Tag Archive for CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell

Morning Links: LA Times Op-Ed objects to O’Farrell tweet and compares traffic safety denying drivers to the NRA

Evidently, I may have started something.

A few weeks ago, I responded to Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell’s tweet about gun control by suggesting he focus on street safety instead, which he could actually do something about.

Especially since he had just announced he was killing plans for the long-planned Temple Street road diet.

I was surprised when O’Farrell responded.

And shocked when that response turned out to be “Nice try.”

And I wasn’t the only one, as dozens of people responded with varying degrees of disappointment and outrage at the cavalier attitude reflected in O’Farrell’s dismissive two-word answer.

Now Michael MacDonald, who you may be more familiar with as topomodesto, has written a hard-hitting Op-Ed for the LA Times, inspired by that exchange.

When it comes to standing up to the gun lobby, Los Angeles’ leaders are rightly all-in. Our city has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, and a recent bill by L.A. City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell would boycott companies that do business with the National Rifle Association. As the United States coalesces around the courageous teenage survivors of gun violence in Parkland, Chicago and Ferguson to challenge the NRA’s political clout, L.A.’s elected officials are uniting our city in solidarity.

When it comes to fighting traffic violence, however, these same leaders can’t seem to find the same political moxie.

He goes on to compare the actions of the small group of traffic safety deniers, which seem to have too many on the city council cowed in fear, with the actions of the NRA.

In both gun-violence and traffic-violence policy, the battleground is science and data. The NRA and its supporters oppose any efforts to study gun violence in a way that would inform policy making, blocking federal funding for gun violence research for over 20 years.

L.A.’s anti-traffic-safety lobby, meanwhile, vocally questions the accuracy of data collected on traffic injuries and deaths. One federally classified “proven safety countermeasure” in particular has become a target for their obfuscation: the street safety reconfigurations known as “road diets.”…

And yet — invoking a distinctly Trump-like paranoia and embrace of alternative facts — anti-safety activists routinely contend that these national studies are wrong: that road diets make streets more dangerous and are part of a nefarious plot of social engineering “meant to force citizens of L.A. into public transit under the guise of safety,” as one Playa del Rey resident declared on Twitter.

It’s well worth taking a few minutes to read, because MacDonald couldn’t have done a better job of identifying the problem. Or the solution.

And because Mitch O’Farrell is just the latest in what’s becoming a long list of LA councilmembers putting angry drivers ahead of human lives and livability.

You can find a more legible version of that tweet exchange at LA Streetsblog.

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Toronto removes speed signs intended slow drivers down after getting complaints that they slow drivers down.

Proof that Los Angeles isn’t the only city that tosses both logic and Vision Zero out the window when drivers object.

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Local

Now you, too, can become an LAPD bike cop.

Turmoil on the Westchester Neighborhood Council, as six members quit in a dispute over whether to boot two other members, including an opponent of the Playa del Rey road diets who hasn’t bothered to attend a meeting in the last six months.

You still have time to weigh in with your thoughts on how LA County should remake Rosemead Blvd into a complete street.

 

State

San Diego’s mayor drops plans for nine miles of curb-protected bike lanes, which would have caused years of delay and more than doubled the cost compared to using plastic bollards and parking-protected lanes.

Life is cheap in Bakersfield, where a wealthy vintner from a prominent family was sentenced to just 90 days in jail for killing a bike-riding mother of five while driving at over twice the legal alcohol limit. Prosecutors blamed the victim for having drugs in her system, and not wearing bright clothing or riding in a crosswalk — neither of which are required for bicyclists. Thanks to Jefferey Fylling for the heads-up.

 

National

Somehow we missed this one earlier this year, as an Oregon man is the only person in the state with a disabled parking permit for a bicycle. Thanks to Eric Rogers for the link.

Outside asks what’s going on with Niner, which was recently acquired in bankruptcy by the owner of Huffy; the mountain bikes will continue to be made in my hometown, at least for now.

A Colorado legal expert examines the question of just how far to the right you should ride. Most of which applies here in California, although we still have the outdated requirement to ride as far to the right as practicable, rather than Colorado’s more progressive statute.

It takes a major lowlife to steal the bicycles residents of a San Antonio TX rehab center use to get to work; fortunately, kindhearted locals helped replace them.

A new study from the University of Arkansas confirms what you’ve already been told dozens of times — you need to drink before you’re thirsty when you ride.

This is why people keep dying on our streets: Illinois police arrest a drunk driver who passed out at a gas station with an open bottle of Crown Royal after trying to fill her car with kerosene; she has six previous DUIs in six states, and was driving without a license. Some people will never stop driving until we start taking cars from drunk and stoned drivers, instead of just their licenses. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the heads-up.

A Massachusetts Op-Ed says a cyclist killed in a collision with a truck was a safe and careful rider, and wouldn’t have swerved in front of a massive truck without signaling, despite what the local victim-blaming DA claims.

Toyota teams with New York’s Priority Bicycles to build what they call the world’s safest bicycle by incorporating safety sensors and other features found on a Camry.

As usual, a plan to improve safety on a Philadelphia bike lane brings out people who say it doesn’t go far enough, and others who think it goes too far.

This is the cost of traffic violence: Pro wrestling Hall of Famer “Luscious” Johnny Valiant was killed in a collision with a truck driver while crossing a Pennsylvania street.

The bike-riding woman who gained worldwide fame for flipping off President Trump’s motorcade explains why she’s suing after getting fired for doing it.

A Charleston SC newspaper wonders why it’s so hard to get a bike lane on the bridge across the Ashley River, a debate that’s gone on since at least 1933.

A local newspaper remembers the black bike shop owner who prospered in a small Alabama town in the first half of the last century, despite being the son of former slaves.

 

International

A group of Calgary students have developed a bizarre new triangular bike gearing system to keep your drive chain from freezing and corroding during winter riding.

Bicyclists in Quebec argue that a proposed dramatic increase in fines for bicycling violations will simply keep people from riding.

A London website wonders why there are so few black and Asian bike riders in the city.

Even in the Netherlands, kids need more practice riding their bikes to avoid being clumsy, unsafe cyclists.

Italian bike riders are fighting to reclaim their space on the street in a country with almost no infrastructure for bicycles.

Horrifying news from Majorca, Spain, as a Porsche driver plowed into a group of nine cyclists, critically injuring one rider; the driver failed a roadside drug test.

The Evening Standard says the booming growth of Chinese dockless bikeshare is emblematic of the rapidly changing Chinese economy.

 

Competitive Cycling

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay says you can have Tiger Woods and the Masters; he’ll be watching Paris-Roubaix this weekend, aka the Hell of the North.

Cycling Tips relates the sad tale of two-time Paris-Roubaix champ Charles Crupelandt, which reads like a Greek tragedy.

The LA Times profiles next month’s Amgen Tour of California, which starts in Long Beach May 13th — for the men, that is; the women have to settle for three stages in Central California.

Eleven things not to do on your first crit.

 

Finally…

Who needs a bike cam when you can just have your drone follow you everywhere? It may look like a bike, but you probably wouldn’t want to ride it.

And introducing five-time Tour de France champ Bernard Renault, the greatest cyclist you’ve never heard of.

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A special thanks to John H and an anonymous donor for their generous contributions to the unofficial BikinginLA dead computer replacement campaign

 

Morning Links: Proposed Atwater Village road reduction, photos from Ride the COLT, and a CicLAvia chicken

Here’s your chance to help make one deadly street a little safer.

Los Angeles is considering a proposal to extend the Fletcher Drive road diet south through Atwater Village as part of the city’s Vision Zero program.

This is the area where 19-year old Ryan Coreas was killed by a hit-and-run driver as he attempted to cross Fletcher last December on his way to get a soda.

There’s something seriously wrong when someone can’t cross a damn street on a simple little errand like that without getting killed.

And in this case, it’s the street itself.

A meeting will be held tonight to discuss the options for improving what is one of the city’s most dangerous streets, included in the city’s Vision Zero High Injury Network. Which of course means the NIMBYs and cut-through drivers will be out in force doing their best to keep the street dangerous.

If you can’t make the meeting, here’s a sample email that was forwarded to me that you can send to voice your opinion. Especially if you live or work in the Atwater Village area, or reside in Council District 13.

Dear Councilmember O’Farrell-

I am a resident of [NEIGHBORHOOD] and write to express my support for LADOT’s Fletcher Drive safety improvement project ‘Alternative 1.’

I was saddened to learn of the death of Ryan Coreas at Fletcher Dr & LaClede Ave at the beginning of the year, and appreciate your office’s leadership in improving this dangerous street. If Los Angeles is going to end traffic-related deaths as the City’s ‘Vision Zero’ policy dictates, we need to make safety the first priority and work quickly to fix dangerous roads like Fletcher Drive that encourage speeding.

Alternative 1 is the only option that would improve safety for all road users, but especially for pedestrians when they are most vulnerable at night. Alternative 1 reduces crossing distances for pedestrians and unsafe speeding by incorporating curb extensions. Alternative 1 adds center turn lanes that will make accessing businesses and residences by car safer, while simultaneously improving access for emergency vehicles. Alternative 1 has an added benefit of extending existing bike lanes on Fletcher Drive, providing a safer bike connection between Northeast Los Angeles and the L.A. River Bike Path.

I know from driving on Fletcher Drive regularly that existing traffic congestion is not of a level that makes safety improvement prohibitive. The 2 Freeway also parallels this street, providing access for drivers seeking to bypass the area. Right-sizing Fletcher Drive will discourage cut through traffic while improving mobility options for those accessing local businesses in Atwater Village, Frogtown, and Glassell Park.

I urge you to support Alternative 1 to improve the safety of Fletcher Drive.

Sincerely,

[NAME]

[ADDRESS]

Thanks to Michael MacDonald for the heads-up.

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David Drexler did the double on Sunday, taking part in Chartsworth’s Ride the COLT in the morning, before rushing over to participate in the Glendale to Atwater Village CicLAvia in the afternoon.

Where he befriended a bike-riding chicken.

No, seriously.

Here are some of his photos from the COLT ride — and posing with his newfound CicLAvia buddy. You can read his take on CicLAvia here.

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Writing for City Watch, an attorney demonstrates that he didn’t bother to do a basic Google search on road diets before going off on the mayor for inflicting them on the city’s poor, suffering drivers. As well as ranting that LA is being sued for forcing poor, innocent kids to suck in toxic fumes because he — the mayor — insists on putting bike lanes on busy streets.

Because as we all know, little kids are the only ones who ever ride bicycles, especially on busy streets. And no one would ever want to use a bike lane to actually, you know, go somewhere.

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A fundraising account has been established for track cyclist John Walsh, who was seriously injured at the SoCal State championship on Sunday. As of this writing, it has raised nearly $5,000 of the $30,000 goal.

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Local

More semi-NSFW photos from LA’s cheekiest road safety protest ride.

Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman examines the Vision Zero plans to improve safety in South LA.

CiclaValley celebrates the three miles of bike lanes coming to Sepulveda Blvd in the north SFV.

KFI’s John and Ken go off on the road reconfigurations currently underway in Playa del Rey, which seem none too popular with the drivers who used the deadly beachside streets as virtual commuter highways. If you can listen to more than a few minutes of this crap without throwing your device out a window, you’re a stronger person than I am.

Trial began on Monday for a Long Beach man who faces life in prison after getting beaten by police when they stopped him for the crime of riding without a light.

 

State

Wacky Coronado will talk about how bike riders can safely get from here to there; let’s hope the proposed sharrows and greenways don’t make any more residents dizzy.

A Santa Clara driver complains a bicyclist swore at him after he pulled into a bike lane when his car suffered a mechanical problem. Seriously, don’t be a jerk. On the other hand, bike riders might be more understanding of emergencies like that if so many people didn’t drive in bike lanes just because they can.

San Francisco’s bikeshare system begins its expansion throughout the Bay Area.

It takes a major piece of walking human scum to steal the wheels off a ghost bike.

The Woodland branch of a national non-profit donated ten adaptive tricycles to special needs kids.

A Eureka writer says sometimes you have to get back on your bike or stay face down in the gravel. Literally, on occasion.

 

National

Consumer Reports offers tips on the proper care and feeding of your bike helmet.

Steve Katz forwards news of a bizarre case in Austin TX, which began when a driver plowed into a group of cyclists Saturday morning, injuring four, after claiming he’d fallen asleep. And ended when a witness stopped to help, only to have a passenger in the driver’s car steal his Jeep.

A Missouri church took up a collection to buy a new adult tricycle for a special needs man after his was stolen.

Bicycling talks with the survivors of the Kalamazoo massacre one year later.

Chicago finally releases its Vision Zero action plan for the next three years.

A Michigan woman will spend at least three years and three months behind bars for fleeing the scene after seriously injuring a bike rider in a crash, with a blood alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit. So no, WTVB, she’s not headed to jail for merely hitting a bicyclist with her car.

Sad news from New York, where an investment banker was killed by a bus, becoming the first Citi Bike bikeshare rider to be killed since the program was introduced four years and over 43 million rides ago; he’s just the second person killed since bikeshare came to the US in 2010. Thanks to Alan Thompson and Jeff Vaughn for the heads-up.

A Pennsylvania mom plays detective to get her son’s stolen bike back.

A Baltimore letter writer asks if the mayor is trying to drive Millennials out of town by ripping out a protected bike lane.

Miami gets its first protected bike lane. If you can call a lane separated with nothing more than flexible plastic posts “protected.”

A kindhearted Florida deputy gives a man a new bike after his was destroyed in a hit-and-run.

 

International

Architectural Digest ranks the eleven most scenic bike rides in the world, having evidently never ridden through the Rocky Mountains. Or the American prairie, for that matter.

After a British man gets knocked off his bike by a car towing an RV, he gets even by applying the van’s handbrake, and filming the driver’s wheels spinning as he tries to move forward.

Three out of four daily bike riders in Ireland are men. Which is a stat that could be cited, give or take, for virtually any first world country outside northern Europe.

A soccer coach is bicycling the full length of Italy to fulfill a promise after his team avoided relegation.

A look at the 200th anniversary of the bicycle, from the country where it was born.

Iranian women are ignoring a fatwa from the country’s supreme leader prohibiting them from riding bicycles in public, and posting videos of themselves doing it anyway.

A Kazakh tribesman has left his families flocks behind to compete as an amateur cyclist in China.

 

Finally…

Nobody likes bike thieves, but this is going way too far. Your next bike bell could ring inside cars.

And if you think doping is crappy, you may be right.

Or maybe not.

 

Hundreds turn out in Hollywood for Sunday’s Finish the Ride

Sometimes it’s better to let the pictures tell the story.

So here are a few images and random thoughts from the start of Sunday’s Finish the Ride.

Hundreds of people turned out to join the fight against hit-and-run.

Despite the early morning start, hundreds of people turned out in Hollywood to join the fight against the epidemic of hit-and-run.

People of every description came together to ride, roll, walk or run; two LAPD officers ran the 10k route in full uniform.

People of every description came together to ride, roll, walk or run; two LAPD officers even ran the 10k route in full uniform.

State Assemblymember Richard Bloom: "You have a right to feel safe on the road."

State Assemblymember Richard Bloom: “You have a right to feel safe on the road.”

Nice to see new LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds and Executive Officer Bruce Gillman in the front row, a sign that the city is finally taking hit-and-run seriously.

Nice to see new LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds and Executive Officer Bruce Gillman front row center, a sign that the city is finally taking hit-and-run seriously.

Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell: "Damien, you're changing the world."

Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell: “Damien, you’re changing the world.”

Council members Joe Buscaino and Mitch Englander worked together to create a standing reward program for hit-and-runs, saying the hit-and-run epidemic "is a huge moral problem."

Councilmembers Joe Buscaino and Mitch Englander worked together to pass a standing reward program for hit-and-runs, saying hit-and-run “is a huge moral problem.”

Seleta Reynolds: "We should not accept hit-and-run as a natural consequence of just trying to get around."

LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds: “We should not accept hit-and-run as a natural consequence of just trying to get around.”

FTR Skaters

Surrounded by a sea of bikes, two women waited for their chance to skate the route.

Not all the participants were human. Because even a dog knows leaving someone lying injured or bleeding in the street is inhuman.

Not all the participants were human. Even a dog knows leaving someone lying injured and bleeding in the street — or worse — is inhuman.

The ride marshals gathered before the start to discuss the routes and keeping the participants safe on streets that were shared with cars.

The ride marshals gathered before the start to discuss the routes and how to keep the participants safe on streets that were shared with cars.

Finish the Ride founder Damian Kevitt joins the assembled riders for the start of the 50-mile ride; it was only two years ago that he lost his leg in a horrific hit-and-run.

Finish the Ride founder Damian Kevitt joins the assembled riders for the start of the 50-mile ride; it was only two years ago that he lost his leg in a horrific hit-and-run.

Kevitt sets off to lead the ride, just as he has lead the fight against hit-and-run since recovering from his life-threatening injuries; the driver who fled the scene after dragging him onto a freeway onramp has never been found.

Kevitt sets off to lead the ride, just as he has lead the fight against hit-and-run since recovering from his life-threatening injuries; the driver who fled the scene after dragging him onto a freeway onramp has never been found.

 

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