Tag Archive for City Watch

Morning Links: Bike commuting Op-Ed video from LA Times, and another attack on bikes and urban planning

Sometimes it’s better just to show what bike commuting is really like, rather than try to explain.

That’s what LA Times reporter Matthew Fleischer did Monday, accompanying an Op-Ed with 360° video of his three-mile commute to work at the paper.

Come join me on my morning bike commute. Ride three miles in my shoes. Maybe you’ll be outraged enough by what you see to write your city councilperson, demanding safer streets. Maybe you’ll decide cycling in L.A. isn’t so bad after all and go for a ride. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll decide not to froth at the mouth in protest when road safety improvements to keep cyclists safe add a couple of minutes to your morning commute.

If nothing else, you’ll get to see what it looks like from the other side when you honk your horn as you blow past a cyclist who momentarily inconveniences you — and, I hope, decide never to do that again.

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One of LA’s most questionable urban planning writers is at it again.

In his latest post for City Watch, Richard Lee Abrams a) confuses light rail with trolleys, b) blames bike lanes, not all those people in single occupancy vehicles, for all that traffic congestion, and c) says the quote below proves the city has an anti-car policy, when it does nothing of the sort.

Bicycles are such a slow means of locomotion that they impede faster vehicles. As a result, bicycles cause increased traffic congestion. The City admits that its policy of adding Bike Lanes to city streets is a part of an anti-car policy. Director of Planning, Vince Bertoni stated in a July 13, 2017 LA Magazine interview:

“…[We want streets that don’t] just revolve around the automobile. We’re looking at what it’s like to walk, bicycle, even skateboard down these streets and all the other ways we’ll get around. We’re going to be putting in wider sidewalks, trees, bicycle lanes that people feel protected in.”  

That’s before blaming corruption for LA’s Transit Oriented Development policies, and prescribing solutions to LA traffic that would only make the problem worse and degrade the quality of life he claims to be trying to save.

And after claiming Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti could face criminal prosecution for placing bike lanes on busy streets where children would be exposed to pollution from passing cars.

Never mind that, despite presenting himself as a Los Angeles attorney, he does not appear to be a member of the California Bar Association, and a Google search does not show a practicing attorney by that name in Los Angeles.

Though it does turn up some of the lengthy public comments he’s submitted.

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The head of Team Sky took advantage of Monday’s rest day in the Tour de France to launch an attack on a writer for Cyclingnews; Sir Dave Brailsford disinvited him from an interview session with Chris Froome because he’d been “writing shit” about Brailsford.

Peter Sagan echoes the sentiments of most cycling fans, saying booting him out of the Tour was a mistake. Nairo Quintana defends his Movistar team after his father trashed it in the press.

An Irish writer says cycling has been vilified for doping, but other sports haven’t faced the same scrutiny — especially since the doctor in Spain’s Operation Puerto doping scandal also had clients in soccer, athletics, tennis and boxing, none of whom have been named.

The Bahrain Merida cycling team competing in the Tour is accused of being part of an effort by Bahrain’s ruling family to whitewash a history of torture and human rights abuses.

And a young Dutch cyclist shows that crossing the finish line first isn’t always the most important thing.

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Local

The Venice Neighborhood Council will consider a motion at tonight’s meeting to host a town hall with Councilmember Mike Bonin, where he’s sure to get an earful from the anti-bike lane/lane reduction contingent.

CiclaValley looks forward to this Thursday’s Draft Meetup at Pure Cycles in Burbank.

 

State

Orange County has evicted a number of homeless people from a nearly half-mile long section of the Santa Ana riverbed near the Honda Center, following complaints from bicyclists and hikers along the Santa Ana River trail. But apparently only managed to move them onto the trail, instead.

An Ocean Beach man writes an open letter to the thief who stole his bicycle but didn’t ruin his day.

Despite earlier reports that he might not be charged, a member of a prominent Kern County farming family was pled not guilty to felony hit-and-run and DUI charges for the January death of a rider. His lawyer claimed the empty vodka bottle found in his back seat just happened to fall out of a box or backpack.

San Francisco celebrated their equivalent of a CicLAvia in the Mission District on Sunday.

Cal Berkeley’s Daily Californian complains that Ford’s Bay Area goBike doesn’t serve underserved communities in Oakland, while one underserved community in San Francisco says they don’t want to be served.

In a preview of what US cities have to look forward to with dockless bikeshare, the Google Bikes the company provides for the free use of its employees are ending up unceremoniously dumped in a Mountain View creek.

A Santa Rosa man is under arrest for teeing-off with a golf club on a man riding a bicycle, knocking the victim into the windshield of a parked car, following an argument between the two men.

 

National

Studies show bicycling is a social affair for many Latinos.

It’s not often that bike advocates find themselves on the same side as the anti-tax wing of the GOP, but that’s the case in Oregon where the governor is expected to sign a $5.3 billion budget that incudes a $15 excise tax on new bicycles over $200. Thanks to Ed Ryder for the heads-up.

A seven-year old boy completed a 203-mile, two-day ride from Seattle to Portland, and still sped up when a group of riders tried to pass him after 170 miles.

Boise police are looking for a bike rider who ripped off the side mirror of a car, causing $1,000 damage to the vehicle. Needless to say, the driver disavows any knowledge of what he could have possibly done to make the rider so angry. We’ve said it before — no matter what a driver might do, violence is never the answer. It only makes things worse in the long run.

Plastic dividers have gone up to separate a three-mile long section of bike lane from motor vehicle traffic on the popular South Padre Island vacation resort in Texas, after a woman was killed and four other bicyclists injured by an alleged DUI hit-and-run driver.

Bicycling crashes have dropped dramatically in Austin TX following construction of new bikeways in 2014.

NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson rides with Detroit’s famed Slow Roll crew.

Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo is one of us, riding a Lousiville KY bikeshare bike on stage to finish out their set at the end of a three-day music festival.

A Vermont psychotherapist and bike advocate wants to cure the world of “automobilism” through bicycling and “automobile reduction therapy.”

 

International

A new Canadian study shows bicycling is the least stressful way to commute to work.

The driver who hit a red light-running Ottawa bike rider in the dash cam video we linked to yesterday says he’s still shook up by the crash; the rider was ticketed for running a red light.

Caught on video: A British driver has been fined the equivalent of $196 after speeding up to crash into a bicyclist, because police say they can’t prove who was behind the wheel of the rental car.

An English town councilor wants to separate bike lanes with pink armadillos he designed himself. Which should be enough to convince any number of drivers it’s time to quit drinking.

 

Finally…

This is why you want to be careful riding around storm grates. Who says you can’t carry a big load on a bike?

And don’t wear underwear under your spandex.

Or over it, for that matter.

 

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.

 

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