Tag Archive for Caltrans

LA Times confesses to being pro bike, possible Caltrans chip seal solution, and news of the Worlds

The LA Times launches their examination of biking in the City of Angels in the Opinion pages with a trio of editorials.

The main one manages to raise a lot of questions, both from a bike rider’s perspective and from those who love to hate us, while confessing to a pro-bike bias. Hopefully, they’ll answer at least some of those questions as the series moves forward.

Meanwhile, a cyclist questions just what the rules of the road are, as training for bike riders remains virtually non-existent.

No, seriously.

I got an email recently from a rider who was surprised to learn that cyclists have to stop at stop signs, even when there’s no one else around. Except for the cop who wrote him up for it, that is.

Because no one ever told him he had to.

Clearly, we have a long way to go in educating cyclists when something that seems so obvious isn’t. Although this is a good place to start.

And a foot commuter says it’s not just about bikes versus cars, but rather, a broader discussion about public space and decision making.

Clearly, they get it. Although there’s no guarantee that they’ll get everything right, or that we will agree with everything they have to say.

But one day and three opinion pieces in, the series already feels far more honest than the Los Angeles News Groups’ much — and deservedly — maligned bike-baiting Summer of Cycling Series.

Besides, one of the writers had the infinite good taste to link back to me.

So seriously, how bad could it be?

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Caltrans develops a possible solution to the disastrous chip sealing of the coast highway north of Cambria. Now maybe they can try the same approach on Angeles Crest Highway and Mt. Baldy, where the same anti-bike road treatment was applied, to exactly the same reception.

Thanks to Stephen Villavaso for the link.

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After the big names bail due to heavy rain, Rui Costa edges Rodriguez to win the Worlds. While he didn’t win, at least it was educational for Peter Sagan, while Russian learned the hard way to lock their bikes better.

And as usual, Marianne Vos is unbeatable on the women’s side, though American Evelyn Stevens gave it her best shot.

Meanwhile, bike racing’s new head honcho promises a new era — with the help of a certain disgraced cyclist.

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Streetsblog’s Damien Newton calls the new plans for a high-speed Hyperion-Glendale bridge project a looming disaster; as far as I’m concerned, a 1970’s style 55 mph mini-highway in the heart of the city is dead in the water. A new gateway greets visitors to the LA River Bike Path. New buffered bike lanes besmirch Colorado Blvd in Northeast LA. The Eastside access project continues to move forward. The ArtNight Pasadena Bike Ride rolls on Friday, October 11th. CICLE leads a ride to the CalPoly Pumpkin Patch on Sunday, October 20th; whether the patch is sincere enough remains to be seen.

Good news for CA cyclists, as bikes get a 30% boost in the state budget. A Riverside hit-and-run leaves a cyclist in critical condition; 32-year old Alvin Lennon Johnson of Riverside was arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run. UC Riverside wants to curb reckless bike riders. Bike count volunteers are needed in Newport Beach. A San Diego writer says he intends to keep crossing the centerline to pass bike riders regardless of what our esteemed governor thinks; may I be the first to say thank you. Fresno is tearing out one of the nation’s first pedestrian malls. A new Kickstarter project promises to block wind noise from your helmet straps. A Chico letter writer says bike riders have to obey the same laws drivers and pedestrians don’t obey. A San Francisco cyclist pedals across the Bay; no, not on a bridge.

Now there’s a Blue Book to set prices for used bikes. A potential partner who doesn’t ride a bike doesn’t have to be an impediment to love. How to avoid being the victim of a right hook. Security video captures a Michigan bike rider repeatedly robbed after being knocked unconscious. For once, police are taking the deaths of bike riders seriously, as a third arrest has been made in the DUI death of two New Hampshire cyclists. A thug bashes a Boston bike rider while pretending to be a cop and runs off with her bike. The Department of DIY opens an NYC bureau. Bike Snob is bummed out because yet another child has been killed in New York and the police don’t care. The Wall Street Journal says bike share is blossoming in Gotham, despite the rantings of the paper’s Wicked Witch. A Delaware driver loses control and kills a passenger in his car, so naturally, it’s the bike rider’s fault. North Carolina names a trailhead after the Bicycle Man, who gave refurbished bikes to kids every Christmas.

A Toronto cyclist is chastised by the city’s police chief after she taps his SUV when it repeatedly drifts into the bike lane, nearly hitting her. Bookmark this one, as the London Times explains why non-bike riders should support increased spending for bicycling. Remarkably, two Brit bike riders survive a 70 mph crash with just relatively minor injuries. Police apologize after a law breaking British cop stops a bike-cam wearing rider who didn’t; break the law, that is. Nothing is more exhausting, and few things more enjoyable, than biking with kids. Scot cycling legend Graeme Obree retires after failing to set the land speed record he was after. Alpha Romeo is the latest high-end automaker to roll out a high-end concept bike; no offense, but I’m not impressed with overpriced vanity projects. Bikes are making a comeback in Nigeria. Champion Australian cyclist Alex Simmons gets a $1 million settlement after losing a leg when caretakers neglected to open a gate on a cycling route. Aussie cyclist credits $30 helmet with saving her life. Brit expat works to make Hong Kong a better place to ride a bike.

Finally, a Saudi cleric says driving a car could cause irreversible damage to women’s ovaries; just another reason to ride a bike. Except women aren’t allowed to do that there, either, except in parks and accompanied by a male relative.

Designed to kill — LA throws out Complete Streets to plan high-speed Hyperion Bridge complex

Call it a big step backward for livability — and survivability — on LA streets.

Despite a state Complete Streets policy to accommodate all road users, plans to rehabilitate the Hyperion-Glendale bridge complex currently calls for a high-speed viaduct focused strictly on moving motor vehicles as quickly as possible, at the expense of all other road users.

Bike lanes included in the current bike plan have been left out. As have safely usable sidewalks. And apparently common sense, as the plans reflect a big step backward to the failed policies of the past, similar to the killer roadways currently found in Orange County and San Diego.

Not exactly what you’d expect from our new progressive mayor, who seemed to get it when completing a questionnaire for the LACBC prior to this year’s election. Or new bike-friendly City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, who replaced Garcetti in CD13.

On the other hand, it’s exactly what we might expect from Councilmember Tom LaBonge, who professes his support for bicycling while opposing bike lanes on Lankershim Blvd, and was the driving force behind the removal of the green bike lane on Spring Street in Downtown LA.

With friends like that, we don’t need enemies.

I’ll let the latest Action Alert from the LACBC take it from here.

The LA Bureau of Engineering (BOE) and Caltrans are currently studying rehabilitating the Hyperion-Glendale complex of bridges over the 5 Freeway and LA River connecting Silver Lake to Atwater Village. Despite being designated for bike lanes in the 2010 Bicycle Plan, the proposed project does not include these planned lanes. Why? LACBC and LA Walks (and many of you) attended a community workshop last night to find out.

What we discovered is plain old car-centric engineering from start to finish. Caltrans and BOE are designing Hyperion Ave. to freeway standards with a design speed of 55 miles per hour. Based on that design speed, they are pursuing a median crash barrier, banked turns, and supersized car lanes. Those decisions leave no room for bike lanes and just a narrow sidewalk on only one side of the street.  Simply designing the street to normal city street standards would leave enough room for everyone.

Your voice is needed to make Hyperion Ave. safe for all. Tell Caltrans and BOE that freeway speeds have no place on city streets and that walking and biking are just as important as moving traffic. Comments can be emailed to Tami Podesta by October 11th at Tami.Podesta@dot.ca.gov. Please cc: tom.labonge@lacity.org, councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org, and mayor.garcetti@lacity.org.

To: Tami.Podesta@dot.ca.gov
cc: tom.labonge@lacity.org, councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org, mayor.garcetti@lacity.org
bcc: info@la-bike.org

Subject: No Hyperion Freeway – Build a Safe Viaduct for All

As someone who bikes or walks between Silver Lake and Atwater Village, it is absolutely critical that Hyperion Ave. be made safe for people like me. Everyone’s needs can be met if the project is designed for appropriate speeds through an urban community. Specifically, I would like the project to include:

  • Bike lanes on Hyperion Ave.
  • Wider sidewalks and well-marked crosswalks with wayfinding signs
  • Narrower traffic lanes to provide more space for bicyclists and pedestrians and discourage speeding
  • No crash barrier and banked turns that will make people drive even faster
  • A complete crosswalk on the Atwater end of the viaduct to let people access the sidewalk from both sides of Glendale Blvd. and give bicyclists an alternative through the dangerous merge

There is no reason for this project to not be consistent with the bike plan and Caltrans complete streets policy. The viaduct is currently the greatest barrier to safe bicycle access across the 5 Freeway and the LA River. This project can change that and make all travelers benefit.

Sincerely,

your name
your address

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A new petition calls on Caltrans to stop chip sealing popular cycling routes, following the disastrous resurfacing of Angeles Crest Highway and Mt. Baldy Road.

The surfacing treatment, which combines a layer of asphalt over gravel or other aggregate material, results in a rough roadway that is, at best, unpleasant to ride. And at worst can create dangerous conditions that make it difficult to maintain control of a bike.

Considering the outcry from bike riders when Caltrans chip sealed PCH north of Cambria earlier this year, it’s nearly incomprehensible that they would use the same technique on some of Southern California’s most popular riding routes.

Which begs the question — is Caltrans merely incompetent and tone-deaf to the needs of cyclists, or is the agency actively trying to discourage riding on these roadways?

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Santa Monica sends a shot over the bow of LA’s long-delayed Bike Nation bike share program, as they vote to move forward with their own plan, in what the city hopes will grow to be a regional program developed in conjunction with Metro.

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Times readers weigh in on the new three-foot law, as the writer gently corrects a negative commenter. West LA’s Martin Cadillac could become a bike-friendly mixed-use housing, office and retail development; an apparently less bike-friendly car dealer in DTLA says he’s not trying to kill the MyFigueroa project. The aforementioned CMs LaBonge and O’Farrell belatedly celebrate the city’s first Bicycle Friendly Street. Celebrate the new and improved Colorado Boulevard this Sunday. Malibu gets a $900,000 Caltrans grant to improve the existing bike route on PCH through the west side of town. Boyonabike looks at how Monrovia could become more bike friendly in advance of the coming Gold Line station. Old Pasadena gets bike racks.

The Orange County Register finally drops its draconian paywall, but only to complain about Long Beach bike riders. Homebuyers along OC’s new Great Park will get a new bright orange bike. A San Diego driver says he’s going to keep crossing over the centerline to pass bike riders safely, regardless of whether permission to do that was removed from the new three-foot passing law; thank you. Somehow, Modesto police don’t know which way a bus was travelling, but know a cyclist rode in front of it. A 17-year old Redding-area driver is under arrest for the hit-and-run death of a 61-year old bike rider. A 19-year old man is under arrest for the hit-and-run death of a Chico cyclist, as well as possession of marijuana for sale — the day he was supposed to get off probation for a previous drug conviction.

Forbes says bicycling is badly in need of good PR, as London’s formerly bike-friendly Daily Telegraph cries out against the false god of cycling. Forbes also presents 10 cities where bicycles rule the streets; I think riders in many of those cities might disagree. Are America’s planners making Americans fat? A good looking new video from Adventure Cycling highlight’s the US Bicycle Route System — and inadvertently, bicycling’s white problem. While LA’s city leaders are busy ripping them out, Las Vegas installs new green bike lanes downtown. Nevada cyclists can now run red lights that fail to detect their presence. Instead of telling cyclists where not to park, why not install enough bike racks for everyone? A second person has been arrested in the death of two New Hampshire cyclists last weekend; the suspect allegedly provided drugs and a car to the unlicensed driver who killed them. Bikeyface says you too could ride to work on a cloud, even if you’re not athletic. New York’s Daily News rides a bike share bike with the city’s Republican candidate for mayor. A New York cabbie is really sorry and has trouble sleeping after he severed the leg of a British tourist following a dispute with a bicyclist; imagine how his victim must feel. Arlington VA cyclists get a new bike repair vending machine. Georgia considers a slate of anti-bike legislation.

A cyclist is critical of Vancouver’s GranFondo after suffering life-changing injuries when he hit a storm grate. A UK cyclist is dead because a race track failed to let drivers know there was a bike path on their property. A Brit couple time their wedding photos to include the Tour of Britain. British bike scribe Carlton Reid attempts to defend bike riding before a hostile TV audience. The successful Paris Velib bike share system may shrink because people won’t stop stealing their bikes. Bike racing’s governing body could have a new president Friday. Garmin-Sharp rider Peter Stetina prepares to compete at the world championships, despite his father’s recent near-fatal fall and flooding at the family’s Boulder CO home.

Finally, when you call the police to report a 5’9″, 90-pound man broke into your trailer, knocked you over the head and stole your bike, maybe you shouldn’t mention he stole your meth, too.

Call now to fight killer roads in San Diego, and a near repeat of a Huntington Beach bike path collision

Just a quick update on a busy day.

Anyone who rides in the San Diego area should take a moment to read today’s BikeSD, in the wake of the death of a publicly unidentified bike rider on Clairemont Mesa Blvd last week.

While no official word has been released regarding the cause of the collision, cyclists have been quick to blame bad road design that forces riders going straight to cross over an exit lane leading to a freeway onramp — just as they did in the death of David Ortiz last year.

In response, riders are prepared to take on, not just a city famed for turning a blind eye to cycling fatalities, but what may be the state’s most bureaucratic and unresponsive agency.

There’s still time to join in and call Caltrans District Director Laurie Berman to demand that she appear at tomorrow’s San Diego City Council meeting to defend the city’s high-speed killer streets, and Caltrans’ apparent refusal to do anything to make them safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Or motorists, for that matter.

And to attend tomorrow’s council meeting yourself to demand both immediate and long-term action to prevent more needless deaths on the city’s streets.

Because far too many people have died on San Diego streets already.

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Our anonymous South Bay/Orange County correspondent reports another collision at the exact same site where a car went off PCH in Huntington Beach and nearly killed cyclist Richard Lauwers as he rode on the bike path below.

No cyclist involved

By 10pm, when I rode past, the totaled car had been righted and was facing north, in the exact location of the incident that put Richard Lauwers in the ICU for days.

The tow truck driver was the only one still on the scene, using power tools to try to get the mangled car roll-able.  He said he’d arrived just as the ambulance left Code 3 for UCI.  ”The kid fell asleep,” is what HBFD told him, and he added that the car had rolled and then came to rest upside down, half on the path & half on the sand. He also said the cops don’t suspect alcohol or drugs (of course, if the tox results disagree, there’ll be charges.)

I hope all the pretty sparkly bits of glass are swept off the path for the Sunday morning cyclists.

I hope a mom isn’t signing Consent to Harvest papers tonight.

Ride safe out there!

Two serious collisions that sent drivers off the road in exactly the same spot indicates a serious safety problem that has to be addressed on the roadway.

And should serve as a warning to cyclists that they may not be safe riding the bike path there.

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Finally, I stumbled on something I found heartbreaking over the weekend.

Yes, it’s a good thing that bicycling has become so mainstream that it’s now used to sell everything from pharmaceuticals to fashion.

But it’s a sad day when a once proud Pashley is relegated to serving out its remaining days as a flat-tired retail display in a Santa Monica Banana Republic.

Banana Republic Pashley

Heartfelt thanks to Sgt. Krumer, PCH lane closures this weekend, and a scofflaw cyclist caught on video

Let’s take a few minutes to catch up on the latest news.

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Streetsblog explains what to do when a police car blocks the bike lane.

And honors LAPD Sgt. David Krumer, who has been transferred to the Devonshire Division and is no longer the department’s bike liaison.

I’d like to second that sentiment.

The changes in the department have been so dramatic, it’s hard to believe it’s been just two-and-a-half years since then new Chief Charlie Beck and Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger met with cyclists at City Hall and promised things would be different.

And they have been, as the LAPD has slowly changed from the auto-centric, vaguely anti-bike perspective typical of too many police departments — see links to NYPD below — to one of the most progressive and bike-friendly departments in the U.S.

Of course, they’re far from perfect, as any number of cyclists can attest.

But the difference is night and day. And much of that credit goes to Sgt. Krumer, who has gone far beyond the extra mile to give cyclists a willing ear within the department, and worked to improve safety and ensure fairer enforcement for the city’s cycling community.

As Damien Newton notes in his story, the LAPD is working towards a plan that will place a bike liaison at each of the four Traffic Divisions within the department. That should, depending on who they place in those positions, provide even greater responsiveness for riders, as we will now be able to talk directly to someone who knows the local streets and the officers who patrol them.

But they will have very big boots to fill if they plan to follow in the footsteps of Sgt. Krumer.

We all owe him a big round of thanks.

And the department owes him a commendation.

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Speaking of LAPD, their officers stop actress Amanda Bynes driving without a license two weeks after it was revoked. And then let her just drive away.

Yes, drive.

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Long-time bike and community advocate George Wolfberg forwards word that PCH will face a partial closure this weekend to accommodate the Nautica Malibu Triathlon. The road will remain open to traffic; however, the right lane in each direction will be closed on both Saturday and Sunday from 5 am to 1 pm.

The question is how they will handle the massive numbers of cyclists who ride PCH every weekend. Will cyclists be shunted into a single shared lane with the great mass of no doubt angry and impatient motorists? Or will they attempt to ban bikes from the roadway during those hours?

All too typical that Caltrans doesn’t even consider cyclists in their press release.

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A first person account of what it’s like to get doored. Hollywood’s Yucca Street becomes the city’s first Bike Friendly Street, even if it is less than a mile. Gary tries to unravel the conflict between cyclists and pedestrians in Santa Monica. Santa Monica’s planned bike share program gets a half million dollar boost. Help explore a route for the first CicLAvia to the Sea. Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster is the first winner or the new National Bicycle Friendly America Leadership Award. Long Beach bike advocate/entrepreneur April Economides is chosen as General Manager of Bike Nation’s new bike share program.

Bike safety flyer from CA DMV (pdf) instructs cyclists to walk their bikes across intersections; no, really, they say you should get off your bike every block and walk it across the street. OC Gran Fondo expects 1,000 riders at the end of the month. A San Diego Lexus driver flees the scene after apparently hitting a cyclist on purpose. Cycling Unbound takes the contrarian view on bike licensing, arguing that it might actually be good for us. Former Hemet mayor has his classic Schwinn fixie stolen. The people of Oakmont reach out to support the cyclist victim of a road rage assault; thanks to @murphstahoe for the link. A San Jose woman is killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding her bike in Flagstaff AZ, where she was going to college. A San Francisco curmudgeon columnist worries that more bike lanes equal more collisions.

The Economist claims a cycling revolution is taking place in America. How to keep your bike from being stolen, more or less. A second rider was seriously injured in the LoToJa bike race that took the life of an Arizona rider this past weekend. Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong’s bikes were stolen on their way back home to Boise. Mapping Bike Route 66. Courtesy of Witch on a Bicycle comes word that the popular Yehuda Moon comic is no longer hidden behind a paywall. A Texas cyclist rides cross-county, only to be killed riding his bike to work. A Michigan Methodist minister is killed while riding his bike. The New York Times belatedly discovers that people are dying on the city’s streets, and the NYPD, busy ticketing riders in Central Park, doesn’t appear to give a damn — which could be why they’re being sued once again. A Shreveport taxi driver loses control and flips his cab after seeing a cyclist in his lane, and police inexplicably put out an APB for the rider. Georgia continues the witch hunt against the mother whose child was killed by a drunk driver; the killer driver got six months, while she got three years simply because there wasn’t a crosswalk anywhere nearby. The Key Biscayne city council wants cyclists to pay a toll to fund a wall to keep them safe from killer causeway drivers; is it just me or does that sound a little backwards?

Winnipeg woman realizes to late that a semi-truck was turning towards her as she road in a crosswalk. American Tyler Farrar suffers a severe concussion and has to abandon the Tour of Britain. A writer for the Guardian says MAMILs aren’t so bad, after all. Two boys from the same Nottinghamshire school are killed in bike collisions in just three months. Evidently, cyclists aren’t even safe on closed courses, as a rider is hit by a car within site of finish line at the Etape Cymru. A 17-year old New Zealand boy charged with driving without a license pleads guilty to injuring two cyclists this past May. Bicycling in China isn’t for the faint of heart.

Finally, not all hit-and-run drivers are uncaring jerks, as a driver stops and apologizes before leaving a cyclist lying on the roadway — then claims she didn’t know she hit anyone.

And before anyone thinks I only criticize drivers, consider this short clip of a scofflaw cyclist who not only ran a red light, but couldn’t be bothered to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Caltrans trashes ghost bikes, silver medalist decries sexism & Brits have something extra in their pants

Time to catch up on a little non-breaking news.

And thankfully, non-broken cyclists, for a change.

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The soon to be removed Erin Galligan ghost bike; photo courtesy of George Wolfberg

The heartless bastards bureaucrats at Caltrans have removed the San Diego-area ghost bike for Nick Venuto, while Charles Gilbreth‘s ghost bike has been removed by the City of San Diego.

I’m also told that Caltrans plans to remove the recently installed ghost bike for Santa Monica hit-and-run victim Erin Galligan any day, if it hasn’t already.

Meanwhile, Murrieta cyclists ride to remember fallen rider Randy Pruett on his daughter’s sixth birthday.

Correction: Sam of Bike SD — a must read for SoCal cyclists — notes that the Gilbreth bike was removed by the City of San Diego. I’ve corrected the paragraph above to reflect that.

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Marianne Vos takes an exciting women’s Olympic road race, while Gilroy’s Shelley Olds finishes 7th in the women’s Olympic road race after suffering an ill-timed flat. However, American cyclists still have a shot in the time trial, which 4th place men’s finisher Taylor Phinney has been targeting. Taylor finished one place better than his dad did in 1984; at this rate, the family should win gold in just three more generations.

Meanwhile, Brit silver medalist Lizzie Armistead calls out the overwhelming sexism in professional cycling. And loses her lucky sunglasses, prompting a police search.

It’s long past time that pro cycling took women riders seriously. The late, great Coors Classic — still the greatest bike race to take place on American soil — offered a parallel women’s tour nearly four decades ago. So why can’t the Amgen Tour of California and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge seem to manage it?

Bike commentator Phil Liggett says BMX and mountain bike events don’t belong in the Olympics.

And evidently, British track cyclists have a secret weapon in their pants.

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The Times covers Saturday night’s Wolfpack Hustle Midnight Drag Race; you never would have seen a story like that a couple years ago. Flying Pigeon hosts a night of Streetfilms to benefit C.I.C.L.E.’s Shay Sanchez. L.A. cyclists are about to see their first Bicycle Friendly Street on Yucca Street in Hollywood. L.A.’s original bike advocate will be honored with a rededication of the Alex Baum Bicycle Bridge. Bikerowave offers a list of their August classes. New buffered bike lanes appear on 6th and 14th Streets in Santa Monica; I’ve also noticed the buffered lanes on Montana have been extended all the way to Ocean. Bikes and Hikes L.A. is offering a discount on bike tours to West Hollywood hotel guests. Beverly Hills finally gets around to discussing bike racks on Thursday; could someone please invite them to join the rest of us here in the 21st Century? B.I.K.A.S. says don’t assume I drive or that driving is safe. Long Beach will host the first National Women’s Bicycling Summit on September 13th.

A bill is advancing in the state legislature to exempt bike lanes from the requirements of the state’s air quality (CEQA) rules; of course, something that makes that much sense will probably get vetoed by our three-foot-law-denier governor. A Santa Cruz cycling coach says we’re people, too. A legally drunk Fresno high school basketball coach kills a 7-year old boy riding his bike in a crosswalk, while injuring his father and 18-month old sister; thanks to Michael Byerts for the heads-up. Commuting by bike is more than just a ride to work. Oakland area efforts to get women into cycling. A Shasta County recumbent rider is killed and another injured after a driver loses control and hits both bikes.

Conflicts between drivers and cyclists caught on video. GM is developing a smartphone app to keep pedestrians from getting hit; the problem is what happens when drivers get used to it and encounter a pedestrian who isn’t using one. Lovely Bicycle asks what to do when spouses worry; I’ve learned not to tell my wife about any of the problems I experience on the road, and she’s learned not to read this blog. Bike lawyer Bob Mionske says you could be liable for a collision with another rider. A Colorado cyclist complains that state police should know the law before they stop riders like him. Police in my hometown clearly get it, as they prefer to focus enforcement on drunk drivers than intoxicated, but relatively harmless, cyclists. It could take just a cheap and simple transformation to get people on their bikes. Evidently, Texas cyclists are a source of danger. Not every bike lanes is a cause for celebration. Bike Safe Boston says avoid the door zone, and remember dooring is always the driver’s fault — unless you’re in Santa Monica. New York City ponies up a $225,000 settlement in the case of a then-17-year old cyclist whose jaw was broken by a cop after she called him a rookie. Bikes are becoming more popular as DC-area getaway cars.

Once again, ill-placed rumble strips may have played a roll in the death of a cyclist, as Calgary riders work to make roads safer. John Forrester, the father of vehicular cycling, bizarrely accuses London cyclists of throwing themselves to their deaths under large trucks. Instead of gridlock, London’s Olympic Lanes have created a cyclist’s paradise. Cycling greases the wheels of the British economy. London’s Critical Mass turned into a bust — literally — as 182 riders were arrested after challenging Olympic security lines, but only three ended up being charged; the whole thing did not go over well with local cyclists. A fear of city streets keeps Dubliners off their bikes. Now those are a pair of bike quads. A Kiwi writer says it’s better to look naff wearing a helmet than be killed without one. China attempts to crowdsource problematic intersections. Karma can be a bitch, as a Brazilian billionaire takes a dramatic fall as investors flee, not long after — but not because, unfortunately — his son runs down a cyclist and both blame the rider.

Finally, the SF Weekly says forget distracted drivers, the real problem is distracted pedestrians.

Big news on blocked bike lanes, Complete Streets and drivers manuals

Turns out, this really is illegal after all. Photo of Venice Blvd bike lane courtesy of Todd Munford.

It took awhile.

But we’ve finally got an answer on whether blocking bike lanes with anything other that a parked motor vehicle is legal.

And it turns out, it’s not.

The other day, along a handful of other local cycling activists, I got an advance look at the new officer training materials currently being prepared by the LAPD. It’s still a work in progress, but promises to be a huge step forward in repairing relations between the city’s police and cyclists.

And ensuring that our rights — and yes, responsibilities — will be respected and enforced.

One thing stood out, though, especially in light of the above photo. So I turned to the LAPD Commander next to me to ask for a little clarification.

A bike lane, he explained, is a lane of traffic. And it is against the law to block any traffic lane without a permit.

Which means that those trash cans and recycling bins blocking the bike lane in the picture up above are violating the law. As are the countless tree limbs, advertising signs, double-parked cars and other assorted hazards we frequently find blocking our way on the few strips of asphalt dedicated to our exclusive use.

Of course, it’s one thing to confirm it’s illegal. It’s another entirely to get someone to enforce it.

As Stephen Box has pointed out, LADOT’s Parking Enforcement Division hasn’t been in a hurry to write tickets for bike lane violations. And while the police can write tickets, it’s not exactly their highest priority, for obvious reasons.

So the next time you find a bike lane blocked, call and complain.

Call LADOT. Call the police (but don’t call 911 — a blocked lane may be a pain in the ass, but it’s not an emergency). Call your local councilmember.

And keep calling until someone actually does something.

Because it turns out, it really is illegal.

Meanwhile, Cyclelicious broke the news last week that big changes are taking place on the state level.

On March 9th, Caltrans Director Randell Iwasaki announced the state’s new Complete Streets Implementation Action Plan that’s intended, along with other measures, “to meet the needs of all users.”

Iwasaki instructs state transportation agency employees to “view all transportation improvements as opportunities to improve safety, access, and mobility for all travelers in California and recognizes bicycle, pedestrian, and transit modes as integral elements of the transportation system.”

In other words, bikes and pedestrians will now — in theory, at least — be taken in account in all future state roadway work.

Which won’t mean immediate changes. But it has the potential to eventually transform every city and county throughout the entire state.

On the other hand, the new 2010 California Drivers Handbook could have a more immediate effect, clearly stating that cyclists have the same right to the road as any other road users:

Bicyclists on public streets have the same rights and responsibilities as automobile and motorcycle drivers. Respect the right-of-way of bicyclists because they are entitled to share the road with other drivers. Here are some critical points for drivers and bicyclists to remember:

Motor vehicle drivers must:

• Pass a bicyclist as they would a slow moving-vehicle. Pass with caution, and only when safe.

• Look carefully for bicyclists before opening doors next to moving traffic or before turning.

• Safely merge toward the curb or into the bike lane.

• Not overtake a bicyclist just before making a turn. Merge first, then turn.

• Be careful when approaching or passing a bicyclist on a freeway.

As Cyclelicious shows, it goes on to clearly spell out the responsibilities of cyclists to obey all traffic signals and stop signs, to ride with the flow of traffic — including riding on the left on one-way streets — and to “signal their intentions to motorists and bicyclists near them,” among other points.

It’s not perfect.

But if drivers — and cyclists — actually pay attention to what it says, our streets could start getting a lot safer.

Fast.

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In yet another case of a UK cyclist dying in a collision with a large truck, emerging British musician and fashion designer Shivon Watson — who recorded under the name Shiv Lizzy — was struck and killed in the London borough of Hackney on Wednesday. Closer to home, no cause of death has been determined for L.A. resident Kevin Brent Cohn, whose body was discovered in the bike path in Ballona Creek on Saturday.

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Santa Monica-area cyclists may want to make plans to attend an important Monday night meeting on street improvements to 20th Street and Cloverfield Blvd. L.A.’s second Tweed Ride rolls on Saturday the 27th. Over four thousand cyclists take part in Saturday’s Solvang Century. The Redland’s Classic bike race kicks off on the 25th. Long Beach’s biking expats roll through West Texas on their way to Austin. Why are hipster fixie riders the most pretentious jerks in San Francisco? Also in the Bay Area, you can have your bike stolen — and get it back 30 minutes later. If you’re visiting New York City, you might want to bring your bike with you — or maybe you’d prefer pedaling through Transylvania. A popular Ohio cyclist and bike store owner is found dead on the side of the road; authorities suspect natural causes. More highlights from last week’s National Bike Summit. This year’s Paris – Nice race goes to the same guy who won last year’s Le Tour, for the second time. An Ottawa paper visits America’s most bike-friendly brewery. Calgary has to do more to support cyclists, including getting non-cyclists to pay more attention on bike paths; yeah, that would be nice here, too. Toronto’s leading candidate for mayor says let’s put the bike plan on hold. The 50 best bikes, from a Brit perspective. A South African writer mistakenly believes he’s being clever when he says bicycles are for children and circus bears, and describes cyclists as “pointy headed people wearing disturbingly tight Lycra and gay shoes; evidently, he didn’t read about the three cyclists killed there earlier this week.

Finally, a retired L.A. police officer paralyzed by a robber’s bullet is training to ride in this year’s Race Across America to raise money and awareness for Operation Awareness, an LAPD-based program that has sent 35 young people from gang-infested neighborhoods to college over the last 10 years.

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