Tag Archive for anti-bike NIMBYism

Fight for Westwood bike lanes at LA City Council Tuesday; Times writer tells motorists to get a grip

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition has issued an action alert calling for bike riders to attend tomorrow’s city council session to protest the cancellation of planned bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard.

Please join us for a day of action tomorrow to urge Councilmember Koretz to keep his promise to study bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard. He told us that we would be able to share our thoughts at a public forum, which he then canceled. So, we want to make sure he hears that you support bike lanes on Westwood.

You can show your support in two ways:

1) Join us at City Council at 10 AM tomorrow when we give public comment. You will have two minutes to make your case for bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard. Let us know you’re coming: email alek@la-bike.org with your name and address and we’ll fill out a public comment card for you.

Council Chambers (10 AM on Tuesday)
Los Angeles City Hall
200 N. Spring Street, 3rd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012

2) Can’t make it downtown? Call Koretz’s office and share your thoughts. Dial (310) 289-0353 (field office) or (213) 473-7005 (downtown office). Then, email alek@la-bike.org to let us know how it went.

Sample script:

“Hi, my name is __________ and I’m a (resident of CD5, student at UCLA, etc.) and I’m calling to urge Councilmember Koretz to complete the study of the Westwood Boulevard bike lanes and have a transparent public process, like he promised. Bike lanes on Westwood are important to me because…”

What’s your reason for supporting bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard? Consider these when making comments either at City Council or on the phone:

Safety – A report by Neighborhood Bike Ambassador and Westside South of Santa Monica (WSSM) resident Calla Weimer shows a history of collisions along Westwood in just the six blocks from Santa Monica Blvd to Pico. Westwood Blvd is among the most-traveled streets for bicyclists on the Westside that does not have bike lanes.

Lack of good alternatives – There’s been a lot of talk about alternatives, but when you map them out, they are hillier, indirect, have stop signs nearly every block, or lack ways to cross major boulevards. All of these factors make Westwood Blvd the preferred route for bicyclists.

Bikes are good for business – Study after study shows that bicyclists are a boon for local business. Bicyclists can stop on a whim, park easily, and shop more frequently that those arriving by other means. Routing bike traffic on side streets between major employment and transit hubs is a missed opportunity for small businesses.

Sustainability – Just days after opposing the Westwood bike lanes, Councilmember Koretz attended the launch of the UCLA Grand Challenge, calling for Los Angeles to be carbon-neutral by 2050. Transportation is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Los Angeles, and research clearly demonstrates that alternatives to driving must be convenient for people to use them.

Access to the Expo Line – The Westwood station on the Expo Line will not have public parking, making it all the more important that it is accessible by bike. Over 90% of Metro customers access transit without a car. Metro is currently analyzing corridors for potential station access improvements and bikeshare opportunities, but Westwood will miss out if the bike lanes do not go through.

I can’t make it, since I’ll be sitting in for Damien Newton as guest editor of LA Streetsblog in the morning.

But I urge you to attend, or call or email CM Kortetz’ office if you can’t. Because a decision that gives a greater value to the convenience of a few homeowners over the safety of cyclists should not be allowed to stand.

………

This is the editorial I’ve been waiting for, as a writer for the Times tells motorists who claim cyclists have it coming to get a grip.

Bravo.

So what is it that drives otherwise rational people to fits of apoplexy when the subject of cycling comes up?

Yes, some cyclists break the rules. Dangerously, at times.

But sit by any major street, and it only takes moments to observe an unending stream of stupid driver tricks. And has been pointed out many times before, even the most reckless cyclist is a danger primarily to him or herself, while reckless drivers are a danger to everyone around them.

Dangerous drivers kill; dangerous cyclists and pedestrians get killed.

The risk is by no means equivalent.

And only a truly sick SOB would ever take pleasure or find justification in the needless death of another human being.

So get a grip. And get over it already.

………

Vancouver Cycle Chic writer Chris Bruntlett interviews me and other LA bikevocates in a photo essay on the state of bicycling in Los Angeles; a nice piece from a nice guy.

………

4314920.web.templateCycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson rides to remember a fallen cyclist he didn’t know and writes about it movingly.

Speaking of Seth, word is he has a book coming out this week, with a signing this Thursday at 7 pm at Pages: A Book Store, 904 Manhattan Ave in Manhattan Beach — including wine from Victoria Hill Vineyards and beer from Strand Brewing. That alone would make it worth the trip to the South Bay.

Seth is one of my favorite bike writers, veering from wildly inappropriate to outrageously funny to deeply moving. Sometimes in the same post.

Something tells me his book will be on the can’t miss gift list for a lot of bike riders this year. Including mine.

Maybe a copy will find its way into my stocking.

And yes, that’s a hint. But someone please tell my wife, since she doesn’t read my blog.

………

Don’t miss the LACBC Open House on December 5th; and yes, I’ll be there. How to protect your bike from theft while riding Metro; this is what can happen if you don’t. Pardon me boy, is that the Westwood Blvd choo choo tracks? Take a bike train to the LA Gran Prix on Saturday, and watch the first ever Wolfpacktrack Invitational. Better Bike recaps a recent tour of soon-to-be-made-over Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills, with possible plans for bike lanes. A bike rider in Santa Monica gets hit by a car, assaults the driver, jumps up and down on the roof, and gets arrested; not that he overreacted or anything. New protected bike lanes in the San Gabriel Valley. Cyclists helping others with the SC Velo and Incycle Thanksgiving food drive. CLR Effect offers incredible photos from the El Dorado Park Cyclocross; hey Michael, ever think about putting a bike calendar together?

Six highlights from the recent California Bike Summit. Orange County riders turn out to remember fallen cyclist Paul Lin. Too bad this one is buried behind the paywall, as the OC Register’s Dan Whiting says it’s worth two seconds to save a cyclist’s life; I may disagree with Dan from time to time, but no one ever said his heart isn’t in the right place. An OC driver is sentenced to 21 years in prison for killing a cheerleader while drunk, thus proving the lives of cheerleaders are more valuable than cyclists; thanks to George Cook for the link. San Diego cyclists complain about trash cans in the bike lane. A memorial ride was held Saturday for popular San Diego cyclist Udo Heinz, who was killed by a bus on Camp Pendleton last August. Santa Barbara paramedics pitch in to buy a special needs man a new bike less than an hour after his was stolen. Some Santa Cruz cyclists protest the groundbreaking for a new bike path. A 72-year old cyclist suffers major injuries in a Cayucos collision. More evidence that police officers don’t always understand the laws they enforce. Two teens injured in Stockton bike-by shooting; thanks to Cyclelicious for the heads-up. San Francisco police are accused of beating a bike rider for riding on the sidewalk, then beating people who tried to come to his aid; turns out he was only packing a cupcake.

Lactic acid is your friend; no, really, that’s what they say. Floyd Landis goes to war against Lance Armstrong; speaking of Lance, he says former UCI president Verbruggen was in on the cover-up. Well, duh. A ghost bike goes up in my hometown. A Wisconsin bike evangelist wants you to get ‘bent. The NYPD cracks down on bicyclists for riding on a bike path. Riding with Wall Street MAMILS on $20,000 bikes.

In a virtual repeat of the Santa Barbara story, a stranger buys a new bike for an autistic Canadian boy after his is stolen. Is London Mayor Boris pushing too fast to make the city bike friendly, or not fast enough? Following a rash of bicycling deaths in London, police wisely choose to crack down on the victims, rather than the big ass trucks that are killing them. London gang members are barred from riding bikes to prevent them from committing crimes or fleeing police; yeah, they couldn’t possibly just take the Tube or run away or anything. Eight reasons to be grateful to cyclists. A UK driver didn’t see the young bike rider he killed because he was safely checking his rearview mirror; oh, well okay, then. UK police confiscate a $273,000 McLaren supercar after the uninsured driver hits a cyclist; seriously, you drive a quarter-of-a-million dollar car and can’t carry a little insurance? An 18-year old Irish rider pleads guilty to the new charge of drunk cycling; just one of an average five Irish cyclists who appear in court each week. A Spanish cyclist is fined the equivalent of $135 for eating a croissant while riding. Bicycling should be encouraged in India so youths learn to maintain balance in their lives. Can someone please explain what a Kiwi bike rider who was seriously injured after riding into a parked car five years ago has to do with a call to wear hi-viz to improve visibility?

