Tag Archive for bicycling

(Late) Morning Links: LASD changes deputy distracted driving policy, CicLAvia is coming, and we’re #9

Why does someone usually have to die before common sense comes into play?

Even — or perhaps especially — when it comes to law enforcement agencies.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department has belatedly come to the obvious conclusion that their officers are no better at distracted driving than the rest of us, over a year after a cyclist was killed by a sheriff’s deputy using his onboard computer.

The Daily News reports that the department has issued a new policy that curbs, but does not eliminate, the use of department-issued computers while driving.

Officers are now expected to use their radios as the primary means of communication, with computers to be used only in emergency situations while operating a vehicle, or when a response can be given with a single touch of a button.

Of course, looking down at the screen for even the few seconds required to push a button still takes the driver’s eyes off the road long enough to kill someone.

Unfortunately, it comes too late to save the life of Milt Olin, who was rear-ended by a sheriff’s deputy who drifted into the bike lane while the entertainment lawyer and former Napster executive was riding on Mulholland Highway 16 months ago.

Let alone hold the driver accountable for his death.

And the new policy apparently does nothing to prohibit the use of handheld cell phones by officers, which is somehow allowed by an absurd loophole in state law that seems to assume police officers have superhuman multitasking powers that the rest of us mere mortals lack.

And yes, the sheriff’s deputy who took Olin’s life had also been texting with his wife in the moments leading up to the collision. But not, investigators concluded, at the precise time he struck Olin.

A standard which would seem to let most texting drivers off the hook.

The story notes the department is investigating further restricting the use of onboard computers by their deputies, including locking the devices when the car is moving or providing a heads-up display like the one used by CHP officers.

I’m still not sure if cops have the multitasking skills and lightening reflexes required to navigate busy traffic while reading messages that pop up on their windshield.

But anything would be an improvement.

Thanks to Richard Risemberg and BikinginLA sponsor Michel Rubinstein, who offers his own take on the policy change, for the heads-up.

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Ready for CicLAvia yet?

LADOT is planning a one-day pop-up cycletrack on Chandler Blvd to give you a chance to offer your opinion on what riding in LA could — and should — be.

And CiclaValley finds support for the event even from car-related businesses along the route.

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California is now ranked as the nation’s 9th most bike-friendly state, up from 19th. Which raises the question of whether this state has gotten that much better, or if other states just suck more.

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More fallout from last week’s LA elections.

The Times says LA cyclists get at least some of the credit for CD14 Councilmember Jose Huizar’s landslide victory in last week’s primary election.

Meanwhile, the CD4 race is likely to be between a city hall insider and an outsider to be determined; no word on the role biking the vote is likely to play in determining the outcome.

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Local

The LA Times is the latest paper to check in on SB 192, the state’s proposed mandatory helmet law; the story by Laura J. Nelson is one of the few to offer a considered look at the subject.

The LACBC is offering a Women’s Basic Bicycling Skills Workshop on Saturday.

A high school student questions whether bike riders are being considered in the rush to autonomous vehicles.

Celebrity chef and reality TV star Gordon Ramsay rides through the ‘Bu.

An El Monte bike rider suffered a head injury when he was hit by a minivan Sunday night. Police say the victim ran the red light; as always, the question is whether anyone other than the driver who hit him actually saw it. And the one time when it might be relevant, the story fails to mention if he was wearing a helmet.

Long Beach plans to improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians by replacing a dangerous intersection with a park.

Bike couriers finally come to the area’s most bike-friendly city, and Longbeachize looks at the last LACBC Operation Firefly bike light giveaway of the year.

 

State

No news is good news? Only one California report from outside the LA area popped up in yesterday’s news feeds.

A Sausalito councilmember wants to limit the number bikes, especially rental bikes, that swarm the small city every summer. But evidently all those cars that jam the roadways are just fine with him.

 

National

Bike Route 66 is now fully mapped out and ready to ride.

An 81-year old Phoenix man is fighting for his life after being run down by a hit-and-run bicyclist; apparently hit-and-run isn’t a crime in Arizona if you don’t have a motor. Either way, if you hit another human being, just stop already.

A Billings, Montana couple win the Adventure Cycling Association’s Trail Angel Award for their kindness to riders passing through the city.

A Wisconsin driver gets a year in jail for killing a cyclist in his sleep. Yes, you read that right.

A proposed 76-mile Naples to Miami bike trail faces opposition, but no one seems to object to the already existing highway next to it.

 

International

A Chilean designer offers a line of book racks that double as a place to park your bike inside your home.

The mayor of Saskatoon chokes on the $225,000 price tag for a protected bike lane, apparently having no idea what the same amount of automotive infrastructure would cost. Or that you don’t build bikeways for the people who ride now, but for those who will use it once it’s finished.

London’s congestion charge not only reduced the number of vehicles in the city, it also cut crashes by 40% and made the city safer for cyclists; meanwhile, bicycling could be the secret weapon for London’s suburbs.

Cambridge, England residents complain that the city’s antisocial cyclists don’t read signs.

A Welsh cyclist is about to complete a round-the-world tour to raise money for cancer research; he did half the ride solo after his companion was injured — in LA, naturally.

Brussels cyclists film themselves crashing into the city’s street furniture to demonstrate the need for better bikeways. And no, that doesn’t mean sofas in the roadway.

An Australian paper says if the country is going to achieve its Vision Zero goals, emphasis has to shift from blaming dangerous drivers to designing roads that reduce risk as much as possible.

Aussie bike groups call for government-backed safety awareness campaigns following the dooring death of a cyclist.

 

Finally…

There once was a bike share in Limerick. A South African tourist explores the City of Angels, yet somehow places the Pacific Ocean on the east of the city, which probably won’t happen until climate change worsens or the Big One hits, whichever comes first.

And a series of Canadian traffic safety ads place the blame for distracted driving right where it belongs.

Crotches-Kill-Man

Morning Links: UCI doping report on the dopes running UCI, photos of Paralympic cyclists and Dr. Oz on bikes

A long awaited report on doping in pro cycling says the sport’s leaders aren’t corrupt, just incompetent and too willing to look the other way to protect a certain Texan.

Oh. Well okay, then.

And doping hasn’t ended, today’s riders have just gotten smarter about it.

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An Italian photographer offers breathtaking photographs from the Spanish Paralympic Track Championships, noting “It’s crazy how ‘handicaps’ can easily disappear on a bike.”

No, seriously, take a look, it’s worth it.

I’ll wait.

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TV’s Dr. Oz says riding to work is a good thing, though he overestimates the number of bicycling fatalities and says they don’t occur in designated bike lanes, which evidently posses magic properties to keep cars from crossing those little lines of paint.

He also says to only ride single file — even though riding abreast increases visibility and helps control narrow lanes to prevent unsafe passing — always wear reflective hi-viz, and that only less-experienced or less-intelligent cyclists ever ride without a helmet and protective eyewear.

Maybe there’s a reason he’s a TV doctor and not a bike safety expert.

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Local

Sounds like there’s a story there, as the LAPD tweets that Newton Division officers replaced a child’s stolen bike.

Santa Monica plans to have their new Breeze bike share up and running by the time the new Expo Line extension begins operations, possibly by the end of this year.

Santa Monica streets evidently can’t be wide enough for one architect, who evidently never heard of induced demand. Let’s be honest — the only solution for congested traffic is getting more cars off the streets, not making more room for them.

They ride among us. Actor Josh Duhamel rides with his son in SaMo, while supermodel Cindy Crawford pedals with her husband in Malibu.

Maybe they were out of bullets. Two accused gang members are under arrest for allegedly intentionally running down a West Covina bike rider; a hunt is under way for the third person in the car.

 

State

A San Francisco cyclist is in critical condition after being hit by a fire truck returning from a call.

San Raphael police conducted a bike and pedestrian safety operation on Friday, ticketing 16 motorists, 14 pedestrians and just three people on bikes.

A 65-year old Marin County woman reports being terrorized, then attacked and seriously injured by a trail raging mountain biker. And yes, it sounds horrible, but let’s remember we’re only hearing one side of the story.

 

National

An editorial in the Spokane WA paper endorses road diets for all the right reasons.

Wyoming becomes the latest state to pass a three-foot passing law, though there are no penalties for violating it.

Minnesota Public Radio reports on six Minnesotans who rode their fat bikes in Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Invitational.

New Mexico’s annual Tour of the Gila is in serious financial difficulty; next month’s race could be canceled if a title sponsor can’t be found.

The hot new thing at a Buffalo NY ice rink is a bicycle on ice skates.

A recent bike ride from Selma to Montgomery AL to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march raised nearly $20,000 to preserve the parsonage where Dr. King lived in Montgomery. As someone who grew up in the civil rights era, it’s amazing to look back on how far we’ve come, and yet how far we still have to go.

An editorial in a Florida paper says cyclists deserve to be safe and protected, while a reporter for the same paper says she stopped riding her bike because she’s afraid of cars. Or more precisely, the people in them.

 

International

A writer for London’s Guardian declares the mythical war on the motorist is over, somehow forgetting that motor vehicles continue to enjoy hegemony over the streets; he also insists that any reduction of speeds on surface streets should be met with a commensurate increase in highway speeds. Uh, no.

The Afghan women’s cycling team pedals on despite family pressures, patchy public support and a lack of paychecks.

Bike riders rally in Mumbai to protest the planned destruction and relocation of nearly 2,300 trees to make room for a garage, among other projects.

Aussie bike riders get naked to show how vulnerable cyclists are and to promote road safety. And show off their skills with body paint.

A Canberra newspaper says faulty components are putting Australian bike riders at risk, while acknowledging in passing that such cases are rare.

A motor writer from Down Under gets it, pointing out the benefits to drivers of having more bikes on the streets, while saying he really can’t think of a downside to a cycling-based society.

A new report on restoring Christchurch, New Zealand to its former status as a bicycling city says every dollar spent on over a dozen proposed bikeways should yield $5 to $8 in return — as much as $1.2 billion back to the city over a 40-year period.

 

Finally…

An Aussie city spends nearly $10,000 for bike racks that are too thick to lock to. If you see a $6,000 Cervelo P5 for sale on Craigslist for $50, contact the Northamptonshire UK police.

And while they’re phone, tell ‘em what you think about the UK cop who threatened to confiscate a four-year old’s bike for riding on the sidewalk. With training wheels, no less.

 

Weekend Links: Protected bike lanes, election recaps, send a girl to bike camp, and more on the CA helmet law

This is what happens when life interferes before a post gets finished.

It grows.

And grows.

And grows some more, as the bike news keeps coming faster than I can keep up. Until we get a massive list of links long enough to keep you entertained for the rest of the weekend.

Or at least, the part you don’t spend on your bike.

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People for Bikes releases their new report on Race, Ethnicity, Class and Protected Bike Lanes, while Fast Company makes the case for protected lanes — including boosting ridership up to 171%.

And investing in bike infrastructure is an investment in local business.

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CiclaValley offers a recap of Tuesday’s elections and what the results mean for LA bicyclists. Not that 90% of Angelenos seem to care.

If this sort of apathy continues into the June general election, any motivated group that cared enough to actually vote en masse could totally own this city.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers his insights, including an examination of Jose Huizar’s win in CD14, which was the city’s first race that hinged on progressive urban planning.

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One of the area’s most active and influential bike advocates, Santa Monica Spoke’s Cynthia Rose, is raising funds to attend next week’s National Bike Summit and National Forum on Women and Bicycling.

And yes, your donation is tax deductible.

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Are we tired of the debate over mandating bike helmets yet?

A Napa Valley cyclist and attorney says we should require helmets, but do more to make our streets safer.

On the other hand, the publishers of Cycle California! says a helmet law tosses out all the benefits of bicycling for the mere illusion of safety.

The Mission Bicycle Company the proposed law sends the wrong message, while placing the burden of safety on the most vulnerable social group, rather than the one most likely to cause harm.

And KCRW traffic maven Kajon Cermak asks if bike helmets discourage cycling.

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Local

The Westside Urban Forum holds their first bike-focused panel in 15 years to discus the potential for increased bicycling in West LA and Santa Monica.

Better Bike updates the latest news from the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills, including the city’s lack of response to bike rack requests.

A South LA bike advocate hopes to open a bike co-op in Leimert Park; you can contribute to the project here.

Bike theft is up in Hermosa Beach, as Hermosa Cyclery lost as many as 20 of their rental bikes last year alone.

Plans proceed for a bridge connecting the Glendale Narrows with Griffith Park.

The LACBC and the LA River Revitalization Corp host a free ride through Cudahy Saturday morning.

In advance of Wednesday’s Zócalo/Metro panel discussion, Zócalo Public Square asks if cars are driving off into the sunset.

Long Beach will host its first ciclovía — CicLoBia? — on June 6th.

 

State

A 64-year old New York man is busted for stealing a bait bike in Palm Springs.

A 30-year old triathlete suffers a broken neck, back, leg and shoulder when she was rear-ended by a driver in Buellton; needless to say, the person surrounded by a couple tons of steel, seat belts and air bags was uninjured. Thanks to Jeffrey Fylling for the link.

Sometimes you just can’t win, as San Francisco police ticket bike riders failing to properly navigate a badly designed intersection.

Alameda will cut the ribbon on the Bay Area’s longest buffered bike lane on Saturday. Note to the Contra Costa Times: a buffered bikeway is not the same as a protected bike lane, which features some sort of physical barrier.

Mountain View’s proposed bike plan features 170 potential projects to improve safety.

 

National

Momentum Magazine remembers three early bike riding women who changed to course of history.

Bicycling looks at bikes built for heavier riders, while Men’s Journal discusses how to get the best deal on a road bike. Here’s a hint: develop a relationship with your local bike shop instead of your web browser.

Bike culture is thriving at Arizona State University.

A new biker bar opens in Austin TX; no, not that kind of biker. And Baltimore’s planned bicycle-themed café sounds a lot like our own Pedaler’s Fork.

The Washington Post accuses bike shop workers of joining a radical socialist union.

A North Carolina man plans to ride 15,000 miles alone on a tandem bike to visit 48 state capitals; his wife had dreamed of doing the trip with him before she died of breast cancer. Note to Cosmo: At last count, there were more than 48 state capitals.

Caught on video: A road raging Florida driver intentionally runs into a cyclist, then repeatedly punches and kicks him before driving away.

Speaking of Florida, a Fort Meyers paper offers up seven surprising things about bike crashes, including the fact that red light-running bike riders don’t cause most crashes, it’s drivers who fail to yield that do.

 

International

A Vancouver driving instructor decries the appearance of “hobby cyclists” as the weather warms up; transportation and recreational riders are okay, though.

Ottawa residents call for limiting the size and duration of public memorials such as ghost bikes.

A Montreal non-profit specializes in rebuilding vintage bikes.

British authorities have no idea if drivers who kill bike riders are being prosecuted fairly because they forgot to collect any data on the subject.

It takes a major jerk to steal a purse from an unconscious Brit bike rider. Or any other incapacitated victim, for that matter.

A UK researcher questions the fairness of doping cases, including why Lance received a lifetime ban from bike racing when Floyd Landis and all the others who confessed only got a six-month ban.

An Edinburgh driver avoids jail for seriously injuring a young bike rider; he was checking an address instead of watching the road.

The first African team in the Tour de France aims for a podium finish within the next five years.

Over 1,000 Aussie riders turn out in memory of a cyclist killed as a result of a dooring.

 

Finally…

Even an Aussie child can grasp the concept that cars are convenient, but dangerous; so why can’t most adults, here or there? An 18-year old Portland man busted for bike theft apparently dealt in purloined goats named Penelope, as well.

And cycling embrocation somehow becomes the hottest new winter fashion accessory.

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Don’t forget to turn your clocks ahead on Sunday. I’m turning mine to 2045, when LA’s 2010 bike plan is finally scheduled be completed.

And thanks to Margaret for her generous donation to help support this site.

 

Morning Links: Dismal turnout but bike friendly results, and a new video says safer streets can make a big difference

Once again, a handful of Angelenos decide the future of the city, as less than 9% of registered voters bothered to cast a ballot on Tuesday.

Nine percent.

With a dismal turnout like that, bike riders could rule this city. Except most of us stayed home, too.

However, it looks like it will be bike friendly Carlolyn Ramsay vs David Ryu in a runoff to replace Tom LaBonge in CD4. Third place Tomas O’Grady, who finished just 61 votes behind Ryu, could still sneak in after outstanding ballots are counted.

And incumbent Jose Huizar rolls to an easy victory over Gloria “Where will we all park?” Molina.

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A new video from Scotland’s Pedal on Parliament illustrates how investing in safe spaces for bicycling can bring big changes for everyone.

Although the doctor who said Katie’s stick-thin father needs to lose weight should go back to medical school.

Thanks to my favorite Scottish blogger and bike advocate for the heads-up.

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LA bike advocate, bikewear maker and bike blogger Richard Risemberg has released the e-book version of his first novel, The Dust Will Answer, described as an urban noir mystery. It’s available at Amazon and Smashwords; use the code PZ82G on Smashwords through March 28th to get a $1 discount.

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Local

Metro is expected to award a contract for LA’s long delayed bike share program in June, with the first bikes hitting the street a year later. Although for some reason, there won’t be any stations in Chinatown, the Fashion District or City West; no station on Skid Row makes a little more sense.

Just 2.8% of UCLA employees bike to the campus, a figure that could rise dramatically if they just had a safe way to get there.

Santa Monica’s California Incline connecting the city with PCH will close for one year for reconstruction beginning in April; the new ramp will include bike and pedestrian lanes for those willing to tackle the steep slope.

Helen’s Cycles host their monthly group ride for intermediate and advanced riders this Saturday.

The traditional Marathon Crash Ride looks like a go for Sunday, March 15th, though final approvals are still pending.

 

State

Streetsblog looks at bills affecting Livable Streets in the state legislature — including one stealth bill about bikeways.

The Oxnard Fire Department raises $34,000 to distribute new bike helmets to kids. That would be a far better approach than mandating them for adults, too.

Clearly, there’s more to this story than they’re telling us. Police investigate the case as an assault with a deadly weapon after a Porterville boy is struck by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike.

Palo Alto approves the first two segments of the city’s new bike and pedestrian plan. Don’t hold your breath, though; it will take 30 years to build out the 24 planned projects.

Cupertino moves to improve bike safety near schools by restricting trucks and requiring early morning trash pickup.

A compromise plan is finally reached to place protected bike lanes on San Francisco’s Polk Street, though not to everyone’s satisfaction.

 

National

No surprise here, as fear of being hit by a vehicle is the biggest obstacle keeping Americans off their bikes.

A bill in the Oregon legislature would require cyclists to wear a reflective coat or vest after dark.

A DC writer explains why some bicyclists ride outside of the city’s bike lanes, such as the risk of being turned into a toad. He said it, not me.

 

International

CNN looks at London’s bike superhighway proposals — practical and otherwise — calling bicycles an old technology with a very bright future.

A UK TV station says every moment spent on a bike is a judgment call. And the consequences can be catastrophic when someone gets it wrong.

 

Finally…

Let’s hope it’s just a bad translation, as a Dutch cyclist on a stolen bike drove off after hitting a baby and her money; no really, that’s what it says. Levi’s finally gets around to making bikewear for women.

And it has nothing to do with bicycling, but this Kickstarter project for a film about African American cowboys in Compton looks too cool for words.

 

Morning Links: Cycling in the South Bay makes me blush, and what you — and drivers — don’t know about bike law

The Corgi assures me she cast her vote for a bike-friendly candidate, thanks to the little-known Corgi Suffrage Act of 1979.

The Corgi assures me that she cast her vote for a bike-friendly candidate, thanks to the little-known Corgi Suffrage Act of 1979.

I’m blushing.

No, really.

I’m not one to toot my own horn. Especially since the only horn I know how to play is a tuba, and the neighbors would have a serious problem with that.

As would the Corgi, I’m sure.

Fortunately, Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson has done it for me, with a piece I intend to have engraved in full on my tombstone.

Which will require either incredibly small type, or a shitload or marble.

Seriously, thanks Seth.

He also offers up a great report on leading by bad example. Which I have done more than once.

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Good report from KPCC public radio on what drivers — and cyclists – don’t know about bike law, including a handy quiz to check your own knowledge.

Although I’d take the stats showing bike riders are at fault in most collisions with a big grain of salt, since determination of fault depends on the training and, too often, windshield biases of the investigators.

Few, if any, California police officers receive adequate training in investigating the unique properties of bicycle collisions, which differ greatly from motor vehicles. And not nearly enough officers have a working understanding of the actual rights and responsibilities of bike riders.

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Local

The LA Times offers their full obituary for the late, great Alex Baum, while KCET provides a detailed remembrance.

The CSULA paper looks at the benefits of bike riding for the school’s students.

Look out for road construction on southbound PCH between Busch and Trancas for the next two days, as they prepare to install a six-foot wide parking adjacent bike lane alongside the highway.

 

State

A Bay Area triathlete describes the effects a traumatic brain injury had on her life after a fall, apparently while walking or running. But oddly, she calls for cyclists to wear helmets instead of pedestrians.

A Marin County hiker was hospitalized after a trail rage confrontation with a mountain biker. Seriously, no matter how justified you may feel, don’t ever hit a 65-year old woman. Or anyone else, for that matter.

A story from the CSU Sacramento paper says people who ride a bike for 30 minutes score higher on memory and reasoning tests than those who don’t. But we knew that, right?

This is why you always carry ID, as Fairfield police attempt to identify a bike rider seriously injured in a collision; the victim remains unconscious in a trauma center.

A after joining a memorial ride for a cyclist killed by a distracted driver, Nevada County writer calls on drivers to try putting their cell phones in the glove box for the next 30 days. Great idea.

 

National

The Portland paper offers 10 tips on how to keep you bike from being stolen, and how to get it back if it is.

A Seattle writer questions whether bike advocacy is in decline in the city, especially since Seattle bike collisions are increasing.

A fat tire rider smashes the sled dog record for a 350-mile stretch of Alaska’s famed Iditarod trail. Of course, the warm weather that allows cyclists to ride fast also slows sled dogs down; my brother ended up with a cracked femur and wrenched shoulder trying to run his team on rocks one year.

Seriously? Even frigid Fargo gets bike share before the far more temperate City of Angels.

As if cars weren’t enough to worry about, an Allentown PA bar owner is on trial for allegedly walking out of his bar, then shooting and killing a random bicyclist riding a half block away.

A Hoboken man faces charges after being arrested for bike theft not once, not twice, but three times in the last nine months. Evidently, he’s both a prolific and crappy thief.

It shouldn’t take the death of a cyclist to call attention to a dangerous New Orleans intersection.

 

International

A Chilean mountain biker becomes the first professional athlete in her country to come out as gay. Clothes belong in closets, people don’t.

London’s mayor calls on bike riders to wave like a symphonic conductor to get drivers’ attention, which is far better than calling on motorists to actually pay attention.

An English firefighter testifies an angry driver buzzed him while he was riding to work, then got out of his car to yell at him, and buzzed him again, missing him by inches.

The UK extends their Think! Cycling safety campaign, despite evidence that it doesn’t seem to make any difference.

Newly retired pro cyclist Andy Schleck plans to open a bike shop in Luxembourg.

Sad news from Belgium, as a spectator is killed when a racer loses control of his bike in the wind; the victim was the wife of a former Tour de France stage winner.

An American professor working in the United Arab Emirates was killed while riding with a friend.

A Japanese man sues the maker of his folding mountain bike after the frame breaks, throwing him to the pavement and smashing his teeth. Let’s hope the $190 cost of the bike was used, not full retail.

