Tag Archive for bike count

LACBC releases latest bike count figures in time for Bike Week

2013-LA-Bike-Count-CoverJust in time for Bike Week, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition has released the results of the city’s latest bike count.

Not that the city itself conducts the count, of course. Even though they should.

Working in conjunction with LA Walks and other groups, more than 400 volunteers conducted the count over a total of six hours at 120 locations throughout the city last September. And the results are intriguing, as the Coalition points out in their press release (pdf), starting with a 7.5% increase in ridership since 2013, driven largely by the addition of 200 miles of new bikeways in the city.

The report also found that:

  • The busiest time for bicycling is the evening commute period, suggesting that most people are riding for transportation.
  • People strongly prefer riding on dedicated facilities like bike paths and bike lanes over streets with no bicycle facilities.
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 bicyclists is female, and female ridership is highest on bike paths and bike lanes, suggesting that the lack of safe and comfortable facilities is causing a gender disparity among bicyclists.
  • Bike lanes improve bicyclist behavior, cutting sidewalk riding in half compared to streets without and reducing wrong-way riding as well.

Interestingly, even though they force riders to share lanes with often unwelcoming drivers, streets where sharrows were installed after earlier counts showed a 132% increase in ridership, though only a 22% increase in ridership compared to similar streets without sharrows.

Meanwhile, bike lanes resulted in an 86% increase in ridership compared to comparable streets. And off-road bike paths showed nearly four times the usage compared to streets with no bike facilities; in fact, a full 25% of the riders counted were on bike paths, despite representing just 8% of the count locations.

Not surprisingly, bicycling was also highest near universities and in low-income communities, which suggests many people may be riding for economic reasons.

Clearly, though, there’s still a lot of work to do.

As Executive Director Jen Klausner puts it in the foreword to the study,

Since the 2010 Bicycle Plan, Los Angeles has expanded its bicycle network at an unprecedented rate, at one point exceeding 100 lane miles in one year. However, most of these miles have consisted of bike lanes “where they fit” and sharrows where bike lanes don’t. The result has been a somewhat fragmented bicycle network primarily designed to avoid impacts to motor vehicle delay rather than designed to meet the needs of people who want to ride a bike. This report makes it clear that where bicycle improvements are made, ridership is up, but that citywide growth is limited by the lack of a connected network of safe bikeways accessible to all Angelenos. 

The report ends with a number of recommendations:

  1. Design streets for people of all ages and abilities
  2. Build a network of protected bikeways, such as the one planned for South Figueroa
  3. Build safe routes to everywhere along Active Streets
  4. Engage communities directly in the design of their streets
  5. Increase age-appropriate opportunities for bicycle safety education
  6. Increase funding for walking, biking and safe routes to schools
  7. Measure results

As noted above, it should be the city’s role to collect the data necessary for effective bicycle planning — not a volunteer effort conducted by a non-profit organization. City planners have been driving blind for far too long; the mayor’s commitment to data-driven accountability must extend to our streets, as well.

Still, the organization should be applauded for taking the responsibility onto their own shoulders. And providing the most detailed look yet at how, where, when and why Angelenos ride their bikes.

You can download the full report here.

 

 

A little this, a little that — Sadik-Khan, Street Summit, bike stats, bike art, Lance rants

First up, drop whatever you had planned, and ride, walk, bus or drive to Occidental College for tonight’s lecture by Janette Sadik-Khan, New York’s Commissioner of Transportation.

This is the woman most responsible for transforming NYC from one of the most bike-hostile places on the planet to what is rapidly becoming one of the world’s most bike-friendly metropolises, adding 200 miles of bike lanes in just three years.

And afterwards, you can ride over to nearby Disney headquarters in Burbank to protest the on-air anti-bike rant from ESPN idiot commentator Tony Kornheiser (see below).

The lecture is the kickoff event for L.A. StreetSummit 2010, which resumes this Saturday at Downtown’s LA Trade Tech College.

On Saturday, you’ll have a chance to hear speakers including Carl Anthony of Breakthrough Communications, Charlie Gandy, the Mobility Coordinator currently transforming the City of Long Beach, and Lydia Avila of the East LA Community Corporation.

In this afternoon, you can attend three sets of workshops on subjects ranging from the new bike plan, CicLAvia, LACBC’s bike count and increasing diversity in the biking community. Along with about 26 others.

And I’ll be hosting a session on bikes and politics at 1pm:

Session 1: 1pm-1:50pm
Room: tba

Presenters:

Ted Rogers, LACBC Board Member and author of BikingInLA

David Vahedi, Attorney, co-founder of the Westside Neighborhood Council and recent candidate for the 5th Council District

Aurisha Smolarski, LACBCCampaigns and Communications Director

Marcel Porras, cyclist and Transportation Director for L.A.’s 13th City Council District

Kent Strumpell, 11th District representative for L.A.’s Bicycle Advisory Committee and member of the California Bicycle Coalition’s Legislative Committee

Short Summary:

The bicycling community is the sleeping giant of local politics, with an estimated 2.7 million cyclists in Los Angeles County. This informal discussion will explore how to wake that giant to make positive changes in our state and community, and offer an insider’s perspective on how bicyclists can impact the political process to influence elected officials and elect bike-friendly candidates.

I hope to see you there.

The organizers of StreetSummit are asking that each workshop be video recorded for future use; unfortunately, I don’t have a video camera. So if anyone would like to volunteer to record the session, just let me know.

………

Exactly what L.A. cyclists have been missing.

Bikeside’s LA Bike Map provides the city’s first searchable database enabling you to submit, track and study near misses, collisions, harassment and bike theft. This will give cyclists the information we need to spot and avoid dangerous areas, and argue for much needed road improvements and police protection.

And yes, the link will soon find a permanent prominent home over there on the right.

………

A suicidal cyclist riding the wrong way evidently picked a Desperate Housewives star to run into, judging by press reports. Shawn Pyfrom, who plays Andrew Van De Kamp on the show, was driving somewhere in the San Fernando Valley when an elderly man riding against traffic made a sudden turn into the path of his vehicle.

To his credit, Pyfrom reportedly assisted the bloodied biker until help could arrive, and no one has yet been cited by police.

However, it does beg the question of why a cyclist riding the wrong way — one of just 4% of local riders who risk their lives that way, according to the LACBC’s bike count, despite what many drivers will tell you — would turn directly into the path of what had to be a clearly visible oncoming vehicle.

Then again, so far, the only reports are coming from the actor’s publicists.

Maybe that explains it.

………

A couple quick notes from the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

Over the course of the next four Saturdays, German artists Folke Koebberling and Martin Kaltwasser will dismantle an old car and turn it into two fully operational bicycles at the Bermot Station Arts Center.

And mark your calendar for the Cause for Creativity: Tour de Arts, Vol. 2 workshop, bike tour, exhibition and closing party on August 22nd.

………

A New York cyclist is knocked into a bus and killed after getting doored by a driver; as Cyclelicious points out in a well-deserved rant, at least some of the city’s press clearly doesn’t get it. One paper describes it as a freak accident and another — which evidently doesn’t know how to construct a sentence, had this to say:

Cops issued the unidentified driver of the Camry a summons, though it was not immediately clear why, police said.

Streetsblog reminds readers about the video from the Chicago Bicycle Program that explains how bikes and buses can safely share the roads; more important would be teaching drivers the dangers of opening their doors without looking.

………

BikesideLA tells the story of the Birdman, the survivor — barely — of yet another horrifying hit-and-run. Damien notes that authorities and the press blame once again blame the victim in a PCH hit-and-run; sort of like accidently shooting someone and blaming them for standing in front of your bullet. Another call on City Watch to dismantle LADOT. LACBC unveils the city’s first bike count, but doesn’t name the people who actually did it. DIY sharrows return to the streets of L.A., if not actually on the streets; the more or less true story behind the signs. Mega bike shop Perfomance Bicycle comes to Woodland Hills. A Cal State Fullerton cyclist examines fixies and their riders, and finds them lacking. The cyclist missing in Portland was found dead yesterday in the Willamette River; cause of death undetermined pending an autopsy. A great list of the top 10 rudest things a driver can do when encountering a cyclist. Bike Radar looks at why Florida is the nation’s most dangerous place for cyclists. The West Side Greenway in New York’s Battery Park City goes extremely high tech. Zeke takes an unexpected mostly pleasant, semi-frightening ride, only to discover Lance, Levi and Alberto are actually all good friends — and then he wakes up. London cyclists are asked about risk-taking behavior in an attempt to understand an unexpected spike in deaths; I’d start with the city’s truck drivers instead. Poland’s parliament considers making the country more bike friendly. Maybe this is why so many Dutch women ride.

Finally, Lance Armstrong calls ESPN radio host Tony Kornheiser a “complete f-ing idiot” for his recent remarks, including a suggestion that drivers should just run cyclists down. Consider this excerpt courtesy of Bike Radar:

“The last time I looked, the roads were made for automobiles…,” Kornheiser said. “We’re going to be dominated as if this was Beijing by hundreds of thousands of bicyclists …”

He’s no fan of cycling attire either, saying: “They all wear … my God … with the little water bottle in the back and the stupid hats and their shiny shorts. They are the same disgusting poseurs that in the middle of a snowstorm come out with cross-country skiing on your block. Run ‘em down.

“Let them use the right, I’m okay with that. I don’t take my car and ride on the sidewalk because I understand that’s not for my car… Why do these people think that these roads were built for bicycles? … They dare you to run them down.”

Lance calls the remarks “Disgusting, ignorant, foolish.” Or maybe he was referring to Kornheiser himself, who was recently suspended for making inappropriate remarks about a female co-worker’s attire.

Road.cc suggests tweeting your displeasure to @ESPNRadio980. Or maybe we should direct our anger to ESPN’s parent company, conveniently located right here in Burbank.

Update: Thanks to Todd Mumford for sending a link to the audio of Kornheiser’s rant; and yes, it’s even worse than I thought.

Bike counts, toy rides, another near-fatal OC hit-and-run

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.

Donald Murphy of Irvine was critically injured in yet another hit-and-run around 6 am Wednesday while riding in the northbound bike lane on Jamboree Road near the intersection with Ford Road in Irvine. According to police, a driver indentified as Patricia Ann Izquieta entered the bike lane he was riding in while making an “unsafe turning maneuver,” striking him and leaving a 300-yard pattern of debris.

That’s three football fields of bike parts strewn along the roadway from the bicycle trapped under her car as she fled the scene.

Izquieta was stopped by police a few blocks later with damage to the windshield and front undercarriage of her car, and is being held in Orange County Jail on $50,000 bond. Police reports indicate that she was not on a cell phone and alcohol does not appear to be a factor.

Witnesses said Murphy was wearing a helmet and riding in a safe and legal manner when struck. A passing driver stopped to give CPR along with one of his riding partners

Murphy was transported to Western Medical Center ­– Santa Ana. The Orange County Register quotes Lt. Rob Morton of the Newport Beach Police as saying “He’s in pretty bad shape.”

Update: Today’s OC Register reports that Murphy died at Western Medical Center on Thursday; there was no comment from the family. My deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.

………

The LACBC finally has preliminary results from the city’s first bike count.

What I find interesting is that only 12% of the riders were female — less than the number of children counted — while 54% of riders weren’t wearing a helmet, 38% were on the sidewalk, and 6% were riding the wrong way.

They also offer an LACBC-centric report on Wednesday’s semi-bike-only Transportation Committee meeting.

……..

There’s no shortage of big hearts in biking community.

But I never fail to be impressed by gull rescuer and stray dog wrangler Will Campbell — although his odd attachment to ‘Bama football does make me wonder sometimes. So I wasn’t surprised to learn that the Midnight Ridazz All-City Toy Ride was his idea, though he gives much of the credit for organizing the first ride to Ridazz co-founder Roadblock.

The ride kicks off tonight — appropriately enough on the first night of Channukah — from various points throughout the city, converging on the Plaza Gazebo on Olvera Street around 10 pm. Riders are asked to bring an unwrapped toy valued at $5 to $25 dollars for free admission to the after party; toys will be donated to the East L.A. Women’s Center.

Click here or visit the Ridazz website for more information.

……..

Recently I included a link to the excellent Bike San Diego website, for a story about a cyclist who was ticketed for passing a short row of stopped vehicles on the left, even though that is not prohibited under California law.

The judge upheld the ticket, convicting Andrew Woolley for violating CVC 21202, despite the fact that his actions were explicitly allowed under the statute. According to the judge, the exceptions allowed under 21202 did not apply, since the speed limit on the road is 35 mph, which he determined was the normal speed of traffic — even though 21202 specifically refers to the speed of traffic “moving in the same direction at that time.”

Writing on Bob Mioske’s website, Rick Bernardi offers a great examination of exactly why the judge was in error, while noting that it sometimes doesn’t make any difference if the law is on your side. And contrasts it with a Utah case, in which a cyclist was cited for doing exactly what the judge in the Woolley case said he should have done.

So let me see if I’ve got this right. You can’t pass on the right, and you can’t pass on the left. Or maybe you’re required to break the law one way in Utah, and another in California. Or the judge is allowed to misapply the law one way in one state, and another in the other.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

You can read the full transcript of the Woolley case here, and see the opening brief to his appeal here.

And buy a copy of Catch 22 — which seems to be the new judicial standard — here.

………

Last week’s Ballona Creek Gateway opening included an announcement of the planned Mar Vista Greenway. Lance commits to two more years. Traffic author Tom Vanderbilt suggests that cyclists should consider the Adopt a Highway model for bike lane maintenance. Cycling fashion dilemma: to wear a day-glo vest or not? Denver re-writes its bike laws to conform with the new state laws; Tucson Bike Lawyer notes that it’s now legal to ride to a bike rack on the sidewalk. The police can’t — or won’t — keep cars out of NYC bike lanes, but maybe a bunch of clowns will. New York’s DIY bike lanes have already been painted over; the alleged artists reportedly will plead not guilty. UPS is making some holiday deliveries by bike. Austin struggles to find consensus on the city’s first bike boulevard. A Utah cyclist is under arrest for groping another rider. London’s Evening Standard reports work has begun on “Mayor Boris Johnson’s cycle-hire scheme;” no bias there, huh? An Indian student is murdered by his friends after buying a new bike. Some friends. Finally, it’s 13 degrees in Chicago, and cyclists are still riding — even if that means riding on studded bike tires.

A simple proposal to make next week’s LACBC bike count count more

It’s bike count season.

From Nashville to Portland, and various points over, under, around and through. And next week L.A. will have its first count, courtesy of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

Counting bike riders may not seem like a big deal, but it will provide a baseline number of how many people ride bikes in a normal week – when students are back in school and people are back at work, so it accurately reflects typical riding patterns.

Then next year, we can count again.

That will provide an idea if ridership is going up or down. Which could indicate what effect street conditions are having, whether infrastructure changes are needed and how local laws and policies should be adjusted. In other words, the documentation we need to make things better for cyclists around here.

Unfortunately, I won’t be one of the counters, though I do hope to be among the counted. And I will somehow resist the temptation to ride through the same intersections repeatedly in order to boost the count. After all, a high count might look good now, but it could hurt us down the road.

I do have a suggestion for the LACBC, though.

One of the most common complaints that drivers have about cyclists is that we all run red lights and stop signs.

It’s not true, of course. I stop. And I’m clearly not the only one, since I frequently find other riders waiting right there next to me.

A recent London study found the same thing. Despite similar complaints from UK drivers, researchers for the Road Network & Research Team found that the overwhelming majority of cyclists — 84% — observe stop lights.

Another recent study was cited by a New York organization that calls itself the Coalition Against Rogue Riding — notice the acronym, if you want a little perspective on their perspective.

Their goal is to reign in the “epidemic of scofflaw cycling” and “sense of anarchy” plaguing the city’s streets and sidewalks. Yet the study doesn’t exactly support that:

In May the results a rigorous study conducted in April by the departments of sociology and urban affairs of Hunter College was issued. “Biking Behavior in Midtown” observed 5,275 cyclists at 45 intersections between 14th St. and 59th Sts. and First and Tenth Aves. It was found that nearly 38 percent of observed cyclists did not stop at red lights. Nearly a third did not use a designated bike lane. More than 17 percent were either riding the wrong way, or at various times both with and against traffic.

Sound damning, doesn’t it?

But look at it from another perspective. Nearly 62% did stop for red lights. Over 2/3 used a designated bike lane — and considering the frequent problems riders cite with cars and trucks blocking the bike lanes, it’s amazing that so many were able to ride within the lines. And 83% of riders did ride the right way; impressive in a city with so many one-way streets.

Unfortunately, L.A. cyclists don’t have any similar figures to rebut biased arguments from anti-bike fanatics. But LACBC can do something about that.

Long term, we need to work with a local university to design an effective, in-depth study of riding patterns in the city. But in the meantime, they could easily incorporate a simple study of whether cyclists stop for traffic signals into next week’s bike count.

At any location with a traffic signal or stop sign, in addition to counting bikes, just count how many stop when they should.

All it takes is adding two simple columns to the form. Or pencil in a couple headers in the margin indicating “stopped” and “didn’t stop.” And for each rider you count, just mark down whether they did. Or didn’t.

It might not be a scientific survey. But like the bike count itself, it would be a starting point. And it would tell us that L.A. riders are safer than many people think, or that we have a lot of work to do.

Either way, we’d know more than we do now.

……….

Dr. Alex asks if you’ve considered the consequences before giving that bike thief a beat down. GT shares the story and photos of his recent Eastern Sierra Century. Mavic introduces new magnetic pedals, which may eliminate the need for cleats for some riders. Evidently, Sen. McCain hates transit, while Sen. Coburn merely hates bikes. Instead of getting hit by cars, bike couriers are getting hit by the internet. Illinois considers penalizing drivers who recklessly endanger the health and safety of vulnerable road users, like bicyclists. Bob Mionske questions Ottawa’s recent crackdown on cyclists in response to violent hit-and-run driver. Finally, the State Assembly honors my good friend at Altadenablog for his efforts during the recent fire; couldn’t be more deserved.

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