce the need for it.

A New Yorker who helped paint the city’s first ghost bike says he’ll keep building them until they aren’t needed anymore.

The Baltimore bishop accused in the drunken hit-and-run death of a bike rider has pled not guilty; she faces trial on June 4th. So much for confession being good for the soul.

New Orleans cyclists turn to social media to track down suspected bike thieves.

No bias here, as a Florida rider died after being doored, yet the local press blames him for running into it. Note to Tampa Bay Times: If someone dies of his injuries, they were life threatening, even if they didn’t appear that way at first.

 

International

Montreal cyclists say the city has a long way to go to improve safety; a new bike path could have only been designed by someone who doesn’t ride.

A two-year old Brit boy is the proud owner of perhaps the world’s only penny farthing balance bike.

Paris plans to double the size of its bike lane network to over 860 miles in the next five years, including protected bike lanes on the Champs Elysees and other major avenues. Seriously, if they can do it there…

VeloNews looks at Easter Sunday’s Tour of Flanders.

At least Mercedes AMG didn’t build yet another high-end racing bike, like so many other car makers dabbling in bicycling. They built a mountain bike instead.

Bystanders join together to lift a car off a Chinese cyclist when she’s pinned underneath following a collision. For some reason, though, they illustrated the story with a photo from CicLAvia, and a caption about LA’s planned bike share program.

 

Finally…

Someone stole the new sign asking people to stop pooping on an Illinois bike path; to be honest, given the opportunity, I might have taken it myself. When you’re wanted on two outstanding warrants and carrying nine packets of heroin on your bike, put a damn bell on your bike if that’s what the law requires.

And yes, biking under the influence is illegal in California, as a San Raphael rider blows twice the legal limit after blowing a stop sign.

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Please accept my best wishes for a happy Passover, a happy Easter, or just a damn fine weekend, whatever you may observe.

 

April Fool-free Morning Links: Maintaining Griffith Park for the many; traffic planning problems in Calabasas

Welcome to today’s April Fool-free edition of BikinginLA, which is either very late or a little early, depending on your perspective.

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The media has discovered the dispute over Mt. Hollywood Drive.

A little late, but still.

KABC-7 reports on the trial opening of the Griffith Park roadway that has been closed for decades, in order to provide tourists with a closer view of the Hollywood sign. And more importantly, direct them away from the twisting narrow streets of Beachwood Canyon.

The Times says that canyon residents think they’ve already seen an improvement, quoting PR consultant Tony Fisch as he invokes Star Trek’s Spock in saying “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

The problem is, he has that backwards.

The needs of the many — that is, the people of Los Angeles, who own Griffith Park — outweigh the needs of the relatively few people who can afford to live in the canyon. Even if they do have a legitimate complaint.

Although I question whether Beachwood Canyon residents knew the streets were narrow and winding when they moved there. Or that they were living under LA’s most prominent tourist attraction.

Maybe an earthquake shook up the canyon’s previously straight roads. And they bought their homes during the bad old days when LA’s infamous smog obscured the hillside sign, only to discover it looming over their heads once the air cleared.

It could happen.

That’s not to say they don’t need some form of relief.

Websites and GPS systems have directed an ever-increasing number of tourists onto those narrow streets, raising fears of what might happen if an ambulance or fire truck were unable to gain access, or if a brush fire required a rapid evacuation — something that is always a risk for anyone living near undeveloped SoCal hillsides.

But is it reasonable to shift the risk from homeowners, who presumably accepted it to at least some degree when they moved in, to the countless people who use the park to escape the traffic and congestion down below?

Without warning, those people were forced to share an equally narrow roadway with confused tourists focused more on the scenic views and finding a place to park than on the vulnerable people and horses in the way of their cars.

Never mind the increased risk of igniting exactly the kind of wildfire Beachwood Canyon residents fear, as hot engines could light tinder-dry brush. Or that people from outside Southern California, who may not be aware of the danger, could carelessly toss their cigarettes out car windows as they drive.

The latter isn’t an idle fear.

I’m told by other riders and hikers that they’ve already seen it on multiple occasions since the roadway was reopened; it’s only a matter of time before one of those burning butts sends the entire hillside up in flames.

And there’s nothing that says tourists are entitled to take their selfies in the shadow of the sign. Or that they have an inalienable right to park on a roadway that local residents have no problem hiking or biking; the goal should be to reduce the number of cars in the park, not funnel them into it.

As Angelenos, we have an obligation to help Beachwood Canyon residents to find an answer to their problem, just as we would any other part of the city facing a similar situation. One that works for everyone — homeowners, tourists and those of us who enjoy the all-too rare undeveloped wilderness that lies in the heart of this massive city we call home.

But opening up Mt. Hollywood Drive to cars on a permanent basis isn’t it.

You can click here to sign the petition to keep Mt. Hollywood Drive closed to cars and shuttle buses.

I did.

Full disclosure: I spent too much of the previous two days locked in a lengthy and unproductive Twitter conversation with the above referenced Mr. Fisch, who was offered, and refused, the opportunity write a guest post here with no restrictions on content. And who somehow felt compelled to include CicLAvia’s Twitter account in virtually the entire conversation, for no apparent reason.

Update: This great piece from the Hollywood Reporter fills in the background on the Beachwood Canyon dispute, making it clear that funneling tourists onto Mt. Hollywood Drive is just the last in a long list of efforts to appease a relative handful of angry homeowners. Thanks to Peter Flax for the link.

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Reader danger d sends word that things could be better Calabasas.

First, he reports that the traffic flag of surrender, aka crossing flags, are taking hold as the city capitulates to the almighty automobile, as evidenced by this photo from Mulholland Hwy and Freedom Drive, not far from where Milt Olin was killed in December, 2013.

Crossing_Flags

As he puts it,

I am sure that someone thought that this would be a good idea to make the crossing safer for the many students from the surrounding schools, and that is great but I am afraid that the idea of pedestrians having to wave a flag to cross the street is spreading and will take hold in more areas. Then when a pedestrian is run down without one, the police will use this as an excuse for the motorist just like “he was not wearing a helmet” excuse for running over cyclist.

So let’s make this perfectly clear.

If people have to wave little flags to get drivers’ attention just so they can cross the damn street, your traffic planning has failed.

He also sends evidence of what appears to be a clearly substandard bike lane, which he discussed with a traffic engineer for the city.

In the photo you can see what appears to be a bike lane with cars parked in it. Oddly there are “no parking on Wednesday” street signs posted here also. The fact that there were bike lane signs painted on the road and parking within this area seemed odd to me. With the parked cars in the lane there was about 18 inches from the white stripe to the left. This seemed very confusing and ambiguous.

I asked the engineer about this and he told me that as long as the lane is 12 feet wide they can mark it as a bike lane and have cars parked in it.

Don’t get me wrong, he was a nice guy and said that he would go out and measure the width of the lane, since I informed him that it could be a liability issue for the city. He seemed like he would love to help make it safer and was glad that someone came in to let him know about it.

I don’t think there was 4 feet for the bikes though, not as it is now.

Bike_Lane_or_Parking_Lane

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Local

Downtown News encourages the city to think big with planned improvements to 7th Street in DTLA, which could include protected bike lanes. Meanwhile, Downtown’s Fig at 7th Shopping Center has added bike racks in front of the grand stairway.

It’s bad enough we have to share the roads with dangerous drivers; the Eastsider reports someone was driving on the LA River bike path Saturday night, and not for the first time. Evidently, the idea is spreading to other cities, as Chicago workers find a car abandoned on one of theirs.

Plans have been unveiled for a new and improved Crenshaw Blvd, including a bike lane that briefly follows a portion of the street before meandering on to other alternate streets. Maybe someone can explain that one. Thanks to the BAC’s David Wolfberg for the link.

Car Free SFV calls on everyone to pledge to leave your car at home on April 26th.

Congratulations to bike and planning advocate Carter Rubin on his recent appointment to the Santa Monica Planning Commission, despite the apparent reservations of the local press.

 

State

Red Kite Prayer’s Padraig weighs in on California’s proposed mandatory bike helmet law, and concludes government should focus on letting drivers know we’re vulnerable on the streets, and here in increasing numbers.

Drivers have long been able to avoid fines by going to traffic school; California bike riders may finally have that option if a new bill passes the state legislature.

Sad news from San Diego, as the bike rider who was shot in the city’s East Village on Saturday has died; family members say he was a peace keeper in the neighborhood. An arrest was made in the case on Monday.

There’s a special place in hell for the subhuman scum who stole 16 custom-made adaptive bikes from wounded San Diego vets.

CyclingSavvy will hold training classes in Orange County on the weekend of April 24th.

What happens when a paper assigns someone who doesn’t know bike racing to write about the upcoming Redlands Classic? They not only fail to mention the date — which is April 8th through 12th, thank you. And no, the Tour of California is not a popular women’s race, though they do get four stages this year.

Coachella bike riders, pedestrians and motorists are asked for their input for the region’s active transportation plan.

I like this guy. A San Francisco reporter looks at people behaving badly by blocking or illegally driving in a bike lane.

 

National

Forbes writes about bikes getting smarter as companies compete to build-in advanced technical features. Other than flat-free tires, I think I’ll pass.

Women’s racing takes another step forward as Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge adds a three-stage women’s race for 2015. But will any of it, or the women’s ATOC, be televised?

Philadelphia is just the latest city to get bike share before LA, while Fargo’s is doing even better than expected.

Twenty-six cyclists are riding from Newton to DC to advocate for stricter gun controls.

 

International

A Toronto cyclist complains about male riders who insist on cutting in front of her at red lights or passing because they’re embarrassed to be behind a woman.

The hit-and-run epidemic spreads to Great Britain, as authorities look for the driver who killed a 15-year old bike rider. Thanks to David Wolfberg for the heads-up.

A writer for the Telegraph says it would be easy to make fun of Brompton riders, except their bikes are just so smart.

Maybe there’s some justice in Putin’s Russia after all. A Russian driver gets three years for killing an American round-the-world cyclist in a drunken collision.

A judge gives a Kiwi man who killed a cyclist permission to drive tractors on his farm despite being stopped twice for driving with a suspended license since he was released from jail.

A cyclist doored Down Under learns the hard way to always ask for ID rather than just trusting the driver who did it.

A Chinese man creates an entire bicycle from 3D-printed plastic, even if it does look like it should come with a Happy Meal.

 

Finally…

Oddly, it’s no funnier when a cyclist talks about running down runners than when a driver jokes about doing it to one of us. That spray-on reflective paint for cyclists is nothing new; Cyclelicious points out it’s already available for glow-in-the-dark horses and dogs, although it’s not coming within 10 feet of mine.

And Road.cc asks if this Cher the Road video — get it? — complete with badly rapping white guys is the worst safety video in human history?

Probably not, but it should rank in the top 100 or so, anyway.

Weekend Links: Bicyclist voices heard in Griffith Park flap, but not in San Diego; Seattle driver doesn’t give a f***

They got the message, anyway.

The LA Weekly covers Thursday night’s meeting of the Griffith Park Advisory Board, which discussed the controversy over the ill-advised test project to turn Mount Hollywood Drive, which had previously been closed off to cars, into parking for tourists visiting the Hollywood Sign.

The predictable outcome was a promise to look into the matter, though it’s clear board members got the message from hikers, equestrians and bike riders that another solution has to be found. What, if anything, they’ll do about it after the project’s planned April 12th closing remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, an online petition asks the city to keep cars and trams off the road, but KTLA-5 says pity the poor tourists who just want to get a close-up view of the sign.

And CiclaValley offers video evidence of what all the fuss is about.

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Bike SD offers a report on Wednesday’s meeting to discuss planned bike lanes in the city’s Hillcrest neighborhood, where the Urban Planners group voted unanimously to protect parking spaces instead of human lives; the OB Rag says passionate pleas for safer streets fell on deaf ears.

Even though a new study shows complete streets not only result in improved safety for everyone, but also lead to increased sales, higher employment rates and greater property values.

But sure, keep fighting for those parking spaces while you chase potential new customers away.

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If, like me, you had to miss Thursday’s discussion between former NYDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and our own LADOT transportation maven Seleta Reynolds, you can watch it again for the first time. Thanks to Dennis Hindman for the link.

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Clearly, not all cyclists oppose the proposed law that would require all California cyclists to wear bike helmets, as well as reflective gear after dark. Even if Bike Snob calls anyone who supports a helmet law a traitor and a heretic.

A new temporary clear spray paint from Volvo could solve the reflective problem. Maybe if you just spray your head it will look like you have a helmet on, at least after dark.

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The Bike League is calling on you to contact your Senator to help preserve federal funding for biking and walking.

Meanwhile, over 120 organizations joined together to call for increased funding for active transportation in California.

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A Seattle driver tells a bike rider she literally doesn’t give a fuck about anything he has to say after she parks in a supposedly parking-protected bike lane. And right next to a sign saying she can’t do it, no less.

Although, I think she meant figuratively, not literally, unless she was actually declining a free sexual encounter.

A writer for c|net asks if the rider, while right, might have been a tad sanctimonious.

See what you think.

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More transportation clickbait, as Thrillist ranks the 10 best cities to get around without a car.

LA checks in at a surprising number nine, despite ranking lowest among the top 10 for bikeability, and second from the bottom for walkability.

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Local

A Los Angeles woman makes chandeliers out of used bike parts; her work can be seen at Sunset Plaza, as well as Neil Patrick Harris’ New York home, if he lets you in.

Big improvements are coming to North Broadway in DTLA.

A new Glendale greenway will connect three parks in the city via bike lanes and sharrows.

Join Metro, From Lot to Spot and CICLE on Saturday for the Hot SPOTS bike tour of formerly blighted lots that have been converted to urban green spaces.

 

State

A La Mesa cyclist was critically injured in a horrific wreck when he was hit by an armored car, which proceeded to run over him with both sets of tires.

A trio of Palm Springs thieves are arrested after apparently trading a possibly stolen bike for the SUV they’re accused of taking.

San Bernardino students get bikes for perfect attendance. If they’d done that when I was a kid, I might not have faked a fever so often.

A 32-year old bike rider becomes the year’s first, and hopefully last, traffic fatality in Salinas.

A Silicon Valley bicycling movement is powered by wine, women and chocolate. None of which my wife will let me have these days.

San Francisco police are once again accused of conducting a crappy investigation and unfairly blaming the victim of a bicycling fatality.

 

National

A new documentary examines the conflict between bikes and cars — or more precisely, the overdependence on the latter — including LA voices like Wolfpack Hustle’s Don Ward and Don Koeppel, founder of the Big Parade.

Smart move. To reduce costs and build better relations with the community, Albuquerque police plan to take officers off their inexpensive bikes and put them in expensive patrol cars, where they will be isolated from the public.

The Dallas Observer says a new bill to ban texting while driving will only give cops an excuse to pull drivers over; evidently, they expect people to stop texting behind the wheel on the honor system, which has clearly worked well so far.

A former Mad City mayor calls for a Wisconsin bike highway system.

A Pittsburgh bridge gets a road diet and bike lanes, even if a local carpenter calls them useless.

Showing a rare skill for making a bad situation worse, a Tampa Bay man faces a burglary charge for attempting to get his impounded bike back.

 

International

Welsh police needs at least four cops and a helicopter to arrest a wine drinking bike rider.

A new 700 space bike parking structure gives a whole new meaning to Stockholm syndrome; thanks to joninsocal for the heads-up.

A new documentary looks at Italian Jews who survived WWII and the goys gentiles who helped them, focusing on legendary cyclist Gino Bartali, who should be on a fast track to sainthood already.

A West Australia driver gets five years for killing a cyclist in a wreck he was too drunk to remember.

Thailand will build bike lanes leading to two international airports, while a 14 mile bike path circling another airport will get toilets, lights and security cameras provided by a local bank. We have a lot of banks in LA, right?

The mayor of Kuala Lumpur promises to build more bikeways if enough buildings turn their lights out for Earth Hour. So if they don’t, bike riders get screwed?

 

Finally…

A new women’s jersey is designed to carry your choice of concealed weapon while you ride. If you’re carrying three kilos of coke and heroin in the trunk of your car, don’t obscure the license plate with your bike rack.

And an Illinois town asks bike riders to please stop pooping on the bike path.

 

Morning Links: Carfree Griffith Park could be sacrificed for well-healed homeowners; LA beats New York

It’s your park.

But that could change, as Streetsblog explains more about the plan to open Griffith Park’s previously car-free, and carefree, Mt. Hollywood Drive to cars.

In fact, the street has already been partially opened in an experiment to provide additional parking near the Griffith Observatory.

As many surmised, it appears to be a plan to divert tourists wanting a close-up view of the Hollywood sign from the pricy Beechwood Canyon neighborhood, in effect trading their privacy for the safety of cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders.

Although I wonder how many of those homeowners knew the sign was there when they moved there.

While I understand the problems caused by the sudden influx of internet-driven tourists, it’s kind of like Parisians in the last century demanding the streets be closed because they had no idea passenger jets would bring so many tourists to see the Eiffel Tower.

We need to find a solution that works for everyone, not just the those wanting to protect their streets; shuttle buses along a mutually acceptable route is just one possibility.

The park is one of the few places in this city that belongs to people, not cars.

CiclaVally asks you to invest 45 seconds to send an email to help keep it that way.

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The BetterDoctor website ranks the most bike-friendly cities, with four of the top 10 — Portland, Oakland, Sacramento and San Francisco — on the Left Coast.

Needless to say, LA checks in at a relatively modest number 23. Yet somehow, we’re still two notches above New York, Bicycle magazine’s number one city for bike friendliness.

Which suggests that these sort of clickbait lists should be taken with a grain — or maybe a 10-pound bag — of salt.

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Local

Just five years ago, LA cyclists had to fight to preserve bike lanes that were promised for Reseda Blvd. Now the street is scheduled to get the city’s first parking-protected bike lane as part of the Great Streets program.

Speaking of parking-protected bike lanes, I haven’t given up the fight to put one on the uphill side of Temescal Canyon, where Australian tourist James Rapley was killed by an allegedly intoxicated and possibly distracted driver just before Christmas 2013. There may not have been enough cars there to save his life on that Sunday morning, but it might keep it from happening again.

New County Supervisor Hilda Solis tells Downtown News she supports bikeshare and its automotive equivalent, suggesting there may not even be a need for private cars in DTLA.

 

State

A new Oso Creek trail gets unanimous approval; the three-quarter-mile pathway will have a 12-foot asphalt bike path along with a 10-foot wide decomposed granite horse and pedestrian trail. Which means pedestrians will choose to use the paved path, of course.

The battle for bike lanes in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood sound a lot like the fight for bike lanes on Westwood Blvd — intense opposition that ignores the benefits and insists the lanes go somewhere else, but fails to come up with any viable alternatives. No bias in the San Diego media, either, as a local TV station says the plan would take streets away from drivers and give them to bicyclists.

San Francisco gets three more visible bike counters, bringing their total to four visible bike counters and 24 hidden counters buried in the pavement along popular riding routes. That compares favorably to LA, which has exactly zero that I’m aware of.

 

National

AAA says drivers continue to take needless risks even though crashes affect one out of three motorists. And too often, it’s the people who aren’t encased in two tons of glass and steel that pay the price.

Why the bike bell everyone remembers is nearing extinction on American streets.

The OC Register says riding the Oregon coast is a slice of heaven, except for 11 miles of hell.

A Portland station looks at bike chop shops in homeless camps, where stolen bikes are dismantled and sold for parts.

Washington moves forward with a proposed dead red law, which would allow cyclists to ride through red lights that don’t change for them.

Chicago alderman candidates raise the question of licensing cyclists, which refuses to die no matter how many times it’s refuted.

An Ithaca NY bike cop says officers on bikes are less threatening, stealthier and can go where cars can’t.

 

International

City Lab says Woonerfs are wonderful, citing six places where everyone successfully shares the streets without traffic controls.

Saskatoon approves a long debated protected bike lane through downtown, including funds to clear winter snow from the lane.

A road raging Brit driver punches a cyclist, knocking him into the path of an oncoming car; needless to say, the jerk didn’t stick around to take responsibility for his actions.

The leader of Britain’s Near Miss Project, which collects anecdotal accounts of close calls and road rage incidents involving bike riders, says the country’s roads call for constant vigilance.

Stockholm improves safety and livability by virtually eliminating motor vehicle traffic through certain neighborhoods. Here in the US, we take the opposite approach, virtually eliminating safety and livability by routing countless cars and trucks through ours.

Evidently, life is cheap in Hong Kong, where a cargo van driver gets off with a $5,400 fine for killing a British bike rider last year.

 

Finally…

Would you use an edible water bottle made from an algae-based gel? No, really, you first. An Arlington VA bikeshare bike rider is doored by an Uber passenger when the car stops next to a bike lane, which is only news because it involves Uber, unlike the countless other bike riders who get doored every day.

And writer and cultural critic Fran Leibowitz says seeing men in shorts is disgusting, questions why people need special costumes to ride bikes, and asks why you need a helmet if you’re not an astronaut.

I’m may not be an astronaut, but I have been a space cadet at times.

……..

Thanks to Tai Wan Kim for a generous contribution to help support this site

(Late) Morning Links: Griffith Park road under attack, more on Sunday’s CicLAvia, and stupid Scot cop tricks

LA doesn’t have many carfree places where people can walk and ride carefree.

And right now, one of the most popular ones is under attack.

I’ll let CiclaValley’s Zachary Rynew explain.

I’m not going to mix words. Griffith Park is the greatest urban open space in the country.

Bar none.

While the park is filled with many attractions that would take days to frequent, the star is its natural beauty.

Many homes are blanketed across the Santa Monica Mountains, but Angelenos have been eternally blessed to be gifted this land that largely preserves its original character.

In what seems to be a move to placate those living below the Hollywood Sign, the Griffith Park Advisory Board is considering opening up Mount Hollywood Drive to vehicular traffic. I don’t have specifics, but cars would be allowed to travel and park close to the peak of the road.

While we already have examples of these traffic problems across the park, this move would pave the way for trams taking tourists up to the Hollywood sign, impacting yet another prized local resource.

Speaking as a cyclist, Griffith Park has the only paved accessway that climbs the hills of Los Angeles without the threat of vehicular traffic. The road is used by cyclists of every age, skill level and bike style.

To the many hikers and horse riders that also utilize the same paths, we share the same plight.

Not only does the addition of cars ruin this stretch for those that frequent it, but it would also add congestion to both stretches of Vermont and Western Canyon.

Please come to the Griffith Park Advisory Board Meeting this Thursday at 6:30pm at the Ranger Station on Crystal Springs & Fire Rd to show your support to preserve the nature of the park.

Griffith Park is our park. It should never be anything other than that.

There are very few places in this city that have been given over to people, rather than cars. Griffith Park needs to remain one of them.

The Sierra Club agrees.

……..

Writing for HuffPo, Joel Epstein makes the point I’ve been trying to drive home — CicLAvia is good for business.

I was particularly impressed by the car dealer who handed out lip balm to passing riders, as well as the pet store employees who called out to ask people going by if they owned a dog or cat, then gave out pet-specific shopping bags to anyone who said yes.

Just two examples of smart marketing that will undoubtedly result in more sales later. Which beats the hell out of complaining about any possible negative impact on sales for a single day.

I was also impressed by an 80-something grandfather I met who rode to Studio City from Sylmar to meet his grandson to bike the full CicLAvia route, and planned to ride back home afterwards. Then again, he said he barely drives anymore, preferring to take his bike everywhere — despite, or perhaps because of, a hip and knee replacement.

I want to be like him when I grow up.

CiclaValley explains what CicLAvia means to the Valley, and provides great photos of the day, as does Curbed LA and LA Magazine. Streeetsblog offers an open CicLAvia thread, allowing anyone to voice their mostly positive opinions on the day.

LA’s wildly popular open streets event even makes an appearance in fictional Springfield.

Meanwhile, CicLAvia visitors give a thumbs up to a temporary parking-protected bike lane demonstration; unfortunately, it had been taken down by the time I got there. And Boyonabike paraphrases Che in saying we need “one, two, many CicLAvias” to overthrow the tyranny of the automobile.

Note to press: ‪CicLAvia is not a bike festival, it is a human festival, open to all regardless of travel mode, as long as they leave their motors behind.

……..

Somehow, Scotland cops manage to get it unbelievably wrong, as cyclist picks up a cup a littering driver had tossed out, and tosses it back into the man’s car.

The driver responded by getting out of his car and demanding to know if the rider wanted to fight.

So instead of citing the driver for littering or threatening the bicyclist, police naturally threaten to file assault charges against the cyclist for instigating the incident.

I’ve often wanted to do the same thing to jerks besmirching our planet.

Then again, I may, in my younger days, have politely attempted returned a lit cigarette or two to those who tossed one out of an open car window, inquiring if the driver had lost it.

The response was usually an embarrassed apology. Though on occasion, the reaction may have been an offer to break my face, which I invariably declined.

These days, it’s just not worth the aggravation.

But I’m glad someone, somewhere, picked where I may have left off.

Let’s just hope the local Scottish authorities manage to get their heads out of their collective posteriors and do the right thing.

……..

Local

A writer for calls for banning right turns on red rights in the City of LA to protect pedestrians and bike riders.

Peloton takes the day off for a casual 27-mile, five stop ride through the LA area.

Bike SGV holds their monthly meeting tonight.

New bike lanes make their appearance on Mission Street in South Pasadena.

A Lennox bike rider was killed when he was shot repeatedly by a man who exited a car to fire before getting back in and being driven away.

An El Segundo surfer encourages wave riders to bike to the breaks instead of driving.

 

State

An Orange County mountain biker was airlifted to safety after suffering serious facial injuries while riding in Crystal Cove Park.

A teenage girl suffers minor injuries when she’s the victim of a hit-and-run driver while rider her bike in Stanton. Thanks to BikinginLA sponsor Michael Rubinstein for the link.

Someone is apparently sabotaging signs calling for a community meeting in opposition to planned pedestrian and bike improvements in San Diego’s Hillcrest; things like that only convince people we’re exactly who they think we are.

Despite a threatened $50 impound fee, San Diego State students continue to lock their bikes to railings instead of the school’s bike racks; which suggests that the bike racks are either inadequate or in the wrong damn place.

A San Diego bicyclist offers a classic retort to the standard complaint about unemployed cyclists on five-figure bikes ruining everything for people who have to get to work.

A project to widen the 101 Freeway from Ventura to Carpenteria, which includes a bike path on the ocean side of the highway, finishes ahead of schedule. Let’s hope it’s more successful than the effort to widen the 405 through the Sepulveda pass, which didn’t even include bike lanes despite the more than $1 billion cost.

A Lompoc bike rider suffers life-threatening injuries, despite wearing a helmet, when a mechanical failure caused him to go over his handlebars. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Scofflaw bike riding children somehow take to a San Francisco freeway, apparently by mistake, in a case reminiscent of LA’s Crimanimalz, who did it entirely on purpose.

San Francisco police refuse to explain why they blamed the victim in a bicycling collision, even though a witness saw the driver blew through the red light.

 

National

Just one day left to get in on an interesting Kickstarter campaign for a new and improved kind of air pump head that promises to be easier to connect and disconnect to your tires; for $180, you can get a new bike light that’s as bright as a car headlight.

Grist says the most ecologically sound material for your bike frame is anything as long as you actually ride it.

Yuma AZ cyclists want more bike lanes in unincorporated areas of the county.

That wasn’t a gunshot that prompted a lockdown of the St. Cloud MN sheriff’s office, it was a bike tire blowout.

A Connecticut man gets eight years in prison for the hit-and-run death of a cyclist, proving to California authorities that it is possible to take the crime seriously.

New York’s Daily News makes a truly bizarre argument in favor of drivers being able to kill without legal consequences.

 

International

Five thousand cyclists rode through Lima on Sunday to promote bicycling as a way to travel between Peru and Columbia, and bring the two nations closer together.

Bike officials take the doping hunt to the next level, unsuccessfully searching 36 bikes used in the Milan-San Remo race for hidden motors; next they’ll be inspecting the riders for cyborg implants.

That’s more like it. North Vancouver agrees to widen an existing causeway to make room for bike lanes and better pedestrian access. They could give lessons to Alaska’s DOT, which robbed Anchorage cyclists of $1.3 million intended for bikeways in the city.

In the latest episode of a near-universal argument, Edmonton business owners question the removal of parking to make room for bike lanes, despite studies showing it’s good for business.

A London man is punched and pushed off his bike in an attempted bike jacking; he got it back when the thieves abandoned the bike after other riders gave chase.

A Yorkshire writer asks if cycling to work is really worth the risk, despite having apparently survived his commute.

 

Finally…

Anti-bike Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson was spotted riding one himself as he awaits discipline for punching a producer on the popular BBC show; maybe if he rode one more often he wouldn’t be so angry. A Brit bike thief with 41 previous convictions explains the presence of shoe prints matching his by saying he loaned his loafers to someone else that day.

And a Euro triathlete site offers advice on how to turn yourself into a cyclist. Actually, to be a cyclist, you just have to get on your bike; to stop being one, simply get off.

……..

Allow me a brief personal note.

When I returned home from Sunday’s CicLAvia, I received word that a woman I knew had died after a long and devastating battle with dementia.

The first time I met her, long before her disease took its toll, I observed a small, frail woman with a heavy accent and a number tattooed on her arm.

In an attempt to make casual conversation, I asked how she came to this country.

Instead of the brief answer I expected, I got a fascinating, hours-long recitation of a journey that began as a child in Hitler’s death camps, followed by a voyage to what was then British Palestine as part of the flotilla that included the Exodus. As a young woman, she carried — and used — a rifle in the fight for Israeli independence, knew the legendary Gold Meir on a first name basis, and founded a successful kibbutz before migrating to the US to raise a family.

The world is a poorer place today.

As this older generation slips away, we lose a measure of greatness our world may never see again. Or at least, let’s hope we never again see a time that demands such greatness.

My heart and prayers go out to her husband, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and all those who loved her.

Weekend Links: Witnesses wanted in El Segundo death, Westwood votes for bike lanes, and more Valley CicLAvia

You’d think the life of a bike rider would be worth more than a single paragraph in the local paper.

Not to mention running it a month late — and incorrectly, at that.

The Daily Breeze has finally gotten around to mentioning that 25-year old Ricky Montoya was killed while riding in El Segundo on February 21st. And even then, only in the context that the police are looking for witnesses.

Never mind that Montoya was killed as he rode on Aviation at night, not 11 am as the paper reports.

Anyone with information is urged to call Officer Jeff Darringer at 310-524-2296 or email darringer@elsegundo.org.

Meanwhile, I’m told the El Segundo police have been conducting braking tests using what appears to be the same PT Cruiser the driver was in when he hit Montoya; you can see one of the tests below.

The same source tells me she overheard an officer tell a bystander the driver had to have been doing at least 60 mph in the 40 mph zone when he hit Montoya.

Note to the El Segundo Police Department: If you’d bothered to return my call asking for more information last month, it’s just possible we might have been able to find a witness already.

I’m just saying.

……..

Westwood bike advocate Calla Wiemer provided a short update on Thursday’s meeting of the Westwood Business Improvement District, which considered the much-needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

Here is a quick rundown on what happened at the Westwood Village BID meeting yesterday morning.

  • The board voted unanimously to request an LADOT engineering study of bike lane options for Westwood Blvd through the Village, and the message to Councilmember Koretz’s deputies was that they want it expedited and they want to make a decision quickly to endorse a plan once they get a report.
  • They ruled out requesting study of any alternatives to Westwood Blvd in order to laser focus city resources on the street that most needs improvement.
  • They took a straw poll to gauge sentiment on endorsing protected bike lanes – the more ambitious of two proposals put forth in Ryan Snyder’s “Remove Nothing Plan”, and five of ten board members indicated support even without the engineering study; the others want to see results of the study

A large number of bike lane advocates turned out, but the opposition was represented too. The results of the LADOT study will get careful scrutiny.

……..

A rider who prefers to remain anonymous emailed to report stumbling upon a new semi-separated and, apparently, mostly useless bike lane on Los Angeles Street in DTLA.

Don’t remember hearing/reading anything about new bollards & armadillos on Los Angeles St between First & Temple, but there they were! At first, I didn’t see them, because a texter in an SUV had pulled over to the curb (in his defense, he had his emergency blinkers on). I passed on his left, and swung back into the bike lane with enough time to swerve to the right of the bollards. There are several bollards, then several intact armadillos, then a couple smashed armadillos, then more cars parked in the bike lane which forced me back out into the “car lane.” Fun ride! I stopped in the middle of the bike lane to take pictures, ’cause you’re supposed to stop right there in the bike lane, that’s what it’s for.

I’m just gonna take the lane from now on.

……..

Game, set, match.

A Seattle road diet reduced high-end speeding (10+ mph over the limit) by up to 70% and reduced crashes by 45%. And at the same time, traffic volume actually increased without slowing travel times.

Show that to the next person who fears that eliminating a traffic lane will result in unspeakable disaster.

……..

The LA Times says there’s not enough data to mandate bike helmets, and recommends that SB 192, the proposed law that would require all bicyclists to wear helmets, be amended to require California to study whether a helmet law would even do any good.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog vets the Times’ editorial, and Calbike offers a list of Quick Facts explaining why the proposed law is off base.

……..

Bobby Close emailed to report that a member of his cycling club barely avoided a dangerous crash when some teenagers buzzed him, in clear violation of the three-foot passing law, as he rode on PCH. And that one reached out to smack the rider on the ass.

While the kids no doubt thought it was a pretty funny a prank, they actually committed an assault, which could have left them subject to prosecution.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get the car’s license, which is almost impossible to do when a riders is struggling to maintain control of his or her bike.

And it probably wouldn’t matter anyway; unless there was an independent witness, police would consider it a matter of he said/she said, except in the unlikely event the kids admitted what they did.

Close’s suggestion is that cyclists should use a bike cam to record such situations; he recommends the FLY6 and FLY12 bike lights that also incorporate an HD cam, including audio.

The FLY6, a taillight/cam combo is currently on the market — though sold out — while the headlight/cam FLY12 has already far exceeded its Kickstarter goal.

……..

If the media coverage is any indication, CicLAvia’s first-ever visit to the San Fernando Valley this Sunday could be one of the biggest ever.

Bike Walk Glendale is hosting a feeder ride with special guest US Congressman Adam Schiff; here’s your chance to ask for more bike funding in the federal budget, though I suspect you’d be preaching to the choir.

KPCC offers the top five things to know about CicLAvia.

The Daily News reports on the Valley’s first open streets event, citing the official CicLAvia Neighborhood Guide and Walk With Me app, along with links to comprehensive guides from CiclaValley and the Militant Angeleno.

CiclaValley adds to his intensive coverage with insider travel and business tips, aa well as a guide to where to eat and drink along the route. And yes, that includes booze; just remember BUI is against the law in California.

Speaking of which, Studio City’s Flask Fine Wine & Whiskey will be hosting a beer tasting from 11 am to 5 pm; 10% of the proceeds will benefit the LACBC.

……..

Let’s squeeze in a quick listing of upcoming events while we’re at it.

San Diego’s BikeSD will benefit from the Bikes & Beers ride on Saturday, March 28th; just remember the link above about biking under the influence when riding home.

It’s not quite a ciclovia, but the Orange County Transportation Authority invites you to celebrate the Coyote Creek bikeway on Sunday, March 29th.

If you’re one of the first 35 people promising to bike to Santa Monica’s April 16th Sustainability Awards, the Santa Monica Bike Center will pick up your tab.

While there won’t be another CicLAvia until October, Long Beach will step into the breach with Beach Streets Uptown along Atlantic Ave on Saturday, June 6th.

……..

Local

Ron Milam, one of the founders of the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition, talks mindfulness while bike riding and discusses the founding of the coalition in a Pedal Love podcast.

Flying Pigeon lays the blame for the latest collision in which a driver hit a bicyclist and a pedestrian on North Figueroa at the feet of Councilmember Gil Cedillo, who unilaterally killed a planned road diet for the street. Someone should show Cedillo the results of the Seattle road diet mentioned above, although facts and studies haven’t seemed to have influenced him yet.

Rick Risemberg observes that Huntington Drive is badly in need of a diet. Speaking of Risemberg, he now has a Facebook page devoted to his fiction writing.

If you’ve got a few extra bucks for a great cause, the East Side Riders Bike Club is raising funds on Indiegogo for BEAST — Bicycle Education and Safety Training — for kids in Watts. So far, they’ve only raised $45 out of a $2,500 goal; this would be a great opportunity for some business to step in with a sponsorship.

 

State

Laguna Beach votes to create the city’s first complete street, while the police, community and city council work to improve safety.

Camp Pendleton restricts access to the base by visitors arriving by car, but thankfully, the rules don’t seem to apply to bike riders.

Caltrain will add an extra bike car to accommodate their triple digit rise in bicyclists on board.

 

National

As if texting drivers weren’t bad enough, 27% of teens surveyed said they changed their shoes or clothes while driving. Do I really have to explain why that’s a bad thing?

City Lab’s Sarah Goodyear examines the recent report on bike lanes and social equity, with a decidedly SoCal spin.

Collecting Schwinn Sting Rays isn’t child’s play.

A tweeted tip leads to the arrest of two Seattle bike thieves, and the recovery of over two dozen stolen bikes.

A Kentucky congressman promises to keep the federal Highway Trust Fund solvent by restricting gas tax revenues for highways, and banning funding for bikeways, sidewalks and transit. Yes, it’s all those bike lanes that have busted the system, not the failure to increase the tax since gas prices were a buck a gallon.

A Massachusetts cyclist gets a $300,000 settlement after breaking his hip when a loose dog ran into his front wheel; no word on whether the dog was injured or or if it countersued.

Kill a New York cyclist, and lose your license for a whopping six months.

New York Vision Zero advocates call for redesigning the city’s major arterial streets to improve safety. Something that’s long past due here in LA.

A Florida writer says the key to safe bicycling is to minimize the risks you can, and prepare for the risks you can’t.

 

International

Olympic cyclist Chris Hoy calls on British political parties to make ambitious pledges to boost bicycling, saying bikes should be at the front of the queue when designing new roads and junctions. Or redesigning old ones, for that matter.

A new Kickstarter project promises a lightweight, flexible bike lock that withstands up to five minutes of hacking; the project is fully funded with over a month to go.

New headphones promise to improve safety by allowing riders to listen to music without blocking their ears.

There’s something seriously wrong here, as British school kids are being taught self defense to fend off bike-jackings.

UK police blame the victim, declining to pursue charges against a driver who couldn’t explain why she didn’t see the cyclist she ran down, because the rider wasn’t wearing hi-viz or a helmet.

Dutch rider Thomas Dekker retires from pro cycling when he can’t find a team to sign with after failing to set the hour record.

Is New Zealand’s new Bike Tree sculpture great public art, or a waste of bikes that could be fixed up and donated to those who can’t afford one? I love art, but bikes were made to ride.

Dahon unveils a new folding electric bike built in collaboration with Ford, and based on the 107-year old Tin Lizzy. At least it’s not yet another unneeded hi-end hi-tech concept racing bike.

Vietnam is hosting its inaugural mountain bike stage race.

 

Finally…

Seriously, you can’t make this shit up, as a Key West bike rider was arrested for duct taping three live iguanas to his handlebars. A study shows men who bike more than 8.5 hours a week have a higher risk of prostate cancer than those who don’t, except it doesn’t really.

And once again, Bikeyface nails it.

 

Morning Links: Westwood BID considers Westwood Blvd bike lanes, South LA cyclist critical after collision

If you hurry, you may still have time to make this morning’s meeting of the Westwood Village Business Improvement District, which will vote on the much needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

The proposed lanes have faced intense opposition from Westwood area business and homeowners, even though the latest proposal doesn’t remove a single traffic lane or parking spot, suggesting the real opposition is to having bikes on the boulevard, period.

The meeting begins at 8:30 this morning, at the Skylight Gardens Restaurant, 1139 Glendon Ave.

………

KCBS-2 reports a cyclist is in very critical condition after being hit by a car in South LA Wednesday evening, following earlier reports that the unidentified rider had been killed

Sounds like prayers or good thoughts, whichever you are comfortable with, are in order.

………

Are you excited yet?

Streetsblog offers detailed tips on how to get the most out of Sunday’s first San Fernando Valley CicLAvia.

Walk Bike Burbank is offering free safety checks on Saturday to help you get ready, while Flying Pigeon is hosting a feeder ride from Northeast LA.

We Like LA explains what a CicLAvia is for the uninitiated.

And the Militant Angeleno once again provides his incomparable guide to CicLAvia, proving he knows the Valley as well as he does the rest of LA. Although he’s got some serious competition from upstart CiclaValley this time around.

My advice is print out both guides and carry them with you.

………

In a case way too reminiscent of the death of LA cyclist and former Napster executive Milt Olin, a Florida sheriff’s deputy is cleared of charges he killed a 15-year old bike rider while using his car’s onboard computer.

Then again, he only faced a $1,000 fine.

Evidently, life is cheap down there.

………

Local

LADOT, LA Great Streets and Bureau of Street Services officials visit the Temple City cycletracks on Rosemead Blvd. Let’s hope they were taking notes.

Very cool Strava graph shows riders convening for, then riding, last Sunday’s Marathon Crash non-Race; Milestone Rides writes about riding the Crash for the first time.

Actress AnnaLynne McCord, who was blessed with an abundance of capital letters, dons a purple robe to ride her orange Townie on Venice Beach.

Glendale is about a year away from creating a bikeable recreational riverfront across the LA River from Griffith Park.

The Easy Reader names Hermosa Cyclery as the South Bay’s best bike shop.

 

State

Two bike riders are injured in Orange County collisions, though neither appears to be seriously hurt.

An SUV driver takes out a fire hydrant in San Diego, so naturally, a bike rider gets the blame.

A Central Coast TV station explains why green lanes are. Green, that is.

Two recent CSU Monterey graduates are riding cross country to raise funds for a homeless shelter.

Palo Alto opts for a more conservative and bird-friendly design for their new bike and pedestrian bridge.

A Napa Valley letter writer says it’s impossible to comply with the state’s three-foot passing law without risking a head-on collision with another vehicle, not realizing that the law actually allows drivers to wait until it’s safe to pass.

 

National

Nice to know the head of AASHTO, the organization representing state DOTs, says highway design has absolutely nothing to do with cyclist and pedestrian deaths. Odd that he could talk with his head buried so deeply in the sand, among other places.

More great research from the University of Duh, as a new study shows we ride our bikes because we like it better than driving.

Portland riders are about to get a new car-free bridge. And yes, we should be jealous.

A Maine driver gets 10 years for the drunken wreck that killed a bike riding father and injured his wife and 17-month old son while they were riding on the sidewalk.

The US pro national championships will return to Chattanooga for the third straight year. Let’s hope they train race moto officials a little better this time around.

After a DC cyclist has his bike stolen at gun point, he gets it back when the thief brings it into the same shop where he’d just gotten an estimate to have it fixed.

A Baton Rouge judge sentences a DUI driver to 25 years in jail for killing one cyclist and maiming another, then suspends all but 7.5 years; the driver had a blood alcohol level of .307 — nearly four times the legal limit — at the time of the crash.

Alabama considers giving cyclists a five-foot passing margin, rather than just three.

 

International

Two Cambridge UK councilors call for bike riders to be registered and insured, and have to pass a national proficiency test; an Aussie writer provides 18 reasons why that’s a bad idea, all of which apply here, as well.

France offers to pay people to bike to work. And almost no one bites.

Secretary of State John Kerry gets free service on his Serotta when it breaks down while taking a well-guarded ride during the Iran nuclear talks in Lausanne, Switzerland.

 

Finally…

Lance Armstrong is reportedly trying to get his lifetime ban reduced; let’s hope he has better luck than Pete Rose has. An NFL medical consultant says more kids get hurt riding bikes than playing football, but fails to note that a hell of a lot more kids ride bikes, too.

And new LA resident and former Bicycling Editor-in-Chief Peter Flax writes movingly about how a good ride can help you cope with life’s most heartbreaking challenges.

 

Afternoon Links: Kicking cars off H’wood Blvd, silly season for bike laws, and MyFig now a year behind schedule

Why think small?

Curbed asks what if Hollywood Boulevard was closed to cars all the time, or at least on weekends, rather than just for the Oscars?

But instead of just closing LA’s biggest tourist attraction to cars in front of the massively crowded Hollywood and Highland/Chinese Theatre area, why not close it down for the full length of the Walk of Fame?

It’s already scheduled for a road diet and bike lanes, which would improve safety and increase walkability for the many millions of tourists who stroll the street every year.

Turning it into a pedestrian mall with bike lanes and a trolley or shuttle buses would make it even more attractive to visitors, while increasing property values and giving a huge boost to businesses along the way. Including the dilapidated and increasingly vacant blocks west of Cahuenga.

Virtually all of the businesses on Hollywood rely on foot traffic, rather than customers arriving by cars. And the few that do can be easily serviced by the many cross streets along the way.

So why not cater to them, while eliminating the risk of pedestrians and bicyclist being hit by cars on the street once and for all?

……..

Speaking of the Oscars, no surprise here. Bike rider and environmental advocate Ed Begley Jr. is the first to say he plans to #biketheOscars this Sunday.

Although Megan Lynch and I are still the only ones to use that hashtag.

……..

Clearly, it’s the silly season for state legislatures, as bike laws good and bad come up for consideration.

KPCC’s AirTalk program discusses the proposed law that would require all California bike riders to wear a helmet, as well as requiring reflective hi-viz clothing after dark, while the Bay Area’s KQED holds a similar discussion. And the San Francisco Chronicle says the proposed law is intriguing, but needs work.

Another proposed CA law would require bike riders to have a flashing red tail light after dark; an earlier version of the bill, which called for a flashing white light, is put off as a typo. Note to reporters: Riding a bike in California is not particularly dangerous; while bad things can happen — just as they do with any other form of transportation — the primary reason the state leads the nation in bicycling deaths is because it also leads the nation in population, and possibly in bike riders.

A proposed Virginia law would prohibit highway funds from being used for transit projects, bike lanes or pedestrian trails, ensuring automotive hegemony for years to come.

Then again, it could be worse. Taking bike hate to the next level, a Hawaii lawmaker proposes prohibiting a driver’s insurance company from having to pay for injuries to a bike rider.

……..

Turns out the most sprawling city in the country isn’t.

Which means it should now be easier to ride from the West Valley to the Eastside, right?

……..

South Figueroa gets new lighting, and an extension.

The MyFig project, which had been scheduled to be finished this December, now won’t even begin until next January and be done by the end of 2016.

……..

Local

LA’s Downtown News becomes the latest to endorse CD14 councilmember Jose Huizar for re-election, raising the question WTF is up with the LA Times? Meanwhile, the very active CiclaValley covers the latest forum to replace Tom LaBonge in CD4.

KNBC-4 looks at the planned anti-hit-and-run billboard from Finish the Ride.

Now there’s a real bargain, as West LA’s Bikerowave co-op now offers unlimited wrench time for just $100 a year, and $80 for students.

CicLAvia hosts a community meeting in NoHo tonight to discuss next month’s Valley CicLAvia.

Santa Monica police will conduct another bike safety operation on Friday; as always, watch how you ride because they’ll be writing up law breaking riders, as well as drivers.

Malibu wil hold a public meeting to discuss safety on PCH tomorrow.

No surprise that bike-friendly Long Beach ranks as the nation’s 33rd most physically active city; more surprising that auto-centric LA checked in just three spots later.

 

State

A Washington Post article suggests California should take the lead in requiring carmakers to install collision avoidance systems to protect bike riders and pedestrians.

A Corona boy is back on his bike 18 months after he was mauled by two dogs while riding.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 92-year old Palm Desert man rides his bike 20 miles nearly every morning and is about to the inducted into the Triathlon Hall of Fame; thanks to sponsor Michael Rubenstein for the heads-up.

 

National

A new study shows even moderate exercise — like riding a bike, for instance — can help middle-aged women protect their hearts. Although anyone who calls a woman middle-aged may need to protect more than their heart.

An Oregon driver gets two years in prison and an eight year ban on driving for fleeing the scene after killing a cyclist while texting.

The man in charge of reinventing London bicycling visits Portland; we could use his help down here.

Seattle’s Vision Zero plan calls for reducing speed limits on certain streets to 25 mph in an effort to eliminate traffic deaths by 2030.

A Colorado lawyer says yes, the legal system is broken when it comes to bike riders, but sometimes we’re part of the problem, as well as the solution.

Caught on video: A 92-year old Wisconsin driver smashes into nine — count ‘em, nine — cars in a parking lot. Yet doesn’t get a single ticket.

 

International

AARP writes about the benefits of Open Streets, yet somehow fails to mention the largest and most successful Open Streets event in the US. Or any US event, for that matter.

The unsung star of British track cycling is now a British banker.

Ireland-based Lovely Bicycle looks at what’s normal wear and tear on your bike.

 

Finally…

In today’s edition of the trials and tribulations of our favorite ex-Tour de France winner, Lance pleads guilty to careless driving in Aspen, but gets away with the attempted cover up and possibly a DUI. A new study concludes bike riding may or may not contribute to erectile dysfunction; no, that helps, really.

And this is how you pimp a police bike.

 

Making the case for desperately needed bike lanes on embattled Westwood Blvd

Maybe.

Just maybe, we may finally be seeing progress in getting desperately needed bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard, after earlier plans were summarily canceled by CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz at the urging of a local homeowner’s group.

Now local traffic planner Ryan Snyder has come up with a new plan that won’t result in the loss of a single traffic lane or parking space.

Westwood homeowner and bike advocate Calla Weimer has once again offered a detailed and insightful analysis of the plan and why it’s needed, this time in the form of a presentation to the Transportation Committee of the Westwood Village Improvement Association.

I’m posting it below with her permission.

She also notes there will be another meeting to discuss the plan at the WVIA Town Hall at 5 pm on February 23rd, at 10880 Wilshire Blvd.

Given the rampant objections to bike lanes on Westwood, there’s still a lot of opposition to the plan, even though it won’t affect anything.

Except to improve traffic flow and make a dangerous street safer for the bike riders who will arrive in droves once the Expo Line opens on the Westside.

So support from cyclists will be vital to get it approved.

Note: I initially used the term NIMBYism to describe opposition to bike lanes on Westwood Blvd. While I feel the term aptly describes many residents in the area, where even dancing is banned in Westwood Village at the insistence of local homeowners, it does not further the conversation in this instance. Terming people who object to bike lanes as NIMBYs and those who want bike lanes as activists merely results in talking past one another, and failing to engage in a genuine conversation between people with differing concerns, making consensus difficult, if not impossible. As a result, I have rewritten this piece to remove the term.

……..

Bike Infrastructure for Westwood Boulevard

Remarks Submitted to the Westwood Village Improvement Association

4 February 2015

Calla Wiemer*

The challenge of transitioning from a car centric streetscape to one that is bike and pedestrian friendly is nowhere more pressing than on Westwood Boulevard. This heavily biked corridor exhibits an alarmingly high incidence of car-bike collision and cyclist injury. With the Westwood station of the Expo light rail line slated to open later in 2015, interest in biking the boulevard can be expected to ramp up sharply, compounding the conflict between bike and car.

This submission to the Westwood Village Business Improvement Association makes three points:

1) The incidence of car-bike collision and cyclist injury on Westwood Boulevard is unacceptably high.

2) Bike infrastructure should be developed as a network and integrated with rail transit. The Ryan Snyder “Remove Nothing Plan” jump starts the conversation on this for Westwood Boulevard.

3) Mayor Garcetti’s “Great Streets” designation for Westwood Boulevard calls on us to aspire to more than just removing nothing.

 

Collision & Injury

First, a few summary statistics on collision and injury for the whole of Westwood Boulevard will be presented. Following that, conditions will be analyzed and collision counts reported segment by segment for the length of the boulevard. Data on collision and injury are drawn from the Transportation Injury Mapping System of the University of California, Berkeley. Case identification numbers for the collisions along with explanatory notes are provided in an appendix.

  • The five year period 2009-2013 saw 36 collisions reported between bikes and motor vehicles along the 2.7 mile length of Westwood Boulevard.
  • Four of the cases were felony hit and runs.
  • The cyclist was at fault in only three cases, the motorist in 26, with no fault assigned in the 
remaining seven.
  • The cyclist was injured in all 36 cases; no motorist was injured.

Collision incidence varies along the length of Westwood Boulevard commensurate with discernible differences in conditions. The table that follows distinguishes four segments, presenting collision counts and distance in miles for each. It should be borne in mind that ridership decreases appreciably from north 
to south. Counts taken during the peak hours of 7:00-9:00 am and 4:00-6:00 pm on November 6, 2013 tallied 256 riders at LeConte Avenue, 157 at Santa Monica Boulevard, 116 at LaGrange Avenue, and 110 at Ashby Avenue (source here).

Location

Collisions

Miles

LeConte-Wellworth (incl)

5

0.5

Wellworth-Santa Monica

10

0.6

Santa Monica-Pico (incl)

18

0.8

Pico-National

3

0.8

Along the most northerly segment of Westwood Boulevard through the Village, motorized traffic moves very slowly. The large number of pedestrians crossing at intersections helps to animate driver attention. Only five of the 36 collisions occurred in the half mile stretch between LeConte Avenue and Wellworth Avenue (inclusive of cross streets at both ends). This is despite the much higher ridership at the north end of the boulevard.

Bike lanes begin at Wellworth Avenue and extend to just north of Santa Monica Boulevard. These bike lanes, however, are narrow and pass through the door zone of parked cars that line both sides of the street. The lanes are often obstructed by double parked cars or cars in the process of parking or exiting parking. Motorized traffic along this stretch can move at high rates of speed. Ten of the 36 collisions occurred along this 0.6 mile stretch.

By far the most treacherous segment lies between Santa Monica Boulevard and Pico Boulevard. Motor vehicle travel lanes are too narrow to allow the three feet of passing space required for overtaking cyclists. On the northbound side, street parking is suspended during peak hours with two lanes then allocated for travel. During these hours, most cyclists cling timidly to the curb, enticing motorists to try to squeeze by within the same lane in disregard of the three-foot law. On the southbound side where parking is
permitted at all times, most cyclists cleave to the door zone, again tempting motorists to pass within the same lane. Fully half of the 36 collisions took place on this 0.8 mile stretch. This high incidence of collision occurred despite a much lower ridership than further north.

The most southerly segment from Pico Boulevard to National Boulevard carries much lighter traffic than parts north. A dedicated left turn lane is little used for the purpose since cross streets are few and lightly traveled. Thus northbound, where there is only one travel lane, motor vehicles overtaking cyclists tend to move into the center lane to afford comfortable passing space. By contrast, with two travel lanes southbound, conflict between cyclists and motorists in the rightmost lane is a problem. Still, only three of the 36 collisions occurred along this 0.8 mile stretch.

To put these numbers into perspective, consider that car-bike collisions on Westwood Boulevard occurred at a rate of 2.7 per mile per year during the period 2009-2013. For the segment between Santa Monica and Pico Boulevards, the rate was 4.5 per mile per year. By contrast, for Los Angeles County as a whole in 2011, the rate was 0.24 per mile. The rates on Westwood Boulevard are thus higher by more than an order of magnitude than for the county generally. This calls for community action to meet a reasonable standard of street safety.

 

The “Remove Nothing Plan”

The “Remove Nothing Plan” by Ryan Snyder takes as its premise that no motor vehicle travel lane or parking space should be given up. Even under this severe restriction, the plan finds scope for bike safety enhancements for each and every diverse segment of Westwood Boulevard. The plan provides a fine point of departure for discussion. By addressing Westwood Boulevard as a comprehensive whole, it stands up to a political process that has in the past treated the street in fragments affording any neighborhood association or influential local figure veto power against change. But a transportation system must function as a citywide network. It cannot be patched together at intervals counted in blocks. And with rail lines going in and interest in cycling surging in the city of Los Angeles, Westwood Boulevard cannot stand apart.

If any portion of Westwood Boulevard is dangerous for biking, the corridor itself is dangerous. Safe passage must be afforded from end to end to create a viable transportation link. For the most dangerous stretch of the boulevard between Santa Monica and Pico, the “Remove Nothing Plan” proposes sharrows (arrows painted on the pavement to indicate bikes and cars must share the lane) and signage. This would constitute a significant improvement over the status quo. When the lane is too narrow for cars to overtake bikes legally, the safest behavior for a cyclist is to take the lane. This forces motorists to move to the adjacent lane in order to pass. Cyclists who are bold enough to take the lane now on Westwood Boulevard are often met with honking and shouting. Many are too intimidated to hold their ground. Sharrows and signage would help check threatening behavior by motorists and encourage cyclists to claim a safe space.

The dangers on the Santa Monica to Pico stretch of Westwood Boulevard are of such magnitude, and the proposed mitigation measures of such ease, that the measures should be implemented without further delay. The conversation should then move on to the larger issue of how the community can best make use of its limited street space. Perhaps this discussion will be catalyzed when motorists find cyclists claiming their shared lane at a rate of one every minute or two during peak hours, especially when that means a given motorist must often overtake the same cyclist repeatedly as they leapfrog along together through stoplights. So, what other approaches might there be to not only accommodate existing cyclists, but motivate people in greater numbers to get out of their cars and take to their bikes? On this note, the discussion should turn to the mayor’s “Great Streets” initiative.

 

Westwood Boulevard as a Great Street

Mayor Garcetti has invited us to re-envision Westwood Boulevard as a “Great Street”. His designation applies specifically to the stretch that runs through Westwood Village, but the community has every opportunity to expand on that. For a street to merit the label “great”, it should act as a safe and welcoming public space. It should accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists, and not allow human life to be crowded out by motorized traffic and parked cars. It should be graced with sidewalk rest spots and beautiful landscaping and should support thriving businesses.

To achieve such a vision will involve change. Street space on Westwood Boulevard is now given over almost entirely to motor vehicles, many of which sit empty. Street parking should be on the table for discussion. Parking can be provided off street – and indeed is overwhelmingly provided off street already – whereas mobility in its various guises cannot be. Along the dangerous stretch of Westwood Boulevard between Santa Monica and Pico, more than 90 percent of parking is currently provided off street (source here). The less than 10 percent of parking that is on street unquestionably yields benefits to some individuals. But whether this is the best use of a public resource under today’s changing circumstances is a discussion the community ought to have.

People in increasing numbers do not wish to be encased in steel and glass and powered by fossil fuels for their every move about town; not when the alternative is the exhilaration of riding a bicycle. This change in lifestyle could be a great thing for public health, for the environment, and for street life. It could be a great thing for Westwood Boulevard.

 

Appendix

Collision data analyzed in this document are taken from the Transportation Injury Mapping System of the University of California, Berkeley (website here). Case identification numbers are given below.

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

4034615
4234410
4344350
4385290
4492457
4512304
4629058
4640680
4643254
4820508
5015804
5112556
5194281
5219033
5219037
5289084
5354124
5354132
5361255
5385158
5453135
5474924
5667951
5760408
5900383
5950842
5960237
5975338
6008917
6065016
6086196
6137746
6260375
6260378
6287803
6305334

Cases were selected only if Westwood Boulevard was reported as the primary street. This means collisions that occurred in an intersection with Westwood Boulevard given as the secondary street were not selected.

Data for 2013 are provisional and incomplete.

* Calla Wiemer owns a home just off Westwood Boulevard and bikes the corridor on a regular basis. This document can be found along with her other writings on bike lanes referenced herein at http://www.callawiemer.com/Pages/BikeLanes.aspx.

 

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