Archive for Streets and Infrastructure

Morning Links: LACBC wins national award for work on Mobility Plan; Sadik-Khan says the bikes have won

So Cynthia Rose wasn’t the only one.

We reported yesterday that the founder of the LACBC’s Santa Monica Spoke local chapter had won the Alliance for Biking & Walking’s award for the nation’s most inspirational bike advocate.

Which if you know Cynthia, seems like an understatement.

But we missed the news that the LACBC won a second award, for Winning Campaign of the Year, for their successful work behind the scenes in getting the LA Mobility Plan 2035 approved by the city council.

Which is actually typical of the way the bike coalition seems to work; they may not make a lot of waves, but they get a lot done in ways for which they don’t always get, or take, the credit they deserve.

Congratulations to Cynthia and the LACBC for getting national recognition for their outstanding work.

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New York Magazine offers a great excerpt from former New York DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan’s new book, declaring the bike wars are over, and the bikes have won.

Or rather, the people of New York, who back her work in reimagining the city’s streets in overwhelming numbers, despite very vocal opposition, came out on top.

None of the bike-lane opponents’ predictions has come to pass. City streets have never been safer, more economically thriving, or offered more transportation options than they do today. My successor as Transportation commissioner is greatly expanding the network of bike paths and doubling the size of the city’s bike-share system…

When you push the status quo, it pushes back, hard. Everyone likes to watch a good fight. And the battle over bike lanes most surely was a street fight: politically bloody and ripped from the tabloids. Call me biased, call me crazy — many people have — but I’ll tell you this: The bikes, and all New Yorkers, won.

Meanwhile, Gothamist and Next City talk with her about her book and the battle over bike lanes.

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A couple recent bike incidents were caught on video.

In the first, a Ventura County bike rider captures the drifting driver who ran him down from behind as he rode on the shoulder of a roadway; fortunately, he wasn’t seriously injured. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

And a British cyclist captures the passenger in a passing BMW leaning out of the window to push him off his bike.

And yes, that’s a crime, not a prank.

Correction: I had originally said the cyclist was riding salmon, based on the directional flow of the traffic and parked cars. However, Andy S. points out that the person who posted the video says it wasn’t a one-way street, despite appearances. 

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Local

Like a character from a horror film that just refuses to die, the debate over opening Griffith Park’s Mt. Hollywood Drive to shuttle buses is back for yet another round, with a meeting tonight to present the latest on the Griffith Park Circulation & Traffic Enhancement Plan.

LADOT reports the installation of a new bike corral on Main Street in Venice. But does that red curb mean you could get a ticket if you use it?

Twitter’s topomodesto shows a section of westbound Venice got a semi-protected bike lane between Crenshaw and San Vicente with no fanfare, even if it does need a good cleaning.

 

State

California now ranks fourth in the US for bike commuting, though it remains at just 1.1% of all commuting trips.

A bike has become a four-year fixture at UC Irvine, thanks to a sign attached to the handlebars reading “Jesus ain’t white.”

A Palm Springs writer calls it a terrible waste of energy to argue over whether bicycles should be allowed in wilderness areas, saying the matter is long settled.

Ventura police release a photo that may be the second vehicle in the multi-car hit-and-run that took the life of a 14-year old bike rider last month; unfortunately, it’s very hard to make out any details.

A Stockton bike rider was critically injured when he was collateral damage in a collision between two cars; he had the misfortune of simply being nearby when one driver pulled out in front of the other.

A 74-year old Petaluma bike rider was hospitalized after overshooting his turn and crashing into the side of a bus.

 

National

A new study from the Mineta Transportation Institute finds that despite perceptions, bikeshare is actually safer than riding your own bike.

An Oregon letter writer blames an “inconsiderate” spandexed cyclist riding on the white line, not even in the roadway, for a near collision. And apparently never considering that it’s possible to slow down in order wait for the opportunity to pass safely.

A Seattle writer says instead of the city buying the bikeshare system, people should just go out and buy their own bikes. Except that’s not what bikeshare is for. And no offense, but any bike you can buy at Target for $70 probably isn’t worth riding.

Chicago police and cyclists disagree over whether bike riders are allowed to ride a primary bike path through the Logan Square district after 11 pm; police insist the city park it runs through is closed between 11 pm and 6 am, while bike advocates says people are allowed to ride through as long as they don’t stop. So if they get stopped by the robbers that frequent the path, would they be breaking the law? Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the link.

Connecticut cyclists back a bill that would increase the fine for careless drivers who hit bike riders or pedestrians from $90 to $500. Needless to say, truckers, who evidently plan on hitting them, think the fine is too high.

New York unveils plans for a protected bike lane to improve safety on a dangerous stretch of roadway. Maybe someday we can see something like that here in LA.

A Georgia collegiate cyclist rises to prominence, overcoming a form of stroke so rare that only six people have ever had it — and he’s the only one who survived.

 

International

Nice piece from the founder of Ella, who looks back on nine things she’s learned after launching a women’s cycling website.

A Montreal journalist is the face of a new pro-helmet campaign after she was seriously injured in a collision last year; however, a science writer says in response that it’s infrastructure and mass numbers of cyclists that really make a difference in safety.

No matter how many cities, states and provinces adopt a three-foot passing law — or one meter, in this case — politicians always seem to act like no one has ever done it before, predicting catastrophe in defeating a proposed bill in Manitoba.

As London mayor Boris Johnson prepares to leave office, he regrets not building more protected bikeways. Meanwhile, a website suggests ten things you shouldn’t do while riding on the city’s new cycle superhighways.

Japan has recorded over 9,100 bicycling violations in the six months since a new law went into effect regulating bike safety; eight men have been required to take a safety course after repeated violations.before being allowed back on their bikes.

 

Finally…

You know e-bikes have caught on when even the pros want one. Like the song says, if you like it, should’ve put a ring on it; no, on his bike, not his finger.

And when your typical day at the office involves driving in ovals at 200 mph, a little 400 mile bike ride should be a breeze.

 

Morning Links: LA River bike path closed through Memorial Day, and biking & walking are booming in the US

You might as well give up on riding the LA River bike path anytime soon.

LADOT reports the Army Corps of Engineers plans to keep the flood control closure in place through the Griffith Park, Silverlake and Atwater Village areas at least through Memorial Day. And possibly longer if El Niño persists.

LA River Closure

Then again, I wouldn’t plan on hiking Runyon Canyon, either.

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The Alliance for Biking & Walking says both are on the increase.

According to Bicycle Retailer, the organization’s nearly 200-page 2016 biannual report says bicycling is up 71% in large cities since 2007, and 50% overall, even though men continue to outnumber women riders, who make up just 29% of all bicyclists.

The report also shows protected bike lanes encourage bicycling, increasing riding levels anywhere from 21% to 171%.

And eight out of the ten Complete Streets projects studied resulted in increased property values for the surrounding area. Which means that when home and business owners argue against bikeways, they’re fighting against their own financial self-interest.

