Tag Archive for dangerous streets

Morning Links: Phil Gaimon pens his own obituary, balance bike parking, and Bike the Vote endorsements

Take a few moments, right now, and read this hard-hitting piece from Phil Gaimon, who narrowly avoided being turned into road kill by a salmon driver speeding around a curve on the wrong side of the road.

Just like the squirrel he passed several minutes later after he composed himself.

Of course, the squirrel did dart into traffic and he’ll get no mention in the local paper, but if I’d shared his fate I expect that would be the headline for me. I’ve made peace with the fact that this probably is how I’ll die someday and I’m choosing to still do it, but I’d like to set the record straight here. When I die on my bicycle, I didn’t do anything erratic and I didn’t make a mistake. I’m an expert at bike riding, I did it for a living among the best in the world for years, and in my retirement I ride cautiously because I had enough broken bones when it was my job. When I die it’s because of some asshole not paying attention, speeding, texting, or both, on roads where there’s no infrastructure or room for error, and most likely there won’t be much of a punishment. I’m dead, so at least they can get the story right.

I’ve long thought the same thing as Phil Gaimon describes.

Odds are, when I finally meet my maker — which hopefully will be a very long time from now — it will happen on a bike.

Not because bicycling is dangerous, but because I’ve spent far more time on my bike than I have doing anything else. And plan to continue as long as I’m able to remain upright and turn a pedal.

But now that I live it Hollywood, it seems even more likely, thanks to streets filled with aggressive and distracted drivers. Along with a near total lack of bike lanes, protected or otherwise.

And no, sharrows don’t count.

Like Gaimon, I fully expect to be blamed if that ever happens.

And like Gaimon, it won’t be true.

That’s why I use a bike cam when I ride, so I’ll have proof I didn’t run a red light or stop sign, or suddenly suicide swerve out in front of traffic.

It’s cold comfort.

But to will have to do until Los Angeles finally gets serious about Vision Zero.

And finally commits to building the bike plan its already committed to.

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On a happier note, this tweet gave me the biggest smile I’ve had in weeks.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the heads-up.

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Get ready to bike the vote this November, as Calbike offers its endorsements in the coming election.

Interesting to note that all but one of the legislative candidates they endorse supports using clean transportation financial incentives for bike purchases.

Which translates to giving rebate to encourage people to buy bicycles, ebikes or otherwise. And actually use them to replace car trips.

Meanwhile, Bike the Vote LA has released their own voter guide for the LA area. Nice to see my own Assembly Member made the list.

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Local

A new study ranks the 20 most congested cities in the US; for a change, Los Angeles wasn’t at the top of the list. In fact, LA ranked seventh, behind Chicago and ahead of Seattle.

It’s a busy bike weekend in DTLA this week, with CicLAvia rolling on Sunday, and the Bike! Bike! conference Thursday through Sunday at Los Angeles State Historic Park; Bike! Bike! is intended to bring bike owners, bicycle shops and bike groups together to “workshop new ideas and methods to advocate for urban bicyclists.”

Community stakeholders conducted a “slow jam” on Temple Street, where limited safety improvements are underway after Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Mitch O’Farrell combined to kill a desperately needed road diet on the dangerous street. Although the improvements might help people on foot, it’s not a Complete Street unless it safely accommodates people on two wheels, as well.

Streetsblog visits the new purple curb extensions on the Pico Blvd Great Streets project. But how great can it really be without bike lanes?

CiclaValley races his wife from Westwood to the San Fernando Valley, pitting bike against car. You can guess who won.

Santa Clarita City Councilmember Cameron Smyth explains why you should ride in the city, and explains how Santa Clarita’s Heads-Up traffic safety campaign applies to people on bicycles.

 

State

Unsafe routes to schools. A mother and her eight-year old son were lucky to escape with minor injuries when a turning driver struck their tandem bike while they were riding to school. Police said the driver couldn’t see because he had the sun in his eyes, which makes it okay, right?

The Ventura County Star says it’s time to stop the madness, and do what you can to clean the air by car-pooling, taking the bus, walking or riding a bike.

San Francisco’s new mayor called on the city to speed up Vision Zero safety improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians. It would be nice if LA’s mayor would say the same thing. But don’t hold your breath.

 

National

A new AAA study shows 80% of drivers overestimate the technical capabilities of their car’s safety devices, especially the ability to detect bicyclists and pedestrians. Maybe because every other car commercial shows them doing exactly that.

Uber has announced a $10 million fund to advocate for congestion pricing and charging stations for dockless ebikes near transit stations.

Bicycling offers 30 bike hacks every bicyclist should know. As long as you’re willing to put up with their annoying click-through format that only shows one item at a time.

Seattle bike commuting is down to its lowest level since 2007; just 2.8% of city residents rode to work last year, down from 3.5% the year before.

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on. An Iowa woman faces a 1st degree murder charge for stalking a man who accused her of stealing, and using her car as a weapon to intentionally run him down as he rode his bike in a parking lot, while driving under the influence.

Michigan’s new three-foot passing law goes into effect today.

A road raging Ohio lawyer lost his license to practice for a year — make that six months — after he brake checked a bike rider, and stomped the cellphone of a physician who stopped to record the incident. He also skipped out on the court hearing for the misdemeanor he ended up charged with, leading to his later arrest and conviction.

Seriously? It will now cost DC drivers who park in a bike lane three times as it does to door a bike rider under the city’s new Vision Zero laws; meanwhile, a bicyclist who hits a pedestrian crossing the street will be fined $150, but just $100 for hitting someone walking on a sidewalk.

A DC council member says the city has to do more to protect bike and scooter riders, including building protected bike lanes. Meanwhile, an advocacy site says it’s been just two days since a driver killed someone biking, walking or scooting in DC.

A Tampa FL columnist says a proposed transportation sale tax, which would reserve 12% of funds for bike and pedestrian projects, is a good start to change the city’s ranking as the nation’s most dangerous place for bike riders.

 

International

This is the cost of traffic violence. A promising young Canadian ballet student was killed in a collision on Sunday.

No bias here. A deputy mayor on Canada’s Prince Edward Island says requiring bike riders to attach a license plate to their bike or helmets would make the city friendlier to bicyclists. No, really.

A writer for London’s Evening Standard says bicycling must be made safer after decades of half-hearted attempts.

Members of an Oxford, England men’s choir will ride 100 miles to Wales to remember their roots as descendants of Welsh residents who moved to Oxford during the Great Depression.

This is who we share the roads with. A British motorcyclist records a road raging minicab driver running over his parked bike after he got off to confront the man. But the motorcycle rider was no angel, either, kicking and hitting the car after threatening to break the driver’s skull.

An American Vietnam vet with an Ivy League education gave up his life in this county to live as a hermit in Ireland, using his bicycle to get around.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cyclist examines the superstitions and rituals of the pro peloton, and concludes they might give riders a mental edge.

An 18-year old Belgian cyclist insists he’s not the next Eddy Merckx, as he prepares to make the leap from the junior ranks to the WorldTour next year.

Canada’s “starry girl cyclist” of the 1930’s is being inducted into the country’s Cycling Hall of Fame, after a riding career spent leaving fellow riders and stereotypes in her wake.

After years of misfortune, Australian time trial specialist Rohan Dennis claimed the world champ’s rainbow jersey in the event.

 

Finally…

Before you complain online about a bike riding mom and her child, make sure you’re right.

And when a cop right hooks a bike rider, it’s just a “momentary lapse in attention.”

Right.

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Join the Militant Angeleno and BikinginLA for the first-ever Militant Angeleno’s Epic CicLAvia Tour at the Celebrate LA! LA Phil 100 CicLAvia this Sunday!

Just RSVP to [email protected] We want to guarantee a relatively small group to make sure we can keep the group together, and everyone can hear.

Morning Links: Help East Side Riders buy a Buddy Bike, LA proposes 12 mph scooter limit, and drivers aren’t looking

As we mentioned earlier, the East Side Riders Bike Club is working with adaptive bikemaker Buddy Bike to buy one of their bikes for special needs kids.

The company is offering a tandem Buddy Bike, which normally sells for around $1,700, to the East Side Riders for just $900.

As they describe it,

The Buddy Bike allows riders with disabilities to experience the thrill of riding a bicycle with the whole family – or in this case their community. A Buddy Bike would be helpful for any riders in the club with special needs or for some of the new riders who aren’t comfortable riding on their own yet. The Buddy Bike can help riders of all ages to learn cycling skills while keeping up with the crew.

You can contribute by calling Buddy Bike’s Shelley Patterson at 786/489.2453 or emailing [email protected]

You can also contribute through the ESRBC GoFundMe page by specifying that funds are for the Buddy Bike, since the club is also raising funds for their BEAST bike safety classes.

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Apparently, the real problem on our streets are that scooters are too damn fast.

In an apparent effort to keep the city’s fastest growing form of alternative transportation from spreading, Los Angeles councilmembers seem to be attempting to regulate dockless e-scooters to death.

Including a proposal to shave a whole three miles an hour off their top speed, limiting the scooters to just 12 mph.

As if that 3 mph will make much of a difference when riding in traffic on 25 mph streets, where scooter users are currently required to ride unless the street has a bike lane.

Other that to put them at greater risk from speeding drivers, that is.

There may be some limited benefit to lowering speeds, particularly when users illegally ride on sidewalks.

But the current panic over scooters is like worrying about squirrels stealing your nuts, when there are tigers roaming the streets.

Until the city does something about LA’s notoriously dangerous streets — like slowing traffic, fully implementing Vision Zero and providing the bike lanes we were promised — slowing down scooters isn’t going to make a hell of a lot of difference.

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A new study confirms exactly what you always suspected.

According to the study from the University of Toronto, over half of all drivers failed to look for biked riders and pedestrians before making a right turn.

Which explains why bike rider have to dodge right hooks, and pedestrians have to dart out of the way of cars, even in a crosswalk.

Confirming once again that you have to watch out for turning drivers, because they sure as hell aren’t watching for us.

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The penultimate edition of Wolfpack Hustle: The Forsyth Cup 2018 rolls tomorrow at the Encino Velodrome, complete with free hamburgers and hot dogs courtesy of BikinginLA sponsor Thomas Forsyth.

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Members of my old college fraternity are nearing the end of a 3,000-mile ride across the US; by the time they reach DC, they will have raised over $600,000 for people with disabilities.

However, that’s trumped in miles, if not dollars, by a group of riders from the University of Illinois, who’ve raised $110,000 on a 4,750-mile ride from San Francisco to New York.

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Local

A Playa Vista developer decides to go carfree on the area’s new main shopping street.

A pair of off-duty Malibu lifeguards are being hailed as heroes after saving the life of a 76-year old man who suffered a heart attack while riding on PCH.

Los Angeles bikebuilder Montenegro Manufacturing celebrates its fifth anniversary by throwing LA County’s first Handmade Bike Show this Sunday.

 

State

Readers of the San Bernardino Sun complain that the paper, now part of the parent company behind the OC Register and LA Daily News, ignored the Redlands Bicycle Classic in favor of covering more distant beach volleyball.

The Daily Bulletin reports on Ontario’s Re-Imagine Downtown event, part of SCAG’s Go Human campaign to show what a bike and pedestrian-friendly Euclid Ave could be.

San Rafael is building a $3.3 million bike and pedestrian bridge that will connect the bisected city while improving safety for students at the local high school.

 

National

Bike Snob reviews a custom bike built four years after WWII.

City Lab looks at the history and meaning of ghost bikes.

Grist looks at the success of Lime’s Seattle ebike bikeshare system, even if they have to fish them out of the bay. Yes, it still exists, even if kids no longer have to go door-to-door selling subscriptions.

No bias here. A columnist for a Seattle talk radio station accuses a city councilman of collusion with supporters of bike lanes — no, really — saying the councilmember feels a “moral imperative to kill parking.” Even though he actually said “We have a moral imperative to decrease our carbon emissions that are causing climate change.”

A Wisconsin woman is taking on the fight for safer streets as the investigation into the collision that killed her bike-riding husband drags on.

Something is seriously wrong in Chicago, where four bike riders have been killed in right hooks by dump truck drivers in less than two years.

Indianapolis unveils a two and a half mile long protected cycle track.

A DC letter writer responds to a WaPo Op-Ed where a driver said so what if she blocks a bike lane, saying if the city wants to improve safety, they need to keep self-centered drivers like her out of the bike lanes — and off the roads.

Baton Rouge LA bike advocates plan to tear down the institutional barriers that keep the city’s streets dangerous. Chances are, nothing has changed from when I lived their decades ago, when most major streets had high speeds, and no sidewalks or shoulders. And drivers weren’t willing to give an inch.

Atlanta finds a home for orphaned and abandoned Ofo dockless bikeshare bikes after the company pulled up stakes in the city.

A Florida newspaper questions how to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians in the most dangerous state for people on foot.

 

International

A newsmagazine says bikepacking, like life, is about the journey, not the destination.

Cycling Weekly looks at what doesn’t work in the rain, including white kits that turn see-through when wet.

A contributor to Bike Biz pushes bike shops to be more inclusive for customers with disabilities.

Bike riders were the victims of strong arm robberies on an English bike path for the second time in less than a week.

For once, a touch of justice from the UK, where a drunk driver gets six years for killing an 82-year old woman as she was riding her bike; he was over three times the legal alcohol limit after downing a full liter of vodka before getting behind the wheel.

Welsh police are riding bikes in plainclothes to bust drivers who don’t give riders a safe passing distance.

Chinese dockless bikeshare companies are rushing to fill the void as the wheels fall off the Paris Vélib dock share system.

Coming soon to a street near you — 30 mph moped-share, already in successful use in Spain. Unless the LA city council gets involved, of course.

Take your next bike tour through Italy and the home country of America’s first lady.

 

Competitive Cycling

Austrian cyclist Bernhard Eisel reflects on missing most of the 2018 racing season after he suffered a life-threatening subdural hematoma in a March race.

Bicycling calls back-to-back US amateur crit and road race champ Justin Williams the most important cyclist you don’t know, as the African American rider fights for more inclusion in the sport.

A Welsh website offers photos from Geraint Thomas’ wild welcome home from his victorious Tour de France campaign.

 

Finally…

An Aspen bike trail did to Lance what a number of cycling fans probably wished they could. A bike-riding rescue dog becomes an international superstar.

And when you wheelie want people to clear out of your way.

 

Morning Links: How LA became deadly for bicyclists, LA River bike path closed, and 2nd Forsyth Cup tomorrow

Powerful piece in Outside Magazine examining how Los Angeles became the world’s deadliest city for bicyclists.

Mayor Eric Garcetti seemingly addressed street-safety concerns in his annual budget proposal, setting aside a record-high $38 million for his signature traffic program Vision Zero. Now in its third year, the ambitious plan aims to eliminate all road deaths by 2025. “Fatalities are not a tolerable byproduct of transportation,” Garcetti said when he launched Vision Zero in August 2015. “Loss of life and severe injuries resulting from traffic crashes are unacceptable outcomes that we can address.”

April’s rash of hit-and-runs, however, show how the city’s Vision Zero program has gotten off to a rough start. Despite two years of analyzing data and installing small-scale safety measures like curb extensions and high-visibility crosswalks, last year was the deadliest in more than a decade: 245 people died on L.A. streets, nearly double the year before. More than 60 percent were hit and killed while walking or riding a bike—a 5 percent increase from when Vision Zero began.

The story looks at the power of LA city councilmembers to halt traffic safety projects in their districts, and the bikelash from angry drivers that forced the removal of bike lanes in Playa del Rey. As well as cowing councilmembers into canceling planned bike lanes in their districts.

And how Frederick “Woon” Frazier paid the price, killed by a hit-and-run driver on Manchester Blvd where a bike lane was supposed to be stripped, but wasn’t.

The piece also quotes yours truly and other LA bike advocates. But you’ll have to read it to see what we said.

Meanwhile, Bicycling picks up the story we discussed recently that ranked Los Angeles and New York as the nation’s two most dangerous cities for bike riders.

Never mind that they are also the nation’s two most populous cities, with a relatively high rate of bicycling. And would likely rank significantly lower if the study considered bicycling fatalities on a per capita basis.

Photo of Frederick “Woon” Frazier, killed in a hit-and-run on Manchester Blvd, where plans called for a bike lane as part of the Vision Zero High Injury Network.

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The LA River bike path will be closed until 2 pm tomorrow as a result of Wednesday’s thunderstorms.

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The second race in the Wolfpack Hustle 2018 Forsyth Cup takes place tomorrow at the Encino Velodrome. And once again, BikinginLA sponsor Thomas Forsyth will provide free hot dogs and hamburgers until they run out.

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My Figueroa looks at some of the connections the new protected bikeway will make possible.

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Local

A Bogota, Columbia newspaper looks at the spread of the city’s ciclovía to the City of Angels.

LA designers recommend bikes and e-scooters to get around during the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics; one suggests creating a permanent carfree CicLAvia route during the games.

Go Human is hosting a pop-up tomorrowon Glendora Ave in West Covina.

A Santa Clarita public safety campaign tells bike riders and runners to keep their “Heads Up.” Because really, bike riders and runners failing to look up is the primary cause of most crashes, right?

Santa Monica is ready to begin construction on connecting the city’s bike network to the Expo Line.

 

State

Ebikes are currently banned on state and federal trails, though that could change once California issues statewide regulations.

San Clemente commissioners delay a vote to allow ebikes on beach trails, while voting to require bike riders to walk across bridges, and limiting bikes to 6 mph on trails less than 10 feet wide.

California’s famed Highway 1 has re-opened through Big Sur after last year’s mud slide, to the delight of fantasizing bicyclists everywhere.

Uber discovers that San Franciscans would rather rent an ebike than take an Uber.

 

National

A new book by Adonia Lugo says bike advocates need to consider issues of race and class in bicycle planning discussions.

Merriam-Webster defines ten two-wheeled words every cyclist will want to know.

Chinese dockless bikeshare company Ofo is in rapid retreat in North America.

Fast Company takes a look at how much space American cities waste on parking.

A pair of academic librarians are taking three months off to bike across the country visiting libraries from DC to Oregon.

Hawaii became the latest state to adopt a three-foot passing law.

Portland bike riders have been slow to accept the city’s first parking protected bike lane.

Seattle considers adding more protected bike lanes in the downtown area, creating a full network of safe bikeways in the city within the next two years.

This is how you invite bike tourism. Arizona unveils a user-friendly, statewide online bike map, showing local bikeways as well as the 573-mile section of US Bicycle Route 90 through the state.

A member of the Moscow city council — no, the one in Idaho — just finished a 4,300 mile ride across the US following the Trans Am Bike Race route; he’s also the owner of the Hog Heaven Sausage Works.

In a problem bike riders nearly everywhere can relate to, a Chicago TV station took a 30-minute ride through the downtown area and ran into 18 blocked bike lanes.

Boston bikeshare companies say please use a seat cover if you’re going to ride sans culottes and/or au natural.

No surprise here, as NYC, which until recently banned all ebikes, has no plans to allows e-scooters.

Life is cheap in New York, where a truck driver who killed a bike rider in a left cross collision walks with just a $1,088 fine and a measly 75-day license suspension.

Philadelphia is the latest city to embrace human protected bike lanes to call attention to the need for safer infrastructure. Which have yet to make an appearance here in Los Angeles, on either count.

DC bicyclists and pedestrians turn out to protest a recent series of traffic death; as one advocate said, Vision Zero is a radical vision that requires a radical shift in how we do things. Meanwhile, a DC advocacy group says the term has lost its meaning, so just demand streets that don’t kill people.

A Virginia letter writer argues against a lane reduction and adding bike lanes when a street is repaved, calling it one of the safest corridors in the city — even though the city says it has one of the highest rates of KSI (killed or seriously injured) crashes.

Apparently, the US Postal Service is totally okay with their trucks blocking New York bike lanes.

Probably not the best idea to rear-end a police cruiser stopped on the shoulder of a Maryland highway.

 

International

You may be able to plug in your next Bianchi. But who says ebikes have to be heavy?

The stupidest advice for beginning cyclists.

Self recommends 12 international bicycling destinations you’ll want to add to your bike bucket list. I can personally attest to the second one, which travels over new trails through some of the most beautiful country in the US.

A Canadian bike rider was charged after crashing into the back of a truck while using his cellphone.

Toronto’s ambitious plan for new bike lanes is already falling behind, just two years after it was adopted. A feeling we in Los Angeles know all too well.

Road.cc looks at the new bike helmets introduced at the recent Eurobike. And considers the laws regarding bike bells in the UK, after a bizarre debate on the subject in the House of Lords.

London’s Telegraph questions whether you can really get fit riding an ebike. Short answer, yes, as long as it’s a ped-assist bike.

A British letter writer says bike racks may be ugly, but it’s better than having trees cut down by bike thieves after riders lock their bikes to them.

A Brit bike rider says go ahead and buzz him. Which is undoubtedly a minority opinion.

Police in the UK use an undercover officer on a bicycle equipped with cameras and distance sensors to catch drivers violating the country’s 1.5-meter safe passing distance, the equivalent of a five foot law here. We’ve repeatedly asked the LAPD to conduct similar operations, pointing out that distance sensors are now readily available. But no luck so far.

An Oslo study shows 45 minutes of bicycling can help ward off Type 2 diabetes, and ebikes could be key to helping people ride enough to protect their health. Although I put in over ten times that much every week for 30 years, and it didn’t do me a damn bit of good.

Another Oslo study has shown yet again that the health benefits of bicycling cancel out the risks of breathing dirty air.

Four members of a Saudi women’s bike team have become the first from that country to participate in the Global Biking Initiative (GBI) European tour.

 

Competitive Cycling

Yes, Team Sky holds the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. But if you haven’t been following the race, it’s probably not who you think.

Mark Cavendish vows to come back next year after missing the time cut on Wednesday’s stage, Marcel Kittel also missed the cut.

Columbian cyclist Rigoberto Uran withdrew after crashing on the cobbles during Sunday’s stage.

Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali, who finished fourth last year, is also out after falling as a result of a crash between police motos; remarkably, he finished just 13 seconds behind the winner on the legendary Alpe d’Huez despite riding with a fractured vertebrae.

World champ Peter Sagan and his wife are getting divorced, less than four years after their very splashy marriage.

Malaysian cycling team had all ten of their bikes stolen from an Edmonton, Canada velodrome where they were training; kindhearted locals have pitched in to loan them replacements.

 

Finally…

Screw the race, what we really need is a better video game. Just stay the elk out of the forest for a few months, already.

And if you’re going to ride salmon on the freeway, at least wear a helmet. And some clothes.

 

Morning Links: Is Los Angeles America’s most dangerous city for bike riders, and near road kill on Texas hwy

A new report ranks Los Angeles as the nation’s most dangerous city for people on bicycles.

But take it with a grain of salt.

Or maybe even a bag.

First, because LA can be expected to rank high in bicycling fatalities — which are weighted heavily in the report — simply because it’s the nation’s second largest city. The only accurate measure would be to consider such deaths on a per capita basis.

Which is not to say too many people aren’t dying on our streets, due to the city’s failure to build the safe streets and bike infrastructure we were promised. Or to tame the toxic entitlement expressed by too many LA drivers.

Second, because this study is nothing more than click bait to get you to visit their site. It’s put out by a home security company that has absolutely nothing to do with bicycling or dangerous streets.

Unless you count the risk posed to bike riders by their own private security cops.

Yes, Los Angeles may be a dangerous place for people on bikes — and one that has done far to little to fix the situation.

But is it really the most dangerous place in the nation to ride one?

Probably not.

And probably not even the most dangerous place in Southern California.

Meanwhile, Davis is the anti-LA according to the study, ranking as the safest city for bike riders in the US.

And Iowa is ranked as the most dangerous state, which will probably come as a surprise to anyone who’s ever ridden there.

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Thanks to F Lehnerz for forwarding the following trio of outrageous links.

A San Jose man says pedestrians have too much freedom already, apparently wanting people on foot to be herded and channeled so as to pose less of an inconvenience when he zooms down the streets.

A Boulder CO woman says out-of-control bicyclists and pedestrians have made it one of the most dangerous cities in the US for drivers. Which probably explains why there are so many ghost cars to honor all those drivers who were almost killed when they had to slow down or tap the brakes to a avoid a human being.

And a Texas woman was inches from becoming road kill when a pickup driver passed her at high speed with two wheels on — or over — the white line. Yet the response from the local police was, literally, “So what do you want us to do about it?

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Local

The LA city council’s Transportation Committee has approved regulations for dockless bikeshare, ebikes and e-scooters, allowing up to 3,000 devices in the initial rollout, plus another 7,500 in disadvantaged communities. And they’ve eliminated the absurd prohibition in areas served by Metro Bike.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton says the lawsuit we mentioned last week to halt road diets on five Westside streets is just a tad off base, since no road diets are actually planned for those streets.

Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman reports on last week’s rally and press conference to demand justice for fallen hit-and-run victim Frederick “Woon” Frazier, and the suspiciously timed South LA safe streets meeting that was scheduled at the last minute — and at the exact same time.

 

State

Hundreds of bike riders circumnavigate Coronado Island in an annual pre-4th of July tradition.

Palm Springs is getting several new bike lanes and a road diet.

There’s a new bike shop in Thousand Oaks.

 

National

The Daily Beast says forget the car, and ride a bike if you really want to see your state.

Dockless ebikes and regular bikes are coming to New York, where the traditional Citi Bike docked bikeshare has been exceptionally successful.

 

International

Cycling Industry News says the next big thing in bicycling is smarter bikes.

One more for your bike bucket list — riding the premier wine regions of Chile.

Vancouver’s former chief planner says cities are literally wasting public money by not investing in smart bike infrastructure, noting that the costs amount to a rounding error in most city transportation budgets.

A 17-year old Saskatoon, Canada high school graduate will be spending his gap year on a 19,000-mile bike tour around the world.

An Estonian bicyclist on an around the world trip should have skipped Winnipeg, Canada, where thieves broke the garage door where he was staying and made off with his tent and bicycle.

Elderly pedestrians say they’re being scared off a Nova Scotia multi-use trail by bike riders who speed and don’t signal. Seriously, it’s not that hard to slow down and show a little courtesy around other people. Although it’s hard to see how signaling would help when passing pedestrians from behind.

Record numbers of people are taking advantage of London’s heatwave to get out on their bicycles.

A UK court has cleared organizers for the death of a spectator who was killed by an out of control mountain bike racer.

Over half of British parents want bike eduction to be taught in the schools.

Just like London, half the traffic in Dublin, Ireland at rush hour is on bicycles.

 

Competitive Cycling

A creative website ranks the top ten prints inspired by the Tour de France. I only want all of them. But I’d settle for number eight.

Chris Froome asks cycling fans to just let him ride in peace, and no more urine, please. Meanwhile, ESPN says it’s time to take a deep breath and reassess doping regulations that benefit wealthy riders.

New Zealand Ironman champion Terenzo Bozzone is in stable condition after being run down by a hit-and-run truck driver.

Now that the feds have settled with Lance, they’re suing former US Postal Service team manager Johan Bruyneel to recoup $1.2 million.

Toxicology reports appear to indicate that 23-year old cyclist Michael Goolaerts had no drugs, alcohol or other medications in his system when he collapsed and died during the Paris-Roubaix race earlier this year.

 

Finally…

Giving your bike a bath could make you faster. Your Children At Play sign is stupid and ineffective

And no, red light running will never be cool.

 

Morning Links: Cyclist’s sister says don’t look away, march for Woon, and cops still don’t get bus & bike lanes

In a truly heartbreaking essay, the sister of a fallen LA bike rider calls on all of us to look squarely at the crisis of traffic fatalities.

In 2016 my brother Tom was biking home in Los Angeles. He took a street that I would learn is quiet for LA, but statistically deadly for bicyclists and pedestrians. At about 6 p.m. on this particular Saturday, a drunk driver in a box truck careened down a side street, hitting parked cars before killing my brother at an intersection. He was 26.

That first night after I got the call I was shocked and frightened. My brother was already dead, yet I was scared of what was to come. We had few details that first night, and my recollection is fuzzy. Trauma affects your memory.

Tomas Brewer was killed while riding on Temple Street in Echo Park, where Councilembers Mitch O’Farrell and Gil Cedillo recently blocked plans for a desperately needed road diet on one of the city’s most dangerous streets.

An LAPD officer had noticed 22-year old Cruz Tzoc speeding up Burlington Ave just moments before the crash, but was unable to catch up to him before Tzoc smashed into Brewer’s bike.

He was driving at twice the legal alcohol limit.

His sister went on to put her own grief in context, and ask that you look at the problem without looking away.

I do, however, judge the facts and the broader context of the loss imposed by traffic collisions. We made tremendous progress in the 1960s and 1970s reducing traffic fatalities and cutting drunk driving deaths. Policy changes, automobile safety features, and awareness building through advocacy have helped to save, many, many lives. But now that progress has petered out and started to reverse. Impaired drivers and speeding drivers are still killing us. There are new threats, like distracted driving. Meanwhile, cars are still designed to go very fast, development is sprawling and demands a car-centric lifestyle, bike infrastructure is an afterthought, bars are built in the middle of parking lots, and people protest against changes intended to save human lives.

It is frightening, but please try to look squarely at this crisis. Respect and be gentle with us, the surviving family members. We may be on the edge, or somewhere in the pit of grief. Please allow yourself to feel those ripples of impact, and let them move you to do something, anything to start saving lives.

 

As for the photo, maybe if we had more signs like this, we’d have fewer stories like these.

………

There will be a meeting tomorrow night to discuss safety solutions for the long-neglected streets of South LA, where Frederick “Woon” Frazier was killed by a hit-and-run driver last April.

And the LACBC has announced a public march and press conference will be held this Thursday to demand justice for Frazier.

His alleged killer turned herself in last month as police were closing in, but has yet to be formally charged.

………

The rights of bicyclists to ride in LA’s Bus and Bike Only Lanes remains under assault by misinformed police officers, who seem incapable of reading the posted signs saying bikes are allowed in the lanes.

Then again, that’s nothing new.

And no, Darth Vader has no begun working with LAPD Traffic; Michael blurred the photo of the officer to protect his identity.

………

Once again, a motor vehicle has been used as a weapon.

According to police in Tampa, Florida, a former US track star intentionally drove his car off a highway and onto a separated bike path, killing a father as he rode his bike with his small children.

Thirty-year old Mikese Morse fled the scene, leaving Pedro Aguerreberry’s two kids to watch him die in front of them.

Police arrested Morse a few hours later on a charge of first degree murder — a charge that requires premeditation.

Morse’s parents said he was suffering from a debilitating mental illness, and he had posted a series of “increasingly angry and unhinged” videos on Instagram, saying that he was going to kill someone.

And yet he was still legally allowed behind the wheel of a two-ton machine capable of killing another human being.

Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

………

Local

REI has raised $1.6 million to “rewild” five urban projects in cities across the US, including LA’s San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

CiclaValley and Streetsblog both look back at yesterday’s successful San Fernando Valley CicLAvia.

An open house will be held at 6 pm tonight at the Palms-Rancho Park Branch Library to discuss closing the ridiculous Northvale Gap in the Expo Line Bike Path. Local homeowners successfully fought the bike path through the area when the Expo Line was built, claiming thieves would use it to burglarize their homes; now it will cost exponentially more to build what could and should have already been finished.

The LACBC’s next Sunday Funday ride will take a tour of bike-friendly Santa Monica.

 

State

A La Jolla cancer research center has been awarded four grants from the $2.4 million raised by San Diego Padres annual Pedal the Cause fundraising ride.

A teenage San Diego girl was struck by a car while riding her bike when the driver went off the road after apparently suffering a medical emergency.

Monterey is about to break ground on an $8.5 million project to install separated bike lanes along the median on a major roadway. However, without improved signalization, a bike lane in the center of a roadway is likely to result in increased conflict points at intersections, which is why the one on Culver Blvd in Culver City has never been successful.

 

National

Maybe you should take another look at your helmet. A new study shows shows that unvented “urban style” helmets and helmets without the new MIPS anti-concussion technology are twice as likely to result in injuries in a crash.

Bicycling looks at the best tandem bikes, with prices starting at just $430.

A Seattle writer says the only downside to ebikes is the battery dying while climbing a hill.

A Phoenix TV station discovers where LimeBikes go to die.

Authorities in New Mexico believe they’re closing in on a suspect in the cold case death of an 19-year old woman who disappeared while riding her bike in 1988; a Polaroid photo found lying on the ground the next year 1,600 miles away may show her and a young boy lying on a bed bound and gagged.

A Chicago weekly worries that e-scooters will clog the city’s sidewalks and bike lanes.

A Chicago writer says the most direct routes aren’t always the safest or most enjoyable, suggesting that side streets are better for low-stress riding with kids. That’s something that too often gets lost in the debate over bike lanes — different riders have different needs. Some may want a low stress route, while others need to ride busier streets for their commute. That was the beauty of the 2010 Los Angeles Bike Plan, which contained three separate but connected networks ranging from quiet bikeways to protected bike lanes on busy streets. Maybe we can still get LA leaders to pull it off the shelf. Or out of the trash bin. 

The anti-bike lane screed from the publisher of Crain’s is still reverberating through Detroit, as a local advocacy group offers a calm response.

New York bicyclists protest the ICE detention center by riding their bicycles around it and blocking access.

In a very brief letter to the editor, a Pennsylvania bike rider reminds drivers that honking their horns accomplishes nothing but startling someone on a bike.

Caught on video: A bike rider was spotted riding in the middle of a major Virginia highway at rush hour, even though state law bans bikes from limited access highways. Don’t let LA drivers see what rush hour traffic looks like in Virginia, though, or they’ll all want to move to there. Or better yet, show them. Please.

 

International

As Pirelli re-enters the bike tire market, Rouleur takes a look back at the classic Pirelli posters of the last century, which set the standard for graphic design.

Once again, riding a bike proves to be the fastest way to cross a major city, as a bike rider wins a race between a motorcycle, bike bus, car and walking through central London.

A 70-year old British man says he just got out of the hospital with broken ribs and a fractured skull after he was hit by a speeding bicyclist riding illegally on the sidewalk. Seriously, don’t do that. Whether or not riding on the sidewalk is legal where you live, pedestrians should always receive the right-of-way there or in a crosswalk.

Dublin officials have called for greater enforcement of laws banning parking in bike lanes. Which is already proving to be a problem on the new My Figueroa semi-Complete Street in DTLA, where Central Division bike cops cracked down yesterday after receiving complaints.

In an inspired protest, German rabbis and imams rode tandem bikes through the streets of Berlin to fight antisemitism and Islamophobia.

A Tanzanian newspaper says people don’t run or ride bikes in Dar es Salaam because too many roadways lack the required service roads, and those that don’t are often blocked by traders.

A second dockless bikeshare company has closed up shop in Singapore, citing difficulties in meeting licensing requirements.

 

Competitive Cycling

Belgian rider Victor Campenaerts was knocked off his bike after colliding with a drunken fan at the country’s national championships; he managed to finish the race despite a mild concussion.

 

Finally…

If you think you can ride fast, try pedaling at 134 mph. It’s a battle of the Jeremys over moms biking to school.

And if you really need a name for two-wheeled conveyances that aren’t ebikes, here’s one.

Bicycles.

 

Morning Links: NYT shines national spotlight on LA’s deadly car culture, and open season for open streets

Los Angeles’ hit-and-run car culture and deadly streets takes their bow in the national spotlight.

And the picture isn’t pretty.

The New York Times, in an article by LA-based reporter Jose A. Del Real, examines the problems on our streets and the rising toll among bike riders, through the tragic death of Frederick “Woon” Frazier in South LA.

Cyclists have long risked danger in Los Angeles, where a loose and lackluster network of bike lanes means they often ride alongside speeding cars. Today, cyclists draw a special kind of vitriol from drivers in America’s car capital, where traffic congestion is increasingly intolerable as the region’s population grows by an estimated 50,000 people a year.

In poor areas of the city, where people are more likely to depend on walking and cycling as the sole means of transportation, residents complain of a disregard for their well-being by drivers who treat their neighborhood streets like highways. City data shows that the dangers to pedestrians and cyclists are particularly acute in South Los Angeles — where Mr. Frazier was killed — which lags the rest of the city in safety infrastructure.

He note that the mayor has promised to ramp up advertising to fight the carnage on our streets.

That’s right, advertising.

“I am confident that without our efforts, things would be even worse,” Mr. Garcetti said earlier this year. He said the city’s transportation department would ramp up advertising related to road safety.

The purpose of Vision Zero is to remake our streets so that human mistakes don’t result in fatal crashes.

It’s hard to see how even the most hard-hitting ad can equal the life-saving effectiveness of a single road diet.

It’s an important read.

One that even quotes me couple times, along with the newfound advocates who’ve risen in the wake of Woon’s death.

And Del Real did me the favor of not quoting most of the things I said, as he caught me in one of my more pissed off moods at the inaction of city officials in the face of the rising bike and pedestrian deaths and lawlessness on our streets.

Then again, I don’t think they could print most of that in the Times, anyway.

Maybe that national spotlight will embarrass our mayor as he angles for higher office.

And make him realize he has a lot more work to do right here in the City of Angels first. Along with a few city council butts to kick.

We can hope.

………

The streets are officially open.

The Los Angeles Daily News looks at another successful CicLAvia in the North San Fernando Valley, and contrasts it with the dangers riders face on LA streets. KCBS-2 reports from earlier in the day.

Los Angeles wasn’t the only city celebrating open streets on Sunday, as thousands turned out for the fifth CycLOUvia in Louisville KY.

And just a tad further north, Winnipeg, Canada celebrated its ninth annual Ciclovia.

………

The Ad Council has posted the winners of their annual student film contest focusing on the dangers of texting while driving.

Hopefully they’ll show these to the sheriff’s department.

………

Local

The city council’s Transportation Committee has voted to approve protected bike lanes on 5th and 6th Streets in LA’s Skid Row. That should make it almost a done deal, since the full council usually rubber stamps decisions made in committee. Update: Joe Linton informs me that the full council has already approved the motion, voting 11 to 0 on Friday to install the lanes.

The LA Times travel section offers tips on how to choose a car bike rack for your next road trip. Best advice: Whatever rack you choose, make sure your can lock it to your car, then lock the bikes to the rack. And take them inside when you stop for the night or leave your car for any length of time.

Calabasas-based 10 Speed Coffee is opening a new bike-themed outpost in Santa Monica.

 

State

San Juan Capistrano police give a six-year old boy a new bicycle to replace the one he managed to jump off of, saving his own life just before it was crunched by a red light-running driver. However, it’s strange that the driver was booked on a felony hit-and-run charge, which requires serious injuries under California law; otherwise, it should be a misdemeanor.

The new captain of the Chino Hills police department is one of us, and a long-time member of Redland’s Citrus Valley Velo cycling club. 

Cycling legend and commentator Bob Roll takes a low-tech roll through Silicon Valley.

 

National

Trump’s tariff’s as he ramps up a trade war with China could come at the expense of the booming growth of ebikes, most of which are made in the Middle Kingdom.

A new study refutes the myth that more and wider roadways are necessary for regional economic success, showing that the cities that don’t have traffic congestion are the ones that are dying.

Bicycling takes a look at the new old Harley Davidson bicycle, which can be yours for a mere $4,200.

Popular Mechanics rates the best multi-tools, and says every kind of bike is going electric, from motor scooters to cargo bikes. Thanks to Tim Rutt for the heads-up.

An Anchorage AK bike shop suffered $75,000 in losses during a late night burglary, as thieves appear to be targeting high-end bicycles in the city.

Taking distracted driving to a new extreme, the backup driver responsible for overseeing the self-driving Uber car — and preventing the crash that took the life of Elaine Herzberg as she walked her bike across a Tempe AZ street — was watching The Voice on Hulu, instead of the road. Police had initially blamed Herzberg, calling the crash unavoidable before realizing it was anything but.

Three Utah bicyclists participating in a charity ride were seriously injured when they were run down from behind by a “drowsy” driver coming home from working a night shift; fortunately, their injuries were not life-threatening.

While the rest of the country is just discovering protected bike lanes, Boise ID had them in the ’70s, but let them fade away.

This is why you should always question police investigations following a crash. Colorado police reversed themselves after initially blaming the victim for a serious crash after they were finally able to talk to her in the hospital; she refuted the driver’s claim that she was riding her bike on the shoulder and illegally turned in front of him.

Emotions run high as 18 bike riders return home to Oklahoma after a three-week ride through seven states, retracing the steps of the Cherokee tribe during the infamous Trail of Tears.

LimeBike is threatening to walk away from Chicago’s pilot dockless bikeshare program over a clause that requires bikes to be locked to a stationary object when not in use.

A Massachusetts town celebrates its history as a bicycle factory town by giving new bikes to 19 kids.

An op-ed in the New York Times says if we want to build a sustainable future, cities and people must take priority over cars.

Sad news from Pennsylvania, where a woman was killed riding her bike home from her new job because she didn’t want to bother anyone by asking for a ride; her relatives didn’t even know she owned a bike. Naturally, police blamed her for the rear-end crash for riding in the traffic lane on a 45 mph road, rather than on the shoulder.

 

International

City Journal examines the worldwide problem of vandalism and destruction that’s causing a major retreat by bikeshare providers, docked and otherwise.

Road.cc reviews five of the best foldies, and considers 26 of the best books in bicycling. As if anyone has time to read when you could be out on your bike.

Bike Radar recaps the week’s best new bike gear.

A 29-year old Belgian man stopped in Winnipeg on a 30-month bike trip from the tundra of far northern Canada to the tip of southern Argentina.

Caught on video: A Toronto bike rider catches a crash on a bike cam when he’s hit head-on by a driver making an illegal U-turn, who drove off after giving him a fake name and phone number. Amazingly, police don’t consider it hit-and-run since he didn’t need immediate medical attention.

A commentator on a conservative website says a call for banning right turns on red lights in Toronto is based on junk science, saying that stats showing 13% of crashes occurred when drivers were turning right just means that 87% didn’t, and that drivers aren’t always at fault. By that measure, running red lights should be legal too, since it doesn’t always result in a wreck, either.

A London writer says putting signs on the back of large trucks isn’t enough to protect bike riders and pedestrians from getting killed in their drivers’ blind spots. But ads will stop deadly crashes in Los Angeles, right?

A English minister says he understands the benefits of bicycling, but may get rid of the bikes in his garage because of the dangers posed by motorists. Although he says “militant cyclists” don’t help the cause of bicycling by trying to impose their rights. Which is another way of saying people who want to legally ride their bikes without getting run off the road.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A South African driver’s mother suffered a heart attack and his father has suffered from depression after he was sentenced to ten years for killing two bike riders. Then again, if you think that’s bad, imagine the suffering of his victims’ families.

Nepal paid tribute to the country’s national cycling champion after he was killed falling into a river while competing in Sri Lanka.

Aussie police warn of an “epidemic” of headphone-wearing cyclists and pedestrians killed in traffic collisions. If you can call an average of two a year an epidemic — and if the headphones were actually what caused the crashes. After all, if headphones cause crashes, car sound systems and hermetically sealed, soundproof vehicles should, too. 

Touching story as a Japanese man flew to Taiwan to thank the man who cared for his son when he was fatally injured by falling rocks while mountain biking.

Now you can tour Vietnam and Sri Lanka by ebike.

 

Competitive Cycling

The fourth time is the charm, as SoCal’s Coryn Rivera nips Megan Guarnier to win her first US Pro national road race championship. Tennessee’s Emma White dominated the women’s U-23 races.

An Idaho man was part of an eight-person team that set a new record of just under five days, four hours in the Race Across America.

Bicycling explains how to watch the Tour de France this year. And no, streaming it live on your handlebars while you ride probably isn’t the best idea.

Seriously? Team Sky’s coach says Chris Froome’s safety is at risk after five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault calls Froome a cheat over his failed drug test.

The race of the century — or at least the next few weeks — will roll on July 1st as the grudge match between LA’s own Phil Gaimon and alleged motor doper Fabian Cancellara will charge up Switzerland’s Col du Pillon. You can cheer Gaimon on with your own cookie-themed kit.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you miss your train, and end up beating it to your destination. Even Transylvania is becoming bike friendly.

And presenting the Uniform Manual of Traffic Engineer Excuses.

 

Morning Links: Safe bicyclist injured anyway, a big thumbs up for a safe pass, and our absurd surrender to cars

One quick note before we get started.

Yesterday, a friend and long-time supporter of this site texted me to say she was in the back of an ambulance on the way to the emergency room after getting hit by a driver.

Fortunately, she wasn’t seriously injured, and was sent home with a large hematoma and assorted scrapes and bruises.

She’s one of the safest and most conservative bike riders I know, and someone who always rides with a helmet and hi-viz. Yesterday the helmet came in handy; the hi-viz, apparently not so much.

I don’t have any details yet.

But this is just one more reminder about the dangers of LA streets. And that it’s already long past time to do something about it.

………

Undoubtedly the cutest thing you’ll see today, as a four-year old Brit bike rider gives a truck driver a big thumbs up for a safe pass.

………

Local

LA’s traffic safety deniers say don’t bike the vote.

It will be a busy day on PCH Saturday, when 2,500 bicyclists come through the ‘Bu on the final day of the AIDS/LifeCycle Ride; this year’s ride raised a record $16.6 million for HIV programs.

 

State

An Orange County writer has been commissioned to write a history of Richard Long and the founding of GT Bicycles.

Bike SD calls on San Diego to save the planned Hancock Street bike lane, as local businesses demand its removal from the community plan in favor of more parking.

San Bernardino’s bus system talks with a man who rejuvenated his life when he got back on his bike in his 40s, and on the bus.

A Santa Cruz work skills program that teaches high school students to work as bike mechanics for class credit is slowly spreading across the US, with programs at schools in Colorado and Minnesota, and throughout California.

Someone should tell the UC Davis school newspaper there’s absolutely nothing funny about kicking people off their bikes. No, seriously.

Sad news from NorCal, where a 70-year old man died of an apparent heart attack while participating in a gravel race at Lake Davis.

 

National

Treehugger says people who walk, bike or ride scooters aren’t fighting over a cookie, as London’s former cycling chief said, we’re fighting over crumbs.

Another great piece from Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss, who says our surrender to the automobile is absurd and deadly, yet people still prefer a handful of cars to hordes on bikes coming to spend money at local businesses. Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

Strong Towns looks at how bike lanes benefit businesses, saying that in city after city, business owners see more foot traffic and higher sales when streets are redesigned to be more bike and walk friendly.

Once again, a cross-country cyclist has his bike and all his gear stolen, this time in Eugene OR. And once again, the local community pitches in to help out.

Colorado tells bicyclists and pedestrians that safety starts with all of us. On the other hand, it usually ends on the bumper of a car.

Come to the US for a summer work program, go home in a box thanks to a Texas drunk driver who plowed into a group of five bike riders, injuring one rider and killing a 23-year old man from Columbia who had only been in this country for three weeks. Somehow, I suspect the tears on the cheek of the driver in her booking photo are nothing compared to those of the victim’s family. But maybe that’s just me.

A St. Paul MN man has pled guilty to vehicular homicide for fleeing the scene after killing a bicyclist; he claimed he ran a red light to get away from a road rage altercation and hit something, but didn’t stop to see who or what he hit. His mother is also charged with aiding him in the coverup.

Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula is called a secret mountain biking mecca.

An Ohio family is understandably outraged that no charges will be filed in the death of a 12-year old boy, even though the driver admitted he was reaching for a phone just before the crash; police incorrectly blamed the victim for riding his bike in the traffic lane, rather than as close to the edge as possible.

A Boston bus and bike lane has been returned to its previous life as a parking lane, despite a successful one-month pilot project.

New York bicyclists will form a human-protected bike lane tomorrow to demand safer streets where a man was killed while riding home from work last year. Maybe that’s what we need to do here to finally get a little attention.

 

International

Cycling Weekly looks to bespoke bike builders to determine the trends in women’s bikes, beyond the mass market bike makers’ usual approach of shrink it and pink it.

A Canadian news site talks with the Toronto mountain biker who cut up his arms crashing into barbed wire that had been strung at chest height across a popular trail. Stunts like this aren’t pranks, they’re acts of terror — deliberate attempts to injure or kill people on bicycles. And the jerks responsible should be charged accordingly.

A Toronto man gets a $1,200 bikeshare bill despite insisting he returned the bike, then proving it.

Ikea’s Sladda bike has been done in by a belt, as the company permanently recalls all of the build-it-yourself bike-in-a-boxes.

London tells “irresponsible” cyclists to slow down and be considerate.

Two armed, masked men on bikes stole a $25,000 TV camera from an Australian news crew reporting from the UK.

A British university professor says ebikes could be core to sustainable mobility — if the government stops marginalizing bikes in favor of low-emission motor vehicles.

An Indian planning professor says he wishes he could ride to work, if only the country would invest in safe streets and bikeways.

Mumbai considers plans to build dedicated bike paths near the city’s transit stations.

 

Competitive Cycling

Third place finisher — and last year’s winner — Alison Tetrick offers a first hand view of this year’s 200-mile Dirty Kanza gravel race.

Forget Peter Sagan’s legs, check out his core workout.

Cycling Weekly offers tips on how to nail your first bike race, saying “racing is a landmark moment in the life of any competitive-minded rider.” Funny, I took up bicycling because I was too competitive, and it offered me a chance to ride just for the sheer joy of it.

Joe Lindsey offers up five ways to liven up the Tour de France. My favorite is his suggestion to make the riders shotgun a beer before a mass start.

 

Finally…

Probably not the best idea to sue the government over injuries caused by a pothole you didn’t even hit. Seriously, slow down, watch for cars and don’t run into light poles.

And when you get hit by cars twice in nine days, it’s either incredibly bad luck, or bad streets and crappy drivers.

Or maybe all of the above.

 

Another open letter to Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council of Los Angeles #CrashCityHall

There wasn’t time to get all the #CrashCityHall letters online last week.

So we’re going to post the remaining letters over the next few days — starting with this powerful post from registered dietician and endurance cyclist Matt Ruscigno, founder of LA’s iconic Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer hillclimb. 

………

Dear Mayor Garcetti and City Council of Los Angeles,

I’m writing to you today as a long-time resident of our wonderful city, a public health expert, and a recent victim of an inattentive automobile driver. That collision left me with 16 broken bones requiring 6 nights in the hospital, a chest tube, and a surgery to install metal plates in my shoulder and collarbone. If I weren’t a skilled cyclist, I would probably be dead.

It’s easy to dismiss this as an ‘accident,’ but the statistics on the number of people injured and killed by automobile drivers in Los Angeles paint a different picture. This is a public health crisis. Yet we know how to fix it:

  • Reduce automobile speed limits
  • Invest in infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians
  • Reimagine public space to focus on people, not automobiles

Los Angeles and California are leading the way in reducing automobile emissions but are falling behind (see London, Bogota, New York, Copenhagen for examples) when it comes to the public health issue of people dying in the streets because automobile speed and convenience is prioritized over human safety.

Los Angeles is a beautiful city with near perfect weather for cycling and walking year round. And we are simply running out of space to store and transport personal automobiles. The benefits of building infrastructure that makes human-powered transportation more accessible are well established:

  • Improved air quality and lower rates of asthma, especially among children
  • Increased physical activity that lowers risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other chronic diseases
  • Fewer automobile collisions that result in injury or death of our most vulnerable road users

The potential to transform our city is awesome, in the true sense of the word, but it won’t be easy. Copenhagen didn’t become a place where 24% of city trips are taken by bike overnight. It took strong leadership and knowledge to re-imagine how city space is used. This isn’t about cyclists versus drivers; it’s about making it easier for more people to walk and bike more often.

The statistics are there: something needs to be done, and soon. We can build on what other cities have done and apply it uniquely in our wonderful city. There are thousands of us here to help, but we need leadership from our elected leaders. There simply isn’t enough space in the city to keep prioritizing automobiles, so the question is, how many more people have to be injured or killed before we start taking concrete steps? I hope we can do this soon as I’d hate to see a single person go through the pain I’ve experienced over the last 5 weeks.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Matt Ruscigno, MPH, RD

 

An open letter to Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council of Los Angeles #CrashCityHall

No Morning Links today, as we get ready to #CrashCityHall Friday morning. Hopefully we’ll see you there; if not, I’ll see you back here on Monday.

What follows is my letter the mayor and city council. And we’ll feature some of the late arriving letters next week.

………

May 18, 2018

Dear Mayor Garcetti and the City Councilmembers of the City of Los Angeles,

Howard Beale may have been a fictional character, but he might as well be a citizen of Los Angeles trying to survive on our deadly streets.

Because like many other residents of this great city, I’m tired of living in fear for my own life and the safety of others on the streets and sidewalks of L.A.

And like Beale, we’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore.

We live in a city where for too long, the movement of motor vehicles has been prioritized over the safety and movement of human beings. To the point that too many people who drive feel they own the streets, and everyone else has an obligation to get out of their way.

Unfortunately, too many members of our city council seem to agree. If not in their words, then by their actions.

The elected leaders of this city have voted to adopt Vision Zero, but failed to adequately fund it. You’ve adopted the 2010 Bike Plan and Mobility Plan 2035, but failed to build it. You’ve adopted Complete Streets policies, but failed to support them when it came time to put paint on the street.

And you hired one of the leading traffic planners in the United States, but you listen instead to the complaining voices of untrained motorists who don’t want to be delayed for a few moments on their commute. Even if it means saving the life of another human being. Or their own, for that matter.

As Stevie Wonder put it, “If you really want to hear our views, you haven’t done nothing.”

So let’s be perfectly clear.

Many, if not most, of the people you were elected to represent may drive cars. But we are all human beings, some of whom bike, some of whom take transit, and all of whom walk.

And none of whom want to bury a loved one or feel threatened on the streets. Yet too many of us do, every day.

As a human being, I don’t want to see one more needless death or injury on the streets of Los Angeles. As a taxpayer, I don’t want my city to waste one more penny on the needless lawsuits that result.

And as an Angeleno, I want safer and more livable streets for all of us.

When you side with the traffic safety deniers, who like climate change deniers, reject the proven science of traffic safety and urban planning, and insist on their right to drive with the pedal to the metal, you are choosing their convenience over the safety of literally everyone else.

And failing the people who voted you into office, and who you were elected to serve.

The people who have written the letters in this packet, and those who will speak before the council today, are not activists. We are the citizens of Los Angeles, who are sick to death of being treated like second class ones at the expense of motor vehicles.

We know that failure to take action now to build Complete Streets and provide safe, viable alternatives to driving that allow Angelenos to choose to leave their cars at home will inevitably lead to a dystopian, smog-choked and gridlocked future.

Because right now, traffic in Los Angeles is as good as it will ever be, as more and more cars are added to an already built-out traffic grid.

Only you can prevent the inevitable failure of a once-great city by taking action right now to ensure the safe, livable and prosperous Los Angeles we all want.

We understand that takes courage to do the right thing in the face of public opposition. But you weren’t elected to blindly follow the voices of those who scream loudest.

Anyone could do that.

You were elected to lead this city. To carefully examine the issues and make the tough decisions that will benefit your district, and all of L.A.. And make this the city that it can and should be, for all of us.

We are your constituents. We don’t want to be the victims of your inaction.

And we’re not willing to wait one more day for safer streets for our children, parents, families and friends.

So we ask you, today and every day, to have the courage to do the right thing.

We’ll have your back when you do.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers

BikinginLA.com

Council District 4

………

One more brief note.

This may be the best letter we received for #CrashCityHall, even if it is the shortest.

Dear Los Angeles,

Please be so kind as to stop killing cyclists and pedestrians.

NOW.

Sincerely,
Marvin D
San Diego, CA

Guest Post: The fourth open letter to the Los Angeles City Council #CrashCityHall

Dear Mayor Garcetti and City Council of LA,

In an effort to “be the change you want to see in the world,” I sold my car ten years ago and have since used my own feet, a bicycle, or the transit system to get around.  While the results of this have brought the most rewarding experiences of my life, it has also been a struggle to live without a car in a car’s world.

Drivers are becoming increasingly more distracted, careless, unsympathetic and enraged.  These behaviors cause not only car accidents but the deaths of cyclists and pedestrians, who travel without the protection of metal armor.  Why do drivers feel so entitled to the roads?  Why is this set of traits common in the majority of car owners?  It’s easy to see the answer on the streets – they’re designed specifically for cars.  With lanes designated for driving, turning and parking, there’s often no space left for a bicycle to squeeze through.  And pedestrians must be defensive even when walking through a crosswalk with a walk signal.  Drivers are impatient to share the road when they believe it belongs to them.

Every time you see a cyclist in the streets of LA, please understand the fear we’ve overcome to be there.  Please know that we have been spit at, screamed at, sworn at, had objects thrown at us, been told to “get off the road,”  have had way too many “close calls,” or have lost a fellow cyclist to careless driving or road rage.  And yet we’re still out there.  As pedestrians and cyclists we’ll continue to defend our space on the streets, but we would truly appreciate some help from our representatives.  Please take some steps to create streets that belong to everyone.   A city’s priorities are evident in it’s infrastructure and use of public space.  If you, dear City Council Members, were to add more bike lanes, create some road diets, invest in green spaces instead of parking lots – think of the message you’d send.

Sincerely,

Amanda Gohl

Pico-Union, Los Angeles, CA 90015

………

Join us tomorrow as we #CrashCityHall to demand safer streets, and urge city leaders to have the courage to do the right thing. 

  • Los Angeles City Council
  • Los Angeles City Hall
  • 200 N. Spring Street
  • 10 am
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