The Sacramento Bee says two recent deaths in San Diego and Santa Monica show just how dangerous e-scooters are. But fails to mention that the Santa Monica victim was killed by a hit-and-run driver after falling off his scooter.
Sacramento residents are upset that someone who apparently doesn’t get the concept locked a pair of Jump dockless ebikes to a fire hydrant, and no one’s done anything about it. Seriously, the point of dockless bikeshare is that you don’t have to lock them up, you just leave them when you’re done — hopefully out of the way and not on the sidewalk. And never blocking a fire hydrant.
No, seriously. If you’re already wanted for kidnapping, robbery with a deadly weapon and accessory to a felony, don’t ride salmon. If you’re riding your bike with an outstanding warrant, nearly 7 grams of meth and a thousand bucks, put a damn light on it, already.
Police described one of the suspects as a white male, possibly in his 20’s, standing at around 5 Feet 9 Inches tall, weighing 190 Pounds. He had a full beard and was last seen wearing a black baseball cap, sunglasses, black Hollister hooded sweatshirt, ripped denim jeans and black shoes.
The second man was described as a white or Hispanic male in his 20’s, standing at around 5 Feet 11 Inches tall, weighing 165 Pounds. He was last seen wearing a white and blue baseball cap, sunglasses, a black jacket with a gray hood, a red and blue flannel shirt, black pants and black shoes with white lining.
The driver was described as a white female with a thin build and short stature. She has light-colored hair and was last seen wearing round frame sunglasses, a thick black hooded sweatshirt and red lipstick.
The truck they ran down Rodriguez with is described this way.
The three fled in a blue-gray GMC Sierra truck with a black paper plate on the rear and chrome detailing on the sides, handles and mirrors. The rear driver door is missing the chrome trim. It is possibly a 2008 model.
A proposal intended to fight bike theft by homeless people in Alaska would make it a crime to possess a bicycle with the serial number removed, with a fine up to $10,000; that would allow police to seize the bike to search for the real owner. Then again, if homeless people could pay a $10,000 fine, they probably wouldn’t be homeless.
The first Colorado city has taken advantage of the state’s new modified Idaho Stop law allowing bicyclists to treat stop signs as yields; the law allows each town to decide for themselves whether to let it go into effect. The problem with that is that what’s legal for bike riders in one town may not be legal across the street, with no way to tells you’ve gone into another jurisdiction, or what the law is there.
The traffic safety denier attack on road diets continues to spread across the US, as demonstrated by an op-ed from the Waverly, Iowa branch of Keep the US Moving — the offspring of LA-based motorist pressure group Keep LA Moving — claiming that road diets prevent emergency vehicles from getting through.
A British man forgives the truck driver who put him in a coma for a month by crashing into his bike when the driver changed lanes without warning, and tells him to get on with his life. The court was almost as kind, settling for a weak slap on the wrist by fining him the equivalent of just $641 and letting him keep his license.
Too bad we don’t have the money to put these up everywhere, one for every rider who loses their lives on the streets.
Maybe then drivers would start to pay attention.
Thanks to Steve S for the heads-up.
In yet another example of LA leaders’ rhetoric exceeding their actions, bike-friendly Councilmembers Mike Bonin and Nury Martinez were joined by the decidedly unfriendly Paul Koretz in calling for a Green New Deal for the City of Los Angeles.
Never mind that Koretz has consistently blocked much-needed bike lanes in his Westside district, forcing residents to rely on carbon fuel-driven motor vehicles. And gone out of his way to fight the density that would cut trips for work, school and shopping.
Koretz has long positioned himself as LA’s most ecologically minded councilmember.
But until his actions catch up with his words, they’ll remain just that.
Caught on video too: A London bike rider discovers an air horn can move mountains. Or at least pedestrians blocking bike lanes. Be sure to stay to the end for the totally unsurprising response; thanks again to Steve S.
I’ll be joining Curbed LA’s inestimable Alissa Walker, new LACBC Executive Director Eli Akira Kaufman, and Romel Pascual, Executive Director of CicLAvia to paint the Spectrum audience a portrait of biking in Los Angeles, good, bad and otherwise.
I tried to recommend a few other bike advocates with better insights and more TV-friendly faces, but for some reason, they wanted mine.
So let’s just hope I don’t break your TV.
Inside the Issues airs at 7 pm on channel 1 if you’re an LA-area Spectrum Cable subscriber. If not, it should be posted online at the above link sometime after it airs.
Who knows. Maybe I can parlay this into a talking head role as the highly paid bike pundit for CNN.
It could happen.
Let’s all play a drinking game tonight.
Take a sip every time I mention aggressive or distracted drivers, and take a shot every time I say “traffic safety deniers.”
If I do my job right, by the time the show’s over, no one will care whether I screwed up or not.
The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on.
According to the local paper, the ordinance would have imposed the following restrictions, which probably would have killed bike riding entirely in the town.
Bicyclists are not allowed to ride on streets that have no bike safety lane
Bicyclists are not allowed to ride side by side and must be at least 10 feet apart.
Bicyclists older than 16 must register their bike with the town;
Bicyclists are not allowed to wear head phones, sound-preventing device or any type of hearing distraction; and
Bicyclists could be fined $250 for the first offense and $500 for subsequent ones.
The man claimed he drafted it “out of concern for ‘human lives'” after seeing some people ride unsafely.
Just a reminder that there are people out there who would gladly take away our right to the road based on the actions of a few.
Or just restrict it in ways that serve the same purpose.
The war on bikes, part two.
A San Diego cyclist says a truck driver attempted to run him and his riding partners off the road.
Reporting the miscreant driver to his employer was the right thing to do.
However, it’s also a crime; attempting to deliberately run down someone on a bicycle or run them off the road is assault with a deadly weapon. Which means he should also be reported to the police, especially if there’s video evidence of the attack.
Even if the police can’t do anything now, they’ll have a report on file that may be useful if the driver does it again to someone else.
David Drexler forwards video of a brazen tag-team bike theft in broad daylight on a busy street in DTLA, directly in front of Whole Foods.
Watch to the end to see just how much teamwork went into it.
The Anaheim Police Department says share the road in a new video posted on Facebook, explaining to an angry driver that bike riders have the right to take the lane.
Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link.
British TV personality Jeremy Vine had what has to be the close call of the day, if not the year, as an impatient and overly aggressive driver buzzed him while passing in the bike lane he was riding in.
A Moreno Valley bike rider was busted in Santa Monica for riding salmon, riding without a light, and delaying a police officer — evidently by making them look for her when she tried to flee the traffic stop. The first two are just ticketable offenses, so she must have really pissed them off.
Snowy Halifax, Nova Scotia is gearing up for Friday’s International Winter Bike Week with a full week of winter bike events. The forecast for Halifax calls for a rainy 45° on Friday; Los Angeles should be sunny and 15 degrees warmer. Just saying.
Although the story also notes that ridership is up in some cities, particularly where they’ve invested in safe bike networks.
Around the country, city transportation officials wish there were more bicyclists like Dandino as they seek to cut traffic congestion, promote health and identify alternatives to cars. After rising for several years, the percentage of commuters turning to bikes declined for the third year straight, U.S. Census Bureau figures show.
Nationally, the percentage of people who say they use a bike to get to work fell by 3.2 percent from 2016 to 2017, to an average of 836,569 commuters, according to the bureau’s latest American Community Survey, which regularly asks a group of Americans about their habits. That’s down from a high of 904,463 in 2014, when it peaked after four straight years of increases.
Census Bureau figures are notoriously unreliable, however, since they only count people biking to work, and not commuting or riding for other purposes.
And if someone uses a bicycle as part of a multimodal commute, it’s usually not categorized as a bike commute.
Meanwhile, the news was mixed in Long Beach.
Long Beach, California, saw a 23.1 percent increase in the number of bike commuters from 2016 to 2017, though it was down 19 percent from 2011 to 2017, the league’s report says. Over the past decade, Long Beach added bike lanes throughout the city and dedicated routes separated from traffic, including some that recently opened. Its bike-sharing program continues to grow, having 11,000 members.
“I think we are getting a lot of commuters coming into the downtown,” Public Works Director Craig Beck said. “A separated bike lane that goes four blocks doesn’t really do anything. It’s about point-to-point safety.”
And as usual, the view from Los Angeles was far less rosy.
In a push to make the city more bike-friendly, Los Angeles started installing miles of protected bike lanes and embracing “road diets,” or slowing streets to make them safer for bikers and pedestrians. In a city where the car is king, a backlash from motorists drastically cut back those efforts.
Something LA city leaders still haven’t addressed. Or even seem to care about.
The story goes on to quote the author of a certain humble LA bike blog.
“The City Council and the mayor’s office are only listening to angry drivers who don’t want their commute to be slowed down by anyone,” said Ted Rogers, a veteran bike rider who writes the BikingInLA blog.
“I hear from countless people who say they quit” biking, he said. “They just don’t feel safe on the streets anymore.”
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any stranger.
Authorities had accused David Smith of repeatedly riding in the traffic lane on narrow country roads, causing major traffic backups and — allegedly — posing a danger to motorists by not allowing them to pass.
His defense had been that his bicycle is his only form of transportation, and that he was only riding where he was supposed to by taking the center of the lane.
Evidently, though, the local authorities weren’t fans of vehicular cycling. Smith was sentenced in 2017 to up to two years in jail, but released on probation after having already served a total of 20 months because he refused to accept a mental health evaluation that could have led to his release.
One condition of his probation was that he not ride a bicycle until his probationary period ended in 2020.
A condition he allegedly broke by riding this past October.
Still, there’s something very wrong when what a simple traffic violation — if that — can lead to serious jail time.
Either something is a little fishy, or a Colorado bike shop owner may be the world’s unluckiest pedal peddler.
Because he’s now lost half a million dollars worth of bicycles in two separate break-ins less than three years apart.
Two Chinese boys were lucky to survive with minor injuries when they were run over by a large truck and dragged 30 feet in a crash caught on security cam. As usual, be sure you really want to see it before clicking the link; even though the boys weren’t seriously injured, the image is horrifying.
Evidently, those step-through bikes are stronger than they look. After a Chinese salmon cyclist was hit head-on by a driver, the car suffered major damage to its bumper, while the bike and rider were relatively unscathed.
The field has gotten more crowded in the past weeks, as Jump has dumped both ebikes and e-scooters onto the streets, while Lyft and Razor — yes, that Razor — have jumped into the LA scooter wars.
Cycling Savvy has released a new video just for California bike riders spelling out our legal right to take the lane under most circumstances.
As instructor Gary Cziko explains,
“The exceptions to the far-to-the-right requirement of CVC 21202 provide clear recognition by the vehicle code that bicycling far to the right often exposes bicyclists to unnecessaryrisk, and makes it legal to avoid this risk by controlling the lane.”
Thanks to Cziko and our old friend Karen Karabell for the heads-up.
The LACBC is hosting their last Operation Firefly event to provide free bike lights in Pasadena tonight.
An op-ed in the LA Times says Los Angeles doesn’t have to be a city of parking lots, in part thanks to bicycles, bike lanes and the growth of micromobility. UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup has said DTLA has more parking per acre than anywhere else on Earth. So why are we wasting valuable curb space to provide car storage at the city’s expense when it could be put to better use?
The CHP highlights changes in traffic laws on January 1st, including one that removes any doubt that bike riders are subject to hit-and-run laws on Class 1 bikeways. In addition, bike riders under 18 will now get fix-it tickets if they’re caught riding without a helmet, while adults will no longer need one to ride an e-scooter. But you still can if you want.
VeloNewstalks with the incredible Katie Compton about her 15th consecutive national cyclocross title. Next year they should just hand her the trophy, and let everyone else fight it out for second place.
“L.A. has fallen short of bike-friendly places like Portland and Philadelphia for years, which is why the City Council voted today in a landslide 11-0 decision to finally create a bright green pathway where you can get doored and safely roll around, clutching your knee and writhing in unbearable agony,” said mayor Eric Garcetti… “Countless accidents occur every day because of our poor cycling infrastructure, reckless motorists, and many other factors within our control, but luckily Central L.A. will soon have miles of road fully dedicated to letting riders regain consciousness from these collisions. Never again will you be side-swiped, rear-ended, or cut off by a distracted Uber driver without having a place to tend to your wounds.”
Maybe a little open ridicule will be enough to get city officials off their metaphorical asses and actually do something non-satirical to improve safety.
We can dream, can’t we?
Thanks to Patrick Pascal for the tip.
That music you hear isn’t Jingle Bells. It’s the sound of Taps for West Hollywood’s WeHo Pedals bikeshare program.
Although oddly, not reconsidering their ill-conceived ban on e-scooters.
Much of the blame falls on WeHo’s lack of bike lanes, as well as a sparsity of docking locations in much of the city. And the lack of ebikes didn’t help users navigate the steep hills leading up to Sunset Blvd.
Unfortunately, the closure will leave a large gap in the planned Westside bikeshare system, which was intended to link Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Culver City, UCLA and West Hollywood in a single, interoperable network.
It’s questionable how long the others will be able to survive without private sponsorship, and as dockless ebikes and scooters dominate the bikeshare landscape.
The executive director of the Cardiff 101 Main Street Association, Walker was riding on North Coast Highway 101 near Phoebe Street when she was run down, resulting in serious brain and spinal injuries, as well as broken bones.
In a tragic irony, she was hit while riding on a section of the Coast Highway where she had advocated for significant safety improvements, including roundabouts and bike lanes, as part of the proposed Leucadia Streetscape project.
I’m told he’ll take the helm of the LACBC in January, after moving over from his current position as ED of River LA.
Megan Lynch forwards word of a suspicious looking Craigslist post for a high-end recumbent. She identified the bike as a Haluzak Horizon, and says it’s very unusual for someone selling a bike like that to not know, or at least mention, the make and model.
So if you know someone who’s had one stolen, give ‘em a heads-up.
Forbesprofiles Los Angeles-based Kym Perfetto, who’s gone from bike messenger to one of the first SoulCycle instructors to fitness social influencer, riding her bicycle across North and South America, Europe and Japan in the process.
The FBI lost the trail of 33-year old fugitive Andrea Dorothy Chan Reyes after tracking her to Asia when she fled the country, just five days after killing Agustin Rodriguez Jr.
The father of four died when a driver stopped to let him cross the street on his bike, then was struck by Reyes after she swerved around the stopped car. She dragged Rodriguez and his bicycle the length of two football fields.
In the same story, the Long Beach Post reports the county is considering renewing a $25,000 reward in the hit-and-run death of bike rider Cole Micek last March; Micek was run over by two separate drivers, who both fled the scene.
Thanks to a crappy locking job, this Stolen Brand bike wasn’t. Just mangled and stripped to the bones.
Alhambra’s city council was scheduled to vote last night on whether to return to the recent auto-centric past by banning bikeshare and e-scooters from the city. Thanks to M for the heads-up; no, not James Bond’s boss in MI6. Probably.
London’s Scotland Yard releases video showing its officers dealing with lawbreaking moped and motorcycle riders by ramming them with their patrol cars. Which would be assault with a deadly weapon if anyone else tried it.
Thanks to William S and Phillipa M for their generous donations to 4th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive. Your gift helps ensure this site keeps coming your way every day! Any amount is truly and deeply appreciated.
Unless police are alleging that, like Wicksted, Scarpa deliberately targeted his victim, the murder charge suggests that Scarpa may have at least one previous DUI conviction.
People convicted of driving under the influence in California are required to sign a Watson notice stating they can be charged with murder if they kill someone as a result of an additional DUI offense.
Nice gesture from 3rd District LA Councilmember Bill Blumenfield, who introduced a motion in the council(scroll down to the ninth page) that would allow permanent memorial signs calling for safer driving where bike riders were killed. If they did the same for pedestrians, there’d be a sign on nearly every corner. Thanks to TJ Knight for the heads-up.
Three-quarters of Swiss voters agreed to enshrine bicycling in the country’s constitution to protect the rights of bike riders, forty years after voters protected hiking and walking. And no, that’s not likely to happen here in the US anytime soon.