Meanwhile, the reports lists the top ten US cities where people bike or walk to work. And needless to say, Los Angeles isn’t on it.

Although surprisingly, Los Angeles leads the nation in miles of bikeways. Too bad so few of them connect into a useful network, or those commuting levels might be higher.

US Bike Lane Comparison

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It’s a CicLAvia preview battle royale, as reigning champ the Militant Angeleno is out with his epic 20-point look at Sunday’s North Valley ciclovía, while Valley boy CiclaValley challenges with a preview so jam-packed it had to come in two parts.

But as any fan of the pugilistic arts can attest, it’s the blows that land, not the ones thrown, that count.

Read ‘em all, and plan your day accordingly.

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VeloNews offers a preview on the biggest year ever for women’s cycling.

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Local

The Valley’s Vineland Ave bike lanes get a coat of green paint in conflict areas in an attempt to keep cars out, since nothing else has seemed to work.

Look for the South Bay’s Beach City Bike Tours to be featured on the Today Show Friday morning.

 

State

Goleta approves plans for a bike and pedestrian bridge crossing San Jose Creek.

Sad news from Fresno, as a bike rider was killed after being hit by one or more cars. And a salmon cyclist suffered life-threatening injuries when he was hit by a car in nearby Hanford.

Alameda approves a plan to improve bike and pedestrian safety.

Outside Magazine provides a look at 21 of the world’s most beautiful bicycles from Sacramento’s North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

 

National

Caught on video: Michael Eisenberg forwards news of a stuck-and-run driver who somehow managed to travel more than 300 feet along a separated bike path on an Oregon bridge before getting wedged in, then simply went home for the night. leaving her truck where it was. Police let her off, saying totaling her truck was punishment enough.

Seattle’s city council can’t decide whether to save the city’s bikeshare program.

Cycling in the South Bay takes a trip down memory lane at Lance Armstrong’s Mellow Johnnie’s bike shop in Austin TX

Talk about a winner. An Arkansas woman whose dog mauled a cyclist last month is arrested for threatening a 17-year old girl on Facebook.

Caught on video 2: A road raging Chicago driver chases down and beats the crap out of a bicyclist, all because the rider softly said “You’re in the bike lane bro” as he rode past the man’s car.

New DC bike ramps will make it easier to bike near the White House.

 

International

A worldwide network of bike counters — including one at UCLA — show ridership is rising rapidly; a new report says training is the key to getting new riders out on the road.

A member of the Manitoba Hell’s Angels faces assault charges for pummeling a 14-year old boy for riding his bicycle past the biker’s yard.

A London bike loan program is helping to get underrepresented groups out on bikes; people get a bike, lock and helmet for a month, along with bicycle training, for the equivalent of just $14. Something like that could be very effective in increasing ridership in underserved areas right here in LA.

Despite vocal opposition, London’s network of segregated cycle tracks enjoys exceptionally strong support, with 71% of Londoners saying they’d like to see protected bike lanes on main roads in their own neighborhoods.

Okay, so maybe 3 pm on a Friday isn’t the best time to pull a 200-yard wheelie in front of a cop on a busy British street.

More stupid criminal tricks, as a New Zealand man left his bike helmet and lock behind after gunning down two people; DNA from the helmet identified him as the suspect.

A new Streetfilm looks at why so many people bike in Tokyo when there are so few bike lanes.

Speaking in Taipei, Trek’s CEO challenges bike makers to do more to support bike advocacy. Which shouldn’t be hard, since they currently do almost nothing.

 

Finally…

When you have a $1.2 million bet on the line for your first bike ride in 18 years, clearly, the first thing to do is shave your legs; although a bicycle powered by 4,500 PSI of compressed air might help, too. If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a hundred times — if you’re going to ride with meth and drug paraphernalia on your bike, put a damn light on it. Thanks to Bryan Dotson for the heads-up.

And the seven deadly sins of cycling that will have you burning in hell for all eternity.

Well, maybe not you, but some other cyclists you probably know.

 

Morning Links: Rio Hondo bike path closed, Glendale matches LA’s hit-and-run rewards, and way better wayfinding

The LA River Bike Path isn’t the only major local bikeway closed right now.

Mateusz Suska of Bike LA County tweeted Thursday that the Rio Hondo Bike Path is closed between San Gabriel Blvd and Rush Street through the Whittier Narrows due to construction work.

The county bikeways map shows the closure is due to last through March 10th.

However, I keep getting an internal server error when I try to access the bike path closures page; maybe you’ll have better luck.

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Glendale votes to match Los Angeles in offering rewards up to $50,000 for information leading to the conviction of a hit-and-run driver.

Hopefully, the idea will spread; drivers shouldn’t get away with it just because they ran away on the wrong side of the city limits.

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The Burbank city council votes once again to ban bikes from the formerly bike, pedestrian and equestrian Mariposa Street Bridge over the LA River.

But in nearly the same breath, they voted to move forward with a separate bike and pedestrian bridge at Bob Hope Drive. Although one that won’t be ready until at least 2020, while the bike ban on the Mariposa Street Bridge goes into effect right away.

So you’re only screwed for the next four years.

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Now this is a wayfinding sign, as my platinum-level bike friendly hometown installs detailed signage along a key bike corridor.

I’d like to say we could use signs like this here in LA. But first we’d have to get a key bike corridor to put them on.

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Local

Bikeshare is coming to Venice, as LA and Santa Monica approve plans for five Breeze bikeshare stations, with up to 15 more to come. The story adds that LA, Long Beach, West Hollywood and yes, the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills are scheduled to get bikeshare systems of their own before the year is over.

Los Angeles Magazine looks at Caltrans’ plans to destroy yet another neighborhood with a flyover HOV lane exit ramp that would go right next to the historic St. John’s Cathedral, and dump drivers in the middle of LA’s first Complete Street on South Figueroa.

One percent of West Hollywood residents bike to work, compared to two percent of the people who work there; 85% of residents prefer to drive by themselves.

Long Beach’s Empact is hosting a free bike safety class this Saturday; everyone who participates will get a free helmet and bike lights.

The Times looks at the soon-to-be bike-friendly makeover of Huntington Park’s Pacific Boulevard.

Bike SGV is bringing the Cycling Without Age program to El Monte next month.

 

State

Coronado police bust a bike thief using a remotely monitored bicycle with a tracking device in it. Or as anyone else would call it, a bait bike.

The head of a San Diego non-profit says it’s great that the city has adopted Vision Zero, but now it’s time to pay for it.

San Diego is investing $750,000 in hosting the first stage of the Amgen Tour of California, while expecting a return of $2.5 million to the local economy.

Cathedral City moves forward with a 2.5 mile segment of the inexplicably controversial CV Link, a planned 50-mile multi-use path circling the Coachella Valley that has faced intense opposition in some cities along the route.

Palo Alto’s new bike-riding mayor says traffic won’t improve until more people get out of their cars. Which is pretty much the answer just about anywhere.

 

National

A Portland writer suggests five ways Vision Zero should address race and income injustice.

Oregon is becoming the next state to phase out Share the Road signs.

Las Vegas will take a year to complete the city’s first Complete Street, replacing two traffic lanes with wider sidewalks, buffered bike lanes, narrower lanes and a raised center median.

A Texas doctor raises funds to give nearly 4,000 bike helmets to local kids.

After a Cleveland man is acquitted for fatally left crossing a group of cyclists, a local bike advocacy group says being sorry for his actions should not excuse him from being accountable to them.

New bamboo bike maker Pedal Forward will employ the homeless to build bikes in New York, while 10% of sales will help fund bicycles for people in Tanzania and Uganda.

Like some creature from a horror film, the lawsuit to rip out NYC’s highly successful, five-year old Prospect Park West bike lanes refuses to die, even after all the major players have moved on.

Now that’s taking traffic crime seriously. An Alabama man gets one year for criminally negligent homicide for running down two cyclists in 2014, and 10 years for assault.

 

International

People for Bikes goes bike riding through Cuba.

A Vancouver website asks if British Columbia’s mandatory bike helmet law will kill the city’s coming bikeshare system. It certainly won’t help; Seattle’s helmet law is often blamed for the failure of that city’s program.

Not surprisingly, 42% of Brits surveyed say they live too far away to bike to work, while 20% cited the country’s notorious weather as their reason not to ride; nine percent don’t let either excuse get in the way.

Evidently, LA isn’t the only place where the streets are crumbling. A British cyclist complains that potholes are a disgrace after flatting both tires and narrowly avoiding the truck behind him. Maybe what he needs is a bike light that tells bicyclists where to expect them.

As bicycling booms in Israel, Tel Aviv plans to spend 30 million shekels — about $7.5 million — to expand and connect their existing network of dead-end bikeways.

Evidently having solved all other traffic and crime problems, Brisbane, Australia police crack down on bicyclists who don’t have a bike bell. Because apparently, just using your voice just isn’t good enough Down Under.

 

Finally…

For anyone unclear on the concept, getting drunk and throwing your bike at passing cars is not the correct way to use it. Your next bike could shoot lasers and run on the Android OS.

And the South Pole is about to become bike friendly. Sort of.

 

Morning Links: Killer SD hit-and-run driver has a bad night; next Griffith Park access meeting on Wednesday

This is why so many people hate lawyers.

The attorney for a San Diego driver who fled the scene after driving though a bike lane, jumping the curb and hitting two young girls, leaving one brain dead, says she’s just a “really good person who obviously had a very bad night.”

Right.

The victims’ family had a worse one.

He goes on to give reasons that he says affected her ability to control her car, which may or may not be valid.

But the bottom line is, if you can’t operate a motor vehicle safely, for whatever reason, don’t get behind the damn wheel.

And nothing excuses running off like a coward, leaving a couple of little girls bleeding in the street.

Ever. Period.

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A couple quick events, complete with massive graphics.

The next meeting to discuss access plans for Griffith Park, which could include frequent, yet inadequate, shuttle service on previously closed Mt. Hollywood Drive is scheduled for next Wednesday night.

Griffith Park Access

And CICLE is hosting a Bikes and Beats Community Bike Ride this Saturday.

Flyer_Bikes_and_Beats_Community_Bike_Ride_v3-1

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A 31-year old transient is suspected in the stabbing death of cyclist Sidney Siemensma on an Irvine bike path last month; the suspect, an acquaintance of the victim, was already in custody on kiddie porn charges.

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Bikeshare continues to expand across North America, with new programs coming to Evanston IL, Richmond VA and Vancouver, British Columbia, and another under consideration in Tacoma WA.

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The website is up for live streaming of American cyclist Evelyn Stevens’ attempt to break the women’s hour record, starting at 10:30 am this Saturday.

My money is on her to smash it.

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Local

Streetsblog looks at that crazy, unmarked detour around the LA River Bike Path, which has been closed to make way for the El Niño flood control barriers installed by the Army Corps of Engineers. And suggests it’s an opportunity to stripe bike lanes on a more direct route, if anyone at LADOT or the mayor’s office happens to be listening.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department is asking for the public’s help in finding the people who fatally shot a father of four last year as he rode his bike on a Compton sidewalk.

Richard Risemberg says horses have gone into war for millennia, but somehow can’t see a bicycle on the Mariposa bridge without suffering a heart attack.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune says Temple City missed an opportunity to remake Las Tunas Drive and revitalize the city’s downtown, ensuring the city’s main drag will “remain a big drag, a four-lane plus turn-lane place to drive while going somewhere more interesting.” Not to mention keeping it dangerous for anyone not encased in a ton of steel and glass.

 

State

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks with Calbike’s Jeanie Ward-Waller about a proposal to rebate up to half the purchase price of a commuter bicycle.

A Camp Pendleton spokesperson discusses the new rules for riding on the base, but says the Boob Ride will go on.

Bike thefts have spiked in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood, with reports of thieves breaking into apartment complex garages.

A man on a bicycle allegedly stabbed two people following an altercation at a Victorville gas station.

Palm Springs is adding bike lanes to five streets and improved signage and street markings to 17 others in the next few months, after painting green lanes on another five streets since last September.

Santa Barbara approves a new bike plan, although in yet another battle over bike lanes versus parking, the city just gives provisional approval to a bike lane on one commercial street after the city attorney raises questions about whether it requires an additional environmental review. I could have sworn we recently passed a law precisely to exempt bike plans from that.

A Fresno bike shop is considering closing after bike thieves broke in for the second time in just 10 days.

 

National

A new Boulder CO off-road cycling tour company promises to take you on mountain biking trails you’ve never heard of. Grammatically, that should be “of which you’ve never heard.” But screw that.

You’ve got to be kidding. A North Dakota driver gets a whopping six months — half of that to be served at home — and a lousy $1,000 fine for killing a cyclist because he was busy taking a selfie as he drove. Nice to see they take distracted driving seriously up there. And yes, that’s dripping with sarcasm. And contempt.

A Cincinnati councilman wants nearly a half mile of protected bike lanes ripped out so people can continue to park illegally; a local paper says the focus should be on scofflaw motorists instead.

Most snow belt cities ignore bikeways in the winter time, but Chattanooga TN has a cute little de-icing buggy for their protected lanes.

A Philadelphia bicycle company is working with local advocates this weekend to build 100 bikes to donate to community groups that were promised during last year’s papal visit.

A New York writer makes the case for enforcing red light laws against reckless bicyclists who blast through red lights, while maybe looking the other way when riders roll through more placid intersections.

A New Jersey website profiles the executive director of the state’s Bike and Walk Coalition.

 

International

Londonist says the future looks bright for London cyclists, but much depends on who wins the city’s upcoming mayoral election.

A British cyclist will attempt to ride up France’s famed Mont Ventoux by three separate routes, on a Brompton. So the question becomes, will he ride like the wind or fold like the bike?

Copenhagen is replacing all traffic lights in the downtown area with bike-friendly lights designed to recognize and favor bicycles.

I want to be like her when I grow up. A South African grandmother is still riding strong at age 87.

Bike ownership is no obstacle to joining the Singapore national cycling team.

 

Finally…

It does seem somewhat incredible two teams are withdrawing from the Movement for Credible Cycling because their test results aren’t. Here’s your chance to be a Cat 3 lab rat.

And if you really want to scare the hell out of drivers, this should do the trick.

 

Morning Links: Prize winner’s new bike, Burbank considers bike/ped bridge, and Ventura tow truck driver ID’d

Just a quick follow-up to our recent contest to give away a new bicycle courtesy of Torrance-based Beachbikes.net.

John sends a photo of his daughter on the custom bike that she won, noting that not only was she able to get the bike made to her specifications, but the store also assembled the bike, fit it to her and made all the adjustments.

It looks great. And I think we can all agree she looks good on it.

image4

image2

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CiclaValley reports the Burbank city council will meet tonight to consider a proposed bike and pedestrian bridge over the LA River to connect with a future bike path extension.

Considering the city’s recent decision to ban bikes from a long-shared pedestrian, equestrian and formerly, bike bridge, it can use all the support it can get, whether in person or by email; CiclaValley provides full details in the above link.

And hopefully, Councilwoman Emily Gabel-Luddy won’t vote against this one because a cyclist flipped her off once.

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Ventura police have identified the driver of the tow truck that killed a 14-year old bike rider in a hit-and-run caught on surveillance video early Friday morning. However, no arrest appears to have been made.

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Just what every parent needs. A cargo bike that converts to a stroller once you reach your destination.

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Local

The LA chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are hosting a La Loteria and charity Mexican drag bingo night tonight at Redline DTLA to raise funds for the LACBC.

Beverly Hills begins testing its two-station pilot bikeshare system this week, in preparation for throwing bike riding tourists to the wolves in the historically bike unfriendly city.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks murals and bicycle education in El Monte in the latest Damien Talks podcast.

Long Beach announces the entertainment and activities planned for Beach Streets Downtown, the city’s second ciclovía, scheduled for March 19th.

 

State

A man riding a bike was the victim of a drive-by shooting in Santa Ana early Monday; fortunately, his injuries were not expected to be life-threatening. Police say the shooting does not appear to be gang related.

San Diego will be hosting an ebike expo this weekend.

Next City reports San Diego plans to remake its city core with over nine miles of protected bike lanes and 5.5 miles of pedestrian greenways. Meanwhile, the city’s DecoBike bikeshare program is reportedly struggling after its first year, with only 88 of a projected 180 stations installed.

Ventura County will open a new campground for bike tourists in Foster Park, at the trailhead for the Ojai Valley Trail.

Santa Barbara bicyclists speak out in favor of the city’s new Bicycle Master Plan, which goes before the city council for approval tonight. And the Riverside County community of Eastvale considers its new bike master plan on Wednesday.

San Francisco installs a green bike lane next to the center line, rather than the curb, on one street to formalize the practice of cyclists passing cars on the left as they line up to make a right turn; the city also replaces a former freeway with a new condo complex that has no car parking, but offers bicycle parking for every resident.

 

National

An Arkansas cyclist needed 17 stiches after being attacked by a pit bull while training for a race; the dog’s owner insists he must have done something to provoke it. Like riding his bike, for instance.

A Chattanooga man is under arrest for allegedly pushing an eight-year old boy off his bike and climbing on top of him, then throwing his nine-year old brother off of his bike when he tried to intervene. Maybe we can lock him up with the Arkansas pit bull.

You know hit-and-run has become a major problem everywhere when an off-duty Massachusetts cop is accused of fleeing the scene after hitting a cyclist; his punishment so far amounts to a paid vacation while police investigate.

WaPo says riding too hard won’t kill you after all. More or less.

New Orleans police are looking for four men who severely beat bicycle pizza delivery man just because he refused to sell them a slice.

 

International

Orangetheory Fitness expands its orange-colored ghost bike-rip-off marketing campaign to British Columbia; the local manager claims no one would confuse them with actual ghost bikes, even though the issue has come up in virtually every city they’ve used it in.

London bicycle funding is scheduled to be cut in half at the same time the city encouraging more people to ride their bikes.

British bike writer and historian Carlton Reid takes a stroll through the comment section of a bikelash petition to block a London bike superhighway, including a signed comment by actor Tom Conti insisting that bicycles cause pollution.

Scottish transportation and environmental advocates join in calling on the country to spend less money on roads and more on biking and walking.

A UK parish councilor who flipped off a group of cyclists after running them off the road — leaving one rider hanging upside down in a tree — has resigned his position after being charged with careless driving. Never mind that his actions appeared to be intentional, and not the least bit careless.

A new book looks at bike racing in the time of five-time Tour de France winner Jacques Anquetil, the Lance Armstrong of his day — in more ways than one.

A French senator calls for a mandatory helmet law for all bike riders.

Even in the blockaded Gaza Strip, Muslim women are defying conservative traditions and cultural disapproval by riding their bikes, noting that nothing in their religion prohibits it.

A New Zealand writer says reimagining our streets isn’t about cycling or being anti-car, it’s about making cities for people the top priority.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to steal a bike, taking one honoring a fallen cop from the local police headquarters probably isn’t your best choice. What do porn and mountain bike racing have in common? More than you might think.

And with apologies to Snoop and Dre, this rider’s attire ain’t nothin but a G-string.

 

Morning Links: Koretz prevaricates on Westwood Blvd, possible 15 years in SD hit-and-run, and sing the joys of hi-viz

The UCLA Daily Bruin reports on last week’s City Planning Commission meeting, where commissioners voted to keep the Westwood Blvd bike lanes in the plan.

And they cite CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz as saying transportation policy for Westwood was developed without “consulting him or the community.”

Funny, that’s not the way I remember it.

I attended a number of meetings where the 2010 Bike Plan, and specifically Westwood Blvd, were discussed, dating back to when the initial plan was first unveiled in 2009.

All of which were attended by Koretz’s staff members, and at least some by Koretz himself. Including one highly contentious meeting that focused solely on Westwood, where supporters argued with angry residents and business owners protesting the possible removal of bike lanes and/or a traffic lane to in order to accommodate bike lanes.

Those complaints were heard loud and clear. The result was a revised plan creating a floating bike lane that would have retained all traffic lanes, and kept parking by flipping it from one side of the street to the other between the morning and evening rush.

However, business owners refused to consider it because it meant their customers would have to cross the street to get to their shops. Meanwhile neighboring homeowners, who were addressed directly, simply didn’t want bike lanes on “their” street.

Koretz responded to their complaints by halting a nearly-completed engineering study of bike lanes on the boulevard, followed by putting a permanent hold on installation of the bike lanes themselves at the behest of local residents. Even though I’m told the study would have showed the bike lanes would improve safety with no significant impact on traffic flow.

In response, traffic planner Ryan Snyder developed a plan that would have added bike lanes along most of Westwood, with sharrows in a small section where there was too narrow for bike lanes, while keeping all parking on both sides of the street and retaining existing traffic lanes.

Yet even the “Remove Nothing Plan” was rejected out of hand, this time out of supposed fear for the safety of cyclists on the busy street. Which never seemed to be a concern for opponents in any discussions prior to that point, making it seem that they were simply fishing for any argument to stop the plan.

And never mind countless outreach efforts by the LACBC and their bike ambassadors, and multiple presentations to neighborhood councils and homeowner groups.

So it wasn’t that there wasn’t any outreach, or effort to address the concerns of Koretz and local community members. It’s just that they insisted on sticking their fingers in their ears and stomping their feet like petulant two-year olds while shouting “No! No! No!”

To say neither he nor the community was consulted is disingenuous at best, if not an outright lie.

We deserve better from our elected officials.

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Brace yourself, this one gets complicated.

San Diego’s NBC-7 reports that Jonathan Domingo Garcia, the 23-year old hit-and-run driver who killed adult tricycle-riding community leader Maruta Gardner as she was cleaning off graffiti in Mission Beach last week —

  • Was drinking 40-ounce beers with a friend just hours prior to the wreck
  • Spent the afternoon slashing tires and otherwise vandalizing cars with said friend
  • Got behind the wheel with alcohol, marijuana and another unnamed depressant in his system
  • Drove away after rear-ending another car
  • Later passed the same car on the right as the driver tried to stop him
  • Drove on the shoulder at twice the posted speed limit
  • Didn’t stop after hitting Gardner, but pulled over later in a parking lot to examine the damage to his car
  • Drove back to the crime scene, refusing to stop when a cop tried to flag him down
  • Hit another car trying to get away
  • Apparently couldn’t have cared less when told his victim was going to die, asking only if his car was damaged and when he could get it back

The station says he could get 15 years hard time if he’s convicted.

Somehow, that barely seems like enough.

………

Never mind getting drivers to pay attention. The key to safety is obsessive hi-viz, according to this 1978 bike safety vid dug up by British bike historian Carlton Reid.

………

Local

The LA Times is hosting a half-day conversation on the future of transportation in Southern California, including talks with Mayor Eric Garcetti and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, as well as discussions on self-driving cars, hyperloops and the next steps for LA. It appears to be free, but you have to apply for an invitation, which may or may not be granted.

A writer for the Pasadena Weekly says you are not a driving instructor, so keep your horn to yourself; it’s not intended to tell others how to drive, give them the audible equivalent of the bird, or tell slower traffic, including cyclists, to get the hell out of your way. Amen, sister.

CiclaValley offers some breathtaking bike photography from around the world.

 

State

A Fallbrook website offers photos of the recent 12 and 6 Hours of Temecula endurance mountain bike races.

Business owners on a Santa Barbara street complain that plans for a bike lane would violate California environmental laws by removing 100 parking spaces along the street; they swear they support bike lanes, just somewhere else where it would cost a lot more. No, seriously, they say removing parking spaces and giving people an alternative to driving would be worse for the environment.

Salinas bike lockers are going unused. If no one is using bike lockers, chances are they’re either in the wrong place, unsecure or people don’t feel safe riding there.

San Jose police arrest the driver who fled the scene and abandoned his car after running down a cyclist last week.

 

National

Once again, a new study upends your training diet by announcing fried foods are now good for you. Although a greasy meal before your next century could prove a little problematic.

A bike lawyer describes the risks of riding in the door zone, calling it a dangerous game of Russian roulette for cyclists.

In a long and wonky piece, People for Bikes says it looks like major changes are coming to the national street design committee that will make it friendlier to bicycling and walking.

Another example of women earning a fraction of what men do. After a Las Vegas gambler bets a woman gambler $10,000 she can’t ride her bike from Vegas to LA in 72 hours, he bets another guy $600,000 he can’t ride from LA to Vegas in 48.

Houston plans to make the notoriously auto-centric city more bike friendly, including a long-term proposal for 861 miles of “high-comfort” bikeways. Does that mean you have to ride them on a plush bike?

A Michigan cop told a cyclist to tell it to the judge when he was ticketed for impeding traffic by riding in the roadway, even though the rider insisted he was within his rights. So he did, and he won.

Big name, bike riding NASCAR and IndyCar racers team up with former pro cyclists on a 60-mile ride to the Daytona Speedway to promote bike safety.

 

International

Now that pro cycling is allegedly cleaning up its act, amateur cyclists represent the next frontier in doping. Meanwhile, Lance’s lawyers say cycling was a cesspool back in his day, and only a fool would have believed it when he insisted he wasn’t doping. I guess that means there were a lot of fools back then, myself included, who truly wanted to believe.

Cycling Weekly says leave your bike at home when you travel, and rent one at your destination instead.

Evidently, the British press has run out of fresh scandals, and is resorting to replaying the greatest hits of recent bad bike behavior.

Yale looks at Germany’s new 62-mile bike superhighway.

An Indian cyclist hopes to win gold at the Rio Paralympics despite being born without hands.

If you see downed power lines, don’t ride over them; an Aussie rider learned that the hard way.

As bicycling gains in popularity, Singapore advocates hope to convince more people to commute by bike.

A travel website suggests bicycling is the best way to visit Bagan, Myanmar, which it describes as a temple-filled, real-life Narnia where bikes rent for $1 a day. You just have to walk through the right wardrobe to get there.

 

Finally…

It’s one thing to reject a bike lane to preserve parking, but voting to preserve illegal double-parking may set some sort of NIMBY record. Now you can wash your clothes while you pedal; if they can figure out how to put that on an actual bike so you’ll have clean clothes to wear at the end of your ride, I’m in.

And you know we’re making progress when even burglars are going multimodal. Thanks to Margaret for the heads-up.

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at February 18, 2016 5.31.50

Morning Links: Temple City shoots down safe streets on Las Tunas; ridiculous and sublime new bike offerings

Temple City voted last week to shoot itself in the foot.

The city council threw away four years of public meetings — and $6 million in funding — devoted to revitalizing Las Tunas Drive through the city.

The council had been presented with three plans to remake the roadway into a Complete Street that would serve the needs of all road users, as well as the greater community — two involving road diets and bike lanes, and one which would accommodate bike lanes by narrowing the existing traffic lanes.

But even though the third option would have had no effect on traffic flow, other than improving safety, the council voted to do nothing in the face of opposition from some mostly older residents.

Here’s just part of what Boyonabike’s John Lloyd had to say on the subject:

It was a setback for the region, and leaves Las Tunas a dangerous commuter arterial instead of a vibrant center for local people and businesses.  I have no doubt that the people of Temple City will eventually see the light, but in the meantime the design of Las Tunas remains stuck in the past, serving only a part of the community’s needs, forcing everyone else into a steel box….

When we create a transportation system that only works for cars, we create a partial system that excludes and marginalizes people who can’t afford cars, don’t want a car, or who are unable to drive.  We essentially force all but the most experienced and confident (or desperate) to buy into the car system.  Once people buy into that system they expect cities to design infrastructure for their convenience, which further reinforces the incompleteness of this unsafe, inequitable, unsustainable, people-unfriendly system.

Meanwhile, Andrew Yip forwards a letter from a Realtor organization that set out to rile up opponents of the plan in advance of last week’s meeting.

Let’s see how many obvious errors you can spot in it.

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Never mind that bike lanes like the ones proposed for Las Tunas have been repeatedly shown to not just improve safety, but boost sales for local businesses, reduce business vacancy rates and increase property values for homeowners in the surrounding area.

Maybe those property owners would have liked to know some of that before they were roused into voicing their opposition and cowing the council.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the city as Rosemead, rather than Temple City. Thanks to John Lloyd and Andrew Yip for the correction.

………

Let’s catch up on a little new bike news.

Why bother putting fenders on your bike when you can just buy a $3,570 bike with front and rear mud guards built into the carbon fiber frame?

Just what every kid needs. A $2,775 carbon fiber mountain bike designed for children from four to seven; at least the frame is adjustable as they grow. Did I mention it costs nearly three grand?

And here’s the perfect bike for your next CicLAvia.

Meanwhile, a nice essay by Anna Schwinn in Bicycle Times suggests the reason fewer women ride bikes starts with the bike itself, in an industry that caters to men and offers few models in women’s sizes. And even then, usually lower quality at a higher price. Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the link.

………

Local

The new documentary about East LA’s Ovarian Psycho’s scheduled to premier at South by Southwest has just 15 days to raise another $15,000 to get funded.

KPCC reports on the battle over the Mariposa Street Bridge, where Burbank officials recently voted to ban the mere presence of bicycles lest they frighten the horses.

LADOT Bike Blog celebrates the 20th anniversary of the city’s successful sidewalk bike rack program; you can request a bike rack at your favorite location by filling out this form. I’m requesting racks at a couple of medical buildings I visit far too often; it’s absurd that offices dedicated to health force their patients and staff to drive because there’s no safe bike parking for blocks around.

Burbank is planning an “epic day of celebration” at this year’s Burbank on Parade on April 23rd, including a mini-CicLAvia sponsored by Walk Bike Burbank.

Hawthorne plans to upgrade Hawthorne Blvd, including extending bike lanes through the once-thriving area.

 

State

Calbike is asking the state Air Resources Board to extend their Clean Vehicle Rebate Program to cover up to half the cost of a bicycle, since bikes are cleaner than the greenest car.

The father and son team of Darryl and Bryce Headrick were officially charged with felony aggravated assault on a peace officer on Tuesday, after allegedly attacking a cop who tried to stop Headrick the Younger on suspicion of biking under the influence last week.

Another case of a hit-and-run driver running down a jogger in a bike lane, this time in San Diego. And this time, with her 3-year old daughter in the car; she also hit two parked cars for good measure.

Duel doctorates in aeronautics and astronautics, cyclocross racer and a top 20 finisher in the collegiate national road cycling championships. Not a bad resume for this San Benito County woman.

A UC Berkeley student says common sense on the part of drivers and pedestrians can help prevent collisions with cyclists. Common sense on the part of bike riders can go a long way, too.

 

National

The Verge looks at Portland’s new bikeshare program, financed with $10 million from Nike.

A Seattle man bought a bike off a man carrying bolt cutters for $20, assuming it was stolen. Then put an ad on Craigslist offering to return it to the owner for free.

Iowa moves forward with a bill that would require drivers to change lanes to pass a bike rider.

Nice piece from NBC Sports on a Minnesota pro cyclist who gave up his career so his Olympic triathlete wife could be the best in the world at hers.

Yet another case of a car being used as a weapon, as a Massachusetts man faces charges for intentionally running down a 15-year old bike rider before fleeing the scene. Maybe we should require background checks and waiting periods before being allowed to buy a car.

Many LA cyclists stay home when the temperature dips below 70 degrees; these Pittsburgh bike messengers ride with a chill factor of 11 below.

Philadelphia plans to build 30 miles of protected bike lanes by 2021, while my platinum-level bike friendly hometown intends to join them by building protected lanes on most arterials streets.

The parents of a Delaware student who was knocked down by a bike rider has sued the university for failing to ban bikes from sidewalks; the victim is still in a coma four months later.

Virginia legislators kill a bill that would have required children under 18 to wear a helmet when riding a bike. Meanwhile, this is what it looks like when a driver violates Virginia’s three-foot passing law.

 

International

An Alaska man would have finished third in the 1,000 mile Yukon Quest sled dog race if he had been mushing instead of riding a bike. Even though he was nearly deported by Canadian border officials for not having the right paperwork.

A 12-year old British boy will be “strongly advised” in front of his parents after police catch him riding his bike anticlockwise on a busy freeway.

 

Finally…

Nothing like taking your songbirds out for a bike ride. The next Tesla driver who runs you off the road may be more pint sized than usual.

And if you can’t afford a railroad ticket, just build your own one-seat pedal-powered train.

 

Morning Links: Bikes banned from Burbank bridge; defaced signs led San Diego cyclists astray

It’s official.

Burbank has now banned bikes from the Mariposa Street Bridge over the LA River — whether riding, walking with one, carrying it or standing perfectly still — after speakers in favor of the ban referred to bike riders as “arrogant scofflaws and jerks,” who are apparently incapable of following the rules.

A Burbank councilwoman voted in favor of the ban, apparently because a bike rider advocating for continued access to what was originally intended as a bicycle, equestrian and pedestrian bridge looked like someone who flipped her off once.

No, seriously.

Meanwhile, horse riders arguing in favor of the ban misrepresented LA municipal codes by saying bikes are banned entirely from Griffith Park trails, when the codes actually allow people to walk their bikes like any other pedestrians.

Calls for a compromise that would allow riders to walk their bikes across the bridge, or cross when no horses were on it, were dismissed by the council.

What’s sad is that the city council not only allowed their residents and others who ride bikes to be unfairly disparaged, they seem to have agreed with them.

Which does not bode well for Burbank bicyclists.

………

In case you’ve wondered why so many mountain bikers have had their bikes confiscated for straying onto military property in San Diego, this defaced sign should give you a pretty good idea.

And give the riders a pretty good defense.

………

Just weeks after calling the technology highly implausible, Cycling Weekly profiles an e-bike prototype from Lightweight that uses an electromagnetic wheel, based on maglev technology, that can reportedly generate 500 watts and reach speeds up to 62 mph.

Which should greatly enhance sprinting speeds once the pros figure out how to get their hands on it.

………

Michael Eisenberg forwards video of a horrifying crash in which a rider was lucky to avoid serious injury when he was sideswiped by a merging truck.

Looking at the video, the cyclists were clearly in the through lane, riding to the left of an exit lane, rather than in the middle lane as the headline suggests; they appear to be positioned exactly where they needed to be in order to continue straight on the roadway.

It’s the driver who broke the law by continuing straight instead of exiting, and merging on the painted shoulder without apparently noticing the cyclists to his left.

Or perhaps, not caring.

And trust me, you really don’t want to read the comments.

………

Local

Police at LAX give a regular Tuesday/Thursday group ride an official police escort, complete with a 3-Feet Please sign; Cycling in the South Bay thanks the officers for giving the riders protection instead of tickets.

Work is scheduled to begin this week on a road diet and bike lanes on Alamitos Ave in Long Beach.

Downey will host a four hour, 5.5 mile ciclovía on May 1st.

 

State

Tustin’s 22-year old Coryn Rivera is riding her way to Rio after winning 71 national championships.

A Sonoma County writer says the Amgen Tour of California helped make the area bike country.

Tragic news from Santa Rosa, as a four-year old boy is killed while riding in bike in an apartment building parking lot. There is something seriously wrong when children don’t have safe places to play and ride their bikes.

 

National

The suspension of Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge will mean the loss of $130 million for the state’s economy.

If you’re looking to challenge yourself, you could do a lot worse than this September’s West Elk Bicycle Challenge, a 134-mile timed Western Colorado road tour — 29 miles of that on dirt — offering 9,300 feet of climbing through some of the most beautiful country on earth.

A Maine editor remembers one of her favorite weddings, when the bride and groom rode in on bikes, along with all the guests.

Homeless people in South Carolina build their own BMX park.

After trying to jack a car, a Miami man hit a bike rider as he made his getaway in another vehicle. And somehow, the local press still calls it an accident.

 

International

London’s assembly votes to urge the next mayor to support bicycling, and vetoes a plan to let local residents veto bikeways.

A UK parish official was fined the equivalent of just $203 for forcing four cyclists off the road on a blind curve, then flipping them off on camera afterwards.

After riding his bike across six continents in the last six years, a British doctor finds the world is a friendlier and more welcoming place than he thought. But did he do it dressed as a super hero?

Britain missed the opportunity to become a Dutch-style bicycling nation in the ‘70s by dismissing bicycles as a form of recreation; now it will take the county decades to catch up. If ever.

Spend part of your summer studying Planning the Cycling City in Amsterdam. In English.

Germany is called a nation of cyclists, as 82% of people in the country ride a bike at least infrequently, though bikes trail cars and motorcycles in popularity.

A bike rider was swept away by massive floods in Portugal.

Aussie advocates fear new restrictions on cyclists and greater enforcement of helmet laws will cut down on beachfront bicycling in Sydney. Meanwhile, riders in Canberra may soon be allowed to ride sans helmet as long as they promise to go slow.

Ride your bike to visit the best temples in Cambodia.

In today’s history lesson, Japan used 6,000 bikes in a bicycle blitzkrieg to capture Singapore in WWII.

 

Finally…

You could do worse than looking for love on two wheels. Every bike rider gets flats; not every rider gets the Manx Missile fix them — and on Valentines Day, no less.

And evidently, driving a Zamboni is good training for working with a cargo bike moving company.

 

Morning Links: Planning Comm preserves Mobility Plan, PV bike lanes threatened, and register for River Ride

It looks like cooler and wiser heads prevailed.

Despite calls from representatives of three city councilmembers — Koretz, Price and Cedillo — for removing bike lanes planned for Westwood Blvd and Central Ave from the LA Mobility Plan, the city Planning Commission voted against removing them Thursday morning.

Or as LAist put it, bike haters failed to stop bike lanes from coming to Westwood and South LA.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they will actually be built.

As the head of the commission explained, the plan is an “aspirational document,” and there will be many public processes that will have to be completed before anything is painted on the streets. Which means those bike haters will have plenty more opportunities to derail them, starting with a hearing before the city council, on a date to be determined, which will consider the same amendments voted down by the commission.

But it’s a big win. And one that could mean safer streets, and a more complete bike network.

Someday.

Meanwhile, a writer for UCLA’s Daily Bruin came out strongly in favor of bike lanes on Westwood Blvd, saying ignorance is unsafe, irresponsible and completely inappropriate when forming transportation policy in Los Angeles; the paper also asks students whether the street is safe for cyclists.

However, Councilmember Paul Koretz vowed the day before the meeting to keep on fighting against bike lanes on the boulevard, promising to move them to some other, undetermined safer street. Which, like OJ and the hunt for the real killers, he apparently still hasn’t been able to find, despite years of searching.

Councilmember Curren Price explained his opposition to bike lanes on Central Ave, even though people in South LA demanded he change his mind.

And BikinginLA sponsor Josh Cohen wrote a detailed and insightful letter calling on the Planning Commission to keep the Mobility Plan intact; even though the vote is over, it’s worth taking a few moments to read.

………

Next Tuesday, Rancho Palos Verdes will consider a request by the Terranea resort to replace the required bike lanes with sharrows.

The City Council will conduct a public hearing on Tuesday, February 16, 2016, at 7 p.m. at Hesse Park Community Building, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes, to consider Terranea’s request to amend the Council-adopted Conditions of Approval to:

1) Restripe the entry driveway to create two inbound lanes and one outbound lane by replacing the required bicycle lanes with sharrow lanes (shared vehicle and bicycle lane) with no modification to the required parking spaces along the outbound lane; and,

2) Replace the turf at the Meadow Lawn area (adjacent to the ballroom facilities) with permeable pavers to facilitate the current practice of installing temporary tents in this area in connection with the ballrooms.

Thanks to Steve Herbert for the heads-up.

………

Registration is now open for this year’s 16th Annual LA River Ride, which remains one of the most popular rides in the LA area. The ride raises funds to support the LACBC, which in turn, benefits everyone who rides in LA County.

………

When you’re the stoker on a tandem — or maybe the Rear Admiral, of you prefer — you spend the whole ride staring at the butt ahead of you. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

Evidently, that hasn’t been a problem for Melba and Aubrey Provost, though, since they’ve been riding together since 1959.

………

Pro riders says more invasive testing is warranted to detect motor-doping.

………

Local

An Eastside community activist says we need to know how the demographics of bike riders who commute on North Figueroa compare with the demographics of the neighborhood before making a decision on whether bike lanes belong on the street. Even though I’ve never heard of that being taken into account before any traffic lane gets built, anywhere.

CiclaValley says the Marathon Crash Ride is back once again this year before Sunday’s LA Marathon; a Facebook page says keep the pace at a slow cruise and watch out for cars, people and equipment on the course.

Hermosa Beach plans to install bollards to keep cars off the bike and pedestrian-only Strand, after discovering Google sometimes directs motorists onto it; however, they note the bollards may not be enough to keep drunk drivers off the walkway.

 

State

A father and son severely beat a Huntington Beach cop who tried to stop the younger man on suspicion of biking under the influence, and was ambushed by the father. Fortunately, the officer is okay; both father and son have had previous run-ins with the police.

San Diego police recover the Vietnamese pedicab that was stolen just before the lunar New Year.

Prosecutors have dropped charges against an accused drunk driver four years after he killed a neurosurgeon who was riding his bike in Indian Wells; prosecutors reportedly plan to refile the charges after they had been unable to amend them.

The recent road rage epidemic moves to the Bay Area, as a hit-and-run driver dragged a screaming cyclist down the street with the bike trapped under the car.

Advice on how to bike in the rain in San Francisco works just as well in LA. El Niño is still lurking out there somewhere, and this pseudo-summer weather won’t last forever.

Berkeley advocates call on the city to extend bike lanes another two blocks after a UC professor riding her bike was nearly killed by an allegedly stoned driver.

 

National

Turns out Millennials aren’t the only ones driving less.

People for Bikes looks at how bicycles fare in President Obama’s final proposed budget.

Bicycling says you probably don’t have to worry about the degenerative brain condition CTE, even if you’ve had multiple concussions. Which is good news for my beat-up skull and contents.

Bike Lawyer Bob Mionske looks at group ride etiquette, admonishing riders to behave lest they give further fuel to the anti-bike forces out there. South Bay bike lawyer Seth Davidson would seem to disagree, though it’s hard to tell with his understated prose.

The Weekly Standard says Oregon’s “bike obsessed” Congressman Earl Blumenauer wants to force local governments to consider the effects their transportation projects would have on greenhouse gas emissions; evidently, they think that’s a bad thing.

Speaking of Oregon, the state legislature considers a bill that would allow drivers to be charged with third degree assault if they injure a vulnerable user while negligently operating a motor vehicle.

A Seattle writer asks if it’s time for the city to ditch its helmet requirement for bike riders. Considering it never should have had one, that would probably be yes; see Canadian study below.

A Colorado mountain biker receives a $1 million settlement after she was attacked by two Great Pyrenees sheep dogs during a race.

Topeka KS one ups LA with a two-day ciclovía beginning with a glow ride, pub crawl and concerts the first night.

A New Hampshire driver complains that bicyclists have a disproportionate influence on city government, even though they appear to be on the losing side in this case. Funny how many drivers seem to think they really do own the streets, and that bike riders should have to pay even more than we already do just for the privilege of using them.

 

International

Today is International Winter Bike to Work Day. Even if it feels more like summer here in SoCal.

A new Canadian study shows mandatory bike helmet laws have no effect on hospitalization rates; if they worked, you would have lower rates in areas with them than those without, which isn’t the case.

A Vancouver realtor finds it’s easier to get around the city to show homes by bike.

Evidently, aluminum frames are nothing new; the first ones appeared in the 1890s, and a British site called it the frame of the future over 70 years ago.

A writer for London’s Telegraph asks why drivers get away with attempted murderWhy, indeed? Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the link.

Caught on video: A paper from the UK asks who’s at fault when a van left hooks a bicyclist riding in a marked bike lane— the equivalent of a right hook in this country.

A Brit cyclist offers seven things you learn when you ride around the world.

A Singapore writer compares bike riders to litterers and scofflaw gum chewers in calling for licensing cyclists because one might possibly hurt someone someday.

 

Finally…

Who needs hi-viz when your clothes light up? If your bike has been stolen six times in four months, maybe it’s time to buy an alarm. Or a dog.

And if you’ve ever felt like a crash test dummy while riding the streets, Toyota may have an opening for you.

 

An open letter to the LA Planning Commission about bike lanes on Westwood Blvd and Central Ave

Dear Commissioners,

It was a little over five years ago that this commission rejected the city’s first attempt to update it’s bike plan, demanding a more robust network that would protect the safety of people riding bikes and encourage more people to get on their bicycles instead of driving.

That led to the city council’s unanimous adoption of the 2010 bike plan. A well-designed network that established three levels of bikeways to encourage and protect riders of all types, from families and recreational riders to bike commuters on their way to school or work — many of whom have no other viable means of transportation.

One that was again approved by the Planning Commission, and later the full city council, as part of LA’s Mobility Plan 2035.

Now you are being asked to weaken that plan.

The Mobility Plan that was adopted by the city is the result of at least six years of public process, including dozens of public meetings and countless comments and emails. The streets which were selected for bikeways weren’t chosen on whim, but because the public demanded them and city planners and engineers concluded they were the best routes to enable bike riders to travel to and from key locations in the city.

Yet you are being asked to remove the bike lanes planned for Westwood Blvd and Central Ave without any public process whatsoever. Somehow, the desires of the relative few opposing bike lanes on these two streets are expected to outweigh the needs of all those who participated in developing these plans.

We’re told that the reason for removing these bike lanes from the plan is that the streets are too dangerous for bicycles. But you can’t improve safety by keeping them dangerous.

Numerous studies have shown that bike lanes both increase ridership, and improve safety for all road users — pedestrians and motorists, as well as people riding bicycles. Yet not one single study has been conducted to determine whether bike lanes on these streets would increase the danger to bicyclists or anyone else, as their opponents claim.

In other words, you’re being asked to remove these streets from the plan based on the suppositions and prejudices of a handful of people, with no factual basis to support them.

Studies also show that bike lanes are good for business, which would benefit the many commercial establishments along these corridors.

Westwood Blvd currently carries an average of 800 bike riders a day, a number that will only increase when the Expo Line extension opens in May, and the boulevard forms the first mile/last mile connection between the Westwood Expo Station, and the UCLA campus, VA and job centers along the Wilshire Corridor.

Meanwhile, Central Ave already carries approximately 60 bike riders per hour at peak times, despite a reputation as one of the city’s most dangerous streets. A bike lane there can only improve safety by giving people on bicycles a safe place to ride, while slowing traffic and reducing risk to pedestrians.

While alternate routes may eventually be identified that would be more enjoyable to recreational riders, they would not meet the demands of those who need to get to work or school.

Removing these streets from the Mobility Plan would continue to expose these people to needless risk, and continue the degradation of what should be two of the city’s finest and most livable streets.

I strongly urge you to support the recommendations of your staff, and the desires of the people of Los Angeles who participated in this process, and keep both Westwood Boulevard and Central Avenue in the Mobility Plan 2035.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers

BikinginLA.com

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