Tag Archive for Bill Rosendahl

Update: Goodbye to bicycling’s best friend on City Council; Gardena hit-and-run, and Kevitt sent to rehab

Best wishes to outgoing City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, who is being honored by the L.A. City Council today in his final council session.

In many ways, the city’s recent upswing in bicycling can be traced back to Rosendah’sl stepping forward in the wake of the infamous Mandeville Canyon brake check that sent Dr. Christopher Thompson to jail for deliberately injuring two cyclists.

It was Rosehdahl who famously declared “Car culture ends today.” And shepherded the creation and passage of the city’s groundbreaking bicycle anti-harassment that has been copied by cities throughout California and around the country.

Not to mention bringing then new LAPD Chief Beck to meet with bicyclists in the council chambers, leading Beck to promise the department would do better — eventually becoming one of the nation’s most bike-friendly police departments.

Those a just a few of the highlights of a man who has been the best friend bike riders have ever had on the L.A. City Council.

And one who will be sorely missed.

Best wishes, Bill.

But don’t go too far. This city — and the cycling community you’ve worked to protect — still needs you.

………

A Gardena cyclist was severely injured in a hit-and-run Wednesday night.

The collision occurred about 9:50 pm on the 1000 block of El Segundo Blvd as the victim, identified as Gardena resident Jessie Dotson, was riding to work. He was rushed to a County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in extremely critical condition with head injuries.

Police are looking for a 40 – 50 year-old Latino man in a dark colored compact vehicle, with damage to the front windshield and a 5 in the license number. Anyone with information is urged to call Gardena police at 310/217-9600.

Sounds like prayers, good wishes or whatever you’re comfortable with are in order.

Thanks to Jim Lyle and Lois for the heads-up.

Update: Not surprisingly, the victim in this case, Jesse Dotson, died of his injuries three days after the collision, on Friday, June 29th. According to the Daily Breeze, despite the description given above, police arrested 22-year old Vanessa Marie Yanez on suspicion of manslaughter, perjury, filing a false police report and felony hit-and-run. 

In other words, they threw the book at her.

Something about this case must have really pissed someone off.

………

Semi-bike friendly Councilmember Tom LaBonge offers an update on Damian Kevitt, the Zoo Drive hit-and-run victim who lost a leg — and nearly lost his life — after being dragged onto the 5 Freeway. He reports Kevitt continues to make progress after being ransferred to the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehab Center in Downey for intense physical therapy.

Meanwhile, the city continues to offer a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the heartless coward who left Kevitt bleeding in the street.

………

Cannondale offers a free digital magazine to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Tour de France; the Cannondale Gazette is also available for download on iTunes, Android and Kindle.

………

Streetsblog offers advice for Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti’s first 100 days in office. Is anyone really surprised that bikeshare won’t come to L.A until next year at the earliest? Downtown’s Broadway could get a “dress rehearsal” road diet. Metro plans to spread CicLAvia outside L.A. Celebrate Bastille Day with the Beach Babes Bicycling Classic in Long Beach. A new combination bike and coffee shop opens in Agoura Hills. Red Kite Prayer celebrates cycling’s iPhone moment. Fallen San Diego bike racer Jackie Dunn is remembered as a kind and caring person. How to report an idiot driver. Marin County is up in arms because two preteen mountain bikers rode off after startling two equestrians, leaving them and a horse injured; jerks, yes, but I’d be more upset if they were adults. Making sense of a Fresno-area cycling tragedy a year later. For the right bike and rider, a good kickstand can be a good thing.

Artistic Cycling is the hot new sport. How to beat the heat on hot summer rides. An Ohio man gets a $5000 fine and five years in prison for killing a cyclist while under the influence. A Maine cyclist was killed by being sucked under by the slipstream of a passing semi-truck. Tickets for cyclists have gone up 81% in Brooklyn since New York’s CitiBike bikeshare program opened; not surprisingly, CitiBike users don’t want to ride uphill. Meanwhile, a New York cyclist is ticketed for riding a bike. Someone stole a tandem bike from a blind East Harlem cyclist. An automotive website says NY police are focusing more on pedestrian deaths, and that’s a good thing. The Wall Street Journal’s wicked witch is back for more bike hate; read the annotated Cliff Notes version instead. Evidently, life in Gotham is cheap as a judge calls the death of a four-year old killed by a teenage driver fleeing police “a mistake;” yeah, I’d say. Vastly over-estimating deaths and citing a discredited study to argue in favor of bike helmets. Video shows a cyclist wasn’t responsible for the collision that killed him, despite a long distance mistaken analysis. No bias here, as a DC cyclist is blamed for causing the collision that put him in the hospital — even though video evidence proves he didn’t.

A Toronto councilor is ticket for running a stop sign that doesn’t exist. In a rush back to the 1970s, the UK pledges to focus more on road building and less on active transportation. The case of a British woman who tweeted that she had knocked a cyclist off his bike — and actually did — has been referred to prosecutors. A Bath paper asks why there been another wave of bike hate; seems to be a worldwide phenomenon. A Brit researcher says bike helmets aren’t a no-brainer after all. Sometimes patient drivers are as annoying as the other kind; I often try to wave drivers around to get ‘em off my ass. Seven reasons to visit the bike-friendly Venice of Belgium. Oops; a court orders former pro cyclist Michael Rasmussen to pay over half a millions pounds after he sued his former team for firing him.

Finally, how many times do we have to say it? If you’re riding with an entire mobile meth lab in your backpack, stay off the damn sidewalk, already. And don’t throw your bike at police when they try to stop you for riding salmon.

L.A. cycling loses its best friend, as Councilmember Bill Rosendahl announces he won’t seek re-election

Transportation Committee Chair Bill Rosendahl addresses the City Council in 2010.

In very disappointing news, CD 11 Councilmember Bill Rosendahl announced he won’t seek re-election next year as he continues his battle to overcome urethral cancer.

Rosendahl has probably been the best friend L.A. cyclists have ever had in local government, stepping strongly up after the Mandeville Canyon incident to demand greater safety and acceptance for cyclists on our streets.

He was the council’s prime mover behind the city’s cyclist anti-harassment ordinance, as well as shepherding the bike plan through the legislative process. And it was Rosendahl who famously proclaimed an end to car culture in the self-proclaimed car capital of the world.

In a powerful statement before the full council, Rosendahl said “The culture of the car is going to end now!” He reminded his fellow council members about the harassment cyclists face on the road, as well as the lack of support riders have received from the LAPD in the past. “We’re going to give cyclists the support they should have been getting.”

“This is my pledge to the cycling community.”

In fact, it was his meeting, as chair of the Transportation Committee, that first brought then new LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger to meet with cyclists in council chambers, beginning the process that has helped make the LAPD one of the most bike-friendly police departments in the country.

Rosendahl has named his chief of staff Mike Bonin as his preferred successor. But whoever wins next year’s election will have massive shoes to fill.

And it’s up to us to ensure his replacement will support bikes as much as he has. Or this will be a huge loss for L.A. cyclists.

And for the city.

You can read his announcement here.

Best wishes to Bill Rosendahl in his fight against cancer, and for a long and healthy return to service once he recovers.

And my personal thanks for all he’s done to make bike riding a safer and more enjoyable means of transportation in the City of Angels.

………

Cal State Northridge’s newspaper looks at Sunday’s CicLAvia, while CLR Effect offers Michael’s usually outstanding photos, and Richard Risemberg provides a great photo collection of his own. The Time’s CicLAvia collection isn’t too shabby, either. Meanwhile, LAist fills a page with photos of Sunday’s event — and has the infinite good taste to quote yours truly — while Will Campbell offers yet another of his great timelapse videos.

………

Tonight’s Westside Mobility meeting will be streamed live online. Santa Monica’s Cynergy Cycles invites you to kickoff the new season with the UCLA Cycling Team. C.I.C.L.E. hosts a Pasadena ArtNight Ride this Friday. Biking Brian says Caltrans has ruined the popular Angeles Crest Highway for bicyclists; that’s what happens when the needs of bike riders aren’t even considered. OC’s cdmCyclist interviews cycling Newport Beach councilwoman Leslie Daigle. As if dodging dangerous drivers isn’t bad enough, maybe mountain bike riding on opening day of deer hunting season isn’t the best idea. A Menifee couple came up with the cool new frame and wheel bike lights used in Paralympic closing ceremonies. This past weekend, at least, a bike was the faster way to get around San Francisco. Two bike riders are injured, one seriously, in a St. Helena collision.

Something about this Schwinn helmet PSA just rubs me the wrong way. Maybe bicycling would be taken more seriously as transportation if it wasn’t so damn much fun. Elly Blue makes the case for equal prize money for men and women in bike racing. A six-year old Las Vegas boy is critically injured after riding out from between two parked cars. Is it an accident when a bike rider hits a strand of barbed wire strung along a bike path, or was it an act of sabotage — update: it was sabotage. If you’re riding with a bag of meth, don’t cross against the Don’t Walk signal in Coon Rapids TN. How to keep your skirt down while you ride; not a problem I normally have. An 83-year old Maine driver seriously injures an 11-year old cyclist months after his license was revoked for a medical condition. Massachusetts police arrest a cyclist for riding in the middle of the road in the middle of the night; the article doesn’t make it clear if he was taking the lane or riding down the center line. The NYPD, which doesn’t exactly share their L.A. counterpart’s reputation for bike-friendliness, is targeting their crackdown on cyclists, but that didn’t stop a bike rider from getting $1,555 in fines from a single stop. Here’s a new one; a Virginia letter writer says cyclists don’t pay for the roads — so we should pay for schools, instead.

A Calgary columnist says clearing snow from bikeways is a misplaced priority. An Ontario writer asks why bike helmets aren’t mandatory. A Brit bike rider complains about cyclists and their — our — “almost constant stupidity;” if the shoe fits, lady. A new TV ad says cyclists should See Track: Think Train; seriously, there’s no excuse for getting hit by a train. A new UK bike safety campaign is called too soft on drivers. An Oxford ethicist says instead of helmet laws, we should make cities bike friendly. Just when you thought bike racing was over for the year, Andy Schleck attempts a comeback in the Tour of Beijing.

Finally, I love this story about Scottish parents who travelled over 4,000 miles to surprise their bike-riding son as he rode across the U.S. And this bike takes single-speed riding to the extreme by attaching the pedals directly to the wheel, unicycle style.

Breaking news: L.A.’s groundbreaking bike anti-harassment ordinance passes full City Council

L.A.’s first-of-it’s-kind ordinance to protect cyclists from harassment by motorists by making it a civil violation has passed the full City Council by a unanimous vote. Now the measure goes to the Mayor’s office for his signature, which is expected. You can download the full ordinance here; no word on when it will go into effect.

There is no overstating just how important this innovative new law is. For once, L.A. is leading the way in protecting the rights of cyclists with an ordinance that is likely to be copied by cities around the world

The hearing for the ordinance lasted just 40 minutes, with moving comments from a number of cyclists and council members, including District 11th District Council Member Bill Rosendahl, who has shepherded the measure from its inception — and who learned to ride a bike again just two weeks ago after a break of over 40 years.

But Council President Eric Garcetti may have said it best when he suggested that this ordinance may be what it takes to move L.A. from Carmegeddon to Cycletopia.

Unfortunately, any urge to celebrate this important win is tempered by news of last night’s fatal bike collision Downtown — sources at City Hall tell me police have ruled out road rage as the cause — as well as news of two other SoCal cycling fatalities, and confirmation of the previously reported fatality in Santa Maria earlier this week.

I’ll try to catch up will all the news as quickly as I can.

Meanwhile, come out and join the LACBC Board of Directors at our annual public meeting at the Encino Velodrome to celebrate the victory and discuss what we can do to prevent more tragedies.

BAC Chair Emeritus Alex Baum and Councilmember Bill Rosendahl take questions surrounded by cyclists after the unanimous vote.

Groundbreaking L.A. cyclist anti-harassment law nears final approval

A first-of-its-kind new anti-harassment law could prove as inspiring as City Hall itself.

In the end it was a false alarm.

For a brief period Thursday afternoon, there was a flurry of online activity suggesting that the groundbreaking new Bicycle Anti-Harassment Ordinance had unexpectedly become law.

It hadn’t.

Instead, it was something almost as big, but not quite as final.

I first heard that this law was in the works when I appeared with LADOT Sr. Bike Coordinator Michelle Mowery on Larry Mantle’s AirTalk program on KPCC back in November ’09. She told me confidentially that she had been working quietly behind the scenes with members of 11th District Councilmember Bill Rosendahl’s staff to develop additional legal protection for the city’s cyclists, though in a far different form from what we see today.

So give credit where it’s due. Because this wouldn’t be happening at all if she hadn’t been pushing for it.

Yesterday was that the City Attorney’s office officially unveiled the final draft of the ordinance. The confusion came from the inclusion of Council Rule #38 in the City Attorney’s letter accompanying the draft, which said that because it didn’t require enforcement by an city officer, board or commission, it didn’t require review by “any such City officer or entity.”

To those of us who lack a legal background and aren’t grounded in the minutiae of city regulations, that sounded like it might not need further approval by the City Council to become law.

It does.

Fortunately, after a mad flurry of emails, texts and tweets Thursday afternoon, City Council President Eric Garcetti and his staff helped us unravel what had really happened, and what the next steps will be.

It turns out that Rule #38 simply means that the ordinance doesn’t need to be reviewed by any other city department, such as LADOT or the police department. Instead, it will go straight to the Transportation Committee for review, leading up to a hearing before the full Council; if they approve it, it goes to the Mayor for his signature.

And assuming Mayor Villaraigosa signs off, it will then become law, most likely 30 days after signing unless otherwise noted. L.A. cyclists will then be protected by this innovative ordinance — as near as I can find, it’s the first of its kind anywhere that makes the harassment of cyclists a civil, rather criminal, violation.

Which means that you’ll be able to take drivers — or anyone else — who threatens your safety or refuse to recognize your right to the road to court yourself, rather than relying on the police to determine if a crime has been committed, and the District Attorney or City Attorney to file charges.

And because your case will be heard in civil court, it requires a lower burden of proof; just a majority of jurors will have to agree instead of the unanimous verdict required in criminal cases.

It also doesn’t preclude criminal charges, so you can pursue your own case against someone who threatens you without jeopardizing any possible criminal case.

Of course, it won’t work miracles.

While it sets a new standard for other cities and states to follow in ensuring cyclists a safe place on the road, you’ll still need to prove your case. As all too many of us have learned the hard way, it’s not easy to get the license number of a driver who just ran you off the road. And you’ll still need to gather evidence and witnesses so it’s not just your word against theirs.

But with a potential judgment of triple your actual damages or $1,000, whichever is higher, plus any punitive damages the court may impose, it should act as a significant deterrent to hot headed motorists.

In addition, the provision for attorney’s fees should make it much easier to find a lawyer who’ll take your case despite the relatively small potential judgment. Which means that whatever money you receive as a result will go to you instead of your attorney — something I learned about the hard way when the small settlement I received in a road rage case was eaten up by attorney’s fees; in fact, I would have owed him if he hadn’t written off the excess.

So it should be an effective tool to fight back against things like this that occur countless times every day in every part of the city. And it should also serve as a model for other area cities, since harassment and threatening behavior is hardly confined within L.A.’s borders.

We still have some significant hurdles to jump before this becomes law, though. While the drafting of the ordinance enjoyed unanimous support from the council, we haven’t heard from the motoring public, who may not yet be aware this law is being considered.

But now we finally have an actual draft in our hands.

It was a just over a year ago that Council President Eric Garcetti offered me his personal assurance that he would stay on top of the proposed ordinance and keep it moving forward. Yesterday he reacted to the release of the draft by saying “This is a long-overdue recognition that our streets are shared and bicyclists deserve to be free from fear on our streets.”

It looks like he’s kept his word.

As has Rosendahl, who has been driving — or perhaps, pedaling — this ordinance since the very beginning, famously declaring that “The culture of the car is going to end now!”

There are other people to thank, of course — not in the least of whom is Deputy City Attorney Judith Reel, who had the brilliant idea of treating harassment as a civil violation.

But let’s save that until we’ve actually crossed the finish line.

Because we still have some work to do in the meantime.

Learn more about the Anti-Harassment Ordinance in Chris Kidd’s excellent step-by-step analysis at LADOT Bike Blog. And I’ll give you as much advance notice of any hearing as possible.

.………

Here’s the full draft of the proposed ordinance:

ORDINANCE NO. _________

An ordinance adding Article 5.10 to Chapter IV of the Los Angeles Municipal Code to prohibit harassment of bicyclists because of their status as bicyclists.

THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES DO ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1. Article 5.10 is added to Chapter IV of the Los Angeles Municipal Code to read as follows:

ARTICLE 5.10

PROHIBITION AGAINST HARASSMENT OF BICYCLISTS

SEC. 45.96.00. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

After public hearings and receipt of testimony, the City Council finds and declares:

That the City of Los Angeles wants to encourage people to ride bicycles rather than drive motor vehicles in order to lessen traffic congestion and improve air quality;

That harassment of bicyclists on the basis of their status as bicyclists exists in the City of Los Angeles;

That existing criminal and civil laws do not effectively prevent the unlawful harassment of bicyclists because of their status as bicyclists;

That riding a bicycle on City streets poses hazards to bicyclists, and that these hazards are amplified by the actions of persons who deliberately harass and endanger bicyclists because of their status as bicyclists; and

That because people have a right to ride a bicycle in the City of Los Angles and should be able to do so safely on City streets, it is against the public policy of the City of Los Angeles to harass a bicyclist upon the basis of the person’s status as a bicyclist.

SEC. 45.96.01. DEFINITIONS.

The following words and phrases, whenever used in this Article, shall be construed as defined in this Section. Words and phrases not defined herein shall be construed as defined in Section 12.03 of this Code, if defined therein.

A. Bicycle. A device upon which any person may ride, propelled exclusively by human power through a belt, chain or gears, and having one or more wheels.

B. Bicyclist. A person riding a bicycle.

SEC. 45.96.02. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES.

A person shall not do or attempt to do any of the following:

A. Physically assault or attempt to physically assault a Bicyclist because, in whole or in part, of the Bicyclist’s status as a Bicyclist.

B. Threaten to physically injure a Bicyclist because, in whole or in part, of the Bicyclist’s status as a Bicyclist.

C. Intentionally injure, attempt to injure, or threaten to physically injure, either by words, vehicle, or other object, a Bicyclist because, in whole or in part, of the Bicyclist’s status as a Bicyclist.

D. Intentionally distract or attempt to distract a Bicyclist because, in whole or in part, of the Bicyclist’s status as a Bicyclist.

SEC. 45.96.03. REMEDIES.

A. Any aggrieved person may enforce the provisions of this Article by means of a civil lawsuit.

B. Any person who violates the provisions of this Article shall be liable for actual damages with regard to each and every such violation, and such additional amount as may be determined by a jury, or a court sitting without a jury, up to three times the amount of actual damages, or $1,000, whichever is greater, as well as reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs of litigation. In addition, a jury or a court may award punitive damages where warranted.

C. Notwithstanding Section 11.00(m) of this Code, violations of any of the provisions of this Article shall not constitute a misdemeanor or infraction, except where such actions, independently of this Article, constitute a misdemeanor or infraction.

D. The remedies provided by the provisions of this Article are in addition to all other remedies provided by law, and nothing in this Article shall preclude any aggrieved person from pursuing any other remedy provided by law.

Sec. 2. Severability. If any provision of this ordinance is found to be unconstitutional or othervvise invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, that invalidity shall not affect the remaining provisions of this ordinance, which can be implemented without the invalid provisions, and to this end, the provisions of this ordinance are declared to be severable.

Sec. 3. The City Clerk shall certify to the passage of this ordinance and have it published in accordance with Council policy, either in a daily newspaper circulated in the City of Los Angeles or by posting for ten days in three public places in the City of Los Angeles: one copy on the bulletin board located at the Main Street entrance to the Los Angeles City Hall; one copy on the bulletin board located at the Main Street entrance to the Los Angeles City Hall East; and one copy on the bulletin board located at the Temple Street entrance to the Los Angeles County Hall of Records.

Weekend Links & Events — Memorial Ride for Kevin Unck, a bad week for competitive cycling

This is what January looks like in here in L.A.

Let’s start with the good news.

Eleventh District Councilmember and TranspoComm Chair Bill Rosendahl underwent successful surgery to treat atrial fibrillation. According to the press release, he was awake and doing fine just three hours after he was implanted with a new medical device as part of a clinical trial, and should be back at work next week.

Rosendahl has been one of the driving forces behind the current city support for the cycling community. I hope you’ll join me in wishing him a speedy recovery and years of good health.

.………

A memorial ride will be held today for masters champion Kevin Unck, killed after losing control of his bike in gravel and mud on Glendora Mountain Road earlier this month. Riders will meet at the It’s A Grind Coffee House at 7325 Day Creek Blvd, Suite 103 in Rancho Cucamonga at 8 am.

.………

An Orange County woman writes about the death of 8-year old Andrew Brumback, which occurred just feet from her front door. A Ramona cyclist is seriously injured in a collision with a big rig; alcohol use by the cyclist may have been a contributing factor, although the only witness seems to be the driver who hit him. A Carlsbad rider credits his helmet with saving his life in a hit-and-run on Tuesday that left him with five fractures. And a Modesto man gets 10 years for killing a cyclist while high on marijuana and painkillers, though some people wrote the judge to blame the rider for simply being on the street.

.………

This wasn’t just a horrible week for SoCal cyclists; the racing world was repeatedly touched by tragedy as well.

Rising British star Lewis Balyckyi, an 18-year old rider expected to be part of the UK Olympic team in 2012, was killed on Tuesday when he was hit by a van just a few miles from his home. The pro cycling community reacted with sorrow after South African HTC Highland rider Carla Swart, winner of 19 U.S. collegiate titles, was killed when she was hit by a truck during training. And Aussie cyclist Amber Halliday is still in critical condition after a horrific crash caused when she clipped another rider’s wheel.

.………

In other racing news, a new mayor in DC could put an end to plans to bring the start of next year’s Giro to the U.S. Frank Schleck has successful surgery to remove a metal plate inserted after his crash in the Tour de France. Lance Armstrong says he expects to be vindicated after new charges arise; the Times asks if it will hurt his image. Saxo Bank is still counting on Alberto Contador this year despite doping allegations; yeah, good luck with that. Former Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre and teammate Denis Menchov will be excluded from this year’s Tour after their team fails to get an invitation.

And Mark Cavendish had to fight his way through traffic — car, not bike — in the Tour Down Under when race stewards opened the road while he was still on the course; Garmin-Cervélo rider Cameron Meyer leads after four stages.

.………

In upcoming events —

The Kit Karzen Foundation kicks off their program to promote cycling for kids with ADHD with a celebration at Cynergy Cycles2300 Santa Monica Boulevard in Santa Monica, on Saturday the 22nd, from 6 to 9 pm.

Glendale City Commissioners will consider the city’s proposed Safe and Healthy Streets Plan on Monday, January 24th at 6 pm at the Council Chambers at Glendale City Hall, 613 East Broadway. Residents, as well as anyone who works, goes to school, walks or rides through the city are urged to attend and offer comments.

Cyclists are invited to campaign door-to-door in support of bike advocate and 4th District City Council Candidate Steven Box on Wednesday, January 26th from 5:30 to 8:30 pm; meet at Box campaign headquarters, 5619 Hollywood Blvd.

The LACBC invites you to pitch in to help fix up the new Bike Wrangler space, where donated and abandoned bikes will be repaired for donation to bike coops and low income people in high obesity areas. The first work party will take place from 5 to 9:30 pm on Thursday, January 27th at 1205 W. 6th Street; the second will be held Sunday the 30th from 11 am to 5 pm; RSVP to  bobby@la-bike.org.

The Culver City Bicycle Coalition will host the first of their monthly Family Rides on Sunday, January 30th, at 10 am. The rides will start and end at Town Plaza near the Culver Hotel, 9400 Culver Blvd, and explore the city’s best bike routes; future rides will take place on the last Sunday of the month.

The California Bike Coalition will host a Bike Party in San Diego on Thursday, Feb 3rd from 7 to 9 pm. The party will take place at Velo Cult Bicycle Shop, 2220 Fern Street, with a suggested donation of $100.

Explore the romance of Metro L.A.’s near-coastal cities with the LACBC’s second Sunday Funday ride, I ♥ the Westside. Riders will assemble at the Santa Monica Pier, at the end of Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica at 9:30 am on Sunday, February 6th, with the ride starting at 10 am. The course will follow a mostly flat route 30-mile route through Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City, Westwood and Brentwood, before returning along the beach to the pier. It’s free to LACBC members and one guest, and will be lead by your humble host at BikingInLA.

Flying Pigeon and the Bike Oven host the free Spoke(n) Art Ride on the 2nd Saturday of every month; the next ride will take place on February 12th, starting 6:30 pm at 3714 N. Figueroa St. in Highland Park.

Ride in support of the Dream Act with the 50-mile L.A. to O.C. Dream Ride on Sunday, February 20th, Starting at Corazon del Pueblo 2003 E. 1st. Street in Boyle Heights and ending at Centro Cultural de Mexico 310 W. 5th Street in Santa Ana. Registration and $15 fee are due by January 28th, including lunch, dinner, maintenance during the ride and an overnight stay in Orange County.

UCLA will host a free day-long Complete Streets workshop on Friday, February 25th; participation is open to registered attendees. The workshop will take place from 8:30 am to 7 pm at the Japanese American National Museum at 369 East 1st Street Downtown. Contact d.grantham@ucla.edu to register, or call 310/562-7356.

And it’s never too early to mark your calendar for the second CicLAvia on April 10th, 2011.

.………

A bad sign for leading local bike advocacy group C.I.C.L.E. as their website goes offline. Great photo from the L.A. Times of a lone cyclist rolling through a high tide on the bike path. Beverly Hills police declare the killing of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen closed, blaming it on a bike-riding ex-con acting alone. Long Beach announces a series of workshops for their new Bicycle Master Plan, starting with a ride on Saturday. Bikeside looks at Charlie Gandy’s recipe for a bike-friendly city. The Claremont Cyclist looks at what to expect in Stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California.

NASA astronaut Tim Kopra is scratched from next month’s shuttle mission after suffering an undisclosed injury while riding his bike, though rumor suggests a broken hip; thanks to Will Campbell for the heads-up. People for Bikes urges every cyclist to contact your representative in Congress. Bike to Work days can have a lasting impact on bike commuting rates. A lovely look at lugwork. Turns out the real scofflaws are the ones on four wheels. Washington considers five bills to make cycling safer. Bob Mionske follows-up on the sweetheart deal denial of justice perpetrated in the Vail hit-and-run case; anyone who doesn’t think this case stinks should check their sense of smell. New bike lanes in the Big Easy lead to a 57% increase in ridership — and a 133% increase in female ridership. Evidently, Pittsburgh’s cycling scene is pretty incredible. New York’s controversial Prospect Park West bike lanes haven’t made the street more dangerous; in fact, injuries due to collisions are down 67%. No need to stop riding during the winter, though parking can be a problem. City Fix jumps into the great helmet debate with Mikael Colville-Andersen, author of Copenhagenize and Copenhagen Cycle Chic.

After an Ontario cyclist is injured in a collision, readers respond by calling for a ban on winter riding. A UK cyclist is awarded £7000 for injuries due to a pothole. Most bikes stolen in Great Britain are taken from the owner’s home. VW introduces an electric folding concept bike. A look at biking in modern Morocco. An Aussie cyclist is ticketed for riding without a helmet in a police crackdown.

Finally, a YouTube commentator says of course Lance was on drugs; in fact, anyone who rides bikes for a living and doesn’t do drugs has to have something wrong with them. It’s funny stuff, unlike this guy, who gets paid to be but isn’t.

And sometimes bikes are allowed to go where others aren’t, except when they’re not.

 

Much ado about almost nothing — the $30 million Bike Path extension

Why would a city that’s facing a $200 million budget deficit spend $30 million to extend a recreational bikeway?

With a lot of luck — and $30 million — that arrow could point both ways someday.

Actually, it wouldn’t.

In fact, Los Angeles officials are hoping they can get the job done without spending a dime. Stranger things have happened.

As reported here last week, city officials have begun the process of requesting funds to complete the long-planned final leg of the Marvin Braude Bike Path, from where it currently ends at Temescal Canyon Road to the entrance to the Getty Villa.

What wasn’t reported was the cost — a whopping $15 million each for the approximately two miles of bike lane it would add, due to the need to elevate a significant portion of the bikeway along the beach.

As the esteemed — or in this case, steamed — Dr. Alex pointed out, 30 million dollars would pay for over 1,000 mikes of new bike lanes. Far more than contemplated in the city’s proposed bike plan, and barely enough to meet the needs of the city’s cyclists.

It would also be enough to save funding for L.A.’s neighborhood councils, and maybe even a few of the 1,000 jobs currently on the line in this city.

However, that’s apples and oranges. Or bananas and kumquats, or whatever mismatched fruit more precisely fits your tastes.

Because the funding would not come out of the city budget, or even out of the cash-strapped state’s. And it would not take away from any future funding for bicycle infrastructure, or prevent the installation of a single on-street bike commuter lane.

In fact, the money doesn’t even exist yet. Because the matter currently being considered by various council committees (10-0002-S4) isn’t a motion to decide what to spend the money on, or even to request funding.

All that Council Member Rosendahl has proposed is a resolution asking the Council and the Mayor to go on record as supporting the project. Which will then allow the city’s representatives in Washington to start scrounging around for any funds that may be available for this sort of project.

That’s it.

Even though the country is deeply in debt, there are funds available for things like this, whether as part of the stimulus package, or some other authorization or appropriation bill. And turning it down probably won’t save a penny in the federal budget, because if we don’t take it, chances are, someone else will.

That’s just the way the system works.

It’s not like this isn’t a worthwhile project. While the bike path is used primarily for recreation, opening up this last section will allow cyclists to bypass one of the most dangerous sections of PCH, where riders are forced to share the lane with impatient drivers often traveling at speeds in excess of 50 mph.

In other words, it could save lives — and probably will, if it gets built. And at the same time, open up the coast highway to riders who don’t feel comfortable taking the lane in those first few miles between Santa Monica and Malibu under those circumstances.

Just to be sure, though, I reached out to some of my contacts at City Hall this afternoon. They assured me that no one has any intention of blowing the entire bikeways budget on this one project, and that the extension won’t move forward unless it receives significant federal funding.

So don’t hold your breath.

This is a long shot. But it’s one worth taking.

………

Update: The L.A. Times has taken notice of the Bike Working Group’s proposed Backbone Bikeway Network, an alternative to the city’s proposed bike plan that uses major arterial streets to connect cyclists to virtually every part of the city. If the mayor and council are truly serious about making this a better city for cycling, they need to take a hard look at this — and ask why their high-cost plan isn’t nearly as effective.

………

The legal process has begun for the hit-and-run driver who ran down popular local rider Roadblock. Will Campbell schedules his upcoming 8 Presidents Ride for Saturday the 13th. GOOD looks at the plans to turn 4th Street into L.A.’s first bike boulevard. Writing on Bob Mionske’s blog, Rick Bernardi looks at the “I didn’t see him” excuse for hitting a cyclist. The cyclist killed in the Bay Area yesterday was a devoted single father living car-free in Los Gatos; the driver has been arrested. The SFPD plans to use Compstat to track cycling collisions — something we should look at here. World Champ Cadel Evans — or Cuddles, as the Trickster calls him — turns up unexpectedly in Palo Alto Tuesday morning. Professional cyclist Tom Zirbel faces a two-year suspension after his B sample tests positive for DHEA.You won’t be calling it the Utah stop anytime soon, as the Beehive State considers — and rejects — the Idaho stop. A well-known Nevada cyclist, racer and bike shop owner was killed over the weekend. Zeke faces a father and child riding head-on towards his car on the wrong side of a snowy the road. Admiration for living car-free in bullheaded car-centric Texas. Presenting the first self-balancing unicycle. Great photo of cowboy cyclists in Tucson’s Old Pueblo. Call it the Rosetta Stone of cycling; the Bicycle Lexicon tell you how to talk bikes in 23 languages. New Zealand employees are urged to swap four wheels for two during Bike Wise Month. Will Sydney’s planned Bike Hub be successful? Half of all bike thefts in England and Wales go unreported. Finally, a teenage Lancashire driver gets nine months for repeatedly attempting to run a cyclist off the road — not realizing his attempted victim was a police inspector.

Rosendahl to Council: Car culture ends today

Just two weeks ago, L.A. City Council Member Dennis Zine said he didn’t know if L.A.’s car culture was ever going to change.

Today, Transportation Committee Chair Bill Rosendahl begged to differ.

In a powerful statement before the full council, Rosendahl said “The culture of the car is going to end now!” He reminded his fellow council members about the harassment cyclists face on the road, as well as the lack of support riders have received from the LAPD in the past. “We’re going to give cyclists the support they should have been getting.”

“This is my pledge to the cycling community.”

L.A. City Hall in January.

The subject at hand, which drew similar support from many of the council members in attendance, was a motion requesting the City Attorney to draft an ordinance prohibiting the harassment of bicyclists.

It didn’t take long to realize that this wasn’t going to be business as usual.

The first sign came when Council President Eric Garcetti noted that this matter had already been heard by both the Transportation and Public Safety Committees, which would normally mean no more public comments. But as Damien Newton had predicted, he quickly deferred to Rosendahl’s request to allow the handful of cyclists in the room to speak.

But first, Rosendahl and Public Safety Committee Chair Greig Smith agreed to what Damien called the three-step process, in which LADOT and the City Attorney will work with local cyclists to determine what the ordinance can and should contain, without conflicting with existing state traffic regulations. Then they will report back to both committees before drafting the actual ordinance, which will be subject to final council approval.

Transportation Committee Chair Bill Rosendahl addresses the council.

I argued against the extra step, since the City Attorney would, by necessity, determine what can legally be included in the ordinance during the process of drafting it.

But Rosendahl had already made it clear that he wouldn’t allow the process to drag on. He agreed with Smith to hold a joint session of the two committees to consider the recommendations. And pledged to have an ordinance drafted and ready for approval by the end of March.

That’s March of this year, in case you were wondering.

He also reminded the audience about a planned Transportation Committee session scheduled for February 24, in which cyclists will have a chance to speak with new LAPD Chief Beck. This is a chance to change, not just car culture, but that of the LAPD as well, he said, stating that future graduates from the police academy will receive training in bicycle law — including a copy of the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights.

In remarks a little later, Council Member Ed Reyes, co-sponsor of the motion, added that indifference has usually been the best a cyclist could hope for from the LAPD after being harassed or assaulted.

Fellow Transportation Committee member Paul Kortez suggested that it wasn’t enough to defer to the state to address the problem, saying the city needs to find a way to address harassment in its own laws and do whatever it can to put a stop to it. “We need to send a clear message,” he said.

When the floor was opened to comments, a brief parade of cyclists spoke about the problems they’ve faced on the road.

The LACBC's Aurisha Smolarsky offers her comments.

David talked about being harassed on the streets, while Iain told the council about an incident in which he was injured after being harassed by a driver — only to be told that by a police officer that it was his fault because he was riding with traffic.

Siku spoke of an incident in which she was buzzed by a driver, who yelled “Do you want to die?” at the next red light. And Michael, who described himself as a businessman, homeowner and taxpayer, cast it as a civil rights issue, saying he had been harassed by both drivers and the police.

In fact, every cyclist who spoke — including Aurisha of the LACBC, as well as myself — told of being harassed by drivers on the streets of L.A.

Rosendahl concluded the discussion by listing what he believes should constitute harassment under the proposed ordinance, including:

1. Knowingly throwing a projectile or discharge at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle;

2. Threatening any person riding a bicycle verbally or by use of his/her vehicle for the purpose of injuring, frightening or disturbing the person riding the bicycle;

3. Knowingly placing his/her vehicle within 3’ of a bicyclist while passing or following;

4. Making physical contact with a bicyclist from a moving vehicle or the roadway either by physical person or use of an implement;

5. Knowingly placing a person riding a bicycle in concern of immediate physical injury;

6. Knowingly engaging in conduct that creates a risk of physical injury or death to the person riding a bicycle.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Evidently, the council members agreed, voting 13 to 0 to approve the measure.

Afterwards, Eric Garcetti came up to me and offered his personal assurance that he will stay on top of this measure, and use his position as Council President to keep it moving forward.

And we can’t ask for much more than that.

Read more, including a wrap up on the Council’s discussion of the bike sharing proposal, on LA Streetsblog; LAist sums up the bike sharing discussion, as well.

……..

The Trickster offers an update on New Zealand’s cyber-bully Hummer Driver, who offers a half-hearted apology for threatening to kill cyclists — but only after the police get involved.

……..

Six cities that could go car free, including one right here in California, courtesy of Curbed LA. Designing better cities for bikes. Mixed results on Portland’s bike boxes. Boston Biker loses it after getting doored by a passenger bailing out in traffic. Virginia is the latest state to consider a three-foot passing law. New York cyclists are ticketed for delivering fried dumplings on the sidewalk. The great Hasidim v. hipsters debate goes on, and on — literally, this time. If bike lanes can tame New Dehli’s traffic, just imagine what they could do here. A UK driver is convicted of killing a rider competing in a time trial; as usual, she claims she never saw him. Brits petition the Royal Mail to let posties keep their Pashleys. Disgraced former Spanish cycling boss threatens to dope and tell. An Edinburgh cyclist hits a white van at 20 mph; maybe the driver thought he was a pothole. Finally, a great examination of how to fight biased — or just uninformed — police enforcement. And perhaps the best last line of any bike quote, ever.

Breaking news — Rosendahl calls for extending the Marvin Braude bikeway

Is Bill Rosendahl the biking community’s new BFF?

The 11th District City Council member, who represents most of the Westside, recently sponsored a motion to have the City Attorney’s office draft an ordinance banning harassment of cyclists in Los Angeles — a motion that goes before the full city council on Wednesday.

Now Rosendahl has proposed another motion — apparently seconded CD5 Council Member Paul Koretz — to request federal funding to extend the north end of the beachfront Marvin Braude Bike Path. The extension would add a little less than two miles to the bikeway, from where it currently ends at Temescal Canyon Road to the intersection of Coastline Drive and PCH near the entrance to the Getty Villa.

Aside from adding to one of the area’s most popular and scenic bike routes, this extension could also contribute to the safety of cyclists by providing a way to bypass one of the narrower sections of PCH, where riders are forced to share a lane with drivers often traveling well in excess of 50 mph. And open up the coast highway to countless cyclists who aren’t comfortable taking the lane under those conditions, and now turn back at that point.

Now if Rosendahl could just do something about all the pedestrians on the bike path.

TranspoComm Chair Rosendahl draws a line in the sand

It hasn’t been easy watching the City Council this past year.

Especially the Transportation Committee.

I’ve watched as council members requested a response from various city agencies on issues ranging from the long-delayed Sharrows pilot project to the LAPD’s flawed response to the Hummer Incident.  Only to see them sit back and accept lame excuses from the people who supposedly work for them — to the point that I’ve wondered who really runs this city.

Sort of like watching someone tease a caged animal that has long ago given up fighting back. And yes, I have seen that, in a less enlightened time and a far less enlightened place; it evokes the same sort of stomach-twisting pity I’ve felt watching our government in action.

Maybe that changed yesterday.

This is how the Transportation Committee chambers looked when the hearing was scheduled to begin

After a seemingly endless delay in the scheduled 2 pm start time that left cyclists wondering if the committee had blown them off — followed by visibly livid committee member Richard Alarcón storming out of the meeting just moments after the members finally arrived and an impromptu hearing on the issue of overnight RV parking in Venice — the nearly bike-only Transportation Committee meeting finally began.

And truncated though it was, it was worth the wait. If only to watch committee Chair Bill Rosendahl get his back up and start demanding answers from the people who work for this city.

Because of the late start, two items — updates on the Sharrows program, which has been delayed to near-infinity, and the proposed bike-sharing program — were dropped entirely.

A third motion to increase the number of bike parking spaces required for new developments was touched on briefly, only because an audience member wanted to comment on it after going out of his way to attend the meeting. Although why it should be limited to new developments is beyond me, when City Hall doesn’t even offer adequate bike space.

This is what passes for bike parking at L.A. City Hall

From the beginning, Rosendahl ran the short-handed meeting with a firm hand. In addition to the Alarcón storm-out, Bernard Parks was missing in action and Tom LaBonge had to leave before the last, and most important, issue was discussed — leaving just Rosendahl and the recently elected 5th district representative Paul Koretz.

When the representatives from LADOT and the Planning department mentioned Federal funding that may be available in connection to the new bike plan, Rosenhdahl asked, “Do we need a resolution to get that? Because I want to get that money.”

He followed up with a list of 12 hard-hitting questions prepared in conjunction with bike activists Stephen Box and Alex Thompson; to be honest, though, the limited responses offered were far less important than the fact that someone was finally starting to ask them.

Bike Coordinator Michele Mowery’s insistence that the plan the city presented was the one that Alta Planning delivered brought audible murmurs of “bullshit” from the audience — or it could have just been me. Her answer may have been technically correct, but very few people actually believe this is the plan that Alta wanted to deliver.

She also was taken to task by audience members for “playing the race card,” suggesting that L.A.’s diversity makes it more challenging to build to a functional bikeway system than it is in a city like Portland — “a homogeneous community that is very white, and very progressive with respect to transportation,” while L.A. is a “very diverse, disjointed city of 4 million people.”

Dr. Alex has already written a very hard-hitting response to that; if you haven’t read it, click here and read it now. Well, maybe when you’re done with this. But seriously, read it.

Complementing Rosendahl’s newly newly demonstrated commitment, Koretz was also a pleasant surprise.

Throughout the meeting, he spoke very little, sitting quietly until audience members were making their comments. Then he interrupted briefly to note that he also rides a bike, but isn’t comfortable riding on L.A. city streets. And asked if this plan would allow inexperienced cyclists to get where they want to go.

The overwhelming answer was no.

Rosendahl responded firmly to my comment that all the work spent on this bike plan is a waste of time unless there was a commitment to actually build it — unlike the 1996 plan, which had no apparent use other than as a very large and clumsy paperweight.

He insisted that he will make sure the final plan is built — the first commitment any city official has made to this plan, including the people responsible for it. “There’s been enough talk,” he said. “No more words, it’s time for action.”

That attitude was also in evidence when representatives of the LAPD appeared to update the council on recent cycling cases, including the Hummer Incident, as well as the West L.A. case I wrote about recently — noting that no arrest has been made, but the matter has been referred to the City Attorney for possible charges.

When the respected Commander Greer — recently promoted to Assistant Commander of the Detective Bureau — mentioned that a report has been completed on the Hummer case, but not yet approved, Rosendahl said he wanted a copy prior to the next meeting, approved or not.

And in a huge win for cyclists, Cmmdr. Greer announced that all officers below the rank of Lieutenant will be required to complete a brief online course on riders’ rights and responsibilities, created by a group a bike officers. Rosendahl pushed them to take a step further, insisting that the department needs to create a bike training module for the police academy — something I’ve repeatedly called for on here.

Of course, it wasn’t all good news. The Commander noted that Lt. Andre Dawson, recently appointed by Chief Beck as the point man for cycling complaints, will no longer be involved in the process and asked that cyclists no longer contact him.

However, the committee saved the best for last.

The most important issue of the evening — and yes, by then it was evening — was the proposed anti-harassment ordinance.

After hearing from several cyclists, Koretz said he’d heard a few stories about the problems cyclists face on the roads, but had no idea it was so widespread. With that, he made a motion to forward the proposal on to the Public Safety Committee, which was quickly seconded by Rosendahl — meaning that it carried, since they were the only two members left at that point.

However, it was not quite the win that LAist suggested last night. What passed was merely a proposal requesting that the City Attorneys’ office write such an ordinance, similar to the one that recently became law in Columbia, Missouri. Mowery suggested that it cover such topics as hurling projectiles at cyclists, threats or verbal abuse, using a vehicle to intimidate cyclists, and passing too close to — or buzzing — cyclists.

Its small win, the first step in what will undoubtedly be a long and complicated process.

But it’s a win.

And for once, I left with a smile on my face

And without a knot in my stomach.

LA Streetsblog has more on the meeting here; and you can listen to a recording of the meeting here.

……..

Will Campbell has a front road seat to a bike wreck. Paul Krekorian, author of the failed Safe Streets bill, is the city’s newest council member. Sharrows pop up in Glendale — legal ones, this time. Wilshire Boulevard is 75 years old; Flying Pigeon keeps up the fight to make Figueroa bike friendly. The Pigeons are also featured on the VOA’s Persian TV. Bikerowave claims success with their recent swamp meet. Photos of the CalTrain bike car. A Tucson mother fights for a memorial for her cycling son — and politely corrects thoughtless car-head commenters. Copenahgenize reminds us that us that New York’s recently removed bike lane results from a conflict between the Hasids and the Hotties; city hall isn’t denying a deal was made, while Bike Snob suggests maybe cyclists should act like grown-ups. New bike lanes in Philadelphia have resulted in a doubling of bike traffic; just imagine what they could do here. Bikes remain banned from a primary street in De Soto, Kansas; old car-head thinking from a town that shares its name with an old car. A biking Asheville lawyer argues for equilibrium on the roads. Trust the geniuses at MIT to create a combo bike rack/tire pump. A cycling schoolgirl plunges 90 feet into a Scottish gorge and lives to tell the tale. Finally, Brit cyclists are in a tizzy over the bike-hating Mail’s obviously staged photograph, standing in a bikeway to force a cyclist onto the wrong side, then taking — and publishing — a photo of it.

%d bloggers like this: