Morning Links: More details in Tour de Palm Springs crash, and what to do about overly courteous drivers

No victim blaming here.

After cyclist Mark Kristofferson was killed by a speeding driver while riding in the Tour de Palm Springs on Saturday, and another rider badly injured, participants say there was nothing that could have been done to prevent the crash.

Except for a bike-riding Palm Springs resident, who calls for better eduction for participants in the rules of the ride.

Even though accused killer Ronnie R. Huerta Jr. was allegedly traveling at over twice the 50 mph speed limit when he lost control and slammed into the victims.

And even though the two victims were doing nothing wrong, and reportedly riding exactly where they were supposed to be.

Nothing they did could have prevented the crash. Unless they had somehow been able to keep Huerta’s alleged foot off his alleged gas pedal. Or keep him out of his damn car to begin with.

Huerta was reportedly released on $75,000 bail on a single count of vehicular manslaughter, though that could change as prosecutors move forward.

Meanwhile, the other victim, 50-year old Alyson Lee Akers of Huntington Beach, was being treated for what was described as “major injuries,” including a head laceration.

Let’s all hope she makes a full and fast recovery.

And that Riverside County officially treat this case with the seriousness it deserves.

Let’s also hope that the ride organizers figure out some way to improve safety. Because two deaths in four years is two too many.

Photo courtesy of the LAPD Central Area Bike Unit.

………

Frequent contributor Mike Wilkinson writes for advice on how to handle the problem of friendly drivers who want to wave you through the intersection.

Dear Dr. BikinginLA:

My wife and I are enjoying a friendly disagreement about what to do when a driver yields their right of way to us. I say it’s confusing and maybe dangerous. She says the drivers are being courteous. We should smile, wave, and go for it.

Although I go to extra effort to ride according to the rules (and laws) of the road, I don’t have too much trouble waving and smiling in low-risk situations. An example would be meeting a driver at a four-way stop. If the driver waves me through, even if that driver was there first, my wife’s words ring in my ears, and I smile, wave, and start pedaling. My wife is very adamant: With all of the hostility from drivers that we hear about, if a driver is kind enough to yield their right of way, we should accept it graciously.

On the other hand, yesterday I encountered what I thought was a dangerous situation. I was on a small 25 mph residential street waiting to cross a 45 mph street with two lanes in each direction. To my surprise, a driver on the busy street stopped and waved me through. I didn’t go, because there were cars coming from the other direction. Soon there were other drivers behind the one who stopped, and the honking began. Eventually the driver who stopped drove away, but I think everyone involved was upset, some of them at me!

I think that in the long run it would be better if everyone took their right of way. We all know that the streets are crazy enough without someone trying to invent new rules, even if they are just trying to be courteous. However, in the real world, I’d be very interested to learn what your other readers have to say about drivers who yield their right of way.

Personally, I appreciate when drivers show me any courtesy, wanted or otherwise.

So I play it by ear. If there’s no one else on the road, I’ll usually wave my thanks and ride through; if not, I’ll wave the driver through while signaling my appreciation.

And if I don’t feel safe, I’ll clip out of my pedal, put my foot down, and won’t budge until it’s safe for me to go. No matter how offended the driver gets.

However, I try not to brag about my Ph.D. in Advanced BS from Whatsamatta U.

………

Local

The intersection where 15-year old Saul Lopez was killed while riding to school two years ago has been renamed in his honor after receiving a number of safety improvements, including leading interval signals for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The LACBC will host a monthly slow ride beginning this Saturday.

Assemblywoman Laura Friedman will host a discussion on the future of transportation in Los Angeles at the Glendale Transportation Center this Saturday.

CiclaValley explores the newly extended bike lanes on Verdugo Ave in Burbank.

 

State

Caltrans’ white paper on the Future of Mobility in the years leading up to 2050 includes a section on bikeshare. But not on riding any other kind of bike.

The San Diego Union-Tribune says pedestrian fatalities continue to mount as the city drags its feet on Vision Zero. Not unlike another city I could mention a few hours to the north.

 

National

Oregon chefs are already gearing up for May’s three-day, 300-mile No Child Hungry ride along the California coast.

Riding while black. According to the Chicago Tribune, blacks, Latinos and whites each make up roughly a third of the city’s population — yet over half of all tickets issued to bike riders were written in predominantly black neighborhoods.

A Kentucky Op-Ed says the state should adopt a three-foot passing law, like 34 other states already have, including California.

Country star Luke Bryan is still one of us, gearing up with a new Trek despite breaking his collarbone in a 2016 bicycling fall.

The annual North American Handmade Bicycle Show runs this coming weekend in Hartford CT.

 

International

Former LA Kings goalie and current Canadian hockey analyst Kellie Hrudey is one of us, too.

A British bicyclist gets six months for breaking the leg of a man in his 70s while riding drunk and brakeless on a train platform.

A British man lost his bicycle, mobile phone and laptop in a strong-arm robbery by three young men who pushed him into a stream.

A Scottish nonprofit group is helping refugees get settled in the country by providing them with bicycles.

An Irish writer says “Cyclist bashing is a popular sport among the less enlightened members of the commentariat.” And then proceeds to do exactly that, before concluding that too many cyclists have died.

Drivers in Kuala Lumpur call for the removal of new protected bike lanes, describing them as a safety hazard. Just like drivers in Los Angeles do.

Bicyclists in Yangon, Myanmar say riding a bike on city streets is like betting your life.

 

Competitive Cycling

Nice profile of America’s only men’s Olympic cycling gold medal winner, 1984 champ Alexi Grewal, told from the perspective of his new home in India.

A Rwandan paper looks at the rise of bike racing in the country.

A writer for Slate looks at Strava as a gateway drug, explaining how it got her into bike racing.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to do a story about sharing the road, don’t illustrate it with a photo of tandem time trial riders. How to be antisocial and take a group cycling vacation anyway.

And teenage Nazi spies on bikes may not just be a good premise for a WWII novel.

……..

Let’s finish with one last, larger look at that great, suitable-for-framing photo at the top of this page.

Photo courtesy of LAPD Central Bike Unit

Update: Man killed by alleged speeding driver in Tour de Palm Springs, 2nd rider injured; 2nd death in four years

It’s happened again.

One man was killed, and another bicyclist seriously injured, when they were struck by an allegedly speeding driver during today’s Tour de Palm Springs.

According to the Desert Sun, the victims were struck when a speeding driver lost control of his car on Dillon Road in Indio Hills, south of Tinker Road, around 9:25 am.

However, that location doesn’t show up using any map site.

The paper reports the driver came up from behind a number of cyclists as they were riding east on Dillon, allegedly traveling at over 100 mph — twice the posted speed limit. He veered onto the dirt shoulder on the wrong side of the road, lost control and veered back across the road to hit the two riders.

The crash reportedly occurred among the trailing riders on the century ride.

Fortynine-year old Lake Stevens, Washington, resident Mark Kristofferson died at the scene.

The other victim was airlifted with serious injuries, while the driver was transported to a local hospital by ambulance.

The case is still being investigated, and no charges have been filed at this time.

This the second death in the 20-year history of the Tour de Palm Springs. It comes just four years after 55-year old La Vonne Koester of Alta Loma was killed during the 2014 edition of annual event, when she allegedly ran a stop sign.

However, other reports indicated that a driver had stopped to wave a group of riders through the intersection, when a second driver came up from behind and was unable to stop before plowing into the riders.

No one was ever charged in that case.

This is the seventh bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in Riverside County.

Update: The Desert Sun has updated their story to say 21-year old Desert Hot Springs resident Ronnie R. Huerta Jr. has been arrested on a charge of vehicular manslaughter.

The story also corrects Kristofferson’s age as 49, rather than 54 as originally reported; that change has been made to this story, as well.

The second victim has been identified as 50-year old Alyson Lee Akers of Huntington Beach. She is being treated for what is described as major injuries, including a head laceration.

Huerta was also treated for moderate injuries before being taken to jail on the manslaughter charge, where he is currently being held.

Update 2: At the request of Mark Kristofferson’s family, I have removed a bike cam video of the crash scene taken half an hour after the collision, which briefly showed the tarp covering his body. 

Update 3: According to the Desert Sun, CHP investigators report the driver did not appear to be under the influence at the time of the crash, but are still waiting for the results of drug and alcohol tests. 

Huerta was released on $75,000 bond, and isn’t expected to appear in court until April. 

The crash location was corrected to Dillon Road near Avenue 30. The story reports that there were several police officers stationed at key intersections along the route, but none along the 25-mile stretch where the crash occurred.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Mark Kristofferson and his loved ones. And best wishes to Alyson Lee Akers for a full and fast recovery.

Thanks to Tom Morash and Wes R for the heads-up.

Morning Links: Green bike lanes coming to Beverly Hills, and windshield bias from Pepperdine economics prof

Hell is about to freeze over.

After years of telling us it was impossible and repeatedly voting it down, Beverly Hills has given final approval for bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd, between Wilshire Blvd and Doheny Drive.

The city council also overrode a staff recommendation for white striped lanes with a little green paint at key conflict zones, instead voting for green lanes the entire length, at a cost of around $100,000 — nearly triple the staff’s $35,000 budget.

Which should give you an idea just how cheap bike lanes really are.

The work should be done sometime this spring.

Thanks should go to Beverly Hills’ bike-friendly Mayor Lili Bosse, as well as Better Bike’s Mark Elliot, who continued a quixotic and nearly solitary fight for the lanes, long after others had given up.

Myself included.

Photo from Beverly Hills website.

………

I’d give this econ professor an F.

In an Op-Ed for the Orange County Register, Pepperdine’s Gary Galles writes that transit use is down because cars remain popular.

And that the reason they are so popular is because they are “vastly superior” transit and other forms of non-motorized transportation.

Many things are already in motion to solve transit agencies’ problems. For instance, in 2015, Los Angeles began a 20-year plan to remove auto lanes for bus and protected bike lanes, as well as pedestrian enhancements, diverting transportation funds raised from drivers and heightening congestion for the vast majority who planners already know will continue to drive.

Such less than effective attempts to cut driving by creating gridlock purgatory suggest we ask a largely ignored question. Why do planners’ attempts to force residents into walking, cycling and mass transit, supposedly improving their quality of life, attract so few away from driving?

The reason is simple — cars are vastly superior to alternatives for the vast majority of individuals and circumstances.

Of course, what he fails to consider from his windshield-perspective perch overlooking PCH is that drivers around Southern California already complain about massive traffic congestion.

And, in fact, one of the reasons bus use is less attractive that driving is that bus schedules are constantly thrown off by all those people in cars jamming streets beyond their practical capacity.

So what traffic planners are attempting isn’t to create a gridlock purgatory.

It’s dealing with the traffic congestion hell we already find ourselves in, and preparing for an otherwise dystopian future in which more and more people try to jam themselves into an already built-out traffic system that can no longer be expanded.

So unless we provide those people with safe, practical alternatives to driving, our streets will continue to get worse with every new car added to the grid.

That means more frequent and reliable transit, and safer walking and biking. Which in some cases will require making traffic worse in the short term in order to make it better in the long term.

As an economics professor, he should understand that.

But as a shill for the motor vehicle industry, he’s doing a damn good job.

………

The Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council will discuss the draft Hollywood Community Plan at the William & Ariel Durant Library, 7140 West Sunset Blvd on Wednesday, Feb. 21, from 6-8 pm.

If you live, work or ride in bikeway-challenged Hollywood, you’ll want to be there to support the bike lanes described in Section 6 of the plan.

Because the Hollywood Hills homeowners will undoubtedly turn out in force once again to complain about density and traffic congestion. As well as bike lanes, if they think it will contribute to either one.

Thanks to the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition for the heads-up.

………

Local

A Pacoima square will be dedicated in honor of fallen cyclist Saul Lopez, the 15-year old boy who was collateral damage in a crash between two cars at Glenoaks Boulevard and Vaughn Street after one of the drivers ran a red light.

 

State

Coronado, where bike lanes give residents vertigo, considers improving bike safety by replacing stop signs with roundabouts; needless to say, not everyone approves.

The annual Tour de Palm Springs rolls this weekend, and a letter writer says it’s rude to ride two or more abreast and force drivers to change lanes (scroll down) to go around them. Even though that’s exactly what drivers are supposed to do, unless there’s a solid yellow line.

A Bakersfield columnist shares the joys of his regular Saturday morning group ride, which has been riding together for over 20 years.

Not so fast on the bike boulevard in San Luis Obispo, as the cycle track portion of the project has been put on hold after residents rise up to demand their God-given right to free street parking.

The former mayor of SLO tries to out-crazy the Coronado NIMBY’s, describing the planned bikeway as “urban rape … not to be performed by a male penis, but by thousands of inanimate bicycles … .” No, seriously.

Three-time world champ Peter Sagan will host a pair of California fondos, starting with a gravel ride in Truckee this May, and a road ride in a city TBD in November.

 

National

Nice idea. In an attempt to support sustainable transportation, a Washington couple builds a small Bike Hut on the edge of their property, providing riders in need with spare tubes, chain lube and other small necessities.

A Montana paper looks at the efforts of rural towns to capitalize on bicycle tourism.

Zen and the art of bicycle maintenance in Minneapolis.

After moving off campus, a Johns Hopkins University student discovers the joys of bicycling in Baltimore and the city’s monthly Bike Party.

A writer from Los Angeles falls head-over-heels — literally — for mountain biking just a few hours outside Atlanta. And wonders why he doesn’t do it more here in California.

 

International

A couple of British pub owners ride the length of South America, covering over 3,000 miles from Chile to Argentina.

A London physician gets it, saying the city’s Camden neighborhood won’t meet its smog reduction goals without a greater emphasis on bicycling and presumed liability. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, presumed liability assumes the operator of the more dangerous vehicle is at fault in any collision, unless it can be proven that the other party is at fault, because they have a greater responsibility to avoid crashes due to their ability to cause greater harm.

A British coroner rules that a velodrome did not follow safety guidelines when a cyclist was killed in a 35 mph crash with another rider in 2014.

An Aussie letter writer says bicycles should be required to have bells, since there’s apparently no other way to politely warn others a bike is approaching. And seems to be under the illusion that drivers politely yield to people on bikes and on foot.

 

Competitive Cycling

An entre Italian amateur team gets busted for systematic doping (scroll down) following the heart attack death of a 21-year old cyclist last May. But sure, tell us again how the era of doping is over.

VeloNews previews this year’s Amgen Tour of California, and says the key stages will be the famed Gibraltar climb and the time trial in Morgan Hill. And looks at how the pros overcome the fear of failure and getting hurt.

 

Finally…

Evidently, I’m not actually a road cyclist. Maybe someday you’ll ride wearing an inflatable flak jacket.

And today is International Winter Bike to Work Day.

So pat yourself on the back if you were able to somehow endure Southern California’s sunny winter weather on your way to work this morning.

Morning Links: Motions to inspect broken bike lanes move forward, and keeping dangerous drivers off streets

Maybe our broken bike lanes might get fixed after all.

Streetsblog is reporting the approval of both of motions calling for the inspection and maintenance of LA’s bike lanes and bike paths at Wednesday’s meeting of the City Council Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee.

However, assuming the motion passes the full council, there’s still a long way to go, as Joe Linton points out.

Greg Spotts spoke on BSS’s (Bureau of Street Services) efforts to address issues keeping street pavement in good repair. The city faces a reported $3-4 billion backlog in street maintenance. With some recent street repaving monies from the S.B. 1 gas tax and Measure M, BSS is stepping up its efforts to inspect and maintain streets, and now has dedicated staff working to inspect and repair asphalt on city bike lanes.

Spotts noted that BSS has identified 300 bike network locations that need “large asphalt repair.” BSS crews are currently working their way through these sites, having completed 19 repairs to date.

And those are just the ones they know about.

But at least the city has hired six new people to fix and maintain bike lanes.

Meanwhile, there may be hope for LA’s crumbling streets.

Councilmembers Mitchell Englander and Joe Buscaino say at current rates, streets and sidewalks in Los Angeles won’t be repaired in time for the 2028 Olympics — missing the games by a mere 20 years or so.

But money from Measure M and the new state gas tax increase could provide a source of funding that would allow the city to speed up those repairs.

We can only hope.

Of course, if the proposition calling for the repeal of the gas tax qualifies for the ballot, and California voters decide they’d prefer crappy streets and lower gas prices, all bets are off.

………

I’m not always a fan of Bike Snob.

But he nails it this time, saying our current system of licensing drivers and motor vehicles is “woefully ineffectual and does little to keep dangerous drivers off the streets.”

Meanwhile, a Canadian writer asks if driving is a privilege, why is it so hard to revoke?

It’s like Traffic author Tom Vanderbilt put it — a driver’s license is too easy to get, and too hard to lose.

………

Curbed’s Alissa Walker takes a deep dive into the subject of sidewalks, and comes to the conclusion that they’re not even necessary.

Yes, the CEO of Ford, the company that essentially put automobiles on U.S. streets, is calling for a “complete disruption and redesign of the surface transportation system.”

What Ford is preparing for—and championing through its bike share and microtransit shuttle services—is the fact that streets will no longer be planned around this binary use of cars versus everyone else. And the place for new modes to mix is not a narrow broken sidewalk: It’s the safe, shared, slow, well-maintained street that has walking at its core.

Instead of a one-size-fits-all equation of lane widths calculated to move cars quickly, with pedestrians pushed off to the side, the definition of a city street will change based on what people need, neighborhood by neighborhood, says Greg Lindsay, director of strategy for the urban mobility festival LACoMotion.

It’s a great read. And may challenge your concept of what a street should be.

It did mine, anyway.

………

Great idea. A new youth racing program at the LA Velodrome aims to develop at least one track cyclist for the US Olympic Team at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

………

Local

Westside bike co-op Bikerowave is hosting a fast, 25 – 30 mile woman-led ride tonight, and every Thursday. The co-op is also hosting a moderate paced ride to the East LA Art Walk this Sunday.

Sant Monica Spoke and the Santa Monica Planning department are hosting a Kidical Mass ride this Saturday.

 

State

San Luis Obispo decides to move forward with a modified version of the bikeway that’s been drawing all the bike-hating NIMBYs out of the woodwork. Proof that not all NIMBYs live in Los Angeles. It only seems that way.

A new bike and pedestrian trail project would connect downtown Redding to the Sacramento River Trail.

 

National

Streetsblog questions whether the dockless bikeshare revolution is just a mirage.

A former pro explains how he learned to love wearing a helmet mirror.

The new chairman of the Federal Reserve is one of us, as he struggles to convince his security detail to let him keep up his eight-mile bike commute to DC.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune offers tips on how to ride your bike at Mardi Gras, for those lucky enough to go. Pro tip: Avoid Mardi Gras Day, when it’s too crowded move, and go the weekend before when the crowds are smaller and it’s more fun.

 

International

How to roll the dents out of your steel frame bike.

Canadian bicyclists are urged to bike commute tomorrow as part of the international Winter Bike to Work Day. Try not to suffer too much under LA’s sunny skies and 80° temperatures.

Here are ten beautiful places in the UK to add to your bicycling bucket list.

British advocacy groups are “deeply concerned” about plans to ban bikes from a highway that’s a popular time trial route.

In a win for the gig economy, bicycle couriers for Britain’s National Health Service win full employment rights, after their employer had argued that they were self-employed contractors.

That gold-inlaid custom bike built for Irish mixed martial arts champ Connor McGregor cost the equivalent of nearly $21,000.

More proof that bike riders face the same problems everywhere. An Aussie bicyclist complains about pedestrians and dog walkers making a beachfront pathway a nightmare.

 

Competitive Cycling

Australia’s 3,500-mile Indian Pacific Wheel Race has been cancelled following the death of pioneering ultra-distance rider Mike Hall in a collision during last year’s race.

A French design firm reimagines the dreaded broom wagon. Although they somehow think riders in the Tour de France will be able to hop on board to catch a rest, then rejoin the race when they’re feeling better.

 

Finally…

Why should ‘bent riders miss out on all the fat bike fun? Anyone can race a dual snow slalom on skis; try it on a bicycle instead.

And when a dockless bikeshare company fails, it becomes the UK’s cheapest bicycle.

In every sense.

Bike rider killed in collision with Expo Line train in South LA; another critically injured

Sad news from South LA, where a bike rider has died following a collision with the Expo Line.

KTLA-5 initially reported last night that two pedestrians were struck by a train in University Park east of USC, around 9 pm Tuesday. The story was later amended to say one of the victims had a bicycle.

Now LA West Media has reported that one victim has died after being transported to a hospital, while the other victim is in critical condition.

Neither has been publicly identified at this time.

According to the report, three males were riding their bikes on Jefferson Blvd near Flower Street, when they attempted to cross the Expo Line tracks despite an approaching train.

The first rider made it. The other two were hit by the empty Expo train, which was on a test run.

This is one more heartbreaking reminder to never attempt to cross train tracks after the warning alarms sound or the gates close.

Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD at 323/421-2500.

This is the sixth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Los Angeles County. The other LA County death occurred in South LA, as well.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones. And prayers and best wishes for the recovery of the second victim. 

 

Morning Links: Don’t blame bike lanes for bad pavement lawsuits, and a call to ban cars from Rose Bowl loop

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton says not so fast.

Despite what Councilmember Mitch Englander asserted in his recent motion, Los Angeles hasn’t paid out tens of millions of dollars for injuries to bicyclists due to bad pavement in bike lanes.

In fact, only one of the seven recent bike-related settlements with the city was due to a crash that occurred in a bike lane.

The rest took place on the sort of infrastructure-free streets most LA bicyclists have to ride every day due to the lack of a even the most basic bicycle network in most of the city.

And on the same crappy streets you’ll find on most city streets.

The City Council Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee will discuss two motions mandating much-needed inspections, and possibly repairs, to pavement in the city’s bike lanes and bike paths at 1 pm today.

But let’s not confuse that with the real problem.

Which is the city’s failure to build out the 2010 bike plan as promised. And the failure to the maintain streets we all have to use.

………

He gets it.

A writer for the Pasadena Star News says instead of adding stop signs to the Rose Bowl loop, which would effectively put a halt to the popular cycling, why not ban cars instead?

Why not, indeed.

………

We’re less than a month away from the annual Oscar ceremony. Which brings up the annual question, will anyone bike to the red carpet in Hollywood?

Environmentalist and actor Ed Begley, Jr. has done it before. In a tux, and despite the rain.

But no word yet on whether anyone will do it this year.

………

Local

In news that should surprise absolutely no one, a new report shows Los Angeles has the world’s worst traffic congestion for the sixth year in a row. And it will only get worse unless the city and county provide people with viable alternatives to driving.

Atwater Village residents say they don’t feel safe walking or riding on the LA River bike path due to homeless camps along the river.

Bike SGV will hold their first general meeting of 2018 tomorrow night.

 

State

California’s only emperor was one of us.

The 9th annual Jim Rogers Memorial Ride rolls in Nevada City this Sunday.

 

National

The art of mountain biking.

Bike friendly Boulder CO debates whether to allow ebikes on open space trails.

Ride Chicago’s bikeshare system ten times this month, and they’ll pin a medal on you and invite you to a party.

The NYPD puts out a wanted poster for a group of reckless teenage bike riders.

 

International

A writer for the Guardian discovers firsthand what it’s like to be doored.

You may never be a star of the English stage. But your bike might be.

A British city noticed that 68 near-identical bike-hating comments about a road closure came from a single computer. And 50 more came from just three additional IP addresses. In case you’ve ever wondered why there always seem to be so many public comments from people who hate bikes.

A Dublin paper asks if it’s time to give bicyclists and pedestrians a head start at red lights. That would be yes. And not just in Dublin.

Replacing delivery trucks with cargo bikes in Barcelona.

Workers for Dutch bike brand Van Moof track down a Bluetooth-equipped stolen bike, and discover a warehouse full of stolen bicycles from across Europe.

Docked bikeshare is expanding in India, while a free public bikeshare is opening at Hyderabad Metro stations.

A new Australian study shows that how you commute to work really does affect your body mass. And no, driving doesn’t make you any skinnier.

 

Competitive Cycling

Wolfpack Hustle is bringing back the Forsyth Cup at the Encino Velodrome in April, thanks to BikinginLA sponsor Thomas Forsyth.

Pro cycling’s Team Dimension Data plans to donate 5,000 bikes to an African charity this year.

 

Finally…

Probably not the best idea to launch yourself off the roof with an antifreeze-fueled rocket attached to your bicycle. Now you can tow your new sailboat with your mountain bike.

And forget the bike park. Try riding the waterpark, instead.

Morning Links: LA Council committee considers bikeway pavement, and including everyone in Complete Streets

Maybe it’s good news. Or maybe not.

The LA City Council’s bizarrely combined Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee will take up two motions regarding the safety and maintenance of bike lane pavement this Wednesday.

The first, #17-1142-S1, would require the city to inspect and repair the pavement on any existing bike lanes, and certify that the pavement is in good condition before any new bike lanes are installed.

The second, #15-0719-S17, requires city inspectors to examine the pavement on every mile of bike paths and bike lanes in the city, and develop a plan to bring them up to appropriate safety standards.

Which is something that should have been done a long time ago.

However, it appears to be a significant change from the original version of this motion, which would have prohibited installing any new bike lanes on streets with anything less than an A grade. And required the removal of existing bike lanes from any street with a pavement grade lower than that.

Which would require ripping out most bike lanes in the city. Even though most of the crashes involving bad pavement that inspired these motions didn’t happen in bike lanes to begin with.

So let’s be clear.

Inspecting bike lanes and bike paths is a good thing. Fixing the pavement is even better.

But using bad pavement as an excuse to block or remove bike lanes could bring what little progress Los Angeles has made towards safer streets crashing to a halt.

Which means it could be worth your time to show up for the committee meeting tomorrow at 1p at City Hall if you can make it.

………

Our old friend Karen Karabell forwards this piece by longtime bike commuter and League Cycling Instructor (LCI) Martin Pion, arguing that real Complete Streets would accommodate inexperienced riders, as well as more experienced vehicular cyclists.

You won’t get any argument from me.

I’m a strong supporter of safe bike lanes and Complete Streets that can be safely used by anyone from 8 to 80, and get more people out on bikes.

But I also support the repeal of restrictive ride-to-the-right and must-use laws that are too often misinterpreted to require riders to hug the curb or use unsafe bikeways.

People should be able to ride wherever and however they feel safest, whether thats a protected bike lane or mixing with motor vehicles in the traffic lane.

………

Local

No, a coastal ferry will not solve the Westside’s traffic problems, but it could provide a way to get your bike from Santa Monica to Malibu without having to ride PCH.

Mobile bike repair shop Beeline Bikes is expanding to Los Angeles.

A letter writer in the LA Times says if London and Copenhagen can get people out of their cars, Los Angeles can, too.

The San Gabriel Vally Tribune offers a nice profile of Eastside Bike Club founder and Stan’s Bike Shop owner Carlos Morales, one of the stars of the new documentary MAMIL (Middle Aged Men in Lycra), which premiers on the 21st. He’s also one of the nicest people you’re likely to meet.

 

State

Bay Area bicyclists complain that plans for new Caltrain bike cars that separate riders from their bikes is an invitation to theft.

Sad news from San Francisco, where a 69-year old man was killed when he rode his bicycle into a parked car.

A Sonoma paper says the market is surging for folding and electric bikes — and folding ebikes — in Sonoma and Marin Counties.

Streetsblog says the Marin Independent Journal is continuing to push to convert plans for a new bike and pedestrian pathway on the upper deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to motor vehicle use, in the mistaken belief it will somehow solve their traffic problems. Apparently, they’ve never heard of induced demand.

 

National

Treehugger writes in praise of riding slowly through the city.

No, you don’t need a fat bike to ride on snow, as long as you’re willing to go downhill.

Forbes says belt-drive Priority Bicycles are being ridden by the cool kids all across New York City.

Former 1984 Olympic cycling gold medalist Alexi Grewal, who recently married a woman from Punjab, India, says Punjabi youths could shine in international cycling with enough institutional support from the government.

 

International

Four Canadian men are riding over 600 miles around Lake Ontario in the dead of winter to raise funds for charity and to encourage young people to be more active. Then again, they’ve already ridden to the North and South Poles.

A new British group is pushing to get the Labour Party to commit to more bike-friendly policies.

Bike advocacy groups in the UK criticize members of the House of Lords for insisting that bike lanes cause congestion and increase pollution, without having any evidence to back it up.

Britain won’t develop any new standards for dockless bikeshare because it’s too busy trying to kiss Europe goodbye.

A local website looks at the state of eco-friendly bicycling in Bangshal, Bangladesh, where newly married couples used to be given bicycles, until Hondas became more popular.

A letter writer in Islamabad complains that ebike riders don’t get any health benefits, apparently unaware that ped-assist ebikes help the rider, but don’t do all the work.

Demand for ebikes is still high in Japan, 25 years after Yamaha introduced the first one.

A 19-year old Singaporean fixie rider gets nine weeks behind bars for killing a 73-year old pedestrian in a collision while riding brakeless.

 

Competitive Cycling

Chris Froome will compete in the five-day Ruta del Sol in Andalucia, Spain, despite the doping cloud hanging over his head.

Mark Cavendish wants to go faster, while sticking to two wheels.

 

Finally…

Why just sell bikes, when you can steal them, too? Now this is how you promote a bike race.

And who says there’s no such thing as fixie rap?

Morning Links: Justice for Deborah Gresham, bike settlements soar due to bad LA streets, and BAC meets tomorrow

Finally, there’s justice for a fallen bike rider.

It’s been 16 months since Walking Dead fan page author Deborah Gresham was hit by a driver while riding her bike in Stanton.

And left to die in the street, literally within site of her own home.

The driver, Ricardo Hernandez Sandoval, was arrested less than an hour later after horrified witnesses followed him to his home. He was booked on charges of felony hit and run, felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter.

Now I’ve been informed that he was sentenced on Friday to four years for vehicular manslaughter under the influence, and five years for the fatal hit-and-run, to be served consecutively.

In other words, nine years total, along with fines and restitution.

I’m also told the assistant DA had to wipe tears from his eyes when Gresham’s children gave their witness statements.

It won’t bring Deborah Gresham back. But for once, a fallen SoCal cyclist got justice from the courts.

If you haven’t yet, take a few minutes to read Peter Flax’s moving, must-read story about this tragedy. Photo from Ghost Bikes LA.

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Great story in the LA Times about the soaring cost of settlements involving bike riders who were injured due to the city’s failing streets.

According to the story, the City of Los Angeles settled with 17 bicyclists last year for a total of $19 million, over four times more than in any previous year.

That’s $19 million that could have gone to fixing the streets before anyone got hurt, rather than waiting until it was too late.

It was those settlements that inspired Councilmember Mitch Englander’s misguided proposal to ban the striping of bike lanes on any streets with less than an A pavement grade, and removing any existing ones from streets with a B or less.

Which would leave few, if any, bike lanes anywhere in Los Angeles.

And only serve to increase the city’s liability when bike riders continue to get injured on streets that used to have bikeways.

The story quotes me on that, as well as talking with BikinginLA sponsor and Calbike board member Josh Cohen.

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The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee will meet tomorrow night in Hollywood; the BAC is the only official voice for bike riders in the City of LA.

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The LACBC has unveiled a new video explaining who they are and what they do as part of their 20th Anniversary Celebration.

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Local

It shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s ridden a bike through there to learn that the intersection of Devonshire Street and Reseda Blvd is the most dangerous one in the state.

LA2050 is offering a total of $1 million in grants to five organizations for projects designed to make Los Angeles, “the best place to learn, create, play, connect and live.” Applications will start being accepted on March 1st.

A bike rider was hit by a car in Pacific Palisades last Wednesday; no word on how the victim is doing. The driver somehow claimed to be driving just 15 mph in a 45 mph zone at the time of the crash.

Tomorrow the UCLA Bicycle Academy intends to confront the members of the Regents Health Services Committee to demand that the statewide UC Health system lose its automotive bias and recognize the health benefits of bicycling.

LA celebrated the official opening of a one-block long Green Street in the Del Rey neighborhood, connecting Westlawn Ave with the Ballona Creek bike path.

 

State

Sad news from Hesperia, where a father drowned rescuing his nine-year old son from the California Aqueduct, after the boy slipped in as they rode their bicycles along the canal.

Caltrans is warning about construction delays on the the coastal bike path north of Ventura through the month of February, though the path will remain open.

A decision could be made this week on the proposed San Luis Obispo bike boulevard that has brought the anti-bikeway NIMBYs out of the woodwork.

For the first time, you won’t need a vintage bicycle to participate in the Eroica California in Paso Robles.

More sad news, this time from Oakland, where a man on a bike was killed in a collision with a big rig truck.

 

National

Slate says requiring bicyclists to wear sensors so self-driving cars don’t crash into them is cheating, and autonomous vehicles should be able to spot people riding bicycles on their own, without outside help.

Details have been released for this year’s Ride the Rockies bike tour through the Colorado high country; it will cover 418 miles and nearly 26,000 feet of vertical climbing in six days. And it will visit the tiny lakefront town where my mother worked as a waitress when she was just 18.

Seriously? The death of a Kansas cyclist competing in the state time trial in 2015 was the catalyst for a proposed state law prohibiting negligent driving. Except the penalty would be a whopping $45, which isn’t likely to change anyone’s driving habits.

Michigan is doubling the width of a four-foot bike lane and adding other safety improvements, after two women were killed there two years ago. Maybe they could try making improvements like that before someone gets killed. Which goes for Los Angeles, and everywhere else, as well.

New York news media goes berserk after mobs of “crazed, angry cyclists” swarm drivers, smashing a car window and punching a driver. Although it turns out it was really just 16 teenagers on bicycles, and the cop who was injured was hit by a car making a U-turn to go after them.

 

International

Canadian cross-country ski clubs are slowly opening their trails to fat bikes.

Ofo dockless bikeshare comes to London, as the Guardian says it will be to cycling what Uber is to taxis.

LA bike riders aren’t the only ones who have to deal with crappy pavement.

The economic impact of bicycling adds the equivalent of nearly $1 billion to the Scottish economy.

 

Competitive Cycling

The incomparable Katie Compton had to settle for second place in the women’s world cyclocross championships, finishing behind Belgian Sanne Cant.

Belgium’s Wout van Aert won the men’s world cyclocross title for the third consecutive year.

 

Finally…

Buy a bike, bore your dinner companions. UFC champ Connor McGregor is one of us.

And yes, you just got dropped by a priest on a folding bike.

No doubt staged, but still fun.

Morning Links: The backstory of a bike giveaway, a possible bike lane in the ‘Bu, and entitled bike path drivers

Every year, we mention the countless bike giveaways held across the US during the holiday season.

But we usually never learn the backstory.

Like how the people behind the giveaway came to get involved. And what struggles they had to overcome to see those smiles on children’s faces.

Writing for Cycling Tips, Peter Flax looked into the story of one bike giveaway involving mountain biker Amanda Batty and a Bay Area ebike maker that put 208 needy children on two wheels in Albuquerque NM.

The holiday’s may be long over.

But this story that could put that smile back on your face.

Photo taken from the Cycling Tips story.

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A much-needed bike lane may finally be coming to the eastern part of Malibu on PCH.

Or not.

A Malibu radio station reports that a Caltrans press release announced that they will begin striping a bike lane from the tunnel to the Malibu Civic Center next week.

Which came as a surprise to city officials, who understood that they would merely restripe the fog line.

So evidently, we’ll all find out once the paint dries.

Thanks to Warren Bowman for the heads-up.

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When Chicago drivers wanted to avoid a traffic backup due to a highway crash, they turned an offroad bike path into a roadway.

But sure, let’s talk about those entitled cyclists again.

Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the link.

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Local

The author of a new Rapha-sponsored book on bicycling in the Los Angeles area offers three practical tips on riding in the city.

UCLA says the reason Metro ridership is down is because more Angelenos are buying cars. When they should obviously be buying more bicycles instead.

New rules for establishing neighborhood councils could keep UCLA students from splitting with the bike-unfriendly Westwood NC.

CiclaValley captures some great photos of the popular Nichols Canyon Ride.

A new La Colombe coffee shop is opening in Frogtown within sight of the LA River bike path. Because few things go together as well as coffee and bikes.

Claremont looks forward to the year’s first CicLAvia on April’s Earth Day.

The LACBC visits LA’s Little Ethiopia on their popular monthly Sunday Funday Ride this weekend.

 

State

Bike advocacy group BikeVentura teamed with Newbury Park’s Giant Bicycles to donate 120 bicycles to victims of the Thomas Fire, with 80 more left to give away.

Somehow we missed this tragic story earlier in the week, as a Kern County man was killed in a hit-and-run as he was walking alongside a roadway, just a week after surviving another hit-and-run as he was riding his bicycle.

If you live in the Bay Area, here’s your chance to ride with the mayor of Mountain View.

 

National

Bicycling considers everything you always wanted to know about you bike but were afraid to ask, and myths about women’s cycling that need to die.

Two years after an Idaho woman was paralyzed from the waist down, and her riding partner killed, when they were hit by a driver while riding to the Oregon coast with Bike & Build, she plans to finish the 780-mile ride using a handcycle.

A writer complains about the fears elderly New Yorkers have of being run down by bike delivery people on ebikes, while contending that bike riders have a “sense of superiority about being bicyclers.”

Two different unlicensed truck drivers, two tragic crashes involving Brooklyn bicyclists, two different legal outcomes. And neither one beginning approach the severity of the crimes.

The LA Times looks at the success of Vision Zero in New York. Which should be a model for Los Angeles, but won’t be without the political backing their department of transportation has enjoyed.

People for Bikes looks at how bicycles have helped the people of Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria, and whether they will continue riding after the island gets back on its feet.

 

International

Britain’s Cyclist reviews the new documentary MAMIL — Middle Aged Man In Lycra, which features the Eastside Bike Club and Stan’s Bike Shop in Azusa. And which will have its US premier in Alhambra later this month.

A West London borough will try lowering the speed limit to 20 mph following the death of a bike rider in a traffic collision. Compare that to Los Angeles, where speed limits of 45 mph or more aren’t unusual. And then ask why traffic fatalities are so high here.

A British contraflow bike lane ends without warning, unceremoniously dumping riders into parked cars or in front of oncoming traffic.

An Aussie bicyclist got off with a suspended sentence for plowing into a pedestrian crossing the road, leaving her with severe head injuries.

New blue bike lanes in Kuala Lumpur have turned into de facto parking lanes thanks to a lack of enforcement.

A Singaporean writer says he has the solution to abandoned bikeshare bikes.

 

Finally…

Evidently, blaming bike riders for individual stupidity is very un-conservative. Three days before the kickoff, the New England Patriots lead the Philadelphia Eagles three bicyclists to one.

And yell at the train that nearly killed you all you want, it’s probably not going to hear you.

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Thanks to Karen K for her generous donation to help support this site. Our annual holiday fund drive may be long over, but contributions of any size are alway welcome.

Traffic throttling bike net neutrality protest, Peter Flax interviewed on podcast, and when animals attack

Call it a brilliant metaphor for net neutrality.

Or maybe just another way to get drivers pissed off at people on bikes.

A video director protested the FCC’s decision to roll back net neutrality by deliberately throttling traffic.

Rob Bliss made his point by slowly riding his bicycle in front of lines of backed-up drivers outside the DC offices of the Federal Communications Commission.

Then giving drivers the opportunity to go around him.

For $5.

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Red Kite Prayer’s The Paceline Tandem podcast talks with LA bike scribe and beachfront bike commuter Peter Flax.

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Local

The Daily News asks what’s next for LA’s Vision Zero, after traffic deaths fell well short of the city’s goal of a 20% reduction by 2017. Then again, meeting that goal was never realistic, especially when the city didn’t even do anything until last year — then ripped out the lane reductions in Playa del Rey when drivers went berserk.

Speaking of Vision Zero, KPCC looks at the changes currently underway on Spring Street in DTLA, and how the improvements — including a left-side protected bike lane — could help cut traffic deaths. Especially if LA drivers and business owners start to realize a bike lane isn’t the end of the world, so they can go in more places.

A Burbank bike advocate is fighting the ban on bikes on the Mariposa Street over the LA River — and a citation for violating it — calling it unenforceable. It’s also ridiculous and unfair, put in place at the urging of equestrians who said bicyclists couldn’t be trusted to walk their bikes around horses.

 

State

Your next Bay Area Uber may not have a driver — or four wheels, for that matter.

A Marin columnist is back at it, complaining that sharing the road means drivers should get 100% of a new bridge at peak hours. And bike riders and pedestrians can have their own lane, but only once the people in cars are done with it.

 

National

Writing for CyclingTips, James Huang says maybe the bike industry would do a little better if it marketed itself based on how much fun road cycling is, rather than focusing on the joys of suffering.

Washington state is considering adopting the same ebike regulations that were pioneered in California.

A missing link in a Seattle bikeway receives environmental clearance, although opponents threaten to sue to stop it for the third time.

A Wyoming task force calls on the state to spend $10 million a year to create more walkable main streets, community pathways and rural bicycling routes in the sparsely populated state.

Bicycling offers six things you can learn from Fargo ND bicyclists who ride in sub-zero temperatures. Like maybe that even the worst LA winters aren’t so bad.

No, a New Orleans pedestrian wasn’t robbed by a group of cyclists; he was robbed by a group of teenagers who happened to be riding bicycles.

 

International

One more trip to add to your bicycle bucket list — bicycling the volcanic craters and tropical forests of the Azores. Unless maybe you’d rather ride through the French Alps.

A letter writer in the Guardian says riding an ebike isn’t cheating.

A Bristol, England newspaper begs to differ with a city councilor who says replacing a footbridge with a bike crossing is “a scandalous waste of public money” and “pandering to the cycling lobby.”

The war on bikes goes on, as a road raging British driver nearly runs a bike rider off the road, then blocks his way by driving in slow motion.

Nearly 200 bike riders were injured on Edinburg tram tracks in a seven year period; authorities say many never got back on their bikes again.

Aussie bike riders are urged to use bike cams to record dangerous drivers, though a motoring group says it’s likely to inflame tensions. Actually, it’s a good idea for everyone, regardless of where you ride; I use a helmet cam every time I ride in traffic. And no, it’s never enraged anyone, though it has caused a few angry drivers to back down once they realized they were on candid camera.

Brisbane, Australia considers a trial suspension of the city’s mandatory bike helmet law for the city’s bikeshare system. Although one city councilmember says he’d rather have separated bike lanes to get riders out of the way of cars and pedestrians.

An Australian driver claims it’s not his fault he killed a bike rider because he was totally zoned out behind the wheel, and doesn’t remember hitting anyone, possibly because of his diabetes or sleep apnea or something. Sure, let’s go with that.

A Kiwi bike rider is knocked off his bike braving the waves along a beachside street during a king tide.

 

Competitive Cycling

Twelve cyclists competing in the Tour of Costa Rica have tested positive for EPO, including the race winner. But sure, the era of doping is over, right? 

Retired pro cyclist Thomas Voeckler says it wouldn’t surprise him if Lance had motor doped. And he’s sure other cyclists did in the past, but that new tests have stamped it out. Just like they’ve put an end to every other form of cheating.

 

Finally…

Now you can ride on the handlebars all by yourself. Apparently, crashing your bike into a car can lead to a career in fashion.

And evidently, kangaroos aren’t the only animals that have it out for us. Thanks to Neal Henderson for the heads-up.

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