Tag Archive for bike lanes

Beverly Hills tells bicyclists to drop dead; LAPD to focus — finally — on traffic violations this year

Screw bike riders.

That was the message sent last night by notoriously bike-unfriendly Beverly Hills in refusing to incorporate bike lanes in next year’s planned reconstruction of Santa Monica Blvd.

Even though the reconstruction gives the city a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fix one of the region’s most congested and dysfunctionally incomplete streets.

And even though it could be done for pennies on the dollar during the massive reconstruction project.

And even though it would connect the bike lanes that currently exist on the boulevard on either side of the city, completing the gap that exists between bike lanes in West Hollywood and Century City.

And even though Beverly Hills traffic already makes it the most dangerous city of its size in the state of California.

Oddly, several of the city’s council members expressed their concern for the safety of cyclists before voting to ignore their needs.

We’ll let Better Bike’s Mark Elliot, who led the seemingly Sisyphean fight in this over-privileged Mayberry tell the whole disturbing and dystopian tale.

The question is, what can we do going forward?

Personally, I think it’s long past time for a worldwide boycott of the Biking Black Hole, where the dollars of those on bikes seem to be valued far below those who arrive in Bentleys and luxury SUVs.

Maybe they’ll wake up if they start seeing hotel cancellations, as domestic and foreign bike riders choose to spend their money somewhere else. Or when the annual Gran Fondo gets moved to out of Beverly Hills because cyclists refuse to support a city that refuses to support us.

Or maybe the answer is to take a page from their own playbook, where seemingly endless lawsuits have attempted to derail the planned subway-sort-of-to-the-sea.

I don’t know if there are legal grounds to sue Beverly Hills for its hard-hearted failure to find room for bike riders on the rebuilt street, even if it does seem to conflict with the state’s requirement to consider complete streets in any road construction project. Or to accommodate all road users on streets that belong to more than just motor vehicle operators.

Maybe there’s a lawyer out there who’d like answer those questions.

But if nothing else, a lawsuit might delay their plans just enough to make it easier to compromise with bike supporters than fight.

It wouldn’t be cheap.

But that’s one Kickstarter I’d be happy to contribute to.

……….

More on last night’s breaking news that the extremely popular Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race has been cancelled, at least for this year.

And the way these things seem to go, possibly forever.

The finger is being pointed at a fear of liability in a notoriously risk-averse city. But as noted last night, I suspect there’s more going on behind the scenes than we may yet be aware of.

Like maybe a wealthy marathon operator upset about those damn bikes piggybacking on their event. Especially when they’re not getting the profits.

Meanwhile, word is some riders intend to crash the route anyway.

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The LA City Council celebrated the city’s first Complete Streets Day on Wednesday.

Which seems odd, since so many council members seem to be actively opposing complete streets on Westwood Blvd, north and south Figueroa, and Lankershim Blvd, as well as a new and improved bike-friendly 4th Street.

I’m sure Councilmembers Koretz, Cedillo, Price and LaBonge wholeheartedly support complete streets.

As long as they’re in someone else’s district.

……….

For years, bike and pedestrian advocates have called on police to increase enforcement of traffic laws in an attempt to rein in the wild west mentality on our streets, where too many drivers feel entitled to do anything they damn well please — too often to the detriment of those they share those streets with.

Finally, LAPD Chief Beck is in agreement, declaring this the “year of traffic” with stepped-up enforcement of traffic regulations, including a crackdown on hit-and-runs.

While that’s good news for cyclists who have share the road with dangerous drivers, remember the knife cuts both ways.

Representatives of the department have often said they are required to enforce the law equally. Which means if they see you go through a red light or stop sign, you’re likely to get a ticket, just like a driver would for the same offense.

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Writing for Flying Pigeon, Rick Risemberg fears support for bicycling is backsliding under the Garcetti administration — echoing exactly what I’ve been thinking for the past several months.

Shockingly, the Weekly discovers a group of cyclists who like to get high and ride. Who could have ever imagined?

Bike safety is an issue around USC, as a cyclist is injured in a collision near campus.

Bikable streets spread further east as Pomona approves the city’s first bike and pedestrian plan.

The 84-year old Newport Beach driver who killed cyclist Debra Deem — claiming he just didn’t see her — entered a not guilty plea to a single count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. If convicted, he faces just one year in jail; Deem’s sister doesn’t think that’s enough.

Plans call for extending an Orange County protected bikeway.

You can contribute to help Riverside cyclist Travis Freeman recover from a serious cycling injury.

This simple bar chart clearly illustrates the relative affordability of protected bike lanes. And as long as we’re talking charts, this one from the UK kind of puts the relative risk posed by cyclists in perspective.

You could own Pee-wee’s bike, some assembly required.

It’s sad to think a bike advocacy group is going out of business after 40 years when bicycling is finally on the rise.

In what seems like at least a minor miracle, Brooklyn police begin ticketing drivers who park in bike lanes.

A Florida man waves at a motorist, who responds by plowing into him and fleeing the scene.

In what may be one of the most intentionally offensive public safety spots I’ve seen, Britain’s Top Gear attempts to teach cyclists the difference between red and green. While we all need to observe traffic signals, very few cycling fatalities are the result of riders blowing through red lights; far more often, it’s a driver who fails to stop and kills an innocent victim. So for the boys at Top Gear — and I say this from the bottom of my heart — fuck you. No, seriously.

A UK bike rider is the victim of an anti-bike terrorist attack when someone strings a rope across a walkway at neck level. Oddly, despite Top Gear’s insistence, there is nothing to suggest that she ran a red light before nearly being decapitated.

Finally, South African cyclists face charges in the road rage attack against a van driver. No matter how angry you are or how justified you feel, always — always — resist the temptation to resort to violence, as hard as it may be sometimes.

Which is not to say I’m an angel; I’ve called drivers every name in the book, including some I’ve made up on the spot.

Then again, they aren’t always the problem.

An open letter to the Beverly Hills City Council

I had planned to attend tonight’s meeting of the Beverly Hills City Council to voice my support for bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd through the city, closing the gap between existing lanes in West Hollywood and Century City when the street is reconstructed next year.

Unfortunately, I am unable to attend tonight. So I’d like to share my thoughts with the Council Members here.

……….

Dear Beverly Hills City Council Members,

I am not a resident of your city.

Yet I frequently find myself traveling through Beverly Hills on my way to meetings in Downtown LA, whether by bike, bus or car. Whenever possible, I prefer to travel by bicycle; I find it more convenient, safer and less stressful than other means of travel.

With one major exception.

The journey through Beverly Hills is usually, by far, the most dangerous part of my trip.

That is not to say that some parts of my trip through the city aren’t safe and enjoyable. The bike lanes that were recently painted on Burton Way are among the best in the LA area; wide enough to keep riders out of the door zone, while moving us safely out of the way of traffic.

The problem is getting to them.

When travelling east from Century City, cyclists have only a handful options to pass through Beverly Hills.

Olympic Blvd is a high speed thoroughfare much of the day, yet dangerously over-congested during the long rush hour periods, safe for bike travel only at night or on weekends.

Charleville Blvd is a safer alternative, though it forces cyclists to either stop at every intersection or flaunt the law in order to conserve energy, while dodging impatient drivers unwilling to share the road. But it takes riders too far south to connect with those bike lanes on Burton Way.

Wilshire Blvd is simply too congested, dangerously unridable most of the day.

Little Santa Monica through the Golden Triangle connects directly with the Burton Way bike lanes, but the narrow traffic lanes force cyclists to ride directly in front of aggressive, and too often, angry motorists. It is an unpleasant place to ride during the day, and dangerous at rush hour.

As a result, many riders prefer Santa Monica Blvd, even though it currently offers a cramped space for cyclists next to traffic that can vary from high speed to severely congested, often in a matter of blocks. And puts riders at risk of being cut off by frequent buses and both left and right-turning vehicles, whose often out-of-town drivers aren’t looking for bicycles on such a busy street.

Carmelita and Elevado Avenues offer much more pleasant options, but again have the disadvantage of having stop signs on every block, and are too far north to provide a viable alternative for most riders.

We need a safe route through your city. We need bike lanes on Santa Monica Boulevard.

By installing bike lanes on Santa Monica, you will provide bike riders with a safe, convenient route through the heart of Beverly Hills, while creating a single, nearly continuous bikeway from the 405 Freeway to east of La Cienega in West Hollywood. The resulting Westside bikeway will bring bike riders — and their spending power — into the heart of Beverly Hills.

Meanwhile, pass-through riders will be easily able continue on to West Hollywood or Century City, or drop down a single block to connect with the bike lanes on Burton Way.

In addition, you will improve safety and traffic flow on Santa Monica by moving cyclists out of the way of traffic — not just on Santa Monica, but on all the streets mentioned above, as cyclists will be encouraged to take Santa Monica rather than streets like Charleville or Little Santa Monica.

In fact, studies have shown that painted bike lanes reduce injuries for all road users by as much as 50% — and up to 90% for protected bike lanes. Bike lanes also act as traffic control devices by channelizing both cyclists and motorists into their own separate spaces and encouraging compliance with traffic regulations.

And bike lanes are a vital step in transforming Santa Monica Blvd from today’s traffic-congested barrier blocking access to the rest of the city, to a complete street that will enhance livability for residents and encourage the tourism local businesses depend on.

Best of all, next year’s planned reconstruction of the boulevard provides a rare opportunity to implement bike lanes at virtually no additional cost, saving future generations the cost of adding them later to correct your mistake if you fail to vote in favor of them tonight.

In fact, a vote in favor of bike lanes creates a unique opportunity in which everyone benefits — motorists and residents, tourists and businesses owners. As well as bike riders who want to pass through the city, and those who want to stop and frequent the city’s many shops and cafés.

I urge you to do the right thing. And cast your vote tonight for a better, safer and more livable future for everyone who lives, visits or passes through Beverly Hills.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers
BikinginLA.com

City Council PLUM committee punts on My Figueroa; major sub-human scum steal an autistic girl’s e-bike

Four years ago Bill Rosendahl fought for bike riders; will anyone step up now?

Four years ago Bill Rosendahl fought for bike riders; will anyone step up now?

Four years ago, former Councilmember Bill Rosendahl famously declared the era of LA car culture was over.

Yesterday’s meeting of the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee head-scratchingly yawned otherwise, as a car dealer and seemingly confused councilmember teamed to throw a monkey wrench into plans for cycle tracks on South Figueroa.

The long-planned and bid-ready My Figueroa has been delayed, perhaps fatally, by the owner of the Felix Chevrolet group of car dealerships, who inexplicably claims to support the project while simultaneously threatening to sue to stop it.

And by Councilmember Curren Price, who has previously proclaimed his support for bicycling, as well as the Figueroa cycle tracks, but now wants further study of a project that has already been studied to death, and consideration of options that have already been rejected for good reason.

And let’s not forget a little bike hate from Hollywood thrown in for good measure, which wants to keep parking their trucks on the street instead of paying for parking like every other Angeleno. Evidently, they’re not satisfied with merely watering down our formerly effective Spring Street green bike lanes, and won’t stop until they’ve turned the entire city into their exclusive back lot.

As Damien Newtown put it on Streetsblog, the project needs a hero.

Unfortunately, Rosendahl has retired. And no one, as yet, has stepped up to claim his mantle in fighting for the rights and safety of LA cyclists on the city council.

The vacuum that exists at the top of the LADOT flowchart means no one there will take on the fight, as the mayor continues to drag his feet on appointing a permanent leader for the department, and prime candidates like New York’s Janette Sadik Khan and Chicago’s Gabe Klein move on to less problematic pastures.

Meanwhile, the mayor himself has yet to publicly take a stand in support of bicycling, other than to sign on to the city’s application to the Green Lane Project — which could be jeopardized by the turmoil over My Figueroa.

That follows other city leaders washing their hands of cyclists, as Westside Councilmember Paul Koretz killed planned bike lanes on Westwood Blvd, and self-proclaimed bike-friendly Councilmember Tom LaBonge has single-handedly stopped major bike projects on 4th Street and Lankershim Blvd, while supporting a killer redesign of the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge complex.

Meanwhile, newly elected Councilmember Gil Cedillo has inexplicably halted all progress on shovel-ready bike lanes on North Figueroa that he previously supported, apparently in a fit of pique directed at his predecessor.

The only action taken by the committee on Tuesday was to ask city staff to study the issues they’ve already studied, using money that has already been spent.

And to report back in 30 days to explain why they recommend what they’ve already recommended.

Maybe it will be enough political Kabuki theater to suggest to opponents that the council members really did consider their objections before going forward with what they should have gone forward with anyway.

Or maybe Koretz, LaBonge and Cedillo will step up and battle for bike lanes, as long as they’re not in their own districts.

And maybe that bacon I had earlier in the week will reconstitute into its original porcine form and aviate out of my ass.

……….

In a major display of sub-human greed, a pair of lowlife schmucks have stolen a custom-made tandem e-bike from a severely autistic 12-year old girl.

The bike has a raised seat back and seatbelt that allows the girl, a double transplant recipient, to ride a bike, which would otherwise be impossible for her. And which render the bike pretty much useless for anyone else.

It was stolen November 30th at 2:32 am from a home in the 4200 block of Marina City Drive in Marina del Rey. Surveillance video shows two men — if you can call them that — carrying the bike over a locked gate at the Marina City Club condo complex.

Chances are, after two months, the bike — which was donated by the Make-A-Wish Foundation — has long been stripped and sold as parts. But the jerks who stole it are still around somewhere, and need to be taken off the streets.

For a very long time.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Sheriff’s Detective Keysha Gipson at the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station, 310-482-6022.

Thanks to Cynthia Rose for the heads-up.

……….

The LA Weekly begs to differ with the LA Times Op-Ed about the living hell Santa Monica has become. Because of, you know, bikes.

Evidently, all those cars streaming in and out of the city have no effect on traffic. Or livability, for that matter.

……….

Britain’s advertising authority bans a Scottish bike safety commercial because 1) it features a cyclist riding without a helmet, and 2) the rider doesn’t cling dangerously to the gutter in an attempt to ride as far right as possible.

The Guardian rightly asks, are they daft?

Note: As Nik points out, that should be “ride as far left as possible.”

Update: In the face of massive blowback, the ruling on road positioning has been suspended; the ruling on helmet use appears to remain in force, even though helmets are not required in the UK.

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Finally, Bangkok closes key intersections to become the Copenhagen of the east, even if bikes can hide bombs; thanks to Vanessa Gray for the link.

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Thanks to Erik Griswold for his generous donation to help support this site; contributions of any amount are deeply appreciated.

Today’s post, in which I hoist the Giro trophy, and ride a much needed new bike lane in DTLA

I hoist the Giro trophy, and enjoy the affections of the lovely podium girl.

I hoist the Giro trophy, and enjoy the affections of the lovely podium girl.

Call off the search dogs.

I’m still here.

My sled-dog mushing, Iditarod-running brother came in from Alaska on Thursday for his first visit in far too many years.

Actually, he sold his dog team earlier this year, and has taken up bicycling, with plans to ride across the country. Or at least the Yukon.

Evidently, the biking bug is contagious.

Or maybe it just runs in the family.

While I had planned on updating the blog over the weekend, I found myself instead running all over LA. And collapsing in exhaustion at the end of each day.

So my apologies.

I’ll try to catch up later today, or tonight, anyway.

Meanwhile, we did manage to catch the somewhat underwhelming Expo for Sunday’s Beverly Hills Gran Fondo, where I managed to finally lift the trophy for the Giro D’Italia.

Without the inconvenience of actually having to ride the race. Or win it, for that matter.

Although the Corgi was, appropriately, in pink.

Meanwhile, I had my first chance to ride the new 7th Street bike lanes in Downtown LA Wednesday night. While I was disappointed that only a small portion of the lanes had been painted up to that point, it was nice to get a taste of the taming that is come on one of the most dangerously unruly streets I ride on a semi-regular basis.

And LADOT promises the rest should be in place the next time I ride that way.

Something else to look forward to.

Virginal new bike lanes on Washington, Rowena lanes are here to stay, and RIP to a 95-year old bike racer

Ran into a pleasant surprise on Monday’s ride. Or over it, more precisely.

I’ve been watching the repaving of eastbound San Vicente Blvd in Brentwood the last few weeks, anticipating the smooth asphalt and newly repainted bike lane that greeted me on my ride back from the South Bay.

What I wasn’t expecting was the new pavement I discovered when I left the Marina bike path on Washington Blvd, extending from Oxford on the west to Lincoln on the east. However, the real surprise was the virtually virginal new bike lane extending the whole way on both sides.

This on a street I ride on a regular basis, making my way a few blocks from the bike path to Abbot Kinney, as in the video below. And one where there was room to ride between the door zone and the traffic lane to the left — but which left me feeling at the mercy of speeding and/or drivers not content to share a lane that waas nearly wide enough for two cars.

Granted, I only rode it a short distance.

But for the first time ever, I didn’t feel like I had to fight for my space on the road. And riding on Washington felt, well, wonderful.

………

The results are in on last week’s prematurely called community to discuss the results of the Rowena road diet and bike lanes, just 90 days after they were installed.

Despite the usual bike hate — some from the usual quarters — word from Councilmember Tom LaBonge’s office is the road diet is here to stay, though it may see some “improvements.”

As long as he doesn’t try to improve it like he did on Spring Street, where LaBonge helped lead the Hollywood attack on the green bike lanes.

Thanks to Patrick for the heads-up.

Update: Velobakery offers a great recap of the Rowena meeting — including the observation that only one person spoke out against bike riders, despite what the other stories might have implied. Thanks to grrlyrida for the link.

Update 2: I’ve received a new PDF from CM LaBonge’s office correcting his position on crosswalks with flashing lights, and replaced the link at the top of this section with the new PDF.

Meanwhile, things may be changing in Pasadena in the wake of the recent death of Phillip O’Neill. Boyonabike reports that a new coalition has been formed to push the city to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians, and work for complete streets.

Pasadena is already one of the area’s most livable cities. Except when it comes to its streets.

If they’re smart enough to listen to the people who live and work there, it could be, as he says, the next great walkable, bikeable sity in SoCal.

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If you haven’t read it yet, stop what you’re doing and read this viral blog advice to motorists, You’re Going to Kill Someone.

Do it now. I’ll wait.

………

Is South LA about to become bike-friendlier? Downtown’s Broadway is about to undergo a massive road diet to make room for people. Newly elected Councilmember Mike Bonin will replace outgoing Councilmember Bill Rosendahl as chair of the Transportation Committee, which should bode well for the city’s cyclists and transit users. Better Bike looks at the former Biking Black Hole’s baby steps to become bike friendlier. Burbank riders will soon get a new bike path — not lane, thank you — connecting the Lake-Alameda bike path to the Burbank Metrolink station. The LACBC invites you to an all-ages Sunday Funday ride in Long Beach this weekend. A Murrieta man is riding 10,000 miles to carry his father’s ashes to China. A Fresno writer asks why police concluded investigations based solely on the testimony of the one with the most to lose. Fresno residents say we’re the ones not sharing the road.

Bicycling’s Bod Mionske offers advice on how to take — or start — a bike traffic school. Surly suggests some things you might not need on your next ride; I’d argue that gloves matter, as anyone who’s ever had road rash on their palms could attest. The Christian Science Monitor says there’s a bike boom going on, in great length and detail. They may be right, as even Sioux Falls holds a ciclavia. Denver cyclists try out a temporary protected bike lane. Lance can’t ride the Tour anymore, but he can ride RAGBRAI. In a horrifying collision, seven bike riders are injured — three seriously enough to require life flight — when a group of 13 bicyclists on their way to Santa Monica are rear-ended by an Arkansas motorist. Dallas police are being sued for running down and killing a bike rider for not wearing a helmet. Minnesota AAA is now offering roadside assistance for bicyclists; no word on whether they oppose bike safety legislation like ours does. After his tandem is stolen, a blind New York rider is deluged with bike offers. Panic in the streets of New York, as Gothamites discover they’re at the mercy of uninsured bike share riders — and helmetless ones, too. In an apparent attempt to troll for web hits, the NY Times calls for a dialogue on bicycling and those ugly bikes clogging the streets. Meanwhile, the Times declares an end to car culture; a Houston writer says it ain’t necessarily so. Steve Martin — yes, that Steve Martin — gets his wallet back after losing it while riding in Pennsylvania. DC area Black Women Bike group raises the profile of cycling. Three years for a hit-and-run Virginia driver who had been drinking the night he killed a bike rider. Clearly, you can carry anything on a bike, even a stolen air conditioner.

How not to fix your bike. British motorists want bike riders to wear helmets and pay for the road; in other news, the bear does shit in the woods. Two UK bicyclists are killed by a truck on a roadway riders are encouraged to avoid whenever possible; they were on the first day of a cross-county bike tour. Brit bike share users may soon be able to don paper helmets. An Irish rider is nearly decapitated by a rope strung across the roadway; less a prank than an anti-bike terrorist attack. Welshman Geraint Thomas rode 90 Tour de France miles with a cracked pelvis. Why women don’t ride the Tour de France; actually, there’s another race going on right now. Remarkably, the cab driver who killed Kiwi pro cyclist Burry Stander will not face charges.

Finally, rest in peace to Gordy Shields, the record-setting 95-year old San Diego bike racer who passed away on Sunday following complications from a recent surgery. He may not have died riding, but if anyone deserves a ghost bike, that man does.

Breaking news: bike lanes come to Beverly Hills

Looking east from just past Rexford Drive

Looking east from just past Rexford Drive

Okay, so it wasn’t a total surprise.

Recent news reports had indicated Beverly Hills would be installing their first bike lanes over the next week or so.

So when I saw temporary no parkings signs on Burton Way on my way to CicLAvia on Sunday, I assumed something was in the works.

Since a meeting of the LACBC’s Civic Engagement committee meant I had to ride through Beverly Hills on my way to Downtown LA Tuesday evening, I made a point of taking Burton Way just to check it out.

And sure enough, as soon as I passed Rexford Drive, after surviving the relative terror that is Little Santa Monica at rush hour, there it was. A sparking, capacious new bike lane — so new, in fact, that other riders were taking to the sidewalk in apparent disbelief of what was right there on the street in front of them.

And who could blame them?

Beverly Hills had long earned its moniker as the Biking Black Hole for being the only city in the area without a single inch of bikeway.

Until today.

Maybe we should call them the Biking Grey Hole now. Especially since the new lanes, along with bike lanes and sharrows due to go in on Crescent Drive, are only being installed on a one-year trial basis.

Still, the lanes felt good, more than wide enough to ride two abreast. And the eastbound lanes connected with the lanes on the Los Angeles section of the street, allowing a smooth, comfortable ride from Rexford to San Vicente.

With the slight downhill, I found myself easily riding at 29 mph; previously, I would have held my speed down for fear of traffic conflicts.

Although I might question the placement of sharrows where the bike lanes end to allow right turn lanes on some of the major streets. While they are placed according to standards in the center of the right through lane, few cyclists are likely to ride there, as there is more than enough room to ride next to vehicular traffic in the few feet before the traffic light.

Looking back at Beverly Hills City Hall, which suddenly looks just a little bike-friendlier.

Looking back at Beverly Hills City Hall, which suddenly looks just a little bike-friendlier.

At least, that’s where I rode, since stopped traffic blocked access to the center of the lane, anyway.

On the ride home, the westbound lanes skipped a block between where the L.A. lanes end just at Doheny, and the Beverly Hills lanes picked up a block later.

After all this time, it seems like a minor miracle that Beverly Hills finally has bike lanes. And maybe a warning sign of the apocalypse.

And of course, they installed bike lanes on one of the streets in Beverly Hills that doesn’t need them, since it was more than wide enough to ride outside of the traffic lane as it was.

But still. They’re actually here.

We all owe a round of thanks to Mark Elliot of Better Bike, who has been leading an almost single-handed, and finally successful. fight for cyclists in the Biking Grey Hole.

Which could take a little getting used to.

Near head-on collision with scofflaw tricyclist, OC hit-and-run, good news in San Pedro and NELA

Talk about close.

A late start meant I didn’t have a lot of time to ride yesterday, so I took a quick spin along the beachfront bike path through Santa Monica and Venice — despite my long-held preference to avoid it as much as possible this time of year.

And I nearly paid for it with a head-on collision with a scofflaw salmon cyclist.

Make that a four-year old scofflaw.

On a tricycle.

She didn’t seem too pleased when I suggested she should ride on the other side, either.

……..

Yet another coward has fled the scene following a serious collision, leaving a bike rider to bleed in the street. This time in Orange County.

According to KABC-7, a teenage cyclist suffered critical head injuries when he was hit by an unidentified vehicle around midnight Wednesday on North Harbor Boulevard near La Palma Avenue in Orange.

A passing motorist saw the victim lying in the street and called for help.

Anyone with information is urged to call Anaheim police at (714) 765-1900.

……..

Tuesday’s twin meetings called to oppose bike lanes in NELA and San Pedro may not have turned out the way opponents might have planned.

The special meeting of the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council’s Sycamore Grove Local Issues Committee — maybe they could work on shortening that just a tad — gave every indication of being a set-up for opponents of bike lanes on Figueroa Street in Northeast L.A. Even going so far as to allow a bike lane hater to present an uncontested 15 minute video in opposition to the lanes.

A presentation he reportedly botched — eventually leading to his ejection from the room for disrupting a public meeting.

The Fig4All website calls the meeting a farce in every sense. Yet one that resulted in an overwhelming 41 to 16 in favor of the bike lanes.

Meanwhile, the highly contested road diets and bike lanes recently installed in San Pedro received unexpectedly strong support from city officials, in a special meeting with area Councilmember Joe Buscaino.

The lanes were installed as part of the 2010 L.A. bike plan, as well as in an attempted to calm traffic on streets with excess capacity — including in front of a school, where parents inexplicably complained about the difficulty of dropping their children off, rather than praising the attempt to increase safety for their own kids.

Fortunately, cooler heads seemed to have prevailed, as Buscaino suggested drivers get used to the changes and find ways to avoid the brief periods of congestion.

I’m starting to like this guy.

Now let’s see if he, and the other members of the council, show as much backbone dealing with Hollywood’s irrational demands to remove the Spring Street green bike lanes at Friday’s council meeting.

………

A couple bike-related items from Metro made it into my inbox yesterday.

First up is how to cope with the new locking turnstiles being activated in Metro train stations this summer.

Metro Rail turnstiles will be activated this summer and open only with a valid TAP card. If you bring your bike on board, please plan ahead for how this change can affect your station access.

Some important tips to remember for bringing your bike through turnstiles:

  • Follow ADA-accessible routes to find elevators and wider turnstile gates to safely walk your bike in and out of stations.
  • If lifting your bike over turnstiles, please be careful. Avoid lifting your bike over turnstiles in a crowded station.
  • Using the emergency exit gate for non-emergency purposes is not allowed and punishable by fine.

Whatever type of fare you’re using – single ride, pass or transfer from another system – it must be loaded on a reusable TAP card to ride any Metro Rail line. Please be sure your TAP is loaded with cash or valid fare before approaching turnstiles at Metro Rail stations. If you don’t already have a TAP card, you canpurchase one along with your fare from the TAP vending machine for a $1.

I can’t say I’m fond of the idea that one-time train users will be forced to buy a tap card, increasing the cost of a single ride to $2.50.

And Metro will be working with bike advocacy organizations to co-sponsor a series of bike education and safety classes throughout the county.

All cyclists can benefit from a working knowledge of the rules of the road.

Continuing efforts to educate all road users, Metro presents a new series of free bicycle traffic safety workshops, rolling out across the county over the next few months.

With funding from the Office of Traffic Safety, Metro is working with the LA County Bicycle Coalition, Bike San Gabriel Valley and Multi-Cultural Communities for Mobility to lead the workshops. A 3-hour beginner’s road rules class will be offered in English and Spanish, and an 8-hour workshop for intermediate cyclists will focus on building traffic skills.

The series kicks off with the following classes. As more classes are scheduled, information will be available able at metro.net/bikes andfacebook.com/bikemetro.

Street Cycling Skills Class 
Saturday, June 22 

8am-5pm
Alexander Hughes Community Center
1700 Danbury Rd
Claremont, CA 91711
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Street Cycling Skills Class 
Saturday, July 6 

9am-6pm
Culver City Veteran’s Memorial Building
4117 Overland Av
Culver City, CA 90230
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Street Cycling Skills Class
Friday, July 12, 6pm-9 pm 
AND Saturday, July 13, 8am-2 pm

Azusa Memorial Park Recreation Center
320 N Orange Pl
Azusa, CA 91702
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Bicycling on the Road Class
Sunday, July 14 

10am-1pm
South El Monte Community Center
1556 Central Av
South El Monte, CA 91733
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

Street Cycling Skills Class 
Wednesday, July 17, 5:30pm-8:30pm 
AND Saturday, July 20, 9am-1pm

California State University Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Bl
Long Beach, CA 90815
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Bicycling on the Road Class
Saturday, July 20

10am-1pm
El Monte Senior Center
3120 Tyler Av
El Monte, CA 91731
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

Bicycling on the Road Class 
Saturday, July 27 

10am-1pm
Palm Park Rec Center
5730 Palm Av
Whittier, CA 90601
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

Bicycling on the Road Class 
Thursday, August 4 

1-4pm
Culver City Veteran’s Memorial Building
4117 Overland Av
Culver City, CA 90230
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Bicycling on the Road Class 
Sunday, August 18 

10am-1pm
La Verne Community Center, Classroom 1
3680 “D” St
La Verne, CA 91750
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

Bicycling on the Road Class 
Saturday, August 24 

10am-1pm
Barbara J. Riley Community & Senior Center
7810 Quill Dr
Downey, CA 90242
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

………

Finally, you could soon fly over potholes; no, literally. And if you’re going to steal precious artwork by a revered artist, bring a bag big enough that it doesn’t stick out of your backpack as you make your getaway by bike at 4:30 am. Let alone big enough to carry everything you meant to steal.

Update: Bike lanes approved for Figueroa and Colorado Blvds in NELA. Or not.

LADOT has just announced that road diets and bike lanes have been approved for Figueroa and Colorado Blvds in Northeast L.A., over the objections of a small but very vocal minority.

This is a huge victory for supporters who have been battling for the lanes, including Flying Pigeon’s Josef Bray-Ali, Fig4All and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

I’m guest editing LA Streetsblog once again tomorrow, so look for a full report there. You can read a PDF of the full General Manager’s determination on link below.

LADOT LOD 053013

Update: So much for that. Just moments after I got my story online at Streetsblog, the city sent out a notice that yesterday’s announcement was merely procedural, and that no final decision has been made.

Not only is the war not over yet, it seems the battle has barely begun.

At least you can console yourself with a mostly bike-centric look at today’s headlines.

Today’s post, in which pent-up sarcasm breaks forth over our own month and the fight over bike lanes

By now, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the kind waves and smiles from the people you pass on the streets.

Not to mention the extra space drivers give you as they pass, and the care they take driving around you. Along with the spoken thanks for riding your bike, reducing the traffic congestion they have to contend with as they make their work to work or school.

Then there’s the way people are speaking up in meetings, requesting — no, demanding — bike lanes in their neighborhoods. And merchants requesting that a traffic lane or parking be removed from in front of their businesses, because they know more customers would spend more money, more often if they only felt safer on the streets.

That’s because it’s Bike Month.

And that changes everything.

Right?

Meanwhile, advocacy group People for Bikes joins with Volkswagen to celebrate with a new PSA calling for peace on our streets and urging cyclists and motorists to roll together.

Can’t speak for anyone else, but while I share the sentiment, this spot doesn’t really work for me.

………

Maybe we should be shocked! shocked! to learn that some San Pedro residents are up in arms over the recent installation of bike lanes.

Yawn.

Yes, while some appreciate the traffic calming and safer cycling the lanes afford, others cry out in fear of automotive Armageddon, as if the loss of a single lane will prevent them from ever getting home again.

Driver, please.

But the reaction has been largely one-sided. The problem, opponents say, is that no one seemed to realize the new lanes would take away traffic lanes.

“The neighbors are furious,” said David Rivera, a member of the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council’s issues committee. “Coming out of those shopping centers, you’re going to have to be real careful.”

Wait.

Shouldn’t drivers be careful exiting shopping centers anyway — let alone anywhere else?

Sounds like the road diets may be doing exactly what they were intended to do.

At the same time, the battle over bike lanes in North East L.A. spreads to — or more precisely, is centered in — the business community; maybe someone can tell me why opposition from a handful of business people outweighs the overwhelming support that has repeatedly been voiced in community meetings.

And tonight the proposed bike lanes on North Figueroa will be discussed at yet another Neighborhood Council meeting, where a small minority of bike lane opponents will undoubtedly attempt to pretend they represent the the wider community.

Richard Risemberg says battles like that are suppressing demand for bicycling, while Flying Pigeon smartly dedicates this weekend’s Brewery Ride to winning over some of those reluctant business owners.

If it sounds like I’ve grown weary of the seemingly endless battles over a simple stripe of paint, I have.

As NYDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn famously said while speaking here in L.A., it’s just paint. If it doesn’t work, paint over it.

Yet those opposed to bike lanes, let alone bikes, fight any attempt to accommodate riders on our streets as if we were irrevocably yanking out all access for motor vehicles. And turning over every inch of every road to the hordes of scofflaws they insist don’t exist, yet somehow blame for all the dangers on our streets.

The only rational approach would be for those opposed to let the bike lanes go in. Then study the results, and if the lanes successful, enjoy the benefits.

If not, then they can raise hell and get them removed, just as speeding pass-through drivers did on Wilbur Ave in the Valley.

Meanwhile, less contentious bike lanes go in on Figueroa from Wilshire to Cesar Chavez. And I captured a photo of the new bike lanes on Wilshire Blvd through the Condo Corridor.

Thanks to Margaret Wehbi for the San Pedro link.

SAMSUNG

Wilshire Blvd looking east from Beverly Glen

………

The League of American Bicyclists announces their ranking of bike-friendly states — or unfriendly, as the case may be. California ranks 19th; with our bike-friendly weather and terrain, it takes some major screw-ups to rank that low.

………

Cycling in the South Bay offers a hard-hitting, and very disturbing, look at racism in bike racing, including accusations that L.A.’s own former National Crit champ is being unfairly singled out.

This policy of ignoring great black cyclists and turning a blind eye to the development of cycling in the black community isn’t limited to ignoring old heroes. The best black bike racer in cycling today, Rahsaan Bahati, former national champion and perennial force in big national crits, continues to be singled out by USA Cycling because he’s black.

Two years ago Bahati was deliberately crashed out at the Dana Point Grand Prix. The video is breathtaking. After the accident, Bahati slammed his sunglasses to the ground in anger, for which he was fined and suspended. [Update: Readers noted that Bahati actually threw his glasses at the oncoming pack, and later took responsibility for his fine and suspension.]

The rider who crashed him out received no penalty at all, even though the whole thing was on video and is one of the most brazen examples of evil and malicious bike riding you have ever seen. Check the video here if you don’t believe me. Seconds 39-42 are unbelievable, but not as unbelievable as the fact that the rider who got punished was Bahati.

You may or may not agree with what he has to say. Personally, I sincerely hope he’s overreacting, but fear he isn’t.

But you owe it to yourself to read it.

Then again, maybe it’s nit just a problem with pro cycling. Streetsblog suggests biking or walking while brown could be the city’s latest crime wave.

………

Paddy Cahill and Phillip de Roos, the founders of the Dutch in Dublin blog, have started a new blog called Cycling With. They plan to release a monthly interview with someone on a bike, with a goal of showing how normal and social city cycling actually is.

Their most recent video features a ride through Amsterdam with the city’s former mayor, Job Cohen.

………

A recent arrival from Portland is looking for collaborators to form a bike orchestra.

No, you won’t ride to performances.

You’ll actually play your bike.

………

Bicycling is becoming normal in L.A. Caltrans invites you to their new bike-themed exhibit (pdf) at their Downtown headquarters during bike month; thanks to Cyclelicious for the heads-up. LADOT offers notes from the most recent BPIT meeting. Los Angeles is asking for money to extend the L.A. River bike path into the Sepulveda Basin. The next CicLAvia will feature the art and architecture of Wilshire Blvd. A fatal car collision in South L.A. involved eight cars and a bike rider; no word yet on the cyclist’s condition. A salmon cyclist gets a ticket in Highland Park. A week after CicLAvia, residents demand repairs to Venice Blvd. As reported last week, the city is offering a $50,000 reward for the hit-and-run death of teenage cyclist David Granados. Just four months after barely surviving a head-on collision, a Santa Clarita bike advocate and amputee is selected to ride down the California coast in the Million Dollar Challenge. Congratulations to Caltech on being named a bronze-level Bike Friendly University. South Pasadena gets $400,000 to spend on bicycling. The Plain Wrap Ride rolls in Pomona on the 18th. Thanks to Road.cc, who reported on the Mulholland motorcycle crash that took out two cyclists and incorporated my story into theirs.

Two new bike bills in the state legislature; one smells like a poison pill to kill the 710 Freeway extension. There will be a Ride of Silence in Rancho Cucamonga on the 15th; I hear there are also last minute plans to hold one in Downtown L.A. A Redding bike rider was shot by a police officer last month after he allegedly tried to punch the cop. A Thousand Oaks letter writer says a proposed road diet is beyond stupid and a death sentence for everyone on the road. A protected bike lane in San Francisco is being held up by a paint shop. Turns out a drivers license really is a license to kill.

Don’t just watch Cookie Monster, ride him. What your bike looks like completely disassembled or if you somehow blew it up; Cookie Monster parts optional. Raisins are as effective as sports gels and jelly beans, but you knew that, right? An Oregon psychiatrist, who could probably use one himself, gets 30 days for sabotaging local mountain bike trails. A Washington state trooper recognizes the bike he just sold in the car of the guy who stole it afterwards. After a Seattle cyclist is killed at a dangerous intersection, the city’s mayor asks for ways to improve safety there; does anyone remember Los Angeles ever responding to a traffic fatality by demanding solutions? Anyone? In response to that death, readers of West Seattle Blog offer some of the most polite comments I’ve ever seen on a bike story. A South Dakota cyclist says a pickup driver used his truck to push him into a busy intersection. A paper in the Twin Cities says ditch the spandex for new bike commuter attire. After a sheriff’s deputy in my hometown cites a cyclist for not moving to the right — a law that was repealed four years ago — he Jerry Browns the rider in an apparent attempt to drive the point home, or perhaps, the rider off the road. Chicago residents are up in arms over plans to remove parking for a protected bikeway.

Rachel McAdams rides a bike, or two, in Toronto. You can smooth out that bumpy ride by putting slick tires on your mountain bike. British bike justice, as a rider receives a bigger fine for punching a driver than most drivers get for killing a cyclist. UK cyclist is killed in a gang drive-over, as opposed to a drive-by. The defense fund for journalist Paul Kimmage in his defamation fight against UCI appears to have been drained without anyone’s knowledge. A Spanish judge orders doping evidence from Operacion Puerto destroyed; the rest of the world smells a seemingly obvious cover-up. Can African cyclists achieve the same success the continent’s runners have? Maybe not, if Cycling in the South Bay is right.

Finally, how to use your bike for self protection. LAist offers a photo of what may be the most ironic blocked bike lane ever.

And Brent Kuhn forwards a wanted poster he spotted he spotted riding home on the L.A. River bike path; actually, it’s not unusual for riders and pedestrians to lose their heads there.

Headless man poster

Boring video proves Weekly writer wrong, anti-bike bias runs rampant, and riders run down on video

Sometimes it seems the truth doesn’t even matter anymore.

At least, not when it gets in the way of a bias against bicycles and those who ride them.

Stick with me here, because this is going to be a recurring theme today.

………

Just one of the many riders the LA Weekly claims don't ride on 7th.

Just one of the many riders the LA Weekly claims don’t ride on 7th.

We’ll start with what was apparently a semi-tongue-in-cheek article in last week’s LA Weekly.

In it, writer Dennis Romero — who famously proclaimed impending disaster before the first CicLAvia and seldom seems to miss an opportunity to unleash his snark on those of us on two wheels — offers five suggestions for solving the city’s traffic problems, from penalizing drivers who stop the flow of traffic to mandatory loss of license for any driver over 65.

Never mind that drivers aged 65 to 74 have the lowest rate of fatal collisions of any age group.

Then there’s his number one traffic solution — Take back the bike lanes.

….taking an entire car lane and giving it to bike riders, as has been done in some parts of town, is useless. It means double the number of cars in one lane and, often, an unused bike lane that neither protects riders from cars nor particularly entices the cyclist. Take a ride down 7th Street, which used to have four lanes and now has two, and you’ll see both mad traffic and an empty bike lane next to you…

That reference to “mad traffic — whatever that means — took me by surprise. Because 7th Street, post road diet, has morphed into one of the calmest, sanest and safest streets I ride on a regular basis.

It wasn’t always so.

Before the road diet went in about a year-and-a-half back — or before it was right-sized, to use the current, more PC planning term — 7th felt more like the wild west, as impatient drivers took to the lightly utilized street to zoom past more heavily congested routes such as Wilshire Blvd and 6th Street, just one and two blocks north, respectively.

And many of those drivers seemed less than disposed to share those lanes with the cyclists who rode them specifically because they were quieter, if not always safer, than those other streets.

Post downsizing, it has become one of the most popular riding routes between Downtown and the Westside. Despite the city’s failure to repave or patch the badly broken asphalt where the bike lanes went in, leading to an at-times bone-jarring ride, especially after dark when the potholes and cracked pavement are harder to see.

Let alone avoid.

I frequently use it myself, at all times of the day or night, as I ride in or out of DTLA for various meetings.

And despite what Mr. Romero suggests, I have yet to see anything close to traffic congestion on the repainted street.

Or angry — or crazy — drivers, for that matter.

Or any other form of the word mad, as it could be applied to traffic on the street.

But don’t take my word for it.

Consider this helmet cam video from last Thursday, recorded as I rode to an interview during what passes for the lunch rush on 7th.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing exciting about it.

In fact, it may be the most boring video I’ve ever posted online. Nothing of any consequence happens.

There’s no right hooks. No left crosses. No near doorings. No impatient drivers honking for me to move out of their way.

Although I did catch a motorist driving in the bike lane about a minute-and-three-quarters in, something I missed until I looked at the footage later that night.

And more to the point, no traffic congestion or angry drivers. No back-ups. No needlessly impeded traffic.

And no, it wasn’t any different when I rode back home at rush hour. Except I saw a lot more bike riders using the bike lanes in both directions.

Where Romero encounters that “mad traffic” that would justify yanking out the bike lanes and restoring automotive hegemony over the street is beyond me.

But I can say without the slightest doubt, it’s not on 7th Street.

………

Speaking of bike lanes, I was shocked to see new bike lanes on Wilshire Blvd — yes, Wilshire — in the Westwood area.

Evidently, the lanes went in after the roadway was recently repaved from Beverly Glen Blvd east to Comstock Ave, finally fixing one of the worst stretches of roadway in the City of Angeles, unaffectionately known by local cyclists as The Gauntlet.

It may go further west, but I was unable to see beyond the crest of the hill before making my turn at Beverly Glen. But I’m told the bike lanes will eventually reach west to Selby.

Of course, the bike lanes are only going in because the Condo Canyon millionaires’ row in the Westwood area was carved out of the planned Bus Rapid Transit Project, where bikes would have shared a lane with buses, allowing the hoi polloi to mingle with the overprivileged, at least on the streets.

But I’ll gladly take the bike lanes, and the finally, and unexpectedly, smooth pavement.

………

Now then, back to today’s theme.

In one of the most egregiously misguided pieces in recent memory, a writer in the UK takes issue with a new paved shared-use pathway in the Warwickshire countryside, decrying what sounds like an ideal pathway as a “grim cycle route” has become the domain of the “Lycra Brigade.”

Thankfully, most of the comments question her judgment. If not her sanity.

Thanks to DD Syrdal for the link.

………

Then there’s this one.

Writing for the London Guardian, the Executive Director of Scotland’s Daily Mail says that encouraging his fellow countrymen and women to bike will only result in more heart attacks, while making offices smell like “a badger’s arse.”

Though just how he has become intimately acquainted with the unique aroma of a badger’s butt is a question I am reluctant to ask.

………

For the benefit of motorists like those above, a Canadian writer offers six ways to kill a cyclist.

Although he forgets one of the simplest and most effective — just frighten riders off the road until they eventually die of inactivity in front of the TV or behind the wheel of their surprisingly not-actually safer SUV.

………

A British study shows that maybe that driver really didn’t see you, as over a fifth of all motorists seem blind to cyclists; thanks to Matt Ruscigno for the heads-up.

………

Fargo Street FMLIAR

Photo by Patrick Pascal

Speaking of Matt, Patrick Pascal shared a great photo of Sunday’s view from the top of Fargo Street, as the competitors in L.A.’s 8th Annual Feel My Legs, I’m A Racer stage hill climb race organized by Mr. Ruscigno struggle up the near impossible and virtually impassable climb.

Hopefully, we’ll soon find out who won.

……..

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has his right shoulder replaced after a serious fall from his bicycle. Odd; I would have assumed he’d lean to the left. Thanks to David Huntsman and Patrick Pascal for the tip.

………

And finally, maybe there is something to that study, as a Mulholland motorcyclist plows a pair of bike riders.

I’m told the rider somehow fixated on the cyclists directly in front of him, and was unable to avoid what he was staring at.

Scary, indeed.

Reports are the rider seem to be okay; one walked away while the other was taken to a hospital to get checked out. No word on whether the motorcyclist was injured, ticketed or charged.

My sincere thanks to everyone who submitted a link to this video via email, comments on here or Twitter. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten another story from so many sources.

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