Tag Archive for Bike the Vote

Morning Links: Waking the sleeping giant in LA and Pasadena, and a gut-wrenching Colorado hit-and-run

Lots of news leading up to next month’s elections.

LA’s Bike the Vote reviews Thursday’s Livable Streets forum for candidates running to replace termed-out Tom LaBonge, while Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers his detailed analysis, along with sound recordings of the event.

My take on night was that Tomas O’Grady and LaBonge staffers Sheia Irani and Carolyn Ramsey stood head and shoulders above the rest, although Mexico City native Fred Mariscal got the biggest applause of the night for insisting LA has to move past its overdependence on cars.

On the other hand, I had major concerns about the ability of the two LaBonge staffers to step out of the shadow of their bike-friendly-in-name-only boss to actually support bicycling and other non-automotive transportation the way they promised.

But in talking to them afterwards, both seemed sincere in wanting to improve safety and make room for bikes on our streets. And while I disagreed with Ramsay on a few points, I came away convinced she would actually listen to bicyclists and be willing to change her mind if presented with compelling arguments, unlike the man she’s running to replace.

Then again, Gil Cedillo made some pretty good promises, too.

But all eight candidates deserve a degree of support for simply showing up, unlike the other six who apparently had better things to do that night.

Meanwhile, Orange 20’s Richard Risemberg seems sold on O’Grady, while the Daily News splits their endorsement between O’Grady and Teddy Davis, who was one of those who didn’t bother to show up on Thursday.

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The LACBC offers great information on how to bike the vote, including responses to candidate questionnaires for council district 4, as well as district 14, where termed-out County Supervisor Gloria Molina is challenging incumbent Jose Huizar, one of the best friends bike riders have had on the city council in recent years.

Personally, I won’t vote for anyone who doesn’t complete the LACBC’s questionnaire. And I hope you’ll base your vote on their responses, as well.

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The candidates in CD 14 talk housing costs and basic services in Boyle Heights. And several candidates, including Molina, O’Grady, Irani and — apparently grudgingly — Ramsey, pledge to take a pay cut if they get elected.

It should be noted that LA city councilmembers receive the highest pay of any large city in the US. Which is one reason the office seems so attractive to politicians who have been termed out of other seats.

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The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition has posted audio of the complete streets portion of a recent mayoral candidate forum for their city, as well as responses to their own candidate questionnaire.

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Why does all this matter?

Because bike riders remain, potentially, one of the largest voting blocks in the City and County of Los Angeles, capable of swaying elections to ensure safe streets for all of us.

But only potentially, until we finally manage to wake the sleeping giant.

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My hometown newspaper offers a gut-wrenching look at the effects a violent left cross and hit-and-run had on a triathlete and father; an exceptionally well written piece almost guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye. Or at least, it did mine.

On Monday, they follow-up with a story asking if justice was served.

That would be a no.

Hell no.

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Local

Confirmation that LA Times automotive writer Jerry Hirsch is one of us. I can personally attest he’s one of the good guys.

A Lakewood bike rider saves the life of a newborn baby who had been abandoned by her mother, scooping up the infant and racing to a nearby fire station. She can be grateful her rescuer wasn’t in a car, or he might not have heard her cries. Thanks to Margaret Wehbi for the heads-up.

 

State

UC San Diego is building a new Class 1 bike path on campus.

A non-cyclist rides the bike lanes of Redlands.

 

National

The bike that Seattle Seahawk Michael Bennett commandeered from the local police to celebrate winning the NFC championship raises $10,000 for charity.

A Michigan bike rider survives a head-on collision with a truck in France to come back and rescue the medical company he built.

A good Samaritan who helped a Florida woman after she fell off her three-wheeled bike ends up stealing it.

 

International

Drawing a thread through today’s news, a proposed mandatory helmet law draws mixed reviews in Saskatchewan; The Netherlands is unlikely to require bike helmets for the young and elderly despite the recommendations of a recent report, and a New Zealand writer says those irritating cyclists need to get over themselves and wear one, already.

The Economist says London is slowly becoming a better place for bicyclists.

Australia’s Rohan Dennis becomes the third cyclist in the last few months to break the previously long-standing hour record, as Bradley Wiggins waits in the wings.

Thai authorities are building bike lanes to accommodate a bicycling boom in Chiang Mai.

 

Finally…

A 13-year old paracyclist sets a new world record for the second time, but it won’t count because doping authorities failed to show up. And a cake, ale and cigarette-loving plump Paddy — his word, not mine — rebels against hectoring from “broccoli-loving cycling fascists.”

Actually, I’m more of a spinach guy, myself.

 

Morning Links: A sad goodbye to Long Beach’s Octavio Orduño, and it’s up to you to Bike the Vote this spring

Sad news from Long Beach.

Octavio Orduño, one of the world’s oldest bike riders, passed away recently at the age of 106.

Orduño rode his three-wheeled bike nearly every day, after giving up his two-wheeler at the insistence of his wife — at the ripe old age 100.

Here he is riding on his 104th birthday, captured on bike cam by his good friend and neighbor, former Long Beach mobility coordinator and Calbike board vice president Charlie Gandy.

I don’t even know what to say.

Except we should all be so lucky as to live and ride that long.

Rest in peace, Octavio. You’ll be missed.

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More on your chance to bike the vote in this spring’s elections.

Flying Pigeon points out how easy it is for a few voters to make a big difference, thanks to LA’s dismal voter turnout. Which could be a big opportunity for bike riders — if we get out and vote for our own self-interests.

With that in mind, be sure to make your reservation for the CD4 Livable Streets Candidate Forum at the Hollywood United Methodist Church on February 5th to meet the candidates in LA’s most competitive district. And yes, I’ll be there, after moving into the district a few weeks ago.

Meanwhile, the LACBC has developed a list of hard-hitting questions for city council candidates to gauge their support for bicycling in their district.

Can’t speak for anyone else, but I won’t vote for anyone who doesn’t complete it.

After all, let’s not forget that CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo didn’t respond to the LACBC’s questionnaire when he was running for office two years ago, despite promising elsewhere to support the planned bike lanes on North Figueroa.

And look how that turned out.

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Interesting idea.

Instead of insuring their bicycles, some riders are forming syndicates by agreeing to pitch in to pay for each other’s bikes if they get stolen, so they only have to pay up if something bad happens.

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Local

A cyclist who lost his leg when a big rig truck cut a corner on Alameda Street now struggles to lead a normal life and support his family.

An OpEd in the Daily News says we should embrace climate change as an opportunity to rethink transportation in LA, and get people out of their cars by making it easier to walk, bike and use transit.

KCRW talks with Streetsblog’s Joe Linton about LA’s proposed bike share program.

Boyonabike joins in on a exploratory ride through east Pasadena to raise awareness of the need for better bike infrastructure. Or virtually any, for that matter.

The Milt Olin Foundation and Yield to Life are sponsoring a fundraising rally against distracted driving next month.

 

State

Yet another bike rider has been killed by a heartless hit-and-run driver, this time in Berkeley.

Oh, please. Despite successful bike share programs around the world, the Orange County Register concludes it just doesn’t work, based strictly on the recent failure of the Fullerton system. Evidently, they think the world ends at the Orange Curtain.

 

National

The conservative AASHTO bikeway guide, the bible for street planners across the country, is slowly moving towards endorsing protected bike lanes.

Cyclelicious offers photos of Viking biking from the East Coast blizzard.

Young professionals come out in force to support endangered bike lanes proposed for Cheyenne WY.

The Oklahoma City council calls for uniform regional bike regulations after turning down a ridiculous reverse three-foot law requiring bikes to stay three feet from motor vehicles.

A pair of mixed-use developments in New Orleans and Baton Rouge are offering their own private bike share programs.

Now that’s what I call a good life. A 93-year old South Carolina woman passed away Saturday; she’d toured Europe by bike shortly after the end of WWII.

 

International

Bike riding is up in Calgary thanks to warmer weather; I’d love to see a bridge like that over the LA River.

London’s Mayor Boris gives the okay to begin work on two protected bikeways crisscrossing the city at a cost of over $88 million.

London planners ask for one bike parking space per bedroom to approve a new residential project.

Celebrate the Cannibal’s birthday with a $17,500 limited edition Eddy Merckx bike.

Egyptian women defy conservative social norms to ride bikes; actually, it doesn’t sound all that different from what women bike riders complain about here.

At least that’s one thing we don’t usually have to deal with here. South Africa attempts to increase cycling despite a rash of bikejackings.

 

Finally…

Evidently, kangaroos have declared open season on cyclists Down Under. You may never have to wash your bike again.

And repeat after me: When you’re carrying a stolen driver’s license and credit card, don’t swerve in and out of traffic while riding salmon.

 

Morning Links: Bikes could sway the race in LA’s CD4; WeHo candidates debate banning sidewalk riders

It’s election time once again in and around the City of Angels.

The LA Times looks at the very crowded race to replace Tom LaBonge in CD4, where LA’s pitiful voter turnout and 14 candidates splitting the vote means it could take only a few thousand votes to win the race.

Which means that a single dedicated group — like bike riders, for instance — could be enough to sway the outcome.

Let’s hope the candidates remember that. And that we do, too.

Meanwhile, candidates for the West Hollywood City Council discuss pedestrian safety and whether to ban all sidewalk cycling in the city.

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Local

Public Radio station KPCC wants to know how you learned the rules of the road. Would that be the legal rules of the road, or the ones we have to live by to survive on them?

UCLA Transportation shares an infographic that makes the case for protected bike lanes.

A man walking on a Santa Clarita bike path is pepper sprayed, then whacked on the head with an unknown object.

 

State

The good news is, it’s not going down; the bad news, it’s not going up. Caltrans’ director assures legislators that the state’s funding for active transportation will remain unchanged for the next two years.

San Diego’s Business Association has discovered a great new way for its members to network and get to know each other: form a bike club.

A Salinas teen receives a national extraordinary courage award for competing on his school’s mountain bike team after losing a leg to cancer.

Nice. After a pancreatic cancer patient on a national bike tour had his bike and equipment stolen in Turlock, locals pitch in to get him back on the road.

A cyclist killed in a rear-end collision on a Sunnyvale highway over the weekend was allegedly under the influence of alcohol, which is likely where the investigation will both begin and end, regardless of any other factors.

 

National

It should come as no surprise to anyone that 75% of people who have had their licenses suspended continue to drive anyway, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Shocking, but not surprising.

People for Bikes offers up five reasons why you should talk your boss into allowing a lunch ride; personally, I usually get my best ideas on a bike.

Bikes are under attack once again in bike-friendly Oregon, as a bill in the state legislature proposes licensing all riders over 18, instituting a mandatory $10 bike registration plan, and barring the use of state highway funds for bike projects.

I don’t even where to start with this one, as a teenage St. Louis-area driver is charged with the hit-and-run death of a man sleeping on a bike path.

Evidently, they take human life seriously in New Hampshire, as the unlicensed driver who killed two cyclists when she plowed into a group of riders while under the influence of drugs gets up to 40 years in prison, with a minimum of 15.

 

International

Next City says cyclists and pedestrians are the best of frenemies, as a Canadian study shows shared paths and sidewalks increase the risk of severe injury. Which you probably already know if you’ve ever ridden the beachfront bike path through Santa Monica.

No. Just no. After a man calls out a bike rider for rolling a stop sign, the rider returns a few minutes later and beats him with a baseball bat.

In an interview with the BBC, Lance Armstrong says if he had to do it all again, he would do it all again.

A cyclist in a UK city suffers two broken fingers when he’s kicked off his bike by a moped rider, something that seems to happen there every January.

A 65-year old woman sets off on a 5,000 mile tour around the British Coast to raise money for charity, and takes her golden retriever in a trailer behind her. Which is exactly what I’d do if my wife ever kicks me out, except she’d probably keep the dog.

Bike riding is booming in Ireland; unfortunately, deaths are on the rise, as well.

Government officials debate whether to pull the cord on Melbourne’s troubled bike share program or exempt it from Australia’s ill-advised mandatory helmet law.

Once again, a Facebook page is accused of inciting violence against bike riders, this time in New Zealand; operators insist it’s not a hate site, despite the death threats to cyclists. Well, what the hell did they think would happen?

 

Finally…

In today’s nod to literature, an ode to a nun on a bike. And for those of us who are cash-challenged, the next edition of English bike scribe Carlton Reid’s excellent Roads Were Not Built for Cars will be published online for free.

 

Weekend Links: UCLA Transpo group honored; Bike the Vote next month and score a Wolfpack Hustle T-Shirt

Congratulations to UCLA Transportation for winning California’s top environmental award.

The university group was honored for developing a sustainable transportation program that led to a 23% drop in driving to the campus; nearly half of UCLA commuters use alternative transportation.

Just imagine how many more might bike to campus if they only had safer ways to get there.

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Bike the Vote by riding to the February 5th Livable Streets Candidate Forum to replace Tom LaBonge in LA’s 4th Council District, and get a free Wolfpack Hustle T-Shirt.

Speaking of which, the Times published profiles of the candidates; of the 14 people in the race, only one — Tomas O’Grady — even mentioned bicycles, making him the early favorite in my book.

Meanwhile, 3rd District Councilmember Bob Blumenfield leads his constituents on an eight mile bike ride through the district, including the Orange Line and LA River bike paths.

And the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition posts the first responses to their questionnaire for candidates for mayor of the Rose City.

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Local

A study of transit users in LA, Atlanta and Minneapolis-St. Paul suggests that making the area around transit hubs more bike friendly could help get more cars off the road.

The executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance asks if it’s time for a road diet on Hollywood Blvd. The correct response would be yes. Or maybe, hell yes.

Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt goes for an LA bike ride with wife Anna Faris.

Sometimes, you don’t even have to ride a bike, as a man just walking his bike in West Covina is seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver.

 

State

Wait, are they pranking us? The director of California’s traditionally auto focused state transportation agency says they need to consider pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users in planning Complete Streets.

Eighteen teams sign up for this year’s Amgen Tour of California, including eight of the world’s top pro teams.

Bosch opens their American eBike headquarters in Irvine.

Maybe cluelessness is another cause of hit-and-runs. A Santa Barbara driver keeps going after hitting a cyclist; a friend of the victim had to chase her and tell her she’d been in a collision.

Santa Rosa goes to court to preserve the right for cyclists to ride on a bike path through private property.

Bike advocacy jobs open up in either side of the San Francisco Bay.

 

National

Biking while blind through echolocation.

Bicycling looks at the 10 best car-free bike paths in the US, not surprisingly, none of which are located in Southern California.

A Santa Fe sheriff’s deputy ends up using a Taser on cyclist he stopped because the guy looked “suspicious” walking his bike, despite — or maybe because — of its flat tire.

A Wyoming newspaper says educating drivers about the rights of cyclists could save more lives than a three-foot law. Then again, who says they can’t do both?

A Chicago Alderman suggests allowing seniors to bike on the sidewalks; evidently, making the streets safe enough for older people is just too darn hard.

 

International

A British mom uses the power of Facebook to get her autistic son’s stolen bike back.

Germany considers banning drunk bicycling. Or very drunk bicycling, anyway, since the proposed max is well over the limit for drunk driving in the US. Thanks to D D Syrdal for the heads-up.

Huh? A member of a British driver’s group says not only is bicycling dangerous, but without drivers, we’d all be dead. I’m sure that must make sense to someone.

An Aussie paper says cyclists should be required to carry liability insurance. Or maybe jerks who string ropes across routes popular with cyclists should, instead.

 

Finally…

If you’re carrying three kilos of heroin and coke under the hood of your car, make sure your bike rack doesn’t obscure the license plate. Here’s your chance to buy a British bike shop for less than $1.50; most I can scrape together right now is about a buck seventeen.

And when a driver asks if you want him to crash into your bike, the correct response is “no.” A Brit cyclist sarcastically said yes to a road raging driver, who promptly backed his car into him.

 

Morning Links: CM Cedillo turns a deaf ear to pleas of bike riders, portraying cyclists as bullies from the 1%

Evidently, 1st District Councilmember Gil Cedillo doesn’t understand how democracy works.

Word from yesterday’s LA City Council session is that Cedillo turned a deaf ear to the pleas of bike riders begging for a safer street on North Figueroa, and instead went forward with a plan to install diagonal parking rather than the bike lanes called for in the city’s already approved bike plan.

As anyone who has ever ridden or driven past cars attempting to back out of an angled parking space can attest, that does the exact opposite of improving safety.

Standing in the same chamber where retired councilmember Bill Rosendahl famously declared that “the culture of the car is going to end now!,” Cedillo insisted that he would not be bullied by cyclists.

I didn’t know that the pleas of a traffic minority group begging for a safe place to travel on our streets amounted to bullying; it seems more like a constituent group lobbying an apparently uncaring elected leader for relief, to me. Which is the very definition of democracy in action.

But what the hell do I know.

Cedillo also described bike riders as “the one percent,” deliberately miscasting cyclists with a term used to imply social and economic exclusivity, based on census data that bike riders make up just one percent of LA’s commuter traffic.

Never mind that the one percent stat only refers to rush hour commuters, and does not count the many people who ride to school or to do errands. Or the many low income, often immigrant, riders in his own district who ride to and from their jobs any hour of the day, often because they have no other way to get there.

And this from a man who publicly professes his support for immigrants to anyone who will listen.

Of course, no one should be surprised by the cold shoulder bicyclists received from Cedillo. Ever since his election last year, it has been clear that he intended to renege on the promise he made to support bike lanes on North Figueroa, back when he still needed our votes.

Cedillo has evidently made the political calculation that he doesn’t need our support to retain his office, in a city where incumbent councilmembers almost never lose elections.

Let’s hope we can prove him wrong.

More disappointing is that no one else on the council, or in city government — all the way up to the mayor’s office — has had the courage to stand up to the real bully in the room.

On that day nearly five years ago when LA bike riders finally found the voice we so desperately needed at City Hall, Rosendahl proclaimed, speaking for the full council, “We’re going to give cyclists the support they should have been getting.”

Unfortunately, Rosendahl has left the council.

And the support for cyclists appears to have gone with him.

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Be careful riding in Glendale, which once again ranks near the bottom on a list of America’s worst drivers.

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Local

Who says no one rides in the rain?

LA Curbed offers a look at the design finalists for the planned bike/ped bridge over the LA River at the Glendale Narrows.

The Mid City West Community Council is teaming with the LACBC to offer a bike safety class on Sunday, January 11th.

Streetsblog spinoff Longbeachize celebrates its first anniversary tonight with a happy hour at the Blind Donkey in Long Beach.

 

State

An arrest is finally made after at least six cyclists were knocked off their bikes by a thief who then rode off on the bicycles in San Francisco’s Panhandle area.

Another would-be bike thief is busted after trying to wrestle a bike from a man inside a store in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.

 

National

Cycling Savvy offers ten tips for successful bicycling in traffic.

Bounce back from your next hard ride with a little tart cherry juice.

More Denver residents are biking and walking to work, thanks in part to the city’s investment in better bike infrastructure.

An 18-year old Boston hit-and-run driver was allegedly under the influence of prescription drugs when he took out a cyclist and five parked cars while fleeing police; the rider is expected to survive, no word on the cars.

In more bike thief news, a Louisiana man is busted for burgling a $5,000 bike from a Mandeville bike shop.

 

International

We all know about the most popular bicycling movies, but what about the top five unknown cycling films?

No, really, the doping era in pro cycling is over. Even though a Mexican rider was arrested smuggling EPO through an airport.

Turns out bicyclists in the UK’s north may be marginally tougher than their southern counterparts.

Excerpts from a new book reveal the ugly drug-fueled final days of Italian cycling legend Marco Pantani.

 

Finally…

No, seriously, if you’re going to rob a pedestrian while riding your bike, make sure he’s got more than $7 on him first. It might have been more helpful if advice on how to bike home with your Christmas tree had come before most people had already bought one.

And caught on video: A cyclist survives a collision with a hit-and-run deer that violated his right-of-way, then fled the scene without stopping to render aid or exchange IDs.

Today’s post, in which I don’t exactly endorse anyone — and urge you to wake the sleeping bike giant

The future of bicycling in LA County and the State of California is in your hands.

Or more precisely, awaiting your vote.

Bike the Vote LA offers a full slate of endorsements for your voting pleasure in tomorrow’s election.

I’ll leave it to you to make your own choices.

Though I will point out, for those in his district, that District 43 Assembly Member Mike Gatto has proven himself to be one of the most effective members of the legislature — and one of the best friends bicyclists and pedestrians have among California’s elected officials.

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As for myself, I plan to cast my ballot for Bobby Shriver for LA County District 3 Supervisor to replace Zev Yaroslavsky.

While I have a great deal of respect for Shiela Kuehl and all she has accomplished at the state level, I’m troubled by her responses to the LACBC’s candidate survey earlier this year. Especially this one, in response to a question about whether she would support protected bike lanes in her district:

Yes, I would, so long as it doesn’t reduce the total number of lanes available to cars.

In other words, she would automatically rule out road diets, even though a US government study shows they can improve safety for all road users by 20 to 50%. And protected bike lanes have been shown to reduce injuries by as much as 90%.

Meanwhile, Shriver expressed strong support for complete streets, and pledged to build at least 40 miles of new bikeways each year.

But don’t take my word for it. Click the links above to read both candidates’ responses, and decide for yourself.

I also plan to vote for Jim McDonnell for LA County Sheriff.

While I’m troubled by his heavy-handed crackdown on the nascent Lang Beach Critical Mass — including bogus tickets and the illegal seizure of some riders’ bikes — I’m impressed by his responses to the LACBC survey. Especially his willingness to meet with cyclists and establish a bike liaison program similar to the LAPD’s to help resolve conflicts between the department and the riding community.

And I have a real problem voting for a candidate who has barely campaigned for the office he’s seeking, and has spent his entire career in a department riddled with allegations of corruption and civil rights violations, as his opponent, Paul Tanaka, has.

On the other hand, I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to throw my vote away by casting it for Republican Neel Kashkari, who has virtually no chance of beating incumbent Governor Jerry Brown. Particularly in light of his misguided pledge to halt California’s planned high-speed rail system — or as he calls it, Jerry Brown’s crazy train — which was approved by voters in 2008, long before Brown took office.

But I can’t in good conscience vote for a man who vetoed every piece of hit-and-run legislation that passed his desk, as Brown did this year.

Is it too late to vote for Meg Whitman?

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One last note. Or rather, vote.

I will be voting in favor of LA County Proposition P, which in effect replaces two soon-to-expire property taxes that have funded parks and bikeways throughout the county.

Prop P would create a 30-year stream of funding for parks and open space, beaches and trails — including, possibly, a 22-mile bikeway from Claremont to Rosemead.

Yes, we could all benefit from lower taxes.

But if Prop P fails, everyone in LA County will be poorer for it.

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Finally, a quick reminder.

As we’ve noted before, LADOT estimated in the 2010 bike plan that there are roughly 400,000 people in the City of Angels who ride a bike on a monthly basis.

Which is about 22,000 more than bothered to vote in the last city election.

And there’s no reason to believe the same doesn’t hold true throughout the county, where only 17% of registered voters bothered to cast their ballots in the June primary.

That makes bicyclists the sleeping giant of LA politics, with the power to sway elections — especially close ones.

But only if we remember to vote in terms of our own self interests.

Or bother to vote, period.

Because we have the power to ensure a bike-friendly future for the City and County of Los Angeles.

And as we’ve seen, it only takes electing the wrong person to undo hard-won the gains we’ve made.

 

Morning Links: LACBC Bikes the Vote in June’s county elections, and anti-bike San Marino NIMBYs attack

Things are starting to get interesting.

As we discussed earlier, the LACBC’s Civic Engagement Committee* crafted questionnaires for the candidates for LA County Supervisor and Sheriff in next month’s primary election.

Now responses have finally come in from some of the leading candidates, including Hilda Solis in the 1st District, and Bobby Shriver and Sheila Kuehl in the 3rd, as well as Jim McDonnell, considered by many to be the front runner for county sheriff.

And they have some intriguing things to say.

Personally, I’ve been leaning towards Kuehl. But I’m starting to seriously question that choice based on her comment — which she repeats twice — that she supports bike lanes as long as they don’t reduce the total number of lanes available to vehicles.

In other words, she’s not in favor road diets.

Even when they reduce speeds and improve safety and livability for everyone. And she seems to be in favor of maintaining the automotive hegemony that has made a shambles of our city and county, and put the lives of their residents at risk.

But other than that, she has some good things to say.

On the other hand, Shriver seems to get that overcapacity encourages high speeds and dangerous driving, and that narrowing lanes and installing bikeways can help tame traffic.

Meanwhile, McDonnell has some good things to say about the role law enforcement can play in making the streets safer and more equitable for people on bikes, and improving relations between the department and county cyclists.

I don’t know yet how I’m going to cast my ballot, whether for these or any of the other candidates who’ve responded to the surveys. But one thing I can guarantee you is that I won’t vote for anyone who didn’t respond.

Because we have a right to know where the candidates stand on the issues that matter to us. And to make an informed decision based on their responses.

Whether or not we happen to agree with them.

*Full disclosure: I chair that committee, and helped write the questions along with LACBC Planning and Policy Director Eric Bruins and some truly outstanding volunteers, including the guy in the next paragraph — and I don’t mean Gil Cedillo.

………

Writing for Orange 20 Bikes, Rick Risemberg agrees that you should read what the candidates have to say about bikes now, or be sorry later. And uses 1st District City Councilmember Gil Cedillo — who didn’t respond to the LACBC’s questionnaire for last year’s city election — as the poster child for what could happen otherwise.

The LA Times notes Kuehl and Shriver also disagree on the plans for the Subway Not Quite to the Sea as it passes through Beverly Hills and under the high school. And whether that really matters at this point.

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Evidently, they have NIMBYs in San Marino, too.

Annonymous opposition has arisen to what had been expected to be a fairly smooth route to adoption of the city’s draft bicycle and pedestrian plan (pdf).

Their objections seem to focus on the plan’s regional connectivity with other local jurisdictions — which could bring dreaded outsiders on bikes! to their fair city. And worse, those dirty, smelly cyclists might “freshen up, shower and change clothes” in their precious parks and schools.

Ooh, scary!

The only thing missing is a reference to Agenda 21. Although I’m sure someone will bring that up at today’s meeting to discuss the plan (pdf).

San Marino flyer front

San Marino flyer back

If you live or ride in the area, you might want to be there.

Because your voice will be needed.

Thanks to BikeSGV for the heads-up.

San Marino Meeting

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Mark Cavendish bookends the Amgen Tour of California with victories in the first and final stages, while Bradley Wiggins wins the overall title and sets his sights on making the team for the Tour de France. Bike prodigy Peter Sagan won the penultimate stage in a sprint to Pasadena City Hall, as a Spanish cyclist celebrates one lap too early.

Meanwhile, Cadel Evans is back in pink at the Giro d’Italia, as Pieter Weening sprints to victory.

………

Local

Former LACBC board member Michael Cahn writes that a bike rider was injured by a car in Santa Monica on Saturday. And examines both how it happened, and what can be done to prevent something similar in the future.

Paramedics rescue a bicyclist who apparently suffered a heart attack while riding on a bike path next to Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country.

 

State

Not even pedestrians are safe from hit-and-run drivers, as a UC San Diego professor is killed while walking on the sidewalk with her husband; thanks to Mark Ganzer for the heads-up.

KCET looks at Bike Week in Ventura County.

 

National

Passersby help free a Seattle bike rider trapped underneath a truck after she’s apparently right-hooked by a drunk driver.

The bicycling equivalent of a dude ranch is planned for a location near Arizona’s Saguaro National Park.

A 90-year old Arizona driver “thought” he had enough room to pass a trio of bike riders; instead, he hit all three, killing one. Something has to be done now to ensure older motorists are still safe to drive before they kill someone, not after.

A Colorado e-bike builder develops a bike-pulled emergency response trailer to help people stranded by natural disaster.

A Michigan bike builder specializes in wood frame bikes.

 

International

Former Trinidad and Tobago national team cyclist Roger Smart was killed while driving on the island, the second member of the team killed in a collision in the last two months.

An Irish bike rider on 3,000 kilometer fundraising tour for his sister’s medical expenses says the county’s drivers are going to kill someone, and it might be him.

Drivers in an Aussie state could now face up to two years in jail for endangering cyclists, motorcyclists and “riders of animals.” I assume they mean horses. Or do they have a lot of koala and wallaby jockeys Down Under?

Nice. A 60-kilometer Hiroshima expressway has bike and pedestrian lanes for its full length, even as it connects six separate islands.

 

Finally…

Cambridge, UK cyclists are being targeted by a drive-by egger. And an Aussie writer wraps her story in so much anti-bike bile it’s impossible to take seriously. Which is too bad, because she  actually has a point.

 

More bicyclists than voters in L.A., and it’s déjà vu all over again as 3-foot law makes a comeback

If you don’t remember anything else from today’s post, remember this.

Only 377,881 Angelenos bothered to cast a ballot in the city election earlier this month. That’s less than the estimated 400,000 people who ride a bike in Los Angeles every month.

If we don’t have power in this city — and we don’t — it’s our own damn fault.

Seriously.

If you don’t care enough to vote, don’t complain about the dangerous streets and lack of infrastructure you’ll help saddle the rest of us with in the years to come.

………

A California legislator makes a third attempt to pass a three-foot passing law — and get it past two-time veto pen wielding Governor Jerry Brown, who seems to be popular with everyone but bike riders these days.

This law seems significantly better than the last version; as I read it, it requires a minimum three-foot distance even when passing cyclists riding in bike lanes, unlike last year’s bill. And this one includes the exemption allowing motorists to briefly cross a double yellow line to pass a bicyclist, which is the excuse reason Brown gave for vetoing the last bill, and which seemed credible to virtually no one.

Even Sutter didn’t buy that crap.

Meanwhile, a bill that would have required drivers to be tested on their knowledge of bike laws and infrastructure was inexplicably gutted by it’s own author; it now deals just with distracted driving.

………

CD 14 Council Member Jose Huizar supports bike lanes on a reconfigured Colorado Blvd, while Tom “Bike Bell” LaBonge comes out against bike lanes on Lankershim. A public forum was held at Occidental College to examine the battle over NELA bike lanes; reports are cyclists came out in force, even if those who regularly ride the corridor were bizarrely called outside interests. Walk Eagle Rock addresses, in advance, some of the concerns expressed at the meeting.

Meanwhile, KCET’s SoCal Connected offers a good look at the bike lane controversy, which really shouldn’t be one unless you consider cars more important than human beings. The Times examines the conflict over a planned bikeway on Polk Street in Baghdad by the Bay; Boyonabike effectively dissects the story to expose an inherent anti-bike bias.

And apparently, building bike lanes is no easier in Riverside. Or Omaha, for that matter.

Once everyone is done attacking bike lanes, I’m sure Mom, baseball and apple pie will probably be next.

………

Flying Pigeon says the recent Rowena road diet creates the opportunity for a real bike network. MyFigueroa presents the updated plan for Downtown’s iconic boulevard on Tuesday, April 9th with guest speaker Charlie Gandy, who I want to be when I grow up. LA/2B offers a March update without really saying anything. Not surprisingly, UCLA says children who live next to parks are more physically active, which should be an argument for more parks, everywhere. An L.A. cyclist enters a light-bearing helmet in the James Dyson Award competition. The West Hollywood city council promises to leave room for possible future bike lanes in approving the La Brea streetscape design, while the WeHo Bicycle Coalition invites you to ride the city’s new sharrows on Fountain, Sunday, April 7th. VeloNews uses the recent Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash race to explore the trend towards unsanctioned bike races across the U.S. Will Campbell wishes a jerk cyclist a nice day. A French couple stops in Malibu halfway on their round the world tour. KCBS-2 says there’s a turf war between cyclists and pedestrians on the beachfront bike path. The Santa Monica Bike Center celebrates women and bikes tonight with a Cycles and Suffragettes Tea Party. Glendale considers capping the 134 Freeway with a park. Environmentalists and mountain bikers clash over access to backcountry routes in the Angeles National Forest. Ride to benefit Habitat for Humanity in Palos Verdes on Saturday, April 6th; and mark your calendar for the Ride 2 Recovery Honor Ride in Agoura Hills on Saturday, April 27th.

What it’s like to ride a belt drive bike. Firefighters rescue an injured mountain biker from Laguna Canyon. A look back at the founding of the Redlands Bicycle Classic in 1984. Once again, we’re reminded that bicyclists need to follow the rules, and assured that virtually none of us ever does; yawn. Biking to Costco is easy; biking back with a fully loaded trailer, not so much. A San Francisco writer enters a Dickensian urban underground in search of his stolen bike.

Riding is usually a refuge from whatever is going on in our lives, but not always. An evangelical minister has travelled nearly 220,000 miles and worn out seven bikes after leaving Portland in 1993 to spread the gospel by bike. Jackson Hole WY cyclists have a month-long car-free route cut in half due to budget cutbacks. A Corpus Christi publication correctly observes that if the roads aren’t safe for cyclists, they aren’t safe, period. For the second time in three days, a hit-and-run driver runs down a cyclist in a Louisiana parish; the first rider was killed. Before it was Motown, Detroit was a bicycle town. Bikes to be banned at Ohio State University; not unlike like their football team. The granddaddy of unsanctioned fixed gear races rolls this weekend with the Red Hook Criterium. Why don’t police take a broken windows approach to traffic violence? New York cyclists are posting living wills online begging police to investigate the crash if they killed. A petition calls for adding bike and pedestrian pathways on New York’s famed Verrazano bridge.

Science looks at why bicyclists ride through red lights. São Paulo cyclists fight for justice after a rider loses an arm in a hit-and-run. Canadian students develop a crash-test dummy to study bike collisions, something that’s long past due; one of my life’s goals is to establish an academy to study the unique forensics of bicycling collisions. Even cities in the Northwest Territories consider bike lanes, while Whitehorse wants help updating the rules. A UK plastic surgeon claims vanity is driving middle-aged male cyclists to have varicose veins removed; mine were caused by the road raging driver who deliberately crashed into me, so I’m keeping them as a reminder, thanks. British Cycling wants to get more people biking to work. Brit cyclists will soon get a four-mile train tunnel repurposed as the country’s longest underground bikeway; in this country, it would soon be overrun with homeless camps and lurking criminals. A Queensland Sikh successfully fights a ticket for not wearing a bike helmet. Two Christchurch cyclists are killed in three days. Scofflaw Tokyo cyclists could face up to three months in jail.

Finally, the Onion says it’s pretty incredible that American’s are entrusted to drive cars; yes, it’s satire, but there can be a lot of truth in humor. And as if parking in a bike lane isn’t bad enough, a Santa Cruz man is arrested for jerking off in one near a junior high school.

No, seriously.

Ewww.

……..

Thanks to Neil Myers for the kind words; always good to hear from a new reader. Especially one who isn’t pissed off or wants to threaten me.

And I somehow forget to offer passover greetings to my Jewish readers; fortunately, it’s an eight day holiday, giving me time to atone for my mistake. 

Chag Pesach sameach!

Los Angeles bicyclists claim partial victory in Tuesday’s apathy plagued election

LA-City-Hall-— TreesCall it a mixed bag.

Last night’s election results showed some major victories for L.A.’s bicycling community, along with some painful losses.

Along with a number of cases where we have no idea how the winners stand on issues important to Los Angeles cyclists.

In the most important race, however, we can claim a clear victory as Eric Garcetti and Wendy Gruel both qualified for the May runoff election. Then again, victory in that race was a given, as all five major candidates for mayor were on the record with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition for their strong stands in support of bicycling in the City of Angels.

So regardless of who wins in May, we can expect at least another four years of support from the mayor’s office. And hopefully, continued progress on the streets.

City Council is another matter, as a several bike supporters fell to defeat, while a number of other candidates either won outright, or qualified for a runoff without responding to the LACBC’s survey or taking a public stand on the issues that affect our right to ride and safety on the streets.

In District 1, Jose Gardea took a strong stand in support of bicycling, while Gil Cedillo failed to respond. This district has long been represented by termed-out councilmember Ed Reyes, who has been a strong supporter of bicycling.

District 3 was won outright by Bob Blumenfield last night. He failed to respond to the survey, so we currently have no idea whether he supports bicycling; we’ll have to wait until he casts his first few votes in City Hall to get a feel for where he stands. He replaces Dennis Zine, who hasn’t always been a friend of bicyclists.

Westside District 5 Councilmember Paul Koretz easily won re-election last night, and has gone on the record supporting bicycling, though he questions the much-needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

Felipe Fuentes claimed an outright victory in District 7 without completing the bike survey; he replaces Richard Alarcón, who was not always a reliable voice for bikes.

In District 9, of the two candidates who qualified for the runoff, current state Senator Curren Price did not respond to the survey, while Ana Cubas did, promising to work with the LACBC to make L.A. a more bike-friendly city. However, Price did take a stand in support of bicycling when he ran for the Senate in 2009.

District 11’s Mike Bonin won election outright last night. Not only did he complete the LACBC survey, I’m told he’s an even stronger supporter of bicycling than Bill Rosendahl, the councilmember he replaces, who has been the bike community’s best friend on the city council.

The crowded field in District 13 resulted in a runoff between Mitch O’Farrell, who has been one of the strongest candidate voices in support of bicycling, and John Choi, who failed to respond.

Finally, District 15 was won outright by incumbent Jose Buscaino, who failed to complete the survey.

While I’m disappointed that some of the leading voices in support of bicycling, such as Odysseus Bostick in CD11 Josh Post in CD13, failed to qualify for the runoff, strong bike supporters either won outright or made the runoff in both districts.

Meanwhile, Emanuel Plietez, who was featured here recently, was always a long shot to qualify for the runoff; in fact, he finished last among the major candidates for mayor. However, he has a lot to offer the city and the bicycling community, and hopefully we see his name again in another race in the not-too-distant future.

The bigger disappointment, however, was the lack of turnout by L.A. voters. And L.A. cyclists.

Just over 285,000 people bothered to turn out for the election, a pathetic 16% of eligible voters. And far less than the estimated 400,000 regular bike riders who live in this city.

We have the power to permanently change this city and its streets for the better. But L.A. will never be the city it can and should be until the bike community gets off its collective ass and into the voting booth.

The LACBC will redouble its efforts to get all the remaining candidates in the runoff on the record for where they stand on bicycling issues. Including the race for City Attorney between Mike Feuer and incumbent Carmen Trutanich, which makes the all-important decisions on how bike and traffic laws are interpreted and enforced in the city, and who gets charged with breaking them.

But it’s up to you to get out and support the candidates who support us.

Waking the sleeping giant: The future of Los Angeles bicycling is in your hands — and ballot — tomorrow

We could own this city.

After years of begging for crumbs at the city table, Los Angeles cyclists have finally been offered a seat of our own, earning respect and support from our elected leaders.

The result has been a dramatic change on the streets of L.A. From a bold new bike plan to the first-ever ordinance treating harassment of cyclists as a civil, rather than criminal, offense, allowing bike riders to take scofflaw drivers to court themselves for the motorized threats and violence that occurs on our streets.

A law so innovative, it’s rapidly spread far beyond our city limits.

Not to mention new buffered bike lanes, green lanes, an upcoming bike share and next month’s CicLAvia to the Sea.

It’s been enough to make hell freeze over, as formerly bike-unfriendly L.A. has become just the opposite in a remarkably short period of time, since our outgoing mayor fell off his bike following the last city election.

And it could all go away just as fast.

The progress we’ve made has come as a result of a mayor who understands the power of bicycles and bike riders to transform the city for the better. And city council members who’ve fought for improvements on our streets, including anti-harassment standard-bearer Bill Rosendahl, and Downtown/Eastside bike champions Reyes and Huizar, just to name a few.

Two of those three will join our mayor in being out of office by the end of May, along with five others. In fact, only one of the eight council districts up for election this week features an incumbent running for re-election.

Which means that L.A.’s continued progress in making the streets safer and more inviting for bike riders depends entirely on who wins Tuesday’s primary election and advances on to the May general election.

Which, despite the name, has nothing to do with electing military leaders.

What is does have to do with is shaping the future of a city that is finally moving in the right direction, yet still has a very long way to go.

A lot depends on who is elected as the city’s new mayor.

It’s the mayor who will select the next police chief, and determine whether the department continues as one of the nation’s most progressively bike-friendly law enforcement agencies or reverts to the bad old days when we were treated like criminals for simply for riding the streets. And were virtually powerless to do anything about it.

It’s also the new mayor who will appoint the next head of LADOT, and determine whether the city continues its newfound support for non-motorized transportation or reverts to the auto-centric motor-maniacal capital of car culture it was for far too long.

NOTE TO MAYORAL CANDIDATES: Anyone who promises to poach Janette Sadik Khan from the New York Department of Transportation will have my vote. And my undying gratitude.

Meanwhile, the winners of the eight odd council districts — that’s odd in the numerical sense, rather than strange — will control the purse strings that dictate whether the streets get repaved and the bike plan built out. And whether cyclists will enjoy a willing ear before the council as we have since 2008’s infamous Mandeville Canyon incident.

Or whether we’ll get a political wink and a nod, and be politely shown the door as we were for the many decades that came before.

The funny thing is, we hold more power than we may think.

Because instead of begging for crumbs, we could decide who sits at every chair in City Hall.

That’s because, according to estimates included in the city bike plan, Los Angeles has somewhere around 400,000 bicyclists who ride at least once a month.

And only 285,658 people bothered to vote in the last mayoral election.

I’ll wait while you do the math.

Even subtracting bike riders who may not be old enough or eligible to vote for whatever reason, it still makes bicyclists one of the largest untapped voting groups in the city.

If we turn out in force and vote in our own interests, we can decide the outcome of every race in every election in the city, and every other city in the county, for that matter.

If only because most Angelenos don’t care enough to vote.

And ensure not only that we’ll enjoy a bike-friendly city government for the next few years, but that L.A. will continue to remake itself into the livable, world-class city it should be — and that Los Angeles bicycling will continue to grow in numbers and safety for the foreseeable future.

Chances are, nothing you do on Tuesday will be more important than the ballot you cast. Even the May general election pales in comparison, because you won’t have bike-friendly council candidates to elect in May if you don’t vote for them now.

It’s long past time to wake the sleeping bike giant.

………

Before you vote, check out the candidate questionnaires collected by the LACBC, which managed to get every candidate for mayor on the record supporting bicycling in the City of Angels, along with 14 of the 39 city council candidates. And I’d almost forgotten that CD13 candidate Josh Post offered his thoughts on how to take L.A. biking to the next level right here last May.

Those other 25 council candidates who didn’t bother to respond include some people I genuinely like and respect. But speaking strictly for myself, I wouldn’t vote for anyone who wasn’t willing to tell you where they stand on bike issues.

Period.

Meanwhile, the L.A. Times offers its endorsements, while noting that the mayor’s race is up for grabs; you can look up your polling place and sample ballot here.

And don’t forget to Bike the Vote on Tuesday.

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