Finally, a cyclist does the right thing by giving up bicycling to take up driving; no really, you should read this one. Unlike the Chinese driver who did the wrong thing, promising to take the cyclist he hit to the hospital before dumping him on the side of the road.

And if this wasn’t enough to satisfy your bike link lust, the world’s biggest and best bike link compendium is just a click away.

Making the perfect case for Westwood bike lanes

This is how you win the fight for bikes on the streets.

For the past year, I’ve been following the fight over bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard.

Particularly since attending the single most unpleasant bike meeting in my experience earlier this year, as a group of Westside home and business owners railed against the loss of a single parking space to improve safety for those on two wheels.

Even though the upcoming Expo Line extension promises to vastly increase the number of riders on the street, as countless students, professors and other employees will take the train to the planned Westwood stop. Then bike the last couple miles from and from the station and the UCLA campus.

And even though the current proposal for a floating bike lane avoids the elimination of a single traffic lane or parking space.

I was impressed when I was forwarded a document written by Calla Wilmer last May to other members of the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners’ Association laying out all the arguments in favor of accommodating bike riders on the boulevard.

And even more impressed this last week when I received a brilliantly researched follow-up document she’d written, offering the clearest, most detailed argument I’ve seen yet on why these lanes must be built.

Or any other bike project, for that matter.

With footnotes, no less.

So I asked for permission to reprint her email here, and she graciously agreed.

Wiemer has addressed every argument against the lanes, and made the case for them as strongly as I’ve ever seen. In light of this, if anyone can still oppose them, they’re going to have some serious explaining to do.

It’s not a quick read. But definitely worth your time.

And a perfect example of how to lay out an irrefutable argument in favor of bicycling infrastructure.

……..

Cyclist Endangerment on Westwood Blvd II:

A Response to Critics and Skeptics

Calla Wiemer*

Westwood Blvd has been designated a backbone of the LA 2010 Bike Plan and targeted for the extension of now segmented bike lanes.  The leadership of the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners’ Association has opposed bike lanes for the stretch of Westwood Blvd that runs through the WSSM neighborhood between Santa Monica and Pico.  The case in favor of bike lanes rests on a desire to mitigate the dangers that now confront cyclists on Westwood Blvd.  I presented analysis of the safety issues (along with a design proposal for bike lanes and a discussion of the parking situation) in a previous report submitted to the WSSM Bike Committee, hereafter referred to as “Cyclist Endangerment I”.[1]  The report generated much discussion and criticism.  This follow-up report offers a response to points raised by critics and skeptics.

Both reports are motivated by a desire to help inform stakeholders as to just how dangerous cycling is along the WSSM stretch of Westwood Blvd and to encourage the WSSM HOA leadership to reach out to HOA members with information on the situation.

This report begins with a recap of highlights from the WSSM HOA’s history related to bike lanes.  It then takes up a number of topics that have proven controversial in an effort to bring greater clarity to the discussion.  Finally, it concludes with a safety based argument in favor of bike lanes for Westwood Blvd.

WSSM HOA Bike Lane Activity

In recognition of the complexity of the bike lane issue, the WSSM HOA formed a Bike Committee which held a series of meetings.  Committee members, as appointed by the President, are:  Margaret Healey (co-chair); Craig Rich (co-chair); Marilyn Cohon; Randy Garrou; Janet Garstang; and Calla Wiemer.

A timeline of main activities is as follows:

  • 5 March 2013    WSSM Board discusses Bike Committee formation
  • 22 April 2013     first meeting of the Committee
  • 15 May 2013      Wiemer’s “Cyclist Endangerment I” submitted to the Committee
  • 9 July 2013          last meeting of the Committee (to date)

Other than my “Cyclist Endangerment I”, no written documents have been prepared by members of the WSSM Bike Committee.

The WSSM leadership has disseminated a number of e-mail communications expressing opposition to bike lanes for Westwood Blvd.  The most recent communication on this subject, dated 15 October 2013, objected even to the LA Department of Transportation undertaking study of a design proposal for bike lanes.  The only mention of safety in this communication appeared in the statement:   “The safety of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers is a critical goal.”

Discussion of Cyclist Endangerment on Westwood Blvd

My further input on five aspects of the safety discussion follows.

1)  Safety of cyclists the focus.  The WSSM e-mail of 15 October 2013 lumps together the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers.  Drivers are encased in steel and glass, and further protected by air bags that inflate on impact.  Their safety is not at serious risk at speeds characteristic of Westwood Blvd.  Cyclists and pedestrians, by contrast, are exposed bodily in spaces shared with motor vehicles.  Bike lanes have been proposed to address the problem of danger to cyclists specifically.  The three-year period 2009-2011 saw 12 reported collisions involving cyclists on the WSSM stretch of Westwood Blvd and none involving pedestrians.[2]  By absorbing cyclists into the broader grouping of “pedestrians, cyclists and drivers” the critical problem faced by cyclists is diluted.  The dangers faced by cyclists call for specific attention in connection with the debate on bike lanes. 

2)  Significance of cyclist collision data.  “Cyclist Endangerment I” reported data on the number of collisions involving cyclists by year for the WSSM stretch of Westwood Blvd.  In 2011, six collisions resulted in police reports for this six block stretch of roadway.  A WSSM Board member responded to this information as follows (8 Oct 2013, e-mail):

“I personally think the raw number isn’t very meaningful. Some may see it as low, some may see it as high. I don’t think there’s enough context to interpret the value …”

Let us develop the context.

  • One way to provide context is to compare the rate of cyclist-involved collisions per mile for the WSSM stretch of Westwood Blvd with the rate for a broader geography.  At six collisions in 0.8 miles, the per mile rate was 7.5 for WSSM Westwood.  For the county of Los Angeles in the same year, the number of collisions involving cyclists was 2219.  The number of non-freeway road miles in LA County is 20,245.[3]  That makes for a cyclist-involved collision rate countywide of 0.24 per mile.  Thus the per mile rate of cyclist-involved collisions for the WSSM stretch of Westwood Blvd in 2011 was nearly 32 times that exhibited on LA County roads in general.
  • Another way of providing context is to examine the ratio of cyclist-involved collisions relative to all collisions for Westwood Blvd versus the same ratio for the county overall.  Conceivably, Westwood Blvd is so congested and treacherous that collision rates are high for all modes of transport, with cyclists just getting caught up in that broader milieu.  As it turns out, however, for WSSM Westwood, 43 percent of all collisions in 2011 involved cyclists while for LA County as a whole the ratio was only 9.0 percent.  This means collisions involving cyclists as a share of total collisions were 4.7 times higher for the WSSM stretch of Westwood Blvd than for LA County generally.

Skeptics might still counter that the six collisions in 2011 were a statistical aberration.  Such a short stretch of roadway is subject to a high degree of variability in collision rates from year to year, after all.  But even if we take the average number of cyclist collisions over the three year period 2009-2011 to represent the statistically expected number of collisions in 2011, the count still comes to four.  On a per mile basis, that number yields cyclist collisions for the WSSM stretch of Westwood Blvd at a rate 21 times higher than for LA County as a whole and a share of cyclist collisions relative to all collisions at a rate 3.2 times higher.

Bottom line, it is hard to imagine a standard by which six collisions involving cyclists (or even four) in six blocks in one year may be seen as low.

3)  Impact of bike lanes on safety.  The above statement from the WSSM Board member continues:

“… nor is it clear what will happen to that value in the future should the lane proposal succeed or fail.”

A 2012 academic study is instructive in this regard.[4]  The authors estimate the likelihood of cyclist injury associated with different infrastructure configurations using an inventive methodology to control for cyclist and environmental characteristics.  The most dangerous configuration for cyclists is identified as “major street with parked cars and no bike infrastructure”.  Other configurations are benchmarked against this standard.  The risk measure for cyclist injury was found to be lower by nearly 50 percent for “major streets with parked cars and bike lanes”.   Although interpretation of the statistical results is complicated,[5] the authors were heartened to discover that their results conformed closely with cyclist perceptions of the relative dangers of different infrastructure configurations.

