Tag Archive for 6th Street

Morning Links: Meetings for 6th Street and new LA General Plan, and Burbank cops don’t care about a close pass

David Ryu, LA’s 4th district councilmember, is hosting a neighborhood meeting tomorrow to discuss safety improvements to 6th Street between Fairfax and La Brea.

While it seems unlikely that Ryu will approve the road diet local residents have been demanding in the wake of the Playa del Rey fiasco, this is our chance to fight for safety on a street that poses needless risks to bike riders and pedestrians.

And just maybe Ryu might prove me wrong.

………

The LA Department of City Planning is hosting a pair of public meetings to gather input for the city’s new General Plan, in South LA tomorrow morning and Hollywood Wednesday evening.

The Have A Go website reports that almost no bicyclists attended an earlier meeting, resulting in virtually no one to give a voice to visions of a more bikeable, walkable city not strangled by motor vehicles.

This is your chance to envision a more livable city, and maybe — just maybe — see it become a reality in your lifetime.

Or you could just sit back and complain about it later, insisting you never had a say in the matter.

Just like all those people who suddenly found themselves shocked to discover LA has a mobility plan, or that Vision Zero calls for safety improvements on the streets they like to zoom along.

You can also give your input in a short survey, instead.

………

Bike SGV hosts their Spooky Night Bike Train tomorrow.

………

A cargo bike rider complains to Burbank police officers about just watching while a driver passes within inches of him and his two-year old daughter, directly in front of their squad car.

Naturally, they respond with their best Sgt. Schultz imitation by saying they didn’t see a thing, and asking if he shouldn’t he be riding on the sidewalk, anyway.

………

In an update to Sunday’s fatal bike crash on PCH in Santa Monica, a Good Samaritan who stopped to help the victim says the Santa Monica police aren’t being forthcoming with the full details.

And she reports that the driver fled the scene and was chased down by witnesses to the crash, rather than returning on his own as the police had said.

Thanks to Jorge Casuso for the heads-up.

………

A new bill signed into law by the governor gives local governments the right to seize cars used by pimps or Johns for prostitution.

However, drivers who flee the scene of crashes or use their cars to deliberately threaten or harm bicyclists or pedestrians are more than welcome to keep theirs.

………

The British team doctor who sent the suspicious package that has left a cloud over Bradley Wiggins has walked away from the organization without talking to doping authorities.

The head of the Movistar team says 13.5 miles of Paris – Roubaix cobblestones are too dangerous to include in next year’s Tour de France.

A British writer says we may have entered the age of post-truth, but cycling got there decades earlier.

Doping has reached the dog world, as sled dogs in Alaska’s famed Iditarod test positive for Tramadol, the same painkiller that’s legal for professional athletes under current doping rules, and widely used — or abused — in the pro peloton.

………

Local

Another missive from self-proclaimed lawyer Richard Lee Abrams, who accuses the city of placing bike lanes on busy streets where smog harms kids on bicycles, as an excuse to install road diets in an attempt to intentionally turn traffic congestion into an unbearable nightmare and force people to use subways and fixed rail. Which might sort of almost make sense if the recent Playa del Rey road diets were anywhere near rail lines. I’m also told the reason Abrams isn’t listed in the California bar is that while Abrams is his real name, he’s listed in the bar under another name. Sure, let’s go with that.

Police are looking for a possible bike-riding arsonist who may be responsible for setting four separate trees on fire in North Hollywood.

A Playa Vista photographer transforms trash into art, inspired by a garbage bin he discovered on a Chicago bike ride.

Carson is now home to eight Starbucks and a Jersey Mikes, and it’s getting a bike path along the Dominguez Channel. It’s also the home of the new LA Chargers, but nobody’s perfect.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson pens a hard-hitting piece about the failure of the Playa del Rey road diets, and the pain advocates felt when the news broke. However, while his solution to confidently take the lane instead of fighting for bike lanes may work for some of us, it doesn’t address the 8 to 80 problem, or encourage the vast majority of people who might like to ride their bikes if they weren’t so afraid of traffic to get out and try it.

 

State

San Diego’s Bikes for Boobs has raised $23,000 for breast cancer prevention.

No, Bakersfield 23ABC News, bike lights and helmets might make bike riders safer, but they won’t do a damn thing to improve the streets.

A San Luis Obispo County rehabilitation nurse urges bicyclists to stop riding up and down the Nipono Mesa hills in the traffic lanes where they have every right to be, because unsuspecting drivers would never in their wildest dreams imagine that anyone might actually do that. So the problem isn’t clueless and careless drivers, but the people on bikes who might be in their way. Got it.

Speaking of SLO, a letter writer says drivers are fed up with road diets and sacrificing parking spots to make room for all those damn bike lanes, questioning whether that really helps the cause of bicycling.

San Francisco clears away the last of the homeless encampments blocking a popular bikeway, and a TV reporter discovers what may be the city’s most dangerous bike lane.

The Santa Rosa train may have been SMART, but riding in front of it with headphones and talking on a cellphone, not so much.

A bicyclist who lost his sight to diabetes will take part in this weekend’s Shasta Wheelmen Wildcat Granfondo in Redding, despite surviving a pair of double kidney transplants.

 

National

The best technical minds in America are hard at work answering the single most pressing issue regarding driverless cars: Who’s at fault when they crash?

A new device promises to let you carry your bike suspended across your back. Wouldn’t that just make it bang into every branch, bush, rock and signpost along the way? Not to mention any people you happen to pass.

A woman discusses what she learned on a 4,274-mile bike ride across the US from Virginia to Seattle.

A kid riding to school shouldn’t have to jump off his bikes and roll out of the way to avoid getting run over, like this boy in San Antonio TX.

Caught on video: A man steals a laptop from inside an Oklahoma hospital without ever getting off his bicycle.

A 16-year old Minnesota driver is accused of using Snapchat seconds before he plowed into a bike rider.

A Minnesota theater is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of a bike riding actress, who was killed in a crash after the spirit first appeared, making the ID seem unlikely.

A writer in Albany NY explains how he became a bike person, and discovers that how we move around our community matters. And it’s really fun, too.

Former Olympic gold medal track cyclist Marty Nothstein announces his bid for Congress as a Republican in Pennsylvania’s 15th district.

In what sounds like the theater of the absurd, New York’s mayor announces plans to fine the employees of ebike delivery people; for reasons that escape most rational people, it’s illegal to use the nonpolluting bikes on Gotham streets. Better to make delivery people pedal for eight hours a day, or maybe just use a massive SUV like the mayor does.

The parents of a ten-year old New York girl credit her $40 bike helmet with saving her life after a nearly four-ton forklift rolled over her head as she was riding her bicycle.

A doubly bighearted Virginia deputy bought a new bike for a ten-year old boy after his was stolen. Then bought a second bike for another boy who didn’t have one.

 

International

Cycling Weekly lists the eight types of cyclists you see on every winter ride. Seriously, just get out and ride your bike, wherever and however makes you happy. And screw the labels.

A British woman is looking for the apparently drunk or stoned man who crashed his bike into her and her friends, then jumped up and started punching them, breaking her nose and knocking her friend out cold.

Caught on video too: An English bike rider get assaulted by a road raging driver, after flipping him off for a dangerously close pass on a blind curve.

A new Danish ebike is too fast to legally be used on the streets in the European Union.

An Egyptian woman is training to become the first woman to ride solo around the country.

The Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Australia calls Singapore-based dockless bikeshare provider oBike a shadowy organization that has hurt the chances for other bikeshare providers.

 

Finally…

Maybe this explains why a Huffy rides like a sewing machine. Who knew a traffic light was the cure for the bicyclists God complex?

And apparently, it’s bad luck to steal a bicycle from a police station.

 

Morning Links: Mar Vista Great Streets success, 6th Street safety open house, and road rage around the world

My apologies for yesterday’s unexcused absence.

My hard drive cable failed just as I was finishing yesterday’s post. Fortunately, I was able to get it replaced, and recovered most, though not all, of what I had written.

As a result, today’s post includes news from both days. So grab your favorite beverage and settle in; we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.

And come back tomorrow, when we’ll have even more bike and safety news we couldn’t squeeze into today’s post.

………

It’s working.

Despite the claims of road diet opponents, the three-month safety stats show the Venice Great Streets project in Mar Vista is working exactly as promised, with collisions, injuries and speeding down, while resulting in what should be an easily tolerable delay in rush hour traffic.

Which should put the debate to rest, but probably won’t.

Meanwhile, a new Toronto study shows what Mar Vista has to look forward to, as controversial separated bike lanes on a downtown Toronto street have significantly improved safety, while boosting business in the surrounding area.

Like Mar Vista’s Venice Blvd Great Streets Project, Toronto faced near-constant demands from drivers to remove the Bloor Street bike lanes, as well as merchants angry over the loss of parking spaces.

It’s been successful in Toronto.

And it will be in Mar Vista, if local leaders can fight off the demands to remove them.

Thanks to Norm Bradwell for link to the Toronto study.

………

Speaking of traffic safety improvements, CD4 Councilmember David Ryu is hosting an open house on Saturday, October 21st, to discuss the desperately needed changes to 6th Street between Fairfax and La Brea.

As we’ve noted before, even though the Mid City West Community Council has voted unanimously to support lane reductions on 6th, Ryu has dragged his feet on the project, despite his oft-stated promises to listen to the local community.

He has suggested an alternative that would keep two lanes in each direction, while adding left turn bays at several intersections and removing parking spaces near intersections.

This would actually have the opposite effect of the safety improvements the local community has been begging for, speeding the flow of traffic rather than slowing it, while increasing the risk to bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as drivers.

It’s important that everyone who uses the street in any way, or cares about traffic safety, attend to if you can to demand a safer 6th Street.

………

Long Beach bike advocate and Pedal Love founder Melissa Balmer teamed with Minnesota writer and consultant Jay Walljasper to author a new study on the Surprising Promise of Bicycling to be released today.

The study focuses on the “untapped demographic potential, growth of bike share and infrastructure, the deepening influence of grass roots advocacy,” as well as the promise of ebikes.

………

Today’s common theme is road raging drivers.

And bike riders, too.

An Arkansas man faces charges for crashing into a man on a bike — evidently intentionally — then threatening him with a machete, apparently because the rider sprayed a couple dogs with a water bottle when they chased after him.

Witnesses say a driver appeared to intentionally cross over the yellow line to smash into Georgia teenager as the boy signaled for a left turn on his bike.

The Chicago bike rider who was hit with a drum by a road raging driver — after smashing the man’s rear window with his U-lock — has started a crowdfunding campaign to get his damaged teeth fixed.

An Ohio lawyer could face disbarment for brake-checking a bike rider and smashing his cellphone in a road rage incident.

Evidently, there’s no shortage of road rage in Asheville NC. Police are looking for a bicyclist who allegedly hit a driver several times with his helmet, kicked him, and stole his eyeglasses and $80. This comes just two weeks after a driver was caught on dashcam video punching a cyclist.

A London cab driver tells a bike rider to “go back to f***ing Poland” or wherever he’s from after the rider complains about the driver stopping in a bike box.

………

We’ll catch up with a long list of bike events tomorrow, but I want to mention just a couple today due to the tight timelines.

Bike SGV is hosting the BEST Ride: Bike Art Night Pasadena tomorrow night, offering a free two-wheeled tour of the Pasadena art fest with stops at several venues.

And AIDS/LifeCycle is holding a pair of Kickoff AIDS/LifeCycle 2018 rides starting at Balboa Park this Saturday, to officially start training for next year’s 545-mile ride down the California Coast. You can choose from rides of 14 or 43.7 miles, with a free lunch provided for registered participants.

………

Local

In what’s just the latest multimillion dollar settlement due to the city’s dangerous streets, the LA city council voted to pay $15 million to a man who suffered permanent brain damage due to a substandard Hollywood crosswalk. That’s $15 million they could have used to fix several dangerous intersections, instead of paying for not fixing one.

Paramedics at LAX will now make their way through the terminals by bicycle.

Volunteers are needed for the tenth annual Long Beach bike count.

Sports Illustrated reviews the new book Draft Animals from LA’s own former pro Phil Gaimon.

The SGV Connect podcast remembers Bike SGV staff member Brian Velez, who passed away unexpectedly last month. A memorial ride will be held in his honor this Sunday.

 

State

Governor Brown once again pulls out his veto pen to strike down a bike bill, negating a law that would have required the California Department of General Services to expand an employee bikeshare program it currently runs for staffers in Sacramento to other departments, and other areas of the state.

Goleta considers building a separated bike and pedestrian path through the city.

The very cool new Johnny Cash Art Trail officially opens in Folsom this Saturday.

San Francisco is preparing to issue permits to an e-bikeshare operator, portentially violating the non-compete agreement they have with Ford’s GoBike.

Oakland explores a new approach to fixing a dangerous intersection with paint and bollards, by adding bike lanes and a widened median for pedestrians, in just ten weeks for a mere $30,000. The result has been a 7% drop in speeding with no decrease in median speeds, and a whopping 86% increase in drivers stopping for pedestrians in the crosswalk.

A seven-year old Oakland bike shop provides local youth with job training and affordable transportation.

A Marin writer questions the wisdom of reopening a closed-off tunnel for bike and pedestrian use.

A new study from UC Davis shows that many trips that could be made by foot, bike or transit are now being made by Uber and Lyft, adding to the congestion on our streets.

 

National

Doctors call for cities to do more to keep bike riders and pedestrians safe, as the US faces its biggest jump in traffic deaths in 50 years.

If you’ve spent much time walking or riding a bike, you may be surprised to learn that traffic engineers have an ethical duty to protect public safety, which they’ve too often ignored. Okay, maybe shocked is a better word.

Yes, it is possible to ride a bike from the airport in major cities around the US, including Los Angeles.

An article in Bicycle Times calls bicycling the ultimate social sport.

No irony here. A Nebraska bike rider was hit by a car on the way home from a bicycle safety meeting; needless to say, the driver wasn’t ticketed.

A retired Wisconsin legislator says the state’s governor is no friend to bicycling.

A pair of Detroit men have been arrested for at least three separate daylight abductions and sexual assaults of women as they rode their bicycles. Let’s hope they get thrown into a deep pit for a very long time.

An Indianapolis man entertains passing drivers by juggling and riding his bike backwards in a parking lot.

Massachusetts’ abolition-themed 1854 Cycling Company hires recently released inmates, giving them a second chance in life; the owner grew up in South Central LA.

New York police are targeting people on bikes, rather than focusing on the operators of more dangerous vehicles.

Lawyers are challenging a recent New York Vision Zero law making right-of-way violations a misdemeanor offense; three judges have found the law unconstitutional on the grounds that people can’t be held accountable for violations they don’t know they’re committing.

There’s a special place in hell for the guys who tried to jack a New York bikeshare bike from a 13-year old Hasidic boy; police are investigating it as a possible hate crime.

Delaware is now officially the second state to authorized the Idaho Stop law, allowing bike riders to treat stop signs as yields on two-lane streets.

Officials say a proposal to build a bikeway alongside a North Carolina freeway could reduce congestion while boosting the local economy.

There is something seriously wrong when a soldier can receive multiple Purple Hearts on four overseas deployments, only to be killed in a collision while riding a bicycle back to his Georgia base; he was an advocate for wounded vets through the Operation Enduring Warrior program.

 

International

This is what happens when people who ride bicycles get involved in the political process, as both major candidates in Montreal’s mayoral election court the bike vote. Unlike, say, Los Angeles, where bicyclists should be a major political block, but aren’t.

A writer for a Canadian university says traffic laws apply to those cocky cyclists too, while apparently confusing the rate of fatalities caused by bicyclists with those caused by motorists.

An independent commission has urged London’s mayor to be bold in reducing congestion and air pollution, and create transportation system centered on walking, bicycling and transit.

A British bike rider has been jailed for three weeks for crashing into a four-year old kid while riding brakeless.

Britain’s Chris Boardman offers a ten-point plan to enjoy bicycling in your middle age. I can shorten that to two points: 1) get on your bike, and 2) ride it.

A councilmember in Bengaluru, India has demanded that the city fix the streets and make it pothole-free within 15 days. Let us know if it works; I know a few other cities that could use it.

A writer for the Nikkei Asian Review says a simple formula can reflect the affluence of a country by measuring those who ride a bike because they choose to, as compared to those who ride because they have no alternative.

 

Finally…

No, attaching a flashing light to your helmet will not ward off magpie attacks. Forget Pinarellas and Conalgos; if you really want to impress the guys on your club ride, show up on a gold-plated Giant.

And your new $4,000 BMW ebike would offer as much torque as a small car.

Okay, a very small car.

………

A special thank you to Linda Campbell for her generous contribution to help support this site. Or maybe to the BikinginLA computer repair fund.

 

Morning Links: An open letter to David Ryu, Mar Vista CC is at it again, and motion could remove LA bike lanes

Dear Councilmember Ryu,

As a resident of LA’s 4th Council District, I have long been concerned about the risks that drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists face in our district.

One area of particular concern is 6th Street between Fairfax and La Brea. As you are no doubt aware, 6th is a two-lane street west of Fairfax, then becomes four lanes between Fairfax and La Brea.

Once it widens to two lanes in each direction, the character of the street changes dramatically. Speeds increase while drivers jockey for position, often shifting lanes without warning to go around stalled traffic or turning vehicles.

As a motorist, it is an unpleasant street to drive, and one requiring constant concentration. As a pedestrian, it is a difficult, and at times dangerous, street to cross. And someone who used to bicycle to Downtown when I lived in West LA, it was easily the most dangerous part of my commute.

This is borne out by the two pedestrian deaths and hundreds of crashes that have been recorded on the street over the last several years, as well as statistics showing 6th Street is three times as dangerous as the average LA arterial.

Fortunately, there is a proposal from LADOT which would address these issues by removing a traffic lane in each direction and adding a center left turn lane, with bike lanes on each side from Fairfax to Cochran.

Lane reductions like this have been shown to improve safety up to 47%, with an average of 30% improvement in cities across the US. Those same results have held true with previous road diet projects here in Los Angeles, as well.

Further, this is a project that has the full support of the surrounding community. The Mid-City West Community Council voted unanimously to back this project over a year ago.

Before you were elected to office, you told the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition that you start and end any decision with the community. In this case, the voice of the community is clear.

It is long past time to improve safety on this dangerous street. I urge you to immediately support this project as recommended by LADOT.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers, BikinginLA.com

If you want to write in support of the proposed 6th Street road diet, send your email to [email protected], and CC [email protected][email protected], and [email protected]. You can find a brief sample email you can use as a template here (pdf).

………

Mar Vista Community Council’s bizarre bike “safety” motions and efforts to roll back the Venice Great Streets project will be back on the table when the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meets tonight.

Among the motions under consideration are one that would require bike “night lights,” even though front and rear bike lights and side reflectors are already required under state law for any bike ridden at night.

It would also require mandatory bike helmet use for all riders, regardless of age, even though that would conflict with existing state law, which means the city has no authority to mandate their use.

Another motion calls for restoring the two traffic lanes that were removed from Venice Blvd as part of the Great Streets Project by removing the center median, or placing a center bike path there. Both of which show a clear lack of understanding of traffic calming, as well as bikeway design.

Center medians are used to slow traffic and prevent unsafe left and U-turns, as well as head-on collisions with speeding drivers who cross the center line.

Meanwhile, center bikeways create multiple conflict points at every intersection, dramatically increasing the risk of injury collisions. Which is why existing median bikeway on Culver Blvd failed.

As alternative, they suggest restoring the traffic lanes by removing street parking, and replacing it with parking garages every three blocks — with no hint of where to put them or how to pay for it.

A final motion simply calls for removal of the entire Venice Great Streets project in order to restore three lanes in both directions.

Clearly, someone on the committee has a fixation with doing everything in their power to keep Venice Blvd dangerous. And at the same time, allowing traffic to continue destroying the fabric of the Mar Vista community, reverting back to a virtual highway to keep peak hour traffic flowing, with excess capacity the rest of the day.

All of which suggests a complete and total ignorance of state bike laws and traffic safety planning, as well as the benefits of road diets. Which is what happens when you put people in charge who have no idea what they’re talking about.

Instead of the misguided, illegal and impractical motions on the agenda, maybe they should replace them with a single motion requiring every member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to actually learn something about the subject.

If you can make it there tonight night, maybe you can try to explain it to them.

Thanks to N.E. Farnham for the heads-up.

………

A new motion from the usually bike-friendly 12th CD Councilmember Mitch Englander (pdf) could potentially halt all new bike lanes in the city of Los Angeles, as well as rip out many existing lanes.

The motion comes in response to the latest city settlement with an injured bicyclist, as the LA city council voted to pay $7.5 million to a man who was left paralyzed from the neck down after hitting a ridge of pavement that had been lifted four inches by a tree root. And which the city had previously been warned about, but done nothing to fix.

Never mind the 17 other lawsuits that have been filed against the city by injured bike riders, or the relatives of those killed, this year alone. Many, if not most of whom, weren’t riding in bike lanes when they were injured.

Englander’s motion, which was seconded by the 2nd District’s Paul Krekorian, would require that new bike lanes only be installed on streets with a pavement quality grade of A. Which sounds good, until you consider that LA’s streets average a C plus.

So basically, new bike lanes could only go on new pavement.

To make matters worse, the motion calls for closing or removing bike lanes from any street with a pavement grade of B or lower. Which would mean most of the bike lanes in the City of Angels would be unceremoniously stripped off the pavement.

The practical result would be that people would still ride those same streets, and be subject to the same bad pavement, but without the separation from traffic that bike lanes provide. So any falls, or swerves to avoid cracks or potholes in the pavement, could be catastrophic.

And by removing a proven safety feature, the city’s exposure to liability could be exponentially higher when, not if, someone is injured on one of those streets.

The motion isn’t all bad, however.

The requirement that pavement quality on current bike lanes be inspected is something that should have been passed into law decades ago. As anyone who has ever ridden the 7th Street bike lanes leading to and in DTLA can attest.

And pavement quality should be considered before installing new bike lanes, rather than just slapping paint down on failing streets, as has been the practice in the past.

If the motion advances, which is not a given, it must be amended to so that only the bike lane would be required to have an A grade, which would allow just that portion of the roadway to be patched or repaved to bring it up to code, rather than the entire street.

Although that would give drivers one more reason to hate us.

And the misguided requirement that existing bike lanes be closed or removed should be stricken, period.

Thanks to T.J. Knight for the tip.

………

In what they describe as a win-win for everyone, the San Diego State University Police Department has teamed with the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), the San Diego County Bicycling Coalition and Cycle Quest Bicycle Store to fight bike theft.

The groups worked together to register 150 bicycles with the university’s bike registration program, which is open to students, faculty and staff. Everyone who registered their received a free Kryptonite lock and mount, as well as free bike repair, and bike lights and literature from the SDCBC.

Which is almost enough to make me want to go back to college.

Including these 150 bikes, the university has registered 476 bikes so far this year, ensuring that the information will be available if anything should happen to the bikes.

They report that 81 bikes have been reported stolen since the first of the year, most of which were secured by just a thin cable lock or locked to the rack by the front wheel alone.

And yes, they also instruct students on how to lock their bikes properly when they register them.

………

VeloNews considers how the Vuelta became cycling’s most dramatic grand tour.

Like father, like sons. A Lithuanian cyclist has been suspended following a positive drug test, 15 years after his father tested positive for EPO after finishing third in the 2002 Tour de France, and just months after his brother died as a result of suspected doping.

Spain’s Samuel Sanchez got fired from the BMC team after his B sample confirmed his positive doping test prior to the Vuelta.  But really, the doping era is over, right?

………

Local

Everyone has an opinion about the proposed restoration of the Ballona Wetlands. Including an environmental advocate who says reversing the Playa del Rey road diets will mean more roadkill. Hopefully, she doesn’t mean us.

Manhattan Beach approves new bike route signs, buts holds off on sharrows over fears that they make bike riders “more assertive about occupying road space.” In other words, they’re worried about those uppity bike riders wanting to ride exactly where the markers on the road say they’re supposed to ride.

 

State

San Diego won’t be changing their sidewalk policies, even after a man was awarded $4.85 million when he was severely injured riding his bike on a tree-damaged sidewalk the city had known about, but failed to fix. Sound familiar?

Over 1,000 bicycles have been stolen in San Diego this year.

A Los Altos writer offers five rules to live by as a cyclist. Although he says not to ride three abreast, even though it’s perfectly legal on non-sharable lanes, as long as you stay within a single lane; however, you should always allow drivers to pass when it’s safe to do so.

San Francisco advocates discuss the status of Vision Zero in the city.

The North Bay Area’s new SMART trains are dealing with an unexpected crush of passengers boarding with bicycles. Which shows who the smart ones really are.

Someone please tell the Mountain View city council that removing a crosswalk is not a safety improvement.

Sacramento’s mayor tries out a new three-day pop-up parking protected bike lane.

 

National

A lifelong roadie turns to dirt jumping at the age of 44, as Bicycling asks if it’s too late him to catch big air. Easy answer: If you’re not dead, it’s not too late.

New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare reaches its 50 millionth ride.

 

International

A UK writer says it’s time to modernize the country’s traffic laws, but adding offenses for bicyclists is not the place to start.

A British cyclist urges others to get trained in CPR; he was revived after his heart had stopped for 30 minutes while riding.

A London journalist captured a month’s worth of close calls on his bike cam to show how dangerous riding in there can be.

 

Finally…

Who says you can’t eat or drink on a bike? If you’re a convicted felon illegally carrying a handgun on the spokes of your bike, put a damn light on it — the bike, that is, not the gun.

And if you’re riding your bike with two outstanding warrants, don’t use your knife to threaten a driver who honks at you. Or a hatchet.

Or better yet, just don’t. Period.

 

Morning Links: Disappointment on 6th Street road diet, and new bikeways drop under new LADOT leadership

Hopefully, we’ve got the problem fixed, and subscribers received an email notification of this post. If not, we’ll take another shot at it tomorrow.

………

This is why Vision Zero will fail in Los Angeles.

It’s no secret that LA’s 6th Street between Fairfax and La Brea is one of the most dangerous streets in Los Angeles.

And not just for bike riders, but for pedestrians, drivers and even residents of the street, given the number of drivers who lose control and smash into the buildings alongside it.

In fact, according to the Beverly Press, collision data shows it’s three times as dangerous as the average street in Los Angeles.

Yet even though there’s a shovel-ready plan to fix it, it’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

LADOT has proposed a road diet for the one-mile stretch of street, reducing it to one lane in each direction with a center turn lane, and much-needed bike lanes on either side. It’s a plan that’s won significant community support, including the backing of the Mid City West Community Council that represents the area.

And it’s a proven solution. According to the Federal Highway Administration, road diets have been shown to reduce collisions as much as 47%, while retuning road space back to the community.

The resulting benefits include a crash reduction of 19 to 47 percent, reduced vehicle speed differential, improved mobility and access by all road users, and integration of the roadway into surrounding uses that results in an enhanced quality of life. A key feature of a Road Diet is that it allows reclaimed space to be allocated for other uses, such as turn lanes, bus lanes, pedestrian refuge islands, bike lanes, sidewalks, bus shelters, parking or landscaping.

Although at every community meeting where the results of any study are mentioned, someone will inevitably ask if it was conducted in Los Angeles. As if there is something magically different about this city that makes water run uphill and two plus two equal five.

But this time, the answer is yes.

Because the latest research shows that the needlessly contentious Rowena road diet accomplished exactly what it was supposed to do.

Since the road diet was installed more than three years ago, LADOT has been collecting data on traffic patterns. An analysis of that data makes it clear that the project has worked as intended: Average speeds dropped from 39 mph to 35 mph, and safety has significantly increased on Rowena, with no effect on overall traffic volume.

Let’s repeat that.

Despite the claims of local residents that cut through drivers have run roughshod over their neighborhoods, Rowena post-road diet carries the same number of vehicles as it did before. But far more safely.

But that’s where the good news ends.

Because the Beverly Press reports CD4 Councilmember David Ryu, who represents the area, questions the benefits of the road diet, preferring incremental changes to improve safety.

Like bollards, for instance.

And he’s concerned about how a road diet would affect other local development projects, such as a joint Metro/Los Angeles project to encourage transit ridership, new jobs and development along the transit corridor formed by the planned La Brea, Fairfax and La Cienega subway stations, which won’t open until 2023.

So instead of trusting the people the city pays to design safer streets, he prefers to overrule their judgement, and that of the local community, and drag his feet for months, if not years to come.

So a lot of people could be needlessly injured or killed on the street in the next seven years.

And that’s the problem.

Just as we’ve seen with Westwood Blvd, Central Ave, Lankershim and North Figueroa, a single LA councilmember has the power to stop much needed safety projects, sometimes based on nothing more than their own personal whims.

Which means that safety can improve dramatically in one council district, and grind to a halt in the next.

Vision Zero will be impossible to achieve if individual councilmembers are allowed to carve their districts out, and keep the streets dangerous at the behest of constituents fearful of any change to what they consider their streets.

Even if it’s change for the better.

And even though the streets belong to all of us.

We had high hopes for Ryu, who professed to support Vision Zero, as well as encouraging bicycling and walking when he ran for office.

But based on this decision, as well as his votes in support of removing Westwood and Central from the Mobility Plan, we may be disappointed.

………

If you thought bikeway construction had slowed down dramatically under Seleta Reynold’s stewardship at LADOT, you’re right.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton took at deep dive into the department’s recently released annual report, and found that the city installed only 17.1 miles of bikeways in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. And that’s using the new lane mile metric, which counts each direction of travel separately.

So that 17 miles of bikeways represents just 6.5 miles of roads and pathways.

That compares to 38 lane miles in Mayor Garcetti’s first year in office, when Reynolds was appointed several months into the year.

And 120 lane miles in Mayor Villaraigosa’s final year in office, far exceeding his commitment to build 40 miles of bike lanes — 80 lane miles — a year.

As Linton points out, LADOT has a number of projects in the works for the coming year.

If all goes according to plans, FY2016-17 looks like it should be better. LADOT is poised to implement plenty of quality bikeway mileage during the current fiscal year, with protected bike lanes anticipated on Figueroa Street (MyFig), Venice Boulevard, Spring Street, Main Street, Van Nuys Boulevard and (newly announced in the report) Highland Avenue.

But he adds,

LADOT has recent accomplishments to be proud of, but, given Reynolds, a committed walk and bike champion at the helm, it is falling short of expectations. Cyclists, communities and advocacy groups will need to continue to press LADOT and L.A. electeds to ensure that progress continues.

Let alone if we ever hope to see even a fraction of the hard-fought gains reflected in the 2010 Bike Plan, now part of the Mobility Plan 2035, on our streets.

Minus Westwood Blvd and Central Ave, of course.

………

Today’s common theme is ebikes.

An Escondido father tours Catalina Island on an ebike with his young daughter.

A British Columbia man takes a 1,553 mile ebike ride to next month’s Desert Trip classic rock festival in Indio.

Financial Review calls a new e-cargo bike the equivalent of a muscle car.

And if you like your ebikes to look like 1920’s motorcycles, this one’s for you. Then again, as Cyclelicious points out, America has a long history of making pseudo-motorcycle bicycles.

………

The head of the Tour de France says cycling is shedding its image as the black sheep of the sports world as it cleans up its act, while other sports are rocked with doping scandals.

Although Deadspin says trusting anyone in cycling is a loser’s game.

………

Local

The LA Times endorses Measure M to provide alternatives to LA’s soul-crushing traffic. However, a representative of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association urges a no vote, saying the plan isn’t perfect yet — in part because it doesn’t include a plan for parking. Which kind of misses the point of getting people out of their cars.

UCLA has established the area’s first online bike traffic school, allowing students to improve their knowledge of bicycle traffic regulations instead of having to pay a traffic ticket. Meanwhile, thirty years ago you could have ridden a pedicab through Westwood Village.

CiclaValley offers a video breakdown of the popular Nichols Ride.

Better Bike’s Mark Elliot points out that the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills set a new record for injury collisions involving bicyclists or pedestrians in August, with six and ten respectively — over four times the average number of bicycling injuries for the previous seven months.

Cycling in the South Bay goes back to third grade dealing with anti-bike Palos Verdes NIMBYs at a pair of city safety meetings, while including his notes of the various NIMBY uninformed comments.

 

State

Governor Brown signed a bill requiring ignition interlock devices for anyone convicted of drunk driving, to keep them from operating their cars while under the influence. Not as good as impounding their vehicles until they get their licenses back, but it’s a start.

A bike path becomes a contentious issue in the Encinitas council election. Yes, a bike path.

Palm Springs uses bait bikes to bust two bike thieves.

A crowdfunding account has been established for the 88-year old grandfather who was killed riding his bike in Goleta last week.

A Monterey bicyclist jumps head-first into the great helmet debate, saying even hard-headed people should wear helmets while biking. Meanwhile, your next helmet could be made from a honeycomb of hollow neon green tubes.

 

National

A stoned Oregon driver gets six years and three months for the hit-and-run death of a bike rider while he was high on marijuana, which is legal in the state. However, driving under the influence isn’t.

There’s a special place in hell for anyone who would try to sell a Chicago ghost bike on Facebook.

Kindhearted North Chicago police buy a new bicycle for a seven-year old boy after his was destroyed in a collision.

A Minnesota writer reviews a new book that says Bike Lanes Are White Lanes, as bike advocacy too often leaves communities of color behind.

New York passes three laws guaranteeing bicycle access to commercial and residential buildings.

It takes a special kind of road raging jackass to pull a gun on anyone, let alone former pro and Lance lieutenant George Hincapie and his eight-year old son as they rode near their South Carolina home.

 

International

Momentum Magazine looks at three grassroots bicycle organizations shaking things up in cities around the world, including our own East Side Riders Bike Club.

Canada is creating a national task force to reduce injuries and fatalities to cyclists and pedestrians. That sound you hear is the silence of the US doing nothing.

Bicyclists in Edmonton, Canada already treat stop signs as yields, even without an Idaho Stop Law. As opposed to LA, where too many riders simply ignore them.

It’s official. The Right Bank of the Seine River through the heart of Paris will be taken back from cars and returned to the people.

Southern Germany features over 120 bike routes with 5,000 miles of dedicated pathways.

A Formula 1 driver wiped out while rounding a corner at nearly 30 mph on his bicycle when he ran over a Thai chicken.

 

Finally…

It’s not a bomb, it’s an inflatable bike helmet. The perfect bike for when you want to ride in a semi-Superman position, cape optional.

And your next bike tour could be led by a pair of porn stars.

 

Morning Links: Town hall to talk 6th Street road diet, a busy Bike Week, and a hot Giant recovered in Redlands

We’re sill stuck on 14 new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition in the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive.

So who wants to help take it up to sign up now or renew your membership to take it up to at least 15 today? You’ll help give bike riders a real voice in the LA area, and get some great LACBC gear in the process.

………

A town hall meeting will be held on Wednesday to discuss the much-needed road diet on 6th Street between La Brea and Fairfax.

As someone who used to regularly ride that stretch of road when I lived on the Westside, I can attest that it can be pretty intense, whether you’re on two wheels or four. Especially at night, when traffic lets up and drivers feel free to haul ass without regard for who or what may be in their way.

………

KPCC looks at the remaining 15 days of Bike Month, starting with today’s Blessing of the Bicycles.

West Hollywood is celebrating bike month on Thursday, with a Bike to Work Day hub near Santa Monica Blvd and Hancock Avenue; some WeHo restaurants will offer a 10% discount to bicyclists through May 28th, though details are lacking.

Santa Monica’s Breeze bikeshare is free this Thursday through Saturday.

And don’t forget that you and your bike get free rides on Metrolink this week.

………

Lois forwards word of recovered bike in Redlands.

From the Redlands Police Department page. RPD recovered a stolen Giant road bike.

“Police contacted four subjects in a vehicle in the 10 block of W. Colton Avenue and made several arrests for warrants and probation violations. Officers located a Giant road bicycle inside their car, and no one in the car claimed ownership of the bike. If you recently had a Giant road bike stolen, please contact the Redlands Police Department at [email protected].”

………

Maybe he should ride the wrong bike more often. A former Slovenian ski jumper wins the Giro time trial after his bike is disqualified, and he’s forced ride a backup bike with the saddle set too low, and no water bottle or computer.

On the other hand, Russian rider Alexey Tsatevich was sent home by his Katusha team for illegally drafting another rider during the time trial.

No surprise Sunday in the Amgen Tour of California, as last year’s champ Peter Sagan wins the first stage. But the second stage was a big surprise, as American Ben King won in a two-man breakaway, taking the leader’s jersey just four months after ankle surgery.

It was a perfect starting place for Stage 2 of the race for pro cyclist Geoffrey Curran, whose family has lived in South Pasadena for over 50 years.

Today’s stage starts in Thousand Oaks and finishes in Santa Barbara.

………

Local

Something’s wrong when even students at high-end private academies aren’t safe on their way to school.

Paul Koretz tells UCLA’s Daily Bruin he wants Westwood Blvd removed from the Mobility Plan before studies of alternate routes are complete, because he may not be on the council when they are finished. So basically, he wants to impose his bad decisions on whoever is elected to replace him.

LADOT’s Seleta Reynolds talks transportation in DTLA, assuring drivers there’s no war on cars, even if she does want to discuss making some Downtown streets car-free.

The seemingly omnipresent CiclaValley looks at the semi-protected bike lanes coming to Van Nuys Blvd. Apparently, CD7 Councilmember Felipe Fuentes’ staff liked the story.

Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman says Sunday’s successful Southeast Cities CicLAvia was four years in the making, while KPCC says a good time was had by all. Or words to that effect, anyway.

LA’s Fox-11 asks if you can ditch your car in 2016.

Pasadena proposes spending $1.8 million to install bicycle detection systems at key intersections.

Santa Monica will host a mini-ciclovía on June 5th to help welcome the Expo Line to town.

Mark your calendar, as LA’s own Swrve hosts one of their semi-irregular warehouse sales on Saturday, June 11th.

 

State

The OC Register’s Dan Whiting looks at Wednesday’s Ride of Silence, with a record five rides planned in Orange County.

The madness continues in Coronado, as the city tosses out its already approved and funded bike plan after last year’s bizarre complaints from residents, and votes to start over.

A Santa Rosa woman clearly doesn’t get that bicyclists are allowed on the road, bike lane or not, and allowed to ride in the middle of the traffic lane. The solution to the “dangerous” conditions she describes is to drive safely, not for bikes to get the hell off the road.

This is why you don’t want to chase after bike thieves; a Fresno man was stabbed trying to get his bike back. That was just days after a Fresno bike rider was stabbed to death as he rode past a bus stop.

The woman who tried to flee after hitting a San Francisco cyclist has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon for the apparently intentional attack.

AAA is now using ebikes to rescue drivers in San Francisco’s Embarcadero.

Monterey gives free bike helmets to kids to encourage them to ride their bikes.

Sacramento is planning a $17 million, 4.5 mile rail-to-trail bike path.

 

National

Seattle is backsliding on the bikeways promised in its bike plan.

KC gets its first green bike box, with more bike racks and another 50 miles of bike lanes on the way.

A reportedly suicidal Sinead O’Conner was found safe after disappearing on an ebike ride in Chicago on Sunday.

A New York site says taming the city’s notorious Boulevard of Death is worth the effort, even though it calls plans for bike lanes on the street “radical.”

In a city notorious for vehicles blocking bike lanes — including police vehicles — the NYPD finally gets around to doing something about it. For one whole week, anyway.

Usher is one of us, as GQ uses his stylish ride through New York as the model for us all.

A Maryland county is measuring traffic stress levels to study how biking comfort affects connectivity.

The Atlanta Falcons are participating in Bike to Work Day this week. So will we see the new LA Rams on their bikes this Thursday?

 

International

A British man is convicted in the road rage stabbing of a prominent bike advocate following a traffic collision; the National Health Service admits they got things wrong in managing the killer’s paranoid schizophrenia, even though he was not psychotic at the time. His actions might tend to argue otherwise.

An English motorcyclist gets just two years for killing a bike rider while pulling high-speed wheelies.

Caught on video: An Irish paper investigates bike safety, and finds hundreds of near misses on the streets of Dublin. Although to be fair, a number of the close calls appear to be the riders’ fault.

A 14-year old Spanish cyclist sponsored by pro rider Vincenzo Nibali was killed in a collision with a garbage truck; Nibali was reportedly devastated, regarding the boy as a godson.

A road raging Spanish cab driver was charged with attempted murder for running down a bike-riding former Olympic medalist.

In Guyana, even the police are under the influence, as a drunk cop runs down a 10-year old boy while on duty.

Queensland is reconsidering its ten-year bike safety plan halfway through, as new thinking around the world threatens to leave the Aussie state behind.

 

Finally…

Maybe you need a bike with a bendy down tube. Seriously, it’s better to be arrested for outstanding warrants than get hit by a car trying to flee the cops on your bike.

And it’s probably not the best idea to run down the mayor while riding on the sidewalk.

 

%d bloggers like this: