Tag Archive for CD4 City Council Race

Morning Links: Waking the sleeping giant in LA and Pasadena, and a gut-wrenching Colorado hit-and-run

Lots of news leading up to next month’s elections.

LA’s Bike the Vote reviews Thursday’s Livable Streets forum for candidates running to replace termed-out Tom LaBonge, while Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers his detailed analysis, along with sound recordings of the event.

My take on night was that Tomas O’Grady and LaBonge staffers Sheia Irani and Carolyn Ramsey stood head and shoulders above the rest, although Mexico City native Fred Mariscal got the biggest applause of the night for insisting LA has to move past its overdependence on cars.

On the other hand, I had major concerns about the ability of the two LaBonge staffers to step out of the shadow of their bike-friendly-in-name-only boss to actually support bicycling and other non-automotive transportation the way they promised.

But in talking to them afterwards, both seemed sincere in wanting to improve safety and make room for bikes on our streets. And while I disagreed with Ramsay on a few points, I came away convinced she would actually listen to bicyclists and be willing to change her mind if presented with compelling arguments, unlike the man she’s running to replace.

Then again, Gil Cedillo made some pretty good promises, too.

But all eight candidates deserve a degree of support for simply showing up, unlike the other six who apparently had better things to do that night.

Meanwhile, Orange 20’s Richard Risemberg seems sold on O’Grady, while the Daily News splits their endorsement between O’Grady and Teddy Davis, who was one of those who didn’t bother to show up on Thursday.

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The LACBC offers great information on how to bike the vote, including responses to candidate questionnaires for council district 4, as well as district 14, where termed-out County Supervisor Gloria Molina is challenging incumbent Jose Huizar, one of the best friends bike riders have had on the city council in recent years.

Personally, I won’t vote for anyone who doesn’t complete the LACBC’s questionnaire. And I hope you’ll base your vote on their responses, as well.

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The candidates in CD 14 talk housing costs and basic services in Boyle Heights. And several candidates, including Molina, O’Grady, Irani and — apparently grudgingly — Ramsey, pledge to take a pay cut if they get elected.

It should be noted that LA city councilmembers receive the highest pay of any large city in the US. Which is one reason the office seems so attractive to politicians who have been termed out of other seats.

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The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition has posted audio of the complete streets portion of a recent mayoral candidate forum for their city, as well as responses to their own candidate questionnaire.

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Why does all this matter?

Because bike riders remain, potentially, one of the largest voting blocks in the City and County of Los Angeles, capable of swaying elections to ensure safe streets for all of us.

But only potentially, until we finally manage to wake the sleeping giant.

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My hometown newspaper offers a gut-wrenching look at the effects a violent left cross and hit-and-run had on a triathlete and father; an exceptionally well written piece almost guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye. Or at least, it did mine.

On Monday, they follow-up with a story asking if justice was served.

That would be a no.

Hell no.

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Local

Confirmation that LA Times automotive writer Jerry Hirsch is one of us. I can personally attest he’s one of the good guys.

A Lakewood bike rider saves the life of a newborn baby who had been abandoned by her mother, scooping up the infant and racing to a nearby fire station. She can be grateful her rescuer wasn’t in a car, or he might not have heard her cries. Thanks to Margaret Wehbi for the heads-up.

 

State

UC San Diego is building a new Class 1 bike path on campus.

A non-cyclist rides the bike lanes of Redlands.

 

National

The bike that Seattle Seahawk Michael Bennett commandeered from the local police to celebrate winning the NFC championship raises $10,000 for charity.

A Michigan bike rider survives a head-on collision with a truck in France to come back and rescue the medical company he built.

A good Samaritan who helped a Florida woman after she fell off her three-wheeled bike ends up stealing it.

 

International

Drawing a thread through today’s news, a proposed mandatory helmet law draws mixed reviews in Saskatchewan; The Netherlands is unlikely to require bike helmets for the young and elderly despite the recommendations of a recent report, and a New Zealand writer says those irritating cyclists need to get over themselves and wear one, already.

The Economist says London is slowly becoming a better place for bicyclists.

Australia’s Rohan Dennis becomes the third cyclist in the last few months to break the previously long-standing hour record, as Bradley Wiggins waits in the wings.

Thai authorities are building bike lanes to accommodate a bicycling boom in Chiang Mai.

 

Finally…

A 13-year old paracyclist sets a new world record for the second time, but it won’t count because doping authorities failed to show up. And a cake, ale and cigarette-loving plump Paddy — his word, not mine — rebels against hectoring from “broccoli-loving cycling fascists.”

Actually, I’m more of a spinach guy, myself.

 

Morning Links: CD4 Livable Streets forum tonight, and the OC Register gets it very wrong on bike funding

Don’t miss tonight’s Livable Streets forum for the massive scrum of candidates running to replace Tom LaBonge in LA’s 4th council district.

You can register for the free event here, and bike the vote by riding in with Wolfpack Hustle’s Don Ward.

And yes, there will be a bike valet.

Meanwhile, the Jewish Journal profiles the seven most prominent candidates in the race, three of whom call for better bike lanes in the district.

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In a highly uninformed editorial, the OC Register says bike paths and other active transportation — no ironic quotes needed, thank you — plans receive a disproportionate amount of transportation funding.

Which is absolutely true, as the LACBC’s Eric Bruins points out, since walking and biking account for 19% of trips, 39% of traffic fatalities and just 1% of funding in LA County.

In other words, the very definition of disproportionate. But maybe not the way the Register intended.

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Local cyclist and costume designer Erica Schwartz wants your help with a new line of fashionable and functional clothing for women who ride bikes.

Taking just a few minutes to fill out this anonymous survey will help her develop fashions that will meet your needs.

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Throw me something, mister!

For those of us who know what it means to miss New Orleans, Metro is hosting a Mardi Gras celebration at Union Station on February 17th.

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Turns out even 81-year old country music outlaw Willie Nelson is one of us.

So is Russell Crowe, though we knew that already. Note to Daily Mail — that is so not a BMX bike.

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Local

The LA Weekly looks at LA’s underground bike racing scene, which isn’t really all that underground anymore.

LA’s newest bike corral is taking its lumps protecting bikes and pedestrians from careless Larchmont drivers.

The Loyola Marymount news site lists five of LA’s best bike routes. Although some of those seem a little too familiar; maybe someone should explain the need for attribution to them.

If you loved the South LA CicLAvia, don’t miss the Love Ride on Valentines Day.

 

State

Cyclelicious offers a look at transportation bills introduced in the California legislature; nothing exciting on the bike front yet. Which could give the governor’s veto pen a rest this year.

Costa Mesa considers the safety of biking and walking in the city. Thanks to sponsor Michael Rubinstein for the heads-up.

The EPA will help Fresno plan a bike share program to help improve air quality.

The East Bay Bike Club’s Robert Prinz explains how to carry a little or a lot of stuff on your bike.

Sounds like they think he did it on purpose. A Ukiah teenager faces five counts of assault with a deadly weapon for mowing down a series bike riders in rapid succession; he also faces one count of DUI.

 

National

Bicycling offers advice on how to bike with your dog, and how to buy an un-abused used bike.

I’ve never been a fan of PC language, as you may have noticed. But People for Bikes makes the case that changing terms helped end the divisive Seattle bikelash.

Now that’s more like it. A bill before the Nebraska legislature would make injuring or killing a cyclist through careless driving a felony with up to five years in jail. Although someone should have a long talk with the editor who approved that awful illustration.

Louisville KY’s extremely cool new underground bike park built in an abandoned limestone mine prepares to open next month.

Unbelievable. A Shreveport driver received over 40 moving violations in 20 years — including a DUI — yet somehow was still allowed on the road to kill a seven-year old girl in an allegedly drunken collision.

Baltimore gets a new bike plan calling for 253 miles of bikeways.

 

International

The president of cycling’s governing body admits dropping the ball on paracycling, but pinkie-swear promises to make it right.

London approves plans for segregated bike superhighways crisscrossing the city, as well as additional bike infrastructure improvements. Even as a member of the city’s transportation board says it’s your own damn fault if you get killed.

Just seven days after receiving the heart of a fallen cyclist, a British transplant patient suddenly takes up bicycling. And rides a 30-mile sportive in his donor’s honor 19 weeks later.

My favorite Scottish bike blogger turned leading bike advocate says if you want to sell bikes to women, maybe you should actually listen to them.

The womens pro cycling tour is showing the Arab world what women can do if given a chance; I hope they’re watching in Saudi Arabia, where women are prohibited from riding a bike in public.

 

Finally…

If you’re trying to auction stolen bikes online, don’t take photos with your unique wallpaper visible in the background. When you’re an unregistered sex offender carrying drug paraphernalia and meth on your bike, put a damn light on it, already. Or better yet, don’t.

And Bike Radar offers 30 reasons to take up bicycling. Although boosting your bowels is not one most people would usually recommend to prospective riders.

 

Morning Links: Bikes could sway the race in LA’s CD4; WeHo candidates debate banning sidewalk riders

It’s election time once again in and around the City of Angels.

The LA Times looks at the very crowded race to replace Tom LaBonge in CD4, where LA’s pitiful voter turnout and 14 candidates splitting the vote means it could take only a few thousand votes to win the race.

Which means that a single dedicated group — like bike riders, for instance — could be enough to sway the outcome.

Let’s hope the candidates remember that. And that we do, too.

Meanwhile, candidates for the West Hollywood City Council discuss pedestrian safety and whether to ban all sidewalk cycling in the city.

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Local

Public Radio station KPCC wants to know how you learned the rules of the road. Would that be the legal rules of the road, or the ones we have to live by to survive on them?

UCLA Transportation shares an infographic that makes the case for protected bike lanes.

A man walking on a Santa Clarita bike path is pepper sprayed, then whacked on the head with an unknown object.

 

State

The good news is, it’s not going down; the bad news, it’s not going up. Caltrans’ director assures legislators that the state’s funding for active transportation will remain unchanged for the next two years.

San Diego’s Business Association has discovered a great new way for its members to network and get to know each other: form a bike club.

A Salinas teen receives a national extraordinary courage award for competing on his school’s mountain bike team after losing a leg to cancer.

Nice. After a pancreatic cancer patient on a national bike tour had his bike and equipment stolen in Turlock, locals pitch in to get him back on the road.

A cyclist killed in a rear-end collision on a Sunnyvale highway over the weekend was allegedly under the influence of alcohol, which is likely where the investigation will both begin and end, regardless of any other factors.

 

National

It should come as no surprise to anyone that 75% of people who have had their licenses suspended continue to drive anyway, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Shocking, but not surprising.

People for Bikes offers up five reasons why you should talk your boss into allowing a lunch ride; personally, I usually get my best ideas on a bike.

Bikes are under attack once again in bike-friendly Oregon, as a bill in the state legislature proposes licensing all riders over 18, instituting a mandatory $10 bike registration plan, and barring the use of state highway funds for bike projects.

I don’t even where to start with this one, as a teenage St. Louis-area driver is charged with the hit-and-run death of a man sleeping on a bike path.

Evidently, they take human life seriously in New Hampshire, as the unlicensed driver who killed two cyclists when she plowed into a group of riders while under the influence of drugs gets up to 40 years in prison, with a minimum of 15.

 

International

Next City says cyclists and pedestrians are the best of frenemies, as a Canadian study shows shared paths and sidewalks increase the risk of severe injury. Which you probably already know if you’ve ever ridden the beachfront bike path through Santa Monica.

No. Just no. After a man calls out a bike rider for rolling a stop sign, the rider returns a few minutes later and beats him with a baseball bat.

In an interview with the BBC, Lance Armstrong says if he had to do it all again, he would do it all again.

A cyclist in a UK city suffers two broken fingers when he’s kicked off his bike by a moped rider, something that seems to happen there every January.

A 65-year old woman sets off on a 5,000 mile tour around the British Coast to raise money for charity, and takes her golden retriever in a trailer behind her. Which is exactly what I’d do if my wife ever kicks me out, except she’d probably keep the dog.

Bike riding is booming in Ireland; unfortunately, deaths are on the rise, as well.

Government officials debate whether to pull the cord on Melbourne’s troubled bike share program or exempt it from Australia’s ill-advised mandatory helmet law.

Once again, a Facebook page is accused of inciting violence against bike riders, this time in New Zealand; operators insist it’s not a hate site, despite the death threats to cyclists. Well, what the hell did they think would happen?

 

Finally…

In today’s nod to literature, an ode to a nun on a bike. And for those of us who are cash-challenged, the next edition of English bike scribe Carlton Reid’s excellent Roads Were Not Built for Cars will be published online for free.

 

Bike plan moves forward, police crackdown in OC, Box and bikes profiled in LA Weekly

First the big news, as the joint Transportation and Planning and Land Use Management votes to move forward with the draft bike plan, with a five year plan for implementation.

While that’s great news for city cyclists, it also means no for now to the proposed South Venice Beach bike path extension.

The debate was dominated by discussion over whether to allow bikes on city trails currently used by hikers and equestrians — something that safely occurs around the world, yet according to the local horse crowd, would lead to inevitable disaster here in L.A.

While there’s an obvious need for people to use trails safely and courteously, and observe the rights of other users, public parks and trails belong to everyone and shouldn’t be set aside for any single group. Or exclude any single group of users.

The committee voted to have the Planning Department negotiate language between both types of riders; however, anything that doesn’t find a way to accommodate all users would be a failure.

Meanwhile, the plan will now go to the full committee for final approval before going to the Mayor for his signature; all indications are Villaraigosa will sign off on the plan.

You can still follow yesterday’s live coverage of the meeting from L.A. Streetsblog, LACBC and Christopher Kidd of LADOT Bike Blog by clicking here.

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New York cyclists have been justifiably up in arms the last few weeks over the NYPD’s efforts to crack down on lawbreaking cyclists, while ignoring more dangerous violations by drivers.

Now a similar move is underway here as the Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and Costa Mesa police departments are banding together to conduct a “specialized Bicycle Safety Enforcement Operation” on the 19th and 24th of this month.

Despite the title, the press release promises officers will address traffic violations by cyclists and other vehicle operators that could “lead to bicycle vs. vehicle collisions, injuries and fatalities.”

The goal of the program is to educate the public about the safe and lawful use of bicycles, as well as the safe and lawful use of vehicles that share the roadway with bicycles. Prevention is a key component of the program, which centers on the traffic laws that can prevent bicycle riders from becoming injured to killed due to illegal use or reckless behavior by bicyclists and vehicles. In addition, the Police Departments involved may be required to enforce obvious violations to the City’s Municipal Code to maintain safe operations.

I don’t have any problem with enforcing traffic violations by cyclists; frankly, I’ve seen some cyclists who should be ticketed, if not thrown into leg irons. However, I would expect — and all cyclists have every right to expect — that unlike the situation in New York, the crackdown will address violations by drivers as well as cyclists.

And it should take into account which violators pose the greater risk to others.

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Neon Tommy Editor-at-Large Hillel Aron offers an in-depth profile of CD4 City Council Candidate Stephen Box and the history of L.A. bike activism in this week’s L.A. Weekly.

As the article notes, it’s almost impossible to unseat a sitting council member in L.A.; even the most unpopular usually cruise to victory over seemingly more worthy opponents once special interest money starts pouring in. Despite that, there’s a growing sense that Box may have a real shot at forcing incumbent Tom LaBonge into a runoff next month.

LaBonge has long supported cycling, though not always in the way cyclists would prefer; if he were smart, he’d move to strengthen his support of bicycling to undercut Box’s strongest base of support. Instead, he seems to be focused on shoring up support from the anti-bike crowd, as many cyclists see him, rightly or wrongly, as an obstacle in the way of many bicycling issues.

And it’s hard to take the other candidate in the race, Tomas O’Grady, seriously when he ignores questions from the city’s leading newspaper.

You have your own chance to evaluate the candidates tonight when the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council hosts a candidate’s forum at Silver Lake Community Church, 2930 Hyperion Ave. Or you can meet Stephen Box at an open house from 2 to 4 pm this Sunday at 3311 Lowry Road in Los Angeles.

Box has also received an endorsement from MobileFoodNews; not to surprising since LaBonge has been seen as an opponent of L.A.’s popular food trucks.

One other note — the writer of the Weekly article gave me every opportunity to attack other bicycle advocates and advocacy groups; I chose not to do that. It’s my firm belief than anyone working to support cycling in Los Angles deserves my support and gratitude, whether or not I happen agree with them. I’m saddened that not everyone feels the same way.

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If you’re looking for a good ride this weekend, consider the Tour de Palm Springs, with rides ranging from 5 to 100 miles. A little further down the road, the Santa Clarita Century rolls on April 2nd offering a full century, half century, 25-mile and family rides.

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CicLAvia has received a $25,000 grant from the California Endowment. Meanwhile, GOOD is throwing a fundraising party to benefit CicLAvia on Saturday, March 5th; tickets range from $20 to $500.

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The newly unveiled draft plans for South Figueroa range from good to wow, though Josef Bray-Ali says they could use some polishing; then again, there are more important things than signing in for a meeting. L.A. will soon get its first bike corral in Highland Park. Rick Risemberg, who appears to be everywhere these days, writes about taking part in last weekend’s LA Brewery Ride with Flying Pigeon. Cool Claremont bike racks. Long Beach replaces a mandatory bike licensing law with voluntary registration through the National Bike Registry.

A popular retired Bakersfield educator died of a heart attack while riding with friends. A three-year old Visalia girl is killed when she’s backed over by a neighbor’s pickup while riding on the sidewalk. San Francisco police have refused to take reports or issue citations for collisions involving cyclists unless an ambulance is called; so not matter what a driver does, if they don’t seriously injure a rider, they walk. Shameful. Matt Ruscigno rides from San Louis Obispo to L.A. in a single day — while sick. This year’s Amgen Tour of California won’t tour California exclusively.

J. Edgar Hoover on a bike, sort of. It’s not the same as an Idaho Stop Law, but Oregon considers lowering the fines for cyclists who roll through stop signs. Somehow I missed this; Dr. Matthew Burke, the orthopedic surgeon, U.S. Army Major and Iraq war vet critically injured by aggressive driver while on a group ride last October, passed away over the weekend after 4 months in a coma; the driver is charged with reckless homicide.

Yet another London cyclist is killed by a large truck, this time a 28-year old art curator. More bikes than cars expected to cross London’s bridges during morning rush hour in 2011. Irish physicians urge the passage of a mandatory helmet law, even though you’re over six times more likely to die walking on the sidewalk. Europe already has the kind of airport bike lanes John McCain wants to kill. Looks like rising star Taylor Phinney will compete in the Tour of Oman after all. South African cyclist Michael Dean Pepper is banned for three years for a failed drug test; sometimes I think we should just ban everyone for two years and start over.

Well, that’s one more problem we don’t face in L.A. — a South African cyclist survives after using his bike to fight off a leopard attack; evidence suggests that the animal had just escaped from a snare and was fighting for its life, as well.

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