Ultimately, if bike lanes are installed on Westwood Blvd, there will be no way of knowing just how much bloodshed is avoided.  Nor can we know exactly how many people will take to riding bikes on Westwood Blvd who would otherwise have been deterred.  But as Teschke and co-authors ascertained, danger is palpable when you’re in it on a bike.  Anyone who is out riding Westwood Blvd regularly can attest to how scary it is and to the difference bike lanes would make.

Among the six cyclists involved in collisions on WSSM Westwood in 2011, five were male, only one female.  This is consistent with gender proportions tabulated by the LA County Bicycle Coalition in its biennial counts of cyclists on LA roadways.  LACBC analysis of the data has revealed, however, that when bike lanes are present the share of female riders more than doubles.[6]  The interpretation offered is that females are typically more risk averse in their cycling choices than males, and that given safer conditions they are prepared to take advantage of the opportunities.  The upshot is that installing bike lanes on Westwood Blvd would make it a more inclusive biking environment for women.

4)  Complaints about cyclist behavior.  My reporting of collision figures at the June WSSM board meeting met with outcries over the perceived recklessness of cyclists.  There may be many reasons why cyclists do not consistently adhere to rules of the road as designed for motor vehicles:  attempt to avoid conflict; laziness; haste; capability to maneuver in ways that cars cannot.  There may also be many reasons why motorists violate the right-of-way of cyclists:  distraction; haste; didn’t “see” cyclist; “couldn’t help it”.  Fault is to be found on both sides.  Solutions are nevertheless more likely to be achieved through creating safer spaces for cyclists and motorists to coexist than through changing human nature.

For the six cyclist-involved collisions reported on WSSM Westwood in 2011, case reports show the motorist at fault in four and no party assigned fault in the other two.  In all six cases, the cyclist was injured while the motorist escaped unharmed.  To state the obvious, the contest between cyclists and cars is highly unequal.

5)  Collisions involving cyclists on an upswing.  Collisions involving cyclists have trended sharply upward in Los Angeles since the mid-2000s.  Between 2007 and 2011, the number rose citywide by nearly 70 percent.  Westwood Blvd has similarly seen a dramatic increase from only two cyclist-involved collisions between 2002 and 2007 to 15 between 2008 and 2011.  For the period since 2011, we do not yet have full collision data but we do have numbers on cyclist fatalities culled from news accounts, and these show an alarming leap.  The number of cyclist fatalities in LA County for all of 2012 was 22; for the first ten months of 2013 the count had already reached 32.[7]

BikeWestwoodII-chartBy contrast the incidence of collisions of all types has been declining, as has that for collisions involving pedestrians, as the accompanying figure shows.  A major factor in the increase in cyclist-involved collisions is presumably an increase in the number of cyclists on the road.  The LACBC bike counts show ridership trending strongly upward for Los Angeles generally.  A pattern of ever more cyclists on the road incurring ever more injuries is at the heart of the case for better cycling infrastructure.

Assessment

Current conditions on Westwood Blvd are extremely dangerous for cyclists.  This is a problem for two reasons.  One is that cyclists now braving these dangers are being injured in significant numbers.  The other is that people who would like to travel the corridor by bike are afraid to do so.

Westwood Blvd would present a very different atmosphere if bike lanes were installed and people in numbers gave up their cars to cycle.  For those getting around by bike, local shopping and dining would be more convenient without the stress of having to park a car.  No time would be wasted in transit as the time spent would double as exercise.  But even those traveling by car would be better off if freed of the frustration of getting trapped behind slow moving cyclists.  Cars and bikes would have their own spaces to move at their own speeds.

The problem of cyclists impeding motorists will only get worse with the opening of the Westwood Blvd Expo Line station.  This station will not offer parking for cars.  Cyclists and pedestrians will be its mainstay.  Many who now drive to UCLA or Westwood Village will find the combination of rail and bike an attractive alternative.  We need to prepare for this.

The decision whether to install bike lanes on Westwood Blvd, or even to study proposed designs, will be made by District 5 Councilmember Paul Koretz.  In reaching a verdict, he will take into account input from neighborhood stakeholders.  As a community, we must hope that the input he receives is well informed.


* The author is a member of the Bike Committee of the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners’ Association.  This is a revised version of a report submitted to the WSSM Board of Directors at its 5 November 2013 meeting.  It reflects the views of the author alone and is not a product of the WSSM Bike Committee.   It can be found online at www.callawiemer.com/Documents/BikeWestwoodII.pdf.

[1] The full title is “Cyclist Endangerment on Westwood Blvd … and How to Mitigate It”.  The report is posted online at www.callawiemer.com/Documents/BikeWestwood.pdf.

[2] All collision data are from the Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS) of the University of California Berkeley, http://tims.berkeley.edu/page.php?page=tools.

[4] Kay Teschke, et al, “Route Infrastructure and the Risk of Injuries to Bicyclists:  A Case-Crossover Study”, American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 102, No. 12 (December 2012).

[5] The reduction in the risk measure does not translate directly into an equivalent reduction in the probability of cyclist injuries, and the study does not present results in such a form.  The statistical significance of the results is sensitive to the confidence interval chosen.  Stronger significance in risk reduction is associated with a road configuration involving bike lanes and no parked cars than with bike lanes and the existence of parked cars.

[6] Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, “Results from the 2011 City of Los Angeles Bicycle and Pedestrian Count,” p. 21, https://lacbc.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/2011_labikecountreport.pdf.

I get it. They hate us. What I don’t get is why.

Sometimes I despair when I read about all the misinformation, anti-bike bias and misplaced hate out there for those of us on two wheels.

Whether that comes in the form of a wicked witch from the Wall Street Journal, or yet another driver who walks, legally speaking, after using his vehicle as a weapon against a bike rider.

A reminder once again, as if we needed one, just how little value the life of someone on a bike has in our society.

It’s a common refrain, from the East Coast to the Left. From a writer for the New York Daily News who claims a cabal of radical cyclists has taken over the city’s Department of Transportation, to outlandish comments in opposition to bike lanes on Colorado and Figueroa in NELA.

And clearly, nothing resembling the facts is allowed to get in the way of their anger.

Not even the death of a cyclist, which seems to inevitably lead to online comments saying we somehow deserve to die because some of us run red lights and stop signs.

Oddly, most motorists just get a ticket for that. Yet there are those who seem to believe we should get the death penalty.

And no, I’m not going to justify their hate by linking to any of that crap. I make sure it doesn’t survive long on this site, either.

Take this bizarre comment from Hart Fisher, one of the leading opponents of the NELA lanes, on a Patch story leading up to the latest hearing over the Colorado lanes.

At 7pm tonight (Monday) Jose Huizar will be presenting his/the city’s plan to create a unsafe & hazardous environment for The Handicapped, the Aged & the Disabled. I will be there in person to fight their radical unsafe plans for our city streets. Come make your voice heard at Center for the Arts Eagle Rock at 2225 Colorado Blvd., LA, CA 90041. This idiocy that screws over old people, handicapped people & disabled people is being rammed down cities across California.

Yes, a bike lane is certainly radical. Although how exactly they screw over old people, the handicapped and disabled is beyond me.

I would think calmer, slower and saner streets would benefit everyone. But what the hell do I know?

The scary thing is that the mad rants of the uninformed and overly imaginative seem to bear as much weight with our elected officials as those who merely want safe streets for everyone, regardless of mode of transportation.

Perhaps because there’s no rationality requirement to cast a ballot. And the votes of the angry and willfully ignorant — or indignorant, as my friend and fellow blogger Will Campbell once called them — count every bit as much as those who go to the effort to actually understand the issues they’re voting on.

Let alone the rabid NIMBYists willing to fight to the death in kneejerk opposition to any attempt to change anything in their neighborhood, for better or worse.

Like the email I was recently forwarded from a Westside homeowners association questioning the latest plan to install a floating bike lane on Westwood Blvd, even though it wouldn’t result in the loss of a single traffic lane or parking space.

In other words, it would create space for much-needed bike lanes on Westwood without any impact whatsoever on parking or traffic. The only change that would affect motorists is that the rush hour no-parking zones would flip from one side of the street to the other; with parking allowed on the east side of the street in the morning, and the west side in the evening.

Yet outrage remains that customers might actually have to cross the street to do business with the local establishments — many, if not most of which have their own parking behind, under or next to their buildings.

Trust me. If your customers aren’t willing to cross the street to do business with your fine establishment, your problems go far beyond which side they have to park on.

The email goes on to add that members of the homeowner’s association have been counting bicyclists at peak hours on the boulevard, with the totals ranging from eight to 23. Although it doesn’t mention whether that’s per hour, day or minute.

But rather than proving the bike lanes aren’t needed, as opponents infer, it actually shows exactly the opposite.

Because bicyclists aren’t going to ride a street they think is dangerous. The fact that anyone at all attempts to ride such a heavily trafficked street, with zero infrastructure for bicycling south of Santa Monica Blvd, points to the latent demand for bike lanes there.

If you build it, they will come.

And if you don’t, they will anyway. Especially once the Westwood Boulevard Expo Line station opens in a few years, and the street provides the only direct link between the station and the UCLA campus.

If you want to ensure gridlock, force all those arriving and departing riders to take the lane in front of impatient drivers to get to and from school every day. Let alone ensure a dramatic spike in the number of collisions on the boulevard, serious and otherwise.

Then again, NIMBY homeowners in the area have been fighting the station, the ground-level crossing and the train itself for years now.

Of course, it’s not just NELA or Westwood.

The same battles seem to take place anywhere bike lanes go in, including L.A.’s sleepy port town of San Pedro, where motorists have grabbed their pitchforks and torches to demand removal of the seemingly monstrous bike lanes on Westmont Blvd.

Never mind that the road diet that resulted in the bike lanes was installed, in part, to calm traffic in front of a school.

Maybe it’s just me, but if I had kids in that school, I would demand everything possible be done to protect my child’s safety. Not rip the lanes out to protect the right of drivers to continue to speed and put students’ and teachers’ lives in jeopardy.

Especially since it only causes congestion for forty minutes a day as parents drop off and pick up their kids.

After all, it’s not like there’s any other alternatives to dropping your kids off directly in front of the school. Like dropping them off on the nearest cross street, maybe. Or God forbid, actually allowing your kids to use those same bike lanes to safely ride to school.

They now have the entire summer to work with city and school officials to find a solution. But better to hold a community meeting next week to demand a return to the previous status quo.

So what if a kid gets hit by a speeding car. That’s just the price you pay for a slightly faster commute, right?

Then again, sometimes NIMBY means Not In My Beach, You…!

Some go so far as to describe any attempt to install bike lanes, anywhere, as an attack on cars and the people who drive them.

Yet if there is such a war, it’s better described as a war on bikes, because we’re the ones who are dying, at a rate of nearly 700 bicycling fatalities a year, most on the bumpers of those cars that currently rule the roads.

Motor vehicles have long enjoyed full dominion over virtually 100% of the roadways in this country. All we’re asking for is a modicum of safe space to keep us from bouncing painfully off those bumpers.

Besides, any war on cars would require attacking ourselves, as the overwhelming majority of bike riders are motorists, as well.

And we can’t even seem to stop drivers from using non-road public spaces.

Meanwhile, back in New York, the local papers gleefully cite the slightest glitch as proof the rollout of the new Citi Bike program is an unmitigated disaster. As if any massive new program could be expected to unfurl without a hitch.

And a pair of writers deconstruct the wicked witch’s anti-bike screed, demonstrating that she knows even less about capitalism than she does about bike share.

We can expect the same battles here in a few months, when L.A.’s bike share program finally rolls out. Let alone in other cities throughout the country and around the world.

God help them in Aspen. And Moscow.

Update: Fox 11 reports on last night’s meeting in Eagle Rock to rant about discuss the proposed bike lanes on Colorado Blvd. The station reports that there was more support for the lanes than opposition, leading Councilmember Jose Huizar to say the lanes will go forward. Although the report misidentifies LADOT’s Nate Baird as the councilmember; easy to understand since they look so much alike, right?

And the Atlantic looks at bi-coastal anti-bike paranoia, including L.A.’s own John and Ken, who the driver that just ran you off the road was probably listening to at the time.

………

Something that doesn’t fill me with despair — just the opposite, in fact — is the simple fact that I’m able to sit here writing about those anti-bike haters to begin with.

It was exactly one month ago that my laptop died in the middle of using it; a few seconds and a couple quick blinks, and I was out of business for the foreseeable future.

Business being a relative term for a non-income producing blog.

Still, it was thanks to the readers of this blog that I was able to get back to work less than two weeks later. The contributions you made covered a little over half the cost of a new laptop and the updated software I needed to operate it.

That’s what happens when you don’t upgrade anything for, oh, five years or so.

I couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who donated their hard-earned money to help me get back online, as well as those who offered me use of their computers. Or just sent good wishes my way.

I call it the Miracle on the Westside. It’s my own personal tale of the loaves and fishes, as the few dollars in my own pocket somehow expanded to cut the costs down to where the balance could fit on my wife’s credit card.

How I’m going to pay her back is another matter.

But you’ve done more than you will ever know to restore my faith, in whatever way you want to interpret that. And make me more committed than ever to use this new laptop to fight for our right to the roads — and to return home safely when we’re done.

Let alone overcome the irrational objections that stand in our way.

And for that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. One that grew three sizes that day.

Seriously, thank you.

………

Finally, a suspected drunk driver hits a cyclist on a DC-area off-road bike path, after driving on it for five — yes, five — miles. A Kentucky cyclist and bike shop owner misses a teachable moment when he blames himself for going too fast, rather than hold the driver who carelessly and illegally cut him off accountable. And a Maryland man rides 100 miles a week. At 92-years old.

I want to be like him when I grow up.

Counter-protest angry motorists in San Pedro, ride in Simi Valley to fight homelessness

A couple quick time-sensitive items to wrap up a far too busy first full day back online.

And hey, thanks to the Santa Monica Police Department for cracking down on sidewalk cyclists on Bike to Work Day. That will certainly encourage more people to take up bike commuting.

Not to mention this was the first time I’ve visited a B2W Day pit stop that was delayed by a gun threat.

………

First up is the all-too-typical furor over road diets and bike lanes, this time in L.A.’s long suffering and usually forgotten port city of San Pedro.

A pair of underused streets — Westmont and Capitol Drives — recently underwent reductions to calm high-speed traffic, dropping one lane in each direction and installing the typical door zone bike lanes.

And needless to say, motorists are up in arms, even though the streets are almost always empty. And even though it should be bike riders complaining about the lack of buffers between them and flinging car doors.

In fact, I’m told Westmont, which is causing most of the anger, only backs up twice a day, when parents drop off and pick up their children at the local school. And then for only 20 minutes at a time.

Which means the roads are clear for 23 hours and 20 minutes every weekday — which, by my admittedly math-challenged calculations, that would appear to be most of the day. And which would suggest that it doesn’t back up at all on weekends.

God forbid that parents would address that minimal level of congestion by allowing their children to use those bike lanes to ride to school — let alone walk — and avoid the whole barely there mess to begin with.

After all, this is a community where the local high school students are forbidden from riding to school because the campus doesn’t even have or want bike parking.

And as we all know, the convenience of drivers is far more important than the lives and safety of cyclists. Even school aged ones.

I’m told the villagers are planning to shake their pitchforks angry motorists are planning to take to the streets in protest on Monday at 4 pm. Just coincidentally in time for the evening news.

Meanwhile, bike riders are encouraged to counter protest, not by confronting the insistently motoring public’s complaints, but simply by riding the bike lanes when the cameras are present.

The message will be clear, as the cameras will show angry drivers protesting over streets devoid of traffic backups, while bike riders calmly make use of the lanes studies show will reduce collisions and serious injuries for all road users.

Even for drivers who insist road capacity should be maintained for 40 minutes of peak traffic, at the expense of all other users at any other time.

If you ride in the San Pedro area — or can make it down to a part of the city most Angelenos have never seen and many don’t even know exists — you’re strongly encouraged to meet at the Albertson’s parking lot at Westmont Drive and S. Western Ave at 3:45 pm Monday.

Short notice, I know.

But it’s a good cause. And all you have to do is keep calm and ride your bike.

Thanks to Allyson Vought for the tip.

………

Some people complain about the many homeless people in Southern California.  Most simply ignore them.

A few — far too few — actually care enough to do something about it.

If you fit in that category, you’ll want to head up to Simi Valley on Saturday for the first ever — not the oxymoronic first annual, thank you — Ride for the Homeless. Rides range from two to 10 miles for a $20 registration fee and 25, 50 or 100 miles for just $40, followed by a barbeque and raffle.

It’s a great cause, and highly recommended.

Thanks to Patrick Pascal for the heads-up.

………

The LA Weekly abandons its sometimes irrational anti-bike attitude — okay, the anti-bike attitude is always irrational; they just don’t always express it — to profile one of my favorite people, LACBC Executive Director Jen Klausner.

………

Oh, please.

In an absurd take on the current state of bicycling that ignores trends over the past several years and assumes that the highly diverse bicycling community is just one big monoculture, the Wall Street Journal concludes there is a trend towards casual wear when riding.

And points the finger at a backlash against Lance Armstrong.

Never mind that the more casual, non-spandex bikewear has been growing in popularity for several years, dating back to when only the French and Greg LeMond accused Lance of doping.

Accurately, as it turns out.

Or that bike riders ride in different ways and for different purposes. And what works for a half-century ride up the coast isn’t what you’d want to wear for a bike date or a quick ride to the corner market.

I can also assure the WSJ that the reason no American municipality ranks among the world’s top 20 bike-friendly cities has a lot more to do with a lack of decent infrastructure and governmental support — not to mention San Pedro-style anti-bike lane NIMBYism — than a little spandex.

………

Finally, I hope to see you next Wednesday, when the LACBC presents five perspectives on California’s rules of the road for cyclists. One of which will be mine.

Perspective, that is, not rules. Although I have a few of those, too.

It takes place on the first floor of LACBC’s headquarters, 634 South Spring Street, from 7 pm to 8:30 pm; free for LACBC members and just $10 for non-members.

……..

I’ll be guest editing LA Streetsblog on Friday, as Damien Newton takes some well-deserved time off. So be sure to stop by and see if I can make a muck of their well-oiled transportation news and advocacy machine.

L.A. bikes the vote, kneejerk anti-bike bias rears it’s ugly head, and a massive weekend list o’ links

A busy week of bike meetings and breaking news meant pushing back a lot of stories.

So grab a cup and settle in for a full weekend worth of the latest bike news from L.A. and around the world.

………

The LACBC provides responses to candidate surveys from 13 candidates for L.A. city council; surprisingly, some very bike-friendly candidates, such as Odysseus Bostick in CD 11, failed to respond.

Meanwhile, a writer for the L.A. Times offers a one-sided windshield-perspective look at the CD 11 candidates; I thought the Times had outgrown that sort of crap in recent years.

And I’m sick to death of people who don’t ride a bike stating with presumed authority that no one would ever ride from the Westside — or the Palisades — to Downtown when there are riders who do that, or its equivalent, every day.

I make the Westside to Downtown ride several times a month myself. And find it easier, cheaper, faster, more enjoyable — and yes, safer — than driving a car. But it’s so much easier to claim no one would do it than talk to someone who does.

As for the race for L.A. Mayor, Streetsblog offers video interviews from all five leading candidates. And the Times sort of makes up for their misstep above by getting them on the record for their stands on transportation issues, including bicycling.

If you want to do more than just cast a vote to ensure the city’s next leaders support bicycling — or any other city in L.A. County for that matter — come to the the LACBC’s Civic Engagement Committee meeting on Tuesday, February 26th at 6:45 pm at the Johnnie’s Pizza at Museum Square, 5757 Wilshire Blvd.

………

Has it really been two years since L.A. adopted a new bike plan? The city is making real progress, but anti-bike critics remain.

LADOT considers floating bike lanes for Westwood Blvd, but an LA Observed writer with a terminal case of windshield perspective says those damned bike lanes are going to ruin the streets for the rest of us. Examined Spoke responds, while Boyonabike smells anti-bike bias.

Rampant anti-bike NIMBYism rears its ugly head at the Westside bike lane meeting, as local neighborhood councils and business owners came in with minds already made up and their ears closed. On the other hand, Rancho Park Online offers a surprisingly well reasoned analysis of the Westwood proposal.

Meanwhile, Eagle Rock business owners question whether bike lanes are good or bad for business; that pretty much depends on whether their business can benefit from bike riders’ money. The Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council says keep bike lanes off Lankershim and put them on Vineland, instead; if you want to see a perfect example of irrational anti-bike bias, read the comments — seriously, elitist bike Nazis? And NoHoArtsDistrict tries to get the facts straight.

………

In one of the most outrageous cases in recent memory, a Buenos Aires driver runs down a cyclist, then flees with his victim’s body still on the hood of his car for 17 kilometers — 10.5 miles — until he’s stopped at a toll both.

And when the attendant pointed out he had a body on his car, he responded “Does that mean you’re going to charge me twice?”

Thanks to Ralph Durham for the heads-up.

Meanwhile, closer to home, the Glendale News-Press finally reports on last Sunday’s horrible hit-and-run collision in which a cyclist was knocked off his bike and dragged onto the 5 Freeway by the fleeing minivan; I’ve updated the original story.

………

Even pro teams are victims of violence these days.

According to Cycling News, the Jamis-Hagens Berman team was on a training ride outside otherwise bike-friendly Tucson when a car pulled up next to them and the driver started swearing at them.

The car then swerved into the lead riders before speeding off, causing the riders to crash; fortunately, no one was seriously injured. And just as fortunately, the team car was following the paceline and managed to get photos of the driver’s license plate.

Hopefully, there will be an arrest — and serious charges — soon.

………

KNBC-4 recommends the LACBC’s ‘80s Bike Prom this Saturday, as do I; if I wasn’t still keeping a close eye on my wife thanks to her foot-dragging insurance company, I’d be there myself. Streetsblog is hosting a fundraiser with outgoing councilmember Bill Rosendahl the same night. A Midwestern transplant discovers you can bike in L.A. without dying, and borrows this blog’s name in the process. Here’s your map for April’s CicLAvia to the Sea; there will be a community meeting to discuss it next Thursday. New pavement and bike lanes for Cypress Park. Burbank adopts its new general plan; naturally, the only no vote came because the plan includes a bigger bike network. Universal Studios will fund projects to alleviate Burbank traffic caused by their expansion, and extend the L.A. River bike path they’ve long tried to block. Long Beach wants to help you become a street savvy cyclist.

A La Habra teen is stabbed by two men for his bike. Huntington Beach plans to widen Atlanta Avenue and add bike lanes in both direction; hopefully they won’t follow the murderous OC pattern of striping wide lanes to encourage more speeding drivers. A Coronado driver says yes, it is my job to make you obey the law. Not so fast on those new bike lanes on the Coast Highway in Leucadia. San Diego plans to add bike lanes and sidewalks to fix a dangerous stretch of road in San Ysidro. Temecula’s Sarah Hammer takes gold in the women’s individual pursuit at the World Championships. This has got to be the crappiest name ever for a bike ride; no, I mean literally. Camarillo adds two miles of bike lanes. Cambria riders push Caltrans to fix the damage they did to one of California’s favorite riding routes. Turn any shoes into cleated bike shoes. Cyclists on San Francisco’s King Street are at the mercy of cars once the bike lane ends mid-block. San Francisco police bust a fugitive sex offender for riding on the sidewalk. Supporters of a fallen Oroville cyclist says it’s time to end hit-and-runs.

The man whose name graces my bike says he wants to get back into the business; makes sense since he’s now America’s only Tour de France winner. Not surprisingly, traffic fatalities rose nationwide in 2012. The USDOT questions whether dead cyclists and pedestrians count enough to count. L.A.-style bicyclist anti-harassment laws are spreading nationwide. Dave Moulton says lighter isn’t always better. Ninety members of my old fraternity plan to bike across the county to raise awareness for disabilities this summer. Sorry Wired, fat bikes don’t huck and bikes can’t outrun wolves. Washington considers a $25 fee on the sale of any bike over $500; even the woman who wrote the bill doesn’t support it. A bike rider is killed by a train because a Utah driver couldn’t be bothered to clean the frost off her windshield. Rocky Mountain National Park considers its first off-road bike trails. If you’re stopped for biking under the influence on your birthday, it’s probably not a good idea to celebrate by strangling the cop. A Chicago newsman panics over planned bikeways and bus lanes on the Loop. Now that’s more like it, as an Indiana driver gets 18 years for killing two teenage bike riders after smoking meth. New York plans a crackdown on bike delivery riders. Former Bogota mayor Enrique Penalosa says Gotham could be more livable. A Philly writer wisely suggests that instead of focusing on how to get women to ride, we should consider what works for everyone; Elly Blue says just invite everyone to the party. Bike safety goes down in flames in Virginia legislature. Wannabe Latin pop star Carlos Bertonatti finally pleads guilty in the 2010 drunken hit-and-run death of a Miami cyclist; Bertonatti faces up to 35 years, but it’s unlikely he would have changed his plea if there wasn’t a deal in place.

Once again, a study supports the obvious conclusion that lower speeds and separated bike lanes significantly reduce the risk of cycling injuries. Five lessons from the world’s most bike friendly city, winter edition. How to travel with your Brompton. Looks like next year we can look forward to the Giro d’Eire. A look at the five best Hollywood bike scenes from a Brit perspective, without mentioning Breaking Away, American Flyers or Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. A major failure of education and traffic planning, as English children are banned from biking or walking to school. A New Zealand writer asks if hi-viz makes you a target. Australia, which mandates bike helmets for everyone, also requires bike bells in an apparent attempt to help more angels get their wings. Adelaide police statistics show drivers are at fault in an overwhelming 80% of all collisions; thank God Aussie cyclists have their bells to protect them.

Finally, this is why some people hate lawyers. A defense attorney claims his client wasn’t impaired when she killed a cyclist, but only took the drugs afterwards — apparently to cope with just having killed someone while driving distracted at over 70 mph.

Or maybe you just need a little bike rap to kick off your weekend; the language may be offensive to some, including heavy abuse of the dreaded n-word.

………

Thanks to Chris and the gang at the Westwood Helen’s, I no longer have a busted bearing in my bottom bracket. And neither does my bike.

If you’re looking for a great LBS, tell ‘em I sent you.

Two years for a fatal SD hit-and-run, and kneejerk NIMBYism rises in opposition to Westwood bike lanes

Two years in prison for Jin Hyuk Byun for the fatal hit-and-run collision that took the life of 18-year Angel Bojorquez in Rancho Santa Fe last year.

Police say Bojorquez was wearing reflective clothing and should have been highly visible as he rode his bike home from work for the first time, while Byun initially claimed his badly damaged truck hadn’t been driven recently, then claimed he thought he’d hit a mailbox, a deer or a dog.

Yeah, no point in stopping to find out, right?

………

Kneejerk NIMBYism strikes again, as anti-bike forces are urged to attend tonight’s Westwood Neighborhood Council meeting to fight proposed bike lanes on Westwood.

We love cycling and want to create a bike network on the Westside, but anyone who walks or drives down Westwood between Pico and Santa Monica knows that taking out lanes, or parking, or creating a bus/bike transit lane (that was vigorously opposed on Wilshire) will necessarily reduce lanes, and motorists will “peel off” onto the residential streets to find the path of least resistance.  This will not work for the community, for the businesses, or for the safety of cyclists.

In short, Westwood Blvd. simply can’t handle this proposal, and even the local cyclists find the proposal unworkable.

Actually, this local cyclist — and virtually every other rider I’ve discussed it with — finds the project not only workable, but necessary in anticipation of the coming Westwood Blvd Expo Line station.

Much of Westwood is already unworkable — and pretty much unrideable — in its current configuration, with a high level of congestion through most of the day. The only real solution is to provide a safe, workable alternative to encourage drivers to leave their leave their cars behind for short trips, as well as offering a much needed connection between the Expo Line and UCLA.

If you don’t have other obligations — and frankly, I don’t understand the logic of anyone hosting an important meeting on Valentines Day, forcing them to choose between their relationship and their safety on the streets — maybe you can stop by and argue against the insanity of maintaining the status quo.

Especially if you were one of the 150+ riders who took part in last weekend’s Ride Westwood.

Thanks to the Culver City Times for the heads-up.

Update: Flying Pigeon‘s Josef Bray-Ali makes the point that no traffic or parking lanes are actually being removed; they’re being repurposed from automotive to bicycle use, since bikes are still a form of transportation. 

The key is that streets serve to move people, not motor vehicles.

………

I’ve heard from people accusing current State Senator and CD 1 council candidate Gil Cedillo of lying at Sunday’s candidate forum co-sponsored by the LACBC.

Cedillo is accused of misrepresenting his ties to Chevron, as well as why he failed to vote for landmark legislation regulating pollution that causes global warming.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton has done his typically great job of looking at all sides of the issue, including talking to the candidate himself. If you live in CD 1, you owe it to yourself to read the story, and decide for yourself if Cedillo whether being honest with you.

I don’t know where the truth lies in this case.

But the last thing L.A. needs is another truth-challenged city leader.

………

The LACBC is hiring a new Initiative Coordinator for Active Streets LA. If you’ve got a passion for bikes, plus organization and communication skills, maybe you should look into it.

If there wasn’t an inherent conflict of interest, I might do it myself.

………

LADOT plans to add over 20 miles of sharrows, mostly on the Westside – including Ohio Ave from Westwood to Bundy; preliminary markings on Ohio appear to go several blocks east of that. Celebrate Valentines Day by encouraging your heartthrob to express your mutual commitment to biking infrastructure, if not each other, in Downtown and Central L.A. tonight. Rick Risemberg says biking families are proof we’re getting there. Gary returns to Streetsblog with an overview of the current state of bike projects in Santa Monica. Senior cyclists are finding a home at the Santa Monica Bike Center. Boyonabike visits the Caltech Bike Lab. A Long Beach man is critically injured when he’s shot while riding his bike. San Francisco’s mayor refuses to live up to his promise to support cycling.

Traffic violence isn’t an accident, it’s the nation’s biggest mass tort. Floyd Landis compares pro cycling to organized crime; he should know, right? My objection to Landis isn’t that he doped, it’s that he lied to about it to get cyclists to assist in his cover-up. Bicycling offers advice on cornering. Did a Las Vegas cyclist die because of ringing in his ear? How businesses can attract cyclists; beer usually works in my book, and donuts. A new study from Portland State University will consider the impact of protected bike lanes. The Idaho stop law slowly spreads through Colorado cities; could Denver be next? Candidates to replace New York’s bike-friendly Mayor Bloomberg threaten to rip out the overwhelmingly popular bike lanes his administration has installed; thanks to Stanley E. Goldich for the link. (Note to L.A. mayoral candidates — if Gotham’s new mayor is stupid enough to fire NYDOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, we’re going to need a new one after the upcoming election. I’m just saying.) Unbelievably, the Virginia legislature refuses to make dooring illegal. A New York writer explains Bike Commuting 101, but fails to explain how to bike commute with your dog. Evidently, packs of rabid cyclists are running South Carolina drivers off the road; in my experience, a couple tons of human flesh will still lose to a ton or two of motor vehicle every time. After nearly running a cyclist over, a Florida driver returns to tell him bicyclists need to respect other people on the road — then intentionally doors him. No, really.

Should the safety of cyclists come before the convenience of parking? A London cyclist debates the merits of helmet use, and lands somewhere in the middle; I personally recommend wearing a helmet for every ride, but it is — and should be — your choice. New helmets will have built-in cameras. A 17-year old UK cyclist admits to killing a renowned cancer surgeon with a single punch after the other man got out of his car to argue about the rider’s lack of lights. Manchester cyclist wages war against potholes. A New Zealand coroner says it should be mandatory for all cyclists to wear hi-viz clothing, even though it didn’t seem to help the cycling cop whose death led to his conclusion.

Finally, a writer for the BBC says evolution drives drivers to hate cyclists because we break the moral order of the streets; I know I try. Just Another Cyclist lists the cast of characters who inevitably show up in threads for such stories. Meanwhile, others reverse the dynamic by converting cars to bikes.

Happy Valentines Day to one and all. May you always know real love in your life.

 

A little this, a little that: a little bike courtesy goes a long way, NIMBY homeowners battle Expo bikeway

Once again, the issue of conflicts between fast riders, slow riders and pedestrians rears it’s ugly head on the L.A. River bike path.

A slower rider complains about cyclists he calls “speed racers” brushing past and cutting in too close, and wonders why they can’t just slow down.

The answer is not, as the story suggests, imposing speed limits on riders or taking other steps to slow faster cyclists. Or, as some riders have suggested, getting non-cyclists the hell off the bike path.

It’s a simple matter of showing other path users the same courtesy you expect them to show you.

Even though it often seems few things are less common than common courtesy these days.

But really, it’s very simple.

For slower riders and pedestrians, always be aware of your surroundings and other people on the path, keep to the right and leave room for faster riders to pass you.

For faster cyclists, remember that it’s a multi-use path, which means that other people have every bit as much right to be there as you do. Always slow down, announce your presence — ie, “on your left” or “passing on the left” — and pass carefully, waiting until the way is clear and it’s safe to do so. And whenever possible, give other path users the same three-foot passing distance you expect from drivers.

If you can’t manage that, find another place to ride or walk.

There are enough jerks on the roads without bringing that crap onto the paths we use to get away from it. And them.

And that goes for every other bike path, too.

Thanks to Mike for the heads-up.

………

In the most astounding example of bold-faced NIMBYism this side of Beverly Hills, a group of Westside homeowners have filed a federal environmental lawsuit attempting to block the bike path — yes, bike path — along the Expo Line extension into Santa Monica.

Because, evidently, we cause more harm to the environment than all those trains rushing past. Especially after filling up on Danger Dogs $1 burritos.

Of course, what they really fear is all us big, bad bike riders besmirching the safety and sanctity of their neighborhood. And are willing to ridiculously abuse existing environmental laws to stop us.

We can only hope the judge recognizes this for what it is, and tosses them out on their NIMBY ass. And sticks them with the court charges.

………

It Magazine invites you to celebrate the end of bike month with a panel discussion on Greening Your City: Biking Los Angeles, moderated by actor Ed Begley Jr. on Saturday, May 26th in Pasadena; panelists include LACBC Executive Director Jennifer Klausner, former LA District Attorney and Paris cycle chic photographer Gil Garcetti, C.I.C.L.E. Executive Director Dan Dabek and Bike San Gabriel Valley co-founder Wesley Reutimann.

And L.A.’s Council District 14 joins the LACBC, LADOT, and the Downtown LA Neighborhood Council to host a Downtown Bicycle Network Open House next Wednesday.

………

Despite the urging of GOP party leaders, Tea Party Congressional representatives once again target all federal bike and pedestrian funding in an attempt to force the socialistic funding of highways by people who may or may not use them.

………

No wonder American kids are so fat.

At least 60 Michigan high school seniors are suspended for — get this — riding their bikes to school, even though they were escorted by the city’s mayor and a police car. Something tells me it may have been one of the principal’s last official acts at that school.

Thanks to Erik Griswold and Matthew Gomez for the heads-up.

………

LACBC board member Steve Boyd talks about the new Tern folding bikes, which GOOD says could transform transit; GOOD also takes a look at L.A.’s lowrider bike club. LADOT offers a list of new bike rack locations, while the new Orange Line bike path extension is nearing completion; oddly, without having to content with an environmental lawsuit from over-privileged homeowners. New bike lanes appear in Boyle Heights. Nightingale Middle School students ask for bike lanes so no more kids will get hurt. Seems like there’s one in every crowd, as Will Campbell and another rider stop for a stop sign and let a crossing driver pass — who then has to jam on his brakes when a trailing jerk rider blows through the stop. A writer for the Daily Trojan says more bike lanes won’t solve USC’s problems, but fewer bikes would. The annual Bike Night at the Hammer Museum returns Thursday, June 7th. A look at bike polo in North Hollywood Park. Beverly Hills is surrounded with sharrows, but can’t seem to figure them out. Sunset magazine looks at a Glendale woman who embraced biking to take back the suburbs. Welcome to Mike Don, the newly hired director of the South Bay Bicycle Coalition.

The state Senate votes once again on whether California cyclists deserve a three-foot passing law; a nearly identical law passed both the Senate and House last year before being vetoed by our misguided governor. Meanwhile, the L.A. Times says the proposed three-foot law is sort of better than nothing. Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious has developed a statewide map showing the location of bike-involved collisions reported to the CHP; wrecks from the last 24 hours are shown in yellow, older ones in red. Grant Fisher, the cyclist critically injured in San Diego the same day Robert Marshall was killed, is now paralyzed from the waist down, but with a better attitude than most of us; heads-up courtesy of BikeSD. In better news, Baron Herdelin-Doherty, the cyclist seriously injured in the collision that killed cyclist Nick Venuto when a driver flew off a San Diego freeway and landed on the bike path they were riding, says he’s almost back to health almost a year later. Camarillo cyclists are about to get bike lanes over Highway 101.

George Wolfberg forwards a look at some unusual and artistic bike racks; something else Beverly Hills says they just can’t manage to do. Bicycling offers advice on how to avoid rookie roadie mistakes. GOOD looks at the history and psychology of sharing the road. A year later, Utah authorities are still looking for the hit-and-run driver who killed a 24-year old cyclist. Portland cyclists are going to get a new bike highway on the left side of the road to avoid buses; local Portland groups look to develop a crowd-sourced case for bike advocacy. Seattle’s Cascade Bicycle Club seeks to train grassroots bike activists. On the eve of the Exergy women’s stage race, a Bay Area women’s pro team has their bikes stolen; hats off to Boise police for getting them all back. A South Dakota drunk driver plows through three kids riding their bikes; link via Witch on a Bicycle. Whatever issues we have in here in L.A., at least you don’t have to worry about a deer jumping over your bike, though you may have to watch out for cougar killing SaMo police. Bicycling declares Dallas the worst bike city in America. Trial is starting in the case of the hit-and-run driver accused of killing a Maryland Senate candidate in 2010. A vigil is held for Mickey Shunick, the Lafayette LA woman who disappeared riding home from a night out; it couldn’t hurt to say a prayer if you’re so inclined. The six best cities to take a bike vacation.

A former Vancouver city councilor says the city’s bike share program will fail if riders are required to wear helmets. A Toronto cyclist was trying to walk away when he was deliberately run down by a cab driver. A London writer says Chicago gets it right and they don’t. London’s transportation department says six of the city’s most dangerous intersections are safe. One of the UK’s top teen cyclists battles back against meningitis. That inflatable bike helmet is about to hit the market overseas for the equivalent of $525; I think I’ll keep using my $65 Trek hard hat.

Finally, a British Member of Parliament is hit from behind by a minicab at a red light, then yelled at by the driver for not getting the hell out of his way. It may be worth noting that the cab belongs to the same Addison Lee cab company whose owner recently encouraged cabbies to drive illegally in bus only lanes, and said it’s cyclists’ own fault if we get hit.

Oops.

Pissed off about bike lanes on your street? Get over it already.

There are nearly 21,000 miles of non-freeway roads in Los Angeles County. How many of those do you think were built to accommodate motor vehicles?

All of them.

So why do some people get so pissed off when a few lousy feet are finally set aside for the benefit of someone else?

Take Tuesday night, when cyclists made a last stand before the joint Porter Ranch and Northridge West Neighborhood Councils in an attempt to preserve the Wilbur Avenue road diet and bike lanes.

While no one can argue that motorists, or anyone else, received sufficient notice of the road work, people who live in the immediate area seem to like it. And there’s no real argument that something had to be done to improve safety on a residential street that had turned into a high-speed throughway in recent years, as drivers used it as a secret bypass to more congested roadways.

Yet inconvenienced drivers are up in arms about the loss of their speedway. Even if their arguments don’t always hold water.

After all, it’s far too hard to simply slow down and observe the speed limit, protecting the safety of other people on and along the street.

Or find a route that utilizes one of the overwhelming majority of streets that don’t have bike lanes or road diets, where you can drive with all the wild abandon L.A. traffic will allow.

Surprisingly, the Wilbur Avenue road diet survived this vote, despite overwhelming opposition from the 450 people in attendance — who, according to Streetsblog, went so far as to boo calls for road safety.

Why should you care if a few people are killed or injured if it means you can get where you’re going a few minutes faster?

Then there’s Doug Krikorian of the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

A respected sportswriter and columnist, he seems to have taken it upon himself to return Long Beach to its previous state of bike unfriendliness.

Why?

Because it inconveniences him.

After all, he recently found himself stuck in traffic on Broadway. And didn’t see a single cyclist using the city’s newly installed bike lanes the entire time he sat there gnashing his teeth.

It may have been a situation that left him speechless, but unfortunately, not typeless. And led him to the inescapable conclusion that no one bikes in Long Beach, despite evidence to the contrary.

Which is odd, because I’ve often found myself riding on streets without a car in sight.

Yet it never occurred to me to become angry over the wasted space devoted to motor vehicles that could have been converted to more productive uses. I just assumed that the cars would undoubtedly be along sooner or later, for better or worse.

And never mind that those bike lanes he’s complaining about aren’t even officially open yet.

But evidently, when Krikorian gazes out his window and doesn’t see a bike, that means the bikeway — in fact, the city’s entire commitment to bike-friendliness — is a failure.

Not that he has any statistics to back that up, of course.

It’s not like there’s anyone at the Press-Telegram could do a little research, after all. Or that he could call Long Beach Mobility Coordinator Charlie Gandy and ask if anyone actually rides in the city.

Although to be fair, more people might ride if their bikes didn’t get stolen.

Of course, the real problem wasn’t the bike lanes beside him, it was all the cars and trucks ahead of him. And that if more people used those bike lanes, he might not be stuck be stuck in traffic next time.

Then again, it’s not just a problem here in the L.A. area.

Anti-bike NIMBYism runs rampant just about everywhere. Even in the biking capital of North America.

Take Fresno County, where local farmers are all for cycling, but don’t want bike paths near their farmland. Not because they would be inconvenienced by all those two-wheelers silently whizzing by, of course. But because cyclists would be exposed to all those pesticides and industrial chemicals they put on our food.

As if we’re not exposed to them already when we eat it.

It’s not like cyclists aren’t riding those country roads anyway. The proposed bike paths would just make it a little safer by getting bikes out of the way of all the combines and farm trucks they currently have to dodge.

On the other extreme, there’s New York City, where Prospect Park West is Ground Zero in the bike lane wars — even though 70% of local residents support the bike lanes that were recently installed there.

The seemingly endless debate goes on, even migrating to economists, who can and will debate anything, seemingly endlessly. And again, don’t always get it right.

Yet the massive congestion claimed by opponents has failed to materialize, adding just 7 seconds to the average commute through the park. And pretty much all of dangers opponents project can be mitigated by looking both ways.

Evidently, that’s something New York mothers don’t teach their children to do, unlike virtually every other mother on the face of the planet.

Yet that doesn’t stop the opposition from offering less effective alternatives. And it keeps other bike projects from moving forward.

What they all fail to consider is that the entire total of bike lanes — whether here in L.A. or anywhere else this side of Amsterdam or Copenhagen — represents just a minute fraction of roadways otherwise devoted almost exclusively to motor vehicles.

And even then, it amounts to no more than 10 or 12 feet of space out of the entire road surface.

So let’s face it.

It’s not the bike lanes — or the bikes, or lack of bikes, on them — that’s making anyone’s commute a living hell.

It’s all the other cars and trucks on the street, most of which usually contain just one person behind the wheel, often on his or her cell phone, texting or web surfing.

Which means the bikeways they bitch aren’t the problem, but rather, just a small part of the solution.

And if the biggest problem you or anyone else has today is a cyclist or bike lane slowing your commute, your must be having a damn good day.

So just get over it already.

.………

Alta Planning’s Mia Birk offers tips and strategies on how to avoid the backlash, suggesting that fighting the battle upfront can help avoid Wilbur Avenue or PPW-type battles after the fact.

Although something tells me you can do all the outreach in the world, and it still won’t satisfy the people who choose not to participate until they suddenly discover a bike lane on their favorite high-speed short-cut.

Not that I’m feeling the least bit cynical today or anything.

.………

More on the death of Long Beach bike activist Mark Bixby and four other prominent people from the Long Beach area, from the L.A. Times, Long Beach Press-Telegram and the Daily Breeze, as well as a Santa Barbara perspective on the tragedy.

For those of us who didn’t have the privilege of knowing him, you can get a feel for who Bixby was — and how important cycling was to him — through his blog and his all-too-brief Twitter feed.

.………

A cyclist suffered significant injuries in a solo fall in Palos Verdes Tuesday morning. According to the Daily Breeze, the rider was one of five who were descending a steep hill on Via Del Monte around 7 am when he lost control and crashed on the 500 block near Via Ramon.

Jim Lyle writes to say that the street has an 8% grade, making speeds over 30 mph possible. Speed bumps were installed recently to slow vehicle traffic, but there’s space between them for emergency vehicles, making it unlikely that they were the cause.

Meanwhile, an Orange County rider required a helicopter rescue after going over the handlebars in rough terrain around 10:13 Wednesday morning. And an Altadena cyclist was injured in a right-hook-and-run.

.………

Anyone in the job market — and these days, that seems to be just about everyone — may want to check out this Craigslist listing.

Trainer/Instructor needed for outdoor bike safety program at schools and events. Physical ability needed to handle equipment and props; includes setting up student training course plus instructing students on pedestrian and bicycle safety. Will train. Background in sports or outdoor activities desired. Works well with children. Must have flexible schedule as hours vary. Weekend availability a definite plus. Pay rate based on experience. Please email resume.

Thanks to Stephanie for the heads-up.

.………

Yesterday’s breaking news left me with a long backlog of links. I’ll try to catch up over the next few days, starting with the ones I’d planned to post yesterday, but which seemed inappropriate given the day’s news. Look for more late tonight or tomorrow morning.

L.A. County’s new model streets manual was unveiled Tuesday night, including a requirement to design streets for all users, including bikes. LACBC announces Sunday Funday #4, exploring crosstown routes on Sunday, April 3rd. The new Bike Wrangler space across from Good Sam finally has a name. L.A. bike cops in 1904. Ride the closed-off L.A. Marathon course before the race starts. Covina is the latest SoCal city to ask for your help in developing a new bike plan, with three workshops scheduled before the end of the month. Claremont will serve as the launching point for Stage 7 of this year’s Amgen TofC. Last weekend’s Tour de Murietta honored pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado, who was killed by street racers near San Bernardino last spring. A California cyclist uses echolocation to navigate despite a lack of eyesight. Links to bike computer manuals for everyone who forgot how to spring forward.

Fifteen women who don’t exactly rule the biking world, but close. Which is worse — angry terriers or argumentative drivers? Before engineers are allowed to work on bike projects, maybe they should be required to actually ride a bike. A Colorado driver and his passenger are ticketed in a road rage case after being captured on the rider’s front and rear video cams. Ten teams are now confirmed for Colorado’s Quizno’s Pro Challenge, with some of the top pro teams participating, including Cancellara and the Schleck brothers. The Idaho house bars the use of eminent domain for building bikeways. An Iowa cyclist overcomes a broken arm and leg to win the 350 mile Iditarod bike race. Chicago considers adding a cycle track. When a cyclist has to compete for a driver’s attention, the cyclist always loses. Wednesday was Texas’ first Cyclists in Suits day. New Orleans prepares to break ground on the Lafitte Corridor, a three mile stretch of bike paths, greenways and public gardens. A New York police commander tries, and evidently fails, to defend the city’s selective enforcement crackdown on cyclists; key stat — 35 million Central Park visitors in 2010, yet just 42 incidents involving cyclists and pedestrians. A Florida truck driver swerves to hit and kill a cyclist, then keeps on driving; remarkably, the reporter refrains from calling it an accident. Miami Beach kicks off a bike share program; Toronto launches its own May 3rd.

UK employees get more than a Bike to Work Week to encourage them to ride. Evidently, dragging a cyclist 150 meters beneath a large truck is just an accident. The Cycle Opera moves forward, based on the life of British steelworker and Olympic cyclist Lal White. A Brit blogger has eight bikes stolen, and somehow gets them all back. Follow the tweets of top pros on a single Twitter list. Welcome to New Zealand, where life if cheap — at least for cyclists — although they do seem to take dooring seriously.

Finally, Copenhagenize looks at biking in post-earthquake Japan — and provides a historical perspective when some people take offense.

And anyone planning to ride through Beverly Hills today is urged to avoid the Wilshire Blvd geyser.

%d bloggers like this: