Tag Archive for bicycling

Guest Post: Another open letter to the Los Angeles City Council #CrashCityHall

Recently, I announced my intention to #CrashCityHall this Friday to demand safer streets.

And invited anyone who’s just as mad as I am about the needless risks bike riders and pedestrians face on our streets — and the lack of action from city leaders — to join me. And tell the mayor and city council to show have courage the courage to do the right thing. 

Since many people can’t attend a 10 am city council meeting, I’m accepting letters from people who can’t make it, but still want to have their opinions passed on to the council members at the meeting. 

Here’s the second of those #CrashCityHall letters, from Doug Moore.

………

May 18th, 2018

To Mayor Garcetti and all Los Angeles City Council members,

I write you today in an effort to get you to start thinking about how dangerous our car culture has become in Los Angeles. And to urge you, our city leaders, to implement ways to make our streets more safe for all that use them.

In so doing, these changes will bring other qualities such as reduced car noise, nicer public spaces, better air quality and stress free walking, cycling, jogging and dog walking –and yes, driving.

Being a cyclist, I am very aware of how badly our streets and boulevards have suffered because of the amount and speed of traffic.

I live in Tujunga, CD7, Council Member Monica Rodriquez district. Each morning, I bike a short way on Foothill Blvd to board LADOT Express Bus 409 to DTLA.

I de-bus at the Glendale Park & Ride, prep my bike then cycle 13 miles to my office at USC.

I travel through Glendale, to Eagle Rock Blvd/Cypress Ave (Council District 14, Jose Huizar) to the Broadway Bridge into Chinatown (Council district 1, Gil Cedillo) to Hill street, then to Olympic Blvd then Figueroa (Council District 9, Curren Price) and finally to campus. In the afternoon I reverse this trip – with a slightly different route. On Fridays I drive.

I would like to provide the following undisputable facts, that come from years of this type of cycling, this type of intimacy with traffic, this type of exposure to our roadways:

  • Our streets are more dangerous than they have ever been – mostly because of excess speed.
  • Drivers are more distracted than ever before in our city’s history.
  • Motorists are driving while smoking weed. Alot!
  • Many drivers are attentive and share the road. But there is a disturbing trendwhere higher numbers of drivers are doing just the opposite.
  • Painted cycling infrastructure such as “Sharrows”, striped lanes, colored lanes,pedestrian crosswalk demarcation & similar are often seen as ‘optional’ for motorists.We all know about the latest trend of motorist hit-and-run tragedies. These have left other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists severely injured or dead.Here in Tujunga, in April, a DOUBLE FATIL hit and run occurred on Foothill Blvd. The driver, as of this writing, has yet to be apprehended. An innocent couple, engage to be married have perished from our community.

Where has this selfish, narcissistic attitude from drivers come from?

We all know about the speed of traffic on major roads and boulevards is dangerous even at legal limits, but when most drivers are 10, 15, or even 20 mph above and beyond, the danger level is unacceptable.

Where does this need-to-speed attitude come from?

We all know about the horrible traffic congestion in our city and how it continually downgrades the quality of life here. We skip get-togethers. We forgo dinners and kids sports and other social engagements across town – because “the traffic getting to the Westside from Eagle Rock is a nightmare”.

It’s not funny anymore. It’s a serious soul-sucking way of life in our city. Why have we surrendered our social connections and quality of life?

The answer to all these is the same: Our run-away, out-of-control car culture. We’ve reached “peak-car” in our city.

I know that you, leaders of this city, who are smart and insightful and understanding, know this too. You can see it as we all do.

We must start to make changes. I don’t have all the answers, but there are ideas out there that organically reduce traffic speeds. That help separate cars from people walking. Jogging. Cycling. Walking the dog. That make our public roadways safer for everyone who uses them, including motorists.

Widen the sidewalks, not freeways. Add separated bike lanes, not car lanes. Make streets and boulevards pleasant. Green with more trees and shade. More quiet to provide a nice place to shop. To hang-out with neighbors. To read on a bench.

As far as safety, traffic cops at critical intersections help so much! Intersections are where many of the dangers lie for cars vs walkers and bikers. I love seeing these guys when approaching an intersection, whether by car or on bike. Everyone is instantly on best behavior and courteous.

Getting buy-in and approval on these changes is the hard part, of course. Motorists tend to seethe at reduced speeds and “perceived” increase in commute times. Reduced lanes. Less parking. But this is the right direction for Los Angles. The right thing to do in your district.

We’ve tried over and over to increase the car infrastructure thinking that these projects would help. Did widening the 405 Fwy really help? What a huge, expensive, time consuming project.

It’s time to swing the other way on transportation projects. Less “car-centric”, more “people-centric”. Motorists are people too, and they’ll appreciate these changes.

When faced with options in difficult circumstances such as this, an upside is this: it’s always easy to pick out the correct option. It’s the one that tends to be avoided. It’s the one we put at the bottom of the list. It’s the one that’s the hardest.

Why? Because the right thing to do is always the hardest thing to do. That’s a fact of human nature.

I know you are thinking: “Change the car-culture, yeah, right.” But it can be done. In bits and pieces. You will gain converts. It can build momentum and you must try, as lives of our residents are depending on safe passage to work, school and the market.

In the book “Profiles of Courage”, check out the examples of other great leaders, who have acted bravely. Acted with integrity. Gone against the opinions of their constituents to do the right thing.

As a cyclist (yes and a motorist too) I am growing weary of seeing yet more Ghost Bike installations that signify the death of a fellow rider.

As a motorist, I’m continually saddened and outraged to see yet another makeshift memorial of candles, Crosses and flowers where a Mom or Dad or son or daughter or young couple was killed in a crosswalk.

We can do better and am counting on you all to have the courage to do so.

Thank you for your time today. Be brave. Do the right thing. And finally, a reminder that it’s Bike Month. Get out and ride. You’ll be glad you did.

Sincerely,

Doug Moore, cyclist, motorist, pedestrian, resident

………

If you can’t #CrashCityHall on Friday, email a letter demanding safer streets for bicyclists, pedestrians and everyone else to ted at bikinginla dot com by this Wednesday.

I’ll print them out and include them with the packages we’re giving each councilmember and the mayor containing copies of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing.

A couple quick tips:

  • If you can, try to work in the theme of our protest by asking them to have the courage to do the right thing.
  • Mention what council districts you live, work or ride in.
  • Stress that safer streets benefit everyone, whether on bikes, on foot or in cars.
  • Feel free to (politely) express whatever anger or fear you may be feeling
  • Demand they take immediate action to protect us all

And let me know if it’s okay to share your letter on here. I’ll be happy to put it online as a guest post leading up to Friday’s council meeting.

Morning Links: More events to kick off a busy Bike Week, and Elon Musk wants to take you on a ride

Before we start, I’ve created a Facebook Event page for #CrashCityHall this Friday. Please spread the word to everyone you know so we can get as good a turnout as possible.

And be sure to read the open letter to City Hall written by Raquel Jorge. Come back later today, when we’ll post another by Doug Moore. 

………

Thanks to everyone who sent me items to post over the weekend. I’d like to thank you individually, but frankly, it’s four in the morning as I finish this up and I keep falling asleep as I type. So please accept my apologies and my gratitude.

………

Still more Bike Week Events.

CICLE is hosting a ride to A Taste of Pasadena tonight.

My favorite Bike Week event takes place bright and early tomorrow morning with the annual Blessing of the Bicycles at Good Samaritan Hospital. This year the prestigious Golden Spoke Award goes to LA Metro for their leadership on bike projects in recent years.

West Hollywood is giving away free bike lights at Santa Monica and Vista tomorrow night, and hosting a Bike to Work pitstop on Thursday.

Westwood’s Hammer Museum is hosting a talk Wednesday evening on how to move LA to a decarbonized future.

The annual Pasadena Ride of Silence around the Rose Bowl will roll at 6:15 pm this Wednesday.

Ride free with your bike on Metrolink this week, or ride free on El Monte’s transit system with your bike or helmet.

KTLA-5 talks Bike Month with the LACBC’s departing Executive Director Erik Jansen.

………

Elon Musk says you’ll be able to take a free ride through his new Boring tunnel under the Westside within a few months.

No, really, he seems to be serious.

No word west on whether you’ll be able to take your bike with you, as he previously promised.

………

Local

The LA Times recommends walking or riding in the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve in the West San Fernando Valley.

La Verne is creating its first active transportation plan and planning for bike lanes. Which is about time, since the city currently doesn’t have any.

A Long Beach resident describes what he has to go through as a black man just to walk in his own neighborhood.

 

State

Orange Coast College is easing a ban on skateboards and rollerblading after installing a dedicated bike path to encourage students and staff not to drive to campus. It’s long past time for all schools and businesses to remove needless barriers to active transportation. And that includes dangerous roads along the way.

A San Diego councilmember wants to ban e-scooters from the Mission Beach boardwalk, accusing users of turning it into a human slalom course.

 

National

Wired says the vehicle of the future is a bicycle.

A writer for Medium says that a real commitment to Vision Zero could result in more than just fewer deaths. As if that wasn’t enough.

Men’s Journal list the top five commuter bikes for 2018, only one of which sells for under $1900.

Gear Junkie answers all your questions about bike shorts. Including why you should go commando.

Great idea. A Las Vegas school combines bicycling with support for education, sponsoring a ride in which bicyclists bring books to the school for kids to take home.

An Arizona court rules that if you’re injured on streetcar tracks that meet design and engineering standards, it’s your own damn fault.

An Austin TX bicyclist was killed in a collision with a police officer responding to a call, after allegedly riding through a stop sign; his companion, who managed to get across the street safely, appeared to be under the influence.

A Rochester NY cyclist says bike lanes terrify bicyclists and confuse drivers.

A New York writer takes a ride on an ebike. And likes it.

Yale alumni guide blind riders on tandem bikes through the streets of New York during the Five Boro Bike Tour.

A DC rider learns the hard way that bicyclists depend on drivers to get home safely.

 

International

Road.cc considers how to get your bicycling mojo back.

Mexican officials reverse themselves, and say the Polish and German men recently found dead in a ravine were the victims of foul play, after one was found with a bullet wound; they were on an around-the-world bike tour when they were robbed and murdered in Chiapas.

Ontario, Canada cyclists celebrate a coming road diet, while drivers inevitably try to stop it.

Nova Scotia is working on updating its traffic safety laws for the first time in 100 years; a driver recently got away with failing to yield to a bike rider because bikes aren’t considered vehicles under their laws.

The war on bikes continues, as a driver in the UK deliberately aims his van at a bike rider, then threatens to kill bicyclists after running the rider off the road.

The top ten bicycling routes in Scotland, to add to your bike bucket like.

A Scottish lawyer and bike advocate calls for presumed liability, saying it’s the only way to bring fairness back to the legal system and protect the rights of people injured in crashes.

A British study concludes that the only way to prevent unsafe passing of bicyclists is to invest in separated infrastructure.

The Irish Times says the government has a moral responsibility to invest in protecting bicyclists.

Seriously? A seven-year old boy in the United Arab Emirates was taken into custody by police and interrogated for allegedly swerving his bike into traffic and causing a collision, before the court finally ordered him handed over to his father. Did I mention that he was just seven effing years old?

Fifteen thousand bicycle cab operators in Kenya’s Busia County are trapped in the business, because they can’t make enough money to afford a motorcycle.

One of the world’s top-ranked paracyclists is joining with eleven runners to travel nearly 1,400 miles from Cape Town to Pretoria, South Africa, by handcycle, less than four years after she lost the use of her legs in a cycling crash.

A New Zealand truck driver says you never get over the pain of killing someone, even if the victim’s parents forgive you; he says he’ll never drive a truck again after he killed a man riding his bike last year.

Canberra, Australia will test slowing traffic on some streets to protect bike riders and pedestrians.

Singapore approves a new requirement for bike parking spaces in any new residential development, while saying fears it will force out car parking are unfounded.

A Singaporean website questions whether pedestrians and personal mobility devices like e-scooters and hover boards can co-exist.

 

Competitive Cycling

In your spoiler-free report on Sunday’s first stage of the Amgen Tour of California, someone outsprinted his competitors to claim victory, while someone else finished second.

The Tour of California will award equal prize money to both the men and the women, even if women cyclists are not yet allowed to compete on the same courses. And the race has done away with podium girls, allowing women to make the podium the same way the men do — by winning races.

CyclingTips asks if an American can win the AToC, while Cycling News offers five riders to watch.

Meanwhile, in an equally spoiler-free report from the Giro, it’s still going on.

The BBC looks at how the world’s oldest BMX competitor was talked into trying the sport by her son.

Britain’s Sean Conway set a new record for riding the full breadth of Europe, covering 3980 miles in 24 days, 18 hours and 39 minutes, beating the old record by nine hours.

 

Finally…

How can we miss Lance if he won’t go away? Going after the one hour record — on a Penny Farthing.

And if potholes make the roads a deathtrap, putting a bell on your bike isn’t going to help.

 

Guest Post: An open letter to the Los Angeles City Council #CrashCityHall

I’m fed up. And apparently, I’m not the only one. 

Recently, I announced that I intend to #CrashCityHall next Friday to demand safer streets.

And invited anyone who’s just as mad as I am about the needless risks bike riders and pedestrians face on our streets — and the lack of action from city leaders — to join me. And tell the mayor and city council to show have courage the courage to do the right thing. 

Since many people can’t attend a 10 am city council meeting, I’m accepting letters from people who can’t make it, but still want to have their opinions passed on to the council members at the meeting. 

Here’s the first of those #CrashCityHall letters, from Raquel Jorge. 

………

To the City Council of Los Angeles and To whom it may concern:

My name is Raquel, I’m 44 years old and have been using a bike as a mean of transportation for the past 30 years. I have cycled in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, and had the opportunity to learn about urban transportation from Mumbai to Copenhagen, from Hanoi to Marrakesh, from New York to Sao Paulo.

While on the road I have faced harassment, had 3 bikes stolen, saw my life flashing in front of me more times than I could count and lost a few friends to traffic animosity.

But I’m not writing to talk about me. We are at a point where we must understand the importance of empathy. We need to be able to look beyond our little own problems and needs and see the bigger picture. It is no longer a question of what I think or you think. It is a question of what we know, with plenty of data to corroborate this knowledge.

Gridlocks and excess of cars in urban areas aren’t a local issue, but one that every big city in the world is facing. The problem goes behyond safety; it encompasses environmental destruction, increased air pollution, the use of limited natural resources, and health damage to all.

I understand that being able to commute by bike is not everyone’s reality. There are many people who simply cannot do it due to health limitations, distances, nature of work and so on. The way you choose to commute is entirely up to you and it is your right to go wherever you want safely. But it is also mine and that of those who choose to walk, to skate, to rollerblade, to scooter. Understand that owning a car does not give one ownership of the streets. They are there for everyone.

I’m not asking anyone to leave their car at home and ride a bike to work. All I’m asking is to be able to bike without having my life in constant threat. Your right to drive your car on the street is the same as mine to ride my bike.

Changing paradigms is always a hard and long process. Cities like Amsterdam have suffered the same obstacles before it became an example. If we want a better future we need to get out of our comfort zone and start thinking that what benefits the collective will, eventually, benefit the individual.

I’m an experienced rider and I can ride on the streets, no problem. But new riders may not. New riders as well as kids and the elderly won’t consider biking possibility due to fear. That is why a safer infrastructure is vital to ensure a better life in the urban areas. Not today, not tomorrow, but for the next generation. Because let’s face it — if it carries on as it is, it will be unbearable to live in LA and other cities in the very near future.

What world would you like to leave for your kids?

The whole world is desperately searching for solutions, such as investing in public transportation and safer streets for everyone.  Paris, London and New York are great examples of that.  So I find hard to believe that there are people who are against projects such as Vision Zero. Can’t they see beyond themselves?  Go ahead and read about it. See what is happening around the World (or do they really believe that Global Warming is a Chinese invention?). Safer streets are proven to improve the quality of life of communities…Local shops will benefit from more people on the roads…Parking will be less of a problem. Not to mention cyclists are, in general, happier than those stuck in traffic…So let’s keep them alive, shall we?

As far as traffic codes go, there is one that is paramount: “The bigger is responsible for the safety of the smaller.”  A truck is responsible for a car’s safety, a car for a cyclist’s, a cyclist’s for a pedestrian’s and a pedestrian’s for the dog’s. It’s as simple as that.

In the meantime, while we are here fighting for a more sensible infrastructure, there is something that we can start practicing right now — mutual respect. I respect your right to drive your car. Please respect mine to ride my bike. And we should all be able to get home to our families in one piece.

Sincerely,

Raquel Jorge

………

If you can’t #CrashCityHall on Friday, email a letter demanding safer streets for bicyclists, pedestrians and everyone else to ted at bikinginla dot com by this Wednesday.

I’ll print them out and include them with the packages we’re giving each councilmember and the mayor containing copies of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing.

A couple quick tips:

  • If you can, try to work in the theme of our protest by asking them to have the courage to do the right thing.
  • Mention what council districts you live, work or ride in.
  • Stress that safer streets benefit everyone, whether on bikes, on foot or in cars.
  • Feel free to (politely) express whatever anger or fear you may be feeling
  • Demand they take immediate action to protect us all

And let me know if it’s okay to share your letter on here. I’ll be happy to put it online as a guest post leading up to Friday’s council meeting.

Morning Links: Still more upcoming bike events, a look at LA’s Mobility Plan 2035, and maybe they are out to get us

Before we start, allow me to offer a special thanks to Todd R, whose extremely generous donation to the unofficial BikinginLA Dead Laptop Replacement Fund will allow me to finally get a new laptop to replace this balky borrowed one I’ve been working on since January. 

And thanks to everyone who donated to help get me back and working again. Once again, the generosity of the people who read this site has left me stunned and speechless. 

So please accept my humble gratitude, and let’s get on with today’s news.

………

Let’s catch up with some of the upcoming events we haven’t mentioned yet.

The East Side Riders bike club will hold their annual bike show in conjunction with the Watts Community Fun Day and Car Show tomorrow.

Santa Monica Spoke, Metro and the LACBC will hold a Community Garden Bike Tour on Saturday.

Santa Clarita residents are invited to hit the trail for the city’s community bike ride tomorrow.

CycloFemme LA will ride through Los Feliz on Sunday as part of the global women’s CycloFemme rides.

Bike Month peaks in Long Beach with the start of Amgen Tour of California on Sunday. A bike valet will be available for fans behind the Art Theater on 4th Street.

Long Beach will hold a Ride of Silence on Saturday the 19th, three days after the international ride.

Metro’s Pedals and Pit Stops ride will visit Artists & Fleas LA in Venice on May 26th.

………

Good piece from the Bike Citizens website, as they speak with Chapman University law professor and bicyclist Ernesto Hernández-López about how LA’s Mobility Plan 2035 is designed to get people out of their cars instead of increasing road space.

Although in order for that to work, the city would actually have to build it, which seems pretty unlikely these days.

………

Local

Streetsblog looks at Los Ryder’s six years of community building and reclaiming the streets in Watts.

Mar Vista’s traffic safety denying dermatologist accuses Mayor Garcetti and LADOT’s Nat Gale of stonewalling and politicizing the city Department of Transportation. It’s not politicizing LADOT if you simply choose not to believe any stats that refute your predetermined position. 

London’s Independent says you don’t actually need a car to enjoy Los Angeles.

Top Chef-winning West Hollywood chef Michael Voltaggio says bicycling helped him break his addiction to cigarettes.

Pasadena Now reports on Wednesday’s Pasadena workshop to discuss plans for a lane reduction on Union Street. Although someone should explain that increased density reduces the need for street parking because more people are able to walk or bike to local businesses.

 

State

Santa Cruz celebrates NorCal’s Bike Week by unveiling a new dockless e-bikeshare system.

Thousands turn out to ride and chow down on bananas at San Francisco’s Bike to Work Day, as the city promotes its new protected bike lanes on a very political dayLA’s version takes place next Thursday, though sadly, without new protected bike lanes to promote. Although we can expect the city’s nominally bike-friendly leaders to spend the day patting themselves on the back.

Sacramento will get a dockless e-bikeshare system next week.

 

National

Bicycling says knowing your cycling personality can help you love riding even more. But evidently, none of those personalities includes people who just want to get from here to there in one piece.

The Wall Street Journal looks at cycling guides for major cities — even, they oddly claim, Los Angeles.

A US appeals court tells a Tucson woman it’s her own damn fault she got hurt when her tire got caught in a streetcar track, since it was designed to applicable design and engineering standards.

My hometown offers classes for drivers on how the operate their vehicles safely around bicyclists, in what People for Bikes calls the nations’ most bike-friendly town. Which is probably No. 1 on the list the things you’re not likely to ever see in auto-centric Los Angeles.

The two German tourists killed in a Kansas crash were experienced cyclists who flew to the US to ride the legendary Route 66; authorities say they were riding legally when they were run down from behind by a 23-year old woman.

A North Carolina woman was injured after rounding a corner and getting her front wheel snagged in communication cables that had fallen onto the roadway.

I want to be like her when I grow up. After a newspaper reported an 83-year old Alabama woman was riding salmon when she was hit by a driver, she responded “I’ve put 84,000 miles on this bike, I know which side of the road I’m supposed to be on.”

Good advice. A Florida paper says teach your kids how to ride safely by setting an example for them.

A Florida Op-Ed says we’d all be happier and better off if people would bike more.

 

International

City Metric asks what self-driving cars will mean for bike riders, concluding that traffic deaths could get worse before they get better.

The Guardian looks at guerrilla DIY bike activism around the world.

Mexico City is on the way to meeting its ambitious greenhouse gas goals thanks to an increase in walking and biking, for a minimal investment.

The Boston Globe falls in love at first sight with bikeable Buenos Aires.

Ottawa, Canada’s bike network is full of gaps. Not unlike a certain SoCal city we could name.

I want to be like her when I grow up, too. A 90-year old British woman still rides her bike two and a half miles to a neighboring town every week to review planning applications.

Just in time for the Giro, London’s Telegraph looks at Italy’s greatest bicycling vacations. Unless maybe you’d rather go riding in France.

A Malta writer say bike lanes aren’t for bicyclists, they’re for drivers who are afraid to give up their cars and ride a bike.

A Nepali newspaper says Kathmandu is no city for cyclists, after cars drove bikes off the roads in the ’70s, pointing out roads that lack bike lanes while failing to mention that they also lack pavement.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling Weekly asks how long Australia’s Rohan Dennis can hold onto the leader’s pink jersey in the Giro.

CiclaValley offers a preview of the Amgen Tour of California.

A Highland newspaper describes the Redlands Classic as the race that saved a city in decline, while pointing out that no one has ever been disqualified for doping at the race. Which is really just another way of saying no one has ever been caught.

 

Finally…

Now you, too, can be an Instagram famous artistic cyclist. At last, a helmet to match your foldie.

And it’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you.

 

Morning Links: LA area bikelash spreads, free Bike Hub memberships, and SUVs are built to kill

In the fight for safe streets, the streets are fighting back.

Or at least, the people trying to keep them dangerous are.

According to City Lab, the bikelash against redesigning streets to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians is spreading nationwide.

And Pasadena and Los Angeles are prime bad examples.

For several hours, opponents voiced their objections into the auditorium’s sound system. Shedding lanes, one said, would be an “unmitigated traffic disaster.” Not only would residents who live along the road never again be able to back out of their driveways, bicycle accidents would increase (because the new lanes would attract more riders). At one point, a city councilmember decided to hold a “voice vote” on the issue. Though several dozen shouted their support for the reconfiguration, their cries were drowned out by hundreds who bellowed their opposition.

The next day, the City of Pasadena announced that a second scheduled meeting on the issue was cancelled. And so ended the road diet of Orange Grove Boulevard.

And then there’s this from the City of Angels.

John Russo, one of Keep LA Moving’s organizers, bristles at this safety argument. “It makes me laugh when people say we’re anti-safety. You’d have to be a psychopath to be anti-safety,” he said. “We’re here to remind the city how most Angelenos use the road. Overall, we don’t think it’s a bad idea to take a step back and think long and hard about how Vision Zero is being implemented in Los Angeles…”

In addition to these kinds of grassroots efforts, UCLA’s Brozen is looking for more assertive leadership from the city’s political class. And so far, she’s not seeing it. “There’s a little bit of a void in the pro-transportation change space in L.A., and it seems like this anti-change backlash is filling that void,” she said. “There’s a lack of understanding as to why these projects are needed. Without that understanding, it gets really personal and very nasty very quickly.”

That is why I’m crashing city hall on May 18th to demand safer streets.

Far too often, our elected leaders listen to traffic safety deniers like Russo, and forget that some of their constituents are drivers. But all of them are people, everyone of whom use the streets in some way.

And it’s long past time we prioritized the needs and safety of people before cars, to create a safe, livable and prosperous city that benefits everyone.

I hope you’ll join me as we crash the 10 am city council meeting one week from tomorrow, and ask our elected officials to have the courage to do the right thing.

Because they already know what that is. We just have to make them to do it.

Photo from FHWA.

………

If you can’t join me on the 18th — or even if you can — feel free to send a letter demanding for safer streets for you, me and everyone else. Just email your letter by Wednesday, May 16th to ted at bikinginla dot com.

I’ll print them out and include them with the packages we’re giving each councilmember and the mayor, containing copies of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing.

A couple quick tips if you plan to write a letter.

  • If you can, try to work in the theme of our protest by asking them to have the courage to do the right thing.
  • Mention what council districts you live, work or ride in.
  • Stress that safer streets benefit everyone, whether on bikes, on foot or in cars.
  • Feel free to (politely) express whatever anger or fear you may be feeling
  • Demand they take immediate action to protect us all

And let me know if it’s okay to share your letter. I’ll be happy to put it on here as a guest post leading up to Friday’s meeting.

………

Now here’s a great deal.

To celebrate Bike Month, Metro is offering free one-year Bike Hub memberships through the end of this month.

It’s worth signing up if only to have a safe, free place to lock your bike when you take transit or ride to DTLA, Hollywood or El Monte.

………

More fallout from the Insurance Institute study we mentioned yesterday, which blames SUV design, as well as bad road design, for the dramatic increase in pedestrian deaths.

The study suggests that the high, flat grills on most SUVs strike a person higher, with greater force and trauma than most cars would.

In other words, those massive SUVs we share the road with are just as deadly as you thought they were.

Never mind the distracted drivers in them.

………

Speaking of Bike Month, there’s no better way to celebrate than watching the start of the Amgen Tour of California in Long Beach this Sunday.

Except for getting out and riding your own bike there, of course.

………

Local

13th CD Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell is hosting a community conference this Saturday, which will discuss pedestrian safety among other issues. Apparently he forgot to include a workshop on bike safety; maybe you should go and remind him. And tell him that cancelling the Temple Street road diet hurts everyone.

LA’s Jewish Journal asks if the Giro’s Jerusalem start makes Israelis the People of the Bike.

Santa Clarita’s mayor pro tem invites everyone to come out and enjoy Bike Month on the city’s 63 miles of trails.

A Streetsblog Op-Ed says that Santa Monica officials and employees have to start paying for parking if the city is serious about using it to discourage driving.

 

State

Today is Bike to Work Day by the Bay, as NorCal celebrates a week earlier than we do.

San Franciscans will now be able to rent ebikes through the Ford Go Bikes docked bikeshare. Let’s hope LA’s Metro Bike catches up soon.

San Francisco’s effort to allow people to report traffic and parking violations through a 311 app turns out to be a disappointment. We tried to get a similar program going here in LA several years ago, but couldn’t get approval from the LAPD and city attorney.

Larkspur is using eminent domain to close a gap in a bike path and make the “path to nowhere” actually go somewhere.

No surprise that San Raphael bike riders and business owners are split over a pilot protected bike lane, since business people usually seem to prefer parking spaces to customers. Although I’ve never heard anyone say “Why do we need a road here, since there’s another one just a block over.”

A Stockton ministry is using bicycles to help people find jobs and housing.

 

National

Ebikes are now free to roam county trails surrounding Aspen CO.

More on the two German bike riders who were run down from behind on a Kansas highway; authorities are still trying to inform their next of kin. There’s something seriously wrong when people can’t visit this country without being sent back home in a box, just because they chose to ride a bicycle.

You have to give this Michigan letter writer credit. It takes skill to turn a proposed $10 annual fee on kayaks and canoes into an attack on bicycles.

Apparently not understanding how westerns work, Nashville tells Bird scooters they’ve got 15 days to get out of town, Although some people want to save the Birds. Any fan of cowboy movies could tell you they’re supposed get out of town by sunset.

A small New Jersey town has restricted access to a number of its streets during rush hour to keep New York-bound Waze users off them. Although a better solution would be to install traffic diverters and convert the streets to bike boulevards, which would eliminate cut-through traffic while preserving local access.

Curbed features a one-week diary from a multi-modal Boston city councilor and mom. Show that to the next person who tells you every mom needs a minivan.

 

International

Nice piece from Singletrack, as a writer uses elderly neighbor as an example to make the point that planners should talk about walking, bicycling and driving, rather than pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers, because each is a choice that should be an option for everyone, rather than who we are.

Bike Radar examines the six great mysteries of cycling, including why do bicyclists litter — which I’ve often wondered myself — and is it all just a cover for cake addicts?

My favorite story of the day: Costa Rica’s new president rides to his inauguration in a hydrogen powered bus, escorted by people on bicycles, including the new head of the national assembly. And with another bike on the bus rack for good measure.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A Montreal mother pleads for drivers to show a little patience, be polite and take responsibility for their actions, as spokeswoman for the city’s Ride of Silence just seven months after her teenage son was killed in a collision with a U-turning driver. Needless to say, the driver wasn’t charged.

HuffPo UK says bicycling can improve mental health. Which anyone who has ever started a bike ride in a bad mood can probably attest to.

London’s hugely successful Mini Holland bikeway has been shortlisted for a people’s choice civil engineering award, even if opponents consider the recognition a joke.

Glasgow is planning to turn a fashionable district into the city’s first bicycle village.

So much for being bike friendly. A bike-riding Indian actor is turned away from six out of seven luxury hotels in Mumbai, which evidently didn’t want bicycles besmirching their parking.

After a two-year trial period, violations of the 1.5 meter passing law in Australia’s New South Wales state — the equivalent of a 3-foot passing law in the US — will now result in a $330 fine and two points off a driver’s license. That compares to just $35 in California, although that rises to $235 once all the court and admin fees are tacked on.

You can now rent an ebike all over Tokyo, as well as reserve maps, guidebooks and helmets in advance.

 

Competitive Cycling

It was Italian day in the Giro d’Italia.

The Giro remembered Wouter Weylandt on Wednesday’s stage of the race, seven years after he was killed in a tragic crash.

Lance says cycling shouldn’t try so hard to stop doping, because it isn’t working. Problem is, he’s probably right; while pro cycling brags about ending the doping era, it’s more likely teams have just gotten better at hiding it.

 

Finally…

If you can’t go swimming with the dolphins, try riding with the emus. When a bike helmet turns into an attack ad.

And doesn’t everyone warm up for a WorldTour race by hosting a gravel gran fondo?

 

Morning Links: It’s a busy day in the LA bike world, more Bike Week activities, and more victim blaming from LAPD

We’ve got a lot to catch up on after yesterday’s unexcused absence, so let’s get right to it.

………

This is a busy day in the LA bike world.

Pasadena is hosting a public workshop to design the proposed Union Street protected bike lane; there will be a short, easy ride along Union Street get to there.

Santa Monica Spoke is hosting a Handlebar Happy Hour at Fig Restaurant.

Metro is holding a design workshop for the new bike and pedestrian friendly forecourt and esplanade at Union Station.

Long Beach begins its multi-day lead-up to the Amgen Tour of California with a screening of A Sunday in Hell – Paris Roubaix 1976, complete with bike valet. And no, despite what the story says, it’s not about the 1796 Paris-Roubaix, although that would make a more interesting movie.

And if all that wasn’t enough, it’s National Bike to School Day.

………

More activities for next week’s Bike Week in the LA area.

Pure Cycles and People for Bikes are hosting a pre-Bike Week Draft Meetup at the bike maker’s Burbank HQ this Friday, offering bike talk and free beer.

Pasadena Now looks at Bike Week activities in the Rose City.

UCLA will be celebrating Bike Week with pit stops at various locations almost all week.

The LACBC’s annual Ride of Silence will roll through NoHo next Wednesday.

Then again, not everyone will be celebrating the Bike Week festivities. Some will be getting more political, observing that bicycling is a necessity, rather than a choice, in many communities.

………

The LAPD blames distracted walking for a series of pedestrian deaths in the San Fernando Valley, urging people to walk smarter.

On the other hand, the insurance industry blames bad road design for an increase in pedestrian deaths nationwide, not bad behavior or distracted walking.

Which probably explains many, if not all, of the deaths the LAPD blames on the victims. Because good infrastructure reduces problem behavior for people on foot as well as on bikes, just like the lack thereof it causes it.

………

Local

Streetsblog has more details on Metro’s proposal to cut Metro Bike rates in an attempt to boost lagging ridership.

A new proposal would put Dodger blue bike lanes on Stadium Way, making it safer and more convenient to ride to games while improving safety for everyone.

The LAPD and LASD officers taking part in the Hollywood Memorial Ride stop by a Tennessee elementary school; the officers are riding nearly 3,000 miles across the US to honor fallen police officers.

A local website recommends five popular bikeways in the LA area.

Santa Monica Next celebrates the city’s ranking in second place on the list of bike friendly small cities.

A bicyclist had to be airlifted to a trauma center after crashing into a deer on Glendora Mountain Road on Sunday; no word on the condition of the rider. Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

 

State

Nothing like getting run off the road by a sheriff’s deputy who says he never even heard of the three-foot passing law. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link.

A teenage boy suffered non-life threatening injuries when he was run down from behind by a driver while riding his bike to school in San Marcos.

Berkeley responds to concerned parents by agreeing to add a flashing pedestrian beacon at a dangerous intersection — but not a way for bike riders to trigger it, even though it’s on a bicycle boulevard.

 

National

LimeBike says Bike Month highlights the need for better urban bicycling infrastructure. Meanwhile, car makers continue to build distractions in the dashes of motor vehicles, inventing new ways to take the driver’s attention off the road. And you.

The Shift Up Podcast takes on an important topic as it considers the barriers to biking that keep us from closing the bicycle gender gap. Despite the bike industry’s best efforts, shrink it and pink it doesn’t seem to be the answer.

Forbes recommends the best gifts for bicycling mothers. Yet oddly doesn’t recommend a better bike, which is what most bike riding mothers probably really want.

Gear Junkie looks at the unglamorous, decidedly non-sexy performance-enhancing value of a well-maintained chain.

Portland will install sensors on the city’s three most dangerous streets for bicyclists to provide real-time data and more accurate bike counts.

It takes a pretty massive schmuck to steal a truckload of bikes from a Washington middle school.

Someone scrawled heartbreaking graffiti on a shattered wall where a Las Vegas bike rider was killed, reading “Drunk Killed Dad.”

Yes, that self-driving Uber car saw Elaine Herzberg in Tucson AZ before it killed her earlier this year, but decided she didn’t matter. In other words, just like human drivers.

The rich get richer. Bicyclists in my hometown, rated the nation’s most bike-friendly community by People for Bikes, may soon be able to legally ride through stop signs.

Heartbreaking, inspiring story from just outside my hometown, as a man who was described as “a hell of a cyclist” still rides despite suffering from advanced ALS — aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease — thanks to a friend and a customized adaptive cargo bike.

Two German bike riders were killed when they were run down from behind by a driver while riding on a Kansas highway.

Houston bike advocates hold a die-in to protest the city’s dangerous streets.

A new study has identified the most dangerous streets in Chicago.

Now that’s more like it. A 33-year old Illinois man will be 63 years old  when he gets out of prison if he serves his full sentence for the drunken hit-and-run death of a teenage bike rider last year.

Apparently, all you have to do is make plans for a $1.6 million, 12-foot separated bike path to make people actually call for a road diet instead, like this Ohio couple.

Twenty-six cyclists from Newtown CT are on their way to DC on their annual ride to call for stronger gun laws — one for each of the victims of the Sand Hook school shooting.

Curbed says New York has to do more to meet its Vision Zero goals. On the other hand, they actually are doing something, unlike some other cities I could name.

A rural Pennsylvania writer calls for a national biking network. Apparently, Los Angeles looks a lot bike friendlier from a distance of around 2,700 miles.

 

International

Mexican bike riders call for greater security after the bodies of two tourists are found off a Chiapas highway after being missing for several days, even though authorities insist the riders just lost control and no foul play was involved.

Brazilian women ride to fight sexism.

Don’t be disrespectful while riding in Alberta, Canada or the Mounties will be on your trail. And as we all know, the Mounties always get their man. Or woman.

Downtown Montreal is tripling the number of bike racks. Because it doesn’t matter if streets are designed for bike riders if there’s no place to park once you get there.

The top five cycling routes through Glasgow for your next visit to Scotland.

Six secrets behind the remarkable rise in bicycling rates in Sevilla, Spain, which built out an entire bike network in less that four years; one key was allowing the public to help design the bikeways — but only after telling them that doing nothing was not an option.

Indian bike riders attempt to take back the streets through sustainable mobility.

This year’s leading nominee for most creative use of existing space — a 1.3 mile bikeway through a Jerusalem sewage tunnel.

A New Zealand writer says even though critics call the city council “cycling zealots,” it’s actually being too cautious in its support for safe bikeways.

Aussie cancer researchers say if exercise was a pill, it would be prescribed to every patient. It would be anyway if pharmaceutical companies could just figure out a way to make money off it.

 

Competitive Cycling

Israelis were excited to watch the Giro d’Italia’s Jerusalem start last weekend, even if they’d never heard of it. Meanwhile, a writer for VeloNews questions how far is too far for the start of a grand tour. Which they may learn if the Giro follows through on discussions to start the race in the US.

In your nearly spoiler-free report on the Giro, VeloNews says Froome isn’t panicking yet.

The Astana cycling team says they’re sorry for nearly killing a race marshal with a team car in the Tour of Yorkshire.

Cycling Tips talks with world champ Peter Sagan about what’s next. Besides the Tour of California, that is.

The doping era may be over, but as long as there are performance enhancing drugs, someone’s going to use them. And may even get caught.

 

Finally…

When your annual ride is so popular you have to cancel it. Surviving a week in suddenly stylish bike shorts.

And before you bust someone for riding a stolen a bike, it’s always polite to let them finish the race first.

 

Morning Links: LA’s hit-and-run epidemic, LA Mobility Plan could save lives, and Metro Bike may reduce fares

It looks like the press has finally noticed what’s happening on our streets.

In a piece for the Los Angeles Daily News, Josh Cain writes about the carnage of recent weeks.

The increase in bicycle deaths came despite what police officials said at the meeting was an across-the-board drop in serious traffic collisions in the city so far this year — fatal collisions and crashes resulting in serious injuries were down 10 percent, Moore said. Fatal vehicle-on-pedestrian crashes were also down significantly, falling 25 percent.

There were 18 cyclists killed in Los Angeles for all of 2017, and police officials said after the fatal collisions in April, the city appeared to be on track to match that total again…

Los Angeles statistics collected as part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative to eliminate traffic deaths showed that while all deaths from traffic collisions over the last three years, cyclist deaths continued to rise. In the San Fernando Valley, there were just three cyclist deaths in 2015, while last year there were eight.

In case you’re wondering, this is why I’m going to City Hall on the 18th, to demand our elected leaders have the courage to do the right thing.

It’s time to call the city council on their inaction on Vision Zero, and their repeated capitulations to traffic safety deniers in shelving vital lane reductions and other street safety projects.

And doing little more than talking about doing something to halt hit-and-run, while bicyclists and pedestrians — and even motorists — continue to suffer the consequences of their inaction.

………

Speaking of which, if you can’t join me on the 18th — or even if you can — feel free to send a letter demanding for safer streets for you, me and everyone else. Just email your letter to me by Wednesday, May 16th to ted at bikinginla dot com.

I’ll print them out and include them with the packages we’re giving each councilmember and the mayor, containing copies of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing.

A couple quick tips if you plan to write a letter.

  • If you can, try to work in the theme of our protest by asking them to have the courage to do the right thing.
  • Mention what council districts you live, work or ride in.
  • Stress that safer streets benefit everyone, whether on bikes, on foot or in cars.
  • Feel free to (politely) express whatever anger or fear you may be feeling
  • Demand they take immediate action to protect us all

………

A new study from the LA County Department of Health concludes that if Los Angeles actually built out the city’s Mobility Plan 2035 — which seems highly unlikely at this point — it could prevent up to 4,600 cases of cardiovascular disease each year, while saving over $160 million per year in health costs.

Which is just one more reason city leaders need to do the right thing. And one less reason to wonder what that is.

………

Metro is recommending much needed rate changes to its Bike Metro bikeshare program that would finally make renting a bike a single time cost the same as a bus ride for 30 minutes or less.

………

CBS Sunday Morning looks at Manny Silva, Compton’s Godfather of lowrider bikes.

………

The #1 phrase that belongs on the bicycling scrapheap of history: “In a crash between a bike and a car, the car is going to win every time.”

Seriously, there is absolutely no one who rides a bike — and pretty much no one on earth — who doesn’t already know that.

And it’s not a question of who wins.

It’s someone’s life.

………

Local

Bike the Vote LA is hosting a 2018 June Primary Ballot Party next Wednesday to discuss options for the upcoming election.

Reseda residents say the LA River bike path has become a campsite for the homeless and IV drug users in the community.

Culver City lists their Bike Month events, while a Pasadena website looks at the upcoming Bike Week events in that city.

The South Pasadena Police Department will be conducting stepped-up bike and pedestrian safety operations throughout this month. You know the drill — ride to the letter of the law until you’re outside their jurisdiction. You don’t want to celebrate Bike Month with a traffic ticket.

Bike SGV is hosting their first-ever bird watching ride this Saturday.

The long-awaited Arroyo Seco Pedestrian and Bicycle Trail is nearing completion, if they can just figure out how to keep people using it from getting hit with golf balls.

 

State

The Orange County Register maps where Southern California’s deadly crashes occur in a sea of blood red dots.

San Diego’s three-year old Vision Zero program is focusing on 15 deadly intersections to improve safety.

A San Francisco writer says she has good reason not to ride her bike right now, but she’s not ready to put it into storage.

The Press Democrat looks at custom bike builders in Sonoma County.

Sacramento installs its first parking-protected bike lanes in the downtown area.

Our own Phil Gaimon goes riding in Yosemite.

 

National

President Trump once again criticized former Secretary of State John Kerry for breaking his leg while riding his bike, saying you don’t enter a bike race at 73, and you’d never see him (Trump) in a bike race. Except Kerry was only 71 at the time of the crash, he was just out for a bike ride with full security during a break in tense negotiations, not competing in a race, and more than a few people older than that still race. And at least Kerry can ride a bike.

Gear Junkie looks at surprises in People for Bikes’ new list of the nation’s most bike friendly cities; meanwhile, Cheyenne WY ranked near the bottom, scoring just 1.2 out of a possible 5 points. Which just goes to prove that not much has changed since I tried to ride there decades ago, and vowed never to do it again.

A CEO in the energy field says Houston streets remain dangerous because the city doesn’t have the same sort of safety culture found in private industry, and that department heads should be fired if they can’t solve the problem.

There’s a special place in hell for the red light-running driver who struck an Illinois bike rider with her car, then got out to pick up her license plate before driving off and leaving him bleeding in the street.

Pittsburg cycling icon and two-time RAAM champ Danny Chew competed in his first marathon as a handcyclist, 20 months after he was paralyzed in a bicycling crash.

New York bicyclists get a little divine protection at the annual Blessing of the Bicycles; LA’s will take place at Good Samaritan Hospital on May 15th.

New York announces plans to put bike lanes on six bridges crossing the Harlem River, making the already bike-friendly city that much safer for everyone.

The New York Post starts by saying construction delays are turning a New York bike path into an obstacle course, then naturally have to blame people “biking out here like maniacs, like they’re in the Tour de France.”

Filmmaker Casey Neistat records a video telling the NYPD to focus on fixing problem streets instead of cracking down on bicyclists.

 

International

The body of a missing German bicyclist was found near the base of a 600 foot cliff, a day after his Polish riding companion was found nearby; both deaths are believed to be accidental.

They get it. Eighty-six percent of Victoria, British Columbia residents support more bikeways as an investment in the future, whether they ride bikes or not.

A Manitoba tribal chief is calling for safety improvements on the unpaved highway where three boys were killed while walking and riding their bikes.

This is why people keep dying on our streets. Prosecutors in Halifax, Canada drop charges of failing to yield to a vehicle against a driver who injured a bike rider, after concluding that a bicycle isn’t a vehicle because it doesn’t have a motor. Which basically gives drivers permission to do anything they want to anyone who isn’t in a car.

A London man was hospitalized in critical condition after a collision with a man riding a bike near a busy tube station. A reminder to always use caution around pedestrians, because they’re the only ones more vulnerable than we are. And they don’t always use caution around us.

Scouting Scotland’s ancient refuge huts for hikers and bikepackers.

Paris is demanding emergency action after a disastrous change in management companies for the city’s famed Vélib’ bikeshare system has left much of it inoperable.

Add this one to your bike bucket list — spending a week riding along the coast of Northern Italy.

 

Competitive Cycling

Outside explains how you can watch all the top bike races for less than $200 a year.

Chris Froome entered the Giro already banged up after crashing while scouting the Jerusalem time trial course; an Israeli billionaire bike lover is sponsoring the race to get more people in the country on bikes.

A Turkish rider was forced to withdraw from the new Israel-based cycling team in the face of death threats following Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

A 20-year old student at Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, Georgia is now a double U.S. Collegiate Cycling champ, after winning the road championship to go with the mountain biking title she won last fall.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 70-year old Kiwi cyclist keeps a deathbed promise to his friend to compete in race around a New Zealand mountain and finishes second, despite saying he’s not a racer; his friend had won the same race over 60 years earlier.

Once again, a pro cyclist has been injured in a crash with a race moto, as British hill climb champ Joscelin Lowden suffered a broken clavicle after crashing with a security bike. Maybe someday, race organizers will finally figure out that motor vehicles don’t belong in the damn peloton.

Then again, it’s not just the cyclists who are at risk from race vehicles.

 

Finally…

Why not tri bamboo? Your next tires could be 3D printed, not pumped.

And hi-viz may not be the best choice if you don’t want to be noticed — like a mob assassin, for instance.

 

Morning Links: Fundraising goals met, LA misses a top 30 bike friendly ranking, and upcoming bike events

We’ve met our fundraising goals to send a message to LA’s elected leaders, raising $400 in less than 48 hours to give them each a copy of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing.

I’ll be headed to city council meeting on the morning of Friday, May 18th to storm City Hall, and personally deliver them to demand safer streets.

I hope you’ll join me.

Thanks to everyone who donated!

………

Hats off to my hometown, which ranked number one in People for Bikes’ latest rankings of the nation’s most bike friendly cities.

Santa Monica came in a surprising seventh, with San Diego, which has made huge strides in recent years, just two steps lower.

Do I really need to mention that Fort Collins and San Diego only became bike friendly after I left them? Maybe I should move away from Los Angeles, so it can finally become the bike paradise it can and should — or at least somewhat less auto-focused — be once I’m gone.

Speaking of which, you’ll find the City of Angels on the second page, at what would be number 33 if they were numbered, which I suspect is a lot higher than most bike riders would rank it.

And no city ranked higher than 3.5 on the organization’s five point scale, which means there’s a lot of room for improvement, even in the best cities.

Meanwhile, Bicycling examines the criteria used to determine the rankings, while Curbed looks at the possibilities for data-driven change on our streets.

………

Let’s take a quick look at some of the upcoming events we haven’t mentioned yet. And one we have.

Arcadia is holding a free community bike ride tomorrow.

Bike SGV is holding free City Cycling classes in Montebello on Saturday, and again on May 19th.

Also this Saturday, the Wolfpack Hustle Forsyth Cup takes place at the Encino Velodrome, sponsored by BikinginLA sponsor Thomas Forsyth; fans can feast on free hot dogs, tacos and water as long as they last.

Metro is hosting a Pedals and Pit Stops Ride using Metro Bike bikeshares this Sunday, starting at Smorgasburg LA.

The international CycloFemme ride rolls on Mothers Day, May 13th, including the Los Angeles edition.

Ride free with your bike on Metrolink during Bike Week, May 14 through 18.

………

The Orange County Transportation Authority, aka OCTA, is celebrating Bike Month behind the Orange Curtain this May.

  • May 14-18: Bike to Work Week – National bike to work week encourages people to switch up their morning commutes by riding their bikes to work.
  • May 16: Ride of Silence – The Ride of Silence honors those who have lost their lives or have been seriously injured while bicycling. Groups will depart at dusk, around 7 p.m., from locations in Fullerton, Irvine and Orange.
  • May 17: OCTA Bike Rally – The sixth annual event and ride is planned from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. starting at the Orange Metrolink Station, 194 N. Atchison St. and ending at the OCTA Headquarters, 550 S. Main St. in Orange.
  • May 18: Bike to Work Day – National bike to work day is recognized throughout the U.S. and gives people the opportunity to try a different way to commute.

………

Local

More evidence of LA’s toxic car culture, if any was needed, as violent street takeovers by drivers spread throughout the SoCal area. Thanks to Evan Burbridge for the link.

CiclaValley escapes to Camp 9, one of the most accessible rides from the San Fernando Valley.

A letter writer chooses parking over a two-way bike lane on Pasadena’s Union Street, but can’t seem to distinguish between Santa Monica parking garages and on-street parking.

The LACBC profiles James Chaves from the Montebello Bicycle Coalition for Bike Month.

South Bay letter writers rise up to insist Aviation Blvd is for cars, and they damn well like it that way. And those darn bike riders just break the law anyway.

 

State

A 79-year old Laguna Beach man is planning for his next 5k, despite a collision with a truck that coast him a leg, and a head-on crash with a bike rider that left him with a broken neck and mostly paralyzed from the neck down. Seriously, slow the hell down and ride carefully around pedestrians; they’re the only ones more vulnerable on the streets than we are.

San Diego’s Bike Month kicks off with new concerns about safety as dockless bikeshare brings unexperienced riders onto the roads.

The Riverside County sheriff offers tips for drivers and bike riders on how to avoid crashing into each other. Although the first two suggestions for bicyclists involve wearing a helmet, which does nothing to prevent a crash. Note to Sheriff Sniff — it’s dangerous enough for bike riders out there without inflating the number of bicyclists killed in 2015 by nearly 300.

Monterey gets it. The city is installing bike lanes and making pedestrian improvements on a fading commercial strip in hopes of spurring new businesses and development in the area. Studies have repeatedly shown that creating walkable, bikeable districts are good for business, as well as property values in the surrounding area.

San Francisco bicyclists staged another people-protected bike lane to call for safe spaces for active transportation. Something LA-area advocacy groups have yet to try. Hint, hint.

San Francisco’s Bay Bridge will conduct a 10-day trial allowing bicyclists and pedestrians 24-hour access, which is currently restricted to 6 am to 9 pm.

The first of world champ Peter Sagan’s two California fondos hits the dirt in Truckee this weekend.

 

National

Forbes says the bicycling industry is betting on an ebike gold rush.

Tres shock! A Seattle study shows that dockless bikeshare is a success in the city, with an average of nearly one rider per bike per day. But ridership goes down in bad weather — just like it does anywhere else, for any kind of bike riding.

A nonprofit director at Houston’s Rice University explains why he’s afraid to walk in the auto-centric city, where motor vehicles are allowed to run amok.

This is why people continue to die on our streets. A five-time DUI loser was acquitted on his latest charge after refusing to take a roadside sobriety test, and telling police to “go get real criminals.” Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the heads-up.

This is the cost of traffic violence. Friends and family remember a Purdue University student who died after a collision with a pickup, allegedly caused when he ran a red light.

The driver who fled the scene after running down a cyclist on Tennessee’s Natchez Trace Parkway last year — perhaps intentionally — will plead guilty in a plea deal.

A new study from Penn State University reveals that most people overestimate the time it would take to ride a bike somewhere. Which means that bicycling is a more viable option than most people think.

Too true. A Pittsburgh bike commuter says “There is no amount of bad behavior by cyclists that can remotely compare with the callous disregard for life displayed by these motorists.”

This is why people continue to die on our streets. A New York woman is arraigned on a charge of involuntary manslaughter for killing two small children while having a seizure, after her doctors repeatedly told her she wasn’t safe to drive.

The NYPD has already busted 5,000 bike riders for running red lights this year. No word on how many scofflaw drivers have been ticketed for the same offense, or which one poses the greatest threat to others.

Baltimore’s repeat drunk driving Episcopal bishop asks if she can spend the rest of her sentence for killing a bike rider in a drunken 2014 hit-and-run in the comfort of her own home. The victim’s sister reasonably calls the request “unconscionable,” which pretty well sums up the whole damn thing.

 

International

Mexican and German authorities are looking for a German man who went missing in Chiapas while on a bike tour of the Americas.

English police are looking for the driver who smashed into two bike riders, seriously injuring one, then fled the scene leaving his car lodged in a brick wall.

An English woman discusses the difficulties of riding your bike across town while remaining stylish.

Oslo, Norway is rolling out the red carpet for bike riders in an attempt to reduce traffic congestion, after committing to ban cars from the city core by next year.

An Aussie paper looks at the wild ride of the company behind the popular Fly6 and Fly12 bike light/cam combos.

 

Competitive Cycling

The LA Times offers a photo essay on the Titan Desert 2018, a 385-mile mountain bike race through the Moroccan desert.

You won’t find today’s start of the Giro on American TV, but you can see a one hour preview of the Amgen Tour of California on NBCSN this Sunday.

 

Finally…

Nothing like a pleasant little 2,400-mile ride to catch a soccer match or two. Cab drivers are your friend; okay, maybe just one.

And if you’re going to heroically chase down a bike-riding mugger, you might as well dress the part.

 

Morning Links: Raising funds to storm city hall, great new DIY bike PSA, and getting dropped by an ebike

Just a quick update.

As of this writing, we’ve raised $310 — just $90 short of our $400 goal — to give copies of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing to the Mayor of Los Angeles and every member of the city council.

All to give them a not so subtle hint to show a little courage and do the right thing to protect the lives of everyone who walks, bikes or drives on the streets of Los Angeles.

You can donate through PayPal, or through the Zelle app using the email address you’ll find here.

And I hope you’ll join us in storming City Hall during Bike Week to demand safer and more livable streets for everyone.

Unfortunately, we have to change the original date, since the council won’t be in session on Bike to Work Day.

Instead, we’re in the process of selecting a new date, the morning of either Wednesday, May 16th before the Ride of Silence, or — more likely — Friday, May 18th before Bike Night at Union Station.

You can vote here if you have a preference.

………

If this doesn’t put a smile on your face this morning, nothing will. Just in time for Bike Month, a new DIY PSA cobbled together from movie footage artfully makes the case for riding bikes instead of driving.

………

It’s one thing to get dropped. It’s another to get passed by a ebike rider like you’re not even moving.

………

Local

The Signal discusses upcoming events for May’s Bike Month.

Heat maps from the newly combined SaMo, WeHo, UCLA and Beverly Hills bikeshares show the desperate need for decent east-west bikeways on the Westside.

A pair of mountain biking groups have repaired the historic Gabrielino Trail in the peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument above La Cañada.

The West Covina city council punts on an active transportation plan that would add over 50 miles of bike paths after they’re unable to reach a consensus; they’ll pick it up again on the 15th.

Good read from Peter Flax, who discovers what it’s like to be a fish out of water. Or more precisely, a life-long roadie in a Manhattan Beach SoulCycle.

 

State

The Sierra Club goes bike packing along the Southern California coast through San Diego and Orange Counties.

The Bay Area celebrates Bike to Work Day a week earlier than SoCal on May 10th; a Sonoma paper offers tips on how to make the most of it.

San Francisco bicyclists once again form a people-protected bike lane to call for better bike infrastructure. To the best of my knowledge, no one’s done that in Los Angeles yet, perhaps because they don’t trust LA drivers not to run over them anyway.

A bicycle-riding Santa Rosa doctor says bike commuting is the key to fitness.

In today’s edition of things that would never happen in LA, the Redding city council voted to close a little-used stretch of road entirely to make way for a new bike and pedestrian trail near downtown. Thanks to Casey Kerrigan for the link.

 

National

The new GOP-passed tax law includes plenty of tax breaks for corporations and the rich; bike riders, not so much.

Ten more bike companies have joined with Ford and Trek to develop a Bike to Vehicle (B2V) communication system, envisioning a world where you’ll have to ride with a sensor on your bike to avoid getting run down by self-driving cars. Rather than, say, just building cars that can actually see people on bikes.

Bike Snob takes on the myth that bikes are frivolous toys for Lycra-clad fitness freaks.

Outside offers advice for parents on how to get more girls riding bikes.

Nice piece from Bike Portland’s Jonathan Maus, who calls on everyone to just chill and be a little more understanding of other people on bikes.

Denver bike riders are told to keep waiting for more protected bike lanes.

The family of a fallen Texas cyclist has filed suit against the driver that killed him, as well as a passenger in the car, after the driver walked with time served, without spending a day in prison, despite a two-year sentence for manslaughter. Thanks to Stephen Katz for the heads-up.

A pair of Walmart heirs are making Arkansas a fat-bike destination.

A Minnesota bike shop owner is running for the local city council on a platform of opposing bike lanes and traffic safety improvements, insisting that bike lanes aren’t used enough to justify their existence.

A Maryland town is installing 2,000 free bike lights to help reduce nighttime collisions.

 

International

Road.cc recommends their top eight front and rear daytime running lights. And yes, you should be using lights during the day.

Forget Copenhagen; traffic calming and an extensive bikeway network in Bogata, Columbia has resulted in 800,000 bike trips a day.

This is what we need. A new London bike map shows the safest routes, and where key interchanges are located.

A new British study suggests Google Street View can be used to estimate traffic patterns to help improve public health.

Ireland’s Transport Minister calls on drivers to pass bike riders safely, following a 50% jump in bicycling fatalities so far this year.

A pro cyclist explains why Croatia is a world-class mountain biking destination.

A New Zealand writer offers a surprisingly fair and insightful take on the divide between people on bikes and in cars, noting that “the cyclist you’re passing probably isn’t the same one who ran the red light in front of you the other day,” and the driver behind you probably isn’t the one who doored you last week.

Singapore says slow that e-scooter down already. 

 

Competitive Cycling

Wednesday’s stage one of the Redlands Classic was cancelled due to bad weather in Big Bear.

VeloNews reports on the 11th edition of the famed fixie fest Red Hook Classic.

A 20-year old cyclist has bounced back from a near-crippling crash at the Red Hook Classic to become one of the few African American Olympic hopefuls.

Great cause. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is using this year’s Giro d’Italia to raise funds to put 1,000 African women and girls on bikes over the next two months.

In advance of the Jerusalem start of the Giro, Israel has made legendary Italian cyclist Gino Bartali an honorary citizen of the country for his clandestine work saving Jews in World War II.

A Palestinian cyclist who lost a leg when he was shot by Israeli soldiers during a protest says he’s disgusted that the Giro will start in Israel.

 

Finally…

You might want to skip the keto diet if you want to go fast. Who needs dockless bikes in trees when you can leave a car dangling from a bridge?

And bloomers and bikes sparked the feminist movement of the ’90s.

No, the 1890s.

 

Morning Links: Storm City Hall for safer streets on May 18th, and killer Kalamazoo driver convicted of murder

As the great prophet Howard Beale once said, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

And I’m willing to march on City Hall by myself if that’s what it takes.

I’ve spent the last several weeks trying, and failing, to get support from LA advocacy groups for a plan for bike riders and pedestrians to storm city hall on Bike to Work Day this month to demand safer streets.

While I understand their need for campaigns and strategic planning, too many people are dying right now. And too many city councilmembers are backing away from the promises we were made.

So if this isn’t the right time for action, when is?

As I struggled with my own anger over the recent rash of bicycling fatalities and fatal hit-and-runs, I kept coming back to the questions of if not me, then who? And if not now, when?

Do we wait until someone else dies? Or twenty more people?

Do we wait until the next road diet is cancelled by councilmembers caving to angry drivers and traffic safety deniers?

And when is the right time to demand demand safer streets? As the Chinese proverb famously says, the best time would have been 20 years ago.

The second best time is now.

It’s my intention to give the mayor and every member of the council a copy of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing, and see if they get the message. If we can raise just $400 in the next week to cover the costs, I’ll do it.

Besides, we only need another $375, thanks to a donation from Douglas M to get things started.

But either way, I’m going to be there on May 18th, even if that means standing alone before the city council.

Because something needs to be done now.

I hope you’ll join me. And help spread the word, so we can get as many people as possible to show up that day.

And I hope you’ll consider making a contribution to help send a message to the council that it’s time to show a little courage and do the right thing.

Update: I’ve been reminded that the LA City Council doesn’t meet on Thursdays, so doing this on Bike to Work Day won’t work. 

The question is whether it’s better do storm city hall on Tuesday, May 15th after the Blessing of the Bicycles, Wednesday the 16th before the Ride of Silence, or Friday the 18th before Bike Night at Union Station.

So what works better for you? Let me know in the comments below.

Update 2: It looks like Friday, May 18th works for more people. So that’s the day we’re storming City Hall.

………

Guilty.

In a verdict that shouldn’t surprise anyone, the driver responsible for the Kalamazoo massacre has been convicted on five counts of second degree murder for killing five bike riders in a drug-driven 2016 crash, and injuring another four.

Charles Pickett Jr. was also convicted of five counts of causing death while driving under the influence, after allegedly popping a handful of pain pills before getting behind the wheel. In addition, he had meth in his system as well as alcohol at the time of the crash.

Pickett now faces a possible life sentence when he’s sentenced next month.

A well-deserved one.

Thanks to Adam Ginsberg for the heads-up.

………

This is the cost of traffic violence.

In a heartbreaking story, a writer looks at the devastating effects of a Texas hit-and-run.

Boston magazine offers an in-depth examination of the events leading up to the death of a brilliant surgeon when she was right hooked by a truck driver while riding to work. And the police investigation that went out of its way to blame the victim.

………

Local

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined with other mayors around the world to issue a Commitment to Green and Healthy Streets, envisioning “a future where walking, cycling, and shared transport are how the majority of citizens move around our cities.” However, as Streetsblog points out, it takes more than lip service to be a climate mayor. It will be very hard for LA to live up to that commitment as long as city councilmembers are free to cancel safety and Complete Streets projects to appease angry drivers.

Streetsblog examines the dangers faced by many bike riders on the streets that go well beyond traffic safety. Like the 14-year old bike rider gunned down in a quiet Azusa neighborhood yesterday.

 

State

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) will relaunch their Go Human campaign throughout their six-county region for Bike Month.

Celebrate Bike Month with ten bike trails within ten miles of Morro Bay.

 

National

NACTO presents a nationwide study of bikeshare in the US; while docked bikes outnumber dockless bikes 56% to 44%, only 4% of the actual trips are taken by dockless bikeshare. Something that’s likely to change as dockless bikeshare matures in this country.

In an absolutely brilliant move — sarcasm intendedVista Outdoor responds to the recent boycott by bike retailers over the AR-15 rifles made by one of their subsidiaries by deciding to stop selling guns. And get those darn bike people off their backs by getting rid of their bicycling equipment divisions, as well.

You can now control your LED-lighted Lumos bike helmet with your Apple watch, assuming you have either one. Or buy them both at your friendly neighborhood Apple Store if you don’t.

NPR looks at the LaneSpotter app, which allows users to flag problems with bikeways in real time, like a WAZE for bike riders.

Building bamboo bikes in Oahu.

A Portland nonprofit intends to collect 1,000 bicycles in a single day to refurbish and donate to kids in need.

A Washington sheriff’s deputy says police have to actually observe a traffic violation, such as a violation of the three-foot passing law, in order to write a ticket. Unfortunately, the law is no different here in California.

A Seattle website says the ebike craze has become a verifiable movement in the city.

A Spokane WA bike commuter compares bicyclists to the NRA, and says some bike riders in the city are just jerks. Bicyclists are human, some humans are jerks. Therefore, some bicyclists will inevitably be jerks. Just like some drivers and pedestrians. 

Forget protein bars. Austin TX bike riders get free tacos for breakfast on Bike to Work Day.

Houston residents are calling for changes after two people are killed in the same spot while riding bikes in the last two years; a crowdfunding campaign raised $15,000 to send the latest victim’s body back to India.

Evanston IL city aldermen reject a call to remove a parking-protected bike lane, after a female alderman — alderperson? — calls them “an absolute disaster at rush hour.”

Speaking of Evanston, a local man discovers how it feels when his bike has a starring role in a police chase.

New York council members call on the mayor to stop the city’s ridiculous ebike ban, and talk with the food delivery riders who use them to develop new rules.

 

International

Cycling Industry News considers why the bike industry has such a hard time catching counterfeiters. Which is why you should always buy from a reputable source; any deal that seems too good to be true probably is.

An Ottawa TV station says people are taking to bicycles and ebikes to fight rising gas prices.

Cambridge, England council candidates consider calls to ban parents from driving their kids to school. Unlike the US, where schools attempt to ban kids from biking or walking to class.

One more to add to your bike bucket list — Spain’s sun-soaked Mallorca island.

Tel Aviv, Israel opens the first velodrome in the Middle East.

Around 50 Brisbane, Australia bicyclists stage a die-in to call for better bike safety, tying up traffic during the morning rush hour. While the technique can be effective, we don’t win any friends by inconveniencing people just trying to get to work.

 

Finally…

Ten ways to tell others on the road that an angel just got its wings. Call it a secure dockless bikeshare parking spot.

And the Foos are some of us, too.

Most of them, anyway.

 

%d bloggers like this: