Tag Archive for bike-friendly cities

Bicycling says we’re sort of bike-friendly; Better Bike’s Mark Elliot bounces off a Beverly Hills SUV

Let’s make it a Tuesday news day.

So settle back with your favorite libation and catch up on all the bike news that fits.

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Bicycling magazine names their top 50 American bike-friendly cities.

And in a very surprising development, L.A. makes the list at 32, just ahead of Thousand Oaks at 38, and behind Long Beach at 19. Not surprisingly, Portland leads the list at number one, followed by Minneapolis, Boulder and newly bike-friendly Washington DC; New York City comes in just before San Francisco at seven and eight, respectively, while my hometown just misses the top 10 at number 11.

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Best wishes to Better Bike’s Mark Elliot, who was hit by an SUV in Beverly Hills on Saturday, just days after getting screwed by the city’s auto-centric Traffic and Parking Commission. Fortunately, Mark says he’s okay. But warns ominously that it might be you next time.

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Robert Gesink wins the Amgen Tour of California just eight months after breaking his leg in four places in a training accident. Will Campbell shows just how fast the Amgen riders passed by. Aussie cyclist Robbie McEwen retires at the end of the Tour of California. LACBC offers photos of the final stage, which began in the biking black hole where Mark Elliot nearly got his ass run over. And once again, a feared carmageddon fails to materialize.

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If you’re only going to click on one link today, make it this one, as a writer explains how not to kill a cyclist. And then forward it to every driver — and cyclist — you know.

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Flying Pigeon needs help moving to their new location on Tuesday and Wednesday. An Eastside bicyclist was injured after falling through a manhole after thieves stole the cover. Adonia Lugo and Allison Mannos question whether the urban poor and communities of color are being left behind by eco developments. Riding from Watts to Long Beach on a Friday night. Mayoral candidate and current CD13 Council Member Eric Garcetti has a new website. A UCLA study says excessive cycling could interfere with male reproductive health — and give you man boobs; thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up. New signage and pavement markings on the Santa Monica section of the beachfront Marvin Braude bike path could ease conflicts between cyclists and beach-going pedestrians. Long Beach urban planner Sean Warner says rational arguments supporting biking infrastructure may not be enough.

Two Fontana teenagers are being sought for shoving two children off their bikes and stealing them — the bikes, not the children. A Redlands rider is shot while on his bike Saturday night. Los Olivos hosted the California State High School Mountain Bike Championships over the weekend. A 54-year old Campbell cyclist is injured when a 17-year old unlicensed driver attempts to defy the laws of physics by occupying the same space she was in at the same time. Nearly 1,200 Tahoe cyclists attempt to set a record for single-file riding; almost three times that many are expected for the area’s 21st annual America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride on June 3rd.

The Bike League is now tracking bicycling fatalities on a national level, just as I’ve been doing in SoCal; preliminary results show over a third of all bike-related collisions were hit-from behinds, followed by failure to yield (18% drivers, 10% cyclists). Riding a bike to work could cut your tax bill, as well. The bike writer for my hometown paper says education is more important than more bike lanes. A Lafayette LA cyclist disappears riding home from a night out. Bollards are almost always a failure of good bikeway design — especially when they go in for no apparent reason. Charleston SC proposes a 32 mile bikeway crossing eight bridges. Dave Moulton says it’s time to opt out of the culture of speed.

A Halifax writer says cyclists deserve more respect and better infrastructure. A UK writer asks if adults are mature enough to share the road with children; good question. A British publication asks if the war between motorists and cyclists will ever end — or if it really exists. Free bicycles help keep Indian girls in school. A Singapore cyclist is found dead of unnatural causes along a trail.

Finally, an Aussie writer has had it up to here with people saying cycling is being spoiled by anyone on a sports bike. And a rider in Mississippi is reunited with his dog after three months in a coma following a collision.

Culver City’s bike friendly honorable mention, tonight’s Ride of Silence, & Blessing of the Bicycles

Yesterday we received the surprising news that Culver City was awarded an honorable mention as a bike-friendly city by the League of American Bicyclists.

Something that would have seemed unthinkable just a few short years ago.

Much of the credit goes to the members of the LACBC affiliate Culver City Bicycle Coalition, who’ve worked with city leaders to make it safer and more inviting to those of us on two wheels.

So while I don’t normally reprint press releases, we’ll let them take a bow this one time.

Culver City Bicycle Coalition Applauds Bicycle Friendly Community Honorable Mention Recognition

The Culver City Bicycle Coalition (CCBC) is proud to announce that Culver City has been recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community with an Honorable Mention by the League of American Bicyclists. The award is a product of the hard work of City staff, community members, and, of course, Culver City’s elected officials.  Since its adoption in 2010, the Culver City Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan (BPMP) has led to concrete improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians throughout the City, with more on the way.

Being recognized by the League is no small tasks. Many cities apply each year, but without a formal bike-friendly foundation and plan going forwardI, many are rejected. Culver City was recognized for many improvements, including new bike routes and lanes, improved bike parking, successful Safe Routes to School programs, the addition of Shared Lane Markings (a.k.a. sharrows), effective education and outreach program and a supportive community.

“Culver City has always had many great places to walk and bike. In fact we are already considered one of the top cities for walking in the country. The BPMP is about connecting these places together into a network that allows people to feel safe and comfortable getting around on two wheels, or with no wheels. Today the League of American Bicyclists recognized Culver City for those efforts,” CCBC co-founder Jim Shanman said.

In addition to recognizing communities for their achievements, the Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) program is a valuable resource that offers guidance to local governments looking to become even more bike-friendly.  As communities improve, they can be recognized with Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum Bicycle Friendly Community status.  The League has identified specific policies and programs that will keep our local community moving in the right direction.  This Honorable Mention recognizes that Culver City is on the path to reach these higher levels.  CCBC looks forward to working with the City to take these next steps.

“We are genuinely appreciative of City staff who guided development of the Master Plan and are now working diligently on its implementation.  This award is primarily a recognition of their leadership,” Shanman continued.  CCBC thanks the League for recognizing the City’s many accomplishments in the past two years.

And don’t forget that Culver City is looking for volunteers for their annual bike count this Saturday and next Wednesday.

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Don’t forget tonight’s Ride of Silence in memory of riders killed in traffic.

The nearest ride for those of us in the L.A. area will be the Pasadena Ride of Silence, an easy 12 mile, moderately paced ride starting at 7 pm at the Rose Bowl. The nationally featured ride takes place in Oxnard in memory of 6-year old Anthony Martinez. Other rides will take place in Rancho Cucamonga, as well as other cities throughout California. (Note: in an earlier draft, I mistakenly located the Rancho Cucamonga ride in Claremont.)

I’m committed to attend the LACBC board meeting tonight. But my heart will be with all those who ride tonight, and everyone they’re riding for.

Wherever you are, I hope you’ll take part.

Both to remember those we’ve lost, and send a message calling for safer streets for cyclists.

And for everyone.

Update: If you really want to understand what the Ride of Silence is all about, read this from Chris Phelan, founder of the Ride. But fair warning, you can expect to have a tear in your eye before you’re finished.

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If you read this early enough, you can still celebrate Bike Week by riding the new Expo Line bikeway.

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The fine for using a hand-help cell phone could go up a whole $10 to a whopping $30; yeah, that will certainly act as a deterrent. How about making the penalty the same as DUI, since studies show hand-held cell use is the equivalent of drunk driving?

The proposed law would also ban texting and hand-held cell use while biking, with a $20 fine.

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Peter Sagan makes it three in a row in the Amgen Tour of California, while Heinrich Haussler finishes second — also for the third time. Tommy Duggan has been spending more than his share of time leading the peloton in the Tour of California. And the race is even making news in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez takes the Giro d’Italia’s pink leader’s jersey on the streets of Assisi.

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Clif Bar invites you to celebrate their 20th anniversary by sharing your life-changing moment; five winners will have $5,000 donated to the non-profit of their choice, while all contestants will be entered in a drawing for a month’s supply of Clif Bars.

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Alex Baum gets a well-deserved Golden Spike award for a lifetime of bike advocacy; photo courtesy of George Wolfberg.

LADOT Bike Blog offers a look at Tuesday’s Blessing of the Bicycles, which honored L.A.’s original bike advocate Alex Baum with a very well-deserved Golden Spoke Award. One of my favorite writers for the Times offers her take, as well. More much-needed bike lanes sprout in long-neglected South L.A. Examined Spoke says sharrows schmarrows, and points out L.A. seems to pay more attention to shrubbery than bikeways. LAPD Central offers tips on how to protect your bike; instead of just saying “Learn how to lock your bike,” though, maybe they could explain how to do that. If you’re a member of the LACBC, you’re automatically entered in the Coalition’s May member appreciation raffle. Santa Clara County proposes spending $2 million to complete a key bikeway.

Electric and hybrid cars are 66% more likely to collide with cyclists than traditional gas-powered vehicles. The League of American Bicyclists says a quarter of all bike collisions are hit-from-behind wrecks, a far higher percentage than we’ve been told in the past. Hammacher Schlemmer promises to address that with a real-time rearview camera for bikes; I’d much rather have a three-foot passing law. People for Bikes invites you to meet their Western U.S. crew. Even Sitka AK earns a bronze level bike-friendly city nod; maybe someday, L.A., maybe someday.

Bike unfriendly Toronto claims yet another victim, as the mayor continues to rip out bike lanes. The UK seriously considers lowering speed limits to 20 mph in residential areas; something we should consider ever though current limits are universally ignored. Instead of bitching that cyclists don’t pay our own way, maybe it’s time drivers had to pay the full cost for the roads they use.

Finally, worse than the claim that over half of all cyclists run red lights is an unscientific survey showing nearly half of all cyclists have upset a kitten, the heartless bastards. Even though some of us claim to do it so they don’t get killed.

Jump red lights, that is.

Not upset kittens.

Bakersfield bike racer dies in Sunday stage race crash; Culver City gets an honorable mention

Bad news from Bakersfield, as top local bike racer Suzanne Rivera was killed in a Mariposa County stage race on Sunday.

Apparently, she rear-ended a support van that had stopped on the shoulder during a steep downhill. Rivera will be honored on Wednesday’s Bakersfield Ride of Silence.

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The League of American Bicyclists releases their latest list of new bike-friendly cities; congratulations to Culver City for getting an honorable mention.

And nice work to the hard work put in by LACBC-affiliate Culver City Bicycle Coalition to help make it possible. Thanks to CCBC member Steve Herbert for the heads-up.

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Peter Sagan keeps the leader’s jersey in the Amgen Tour of California, despite a spill and a flat; Cyclelicious captures his shadow crossing the finish line. Maybe Levi Leipheimer is just playing possum. And Sunday’s final stage finish at L.A. Live may lead to Sportsageddon as the Kings, Dodgers, Clippers and the ToC collide in DTLA.

Can we just call a time out on all the blank-ageddons for awhile?

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There are plenty of people who live car free in L.A. every day, so why plan a day around it? LADOT is hiring a Pedestrian Coordinator as well as an Assistant Pedestrian Coordinator. The 10 busiest bike intersections in L.A.; I ride four of them on a regular basis. Better Bike recaps the meeting that lead Beverly Hill’s Traffic & Parking Commission to reject two of the city’s five proposed underwhelming bike pilot projects. As if Bike to Work Day wasn’t enough, you can join in on Bike from Work happy hours, as well. A 50-something cyclist is injured after getting rear-ended by a car in Pasadena. A recap of last weekend’s Montrose Historical Bike Ride. New bike racks in Redondo Beach thanks to the Chamber of Commerce.

The California Department of Transportation offers advice on bike safety for Bike Week. San Diego endorses Scott Peters for Congress. A four-year old Palm Desert boy is hit by a red light running schmuck truck driver while crossing the street in the crosswalk with his mom. Santa Maria police question whether a cyclist was really hit by a car, as he claims. How cars should turn right when bikes are around.

The Sierra Club, which hasn’t always support cycling, seems to be coming around. AAA endorses a more bike-friendly America; does that mean they’ll stop fighting bike safety measures in California? Bike lawyer Bob Mionske looks at drunk biking laws. Walk Score rates the most bikeable cities; maybe L.A. can get a bike score of its own soon. Maybe they need an L.A.-style anti-harassment ordinance in my old hometown. Then again, maybe bike education would make for safer cycling and driving. Turns out riding a bike is the fastest way to get around Boston. New York uses liquor licenses to fight back again scofflaw bike delivery people.

Turns out that bike-unfriendly Toronto is even less bikeable than Saskatoon. A British motoring organization claims over half of all cyclists run red lights; turns out it ain’t necessarily so once you get the facts. An Aussie city considers a proposal to waive the country’s mandatory helmet law for riders on separated bikeways.

Finally, Alabama film maker Katie Rogers talks about her in-process film about going carless in L.A., which just got funded on Kickstarter today. And if this car runs you over, at least you’ll know why.

Through the looking glass — L.A.-area communities suddenly become bike friendlier

I was wrong.

It was only a couple years ago that Santa Monica was named a Bike Friendly City by the League of American Bicyclists.

And even though it was just a Bronze level designation, I felt, like a number of other local riders, that the award was premature at best.

From frequently blocked bike lanes to a heavy-handed response to Critical Mass, and a Class III bike route on Lincoln Blvd that could only be considered an attempt to thin the herd, it seemed clear to everyone other than LAB that the day was long off when the city could be considered even remotely friendly to cyclists.

Remarkably, that day is here.

Just over two years later, Santa Monica is leading the way to becoming one of the state’s most bike-friendly cities, setting an example for every other town in the county, with the single exception of Long Beach.

Bike lanes and sharrows are appearing at a rapidly increasing rate. The city’s first bike corral has recently opened at 5th and Arizona. A new Bike Action Plan, which has been widely praised by cyclists, nears final approval by the City Council next week.

Even life-threatening Lincoln Blvd may soon see changes, as Santa Monica prepares to assume authority for the street from Caltrans, which seems more than willing to accept a few fatalities in exchange for an emphasis on vehicular traffic flow — even though it barely moves much of the day.

The police department has a new commitment to working with — and protecting the rights of — cyclists, with SMPD Sgt. Thomas McLaughlin serving as an effective counterpoint to the LAPD’s Sgt. David Krumer.

And on Friday, the city gets its first Bike Center, one of two in the downtown area that will provide riders with secure parking and showers.

More importantly, there seems to be a shared commitment throughout the city administration to make cyclists feel welcome — and safe — on the streets of Santa Monica.

Funny thing is, it’s not just SaMo.

Cities throughout L.A. County are suddenly stepping up to the bike-friendly plate.

Earlier this week, Burbank opened a new Bike Stop at their Downtown Metrolink Station — which is where you can find those cool new Metrolink Bike Cars that have everyone so excited.  Nearby Glendale recently adopted a Safe and Healthy Streets Plan, including a draft bike plan.

West Hollywood is working on a plan of their own, including a proposal to put bike lanes on busy Fountain Avenue, while L.A. is soon to open it’s first green bike lane, as well as a new separated bike lane on Downtown’s Spring Street.

The seven cities of the South Bay are just one away from unanimous approval of the Bicycle Master Plan. Even tiny South Pasadena approved a new bike plan that will add 24 miles of bike lanes to the city’s streets.

And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

Of course, there are still problem areas.

Like the Expo Bike Path, which is in danger of being derailed by a NIMBY lawsuit, while the planned bike facilities at the Culver City Expo Station face a misguided budget axe. And the supposedly final L.A. County Bicycle Master Plan, which still leaves a lot to be desired.

But even the biking black hole of Beverly Hills is making progress, limited though it may be.

And most shocking of all, the bayside ‘burb of Malibu, where cyclists have traditionally been regarded as some form of vermin, has inexplicably decided to explore achieving Bike Friendly status itself.

Like Beverly Hills, they have a long way to go.

Then again, so did Santa Monica just a few short years ago.

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Barricades at the pier force cyclists to detour

Speaking of Santa Monica, cyclists who ride the beachfront Marvin Braude bike path — now that most of the tourists have gone home and it is actually rideable again — have been stymied by construction barriers at the pier. Along with nearly universally ignored signs asking riders to walk around the detour zone.

The path was closed to allow a storm drain improvement project, supposedly from September 12th to October 21st.

But nearly a month later, it’s still closed.

So rather than go off half-cocked — as I have admittedly been known to do — I picked up the phone and called the number posted on the sign.

After my call was passed through a series of very friendly and helpful people, I eventually ended up with the engineer in charge of the project, who told me that the delay had been caused by the need to work around some unanticipated utility lines. And that they expect to reopen the bike path next Tuesday, just in time for the Thanksgiving weekend.

And that may just be the most important change as the city moves to greater bike friendliness.

When you can not only get the engineer in charge on the phone, but actually get a genuine response and answers to your questions, something very positive is going on.

Are you listening, LADOT?

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One last note.

I ran across this frightening item from the Orange County Register — at least, it should be frightening for anyone who rides behind the Orange Curtain.

Q. Sundays in Lake Forest are the worst: You have a pack of 50 to 75 cyclists riding up El Toro Road. My understanding of the bicycle law is that a bicycle must remain in the bike lane, and in the absence of a bike lane, the riders must stay as far to the right as safely possible. Instead, this pack rides four, five, six across.

– Mark Hermanson, Lake Forest

A. Perhaps Honk’s favorite county road that doesn’t include an ocean view is Live Oak Canyon Road, that windy, country ribbon of asphalt into Trabuco Canyon beneath a leafy canopy. And likely where those bikers go. And a road where cyclists have been known to at times dangerously, and selfishly, ride abreast of one another.

Yes, under state law, on a public road, riders are to be in the bike lane when they exist; so you and your pal can ride side-by-side if enough room exists. In the absence of a bike lane, in most circumstances, cyclists must stay as far right as possible, which would mean going it single file, or they face citations, Deputy Paul Villeneuve of the Sheriff’s Department’s Traffic Division kindly explained.

I don’t even know where to start.

As most cyclists should be aware, CVC 21202 requires cyclists to ride as far to the right as practicable — not possible — while offering a long list a exceptions allowing them to move to the left whenever appropriate.

While cyclists are required to ride in a bike lane where present, we enjoy a similarly long list of exceptions that allow the rider to exit the lane when necessary.

And there’s nothing in the California Vehicle Code that prohibits cyclists from riding two or more abreast. In fact, it’s not even mentioned anywhere in the code.

Which means that cyclists can legally ride abreast as long as they don’t impede traffic — which is defined as five or more vehicles following behind a slow moving vehicle and unable to pass; if they can pass, they’re not being impeded.

In fact, it’s often safer to ride two or more abreast when the lane is too narrow to share, in order to increase visibility and control the lane to prevent unsafe passing.

You’d think someone in law enforcement would know that.

And it’s scary as hell when they don’t.

Los Angeles, Orange County named Honorable Mention Bike Friendly Cities(?)

We’ll ignore the fact the Orange County is, well, a county. Not a city.

Or if you prefer, a lot of cities, even if they do tend to blend into one another at times.

But O.C. and L.A. have made the League of American Bicyclists list of Bike Friendly Cities, if only just barely. Both were named Honorable Mention, a step below the Bronze designation, in recognition of the steps each has made.

And just how far they have to go.

Los Angeles makes its claim on the basis of the new-found support from City Hall that has resulted in a widely praised new bike plan — which is just starting to result in new paint on the street — as well as the groundbreaking bicyclists’ anti-harassment ordinance.

But as Bikeside’s recent survey suggests, local cyclists face far too many unfriendly streets and drivers to deserve a higher ranking; I would read this more as recognition of the possibilities, rather than what’s already been accomplished.

Sort of like Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. And I’ll let you decide how that’s turned out.

If — and it’s a big if — the city manages to stay on course, it may legitimately deserve a bronze designation next year.

Meanwhile, someone else who actually rides there will have to address whether the collection of cities and towns behind the Orange Curtain deserves its designation.

There seems to be an unfortunate tendency to blame rude and scofflaw cyclists for the county’s unacceptably high fatality rate, including a crackdown on the victims — even though the overwhelming majority of Orange County fatalities have been the result of careless, drunk or distracted drivers, rather than lawbreaking riders.

And at least one OC city seem to have an inexplicable fear of sharrows.

But there must be progress being made; Irvine and Huntington Beach have already made the list as Bronze level cities, joining northern neighbors Long Beach and Santa Monica.

And even though SaMo’s designation was widely derided at the time — including by yours truly — they seem to be making every effort to live up to it now.

So maybe there’s real hope for L.A. and O.C., after all.

We’ll just have to wait a few years and see.

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