 

Finally…

A Cincinnati TV station freaks out over the $50 each cost of bollards marking a parking protected bike lane, the concept behind which they don’t seem to get. A casual Aussie bicyclist feels threatened by cars, but can’t help ridiculing anyone who takes riding more seriously.

And a Bulgarian tourist decides to ride his bike into London from Heathrow on a major highway, causing much consternation since it evidently never occurred to anyone to try riding from the airport, let alone offer directions on how to do so.

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A prior commitment will keep me from attending today’s memorial service for Alex Baum, but he and his loved ones will be in my heart and prayers.

And someone please ask the mayor and LADOT when we’ll see the well-deserved public memorial for one of the truly great Angelenos?

Morning Links: Endorsing Ramsay and O’Grady in CD4; and a blind bike rider needs your help to regain his sight

Today is election day in LA, as well as several surrounding communities.

I’d planned to write about the candidates running for the seat Tom LaBonge is vacating in Monday’s post, until the untimely death of Alex Baum — and yes, even at 92, he left us far too soon — took precedence.

So let me just offer an endorsement of sorts for the two candidates I’d most like to see make it into a runoff.

But let’s be clear on one thing first. I’m basing my choice strictly on those who bothered to respond to the LACBC’s candidate survey and participate in the recent Liveable Streets candidate forum.

Simply put, if a candidate doesn’t care enough to ask for our support, he or she doesn’t deserve it.

Of the 14 candidates in the race, only six meet both criteria. And of those, I prefer Tomas O’Grady and Carolyn Ramsay, with Sheila Irani coming in a not-so-distant third.

Either of those two would make a great choice; ideally, both will survive to compete against one another for the seat in the June general election, ensuring bicyclists will have a strong voice to replace a very weak one from the district in City Hall.

Meanwhile, the Times endorses Irani, while the Daily News picks O’Grady and Teddy Davis. And the LA Weekly calls the race total toss-up; with 14 candidates, the top two may only need a few thousand votes each to advance to the runoff.

As for the races in other districts, I’ve previously announced my unqualified endorsement of incumbent Jose Huizar in CD14.

For other races in LA and surrounding communities, check out the Bike the Vote LA voter guide. And the Times offers the rest of their endorsements, which for the most part don’t take bikes into account.

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LA cyclist and nutritionist Matt Ruscigno sends word of a friend of his who is still struggling to recover, physically and financially, from a devastating 2008 bike wreck that left him blind and with no sense of taste or smell. Mike Vincent is looking for donations to help pay massive medical bills and recover his sight.

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Local

The Times addresses the death of Alex Baum, focusing primarily on his bike advocacy, while promising a more complete obituary to come. Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton offers a great remembrance of a great man.

Downtown building owners are offering free bike rentals to tenants.

A woman and her Schwinn were rescued from the LA River by Pasadena firefighters.

KCET looks at LA’s recent literary ride.

Traffic is only going to get worse in WeHo unless the city retools its streets for the future, including bike lanes.

CLR Effect mourns the ghost of a poorly maintained bike lane.

 

State

The California State Association of Counties endorses road diets; let’s hope our local electeds are paying attention.

That proposed bike helmet bill could put a damper on San Diego’s new bike share program.

Once again, Tour de Fat will bypass LA; the nearest stop is in San Diego. Seriously, they can have their damn football team if they’ll just give us Tour de Fat back.

A Fresno cyclist is in critical condition after being hit by a car Monday afternoon; the out-of-control driver continued on to crash into a garage.

A cyclist in San Mateo County is killed in an apparent solo crash.

A Stanford blogger relates what it’s like to be hit by a car. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

A San Francisco bike rider suffered life threatening injuries when he was hit by a car on Monday. Sheriffs deputies performed CPR for at least eight minutes until paramedics arrived; the victim was injured when the driver reportedly blew through a red light.

 

National

One third of all Americans over the age of three rode a bicycle last year; 57% of the 103.7 million US cyclists rode for recreation.

Hawaii police arrest one of their own for the on-duty hit-and-run crash that took the life of a Michigan bicyclist.

Once again, a bike rider saves the day, as an Alaska cyclist rescues a blind dog who had been lost for two weeks on -40 degree weather; he also turned the reward over to a local animal shelter.

Now that’s more like it, as a Casper WY man gets 12 to 16 years for the DUI death of a bike rider.

A 76-year old Texas man bikes 300 miles for Planned Parenthood.

It’s not that New York safety advocates want harsher penalties for killer drivers, as the NY Times says; it’s more like they want them to be charged at all.

No apology from a New York truck driver three years after the death of a cyclist. Then again, any good lawyer would tell his client not to apologize, as it could be seen as an admission of guilt.

 

International

The BBC profiles Britain’s Beryl Burton, arguably the country’s greatest female cyclist.

Sad to see racial animosity rear its ugly head in South African cycling, although I have no idea what it was that the country’s first international pro cyclist was called.

Aussie authorities reject calls to increase penalties for dooring in the wake of a cyclist killed after he was knocked into the path of a truck, while a writer calls for giving bicyclists greater rights on some roads.

A Brisbane man is fed up with rude bike riders after one leaves him lying injured on a pathway. Seriously, there’s no more excuse for a hit-and-run cyclist than there is for a hit-and-run driver.

A Vietnamese motorbike rider is killed escorting a women’s international bike race.

 

Finally…

Ford introduces two new e-bike prototypes that do not look like anything I would want to ride. I wonder if coating your bike in reflective sign paint would meet the state requirement for reflectors in all directions?

And repeat after me: If you’re carrying two meth pipes and a stolen credit card on the $2000 bike you allegedly stole, don’t hang out in front of a cop shop.

 

A giant falls — Alex Baum, the father of modern LA bicycling, dies at age 92

Alex Baum in 2006; photo from the Jewish Journal

Alex Baum in 2006; photo from the Jewish Journal

The first time I attended a meeting of the Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee, I sat silently in the auditorium at the old Parker Center, where the BAC used to meet.

Afterwards, a small man approached me unsteadily, trembling with age, but without hesitation. And asked why I was there.

It wasn’t a challenge, as the phrase so often is.

It was an offer to help with whatever problems had led me to attend.

When I explained I just there to observe the committee, he invited me to come back again. And said to to let him know if there was anything they could help me with.

Then he turned and walked away on those unsteady legs.

And with that, I had just met Alex Baum. The founder of the BAC and the father of modern bike advocacy in the City of Angels, who passed away early Sunday at the age of 92.

That alone would be enough of a resume to cement anyone’s legacy. But for Baum, it’s little more than a footnote in a truly extraordinary life.

A native of German-speaking Lorraine, France, he was in his late teens when the Nazis overran the country. Rather than flee, the young Jewish man chose to fight, joining the French resistance along with his brother.

An article in the Jewish Journal quotes him as saying “We fought the Germans any possible way we could.”

Captured while attempting to guide an English pilot to safety, Baum somehow managed to hide his heritage, and spent the next two-and-a-half years as a political prisoner in Nazi concentration camps.

According to the LADOT Bike Blog, he spent his time in confinement building — and sabotaging — the V2 rockets Hitler lobbed across the English Channel.

After the war, he rebounded to play soccer, first for the French national team, then as a center-forward for a Chicago semipro team before moving to Los Angeles in 1960 and establishing a successful business.

Yet it’s his lifelong love of bicycling that led him to leave a lasting footprint on the city, and on the sport itself at the highest levels.

In fact, it’s Alex Baum who should be credited with the rise of women’s bike racing, which this year will see professional races at the Tour de France and Spain’s Vuelta a España, as well as four days of racing at the Amgen Tour of California.

Because he was the one who ticked the box that brought women’s road racing to the Olympic Games, with an inaugural race at the ’84 Olympics that saw Americans Connie Carpenter and Rebecca Twigg take gold and silver, respectively. And let girls around the world know they could compete at the highest levels.

In fact, he was instrumental in bringing the games to LA, after serving first as a board member of the United States Cycling Federation — which would later be rebranded as USA Cycling — then later as the first American appointed to the Union Cycliste International, the governing body for international bike racing.

That alone should have been enough for anyone.

But for Baum, it was just a start.

He also gets credit for building velodromes in Encino and Dominguez Hills, and at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. And he was influential in the birth of the Tour of California, according to the LADOT site.

It was also Alex Baum who first approached then-Mayor Tom Bradley about forming a city committee to serve the interests of bicyclists and improve the streets for everyone on two wheels, serving as chairman of the BAC for over 30 years under four successive mayors. And continuing as chairman emeritus of the committee right up to his death.

As leader of the BAC, he can be credited with helping in the development of the 1996 and 2010 bike plans, and leading in the creation of the LA River Bike Path. As well as working towards completion of the path all the way from LA to Long Beach.

In other words, if you ride a bike anywhere in Los Angeles, you owe Baum a round of thanks.

Despite the obvious effects of age, it almost seemed like he’d be here forever, guiding the city forward to a more bike friendly future.

And maybe he will be.

Because his influence will live on right here on the streets of LA as long as any of us ride them.

Word of his death came Sunday afternoon in an email from his longtime friend and associate, LADOT Senior Bicycle Coordinator Michelle Mowery, who said he passed away surrounded by family early that morning.

In some ways, though, we are all his family. And he will be long missed by a city that he changed for the better, yet one that barely knew him.

According to Mowery, his memorial will be held at 1:30 pm this Wednesday at Santa Monica Synagogue at 18th and Broadway. If you plan to attend, you’re asked to RSVP to his daughter at dgardnersm @ aol.com.

Personally, I’d like to see LA’s current mayor and the BAC Baum served for so many years host a public memorial at the bicycle bridge named for him over Los Feliz Blvd.

It would be a fitting chance to say goodbye to one of the true giants of our city, and our time.

Update: David Wolfberg has written a wonderful remembrance of Alex Baum on the BAC’s Facebook page, adding much detail to his time in the French resistance, as well as with the Olympics and LA bike advocacy. It’s definitely worth reading. 

My prayers and deepest sympathy for Alex Baum and all his loved ones.

Thanks to the Jewish Journal and LADOT Bike Blog, whose profiles provided the basis for this piece.

Weekend Links: Better safety means more riders or vice versa, caught on video 3x, and a hit-and-run AZ cyclist

A new report raises kind of a chicken and egg question, finding cycling is safer in nations with the most people on bikes.

So is it safer because more people ride or do more people ride because it’s safer?

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Caught on video:

After a San Francisco cyclist slaps the back of a minivan when he gets cut off, the driver gets out and goes ballistic. With his kid in the car, no less.

Chilling security cam video catches an Australian rider getting doored seconds before he’s killed by a passing truck.

And pro cyclist Peter Sagan pulls yet another bike trick by playing bicycle golf with a teammate.

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I think most of us would agree that hit-and-run drivers are heartless assholes.

So what does that make hit-and-run bike riders like the Arizona cyclist who left an 81-year old man fighting for his life?

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Local

Better Bike questions whether the Biking Black Hole will ever update the 1977 Beverly Hills bike master plan, the one that called for routing bike riders through the city’s downtown alleys.

The very busy and prolific CiclaValley reports on the recent San Fernando Valley Transit Summit.

A Malibu entrepreneur with Asbergers raises $3.6 million on Indiegogo to build a more affordable e-bike.

It looks like Harrison Ford is one of us. And he flies a pretty nifty plane, too.

 

State

A coalition of advocacy groups calls for California to nearly double funding for active transportation.

Retired pro Jens Voigt has been selected as ambassador for this year’s Amgen Tour of California.

A survey asks if Santa Ana cyclists feel invisible while riding in the city. The correct answer is probably yes.

A Fresno bike rider is lucky to escape with minor injuries after he’s rear-ended when a pickup driver took his eyes off the road for an undisclosed reason.

San Francisco police shoot and kill a bike thief who was using a knife to jack a rider’s ride.

A Marin Eagle Scout’s plan to put out emergency supplies for mountain bikers comes under attack from conservationists, evidently because patching a flat is worse for the environment than walking your bike out.

A Sausalito bike thief armed with a remote steals a $15,000 Cervelo from inside a parked car.

Someone should give him a time out. A Vacaville editor says cyclists who oppose California’s proposed mandatory helmet law are acting like children and should be treated that way.

 

National

Sports Illustrated discovers America’s first black world champion and one of the greatest bike racers of all time.

Bike riders report more errors on Google Maps than anyone else. Maybe because Google makes more mistakes routing riders.

The Apple watch isn’t even out yet, and already there’s a handlebar mount for it.

A Seattle cyclist reclaims his stolen bike after spotting it for sale online.

A Provo UT writer gets it, explaining why car lovers should embrace the city’s coming bike lanes.

A Chicago advice columnist applauds a woman for threatening to divorce her husband for not wearing a bike helmet if he ever gets hurt.

Minneapolis will get ten new protected bike lanes this year, which is nine or ten more than LA has, depending on your definition of protected.

A St. Petersburg writer says if you don’t want your bike stolen, don’t be like her.

 

International

Cycling Weekly offers up 13 things your friends don’t understand about cycling; actually, they really mean pro bike racing.

That supposedly unstealable bike developed by Chilean college students goes from concept to Indiegogo campaign this week.

Despite the bike boom, Brit riders are still disproportionately young and male, maybe in part because London cyclists aren’t getting the separated bike lanes they were promised. Then again, who is?

Israel opens a 186 mile mountain bike path through the southern part of the country.

 

Finally…

This is not the proper use of a bicycle wheel, as a reckless driver in the Netherlands jumps out and uses one to beat the pedestrian he nearly ran over. Proof that crime doesn’t pay —  a Brit bike thief is fined £1,800 for making off with the titanium mountain bike he sold for just £20.

And evidently, they have bike riding dogs in Santa Cruz. But they don’t seem to be any safer on the streets than the rest of us.

 

Weekend Links: Own your own bicycle coffee café, slower driving works in Scotland, and WeHo candidate surveys

Ever want to just chuck your damn job and become self-unemployed self-employed like me?

Now you can become a bike-born coffee entrepreneur with your very own Wheelys.

No, not those kid’s shoes with a wheel in the heel.

But a full service café on wheels that folds out in just minutes to put you in the business of serving caffeine aficionados anywhere you can pedal. And it folds back down to store in the shipping container it came in, which doubles as a garage.

Think of it as your very own food truck. Without the truck.

Better yet, at just $3450, it costs less than a lot of road bikes. And less than 1% of the cost of opening your own Starbucks.

For that price, an enterprising cyclist could park one along PCH, and make enough to retire just from the riders who pass by.

Heck, I even want one.

If only to make sure I’ll have fresh coffee and Danish on my next ride.

Wheelys graphic

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As slower traffic speeds spread through Scotland, attitudes that bicycling is unsafe are changing, and more children are riding to school — jumping from 3% to 22% among older children in Edinburgh.

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Harelbeke posterThat ridiculous E3 Harelbeke poster has been banned.

As much as I hate censorship, this isn’t the way to promote bike riding to women. Or anyone but than teenage boys, for that matter.

Then again, it’s nothing new for the folks at Harelbeke.

………

The West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition has received candidate surveys from 10 of the 12 candidates for the city’s three at-large seats in next week’s city council election.

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Still more bike events coming up this weekend and beyond.

Los Angeles Magazine recommends Saturday’s Chinatown Firecracker Run/Walk & Bike Ride, as does commenter Brian Nilsen.

Culver City Walk and Rollers will host a Family Fun Ride and Smart Gardening Workshop on Saturday.

UCLA’s Fowler Museum invites you to celebrate all things bicycle at the Bike Day Family Festival this Sunday.

The Santa Monica Bike Center is hosting a women-only Ladies Bike Ride for International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 8th.

Zócalo and Metro host a discussion on whether Car Culture is Dead on Wednesday, March 11th at MOCA. We don’t actually have to kill car culture, just tame it.

………

Local

Streetsblog asks what DTLA needs to do to get ready for bike share.

Tori Spelling teaches her unicorn-helmeted daughter how to ride a bike.

That gargantuan six-way Los Feliz mess where Hollywood Blvd, Hillhurst Ave, Sunset Blvd and Virgil Ave connect remains a challenge for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

 

State

Maybe it really is a new era at Caltrans, as the notoriously auto-centric state transportation agency releases an annual report focusing on non-motorized travel. Although, as Streetsblog’s Melanie Curry points out, calling bicycling and walking non-motorized transportation is “like calling women nonmen.”

More confirmation of a change in attitude at the agency, as the Adventure Cycling Association looks at Caltrans’ agreement to allow bike tourists to legally ride through the high desert, completing the Bike Route 66 through the state. The ACA thanks Calbike and CABO, among others, for their help in finding a solution.

The San Diego Untion-Tribune says California’s proposed mandatory helmet law doesn’t make sense on the boardwalk, while BikeSD spells out the reasons a helmet law doesn’t make sense. And Pedal Love says requiring helmets is a step in the wrong direction; better to remember it’s another person out there, whether on a bike or behind the wheel.

A Sacramento bike shop doubles as a pedal-powered delivery service for farm-to-table restaurants.

A new city report says San Francisco is dangerous but not deadly for bike riders.

 

National

A trucking website suggests bikes could be the next wave in cargo hauling.

Clean Technica says the US has built as many protected bike lanes in the last two years as it had in the previous 140 years. But what exactly did bikes have to be protected from in 1875, except maybe outraged equestrians?

Maybe the LAPD should follow Portland’s lead and establish a bike theft task force.

A Colorado House committee votes to encourage dangerous driving by banning red light and speed cameras over the objections of law enforcement agencies.

Kentucky’s best known liability lawyer is back at work after a near-fatal bicycling collision; the driver played the universal Get Out of Jail Free card by saying he was blinded by the sun.

A Boston doctor says bicycling can help provide relief from migraine symptoms. Having blown chunks home more than once trying to make it back home home after developing one while riding, I can truthfully say it didn’t help me.

Credit fellow bike blogger the Witch on a Bicycle for pointing out a New York site that keeps track of cops who park in bike lanes, including here in LA.

Parking wins out over bike lanes in Princeton NJ.

 

International

Saskatoon gets its first protected bike lane this spring.

London introduces bike-friendly construction trucks loaded with safety features in an attempt to reduce bike fatalities, while a UK cyclist argues it’s safer to jump red lights, even if the cops ticket you for it.

A British woman posts a public sign demanding the return of her stolen bike.

Caught on video: A Brit bike rider jumps a railroad barricade as a train bears down on him.

A Chinese man set out on a bike ride in 1997 to explore different cultures. And he’s been cycling around the world ever since.

 

Finally…

Here’s your chance to be a star, as a British TV show is looking for a “speed freak” bicyclist to travel the world competing in local racing events, including Mongolian yak racing. You could own your very own Transformer as Ford patents plans for a car that reassembles into a bicycle.

And LA’s notorious bike thieves take it too damn far by snatching one of those new bicycle-shaped Echo Park bike racks.

I wonder if they realize it’s not really a bike.

………

Not only was Leonard Nimoy one of us, but William Shatner stole his bike.

 

Morning Links: Bike helmets alone don’t prevent injuries, scofflaw cops in bike lanes, and upcoming bike events

Someone please forward this to state Senator Carol Liu, author of SB 192 that would mandate helmet use by all bicycle riders.

A new medical study concludes that bike helmets alone can’t prevent serious bicycling injuries, and the solution may lie in separating cyclists from motor vehicles.

Because just trying to tame traffic and get motorists to drive safely would never work.

………

Great piece on risk communcation from Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious, who says yes, bicycling may be dangerous, but no more than driving. And so is walking, bathing and shopping.

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CiclaValley discovers scofflaw cops parking in downtown bike lanes, forcing riders to protect and swerve.

He said it, not me.

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Lots of great bike events coming up.

The South Bay Bicycle Coalition is hosting their first fundraising event this Saturday, with the South Bay Bike Night and Bike City Awards, honoring Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach and Lawndale for their efforts to become safer and friendlier for bike riders. The proceeds will be used will be used to pay for the SBBC’s bike helmets for kids program,  bike education classes for elementary school students and adults, and advocacy for safe biking practices, infrastructure and enforcement.

More on this weekend’s bike and hike-a-thon to raise funds to provide orphans throughout Africa with bikes; the charity was founded by a La Canada high school student.

Don’t forget this Sunday’s Pastrami Ride, which sounds like the tastiest LACBC Sunday Funday ride yet.

Mark your calendar for March 14th, when the LACBC will host a two-hour women-only bike safety workshop.

San Diego’s St. Paddy’s Palomar Punishment, billed as the city’s most fun cycling event, rolls on March 7th to benefit the San Diego Humane Society, with rides from 10 to 97 miles.

Looking further ahead, Good Samaritan Hospital’s annual non-sectarian Blessing of the Bicycles will be held on Tuesday, May 12th as part of Bike Week/Month. Because a little divine intervention couldn’t hurt.

………

Local

Streetsblog reports the highlights from Monday’s Live Ride Share Conference to discuss shared mobility, including bike share.

Richard Risemberg says nobody bikes in LA. Except for all the people who do.

LA Magazine is waiting impatiently for the MyFigueroa project, noting the much-needed changes can’t come soon enough.

Good news for PCH riders, as the highway is expected to reopen this week after a nine-mile section was closed down to repair storm damage.

KCBS-2 reports on last Sunday’s Milt Olin ride.

Long Beach officials hosted the LACBC’s Operation Firefly bike light giveaway Tuesday night.

 

State

For once, bike lanes win out over parking, as the Vista city council votes to remove parking spaces on Civic Center Drive to make room for bikes. Motorists are undoubtedly getting out the torches and pitchforks as we speak.

Carlsbad police are looking for witnesses to a Valentines Day hit-and-run that left a bike rider injured.

Bad news from Oakland, as a 60-year old bike rider is killed in a collision with a pickup truck.

Oakland bike riders get secure bike parking at the new Bike Station; parking your bike will be free during the day and just $5 overnight.

San Francisco considers closing down streets in popular entertainment districts on weekends, something that should be seriously explored here.

 

National

The Friendship Circle’s Great Bike Giveaway will provide bicycles for hundreds of special needs kids.

Denver considers a two-way protected bike lane on one of the city’s busiest streets.

Evidently ignorance is bliss, as Wyoming legislators vote not to collect data on bicycle safety or explore building a statewide bikeway.

Iowa considers changing the law to require a rear-facing light on bikes after dark, rather than allowing reflectors; that’s also under consideration here in California.

An Indiana cycling instructor calls for ticketing irresponsible bike riders, while acknowledging that cyclists are much less likely to cause harm than motorists.

A Cincinnati letter writer says let’s develop a network of bike paths for recreational riders, but keep those crazy transportation cyclists off the damn roads, already.

A Baltimore bicyclist clearly explains the vigilance cyclists have to maintain, and what it’s like to share the road with motorists.

 

International

Bike Radar offers up five reasons mountain bikers should try skinny tired bikes.

London authorities list the city’s most dangerous intersections for cyclists, as the city sets aside the equivalent of $140 million to re-envision bicycling in the suburbs.

Judging by these letter writers, bicycling in Ireland isn’t any better than it is here.

Good problem to have, as Amsterdam plans an underwater bike parking garage because they’re running out of spaces for bikes.

Unbelievable. A New Zealand cyclist may have died because a truck company placed advertising on the passenger side window of their vehicles.

Thai cyclists demand changes in the country’s laws to protect people on bikes.

 

Finally…

Okay, so it’s got three wheels, but you could hit 100 mph with this pedal powered electric-assist car. Speaking of assists, if your bike doesn’t fly, just add a few fans.

And this is so not the way to promote a bike race to women. Or anyone, for that matter.

 

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