Tag Archive for bike lanes

Weekend Links: Bicyclist voices heard in Griffith Park flap, but not in San Diego; Seattle driver doesn’t give a f***

They got the message, anyway.

The LA Weekly covers Thursday night’s meeting of the Griffith Park Advisory Board, which discussed the controversy over the ill-advised test project to turn Mount Hollywood Drive, which had previously been closed off to cars, into parking for tourists visiting the Hollywood Sign.

The predictable outcome was a promise to look into the matter, though it’s clear board members got the message from hikers, equestrians and bike riders that another solution has to be found. What, if anything, they’ll do about it after the project’s planned April 12th closing remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, an online petition asks the city to keep cars and trams off the road, but KTLA-5 says pity the poor tourists who just want to get a close-up view of the sign.

And CiclaValley offers video evidence of what all the fuss is about.

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Bike SD offers a report on Wednesday’s meeting to discuss planned bike lanes in the city’s Hillcrest neighborhood, where the Urban Planners group voted unanimously to protect parking spaces instead of human lives; the OB Rag says passionate pleas for safer streets fell on deaf ears.

Even though a new study shows complete streets not only result in improved safety for everyone, but also lead to increased sales, higher employment rates and greater property values.

But sure, keep fighting for those parking spaces while you chase potential new customers away.

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If, like me, you had to miss Thursday’s discussion between former NYDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and our own LADOT transportation maven Seleta Reynolds, you can watch it again for the first time. Thanks to Dennis Hindman for the link.

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Clearly, not all cyclists oppose the proposed law that would require all California cyclists to wear bike helmets, as well as reflective gear after dark. Even if Bike Snob calls anyone who supports a helmet law a traitor and a heretic.

A new temporary clear spray paint from Volvo could solve the reflective problem. Maybe if you just spray your head it will look like you have a helmet on, at least after dark.

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The Bike League is calling on you to contact your Senator to help preserve federal funding for biking and walking.

Meanwhile, over 120 organizations joined together to call for increased funding for active transportation in California.

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A Seattle driver tells a bike rider she literally doesn’t give a fuck about anything he has to say after she parks in a supposedly parking-protected bike lane. And right next to a sign saying she can’t do it, no less.

Although, I think she meant figuratively, not literally, unless she was actually declining a free sexual encounter.

A writer for c|net asks if the rider, while right, might have been a tad sanctimonious.

See what you think.

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More transportation clickbait, as Thrillist ranks the 10 best cities to get around without a car.

LA checks in at a surprising number nine, despite ranking lowest among the top 10 for bikeability, and second from the bottom for walkability.

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Local

A Los Angeles woman makes chandeliers out of used bike parts; her work can be seen at Sunset Plaza, as well as Neil Patrick Harris’ New York home, if he lets you in.

Big improvements are coming to North Broadway in DTLA.

A new Glendale greenway will connect three parks in the city via bike lanes and sharrows.

Join Metro, From Lot to Spot and CICLE on Saturday for the Hot SPOTS bike tour of formerly blighted lots that have been converted to urban green spaces.

 

State

A La Mesa cyclist was critically injured in a horrific wreck when he was hit by an armored car, which proceeded to run over him with both sets of tires.

A trio of Palm Springs thieves are arrested after apparently trading a possibly stolen bike for the SUV they’re accused of taking.

San Bernardino students get bikes for perfect attendance. If they’d done that when I was a kid, I might not have faked a fever so often.

A 32-year old bike rider becomes the year’s first, and hopefully last, traffic fatality in Salinas.

A Silicon Valley bicycling movement is powered by wine, women and chocolate. None of which my wife will let me have these days.

San Francisco police are once again accused of conducting a crappy investigation and unfairly blaming the victim of a bicycling fatality.

 

National

A new documentary examines the conflict between bikes and cars — or more precisely, the overdependence on the latter — including LA voices like Wolfpack Hustle’s Don Ward and Don Koeppel, founder of the Big Parade.

Smart move. To reduce costs and build better relations with the community, Albuquerque police plan to take officers off their inexpensive bikes and put them in expensive patrol cars, where they will be isolated from the public.

The Dallas Observer says a new bill to ban texting while driving will only give cops an excuse to pull drivers over; evidently, they expect people to stop texting behind the wheel on the honor system, which has clearly worked well so far.

A former Mad City mayor calls for a Wisconsin bike highway system.

A Pittsburgh bridge gets a road diet and bike lanes, even if a local carpenter calls them useless.

Showing a rare skill for making a bad situation worse, a Tampa Bay man faces a burglary charge for attempting to get his impounded bike back.

 

International

Welsh police needs at least four cops and a helicopter to arrest a wine drinking bike rider.

A new 700 space bike parking structure gives a whole new meaning to Stockholm syndrome; thanks to joninsocal for the heads-up.

A new documentary looks at Italian Jews who survived WWII and the goys gentiles who helped them, focusing on legendary cyclist Gino Bartali, who should be on a fast track to sainthood already.

A West Australia driver gets five years for killing a cyclist in a wreck he was too drunk to remember.

Thailand will build bike lanes leading to two international airports, while a 14 mile bike path circling another airport will get toilets, lights and security cameras provided by a local bank. We have a lot of banks in LA, right?

The mayor of Kuala Lumpur promises to build more bikeways if enough buildings turn their lights out for Earth Hour. So if they don’t, bike riders get screwed?

 

Finally…

A new women’s jersey is designed to carry your choice of concealed weapon while you ride. If you’re carrying three kilos of coke and heroin in the trunk of your car, don’t obscure the license plate with your bike rack.

And an Illinois town asks bike riders to please stop pooping on the bike path.

 

Morning Links: The Times looks at the need for real bike data; and a crowded weekend calendar of bike events

The LA Times continues their recent look at bicycling issues with a great article pointing out the need for real data to support the growth in bicycling and bike infrastructure.

And they support it with an interactive map showing the growth in bikeways on an annual basis since 2005; I notice almost all growth occurred after I started this site in 2008.

You can thank me later.

No, seriously, I’m kidding.

But the simple fact is, LA has long fallen down in tracking who rides, where they ride and what happens when they do.

And the result is that council members like Gil Cedillo, Paul Koretz and Tom LaBonge can halt vital bike projects because there’s no data to prove them wrong.

The LACBC has tried to step in to provide stats on bicycling in the city and on select streets. But it should be the city’s responsibility, and only the city has the resources to capture vital data throughout the city.

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Lots of great bike events are coming up in the next few days.

Bike SGV invites you to the Grand Opening of their new headquarters this Friday, complete with complementary bike valet.

The annual Midnight Ridazz All City Toy Ride rolls Friday night.

You’re invited to ride and shop in Northeast LA this Saturday. Or enjoy a community bike ride in Cypress Park the same day.

There will be a Kiddie Bike Rally this Sunday at Sycamore Grove Park on North Figueroa; ignore the typo about the date in the headline.

Also on Sunday, there will be a swap meet and racing at the Encino Velodrome, not far from the site of the Santa Cross cyclocross race at Pierce College. Update: Michael from the excellent Centerline Rule website noticed what I didn’t — that event at the Velodrome was last Sunday.

Sunday night will see a tour of ghost bikes and a bike light vigil in Downtown LA.

And mark your calendar for the Love Your Hood Ride in the Northeast San Fernando Valley, sponsored by Bikesanas del Valle, CICLE, Pacoima Beautiful and Metro.

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Local

A Santa Monica columnist says bike lanes are to blame for the city’s traffic congestion; silly me, I thought it was all those cars. And never mind that SaMo traffic sucked long before the city even thought about welcoming bikes in an attempt to provide an alternative to, if not reduce, that congestion.

 

State

KPBS says Caltrans is finally entering the 21st Century and discovering that more Californians are biking and walking more, and driving less.

Keep your eyes open, as a number of vintage bikes were stolen from a home in Santa Ana. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Newport Beach police ticket 21 drivers and four bike riders in their new traffic safety crackdown.

A new state legislator from the Bay Area says California cyclists should throw away our red rear lights and reflectors, and use a flashing white rear light instead. Evidently, so drivers would have no idea whether we’re coming or going.

A Marin County columnist insists that bike advocacy in the area has been set back by a) a road raging cyclist and b) a speeding bike rider who crashed into two kids on a bike path. If the same standard were applied to motorists, no one would ever be allowed to drive again.

 

National

This is how doorings turn deadly, as a rider in my hometown is hit by a car when he swerved to avoid an open car door.

Virginia’s Department of Transportation tracks down the owner of a hand cycle that had somehow come loose on a freeway interchange.

Huh? A Louisiana parish lowers the speed limit on a 17-mile recreational trail because an 83-year old woman was killed by a bike rider four years earlier and over 2,000 mile away.

 

International

A Canadian province moves to require helmets for all bike riders after April 1st. And no, it’s not an April Fools joke.

