Tag Archive for Carmageddon

Morning Links: No Carmageddon on Venice Blvd, auto-centric capitalism, and four-wheeled scofflaw cyclists

Yesterday, I wasted far too much of my life.

Hours, in fact, that I will undoubtedly regret on my dying day, trying in vain to defend the Mar Vista and Playa del Rey lane reductions, both here and on Twitter.

And yes, I should know better.

But I’m a firm believer in engaging with people of all viewpoints, in hopes that I can correct inaccurate beliefs, and that I might learn something from them. And maybe, just maybe, we could come to some kind of a consensus.

Hopes that were quickly dashed on the rubble heaps of online discourse.

The best one, by far, was a comment from someone complaining that traffic backups caused by the Venice Blvd Great Streets project had pushed cut-through drivers onto the surrounding side streets. So he insisted that since the project included bike lanes, bike riders should be licensed and taxed to mitigate the problems caused by… drivers.

Uh, sure.

However, the primary argument cited by virtually everyone opposed to the projects was the accusation of soul crushing traffic congestion causing total gridlock and destroying the vehicular lifeblood of the communities.

But as the song says, it ain’t necessarily so.

Yesterday, we included a bike cam video made by Jon Phillips as he rode on Culver Blvd through Play del Rey, showing almost no congestion during the evening rush hour. Though as we noted, that was just one trip, and another journey at another time might have shown something different.

John Montgomery thought of that.

The author of the excellent Digital Slurry website, he set out to explore traffic on Venice Blvd following the lane reductions, and made a point of riding at different times of day, and on multiple days, to get a feeling of what traffic is really like on the street.

What he found was similar to what Phillips found on Culver. Traffic did back up at times, but it started flowing again once the light changed. And at least part of the problem appeared to stem from poor synchronization of traffic lights.

But don’t take his word for it. Or mine.

Read his report and watch the videos, whether the full 14 minute version, or the three minute highlight reel.

And decide for yourself is this is really the return of Carmageddon.

Which turned out to be no big deal, either.


Montgomery also forwarded this screen shot from the North Venice Beach Nextdoor, giving what may be the single most bizarrely auto-centric and capitalistic perspective ever on using a bicycle for transportation.

Meanwhile, the other argument used anytime the subject of bicycling comes up is the accusation that bike riders don’t deserve equal treatment on the streets because we all break the law anyway.

So he set out to record those scofflaw cyclists in action.

And this is what he found.


Sad news from Iran, where a 19-year old member of the national women’s cycling team was killed in a car crash.

Next month’s Colorado Classic four-stage race is attempting to reinvent pro cycling by charging a fee to participate in a music festival and view the final two stages.

Cyclists participating in Sunday’s Manhattan Beach Grand Prix will race backwards in pursuit of a total $21,500 purse.



LADOT has selected a new polymer color treatment for green bike lanes that was developed in conjunction with the film industry. Because Hollywood should always have the last word when it comes to traffic safety.

REI will open their first flagship store in LA County next month, taking over an old Sports Authority location in Burbank.

A Pasadena bike rider stole a 64-year old man’s backpack, then discarded it after rifling through it and stealing two beers. Let’s at least hope they were crappy beers.

West Covina is hosting a community open house – workshop tonight to discuss the city’s proposed Active Transportation Master Plan.

The Santa Monica Lookout talks with the rest of the SaMo city council about how they go carfree at least part of the time; the first part of the story appeared on Monday.

The rich get richer. Construction will begin on Monday on another east-west bike boulevard in bike friendly Long Beach.



Pink’s seven-month old son is one of us, too.

A Simi Valley bike tour operator could be out of business after thieves stole over $25,000 worth of high-end mountain bikes out of his garage.

San Diego is looking for people to adopt one of the city’s 54 largely abandoned bike and pedestrian counters.

Lompoc is experimenting with closing streets to cars for a weekly Friday evening market, while the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition gave dozens of kids refurbished bicycles to take advantage of it.

A DUI hit-and-run driver faces up to ten years in prison after pleading guilty in the death a Watsonville cyclist last year; she was also texting at the time of the crash, as well as driving with a suspended license.

San Francisco’s Public Works Department will enforce a proposed ban on bike chop shops, rather than the police. Because why would you want to arrest anyone for trafficking in stolen bikes and parts?

Dockless bikeshare is getting closer to LA, as Spin is moving into South San Francisco after colonizing Seattle.

No justice for the Sacramento running legend who was hit by a bicyclist on a river pathway, because prosecutors aren’t sure if California’s hit-and-run statutes apply to bikes ridden on trails instead of streets. Here’s a crazy idea: File charges and let a judge decide if the law applies. Because that’s what they do.



Most US students can legally drive a car before they’re old enough to legally ride a bikeshare bike, even though a bikeshare membership can be provided for a fraction of the cost of busing them to school. We should be encouraging students to ride any kind of bicycle rather than clogging the roads with more buses and cars. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson and David Drexler for the heads-up.

Streetsblog says autonomous cars should have to rely on their own sensors, rather than forcing bicyclists and pedestrians to wear sensors to avoid getting run over.

If you ride offroad, book your trip to Oregon now, where they’ve just opened a 668-mile singletrack course that covers the entire state.

A Colorado Republican legislator is shocked that anyone was shocked that he proposed taxing bicycles.

A generous Milwaukee man bought a stolen bike for $20 to return it to its owner after she posted the theft on Facebook.

A university website profiles MIT emeritus professor David Gordon Wilson, author of Bicycle Science, which they call the industry bible for bike design.

Talk about getting Vision Zero wrong. After a New York cyclist was killed in a hit-and-run, the NYPD responds by cracking down on bike riders, rather than the people in the big dangerous machines. Thanks again to Mike Wilkinson.

A proposed New York state law would require all bicyclists in New York City to wear bike helmets, including users of the Citi Bike bikeshare — even though there’s only been one fatality, and just 50 injuries requiring medical attention, in over 43 million Citi Bike rides. The real question is why the law would only apply to NYC; evidently, no one else in the state has heads worth protecting.

After a kindhearted South Carolina cop fails to recover a boy’s stolen bicycle, he buys him a new one.

A group of three boys and two girls in their early teens have been arrested for beating and stomping a 19-year old Orlando man, stealing his bike and sandals, and throwing away his groceries.



Bike Radar offers advice for how to manage riding during your period. Assuming you have one, of course.

The war on bikes continues, as a Canadian jogger stepped on a nail-filled board concealed on a bike trail.

The Guardian’s Peter Walker says that no matter what the safety issue, bike-hating commenters always shift the blame to cyclists. Which is exactly what’s happening in Mar Vista and Play del Rey, and pretty much everywhere else in Southern California; more proof that cyclists face the same issues virtually everywhere.

Caught on video: A British bike rider is shown riding through a red light as cars turn into his lane. No, seriously. Don’t do that.

After a 91-year old English man was killed in a collision while participating in a time trial, the proposed solution is banning bikes from divided highways, rather than expecting people to actually pay attention when they drive.

A 15-year old Irish boy received a twelve-month sentence for bashing another boy over the head with a board to steal his bicycle, on top of the eight-month sentence he’s currently serving for threatening to kill someone else. Along with his previous 24 convictions. Did I mention he’s only 15?

Caught on video too: An Irish cyclist gets doored; notice the driver not rushing to his aid.

World Bicycle Relief has distributed 78,000 bicycles in Zimbabwe after a 2010 New York Times story about a then 17-year old man who longed for a bike instead of walking nine miles to school.

The Guardian says cycling campaigns focusing on women and girls are changing the dynamics on African roads.

More Malaysian office workers are choosing to bike to work.

An Aussie writer says drivers in Western Australian can’t handle the concept of an Idaho Stop Law.



No, Graeme Obree is not a fictional character. Now you, too can ride a modern take on a commie bike.

And now you won’t have to choose between a Bianchi and a Ferrari.


Possible cycling fatality in Santa Maria, pedestrian killed in unreported Westside hit-and-run

I’ve received an unconfirmed report of a cycling fatality in Santa Maria on Monday. According to an anonymous source, a 73-year old man was struck and killed at the intersection of Betteravia and Sinton Roads just after noon; rescue personnel were unable to resuscitate him and he was declared dead at the scene.

More details as they become available.

Update: Fortunately, this one turned out to be a false alarm; the report was based on an undated internet story referring to a collision that occurred last year.


Streetsblog reports on a fatal hit-and-run that never made the news, on the same night an allegedly drunk/distracted driver plowed into a group of cyclists in Culver City.

The collision took the life of a pedestrian crossing Venice Blvd at Motor, just 1.25 miles from the other incident, in the early morning hours of Thursday, June 16th. The victim was walking with the light when a dark colored Volkswagen Jetta ran the red light, then sped off to leave him dying in the street.

Anyone with information is asked to call call the West L.A. Traffic Division Officer O. Osbourne at 213-473-0234.  If you’re calling after-hours or on the weekend, please call 1-877-LAPD-24-7.


Danae Marie Miller is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on September 22nd in Newport Beach on a single count of felony vehicular manslaughter in the February death of triathlete Amine Britel. She reportedly was texting and had a BAC of .10 at the time of the collision, and had 16 prior tickets for moving infractions.


As racing resumes after yesterday’s rest day, Thor Hushovd wins stage 16 of the Tour de France; defending champ Alberto Contador must have resumed eating Spanish beef as he gains precious seconds on the leaders.

Evidently, I’m not the only one who thinks this year’s tour is anything but boring. Dave Moulton says keep an eye on Samuel Sanchez. A lasting, if somewhat gruesome, image to show how tough Tour riders really are. Current TdF leader Thomas Voeckler says he has no chance of winning.

Meanwhile, Lance goes to court to demand an investigation into apparent grand jury leaks, saying the Justice Department is trying to destroy his legacy in the court of public opinion. And Alexander Vinokourov closes out his dope-marred career; sometimes I wonder if the cyclists banned for doping are just the ones who got caught, though others might disagree.


Streetsblog’s Damien Newton bookends Carmageddon with a preview on Fox 11, as well as offering a wrap-up with his usual insight; he says there are just too many freeways. Riding to Carmegeddon Ground Zero. GOOD wants you to imagine L.A. without cars; isn’t that what Carmageddon was all about? Police save the 405 from the indignity of being ridden by 200 or so cyclists. Local officials hope the positive Carmegeddon experience will encourage Angelenos to drive less; I give it maybe two weeks tops.

A mathematical follow-up to the great Bike vs. Jet race. Yes Magazine looks at the cyclists who beat an airplane, while Time Magazine evidently misses the part about Gary Kavanagh finishing 2nd on Metro.


The Sacramento Bee offers a semi-tongue-in-cheek list of 11 things thing the pros do that you shouldn’t when you ride your bike.

I realize they’re trying to be funny while making a point. But personally, I’m getting pretty fed up with all the attacks on cyclists who wear Lycra bike clothes; anyone who thinks riders wear spandex to fit in or be fashionable doesn’t have a clue what road riding is all about.

Experienced riders know that road biking shorts and jerseys are designed to provide for maximum comfort and performance over long distances at relatively high speeds by wicking away moisture and preventing chafing while minimizing drag caused by loose, flapping attire.

But nobody says it’s mandatory. Street clothes are perfectly fine if that’s what you want to wear, especially when riding shorter distances or at slower speeds.

So if you don’t like Lycra, don’t wear it.

And anyone who thinks shaved legs are about “primping” has never tried to field dress a gashed calf 40 miles from home.


Bikes Belong gives a grant to the LACBC to study the economic impact of a road diet on York Blvd; the results could provide much needed support for bike projects across the country. The Westside Cities Council of Governments meets at the VA on Thursday; coordination of bike planning and potential funding sources is on the agenda. New Miracle Mile bike racks prove popular. Surf, skate and bike at the Architecture and Design Museum. A discussion of bike share in Santa Monica. Cycletracks are coming to Temple City. Sometimes it only takes a new grate to help make a street a little safer. A Whittier veteran rubs elbows with royalty to promote the Ride Against Homelessness Bike Ride.

Your next Felt could be a little more affordable. Three Newport Beach teenagers are arrested as bike thefts spike. No charges yet in a Ventura hit-and-run. The correct answer to “where to ride your bike” isn’t “somewhere else.” Another Californian has been busted for Biking Under the Influence after colliding with a car. A mountain biker dies after losing control on a Lake Tahoe trail.

Road ID offers a great series on the rules of the road, including videos with bike lawyer Bob Mionske. A new bike can help leave even the worst disappointments behind. Lovely Bicycle defines what bicycle safety means to her. Elly Blue looks shows how disability doesn’t mean a lack of ability when it comes to riding a bike. A look at the Bike Lady of St. Ignatius MT; thanks to new Montanan and former Angeleno Dancer al a Mode for the heads-up. Springfield Cyclist wins not one, but two bikes. A Chicago man complains about the way ghost bikes look over time. It takes a genuine jerk to door a 6-year old and say “I hope you learned your lesson, young man.” A Princeton fusion researcher is killed on the final day of a 500-mile charity ride. NYDOT turns a safe and pleasant commute into a potentially deadly ride. No bike share station on DC’s National Mall.

A new London gym offers indoor bike parking and bike repairs. A British teenager rides on water to raise money for charity; thanks to Rex Reese for the link. Now that’s what I call cycle chic. An English cyclist riding across Africa has all his gear stolen, except for his bike and passport. A fascinating, if lengthy, look at the Rwandan Cycling Team from the New Yorker.

Finally, a Boston cyclist says yes, we are trying to take over the streets.

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