Tag Archive for bike commuting

Morning Links: Bike commuting Op-Ed video from LA Times, and another attack on bikes and urban planning

Sometimes it’s better just to show what bike commuting is really like, rather than try to explain.

That’s what LA Times reporter Matthew Fleischer did Monday, accompanying an Op-Ed with 360° video of his three-mile commute to work at the paper.

Come join me on my morning bike commute. Ride three miles in my shoes. Maybe you’ll be outraged enough by what you see to write your city councilperson, demanding safer streets. Maybe you’ll decide cycling in L.A. isn’t so bad after all and go for a ride. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll decide not to froth at the mouth in protest when road safety improvements to keep cyclists safe add a couple of minutes to your morning commute.

If nothing else, you’ll get to see what it looks like from the other side when you honk your horn as you blow past a cyclist who momentarily inconveniences you — and, I hope, decide never to do that again.

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One of LA’s most questionable urban planning writers is at it again.

In his latest post for City Watch, Richard Lee Abrams a) confuses light rail with trolleys, b) blames bike lanes, not all those people in single occupancy vehicles, for all that traffic congestion, and c) says the quote below proves the city has an anti-car policy, when it does nothing of the sort.

Bicycles are such a slow means of locomotion that they impede faster vehicles. As a result, bicycles cause increased traffic congestion. The City admits that its policy of adding Bike Lanes to city streets is a part of an anti-car policy. Director of Planning, Vince Bertoni stated in a July 13, 2017 LA Magazine interview:

“…[We want streets that don’t] just revolve around the automobile. We’re looking at what it’s like to walk, bicycle, even skateboard down these streets and all the other ways we’ll get around. We’re going to be putting in wider sidewalks, trees, bicycle lanes that people feel protected in.”  

That’s before blaming corruption for LA’s Transit Oriented Development policies, and prescribing solutions to LA traffic that would only make the problem worse and degrade the quality of life he claims to be trying to save.

And after claiming Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti could face criminal prosecution for placing bike lanes on busy streets where children would be exposed to pollution from passing cars.

Never mind that, despite presenting himself as a Los Angeles attorney, he does not appear to be a member of the California Bar Association, and a Google search does not show a practicing attorney by that name in Los Angeles.

Though it does turn up some of the lengthy public comments he’s submitted.

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The head of Team Sky took advantage of Monday’s rest day in the Tour de France to launch an attack on a writer for Cyclingnews; Sir Dave Brailsford disinvited him from an interview session with Chris Froome because he’d been “writing shit” about Brailsford.

Peter Sagan echoes the sentiments of most cycling fans, saying booting him out of the Tour was a mistake. Nairo Quintana defends his Movistar team after his father trashed it in the press.

An Irish writer says cycling has been vilified for doping, but other sports haven’t faced the same scrutiny — especially since the doctor in Spain’s Operation Puerto doping scandal also had clients in soccer, athletics, tennis and boxing, none of whom have been named.

The Bahrain Merida cycling team competing in the Tour is accused of being part of an effort by Bahrain’s ruling family to whitewash a history of torture and human rights abuses.

And a young Dutch cyclist shows that crossing the finish line first isn’t always the most important thing.

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Local

The Venice Neighborhood Council will consider a motion at tonight’s meeting to host a town hall with Councilmember Mike Bonin, where he’s sure to get an earful from the anti-bike lane/lane reduction contingent.

CiclaValley looks forward to this Thursday’s Draft Meetup at Pure Cycles in Burbank.

 

State

Orange County has evicted a number of homeless people from a nearly half-mile long section of the Santa Ana riverbed near the Honda Center, following complaints from bicyclists and hikers along the Santa Ana River trail. But apparently only managed to move them onto the trail, instead.

An Ocean Beach man writes an open letter to the thief who stole his bicycle but didn’t ruin his day.

Despite earlier reports that he might not be charged, a member of a prominent Kern County farming family was pled not guilty to felony hit-and-run and DUI charges for the January death of a rider. His lawyer claimed the empty vodka bottle found in his back seat just happened to fall out of a box or backpack.

San Francisco celebrated their equivalent of a CicLAvia in the Mission District on Sunday.

Cal Berkeley’s Daily Californian complains that Ford’s Bay Area goBike doesn’t serve underserved communities in Oakland, while one underserved community in San Francisco says they don’t want to be served.

In a preview of what US cities have to look forward to with dockless bikeshare, the Google Bikes the company provides for the free use of its employees are ending up unceremoniously dumped in a Mountain View creek.

A Santa Rosa man is under arrest for teeing-off with a golf club on a man riding a bicycle, knocking the victim into the windshield of a parked car, following an argument between the two men.

 

National

Studies show bicycling is a social affair for many Latinos.

It’s not often that bike advocates find themselves on the same side as the anti-tax wing of the GOP, but that’s the case in Oregon where the governor is expected to sign a $5.3 billion budget that incudes a $15 excise tax on new bicycles over $200. Thanks to Ed Ryder for the heads-up.

A seven-year old boy completed a 203-mile, two-day ride from Seattle to Portland, and still sped up when a group of riders tried to pass him after 170 miles.

Boise police are looking for a bike rider who ripped off the side mirror of a car, causing $1,000 damage to the vehicle. Needless to say, the driver disavows any knowledge of what he could have possibly done to make the rider so angry. We’ve said it before — no matter what a driver might do, violence is never the answer. It only makes things worse in the long run.

Plastic dividers have gone up to separate a three-mile long section of bike lane from motor vehicle traffic on the popular South Padre Island vacation resort in Texas, after a woman was killed and four other bicyclists injured by an alleged DUI hit-and-run driver.

Bicycling crashes have dropped dramatically in Austin TX following construction of new bikeways in 2014.

NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson rides with Detroit’s famed Slow Roll crew.

Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo is one of us, riding a Lousiville KY bikeshare bike on stage to finish out their set at the end of a three-day music festival.

A Vermont psychotherapist and bike advocate wants to cure the world of “automobilism” through bicycling and “automobile reduction therapy.”

 

International

A new Canadian study shows bicycling is the least stressful way to commute to work.

The driver who hit a red light-running Ottawa bike rider in the dash cam video we linked to yesterday says he’s still shook up by the crash; the rider was ticketed for running a red light.

Caught on video: A British driver has been fined the equivalent of $196 after speeding up to crash into a bicyclist, because police say they can’t prove who was behind the wheel of the rental car.

An English town councilor wants to separate bike lanes with pink armadillos he designed himself. Which should be enough to convince any number of drivers it’s time to quit drinking.

 

Finally…

This is why you want to be careful riding around storm grates. Who says you can’t carry a big load on a bike?

And don’t wear underwear under your spandex.

Or over it, for that matter.

 

Morning Links: Bike commute rates in LA area, Bike the Vote endorses Bray-Ali, and LACBC’s take on Vision Zero

Today is the last day for local bike shops and other small businesses in the bike industry to get deep discounts on our usual advertising rates. For more information, or to find out if your business qualifies, email the address on the Support and Advertising page.

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So much of the oft-cited figure that one percent of Angelenos commute by bicycle.

Instead, it clearly depends on where you are.

Bike wonk Dennis Hindman took a deep dive into the latest ACS data released by the Census Bureau last December to examine bike commuting by LA-area zip code.

What he discovered was that the rate of bike commuters ranged from a whopping 10% for DTLA and 9% for the USC area, to a lowly .8% for Wilmington. Meanwhile, bike-friendly Santa Monica checks in at 3.8%, while Culver City comes in at a surprising 2.2%.

He also notes that the heaviest rates of bike commuting follow the route of the Expo Line, which had a wait list for bike lockers a week after the new extension to Santa Monica opened.

And which once again demonstrates the need for safe bike lane connections to the Expo Line, especially on Westwood Blvd leading to the UCLA campus.

You can see his full examination of bike commuters per zip code here.

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To the shock of no one, Bike the Vote LA has endorsed community advocate and former bike shop owner Josef Bray-Ali for LA’s 1st council district over anti-bike incumbent and professional politician Gil Cedillo.

The only surprise is that a second candidate in the race, Giovany Hernandez, offered some very good responses to their candidate survey, while Jesse Rosas did not.

Meanwhile, incumbent Cedillo evidently decided it was more prudent to simply not respond to the survey, rather than lie about his support for bike lanes like he did last time around.

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The LACBC released their response to LA’s new Vision Zero Action Plan, saying while it’s a positive development, it “lacks a clear vision for making the streets safer for people who ride bicycles.”

The coalition also has concerns about the city’s commitment to unbiased policing and equity when it comes to enforcing traffic laws.

You can read their full response here.

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Apparently unhappy with being cut off by someone who actually belonged there while riding illegally in a San Francisco bike lane, a motorcyclist attempts to intimidate a bicyclist. And discovers he should work on his own riding skills first.

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More on the 60 Minutes motor doping report. Team Sky stands accused of having heavier bikes than normal during Tour de France time trials, which could be evidence of hidden motors. Or not.

A British sprinter won a race in Mallorca on Sunday, but was unable to avoid a photographer at the finish line who refused to get out of the way.

A Cat 3 rider in a Santa Barbara road race was lucky to avoid serious injury when he flipped over a retaining wall, and had to hang on for dear life to keep from slipping down a 30-foot drop; his bike was not so lucky. Thanks to CiclaValley for the video.

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Local

The new Riverside Drive Bridge officially opened today, with a protected bike lane offering a vital connection to the LA River bike path, as well as the city’s first modern roundabout. However, not everyone approves, particularly regarding the lost opportunity to use the old bridge as a High Line-style park.

The LAPD is looking for a Los Angeles man who allegedly stabbed a Sylmar man to death before fleeing on a bicycle.

Construction finally kicks off on the long-awaited My Figueroa project, with work starting on 11th Street next month, and moving to Figueroa itself in March.

No, this is not recommended bike behavior. A homeless man on a bicycle attacked a car with a machete at a Pasadena intersection. Seriously, there’s been times I’ve wanted to, but still. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from Boyonabike, who got a hearty “eff you, asshole” from the driver who gave him a dangerous punishment pass, telling him he belonged on the side of the road.

Nice move from Cal State Long Beach’s Physical Therapy Student Club, as they gave new adaptive tricycles to 14 special needs kids.

 

State

Anaheim is looking to add nine acres to the Anaheim Coves, including a new mile-long bike path.

The 62-year old victim of a Simi Valley hit-and-run last month remains bedridden following a coma, numerous injuries and three weeks in intensive care, but is gradually becoming more aware of her surroundings; the stoned driver faces felony DUI and hit-and-run charges.

The editor of San Francisco Streetsblog decides to take his own advice and put a camera on his bike.

Oakland’s parking-protected Telegraph Avenue bike lanes are a success, reducing speeding and cutting crashes overall crashes by 40% in the first year, even though bicycling is up 78% and walking has doubled.

A NorCal cyclist climbed one million feet in total elevation last year, according to his Strava records.

 

National

Wired discusses how to not screw up Trump’s proposed $1 trillion in infrastructure spending. But doesn’t even mention bikeways until the last paragraph.

Bicycling offers advice on how to survive group ride mishaps.

A Boston bike rider says winter bicycling in like boiling a frog; if you ease into it slowly, you don’t notice how cold and wet you are until you’re in the middle of it.

Talk about a lack of perspective. An investigative story by a New York TV station reports that at least 2,330 Manhattan parking spaces have been taken away to make room for bike lanes and bikeshare stations. Except New York added nearly 10,000 spaces from 2006 to 2010, for a net gain — not loss — of over 7,000 spaces. And that’s just a fraction of the 3.4 to 4.4 million on-street parking spaces in the city.

A Philadelphia bike advocate makes the case against mandatory helmet laws.

A bike-riding Florida man faces kidnapping charges after demanding that a mother hand over her toddler.

 

International

Canada considers a National Cycling Strategy that would fund a nationwide expansion of bicycling infrastructure and support the bike industry, although not everyone seems happy about it.

Caught on video: A Brit teen driver on a five hour reckless driving rampage slams into a man on a bicycle, flipping him over the car. Fortunately, the victim recovered from his injuries, while the driver got a well-deserved five years behind bars and an eight and a half year ban on driving. Warning, the video is very difficult to watch.

Not surprisingly, a new German study says people are more accepting of bicycling under the influence than drunk driving.

A Canadian newspaper says bicycling through Cambodia offers an experience like no other.

