Tag Archive for BikinginLA

Morning Links: Yours truly gets profiled, Danny Gamboa & Ghost Bikes LA, and LA bike crashes dropping

That’s what happens when you get mad during an interview.

You get labeled as a pissed off bicyclist.

That’s how I was described, accurately enough, in this profile by Jennifer Velez for the LA Taco website.

As I was being interviewed, I felt my anger rising as I described the efforts of Councilmembers Gil Cedillo, Curren Price and Paul Koretz to block much needed bike lanes in their districts. Along with Mayor Eric Garcetti’s failure to back his own Vision Zero and Great Streets initiatives.

So I quickly apologized, calmed down and went on with the interview.

Then I later mentioned that I started this site because I was angry about the sorry state of bicycling infrastructure in the City of Angels. Even if I didn’t know it was called infrastructure back then.

Which only confirmed my pissed off status.

Anyway, it’s worth a read if you want to know who I am and why I do what I do.

If not, then read on.

………

It’s not every day I get mentioned in two separate news stories, but I unexpectedly found myself playing a small supporting role in the LA Weekly’s nice piece on Danny Gamboa, the co-founder Ghost Bikes L.A.

And yes, it’s definitely worth a read, as Gamboa has gone from installing ghost bikes to fighting for safer streets so they won’t be needed any more.

I can personally vouch for him as one of the true heroes of Southern California bike advocacy.

………

Bike statistician Ed Ryder has been examining the CHP’s SWITRS bike crash data for California and Southern California, which we’ll be taking a look at as the week goes on.

But here’s an interesting chart to get us started, showing a surprising decline in injury bike crashes in Los Angeles County after peaking in 2012; stats for last December are only partial figures, but still suggest a decline from the previous year.

The question is whether the streets are getting safer, or if fewer people are willing to risk riding on them.

………

Long Beach police shot a man they originally attempted to pull over for unnamed bicycle traffic violations after he tried to flee, then allegedly fought with an officer and attempted to grab his gun.

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Local

West Hollywood will host a meeting tonight to discuss plans to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians on deadly Fountain Ave, although a road diet requested by some residents appears to be off the table.

Patton Oswalt is one of us, as he bikes along the LA River with his kids to the Spoke Bicycle Café.

Long Beach business people are worried that the May 13th start of the Amgen Tour of California will destroy their business on Mother’s Day. Seriously, if you can’t figure out a way to make money off an event that draws an additional 10,000 or so race fans — male and female — to your street, maybe the event isn’t the problem.

 

State

Homeless people living along the Santa Ana River Trail wonder where they’ll go as Orange County finishes clearing out the massive homeless encampment. Unfortunately, there’s not enough housing and supportive services to take them in, which means the problem, for them and the community, will just move somewhere else.

A San Diego bike rider suffered a compound leg fracture when he was hit by an alleged red light-running driver.

Coronado’s mass infrastructure insanity clearly hasn’t improved, as a handful of residents come out to rail against a proposed median that would improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians, including fears that transients would sit on it. This is the same community that blocked proposed bike lanes that residents complained induced dizziness and was like tattooing their daughters.

Victorville approves plans for a 4-mile class 1 bike path, as well as 7.1 miles of bike lanes.

Sad news from Bakersfield, where a bike rider was killed in a crash after allegedly running a red light in Oildale.

A Santa Cruz-area driver shows his deep concern for the safety of bicyclists by complaining about two bike riders drifting in and out of a bike lane, forcing drivers to swerve into oncoming traffic to pass them, and saying there should be a law against riding two abreast. Never mind that riding two or more abreast is perfectly legal under most circumstance, as well as “drifting” in and out of a bike lane for any number of reasons. Or that it’s also perfectly legal for drivers to slow down and wait until it’s safe to pass bike riders. In fact, it’s required, whether or not they’re in a bike lane.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 83-year old Bay Area man has ridden up 3,849-foot Mt. Diablo for 500 weeks in a row.

A mufti-clad pseudo Petaluma bike cop pulled over a motorist and demanded personal information and cash for on the spot to pay the fine for the alleged offense. A real bike cop will have a uniform and badge, and will never ask for payment on the spot. Unless he’s asking for a bribe, which is a different matter entirely.

More sad news, this time from Sacramento, where a man was killed riding across a highway to get to a bike path.

 

National

A former mountain biker turned distance runner recommends micro-dosing with dope to reduce pain and improve performance. Which is now more or less legal in California, as long as you don’t tell the feds.

Bicycling says sharrows don’t actually suck if used correctly, and lists 25 milestones most new cyclists can’t wait to reach. Many of which countless new and old bicyclists have never done, nor wanted to. Myself included.

El Paso, Texas and Mexico’s Ciudad Juárez are in discussions for North America’s first international bikeshare system crossing the Rio Grande.

A Dallas paper questions whether leaving dockless bikeshare bikes on the sidewalk is more than an inconvenience to handicapped people, possibly violating the American’s with Disabilities Act. Good question. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

A Missouri couple are facing manslaughter charges after their dogs fatally mauled an 83-year old neighbor as he was riding his bicycle.

A Minnesota paper looks at ghost bikes in the Twin Cities, which are technically illegal in the state.

St. Paul MN takes a pass on a dockless bikeshare system being installed by its twin city.

Detroit is unveiling a new indoor velodrome with an inflatable roof today; just one of three in the US, including the VELO Sports Center at the StubHub Center in Carson.

Winter fat bike riding is increasing in popularity in Maine.

Nice piece in the New York Times, as a documentary filmmaker describes how getting back on her bicycle saved her life as she went through a separation, then a divorce.

Proof bike riders are tough. A New Orleans man rode several blocks for help before collapsing after he was shot several times.

 

International

Here’s what happens when city officials don’t back down on bike lanes, as opposition to Vancouver bike lanes has died away, and bikeways are no longer seen as a campaign issue.

Toronto’s Globe and Mail says we can’t assume streets are for cars if we want pedestrians to be safe.

The BBC asks what’s keeping women off bicycles, then points the finger at sexist and rude comments from drivers and male cyclists.

What’s more impressive? That a London management consultant quit his job to fish plastic out of the Thames, or that he built his own DIY floating bike to do it?

UK endurance cyclist Lee Fancourt passed away last week, apparently of natural causes, at just 40-years old; he held the record for the fastest crossing of Europe, traveling 4,300 miles in less than 22 days.

A British man uncovers a 199-year old hobby horse in an abandoned barn; the forerunner of the bicycle was one of just 320 built in 1819, and just one of 12 know to survive.

Former Oasis lead singer Liam Gallagher is one of us, too. Although it looks like he could raise his seat a tad.

Life is cheap in Northern Ireland, where a judge said he saw no point in sending a killer driver to jail.

Caught on video: A Dutch bike rider struggles against an intense headwind during last week’s storm. Been there, done that; I’ve actually been pushed backwards by a strong wind, as well as knocked off my bike by a sudden gust.

Alas, poor Yorick! Take a bike tour along the “Danish Riviera” to Hamlet’s castle.

City Lab looks at the long transformation of Paris into a more livable city, cutting driving mode share 45% since 1990, as traffic fatalities have fallen 40%. And if formerly traffic-choked Paris can do it...

Dubai continues to build cycle tracks, with 323 miles planned by 2021.

Caught on video too: An Australian cyclist captures a horrifying first person perspective as he gets stabbed by a road raging driver, after complaining a dangerous pass. Fortunately, he was not seriously injured.

Singapore hasn’t been spared by the scourge of abandoned — and sometimes submerged — dockless bikeshare bikes.

A Scottish writer goes bicycling through the cars and cows and hens and fumes of Kathmandu, feeling like a medieval soldier hacking his way through enemy ranks.

 

Competitive Cycling

South African cyclist Daryl Impey won Australia’s Tour Down Under; he was tied with Richie Porte after Saturday’s penultimate stage, but was declared the leader after a tie-breaking countback of stage placings, and managed to stay out of trouble on Sunday’s final stage.

Women competing in the Tour Down Under got prize money parity with the men after the South Australian state government pitched in an additional $90,000; Australia’s Amanda Spratt took the general classification as well as Queen of the Mountain.

Pressure is increasing on Team Sky to suspend Chris Froome over his failed doping test for overuse of an asthma drug. Meanwhile, researchers say it’s time to scrap the Therapeutic Use Exemptions that were employed by Froome and Team Sky, for the short and long-term health of the cyclists.

 

Finally…

Who hasn’t dreamed of one day owning a fat-tired, handlebar-equipped, gyroscopic e-unicycle? Don’t wear a mask when you ride, or you may frighten schoolgirls and start a police investigation.

And more proof bike riders are tough. A 12-year old Aussie boy broke his back in eight places riding his bike off a cliff into a lake, then rode home after being dragged back to shore.

 

Morning Links: An interview with yours truly, San Diego gets serious about bicycling, and new bike advocacy jobs

The first decision I made when I started this site was that it’s not about me.

It’s about bicycling.

Today is the rare exception, as my friend Chris Klibowitz interviewed me for Bicycle Times.

And did a better job of capturing why I do what I do than anyone else has. Myself included.

………

San Diego is getting serious about bicycling, with a 32-point proposal to improve cycling in the city.

The plan includes appointment of a bike czar, creation of bicycle traffic ticket diversion schools, and bike education for all fourth graders. As well as requiring that 6% of all transportation funds be spent on bicycle projects.

All of which would be great ideas for LA. And none of which are currently under consideration.

………

The LACBC is looking for a new Communications Director. Sad to see Carol Feucht leave after doing such a great job in the position for the last several years.

Safe Routes to Schools California is looking for a Senior California Policy Manager.

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A bike rider in a pedal powered velomobile has to pull the statutes out to school the cops who pulled him over about bike law. And who then decide maybe they have better things to do. Thanks to David Wolfberg for the heads-up.

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Local

Metro wants your input on where Metro’s bikeshare should go next in LA County.

Help design the Pico Blvd Great Street this coming Sunday.

A graphic from a UCLA student helps show why LA’s Byzantine bureaucracy makes it nearly impossible to take a holistic approach to LA streets.

Santa Monica unveiled its new development plan for a more walkable, bikeable downtown area.

LA Bike Dad considers how to go bicycling with a new baby.

 

State

UC Irvine police bust three bike thieves in less than 24 hours.

A Newport Beach resident calls for Mariner’s Mile to be transformed into a coastal village welcoming bike riders and pedestrians, without sacrificing parking.

The mayor of Palm Springs calls for reducing the city’s share of the planned 50-mile CV Link bikeway circling the Coachella Valley from 16 miles to six. Which would leave a ten mile gap in the bikeway, possibly big enough to ultimately derail it.

After months of delays, Bay Area bicyclists will be able to ride on the Bay Bridge bike path seven days a week. But only half way.

A Marin columnist predicts disaster if a car should happen to break down on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge once bike lanes are installed.

 

National

BuzzFeed offers a list of eleven towns that are best explored by bicycle, starting with my hometown. Although that’s a false premise — every town is best explored by bike or on foot.

CNN says bad road design helps explain why Florida and Delaware lead the nation in pedestrian fatalities. It’s not so great for bike riders, either.

Venture Capitalists are betting on Chinese-style dockless bikeshare systems as they prepare to invade American cities.

A new kid’s bike promises to solve braking problems with a system similar to anti-lock brakes for cars.

A disabled Washington veteran is planning to ride the 2,700 mile Tour Divide to raise awareness of disabled vets, and regain control of his life after becoming homeless. Meanwhile, another homeless vet is riding with his dog from Los Angeles to Georgia and back to call attention to Veterans and Their Pets.

Make a quick $500 apiece designing bike racks for Carson City NV.

A stoned Utah driver gets just five years for killing a bike rider while high on dope and meth, despite seven previous convictions, most involving drugs.

Call it a six week, 12,000 foot high ciclovía, as Colorado’s Trail Ridge Road opens to bicycles through Rocky Mountain National Park; the road will remain closed to vehicles until the end of May.

For $45 a month, a Texas man will deliver 30 days of fresh, personalized poems to your home by bicycle every morning.

A bill to increase the bike passing distance in Oklahoma from three to five feet and raise the penalty for killing a bicyclist to $10,000 has stalled in the state Senate. Meanwhile, an Iowa bill requiring drivers to change lanes to pass bicyclists didn’t fare any better.

A Minnesota letter writer takes a local paper to task for its bicycle safety suggestions while getting nearly everything wrong; he argues that bike riders are safer on the sidewalk, and that sharrows don’t indicate where people are supposed to ride.

Once again, New York police respond to the death of a bike-riding woman, who was doing nothing wrong, by cracking down on bicyclists.

A Philly horse owner gives chase to a runaway steed across much of the city by bicycle before police finally corralled it.

 

International

A bighearted Calgary woman has turned her kitchen into a bike repair shop, buying and fixing 60 kids bikes to donate to kids in need.

A Toronto website asks how much bike lanes cost. And concludes “not much.”

An 89-year old Brit woman suffers her first bike theft after 85 years of riding. And offers pour in to replace it.

Caught on video: An English bike thief needs less than 60 seconds to make off with a locked bicycle, responding to a challenge from the person recording him by saying it was his bike and telling the man to mind his own business.

It takes a real schmuck to steal a British kid’s bike after he passes out in a diabetic coma while riding in a playground.

An expat describes becoming a ciclista in Florence, Italy.

Following the route taken by Hannibal through Europe by bicycle, instead of elephants.

It’s been almost 99 years since then 18-year old Earnest Hemingway was nearly killed by a mortar round after riding a bicycle to deliver chocolate and cigarettes to the Italian trenches in WWI.

Bike lanes in Johannesburg go largely unused due to lack of an interconnected network and blocked or poorly maintained lanes, as well as safety concerns. The story could be about Los Angeles — including the argument that bike lanes are a benefit for the wealthy, which was one reason given by CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo for blocking bike lanes in his largely working class and immigrant district. Never mind that lower income students and workers often rely on their bikes for transportation.

Australia’s Queensland state will spend $162 million over four years to improve bicycling facilities.

A Japanese university has developed an ebike that recharges wirelessly using microwaves. And can make popcorn, too.

A Malaysian news site looks at the reasons people ride bikes, and what needs to be done to keep them safe on the roads.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could be a skateboard. A new video says ride your bike, or we’ll all be extinct in 13 years.

And apparently, riding a time trial is even better than chocolate.

 

I’m back! Well, sort of…

Good news.

After 11 days without internet access, I’m finally back online. And the proud owner of a new MacBook Pro, thanks to your generosity and my wife’s overworked credit card.

It’s a long, complicated story, and not one I think anyone terribly wants to read.

Suffice it to say it involved the sudden death of my previous MacBook in mid-Tweet. On my wedding anniversary, no less. Followed by a convoluted comedy of errors involving Apple’s usually much better repair department, two non-functioning borrowed computers, and countless hours on the phone trying to figure out why I didn’t have functioning internet service on the rare occasions I had a functioning computer.

The day Apple called to tell me they couldn’t — or  more precisely, wouldn’t — repair my laptop was one of the lowest days of my life.

And yet, it lead, just hours later, to one of the most inspiring moments of my life, when the one email address I could access using my phone unexpectedly reported that someone had made a donation to my nearly forgotten PayPal account.

Followed by another. And another.

To say I was stunned is to put it mildly. It never would have occurred to me to ask my closest friends for help buying the replacement laptop I couldn’t afford — let alone people I only know through this blog. Or that anyone would want to dip into their own hard-earned funds to help me get back to writing it.

This is, in many ways, the hardest job I’ve ever had. And by far the most rewarding, even if it doesn’t pay a dime.

Which is something I obviously have to work on.

But thanks to you, I get to keep doing it. And I couldn’t be more grateful.

The donations eventually added up to a little over half the cost of the least expensive MacBook, along with a couple of badly outdated programs that had to be replaced after several years of non-updates before I could access the files I need on a daily basis.

And those are just the ones I had to have to get back to work; there are several others that will eventually need to be replaced before I’m back to full working strength.

So if anyone would still like to contribute, you can send a donation through PayPal to bikinginla at hotmail dot com.

But please, don’t feel obligated. I know as well as anyone how tight money can be these days; your continued readership is more than support enough.

Because it doesn’t matter what I have to say if no one wants to read it.

Finally, allow me to thank my friend thesqueak for filling in for me with Bike Week updates this week while I was still trapped in the seventh level of Unable to Connect to the Internet Hell.

And most of all, to the people listed below who dipped into their own wallets to help rescue me from it.

  • Danilla O.
  • Jessica D.
  • Mark J.
  • Vanessa G.
  • Todd M.
  • Michael E.
  • Brian N.
  • Nicholas A.
  • Joe R.
  • Steven H.
  • Todd R.
  • John L.
  • Harris M.
  • Chet K.
  • Michael B.
  • David H.
  • Michele C.
  • Dave M.
  • Philip L.

Update: We can add a few more extremely generous names to that list:

  • Vahe G.
  • Allen A.
  • Robert P.
  • Lisa L.
  • Richard R.
  • Kevin H.
  • Natalie C.
  • Philip W.
  • Gil S.
  • Glen S.
  • John H.

You guys truly amaze me. I can’t begin to tell you just how touched and humbled you’ve made me feel. And if there’s someone I’ve missed on that list, I sincerely apologize, and thank you as sincerely as I possibly can.

It’s going to take me a few days to get back up to speed. I’ve already spent over four hours today just sorting through the nearly 400 emails that piled up over the last near-dozen days.

Not to mention slogging through my blog to delete the many spam comments that managed to slip through the cracks while I was otherwise occupied.

So bear with me.

I hope to get back to bike news before the weekend, as well as filing in for Damien Newton on Streetsblog on Friday.

And to keep writing this blog as long as you’re willing to read it.

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