A British Kickstarter takes an enlightened approach to visibility with bike apparel and backpacks that light up after dark.

Rome’s mayor insists he’s going to keep riding his bike despite mafia threats.

Competitive cycling’s governing body promises much needed sweeping reforms, but so far it’s the moral equivalent of vaporware. However, they do raise the prospect of mixed gender competition in the Olympic Games.

A Philippine priest defies his doctors to ride across the country to raise awareness of climate change.

 

Finally…

Forget titanium, what you really need to impress the gang on the weekly beer ride is a racing bike layered in 24 karat gold.

And a new Aussie study says kids are seven times more likely to need brain surgery if they suffer a head injury while not wearing a helmet — especially they’re in a motor vehicle. So where’s the call for mandatory car helmets for kids?

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Thanks to Jeffrey Fylling and Vanessa Gray for their generous donations to help support this site.

Morning Links: Wolfpack Hustle debates bike lanes with John & Ken, and Calbike forms state’s 1st bike PAC

Wolfpack Hustle’s Don Ward — aka Roadblock — debates bike lanes with KFI-640’s bike-hating John and Ken.

I haven’t had a chance to listen to this one myself yet, but knowing Don, it should be well worth the listen. If you can tolerate the willful indignorance of the hosts, anyway. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton offers constructive criticism of the Times’ pro-bike plan editorial criticizing District 1 councilmember Gil Cedillo’s veto of the North Figueroa road diet and bike lanes.

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Is there a problem with racism in the Tour de France peloton?

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Local

The Times looks at the proposed law to create a much needed alert system for serious hit-and-runs.

Books on bikes could be coming to Boyle Heights.

Culver City Safe Routes to School hosts a family-friendly Bike, Walk & Scoot Festival this Saturday.

Santa Monica will install new green bike lanes on 2nd Street.

 

State

Calbike forms a political action committee to intervene in elections on behalf of bike riders. Maybe they can finance a recall in CD1.

Costa Mesa police are looking for a bike riding purse snatcher.

A Rialto cyclist is seriously injured in a collision with a dump truck.

Big Bear will host a bike festival and Gran Fondo on upcoming weekends.

The Bay Area’s largest bike festival comes to Oakland.

 

National

Bicycling reviews performance popsicles for cyclists.

New self-powered bike trailer takes the work out of towing.

Portland plans to rely on bicycles in case of disaster.

Evidently, it’s open season on pedestrians and bicyclists in NYC.

New York’s financially troubled Citi Bike is on a the verge of a large cash infusion and expansion.

 

International

Studies from around the world show investing in bicycling pays.

A letter writer says Montreal cyclists put up with a lot from drivers, while another asks what about pedestrians?

A British roadie website offers five reasons to become a cyclist. And then there’s cake.

Designed to be deadly? An Irish girl is the latest child to be impaled by the handlebars of her bike, a so-called freak accident that seems to happen on a regular basis.

Amazing idea, as the Cold War-era Iron Curtain is being turned into a 4,225 mile bike trail. Those of us old enough to remember the bad old days could never have imagined something like this.

Cyclists are trying to claim a piece of the road in Dar es Salaam.

A Brisbane rider looks at mirrors for bike riders.

 

Finally…

A merry band of beery brothers bikes 426 miles through the Colorado Rockies. And caught on video: A truly horrifying first person view of the UK equivalent of a left cross; amazingly, the rider walked away.

 

Morning Links: Drivers give more distance to riders in bike lanes; cyclist hurt at Sunday’s LA River Ride

Interesting.

Bike lane opponents often claim the painted lanes encourage drivers to pass at an unsafe distance. But a new study from the UK (pdf) finds just the opposite.

The study compared urban streets with and without bike lanes; drivers on the streets with bike lanes were shown to pass cyclists at a greater distance than on those without, with fewer cases of unsafe passing.

That doesn’t exactly jibe with my personal experience, though.

I find drivers in the lane next to a bike lane don’t usually move over to provide a safe passing distance. Especially bus drivers. Even if you’re hugging the left side line to avoid the door zone.

But then, I’ve never conducted an independent study of the matter.

Then again, the new three-foot passing law that goes into effect in September does not include an exemption for passing riders in bike lanes, so hopefully drivers will learn to give a little more space here, as well.

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I wasn’t able to make it this year, for the first time since I’ve been a board member.

But word has it the LACBC’s 14th annual LA River Ride was another great success; Cycling Across LA takes you on the century ride in just four minutes.

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Speaking of the LACBC, their new 2014 team kits are now available for pre-order at a discount before July 5th.

Team-LACBC-Jersey

 

If you’re a spandex-clad member like me, you’ll want to wear the coalition’s colors with pride. But you don’t have to be a member — or even live in the LA area — to wear it. Anyone who wants to look and feel good on a bike is welcome place an order.

And yes, you will look good.

I’ve got the previous all black version, which is the only jersey I own that is actually flattering and doesn’t make me look like a total bike geek.

And the bright black coloring is surprisingly cool and very noticeable during daylight hours; with the new white back panel and reflectorized details, it should stand out even more, day or night.

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Local

Burbank Congressman Adam Schiff becomes the first US Representative to complete the AIDS/Lifecycle Ride from San Francisco to LA.

LADOT compromises on the North Figueroa bike lanes, now promising no delay at all for motorists at Avenue 26; Metro insists it’s not opposed to the road diet after all.

Meanwhile, Richard Risemberg takes Councilmember Gil Cedillo to task for misrepresenting the facts about North Fig.

And speaking of LADOT, the Bike Blog looks at the future of bikes at Union Station.

 

State

The hit-and-run epidemic hits our neighbor to the south, as San Diego has its deadliest year for hit-and-runs since 2009. And it’s only June.

Sadly, the husband of California’s first female Episcopal bishop is killed in a bicycling collision with an 83-year old driver. Thanks to Biker395 and Mike for the heads-up.

Shades of failed 1980’s road design, as a Mountain View bike lane sacrifices rider safety for the sake of automotive throughput.

 

National

HuffPo explains how to look like a lady while riding your bike. Then again, maintaining your modesty on a bike is a lot easier when you don’t have paparazzi trying to shoot up your skirt.

Bad enough we have to worry about dangerous drivers; a Kansas City cyclist is apparently killed by a downed power line.

A teenager with cerebral palsy is participating in a 250-mile group ride across western Michigan. No, really, what’s your excuse?

New York’s mayor lowers the speed limit to 25 mph as part of the city’s Vision Zero plan. But the NYPD can’t be bothered to investigate most collisions involving bike riders, unless the victim is a pedestrian.

Charlotte NC cyclists call for more to be done to improve safety after a rider is killed.

 

International

A Canadian publication asks if there’s any hope for détente in the war between bikes and cars. But can we please drop any further reference to the mythical war on cars?

You can see a lot of things riding a bike. For instance, two Brit cyclists may have witnessed a murder.

A writer asks if Madrid is too dangerous for the city’s new e-bike share system; then again, they said the same thing about New York before Citi Bike opened.

Despite reports to the contrary, it looks like bicycling in Australia is actually getting safer.

Your bike helmet may have been designed to provide safety for a dummy, not a real head like yours.

A New Zealand truck driver admits to careless driving in the death of a bike rider; he plays the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, claiming he just didn’t see her. But why was a 75-year old man behind the wheel of a 10-ton truck in the first place?

 

Finally…

A bike! A bike! My kingdom for a bike! Infamous English King Richard III could spend the rest of eternity in a bike rack. And if you’re going to harass a group of cyclists, first make sure one of them isn’t an off-duty cop.

 

Morning Links: New study shows benefits of protected bike lanes; OC cyclist threatened and harassed on PCH

Any debate over the benefits of protected bike lanes should end today.

In what’s being called a groundbreaking study of nine bike lanes (pdf) in five cities across the US, researchers funded by People for Bikes found big benefits for protected lanes.

According to Bike Portland,

The facilities included in the sample — hand-picked bikeways from Austin, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Chicago and Portland — showed a massive increase in bike traffic, received high marks for improving safety of all road users, and have won over the hearts and minds of people whether they use them or not.

The story goes on to say a quarter of riders say they ride more because of the protected lanes, while protected lanes increase bike traffic an average of 72% in the first year alone. In addition, 96% of people using the lanes felt safer, and 76% of people living nearby support building additional protected lanes, whether they use them or not.

Meanwhile, 10% of the riders switched from other modes of transportation.

And most significant of all, in an analysis of 144 hours of video footage, nearly 12,900 cyclists passed through the intersections under study without a single collision.

Or even a near collision, for that matter.

Game, set, match.

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Caught on video: Despite riding in a separated bike lane on PCH, an Orange County cyclist is threatened and harassed by jerks in a pickup, who throw water bottles at him and try to run him off the road; KCAL-9 offers a detailed report.

Hopefully authorities will be able to make out the license and press charges for assault. And hopefully they’ll take it as seriously as they say they will.

Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

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Local

Mayor Garcetti will announce the city’s first 15 Great Streets on Tuesday, one for each council district. Including North Figueroa, where Councilmember Gil Cedillo has been actively blocking the bike lanes and road diet that would help make it great.

Bicycling interviews LA Bike Train’s Nona Varnado, even though the LA Weekly says LA is still a car town, and it’s damn well going to stay that way. So there.

The LA edition of the World Naked Bike Ride rolls on Saturday, June 14th. I’d go but I don’t have a thing to wear.

Registration opens Thursday for Wolfpack Hustle’s Civic Center Crit 2 on July 12th.

A new white paper examines how Santa Monica’s school district can embrace bicycling; thanks to Dr. Michael Cahn for the link.

Evidently, Burbank Congressman Adam Shiff really is one of us; he’s on this year’s edition of the AIDS/LifeCycle ride as we speak.

A group of cyclists will depart from Malibu on Wednesday on a cross-country tour to raise money and awareness for Hope for Warriors.

 

State

Calbike releases their summer report.

Speaking of the AIDS/LifeCycle ride, four participants were right hooked by a driver Monday morning; fortunately, none appear to be seriously injured.

A high school exchange student learns the hard way that Shasta Lake is no Holland when it comes to bikes.

 

National

It’s been a bad week for Wyoming cyclists, as two riders are killed by suspected drunk drivers in three days, and a third rider — the wife of one of the victims — was seriously injured. The state is in freefall when it comes to bike-friendliness, dropping 25 spots in just four years.

San Antonio votes to throw $1.74 million down the toilet by removing new bike lanes, even though they don’t slow traffic flow.

Despite gloom and doom predictions, not one person has died using New York’s Citi Bike bike share program in over 8.75 million journeys.

Bike Snob astutely asks when the hell a bike lane ever stopped a cab driver from parking, and who do you think will police blame when a driverless car hits a cyclist, since they already blame the rider anyway?

A DC father invents an add-on kid seat for bike share bikes, and gets a cease-and-desist order for his trouble.

 

International

A new Canadian study says bike helmets do what they’re supposed to do, while an Aussie study says cyclists really do make better drivers, at least around other riders.

A road raging driver repeatedly punches a teenage Brit cyclist, who declines to press charges.

France experiments with paying commuters to bike to work; thanks to new LACBC board member Patrick Pascal for the tip.

Even in car-choked Rome, the new mayor promotes bicycling as a viable option.

Bike racing’s governing body enters bicycle advocacy. After all, they’ve done so well running the dope-free world of racing, right?

 

Finally…

When a father tries to teach his daughter to ride a bike, a neighbor comes out to offer his advice. Then threatens him with a shotgun when he doesn’t take it. And evidently, drivers aren’t the only ones who hate bikes, as a deer follows an employee into a bike shop before knocking him down and trashing the place.

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Don’t forget to go out and Bike the Vote today. It’s only when bike riders stay home — or don’t vote their interests — that we get the sort of elected leaders who actively stand in the way of safer streets.

Morning Links: A slightly less sucky Westside intersection, victory for cyclists on PCH, and spreading ciclovias

It still sucks.

Although maybe a little less.

Despite the city’s best efforts — that would be Los Angeles, not Beverly Hills — the dangerously convoluted intersection of Burton Way and San Vicente and La Cienega Boulevards near the Beverly Center remains a confusing and dangerous place to ride a bike.

Writing for Flying Pigeon, Richard Risemberg notes that Los Angeles has added a bike lane along northbound San Vicente, with sharrows directing cyclists riding through to Burton Way.

The southbound side, which evidently is within the Beverly Hills city limits, currently has none. Nor am I aware of any plans to paint any bike lanes anywhere within the city other than the two already in existence, including one that matches up with LA’s lanes on Burton Way.

As it turns out, I found myself riding home from a meeting Downtown on Wednesday night, so I gave the newly restriped intersection a try.

To be honest, the bike lane on San Vicente was a significant improvement. While you still need eyes in the back of your head to watch out for speeding drivers on the overly wide lanes, I was able to ride more comfortably on the street than I ever have before — especially since parking is confined to an access road, eliminating the risk of dooring.

The problem comes in attempting to continue through the intersection on San Vicente or navigate the turn onto Burton Way.

Either of which requires contending with busy traffic on the multi-laned intersection, while somehow avoiding vehicles jockeying for position to end up reasonably close to where they want to go.

Meanwhile making the turn onto Burton Way requires crossing over three traffic lanes, then waiting for the light to change on sharrows in the middle of the street — which disappear in the middle of the intersection where you need them most to let drivers know you are, in fact, in the right place, and not just riding in the middle of the damned intersection for the hell of it.

It was bad enough at 10 pm when light traffic allows drivers to turn San Vicente into their own private speedway. I can’t imagine attempting it in the unforgiving traffic at rush hour.

I applaud the city for trying.

But unless and until bike-specific signalization is installed to give riders a head-start before motorized traffic is released, this will remain a dangerous place for bikes to be.

And I will continue my long standing practice of avoiding the intersection entirely by turning left at Colgate, then right on Holt to illegally, but safely, cross over to westbound Burton.

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After a cyclist on a group ride is illegally ticketed by LA County Sheriff’s Deputies for the unforgivable crime of riding abreast in an unsharable traffic lane on PCH, Cycling in the South Bay teams with the LACBC’s Eric Bruins to win the right riders should have already had.

And got the ticket dismissed when the officer fails to appear in court.

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CicLAvia-style Open Streets events will soon be spreading throughout LA County, including the long-rumored San Fernando Valley CicLAvia and a possible 50-mile(!) CicloSGVia through the San Gabriel Valley.

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Local

The LA City Council votes to sponsor a California-wide Medina alert to notify the public about serious hit-and-runs. Hopefully, this one wasn’t serious enough to qualify.

LA’s Bicycle Advisory Committee — the city’s only official voice for bike riders — meets Tuesday at Pan Pacific Park. Meanwhile, the next community meeting to discuss the inexplicably troubled North Figueroa bike lanes is scheduled for June 12th.

A new Facebook group has been formed to Bike the Vote in Los Angeles.

KCET looks at getting your bike ready to ride with a visit the Bicycle Kitchen.

Turns out Angelenos are sort of fit, after all.

The LAPD offers advice on how to keep your bike from being stolen.

Plans to save the old Riverside Drive Bridge for bicyclists and pedestrians goes down in flames.

Beverly Hills’ Parks and Recreation director says local kids have no safe places to ride a bike in the city. Then again, adults don’t have many, either.

Long Beach gets new sharrows by the shore.

 

State

The Newport Bay Conservancy won’t back a ban on cars on the Back Bay; oddly, they didn’t seem to have a problem restricting bike use, though.

San Diego cyclists raise $425,000 for cancer research.

The road-raging San Diego driver who seriously injured a cyclist on a charity ride is bound over for trial. The aptly named Douglas Lane, who failed to remain in his, could face up to three years behind bars.

Riverside County authorities ask for the public’s help in finding the hit-and-run driver who took the life of an Eastvale bike rider.

In attempting to reopen a long-settled matter of law, a professor argues that San Francisco’s bait bikes are a form of entrapment designed to target poor people. As long as those poor people happen to carry bolt-cutters with them.

Cyclelicious notes “the sun was in my eyes” is the not-so-secret password of the vehicle code. Oddly, it only seems to work for drivers, though.

 

National

Motor vehicle crashes cost every American an average of nearly $900 a year. And $871 billion to American society.

Bicycling is the fastest-growing mode of commuter travel.

Elly Blue examines what it really costs to ride a bike.

What would it cost to make the whole country as bikeable as Minneapolis.

New York City gets serious about Vision Zero, passing 11 bills to improve traffic safety.

Pro cycling scion Taylor Phinney has a second successful surgery to repair injuries he suffered during Monday’s national road championship.

 

International

A London writer says police inaction jeopardizes every cyclist.

A writer for London’s Telegraph asks if bike racing is the world’s worst spectator sport.

Adelaide cyclists cause gridlock by riding the streets at rush hour; clearly, all those cars had nothing to do with it.

Seriously? An Aussie woman calls the country’s helmet law sexist because it forces women to suffer helmet hair.

 

Finally…

Champion cyclist at 18, international drug kingpin at 32. If you’re riding under the influence, just stop for the damn stop sign. Or at least, for the cops chasing you.

And eHarmony offers 15 reasons to date a cyclist. I’ve always wondered why riders aren’t in greater demand, since anyone who can spend several hours in the saddle isn’t likely to collapse in exhaustion after five minutes of usuallly less strenuous exercise in bed. I’m just saying.

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Please forgive the lack of Morning Links yesterday; between Wednesday night’s meeting followed by a bad bout with bouncing blood sugar levels, writing just wasn’t an option. Hopefully today’s extended version will make up for it.

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.

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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.

……….

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.

……….

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.

……….

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.

……….

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.

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