Tag Archive for bikelash

Morning Links: Biking backlash to misguided WaPo bikelash, and a fund for injured Manhattan Beach racer

Nice.

The transportation beat reporter for the Washington Post responds to yesterday’s anti-bike screed from a fellow WaPo writer.

Here’s my bias: No matter how you go — bike, car, bus, train, boat or plane — I want you to get there safely.

I’m sick to death of people who take risks with other people’s lives.

And lately I’ve become disgusted with all the venom aimed at cyclists.

It’s a great piece. Take a few moments to read it.

I’ll wait.

Back already?

A writer for the Washingtonian offers his own response. The editor of Greater Greater Washington — the site that innocently set off the misguided screed — suggests letting understanding win over hatred. The Brooklyn Spoke says embracing the crazy is the best way to stop the bikelash.

And Streetsblog USA cites still more sources giving the misguided rant the smackdown it deserves.

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Great Le Tour coverage from VeloNews.

Defending champ Chris Froome is out after falling on rain-soaked cobbles, his third crash in two days; Team Sky’s decision to leave Wiggins at home is looking pretty foolish, despite what the team manager says. Then again, things aren’t looking so good for the Spaniards, either. American Tejay van Garderen is growing into his role as team leader for BMC.

And China’s first Tour de France rider is hanging in there, while Garmin-Sharp domestique Jack Bauer says in a Bicycling video that Wednesday’s Stage Five was as bad as it gets.

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A fund has been set up for SoCalCycling.com Team rider Ronnie Toth, who was severely injured in the final sprint of the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix this past Sunday.

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Streetsblog’s Joe Linton adds to the discussion of the OC cyclist threatened with arrest for swearing at the road raging driver who tried to run him off the road.

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Local

Bike liability lawyer and BikinginLA sponsor Jim Procrass answers an intriguing question on Streetsblog: Can city council members be held liable after killing bike safety improvements?

PCH remains a dangerous place, as a 58-year old rider is injured in a collision in Pacific Palisades; thanks to Barry Goch for the heads-up. Meanwhile, a writer for the Weekly says riding a bike in LA can be deadlier than Mumbai or Shanghai.

Protesters march on Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s office to demand a safer North Figueroa.

Levi’s will open a pop-up bike commuter hub in Los Angeles next month; other hubs will open in Brooklyn and London.

Bike in to the Frog Spot on the LA River bike path in Elysian Valley.

Santa Monica police insist their announced July crackdown on bike riders is about education, not writing tickets. So remind them about that if they pull you over; I’m sure they won’t mind.

Long Beach police catch a thief with a taste for $1000 bikes.

Santa Clarita will add more off-road bike trails to their existing 76-mile network.

Westlake Village resident and former pro rider Dave Zabriskie, aka Captain America, calls on everyone to use common sense to improve safety for cyclists.

 

State

A Newport Beach bike rider goes from collision victim to wanted criminal after whacking the driver with a bottle.

Turns out that USA Today report listing San Diego as one of America’s top 10 bicycling cities was based on a single bike path across the bay in Coronado. But admittedly, it’s a nice path.

A writer for Wired takes a three-day, 77-mile journey through the Mojave Desert.

When you’re a known Ukiah meth user on probation with a recent firearm arrest, stop for the damn police car already. Or at least, don’t ride in front of it.

 

National

An NPR producer describes the lessons learned from her high-speed solo cycling fall. Like know your limits and stop when your body says enough.

A Portland rider discovers the risks of falling of your bike include contracting flesh eating bacteria.

Nice to see some businesses get it. Instead of fighting bike lanes, a group of Portland business owners ask for a protected bike lane in front of their storefronts.

Lance gets props from cops for trying to help catch a notorious Austin bike thief.

Instant Karma? An Atlanta thief is severely injured doing a faceplant while trying to ride off with a purloined bike.

 

International

Caught on video: After a speeding motorist nearly runs down a Brit cyclist, he tries again. In reverse.

Scotland’s Town Mouse takes the long way home through the rural countryside. Looks like a lovely ride; maybe she can show me the way someday.

Corking intersections may be controversial, but a network of new bike lanes in Cork, Ireland should be reason to celebrate.

 

Finally…

Don’t get drunk and ride through the middle of a police investigation. Just don’t. Bikeyface says it’s hard to talk to a machine, let alone understand what it’s trying to say.

And bike friendly Beverly Hills toasts their 12th annual Cycling Classic with a special brew. No, sadly, not that Beverly Hills.

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In fact, if your business had an ad on here, it would have been seen by over 10,000 people yesterday alone.

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

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

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

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

That’s because it’s Bike Month.

And that changes everything.

Right?

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

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

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

Yawn.

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

Driver, please.

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

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

Wait.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Margaret Wehbi for the San Pedro link.

SAMSUNG

Wilshire Blvd looking east from Beverly Glen

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

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

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

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

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

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

But you owe it to yourself to read it.

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

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

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

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

No, you won’t ride to performances.

You’ll actually play your bike.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Headless man poster

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Surviving 1,100 miles through Alaska’s winter wilderness on two wheels

My brother is the (slightly) less hairy one.

Long time readers may know that my brother Eric is a veteran of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, finishing the 1,100 mile race through the Alaskan wilderness three times.

Not bad for a man who’s probably the only Ph.d certified particle physicist to compete in, let alone finish, the race.

A fourth time ended in frostbite, a broken leg and a wrenched shoulder, with a long, lonely wait for rescue in sub-zero temperatures. But it didn’t stop him or his team from running it again the following year.

Unfortunately, despite having his best team ever, financial pressures from the current economy have kept him out of the race the last few years.

So if anyone who wants to sponsor a dog team in next year’s race, or is looking for a great speaker with tales of adventure in the Great White North, just let me know.

Then again, if anyone wants to sponsor a humble bike blogger/bike advocate, I’m all ears.

Despite riding throughout this great country, from the swamps of Louisiana through the Rocky Mountain high country and the mean streets of L.A., it never would have occurred to me to follow my brother’s sled tracks from the ceremonial start in Anchorage to the finish line Nome. Especially not in the dead of winter.

And now that is has, I think I pass, thank you.

However, there are others who don’t let little things like snow and ice, sub-zero temperatures or hurricane-force winds stop them from going out for a fast paced mid-winter’s ride.

And you thought your off-season riding routine was tough.

The Alaska Dispatch offers a great recap of this year’s Iditarod Trail Invitational bike race, in which winner Jay Petervary set a course record despite surviving a blowhole — a wind-driven maelstrom of freezing white-out conditions. And yet still only beats second place finisher Aidan Harding, who ran the course blowhole free, by just three hours.

More impressive, his wife finished third and now holds course records for both the northern and southern sections of the trail.

Talk about a family bike ride. Maybe next year they’ll try it on a tandem.

It’s definitely worth reading if you’re interested in the wild side of cycling, and want to vicariously participate in one of the world’s most extreme bike races from the comfort of your computer.

And if it inspires you to go out and try it yourself next year, send me a postcard.

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Here’s a first in the great New York bikelash.

NYPD officers void tickets and apologize in person to cyclists after writing riders up for speeding in Central Park. Of course, the problem with the tickets wasn’t the barely posted 15 mph limit for bikes in the park — despite a 25 mph limit for motor vehicles, which probably invalidates the lower limit.

Instead, the tickets were voided due to a technical issue, because the tickets sent alleged violators to traffic court instead of criminal court.

One citation remains in force for now, for a cyclist cited for doing 28 mph in that 25 mph zone.

Meanwhile, New York Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson says bike lanes are a choice, not a metaphor, while census figures show that bike commuting in New York doubled in the last 20 years, but still lags behind other cities. And the Claremont Cyclist offers his take on some of the sillier comments fueling the bikelash.

Thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up on the ticketing stories.

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A CHP report on a traffic collision on the 110 Freeway just south of Manchester Ave suggests that it may have been caused by a bicycle riding on the freeway — in the traffic lanes, no less. L.A. political site Street-Hassle looks at the politics of the Wilbur Ave road diet, astutely suggesting that it would take just one video of an out-of-control cyclist to fire up the opposition. Mikey Wally offers his typically beautiful photos of Sunday’s Wolfpack Hustle L.A. Marathon Crash Race. Bikeside reports on last week’s LAPD Bike Task Force meeting. The Santa Monica Museum of Art is hosting an art-focused Cycle Chic Sunday. Altadena could get a bike boulevard under the new county bike plan. Cal State Long Beach will be honored for its newly achieved bike-friendly status on April 7th. Streetsblog looks at Long Beach’s current effort to update and improve its bike plan. A 61-year old Glendora cyclist will attempt his second cross-country ride to raise funds to fight MS. The Claremont Cyclist calls attention to this weekend’s San Dimas Stage Race.Ventura passes a new bike master plan, though council members warn it may be unaffordable. After a car hits a Chico cyclist, they both leave the scene until police find them together half a mile away in the same car.

Contraflow bike lanes get the Feds official stamp of approval. Driver’s heads just aren’t in the game yet. Loving the Bike looks at the car-light lifestyle. Grist’s Sarah Goodyear says there is no war on cars, except when it comes to scoring political points. Neighborhood greenways are like bike boulevards on steroids; link courtesy of the always excellent Tucson Velo. A Seattle stage actor is killed in a cycling accident. The new Quiznos Pro Challenge won’t be riding through the Colorado National Monument, home of the famed Tour of the Moon course, after all. A Chicago writer says he wants to believe that drivers are afraid of hurting cyclists, and that fear is what makes them angry; Dave Moulton thinks he may have a point. Biking is up 33% in the Twin Cities. Five simple rules for safer bike deliveries. A competitive cyclist in Philadelphia is run down by a speeding hit-and-run driver; he survives thanks to a helmet and landing on a grassy median. Bad advice from the Maryland DMV causes right hook collisions, which police fall over themselves to blame on the cyclist. A Baltimore bicyclist offers a cyclists’ manifesto. South Carolina works to become safer for cyclists. A classic SWSS, as an unmarked patrol car driven by an off-duty Tampa police officer hits an 85-year old cyclist, who just happened to swerve out of the bike lane in front of the car. The owner of the New York Jets is injured in a Florida biking collision.

Innovative designs to prevent residential bike theft. A bill is introduced in Parliament to criminalize dangerous cycling that causes death or injury, despite the countless drivers who walk away with a slap on the wrist after running down a cyclist or pedestrian. Former Arsenal goalie Bob Wilson plans to bike to every Premier League stadium in the UK to raise money for charity. Seville, Spain offers a roadmap to bike-friendliness. An Aussie U-19 cyclist struggles to come back after colliding with a light pole in a racing accident.

Finally, it’s not unusual to see people carry their surfboards by bike around here, but Will Campbell finds someone who took the concept of long board to the extreme. And a visit to New Jersey’s dreaded bike-eating tree.

Why the New York bikelash matters to L.A. cyclists

New York cyclists are up in arms over a lengthy New York Magazine article tracing the history of the bikelash — the tabloid-flamed controversy over the city’s rapid transformation into a more livable, walkable and ridable Gotham.

While opponents use anecdotal evidence to criticize the bike lanes — indeed, the entire concept of allowing bikes on the streets and/or sidewalks of the city — the data clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of the bikeway system.

In fact, New York Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson recently  backed the bike lane argument with a solid set of statistics, including one demonstrating that once separated bike lanes are installed, injuries for all road users decline 40% to 50%.

Unfortunately, facts aren’t enough to win over those who think bikes are the biggest threat this side of al Qaeda. And no, I’m not exaggerating.

Consider this quote from the article — from a former bike shop owner, no less — who clearly needs to increase his meds:

“You know about the cars. You know about that potential danger when you’re crossing the street. You know you might end up a bag of blood and guts and bones. But that is a finite realm of danger,” says Jack Brown, who used to own a bike shop in the East Village. “When it comes to cyclists, that danger is infinite. Cyclists can be anywhere, at any time: on the sidewalk, riding the wrong way down the street. And you have no peace … The anarchy that has been allowed to prevail is astonishing. According to butterfly theory, according to chaos theory, I am sure that the level of emotional and psychological damage wrought by the bicycle far exceeds the damage done by cars.” And then Brown goes there: “It is homegrown terrorism. The cumulative effect is equivalent to what happened on 9/11.”

Not only does he equate the simple act of riding a bike to flying a jet into the World Trade Center, he claims that the harm done by the relative handful of bicycle incidents far exceed the emotional and psychological damage done by the 40,000 +/- deaths caused by cars on American streets each year — let alone the countless crippling and life-changing injuries resulting from car collisions each year.

Talk about blaming the victim.

As someone who has lost both a relative and a childhood friend to drunk drivers, I can assure you that he is quite mistaken as to which one inflicts lasting emotional harm.

As for psychological damage, I’d point the finger at whatever he’s been smoking.

As proof of the danger posed by cyclists, opponents inevitably trot out the case of Stuart Gruskin, who died as a result of a collision with a wrong-way bike deliveryman.

Needless and tragic as that case was, it was just a single death two years ago. And not caused by a speeding spandex-clad cyclist, or even the city’s notoriously anarchic bike messengers, but by a food delivery rider taking an ill-advised shortcut. And a victim who failed to look both ways when crossing a one-way street.

That compares with a long, long list of New Yorkers killed by motor vehicles last year alone.

It’s enough to make bike lane opponent Louis Hainline, founder of the ironically named — some say Orwellian — Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes, seem relatively rational.

Although it never hurts to have a reminder not to take it all so seriously.

So why does a dispute on the opposite coast matter to riders here in L.A.?

Simply this.

We’ve just finished the battle to get a widely praised bike plan adopted. But right now, those bike lanes, sharrows and bike-friendly streets exist as nothing more than lines on a map.

And if you think New Yorkers are mad, wait until you see the blowback here in the City of Fallen Angeles when we try to take a single inch of road capacity away from drivers to create even a shadow of a complete street.

Because Wilbur Avenue is just the beginning.

Along those lines, cyclists are urged to come out to support completion of the bike lanes on Reseda Blvd, as the final half mile between Roscoe and Parthenia comes up for review by the Northridge South Neighborhood Council.

This one may prove controversial, as it will require the removal of parking on one side of the road for a one-block stretch between Chase and Napa Streets.

And the only thing L.A. drivers love more than an open lane to speed in is a place to park their gas-guzzling SUVs when they’re done. Most local businesses are yet to be convinced that bike riders spend money, too.

The meeting takes place at 7 pm this Thursday, March 24, in the Northridge Middle School Library, 17960 Chase Street.

So make your voices heard.

Because we already have more than enough disconnected bikelanes in L.A. And we need to head-off the L.A. bikelash before it begins.

.………

Santa Monica Spoke says yes, please to a proposed Michigan Ave Bike Boulevard. LACBC reports on their successful Bike Valet program. Men’s Journal says rides with Jake Gyllenhaal on the streets of L.A., and Ewan McGregor bikes with a cute dog. Glendale offers a children’s bike skills class April 30th. Those new separated bike lanes — the ones that Long Beach columnist Doug Krikorian complained about not seeing a single cyclist on — don’t officially open until April 2nd. A look at Mark Bixby’s final victory as a bike advocate.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says it won’t be easy to get biking or transportation projects funded by a cost-cutting Congress. Advocacy Advance grants are available for state and local biking organizations. NPR points out that it’s often cheaper to tear down outdated freeways than to fix them. Three years, one family, from Alaska to Chile. Portlanders are good, but not great, about using bike lights. Illinois cycling advocates consider legislation to force the state to track dooring incidents. Taking New York’s bike crackdown to ridiculous levels, cyclists are ticketed for violating an evidently fictional 15 mph speed limit. The Wall Street Journal looks at the growing popularity of hand-cranked bikes; thanks to George Wolfberg for the link. Partisan politics and negative perceptions of cyclists take down Virginia’s proposed three-foot passing law. Video tips for riding in the rain, which may come in handy for the rest of the week.

A one year suspended license and community service for driving dangerously and killing an 89-year old cyclist. Italian cycling needs to stop living in the past. Dutch cyclists are being terrorized by little kids in golf carts. A 10-point plan to make bike racing more exciting.

Finally, a London writer says the Mary Poppins Effect only works when riding an upright bike, without a helmet and while wearing a skirt.

Probably counts me out.

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