Bike Shop Hub offers a fascinating history of how the bicycle won the Vietnam war.

 

Finally…

Bad enough we have to deal with LA drivers, at least we don’t have to worry about a ‘roo to the head; then again, we don’t have to worry about loose bulls on a bike path, either. Really, who doesn’t go for a bike ride carrying brass knuckles, bolt cutters, syringes and yes, bear spray?

And Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch goes for a Skittles bike ride in the other Houston. The one in Scotland.

Morning Links: New blog considers how to bike commute with kids; LA takes over planned bike/ped/horse bridge

At virtually every public meeting regarding bicycles, someone will inevitably complain that they couldn’t possibly ride a bicycle because they have kids who need to get to school and soccer practice.

Never mind that there are people who somehow manage that seemingly impossible task every day.

Which is why a new blog by LA bike rider Terrence Heuston is so important.

Here’s how he explained it in a recent email.

An article in The Guardian that illustrated how Amsterdam became a cycling mecca due to the advocacy of moms, convinced me that we need L.A. moms on our side.  When a NIMBY stands in front of a city councilman and rails against bike lanes, the NIMBY and often the councilman picture a bike messenger on a fixie running a red light.  To win the battle for safer streets we need to change that image to parents with kids on bikes.  Since I am one of the few people in the city who regularly bikes for transportation with a kid, I came to the conclusion that I needed to start a blog that parents can use as a resource to start biking with their families in LA.

It is part lifestyle mag, travel blog, and “how to” guide.  I’ve also tried to use my very limited writing “skills” to instill some humor into the posts for some sugar to help the medicine go down.  The blog also subtly refutes the argument that young men can bike, but parents need cars.  On the contrary, raising a kid on a bike is better in every way.

Having bike commuted thousands of miles through LA traffic by bombing down the most direct arterial and taking the lane when necessary, I can promise you that navigating the city with your kid on a bike requires a completely different style of riding.  On my blog, I map out my family friendly routes and give turn by turn directions to help parents dip their toe in the water.

You can check it out at labikedad.com, along with recent post on how to bike commute from Silver Lake to DTLA with two kids.

And check out his deceptively simple set-up for carrying two young kids on a single bike.

LA Bike Dad

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Los Angeles will take over planning and construction of a planned bike, pedestrian and equestrian bridge over the LA River connecting Atwater Village with Griffith Park.

However, the city plans to re-evaluate the cost and design of the project, which could further delay or complicate, if not kill, the project.

Meanwhile the horse people are already raising questions about the long-settled design. So how long before they try to get bikes banned, like they did in Glendale?

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The LA Times looks at keirin, calling it NASCAR on two wheels. Although I prefer to think of it as bicycle roller derby.

The Wall Street Journal examines how Great Britain became a powerhouse in cycling at the Olympic Games; a ban on bikini waxes and adjusting saddle angles didn’t hurt.

A US Paralympian cyclist has a new arm cast allowing him to grip the handlebars, custom made by fellow teammate and two-time gold medalist Allison Jones.

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Local

LA Councilmember Felipe Fuentes will abandon his San Fernando Valley district for a presumably high-paying gig as Sacramento lobbyist, leaving his district unrepresented in the council and starting a mad scrum to replace him. Nothing shows a lack of integrity like just walking away from the people you were elected to serve before the term is up.

Streetsblog offers photos from Sunday’s Wilshire Blvd CicLAvia, and asks for your thoughts.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson relates the cost of shaving a few seconds off your racing time to ensuring children have food in their bellies, eyeglasses for school, and computers to do their homework.

 

State

Registration for Calbike’s California Dream Ride down the Pacific Coast is half priced this week.

The city of Orange is about to lose its popular BMX track, which is being shut down because the nearby YMCA keeps jacking up the rent.

The Ventura County Star says the safety of children walking, biking and being driven to school is more important than whatever delay drivers may face on the road.

San Francisco police raid a bike chop shop, arresting a man who claims he just does repair work for poor people.

Turns out the San Fran columnist who called for registering bikes and licensing their riders is a candidate for city supervisor, who undoubtedly lost a lot of votes. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition asks if joy should require a license, while British bike scribe Carlton Reid responds by shooting holes in his arguments with examples from around the world.

 

National

The Feds have stopped claiming bike helmets reduce the risk of head injury up to 85%, yet that stat continues to pop up long after being discredited. I always wear a helmet when I ride. But bike helmets should be considered the last line of defense when all else has failed, not some magic hat that makes you imperious to injury.

A former president of the International Mountain Bicycling Association calls proposed legislation to open wilderness trails to mountain bikes a sham, saying backers have been duped by a false promise. Needless to say, the president of the coalition backing the bill begs to differ, suggesting it will boost conservation as well as bike sales.

A Colorado triathlete says the woman killed competing in the Boulder Ironman race didn’t have to die, blaming organizers for forcing cyclists to ride on a damaged road shoulder 12 inches from cars doing 60 mph.

Sad news from Nebraska, as a woman cleaning up trash on a trail died in a collision with a bike rider; the rider tried to warn her, but was unable to avoid hitting her.

A 74-year old Texas veteran rode his bike 1,550 miles to the US Capital to get 74 names added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial; Burbank Rep. Adam Schiff rode the last few miles with him.

El Paso TX antes up in the bike plan arms race with a plan to build over 1,000 miles of bike lanes. The winner will be whichever city actually builds the lanes in their bike plan rather than just drawing them on a map. Which means Los Angeles is losing.

A hit-and-run driver who fled after colliding with a bike rider has been arrested as a person of interest in the murder of a New York imam and his friend; the suspect rammed police vehicles with his SUV in an attempt to avoid arrest.

New York City’s protected bike lanes have done more than just reduce injuries; they’ve also improved traffic flow and speed.

A North Carolina writer relates the tale of a 23-year old mother of three who accepted a challenge to ride her bicycle around the world. In 1894.

This is why you let the police deal with bike thieves. An 18-year old Atlanta man is dead after trying to retrieve his little sister’s stolen bike; witnesses said he was shot three times after confronting pair of men selling water and phones in a grocery store parking lot.

After Georgia posted signs calling for pedestrian safety, a man on a bike pulled them out, calling the signs trash and a nuisance.

 

International

A writer in Bogota, Columbia takes to two wheels for his short commute to college, despite the challenges of riding the city’s streets.

Edmonton, Canada residents show their support for a planned road diet and bike lanes on a major street, even though it won’t be built for another 20 years. But a local columnist calls the plan a fiasco that will only inconvenience those poor, suffering drivers.

New research from the London branch of the University of Duh shows that drivers weigh more than bike riders. Shockingly, people don’t seem to get a lot of exercise or burn many calories when they drive, unlike bicycling.

Hate and stupidity knows no borders, as a Dublin, Ireland cyclist was gay bashed by a band of bike-riding teenagers, who shouted they need to kill as many fags as possible. I’ve had too many friends who’ve been the victims of gay bashing — including one who was murdered in a Cleveland hotel room. There’s no fucking excuse. Ever. Period. Anyone capable of that kind of hate-filled violence deserves to be thrown into the deepest hole the prison system can find.

A 104-year old French cyclist has been named the world’s greatest centenarian athlete; Robert Marchand can still ride nearly half as fast as Bradley Wiggins’ one hour record.

No criminal charges for the Israeli border guards who took a Palestinian girl’s bicycle, broke it and tossed it into the bushes.

An Australian bicyclist continues her one-woman fight against the country’s bike helmet law, as a judge misses the point entirely by saying one person riding a bike will do nothing to stop global warming. He’s right that one woman not driving won’t stop a glacier from melting at the North Pole. But improving safety and removing needless barriers to riding so others can join her might.

 

Finally…

Now you can buy a used road bike formerly ridden by a British Olympic cycling champ. We may have to deal with road raging LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to use our bicycles to fight off tigers.

And the only snakes we have to deal with on the road are the ones behind the wheel.

 

Describe Your Ride: Commuting to work on the beach path and tourist-lined streets of Santa Monica

Adra and Ellie at the beginning of their commute

Adra and Ellie at the beginning of their commute

Today we’re starting a new feature in which bike riders tell us about their ride — the good, the bad, the ugly, the everyday experience of riding a bike, wherever and however they ride.

First up, bike commuter Adra Graves describes her daily bike commute through Venice and Santa Monica, partly on the bike path, partly in bike lanes and partly on city streets.

If you’d like to share your ride with us, just send it to the email address on the About BikinginLA page. It can be anything you want, from a few sentences to a detailed description, a rant, rave or anything in between. Or maybe you tell the story best visually, verbally or musically.

And no restrictions on location, where you ride here in LA, SoCal, or anywhere in the world.

Let’s get a conversation started.

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Bike path at Ocean Park

Bike path at Ocean Park

I may have one of the best commutes in LA county. At the very least, I have 75% of one.

Every morning around 9:30, I load my purse and laptop into my pannier, my dog into my front basket, and ride the half block to the Venice boardwalk, where I turn north and take the beach bike path a mile and a half up to Santa Monica. There are no stop lights, no cars, few pedestrians, and even the sun is at my back. I have to look out for the occasional sand puddle, which can make me skid out of control (it’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way), but for the most part, I can ride along and try to glimpse the waves across the sand to my left, with few distractions.

Company on the bike path, and Santa Monica Pier in the distance

Company on the bike path, and Santa Monica Pier in the distance

Just before the Santa Monica pier, I leave the bike path and make my way up to a small street called Appian Way. At this point, the nice part is over.

I ride towards the pier on Appian and make a right up a steep hill that will bring me up to Ocean Avenue. (If I’m feeling super energetic, I’ll take advantage of my bike’s gears and ride up in first gear, but more often than not I walk.) At the top, there’s no good way to immediately get to the northbound side of Ocean, so I ride along the sidewalk for a block (less than ideal: I would normally never advocate for a cyclist to do that, but this stretch doesn’t have any other palatable options) to the pier and cross Ocean at Colorado Avenue.

Up the hill at Appian Way, looking up at Tongva Park

Up the hill at Appian Way, looking up at Tongva Park

From here, I do my best to stay in the bike lane, but there are cars pulling in and out of the hotel, buses (sightseeing + regular) taking up the entirety of the lane at Broadway, and a nasty angled section (pictured) where I’m forced to dodge into traffic if there’s a car parked (entirely legally) there. This is part of why I cross where I do: a red light stops other northbound traffic and so I have a little more protection for if and when I need to ride outside the bike lane.

Worst case scenario (biking north on Ocean Avenue at Colorado)

Worst case scenario (biking north on Ocean Avenue at Colorado)

At Broadway, I make a right, and head inland for a mile or so. There’s a green bike path from 5th Street on, but west of there, we only have sharrows. If you’re on the westbound side of the road, as I am when heading home, there’s a bus lane that I usually ride in so as not to draw the ire of the cars making their way through the area. (This works great when there are no buses.)  Once across Lincoln, I’m at my destination.

My ride home is all downhill along Ocean Avenue (after it diverges from Neilson) if I so choose. During the summer, I don’t—there are too many cars searching for parking on that stretch—but in the winter, I’m often the only person there.

Sharrows are great and all but...

Sharrows are great and all but…

My fiancé is the one who pushed me to start riding to work five years ago, when I lived and worked in Santa Monica and had a mere mile and a half to go to work, almost entirely along streets with bike lanes. Aside from a short stint last summer when I was working in Culver City, I’ve biked to work almost every day since then. We chose our apartment in Venice partly because we love the area, and partly because it allows both of us to walk or bike to work. (He walks to work along Abbot Kinney, also an enviable commute.) While I consider myself lucky to have this setup, it wasn’t an accident, either. Our apartment search was a bit more difficult because of location constraints, but being able to bike to work is important to both of us.

From sharrows to bike lanes (yessssss)

From sharrows to bike lanes (yessssss)

Being able to bring my dog with me is the cherry on top. She’s small enough to fit in the bike basket, and well-behaved enough to stay there. Yes, it took some time to get her used to it—she immediately leapt out the first time I tried to put her in!—but she’s a pro now and knows what to expect. In cold weather, she wears a red hoodie to stay warm, and it is the cutest damn thing you’ve ever seen.

I have no idea what we’ll do when El Nino rears its head—with a dog, I don’t think the bus is an option—but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. (Probably in a raincoat.)

AG Bike Map

Guest Post: A detailed look at commuting mode share in Los Angeles, and how bikes lanes fit in

Not many people have the ability, or patience, to dig deep into various data sources to paint a detailed picture of just how people get to work in the City of Angeles.

And how bicycles fit into that portrait.

Dennis Hindman does.

He’s written a number of detailed analyses for this site, including a look at the causes of bike-involved collisions, and how the economy and bike lanes affect them.

Today he offers a look at the influence of bike lanes on LA commuting rates in the context of the overall commuting picture.

It’s fascinating stuff, and worth a few minutes to read. And maybe bookmark for future reference.

I’ll be back tomorrow with our usual Morning Links.

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In 2008, there were 147 centerline miles of bike lanes in the city of Los Angeles, according to League of American Bicyclists survey results from 90 of the largest U.S. cities.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation substantially increased the centerline miles of bike lanes installed per calendar year after the 2010 bike plan was approved by the LA city council in 2011. The centerline miles of bike lanes is now at least 375, according to the bikeways inventory listed on the website ladotbikeblog. Which is 2.55 times more than in 2008.

Chart-1

There have been two periods of time since 2005, using Census Bureau household survey results (ACS), where the bicycle commuting percent of workers residing in the city of Los Angeles has increased. One was 2008 through 2009 after there was a sharp increase in the price of gasoline in 2008. Interestingly, the bicycle commuting share increased further in 2009 after the price of gasoline dropped, then dropped by 10% in 2010 (within the margin of error) and increased back to 1% in 2011 and 2012. According to the margin of error for the ACS results, it’s possible that the 2009 percent could be .9% as it is for 2010 and 2008, and then rose to 1% in 2011. Although if you look at the LAPD collision reports during that time, the bicycle collisions sharply increased in 2009 compared to 2008.

The number of bicycle commuters increased by an estimated 46% from 2007 through 2010.

Compare that to 2011 through 2014, when there was a 41% increase in the number of bicycle commuters and nearly 200 miles of bike lanes were installed.

There was a 143% increase in the ACS estimated number of bicycle commuters in the city of Los Angeles from 2005 through 2014 and a 9% increase in the amount of workers commuting by car, truck or van. Commuting by transit increased 15%.

Chart-2

Chart-3

When the number of bicycle commuters increased by 46% from 2007 through 2010 in the ACS results, the motor vehicle involved bicycle collisions reported by the LAPD increased by 61%.

If the installation of almost 200 miles of bike lanes from 2011 through 2014 had either decreased, or had no effect on the overall level of safety for bicycle riding on streets, then the number of motor vehicle involved bicycle collisions reported by the LAPD should have substantially increased based on the greater number of bicycle commuters — as happened from 2007 through 2010 when much fewer additional miles of bike lanes were installed.

It turns out that the LAPD reported motor vehicle involved bicycle collisions went from an increase of 7% in 2012, to less than a 1% increase in 2013 and a 6% decrease in 2014.

Chart-4

Traffic collisions and fatalities reported by the LAPD are given to the California Highway Patrol and these results can be obtained through their SWITRS data, as I have done for the chart above and below. These data collection results are about 7 months behind from when the collisions took place. Even given the incomplete data for 2015, the number of bicycling fatalities reported by the LAPD is already the second highest since 2001.

Chart-5

For comparison, here is my estimated number of car, truck and van commuters derived from ACS survey results on percentage chart S0801.

Chart-6

Also, the estimated percentage of workers who primarily commuted by car, truck or van and resided in the city of Los Angeles. Notice how the percentage has remained relatively stable from 2008 through 2014.

Chart-7

The ACS estimated number of transit commuters has not yet increased to the amount that it was in 2008, even though the estimated number of workers has increased by 3%. Metro’s transit boarding’s throughout the county decreased by 2.8% in calendar year 2014 and continued to fall through August of 2015.

Chart-8

The percent of workers residing in the city of Los Angeles who primarily use transit to commute. Metro transit rail boarding’s, along with bus boarding’s, fell in Los Angeles County in calendar year 2014. It might seem that increased bicycle commuting took away from rail ridership, but the average bicycle trip tends to be a shorter distance than an average transit rail trip. These two forms of transportation would tend to be more complementary, rather than competitive with each other.

Chart-9

The percent of workers residing in the city of Los Angeles who primarily work from home has increased from 2005 to 2014, probably due to greater use of the internet.

Chart-10

The last category of journey to work on the ACS data is primarily commuting by motorcycle, taxi or other means.

Chart-11

Adding together the ACS estimated percent of workers residing in the city of Los Angeles who primarily commuted by walking, bicycling or transit has, except for 2011, remained fairly stable from 2007 through 2014. I didn’t calculate the margin of error for this category.

Chart-12

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Dennis adds a few final notes on how he compiled the data and graphs.

I’ve tried to simply give data available from SWITRS, ladotbikeblog and ACS in the form of graphs. This is so that anyone can check the accuracy of this information quickly on-line. Unfortunately, to make it as unbiased and the changes between years as clear as I can, I created separate charts for each category. Combing categories made each category more of a straight line.
I used the Census Bureau American Community Survey chart S0801 which gives results in percent of workers and converted that into the number of workers using each type of transportation for journey to work. There are two other charts that give the estimated number of workers for each type of transportation, but they do not include the year 2005–which S0801 does.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Post: The Benefits of a Bicycle for Urban Transport

Every now and then — okay, nearly every day — I get a request to write a guest post for this site.

Most turn out to be from marketers hoping to slip in a link to their client’s website. Which are promptly ignored.

But this week, we’ll feature three new guest posts; two from a long-time contributor, and one from a new one.

The first comes from Nik Donovic, who describes himself as a lifelong, if casual, cyclist and new-found fixie enthusiast with a passion for road safety — especially after a driver hit his dad a few months ago.

And yes, before you ask, his father is okay, though it was scary for both of them.

This may be preaching to the choir on here. But it’s worth reading.

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Remember your first bike and how exhilarated you felt when you were finally freed from the confines of the wobbly training wheels? Your first bike is memorable. The polished chrome that was almost blinding in the sun, the smooth curve of the banana seat, and the streamers that whipped around from the end of your handlebars as you rode fast and without a care in the world. Your bike was your main source of transportation from trips to the park, to school, and to your best friend’s house. Jump ahead 20 years and you consider yourself lucky if you’re able to hop on your bicycle to ride to the neighborhood coffee shop on a Saturday morning. Part-time bicycle riders are full of excuses as to why they “don’t have time” to ride: I’ve got groceries to pick up. I don’t have proper riding gear. I’m too tired. I can’t ride THAT far. It’s not safe. I would, but…

 

Are There Any Valid Excuses Not to Ride?

The reasons seems endless, but what’s the point of owning a bicycle if you aren’t going to ride? Sure, bicycling requires a time commitment, but so does sitting in your car while commuting to and from work. While a substantial amount of bicyclists are hitting the streets, more than a decade ago, the majority remains to be strictly recreational riders.

In a 2014 U.S. Bicycling Participation Benchmarking Report, commissioned by PeopleForBikes, 16,193 adults were surveyed on their bicycle usage. The results revealed that 54% of adults believe that bicycling is a convenient form of transportation, but 48% of adults don’t have access to a bicycle at home and 52% of adults fear being struck by vehicles. 46% of surveyed adults would ride a bicycle if motor vehicles and bicycles were physically separated. Finally, 70% of bicyclists only ride for recreation or leisure while 46% ride to travel to and from school or work.

Although the concerns are reasonable, bicycling is safer and more accessible than people may think. While it’s true that sharing the road with motorists can be dangerous (and a little scary), bicycling is often safer than driving. The National Safety Council reports that for every million cyclists in the US, about 16.5 die each year in comparison to the 19.9 motorist deaths each year.

In regards to the not having access to a bicycle at home, there are several great public bike sharing systems throughout the U.S. in cities like Minneapolis, Chicago, and San Francisco. Don’t have a bike share system in your town? Check out a local bike shop. You don’t need a top of the line, multiple geared bicycle to get from place to place. So, no more excuses. Just ride.

 

Urban Cycling Leads to Better Health

Maybe you’re only a “weekend rider” because you feel too tired or out of shape to ride a bicycle on a regular basis and maybe the “out of practice” aches and pains keep you from riding more regularly. However, like other forms of exercise, your body gets stronger and healthier with consistent movement. Sure, a sore rear end and tired legs may persist after your first few rides, but over time, you will forget that riding was ever a struggle. Unlike running and other sports, bicycling is a gentle form of exercise, putting less stress on your body and making it accessible to people of all ages and abilities. All the times that you ride, remember how good it feels after you hop off your bike? Your blood is pumping, your endorphins are high, and you might even say, “I can’t wait to ride again.” Don’t make bicycling an “every now and then”, but rather remember how good it feels to ride and use that as your motivation. From heart to lungs, there are so many health benefits related to bicycling.

In addition to all the physical and mental health benefits, a 2012 study conducted in Iowa revealed that bicycling can save a significant amount of money typically allocated to health care. When looking at statistics surrounding the cost of diabetes, breast/colorectal cancers, heart disease and stroke related treatments, recreational and commuter cyclists saved money by simply being more healthy. For instance, in Des Moines, savings from commuter cyclists includes $254,797 and in Johnson County, cyclists are estimated to save $1,018,347 in health care costs each year.

 

Don’t Add to the Urban Congestion

As a recreational bicyclist, you may stick to areas within your cities that have trails and other areas designated for bicyclists. While such areas provide a great opportunity to be “one with nature”, get exercise, and keep cyclists off the road, they aren’t as practical for commuting cyclists. As a commuter, you often need to ride side by side with other vehicles which can feel overwhelming, a little dangerous, and far from “taking your mind off of stress”.

Still, being a commuter cyclist doesn’t need to be stressful. A lot depends on space allocated for cyclists. As a commuter cyclist, you’re doing your part to reduce urban congestion, but you’re only really making a difference if there are bike lanes in place. In “bicycle friendly” cities like Minneapolis, traffic volume increased but was less congested when bicycles had separate lanes.

Here’s an example of bike lanes working correctly: in San Francisco, on busy Valencia Street, vehicle lanes were reduced from four to two and a center lane and two bike lanes were added. As a result, pedestrians were not only 36% safer, but there was a significant increase of bicycle riders by 140%. In the same report released by Smart Growth America, pedestrians and bicyclists combined (about half and half) have reduced congestion by about 30% in the nation’s 100 most congested cities. If bicycle lanes continue to pop up, we can expect the congestion to keep dropping.

 

Human and Physical Infrastructure for Cyclists

From Minneapolis, MN to Austin, TX, big cities are becoming more bicycle friendly, recognizing the importance of less traffic and better health, but most cities can’t be truly bicycle friendly without infrastructures.

 

Physical Infrastructure for Safety and Economic Gain

Biking trails, bicycle lanes, and non-motorized vehicle overpasses are essential for bicycle safety and ease of travel; they make up the physical infrastructure. This infrastructure can help avoid drivers hitting cyclists as opposed to urban roads with no infrastructure. Many cyclists may not realize that the presence of physical infrastructures benefit the economy as well. In cities like Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., home values increased the closer they were located to infrastructures like bike pathways. Additionally, businesses located in an area with physical infrastructures for cyclists (such as bike pathways and widened sidewalks) typically see a boost in business. In the study of Valencia Street in San Francisco (as mentioned earlier), businesses on the street saw a significant increase (about 66%) of patronage due to better physical infrastructure for cyclists.

 

No Physical Infrastructure Without Human Infrastructure

Despite the overwhelming need for physical infrastructure, it wouldn’t exist without human infrastructure. Such infrastructure can include biking advocates, bike shop owners, and bicycle riding groups. Without bike shops, to purchase and repair bicycles, the future of the “urban bicyclist” would be limited. By supporting a local bike shop, not only are you supporting the local economy, but you are supporting some of your biggest advocates. Bicycle shop owners and employees have a passion for bicycling. They commute by bicycle, they encourage others to ride, and they have valuable feedback when it comes to planning physical infrastructure. If you want to see an increase of physical infrastructure for cyclists, find a group of bicycle advocates and enthusiasts to join.

In cities across America, we’ve witnessed the increase of urban bicyclists who can ride the city streets more safely thanks to the passions of fellow riders who fought for a better riding environment.

 

Two year sentence in Dotson case, Brown yields his veto pen in support of hit-and-run, dooring caught on video

Just a quick update today, since I’m having some major computer problems. Assuming I get things straightened out, I should be back Saturday night with some Weekend Links. If not, you may not hear from me for awhile until I can get my laptop fixed.

Keep your fingers crossed. 

Update: The jury is still out. Reinstalling the OS may have solved the problem. Or not.

……..

First up, in case you missed it, the driver who killed postal worker Jesse Dotson as he rode his bike to work in Gardena last year has been officially sentenced to two years in prison.

Twenty-four year old Vanessa Yanez, the daughter of a veteran LAPD sergeant, was behind the wheel when she struck Dotson’s bike and fled the scene, leaving him lying on the street; he died in a hospital three days later.

After running Dotson down, Yanez drove to a nightclub to meet a friend before reporting her car stolen the next day in an attempt to cover-up the crime.

The sentence was a given, having been worked out in a plea deal last month.

It’s not enough. The meagre sentence reflects the lack of seriousness with which our society takes traffic crimes, even when they kill.

And even when drivers try to cover up their crimes.

She should have faced a murder charge on the assumption that Dotson might have been saved if he’d gotten emergency care sooner.

But given the lax hit-and-run laws and weak penalties currently on the books, it’s probably the best we could have hoped for.

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Speaking of lax hit-and-run laws, there is one person who doesn’t seem to think it’s a problem.

And unfortunately for all of us, he’s the governor of our state.

Three-term Governor Jerry Brown vetoed AB 2337 on Thursday; the bill would have ensured that a hit-and-run driver would lose his or her license for two years if they injured someone.

The only governor in the US to veto a three-foot passing two times, before finally signing it last year, Brown wrote in his veto message (pdf) that penalties for hit-and-run are already stiff enough.

Evidently, he’s the only person in the state who still has no idea hit-and-run has reached epidemic proportions. If the penalties really were strict enough, most drivers would stop at the scene and render aid to their victims, as the law requires.

And quite frankly, a two year suspension for leaving another human being bleeding in the streets isn’t nearly strong enough. Anyone who lacks the basic human decency to obey the most basic requirement of the law has shown that they are undeserving of the privilege — not the right — to drive.

Our governor clearly doesn’t get that.

Instead of a mere two-year suspension, a hit-and-run driver should face lifetime revocation of their license.

Instead, Brown is fighting to keep the most dangerous and callous drivers on the streets.

Thanks, Jerry. No, really, we owe you one.

Meanwhile, Calbike is calling for everyone to contact the governor to demand that he sign AB 1532, which would increase the fines for hit-and-run — though not the prison sentences — to match those for drunk driving, in order to reduce the incentive for drivers who have ben drinking to flee the scene.

And it would ensure that hit-and-run drivers would lose their licenses for a minimum of six months — regardless of whether anyone was injured.

Given that Brown has already expressed his opinion that penalties for the crime are high enough, it’s very questionable whether he’ll sign this one.

If not, the blood of every future hit-and-run victim will be on his hands.

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One of the best jobs in bike advocacy just became available.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is looking for a new Executive Director to replace Jen Klausner, who is stepping down after nearly a decade of successfully leading the organization.

Under her stewardship, the LACBC has grown to become a leading voice for Southern California bicyclists, and one of the most influential bike advocacy groups in the US.

The organization has had an exceptional track record in recent years, from nurturing CicLAvia in its earliest stages to developing award-winning programs like City of Lights. They were a driving force behind the initial Give Me 3 efforts that recently became California’s new three-foot passing law, and the key backer of the cyclist anti-harassment ordinance that is being copied across the nation.

In just a few short years, they’ve helped turn one of the nation’s most car-centric cities into a certified bike-friendly community. And they were one of the first organizations to reach out to underserved ethnic and economic communities, and to push for cycling infrastructure in less affluent areas — not because that’s where their members are, but simply because it was the right thing to do.

Now they’re looking for a superstar capable of leading the LACBC to the next level and building it into one of the nation’s pre-eminent bicycle advocacy organizations.

Maybe it’s you. Or someone you know, anyway.

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Recently we mentioned that the Santa Monica Bike Center had been named the area’s only Platinum level Bicycle Friendly Business by the League of American Bicyclists.

But dig a little deeper into the list of honored businesses (pdf), and you’ll find Santa Monica marketing communications agency Phelps.

The agency was honored by the Bike League for amenities including on-site showers, secure bike parking and financial incentives for bike commuters.

It’s also home to WesHigh, whose YouTube videos from his 15-mile commute from Silver Lake to Santa Monica have often been featured here.

In celebration of the honor, the agency created this infographic encouraging their employees to ride.

And maybe even you.

Phelps-Bike-InfoGraphic

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Might as well buy a used bike off Craigslist. After all, it’s probably your bike, anyway.

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Finally, I was forwarded this security cam footage showing a dooring that occurred in Burbank recently.

The shocking thing is just how quickly it happens, and how little time the rider has to react.

Fortunately, I’m told the rider was okay; his bike, maybe not so much.

And just to be clear, drivers are required to ensure that it’s safe to open their car door without interfering with the operation of other road users (CVC 22517).

So unless you’re doing something stupid, like riding the wrong way or without lights after dark, the driver is almost always at fault.

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Don’t miss this weekend’s most exciting bike action — the Lucha Libre-themed HP Gran Prix from 5 to 9 pm tonight in Huntington Beach.

HPimage004

 

So let me tell you about my Sunday…

It was, as a far better writer once put it, the best of times and the worst of times.

In that order.

Once again, the good folks at GEKLaw offered to let me ride as part of their team for this year’s River Ride.

But while I jumped at the chance to join them — particularly since this year’s ride honored GEKLaw bike attorney Howard Krepack — I’d also made a commitment to volunteer at the LACBC at River Ride. So I split the difference, working the booth while wearing the T-shirt honoring Howard, and letting someone else do the actual ride in my place.

Which is how I found myself riding to Griffith Park at 6:15 in the morning.

Thanks to the early hour, it was a surprisingly easy ride.

Santa Monica Blvd was closed off for the West Hollywood Pride parade, but no one was manning the barricades to stop a lone cyclist from riding through. So from Doheny to Fairfax, I had, in effect, my own private CicLAvia as the only moving vehicle on the street.

Even afterwards, traffic was so light I continued on Santa Monica until it merged with Sunset, before cutting up towards Griffith Park.

Somewhere along the way, though, I lost my breakfast.

No, literally.

Thanks to the early hour and lack of sleep, I had neglected to zip my seat pack. And the pastry I’d brought along to eat at the end of my ride managed to bounce out, thanks to one bump or another.

Thankfully, the more important items, such as my keys and wallet, managed to stay in place.

Then again, I’d also left both of my water bottles at home, so I had a very dry and thirsty one-and-a-half hour ride.

The only other minor problem was a missed turn near the end of my ride. As a result, I found myself making the last leg of my trip on the L.A. River bike path, just as the first Century riders were making their way to Long Beach.

Despite being a two-wheeled salmon riding upstream against the tide of riders, I found myself facing a very courteous crowd of cyclists, all of whom went out of their way to make room for me.

Then just as I left the bike path, I suffered my first flat tire in over a year — ever since last year’s Blessing of the Bicycles, in fact — forcing me to walk the last half mile in order to get there on time.

The good news — or at least that’s the way it seemed at the time — was that there were bike mechanics on hand to make last-minute repairs for River Ride riders before they set out. And within a few minutes, I had a new tube installed and was set for my ride back home.

The rest of the morning and early afternoon is a blur, albeit a very pleasant one.

If you’ve never volunteered for River Ride, I highly recommend it. There’s something very enjoyable about working with a well-oiled team of volunteers to help other riders have a great time. And getting to meet cyclists of every possible description more than compensates for the early morning wake-up call.

And once again, the LACBC team headed by the incomparable JJ Hoffman did the impossible and pulled off a massive event that seemed to go flawlessly.

Sometimes I get the feeling that if JJ stripped down, you’d find a big red S on her chest. Though where she’d find a phone booth to change in these days is beyond me.

I also had the pleasure of working with a number of great people, many of whom I met for the first time — including a hard-working team from Walk Bike Glendale.

It wasn’t until I took a lunch break at 2 pm that things went south.

In a big way.

Once I moved away from the noise and hubbub of the River Ride, I noticed that I’d missed a couple of calls from my wife. When I called her back, I learned that she’d tripped while walking on a sidewalk, and couldn’t move her right leg or wrist.

So I got back on my bike, riding through unfamiliar territory in an attempt to shorten the return trip home so I could get her to the emergency room.

And that’s one of the few situations where driving has the advantage over bike commuting. When something goes wrong, you can find yourself a long way — and a very stressful long time — from home.

Then there’s the other problem.

About half way home, I had another flat.

It seems the mechanic who did me the favor of fixing my earlier flat — at no charge, I might add — did me no favor by failing to find what caused it. Sure enough, as I examined the tire, I found a small piece of glass embedded in the tread that had worked its way back into my tube.

Since I had already gone to work at the LACBC booth while he fixed my flat, I have no idea whether he had looked for the cause of the flat, or just failed to find it.

Either way, I was forced to stop and make another repair at the worst possible time.

So my apologies to anyone in Hancock Park who may have heard the words I was muttering under my breath. At least, I hope they were under my breath.

The lesson learned is, as Ronald Reagan put it, trust but verify. If you have someone else fix your flat, make sure they check the tire.

Or better yet, just fix it yourself.

I finally got home nearly two-and-a-half hours after I’d spoken with my wife. And five minutes later, I was driving a very angry and highly pained spouse to the ER.

The good news is, she seems to be okay.

No broken bones or dislocations; three days later, her wrist is better, though she’s in a splint and on crutches until she can see the orthopedist — which, thanks to the complications that come with an HMO, may not be until mid-July.

If anyone trots out the old fallacy that this country has the best medical system in the world, please refer them to that last sentence.

We may have decent medical care, but the insurance system that supports it is badly broken.

Meanwhile, I now find myself driving her to and from work, walking the dog and doing all the work around the house.

Not that I’m complaining, of course.

That’s just part of being married.

But it does explain why my posts have been a little sparse this week.

Hopefully, I should have time to sit down and write again later tonight. There’s a huge stack of bike-related press releases and requests for publicity gaining virtual dust on my desktop.

So give me a little time, and I’ll get back to the topic of biking.

No, really.

I promise.

Change the law. Change the world.

Note: Suggested law changes appear below; these posts will be moved to a separate page next week

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that most traffic laws weren’t written with bicyclists in mind.

The vast majority of traffic laws were designed to move cars from here to there, as safely and efficiently as possible. In theory, anyway.

Few, if any, were written by cyclists, or with the participation of anyone who has ever been on a bike beyond the age of 12. As a result, bike traffic has been nothing more than an afterthought shoehorned into the laws and traffic lanes — without regard to whether it actually made sense, in terms of safety or efficiency.

That may have worked in decades past when most cyclists never left their own neighborhoods, and spandex-clad riders were an anomaly on the roadway.

But things have changed. Today, more and more cyclists are sharing traffic-clogged roads, as high gas prices and environmental concerns drive commuters out of their cushy SUVs and onto the saddle. And countless other people are discovering the health benefits of cycling; others just plain enjoy riding.

Government has a significant stake in promoting this increase in bicycling. Rising obesity rates, along with related problems such as increases in diabetes rates and high blood pressure, demand that more emphasis be placed on the health and fitness of their citizens. At the same time, increasing traffic congestion — and perhaps the very survival of our planet — requires that something be done to reduce the amount of cars on the road.

As a result, our state and local governments have an obligation to reform traffic laws to encourage cycling and protect the safety of all bicyclists, whether they use their bikes for recreation or transportation.

Over the next few days, I’m going to take a look at some ways the existing laws regarding can, and should, be changed. Changes that could help us all get home safely, and make every ride a little more enjoyable.

Feel free to offer your own comments and suggestions, and maybe together we can do something to change the laws. And help get more people out of their cars, and on their bikes.

Note: After appearing here first, this series of posts will eventually migrate to a new Bike Law page, replacing the “Things I’ve learned on my bike” page.

 

No Whip lets other bloggers tell their story of the Furnace Creek 508 he recently finished. Tamerlane starts a new blog focusing exclusively cycling, and discovers what it’s like to have an extremely close call of his own, as does another rider on the Eastside. Long Beach is looking for volunteers to help count bikes in an effort to become more bicycle friendly. And finally, El Random Hero discusses an alternate form of alternative transportation.

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