Tag Archive for best cities for bicycling

Morning Links: LA wins best bike cities race to bottom, the beauty of bicycling, and update on SaMo bike crash

Bicycling is out with their bi-annual ranking of the best bike cities in America.

Needless to say, Los Angeles didn’t win.

Our bayside neighbor to the north is second, the same position San Francisco held last time.

My hometown slid up to third, while Seattle was a surprising choice for the top pick among America’s best bike cities after ranking fifth in 2016.

Then there’s LA.

The City of Angels, which ranked 24th on the best bike cities list last time around, didn’t come in quite so high this time.

In fact, LA didn’t make the list at all.

Then again, simply not making the list would have been an improvement for a city that was rated as the worst bike city in America.

That’s right, we’re number one on Bicycling’s list of America’s best bike cities. From the bottom.

An honor, if you want to use the term, that is well-deserved as city leaders have seriously backslid in their support for bicycling in Los Angeles.

Let alone safe streets.

This is what Peter Flax had to say on the subject, after he was asked to write the story for Bicycling.

Los Angeles should be heaven for cyclists. The weather is beyond dreamy—downtown L.A. has gotten less than four inches of rain so far this year. The city is an enormous, mostly flat grid of wide boulevards with plenty of room for smartly placed bike infrastructure. The traffic is literally the worst in the world, making it all the more reasonable to cover shorter trips by bike. The metro area boasts postcard-perfect oceanfront riding and spectacular climbing in legendary spots like the Malibu hills, Palos Verdes, and the San Gabriel Mountains. Every day, I see hundreds of people pedaling around town with smile on their faces, despite the challenges the city throws at them.

That’s the good news.

It all sounds quite lovely until you start to contemplate all of the cyclists who have been killed—and ask yourself why. In the past five years alone, more than 180 riders in the metropolitan area have been killed by people driving motor vehicles. During the last three years that national crash data has been compiled (2014-2016), only three U.S. states have seen more cyclist fatalities than just L.A. County—Florida, New York, and California as a whole.

The roads themselves are a disaster. The cruelest irony is that the city is spending money on them. But instead of investing in the quality infrastructure, millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent to pay out civil lawsuits brought by severely injured cyclists or the families of killed riders. The sad truth is that in L.A., it’s more politically expedient to pay seven-figure civil damages than to fix all the crappy roads and build the infrastructure that keeps people from getting hurt or killed.

 

There’s more, sadly. A lot more.

Looking to sustain L.A.’s broken and ineffective transportation system are a cadre of well-funded organizations like Keep L.A. Moving, who are fighting any safety project that might remove a single driving lane from the urban grid. In their minds, one or two cyclist fatalities a month are acceptable collateral damage to keep a big car-centric city properly lubricated…

This angry populist rebellion resonated far beyond the borders of Playa del Rey. L.A. City Council members saw the political might wielded by angry motorists. So did Mayor Garcetti, who has aspirations for national office and wants to shy away from unpopular controversies. And since the bike lanes in Playa del Rey got ripped out, the already glacial pace of making streets safer practically came to a stop in L.A.

It’s not exactly pleasant to read.

But it’s worth your time, because Flax nails it, accurately calling out the multitude of problems we face. And the shameful lack of political support for making the changes we so desperately need.

Maybe this will serve as a wake-up call for our bad publicity-shy public leaders. Or maybe embarrass them just enough to actually do something.

At least enough to get us back onto the list. Even if we have to settle for the 50th spot, as America’s worst best bike city.

Which would be a hell of an improvement over where we are now.

Meanwhile, Long Beach did make the list, checking in at 27th, up one from their previous ranking.

Here’s the methodology Bicycling used to determine the rankings.

Thanks to Al Williams for the heads-up.

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It was a busy day for Peter Flax; if the last story left you feeling down, take a few minutes to read his take on everything that’s beautiful about bicycling.

Trust me, you’ll feel better.

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Sort of good news.

In answer to yesterday’s request for more information about a bike crash at 23rd and Navy in Santa Monica, City Manager Rick Cole responded that the victim was “severely, but not critically injured.”

Not exactly good news, but better than we had feared.

Let’s keep out fingers crossed for a full and fast recovery.

