Archive for Streets and Infrastructure

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Morning Links: New hope for North Fig and Santa Monica Blvd; bike rider attacked on San Gabriel River trail

Maybe bike lanes on North Figueroa aren’t dead after all.

According to the LACBC, discussions with Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s office have yielded a number of safety improvement options for a five block stretch of the roadway — including a possible road diet and bike lanes.

Of course, a five-block bike lane unconnected to a longer bikeway, let alone a network of lanes, won’t do anyone much good.

But at least it’s a step in the right direction, and it opens the possibility for further improvements.

That is, assuming the councilmember is sincere in working with bike riders, after giving cyclists the cold shoulder after taking office and accusing bike advocates of bullying in an open council session.

And leaving them feeling jerked around — if not stabbed in the back — during the process of needlessly examining, then killing, what was already a fully approved, funded and shovel-ready project.

………

Meanwhile, it looks like bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd survive for another day.

After a vocal turnout by bike riders at Tuesday’s city council session in the Biking Black Hole, the proposed Beverly Hills Greenway appears to have gained traction (pdf, scroll down).

As usual, local advocacy website Better Bike offers the most complete recap of the day’s events, as well as reviewing local coverage of the story — including a highly biased piece from the Beverly Hills Courier that should have been printed on yellow stock.

Or maybe toilet paper.

………

Allyson Vought forwards word of a bike rider who was assaulted by a pedestrian on the San Gabriel River bike path in Seal Beach earlier this month.

The man reportedly stepped into the pathway and punched the cyclist in the face hard enough to knock him off his bike, then proceeded to pummel him severely before casually walking away. The victim was discovered by another rider crawling up the rocky embankment leading to the river, bleeding from the face, head, arms and legs.

Disturbingly, police never showed up in response to the 911 call, even though riders followed the attacker for over 20 minutes.

………

Once again, you can win a ride with Laemmle Theaters president and LACBC board member Greg Laemmle.

Just explain why you want to ride with Greg, and you could win free entry to the 2015 Climate Ride, and $2500 towards your fundraising requirements, along with an Unlimited Laemmle Movie Pass for the rest of this year.

Not a bad deal.

……..

When is it too muddy for cyclocross?

When parks officials in Austin TX, home of this year’s national championships, decide to postpone the final day’s events because of wet conditions; stunned riders who refused to leave the park were threatened with arrest.

Donations are being raised for competitors who hadn’t budgeted for the extra day.

……..

The New York Times looks at Baltimore’s allegedly drunken and texting hit-and-run Bishop; thanks to George Wolfberg for the link.

The Baltimore Sun reports she was charged with manslaughter, hit-and-run and DUI, after blowing nearly three times the legal limit. As of Friday, she was in custody, being held on $2.5 million bond.

Meanwhile, a local letter writer says shock does not excuse the moral depravity of refusing to stop after hitting someone. Well put.

……..

Local

LA’s long promised bike share system could actually come to DTLA next year, with the first test stations opening as early as October of this year.

Santa Monica police are expanding patrols looking for violations that threaten the safety of cyclists, regardless of whether they’re committed by drivers or bike riders.

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition offers a questionnaire for candidates in the city’s mayoral race; they’re also participating in a forum for mayoral candidates on the 14th. The LACBC should have a questionnaire for candidates in LA’s council elections soon.

Milestone Rides hosts a session on Bike Touring 101 at Stan’s Bike Shop in Monrovia on Saturday the 17th.

 

State

The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition names Long Beach-based folding bike maker Tern as their Community Partner of the Year for the company’s support of the city’s CicloSDias open streets event.

San Diego’s bike share program is about to put 1,500 bikes on the streets.

Davis police recover 69 stolen bikes, but need to find the owners so they can press charges.

Sadly, a Folsom fireman is fighting for his life after being struck from behind by a bike rider while out running on a pathway.

 

National

The new Close Call Database tracks driver-on-cyclist hate. I’m afraid I’ve lost track of who sent me this link, so please accept my apologies and thanks.

A Portland cyclist says bicycling won’t change the symptoms of menopause, but it does make it more fun.

Bicycling contributes over $3.1 billion — that’s billion, with a b — to the economy of Washington state.

You’ve got to be kidding. An Oklahoma City councilman proposes a three-foot passing law — except this one requires cyclists to keep three feet from motor vehicles.

A Tulsa man dedicated the last two decades of his life to the belief that every kid should have a bike; sadly, he passed away last week.

A Chicago cyclist explains why bicycling tends to be less popular among African Americans. And how it helped rescue his own life.

Bad enough when a cyclist is killed in a collision; even more heartbreaking when a 74-year old PA man dies nine months after he was hit by a car.

The Washington Post offers a thoughtful examination of why cyclists break traffic laws, which basically boils down to trying to stay safe on roads that weren’t designed with us in mind. Thanks to LACBC board member Patrick Pascal for the heads-up.

 

International

A new rain-proof riding jacket will indicate your turns for you. And your bike can now keep you upright, no matter how clumsy or balance challenged you may be.

A Canadian study shows helmet use doesn’t impact your overall risk of injury while riding a bike, since they only protect against head injuries. The study, evidently conducted by Obvious University, concludes the biggest injury risk factor cyclists face is… wait for it… getting hit by a car.

A Brit cyclist is convicted of punching another rider in a fit of bike rage, then doing it again to someone else just nine months later.

Increasing cycling rates could save at least 80 lives a year in Stockholm.

The seat and handlebars vibrate on a new bike from the Netherlands when fast moving objects get to close; on most LA streets, that could make it a virtual mobile sex toy.

Firefighters pedal bikes to the blazes in Varanasi, India. But do they get to make siren noises when they ride to the rescue?

The debate over scofflaw cyclists rages on, even in the UAE.

New Zealand’s national women’s cycling championships was nearly decided by a poodle peloton pile-up.

 

Finally…

You can now buy a ridable bike for the equivalent of just $10, as long as you don’t mind if it’s made of cardboard. Nothing like a bike rack on the back of your Lamborghini.

And if you thought playing Jingle Bells on a bike was something special, how about a veritable bike orchestra?

………

Thanks to John Hall for a generous donation to support this website.

Your generosity is what allows me to keep doing this.

Morning Links: CM Cedillo turns a deaf ear to pleas of bike riders, portraying cyclists as bullies from the 1%

Evidently, 1st District Councilmember Gil Cedillo doesn’t understand how democracy works.

Word from yesterday’s LA City Council session is that Cedillo turned a deaf ear to the pleas of bike riders begging for a safer street on North Figueroa, and instead went forward with a plan to install diagonal parking rather than the bike lanes called for in the city’s already approved bike plan.

As anyone who has ever ridden or driven past cars attempting to back out of an angled parking space can attest, that does the exact opposite of improving safety.

Standing in the same chamber where retired councilmember Bill Rosendahl famously declared that “the culture of the car is going to end now!,” Cedillo insisted that he would not be bullied by cyclists.

I didn’t know that the pleas of a traffic minority group begging for a safe place to travel on our streets amounted to bullying; it seems more like a constituent group lobbying an apparently uncaring elected leader for relief, to me. Which is the very definition of democracy in action.

But what the hell do I know.

Cedillo also described bike riders as “the one percent,” deliberately miscasting cyclists with a term used to imply social and economic exclusivity, based on census data that bike riders make up just one percent of LA’s commuter traffic.

Never mind that the one percent stat only refers to rush hour commuters, and does not count the many people who ride to school or to do errands. Or the many low income, often immigrant, riders in his own district who ride to and from their jobs any hour of the day, often because they have no other way to get there.

And this from a man who publicly professes his support for immigrants to anyone who will listen.

Of course, no one should be surprised by the cold shoulder bicyclists received from Cedillo. Ever since his election last year, it has been clear that he intended to renege on the promise he made to support bike lanes on North Figueroa, back when he still needed our votes.

Cedillo has evidently made the political calculation that he doesn’t need our support to retain his office, in a city where incumbent councilmembers almost never lose elections.

Let’s hope we can prove him wrong.

More disappointing is that no one else on the council, or in city government — all the way up to the mayor’s office — has had the courage to stand up to the real bully in the room.

On that day nearly five years ago when LA bike riders finally found the voice we so desperately needed at City Hall, Rosendahl proclaimed, speaking for the full council, “We’re going to give cyclists the support they should have been getting.”

Unfortunately, Rosendahl has left the council.

And the support for cyclists appears to have gone with him.

……..

Be careful riding in Glendale, which once again ranks near the bottom on a list of America’s worst drivers.

……..

Local

Who says no one rides in the rain?

LA Curbed offers a look at the design finalists for the planned bike/ped bridge over the LA River at the Glendale Narrows.

The Mid City West Community Council is teaming with the LACBC to offer a bike safety class on Sunday, January 11th.

Streetsblog spinoff Longbeachize celebrates its first anniversary tonight with a happy hour at the Blind Donkey in Long Beach.

 

State

An arrest is finally made after at least six cyclists were knocked off their bikes by a thief who then rode off on the bicycles in San Francisco’s Panhandle area.

Another would-be bike thief is busted after trying to wrestle a bike from a man inside a store in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.

 

National

Cycling Savvy offers ten tips for successful bicycling in traffic.

Bounce back from your next hard ride with a little tart cherry juice.

More Denver residents are biking and walking to work, thanks in part to the city’s investment in better bike infrastructure.

An 18-year old Boston hit-and-run driver was allegedly under the influence of prescription drugs when he took out a cyclist and five parked cars while fleeing police; the rider is expected to survive, no word on the cars.

In more bike thief news, a Louisiana man is busted for burgling a $5,000 bike from a Mandeville bike shop.

 

International

We all know about the most popular bicycling movies, but what about the top five unknown cycling films?

No, really, the doping era in pro cycling is over. Even though a Mexican rider was arrested smuggling EPO through an airport.

Turns out bicyclists in the UK’s north may be marginally tougher than their southern counterparts.

Excerpts from a new book reveal the ugly drug-fueled final days of Italian cycling legend Marco Pantani.

 

Finally…

No, seriously, if you’re going to rob a pedestrian while riding your bike, make sure he’s got more than $7 on him first. It might have been more helpful if advice on how to bike home with your Christmas tree had come before most people had already bought one.

And caught on video: A cyclist survives a collision with a hit-and-run deer that violated his right-of-way, then fled the scene without stopping to render aid or exchange IDs.

Morning Links: Awkward cycle track in Marina, PCH closed at Point Magu, fight North Fig parking at City Hall

Photo courtesy of Black Girls Do Bike – LA

Photo by Gary Cziko in Cyclists are Drivers

It’s been awhile since I’ve ridden on Fiji Way through Marina del Rey.

Then again, it’s been awhile since I’ve ridden anywhere.

But it looks like those wide, buffered bike lanes that helped tame one of the area’s most frequent sites for bike collisions has been replaced with an awkward and very uncomfortable cycle track, with riders separated from oncoming traffic by nothing more than a few plastic bollards.

Marty Blount of South LA’s Major Motion Recreational Cycling Club forwards a photo of the new, and hopefully temporary, installation taken by members of the new Black Girls Do Bike – LA club.

The question is why bike riders have suddenly been shifted to just one side of the wide, divided roadway. And why riders facing traffic haven’t been placed next to the curb, rather than in the frightening position of riding directly next to traffic coming from the opposite direction.

Hopefully, we’ll get some answers soon.

Update: I received the following response from Daniel Quintana of the Head-Traffic Design Section, Traffic and Lighting Division, Public Works.

The recent temporary changes are due to the installation of a waterline project along Fiji Way.  The trench and equipment will occupy a large section of the road on the west side that required the temporary relocation of the bike facility.   The condition is temporary, but may be there for a few months.  We will check with our construction staff more specific timeline for this temporary change and will have them respond.  We will also have our staff review the installation for additional temporary signs or markings may help clarify this temporary condition.

Update 2: Brittany Baker, Program Manager with the Construction Division of the LA County Dept. of Public Works, followed up with additional information on the closure of the bike lane.

As Mr. Quintana has mentioned below, this temporary bike path detour is a result of our Marina del Rey Phase 3B Waterline Project that is just starting up.  This project is expected to last from December 2014 through August 2015.  The temporary bike path detour will remain in place for this duration.  Attached, please find a project information flyer (pdf) with details on the temporary bike path detour.

Please also note, over the course of the next 4-5 weeks, there may be a stretch of the Marvin Braude Bike Path that runs adjacent to Oxford Basin (between Yvonne Burke Park and Washington Blvd in Marina del Rey) that may be reduced to one lane to accommodate construction activities within Oxford Basin.  The bike path will NOT be completely closed and signage will be placed that will require bicyclists to walk their bicycle during that short stretch of one bicycle lane.

……..

You won’t be riding PCH west of Malibu for awhile.

Caltrans reports the highway will be closed between Yerba Buena and Los Posas Roads near Point Magu for the next several weeks while they repair a recent mud slide.

And that’s assuming the hillside remains stable long enough to fix it following this week’s storms.

……..

If you read this early enough, you may still have time to rush to City Hall to fight councilmember Gil Cedillo’s misguided attempt to install dangerous diagonal parking on North Figueroa, rather than the much needed bike lanes he infamously promised to support.

Let’s hope the City Council will have the courage to call him on his attempt to maintain the 20th Century auto-centric hegemony over streets that should belong to everyone, rather than just the motorists who make the street a dangerous, high speed game of frogger.

And ask why he has developed such an apparent animosity for anyone with the audacity to ride a bike in his district.

……..

‘Tis the season.

Over 50 Santa Clarita kids will get new bikes, starting with a group of preschoolers. The entire third grade class of a Long Beach school gets new bikes. And the Sacramento Kings give thousands of bikes to kids in the region.

……..

Local

New LADOT head Seleta Reynolds discusses the future of LA transportation with other local leaders; it’s looking a lot brighter with her at the helm.

An LA rider is okay despite bouncing off a motor vehicle for the sixth time in five years. Let’s hope this was the last time.

The new OSH on La Brea plays hide the bike rack; it took me awhile to even find it in the photo.

Looks like James Franco is one of us, after going out for a Saturday ride on the Venice bike path.

Boyonabike visits the new BikeSGV headquarters.

Once again, a SoCal cyclist is the victim of a hit-and-run, this time in Redondo Beach.

Long Beach invites you to donate any unwanted bike to provide transportation for homeless people.

 

State

Streetsblog reports on Calbike’s aggressive agenda for the coming legislative session.

Pedal Love’s Melissa Balmer will host a webinar on media outreach skills for bike advocates this Thursday.

Orange County riders are justifiably outraged after a school bus driver avoids charges and keeps driving despite hitting cyclists on two separate occasions; new BikinginLA sponsor Michael Rubinstein suggests the school district could be liable for allowing her to keep driving. Thanks to everyone who sent me the link.

KPBS reports on San Diego’s long delayed bike share program, which will still open long before LA’s long promised system.

Friends of fallen San Diego cyclist Kerry Kunsman ride the last leg of the 1,800 mile coastal journey he was unable to finish.

Clearly, no one is safe from drunks behind the wheel; a 22-year old Apple Valley woman just walking next to a bike rider was killed by an alleged drunk driver.

 

National

Consumer Reports says you need a bike helmet to prevent concussions. But fails to note that bike helmets don’t do that.

Strong Towns says we need to design roads that accommodate automobiles in an environment dominated by people, rather than the other way around.

Louisville KY cyclists will soon enjoy a massive underground bike park.

No matter how big a hurry you’re in, don’t drag your bike under a stopped train that’s blocking your way; a Delaware cyclist was killed when the train he was crawling under started moving.

Don’t try this at home. An Orlando mother is under arrest for knocking a boy off his bike, then choking and threatening to kill him for bullying her daughter.

That’s more like it. A Miami driver who got off with a slap on the wrist for killing a cyclist gets an extra two years for violating his probation; his original sentence led to much needed changes in the state’s hit-and-run laws.

 

International

Big hearted — and evidently, very strong— Calgary bystanders not only lift a truck off a bike rider following a collision, they pitch in to buy the victim a new bike.

A Newfoundland writer calls the province’s upcoming mandatory helmet law misguided.

No mandatory helmets for London’s Boris Bike riders; meanwhile, bike share could help in low income areas if someone could just figure out how to make money at it.

Even the United Arab Emirates is working to become more bike friendly.

More proof how non-seriously traffic crimes are taken around the world, as a New Zealand driver charged with fleeing the scene after killing a cyclist is excused from court proceedings so he can travel with his wife.

A New Zealand report looks at the economic benefits of bicycling — like every dollar spent on bicycling returns $20 in benefits to the community, and a doubling of European ridership would result in 400,000 new jobs.

 

Finally…

A UK rider crosses the finish line with two bikes, but isn’t riding either one. A Kiwi cyclist is fined for not wearing a helmet, despite not wearing anything underneath it, either.

And does anyone really need a bike with built-in Bluetooth and vibrating directional handlebars?

……..

Best wishes for a happy Chanukah to everyone who plans to light a candle tonight.

Morning Links: The Times looks at the need for real bike data; and a crowded weekend calendar of bike events

The LA Times continues their recent look at bicycling issues with a great article pointing out the need for real data to support the growth in bicycling and bike infrastructure.

And they support it with an interactive map showing the growth in bikeways on an annual basis since 2005; I notice almost all growth occurred after I started this site in 2008.

You can thank me later.

No, seriously, I’m kidding.

But the simple fact is, LA has long fallen down in tracking who rides, where they ride and what happens when they do.

And the result is that council members like Gil Cedillo, Paul Koretz and Tom LaBonge can halt vital bike projects because there’s no data to prove them wrong.

The LACBC has tried to step in to provide stats on bicycling in the city and on select streets. But it should be the city’s responsibility, and only the city has the resources to capture vital data throughout the city.

……..

Lots of great bike events are coming up in the next few days.

Bike SGV invites you to the Grand Opening of their new headquarters this Friday, complete with complementary bike valet.

The annual Midnight Ridazz All City Toy Ride rolls Friday night.

You’re invited to ride and shop in Northeast LA this Saturday. Or enjoy a community bike ride in Cypress Park the same day.

There will be a Kiddie Bike Rally this Sunday at Sycamore Grove Park on North Figueroa; ignore the typo about the date in the headline.

Also on Sunday, there will be a swap meet and racing at the Encino Velodrome, not far from the site of the Santa Cross cyclocross race at Pierce College. Update: Michael from the excellent Centerline Rule website noticed what I didn’t — that event at the Velodrome was last Sunday.

Sunday night will see a tour of ghost bikes and a bike light vigil in Downtown LA.

And mark your calendar for the Love Your Hood Ride in the Northeast San Fernando Valley, sponsored by Bikesanas del Valle, CICLE, Pacoima Beautiful and Metro.

……..

Local

A Santa Monica columnist says bike lanes are to blame for the city’s traffic congestion; silly me, I thought it was all those cars. And never mind that SaMo traffic sucked long before the city even thought about welcoming bikes in an attempt to provide an alternative to, if not reduce, that congestion.

 

State

KPBS says Caltrans is finally entering the 21st Century and discovering that more Californians are biking and walking more, and driving less.

Keep your eyes open, as a number of vintage bikes were stolen from a home in Santa Ana. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Newport Beach police ticket 21 drivers and four bike riders in their new traffic safety crackdown.

A new state legislator from the Bay Area says California cyclists should throw away our red rear lights and reflectors, and use a flashing white rear light instead. Evidently, so drivers would have no idea whether we’re coming or going.

A Marin County columnist insists that bike advocacy in the area has been set back by a) a road raging cyclist and b) a speeding bike rider who crashed into two kids on a bike path. If the same standard were applied to motorists, no one would ever be allowed to drive again.

 

National

This is how doorings turn deadly, as a rider in my hometown is hit by a car when he swerved to avoid an open car door.

Virginia’s Department of Transportation tracks down the owner of a hand cycle that had somehow come loose on a freeway interchange.

Huh? A Louisiana parish lowers the speed limit on a 17-mile recreational trail because an 83-year old woman was killed by a bike rider four years earlier and over 2,000 mile away.

 

International

A Canadian province moves to require helmets for all bike riders after April 1st. And no, it’s not an April Fools joke.

A British Kickstarter takes an enlightened approach to visibility with bike apparel and backpacks that light up after dark.

Rome’s mayor insists he’s going to keep riding his bike despite mafia threats.

Competitive cycling’s governing body promises much needed sweeping reforms, but so far it’s the moral equivalent of vaporware. However, they do raise the prospect of mixed gender competition in the Olympic Games.

A Philippine priest defies his doctors to ride across the country to raise awareness of climate change.

 

Finally…

Forget titanium, what you really need to impress the gang on the weekly beer ride is a racing bike layered in 24 karat gold.

And a new Aussie study says kids are seven times more likely to need brain surgery if they suffer a head injury while not wearing a helmet — especially they’re in a motor vehicle. So where’s the call for mandatory car helmets for kids?

………

Thanks to Jeffrey Fylling and Vanessa Gray for their generous donations to help support this site.

Morning Links: The last gasp for Santa Monica Blvd bike lanes; is Gil Cedillo sandbagging his own safety meetings?

It may be the last gasp for much-needed bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd in the Biking Black Hole.

The LACBC calls on everyone to attend today’s Beverly Hill’s City Council study session on the proposed bike lanes, or if you can’t make it, email councilmembers in support of the bike lanes largely unsupported by the council.

As usual, Better Bike provides an in-depth analysis of both the roadway and city politics, saying it looks like the fix is in. And not in a good way.

I wonder if the city can be sued for failing to consider the needs of all road users as required by Federal law and the state’s requirement for Complete Streets (pdf). Especially if state and/or Federal funds will be used in the planned reconstruction of the streets.

Now that’s one Kickstarter I’d pitch in for.

………

Local

A 27-year old bike rider was shot to death in South Los Angeles early Monday morning. Do we even need to mention what an incredible waste of human life that is?

A writer for City Watch says a less car-dependent Los Angeles is a fantasy. Then again, he’s probably right if we ignore alternatives and focus strictly on driving, even if the cars are driverless.

CD 1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo appears to sandbag his own street design public meetings for Northeast LA by failing to give sufficient public notice for anyone to actually attend.

 

State

A passer-by — or driver-by in this case — comes upon a Cypress bike collision, and is told the rider survived only because he or she wore a helmet — without noting what injuries the victim did or didn’t suffer, and whether a helmet could have actually made a difference. And never mind the inappropriate photo of a happy, helmet-clad kid.

Bicyclists ask for more space on Caltrain cars.

A Modesto letter writer says drivers have an obligation to stick around if they hit someone — although the driver who admitted hitting him on purpose actually did.

 

National

A new book looks at the history of Bicycles in American Highway Planning from 1969 to 1991, when an emphasis on motor vehicles marginalized bike infrastructure and set bicycling back 40 years.

The much loved Urban Velo succumbs to the times and ceases publication.

Bike friendly Portland encourages people to ride to the airport; if that was a viable option here, maybe we wouldn’t have such disastrous traffic tie-ups every holiday. We can dream, can’t we?

Nice. A non-profit organization founded by a Seattle man has given over 2,000 bicycles to survivors of human trafficking around the world.

Cherokee Schill, the Kentucky cyclist arrested for riding her bike in the traffic lane, has filed to run for Lt. Governor of the seemingly bicycling-challenged state.

 

International

We have met the enemy, and he is us. Brit bike scribe Carlton Reid illustrates how our paved roads — and yes, the cars on them — were begot by bicyclists.

Must have thin skinned police in Italy, as the cops who conducted the possibly flawed investigation into the death of cycling legend Marco Pantani threaten to sue the press for besmirching their reputations.

A new emphasis on cycling has helped change Rwanda’s international image.

Now that’s more like it. Singapore commits to becoming a bicycling nation by 2030, but a former official says it can be done in just six years.

 

Finally…

The perfect gift for your ultra-competitive toddler. A Korean company says it’s developed the first truly functional flat-proof bike tire.

And as if drivers didn’t have enough trouble seeing us, Russia’s Tinkoff-Saxo pro team unveils new camo training uniforms.

 

Morning Links: Dangerous SaMo corner, LA Calbike board members, East LA man killed in bike dispute

I count on my readers to keep us appraised dangerous situations.

Especially now when health issues continue to keep me off my bike.

For instance, Santa Monica cyclist Bill Jordan writes about a dangerous intersection after seeing a cyclist down Wednesday morning.

Wanted to make you aware of a bike car collision that occurred this morning at the bottom of the 23rd street hill behind the Santa Monica Airport where it intersects Dewey St. Two cars were stopped with multiple police officers on the scene and a crumpled bike in between the two cars.

Samo MapI’m quite familiar with the intersection, as I bike commute 1-2 days per week past it in both directions, and I can safely say it’s the spot I’m most concerned about on every ride. It’s also easily solvable with a little adjustments to traffic flow. As you can see in this crude graphic, evening rush hour traffic backs up 23rd St. (highlighted in red), typically all the way to Ocean Park Blvd.

This encourages people to use the comparatively empty 21st St, and then cut across Dewey, Navy, Marine, or even the alleyway between Navy and Dewey (highlighted in yellow). This would be fine, except drivers rarely remember to check the unimpeded southbound bike lane on 23rd before turning out into the stopped traffic. Since it’s a 3% decline, I often find myself riding the brakes to avoid running broadside into a car that didn’t realize there was more than one lane of traffic they were turning across. It is not surprising at all that the Strava Segment for that downhill section is called “Ocean Park – Rose Kamikaze.”

As for why the traffic backs up, you don’t have to go far to find the solution. The intersection at Rose Avenue and Walgrove has a light that is timed for the morning rush, when a number of people are coming west on Rose Avenue and turning north on Walgrove/23rd. However, that traffic doesn’t exist in the evening, but of course the lights follow the same pattern. This leads to lots of red light time for cars heading southbound on 23rd/Walgove, and creates the three quarter mile backup that encourages the unsafe neighborhood cut-throughs. Obviously with the morning collision the backup wasn’t the problem here, but it does show how unsafe the bike lane there is. Would love to know who could help fix this issue.

I’ve forwarded his email to Cynthia Rose of LACBC neighborhood chapter Santa Monica Spoke.

Any other suggestions for who he should talk to?

Update: I’ve just gotten word that the cyclist involved in this collision was popular LA rider Nate Loyal, who came out on the losing side of a collision with an SUV.

I’m told he was rushed to the hospital with a broken tibia, tibia and collarbone — but thankfully, no head injury. He’s scheduled for surgery today, but expected to be okay.

Best wishes and prayers for full and speedy recovery.

………

Calbike gets four new board members, including San Diego’s Elayne Fowler, Silicon Valley’s Janet LaFleur, and our own Dorothy Wong and BikinginLA sponsor Josh Cohen.

………

Sad news from Portland, as a beloved recumbent bike shop owner takes her own life, two years after she suffered a severe brain injury in a collision while riding her ‘bent. Thanks to David Wolfberg and Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

………

LASD sketch of the suspect

LASD sketch of the suspect

Just heartbreaking. A 76-year old East LA man suffering from dementia was beaten to death last August in a dispute over a bicycle, which did not belong to him.

His killer, identified only as a Hispanic man with a trimmed mustache and beard — which he probably shaved off if he’s seen the news — rode away on the bike.

………

Canyon Velo Cycling will host a Remembrance Ride for fallen OC cyclist Sherri Norton, three years after she was killed in a highly disputed collision. Thanks to Jeffrey for the news.

………

Local

Mayor Garcetti promises to step up street repaving, and assures Streetsblog the new and improved streets will have the most recent approved designs, including bike lanes and continental crosswalks. Meanwhile, a city council proposal would allow residents to tax themselves to pay for road and sidewalk repairs.

Santa Monica approves the county’s first Smart Bike bike share system.

More on Friday’s planned crackdown by Santa Monica police to improve bike and pedestrian safety; and yes, for a change, they’re targeting drivers as well as cyclists and jaywalkers.

Peloton looks at last Sunday’s Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer competition up some of the city’s — and the nation’s — steepest hills.

 

State

The San Diego Reader looks back at fallen cyclist Udo Heinz and the bus collision that needlessly took his life.

Sometimes you’re just in the wrong place. An El Cajon bike rider suffers serious injuries when he’s collateral damage in a collision between two vehicles.

A San Bernardino bike rider is killed in a pre-dawn shooting.

Santa Barbara police issue nearly 100 citations to drivers and cyclists alike in a crackdown to improve bike safety.

It’s not all bad news, though, as Santa Barbara will build a new bike station at the city’s Transit Station. Thanks again to Megan Lynch for the link.

San Francisco will expand their bike share system while upgrading equipment.

The long-planned Bay Bridge bike path connecting Oakland and San Francisco could be in trouble after authorities choke on a $400 million-plus price tag.

 

National

Wired offers up nine things drivers need to stop saying in the debate over bikes vs cars. To start, we could stop positioning it as bikes vs cars. Or cyclists vs drivers.

A big-hearted, yet anonymous Oklahoma cop buys a boy a new bike after his was stolen.

New York looks at the progress made in the first year of Vision Zero, while Portland moves forward with their plan.

If I rode with a knife like that, I'd probably get more respect from drivers, too

If I rode with a knife like that, I’d probably get more respect from drivers, too

People for Bikes unveils a new bike safety campaign based on popular Pittsburgh series.

Caught on video: Just days after a Boston aggro bike filmmaker survives a brush with a road raging cabbie, he barely survives a right hook in the rain — then wishes the driver a happy Wednesday.

A Philadelphia cyclist intervenes to stop a bike thief, even after the outlaw flashed a gun.

The writer of Brooklyn Spoke explains why he’s opposed to the proposed New York ban on cellphone use while bicycling.

A Florida father files suit against FedEx after a driver kills his bike-riding special needs son; the driver was allegedly looking down while he accelerated, and didn’t even know he’d hit someone.

 

International

Bikes are an economic powerhouse, as Europe’s cycling economy has created 650,000 jobs. And could reach one million in just six years.

Brit cyclists plan a die-in and faux funeral to call attention to the need for safer streets.

Your next bike could be a junk. Literally, as Brit firm specializes in upcycling scrap cars into handmade bicycles.

Dublin is hiring a new cycling czar. Don’t bother applying, I’m taking it.

Germany considers sending convicted dopers to jail for three years, with 10 years for the doctors who help them.

Cycling Weekly looks at a bike that isn’t quite the one the won a stage in the Tour de France in 1959, and offers solutions to embarrassing problems on a bike. Just make sure no one is drafting on you when you break wind; then again, if you’ve got a wheel sucker behind you, it’s a good defense mechanism.

An Aussie councilmember proposes a boxy, so-called “smart helmet that would comply with the country’s mandatory helmet law, while providing a licensing registration number that can be read by road cameras. And it has built-in turn signals, brake light, visor with wiper blade, and offers a warning when the rider gets too close to pedestrians. Seriously, you can’t make this shit up.

 

Finally…

A Seattle website asks whether a bike rack has been circumcised; looks like it to me. So much for the common argument that no one rides in winter weather.

And fair is fair: A Chicago columnist is incensed that dog owners must carry proof of a license when their dogs go out to poop, but cyclists don’t need one — to ride, not poop. But maybe bike-hating writers should have one to write crap like this.

 

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