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Speaking of bad news, I somehow missed the news that an unidentified bike rider was killed in Stanton on Monday. The driver initially fled the scene, but returned a short time later.

I’ll try to catch up with the story later today.

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The Los Angeles Fire Department offers a video profile of LAFD’s bike-riding paramedics at LAX, who use their bicycles to respond to emergencies faster than they could by motor vehicle.

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Local

Curbed’s Alissa Walker says the best way Angelenos can support climate action is to stop driving so much. And support improved transportation and density.

Streetsblog says California needs more bike diversion programs, after Bike SGV’s Andrew Yip helped a poor immigrant get into one when he faced a choice between a $240 fine or jail for riding on the sidewalk.

 

State

A writer for Medium says today’s hipsters have a long way to go to match San Francisco’s mustachioed high wheeled cycling fanatics of the 1890s.

 

National

The good news is bicycling fatalities in the US declined 8.1% last year. The bad news is they’re still too damn high, with an average of over two deaths a day, every day.

Lucky us. A new study shows, on average, every 13th driver that passes you on your bike is driving distracted.

Forbes says shared mobility data offers an opportunity to reshape cities.

Cycling Industry News refutes ten bike fit myths. I can personally testify to #4; bicycling is the only thing that held my balky right knee together as long as it did. Even now that I’ll need to get it replaced in the coming weeks, I can still ride with minimal pain, which is more than I can say about walking. Or sitting.

Speaking of that best bike cities list, Portland received its worst ranking ever, coming in at number five. Which is still 19 spots higher than LA ever has.

A Grand Junction CO newspaper urges donations to a Colorado high school marching band that was stiffed by an annual bike tour. If you’ve got a few extra buck lying around, there are worse things you could do with it.

A Chicago bike rider and a pedestrian were injured when a teenage boy hopped behind the wheel of an unlocked car and speed off, crashing into several parked cars in the process.

Caught on video: A Chicago bike rider complains about private parks security racing down a multi-use path in an SUV to chase riders around tight corners — especially when the ones being chased can simply turn around to get away.

A Massachusetts city has removed their requirement for bicyclists to hug the curb, allowing bike riders full use of the lane, like other city’s in the state.

A long list of drivers are still allowed in New York’s Central Park, months after they were supposedly banished.

 

International

Cities around the world are facing the question of how to adapt to an aging population, and what an age-friendly city would look like — including safer streets, improved transit and making bicycling accessible to older people.

A new foam liner from Vittoria and Tannus promises to replace your tubes and make your tires puncture proof.

A “secret” cyclocross fondo through the British Columbia countryside is gaining in popularity, despite being unannounced and not having any maps.

Putting the “mounted” back in Mounted Police, Canada’s famed Mounties are learning that patrolling by bicycle helps officers improve community relations and stop street crime.

An annual London charity ride takes you up to 90 miles from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle to raise funds for The Prince’s Trust. The perfect royal ride for the Anglophile in your life.

File this under you’ve got to be kidding. Just riding a bicycle through a chain of outdoor malls in the UK could result in prison time, thanks to a recent court ruling.

Understanding your Emotional Quotient can improve your performance on your bike, according to a British lecturer.

CityLab says Paris could be a model for how cities can combat climate change, as the city works to reduce motor vehicle use.

Dutch phrases you need to know to ride a bike in the Netherlands.

No bias here. A Reuters story says Africa is locked in traffic as the “poor man’s transport,” aka the bicycle, is ignored. Which feeds into the narrative that people only ride bikes because they can’t afford to drive, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

 

Competitive Cycling

Nebraska resident and new US cycling team member Ashton Lambie has gone from riding Kansas backroads to setting a world record in the 4,000-meter individual pursuit.

French cyclist Sylvain Chavanel reveals what he learned in 19 years in the pro peloton.

 

Finally…

Who needs an SUV when you can have a Sports Utility (e)Bike? That feeling when the city steals your bike to replace the rack.

And keep an eye on Craigslist; someone stole Geraint Thomas’ Tour de France trophy.

Morning Links: Arrest made in LA River Bike Path shooting, and Los Angeles ranked 24th best bike city in US

My apologies. We haven’t been able to correct the problem with email notifications yet. So if you’re not getting emails when new posts go up, rest assured we’re working on it.

And just keep coming back each day until we get it corrected.

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An arrest has been made in the shooting of two men on the LA River Bike Path in Elysian Valley earlier this month.

Nineteen-year-old David Umana was taken into custody this past Thursday for the incident, which began when he allegedly tried to steal the bikes belonging to the victims, who were riding with their wives.

Despite earlier suspicion of gang involvement, Umana does not appear to have gang ties. No word on whether police have identified his alleged accomplice.

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Bicycling Magazine is out with their latest biennial ranking of America’s 50 best bike cities; Chicago ranks number one, with San Francisco placing second.

Crain’s says the Windy City may be number one, but it’s a long way from perfect.

My hometown ranks 12th, as part of a bike friendly Colorado triumvirate with Denver and Boulder at 11 and 10, respectively.

Surprisingly, Los Angeles checks in at 24, seemingly more out of respect for what it could be than what it currently is; meanwhile, Long Beach inexplicably follows four points lower at 28, while Santa Monica didn’t even make the list.

It’s hard to imagine anyone who has actually ridden those three cities agreeing with that.

Thousand Oaks just makes the cut at 49.

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Local

Work is finally set to begin on the MyFigueroa project this October; the Complete Streets project will feature protected bike lanes linking USC with Downtown.

An LAX bike cop is credited with working with another officer to save the life of a suicidal Korean man.

CiclaValley offers his fall cycling preview.

It’s a well-deserved life without parole for a Pomona man who was captured on his bicycle after cutting out his girlfriend’s lung and heart.

LA County Sheriff’s officials have identified the deputy who shot an unarmed, homeless bicycle rider in Castaic last month.

Zac Efron is one of us, as are a handful of other stars who competed in Sunday’s Malibu Tri.

Santa Monica is encouraging everyone who lives or works in the city to go carfree on October 7th.

 

State

Tragic news from Orange County, as a 15-year old Anaheim boy is in a medically induced coma in critical condition after he was hit from behind by an erratic driver who fled the scene; the victim was riding in a bike lane and reportedly doing everything right when he was struck.

The Bay Area’s BART train system says your U-lock may not be that secure after all.

Plans have been approved to add a 10-foot bidirectional bike and pedestrian lane to the upper deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

 

National

The LA Times asks if Oahu’s Honolulu Century Ride is the best bicycle workout ever.

When St. Paul MN trades parking for bike lanes, a student complains that she might have to get a bike because parking is too hard to find. Which is kind of the point, yes.

Kalamazoo MI votes to give bicyclists a five foot passing distance. Which is meaningless unless it’s actually enforced.

A St. Louis student says she feels like Mufasa from the Lion King, as she succumbs to a wildebeest-like herd of swarming bicyclists as she makes her way across campus.

Great piece from Brooklyn Spoke, who says it’s hard to see Vision Zero when you’re looking through a windshield.

A New Orleans man is suing the phone company alleging that a low hanging phone line caused him to fall off his bike. Wait. They still use land lines in the Big Easy?

 

International

The Financial Times says cycling really is the new golf, but ride with a diverse group because nobody wants groupthink.

A London writer says an ebike helped her overcome her fear of riding in the city, without breaking a sweat.

Britain’s bicycling countess sets off on her 450-mile castle-to-castle ride, saying she’s terrified, as father-in-law Prince Phillip — aka Queen Elizabeth’s husband — calls her mad. No, seriously.

Caught on video: A British driver illegally uses his handheld phone to record cyclists riding legally.

Shades of Coronado. A UK mayor says putting bike lanes on a historic walkway would be vandalism.

This is why people continue to die on the streets. An 83-year old Australian man killed a cyclist after he was allowed to keep driving despite failing two driving tests following a stroke.

Evidently, a cable tie a day does not, in fact, keep Aussie Magpies away.

Bikeshare is becoming more popular in Seoul, Korea, with 100,000 members and no serious wrecks.

 

Finally…

Apparently, swallowing up a bicycle is enough to get on the shortlist for tree of the year. Bicycling may not cause erectile dysfunction, but it can give you a numb vagina.

And why count sheep when you can use your bike to chase them?

 

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