Tag Archive for Eric Garcetti

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.

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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

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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

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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

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

We’re less than two days away from CrashCityHall on Friday to demand safer streets for people on bikes, on foot, and everyone else.

If you’re as mad as I am about the needless risks bike riders and pedestrians face on our streets — and the lack of action from city leaders — I hope you’ll join us as we crash the 10 am city council meeting. And urge the mayor and city council to have courage the courage to do the right thing. 

Since many people can’t be there in person, I’m accepting letters from people who want to have their opinions passed on to the council members at the meeting. 

Here’s the third of those #CrashCityHall letters, from Sean Meredith.

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From: Sean Meredith
Los Angeles, CA 90027

To Mayor Garcetti and all Los Angeles City Council members:

Ten years ago, for a combination of reasons, I began commuting by bicycle. This harrowing and freeing experience changed me even more than fatherhood. I began to open up to the inequities in our transportation system. For myself, I was willing to risk my life riding and being a second class citizen. But when I imagined myself in the shoes of people who had no option to drive a car. I thought that these folk should be able to get to school, work, or wherever they’re going without dying or feeling constantly threatened. I have since dedicated most of my free time to making biking and walking safe for people of all abilities and ages.

Our car culture is dangerous. And the safety deniers who will trample over anyone’s life to keep the status quo of car dominance are a threat to the future of our city and our world.

Ensuring that public spaces truly serve the people is vital to our daily lives and the future of our planet. This requires our society to confront its expensive commitment to modes of transportation that strangle our communities and warm our climate: cars. Making our roads safe for all users immediately improves mental and physical health outcomes for people of all ages, lessens cancer causing pollutants, and reduces carbon emissions. A world class city where walking is pleasurable, biking is viable, and public transportation is reliable will lower automobile dependency and contribute in the Oight against climate change.

In Los Angeles, pedestrians and cyclists are involved in 14% of trafOic collisions but account for 51% of the fatalities. Hundreds of lives are lost every year and hundreds more families are shattered by these tragic outcomes. Livable streets create community, support local businesses, and are a welcoming environment for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities. As transit consultant Jarrett Walker describes it, a modern city does not have the “geometry” to solve car congestion. Our best option is to develop safe, environmentally friendly alternatives.

Families who want safe streets for all are demanding courage and leadership from our city. Now is always the time to act.

Kindly,
Sean Meredith

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There’s still time to submit a letter demanding safer streets for bicyclists, pedestrians and everyone else if you can’t #CrashCityHall in person this Friday.

Just email it today to ted at bikinginla dot com.

I’ll print it out and include it with the packages we’re giving each councilmember and the mayor containing copies of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing.

A couple quick tips:

  • If you can, try to work in the theme of our protest by asking them to have the courage to do the right thing.
  • Mention what council districts you live, work or ride in.
  • Stress that safer streets benefit everyone, whether on bikes, on foot or in cars.
  • Feel free to (politely) express whatever anger or fear you may be feeling
  • Demand they take immediate action to protect us all

And let me know if it’s okay to share your letter on here. I’ll be happy to put it online as a guest post leading up to Friday’s council meeting.

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

Recently, I announced my intention to #CrashCityHall this Friday to demand safer streets.

And invited anyone who’s just as mad as I am about the needless risks bike riders and pedestrians face on our streets — and the lack of action from city leaders — to join me. And tell the mayor and city council to show have courage the courage to do the right thing. 

Since many people can’t attend a 10 am city council meeting, I’m accepting letters from people who can’t make it, but still want to have their opinions passed on to the council members at the meeting. 

Here’s the second of those #CrashCityHall letters, from Doug Moore.

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May 18th, 2018

To Mayor Garcetti and all Los Angeles City Council members,

I write you today in an effort to get you to start thinking about how dangerous our car culture has become in Los Angeles. And to urge you, our city leaders, to implement ways to make our streets more safe for all that use them.

In so doing, these changes will bring other qualities such as reduced car noise, nicer public spaces, better air quality and stress free walking, cycling, jogging and dog walking –and yes, driving.

Being a cyclist, I am very aware of how badly our streets and boulevards have suffered because of the amount and speed of traffic.

I live in Tujunga, CD7, Council Member Monica Rodriquez district. Each morning, I bike a short way on Foothill Blvd to board LADOT Express Bus 409 to DTLA.

I de-bus at the Glendale Park & Ride, prep my bike then cycle 13 miles to my office at USC.

I travel through Glendale, to Eagle Rock Blvd/Cypress Ave (Council District 14, Jose Huizar) to the Broadway Bridge into Chinatown (Council district 1, Gil Cedillo) to Hill street, then to Olympic Blvd then Figueroa (Council District 9, Curren Price) and finally to campus. In the afternoon I reverse this trip – with a slightly different route. On Fridays I drive.

I would like to provide the following undisputable facts, that come from years of this type of cycling, this type of intimacy with traffic, this type of exposure to our roadways:

  • Our streets are more dangerous than they have ever been – mostly because of excess speed.
  • Drivers are more distracted than ever before in our city’s history.
  • Motorists are driving while smoking weed. Alot!
  • Many drivers are attentive and share the road. But there is a disturbing trendwhere higher numbers of drivers are doing just the opposite.
  • Painted cycling infrastructure such as “Sharrows”, striped lanes, colored lanes,pedestrian crosswalk demarcation & similar are often seen as ‘optional’ for motorists.We all know about the latest trend of motorist hit-and-run tragedies. These have left other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists severely injured or dead.Here in Tujunga, in April, a DOUBLE FATIL hit and run occurred on Foothill Blvd. The driver, as of this writing, has yet to be apprehended. An innocent couple, engage to be married have perished from our community.

Where has this selfish, narcissistic attitude from drivers come from?

We all know about the speed of traffic on major roads and boulevards is dangerous even at legal limits, but when most drivers are 10, 15, or even 20 mph above and beyond, the danger level is unacceptable.

Where does this need-to-speed attitude come from?

We all know about the horrible traffic congestion in our city and how it continually downgrades the quality of life here. We skip get-togethers. We forgo dinners and kids sports and other social engagements across town – because “the traffic getting to the Westside from Eagle Rock is a nightmare”.

It’s not funny anymore. It’s a serious soul-sucking way of life in our city. Why have we surrendered our social connections and quality of life?

The answer to all these is the same: Our run-away, out-of-control car culture. We’ve reached “peak-car” in our city.

I know that you, leaders of this city, who are smart and insightful and understanding, know this too. You can see it as we all do.

We must start to make changes. I don’t have all the answers, but there are ideas out there that organically reduce traffic speeds. That help separate cars from people walking. Jogging. Cycling. Walking the dog. That make our public roadways safer for everyone who uses them, including motorists.

Widen the sidewalks, not freeways. Add separated bike lanes, not car lanes. Make streets and boulevards pleasant. Green with more trees and shade. More quiet to provide a nice place to shop. To hang-out with neighbors. To read on a bench.

As far as safety, traffic cops at critical intersections help so much! Intersections are where many of the dangers lie for cars vs walkers and bikers. I love seeing these guys when approaching an intersection, whether by car or on bike. Everyone is instantly on best behavior and courteous.

Getting buy-in and approval on these changes is the hard part, of course. Motorists tend to seethe at reduced speeds and “perceived” increase in commute times. Reduced lanes. Less parking. But this is the right direction for Los Angles. The right thing to do in your district.

We’ve tried over and over to increase the car infrastructure thinking that these projects would help. Did widening the 405 Fwy really help? What a huge, expensive, time consuming project.

It’s time to swing the other way on transportation projects. Less “car-centric”, more “people-centric”. Motorists are people too, and they’ll appreciate these changes.

When faced with options in difficult circumstances such as this, an upside is this: it’s always easy to pick out the correct option. It’s the one that tends to be avoided. It’s the one we put at the bottom of the list. It’s the one that’s the hardest.

Why? Because the right thing to do is always the hardest thing to do. That’s a fact of human nature.

I know you are thinking: “Change the car-culture, yeah, right.” But it can be done. In bits and pieces. You will gain converts. It can build momentum and you must try, as lives of our residents are depending on safe passage to work, school and the market.

In the book “Profiles of Courage”, check out the examples of other great leaders, who have acted bravely. Acted with integrity. Gone against the opinions of their constituents to do the right thing.

As a cyclist (yes and a motorist too) I am growing weary of seeing yet more Ghost Bike installations that signify the death of a fellow rider.

As a motorist, I’m continually saddened and outraged to see yet another makeshift memorial of candles, Crosses and flowers where a Mom or Dad or son or daughter or young couple was killed in a crosswalk.

We can do better and am counting on you all to have the courage to do so.

Thank you for your time today. Be brave. Do the right thing. And finally, a reminder that it’s Bike Month. Get out and ride. You’ll be glad you did.

Sincerely,

Doug Moore, cyclist, motorist, pedestrian, resident

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If you can’t #CrashCityHall on Friday, email a letter demanding safer streets for bicyclists, pedestrians and everyone else to ted at bikinginla dot com by this Wednesday.

I’ll print them out and include them with the packages we’re giving each councilmember and the mayor containing copies of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing.

A couple quick tips:

  • If you can, try to work in the theme of our protest by asking them to have the courage to do the right thing.
  • Mention what council districts you live, work or ride in.
  • Stress that safer streets benefit everyone, whether on bikes, on foot or in cars.
  • Feel free to (politely) express whatever anger or fear you may be feeling
  • Demand they take immediate action to protect us all

And let me know if it’s okay to share your letter on here. I’ll be happy to put it online as a guest post leading up to Friday’s council meeting.

Morning Links: Not so fast for Vision Zero funding, Union Street protected bike lane, and Blumenfield bike ride

So much for the $91 million we were promised for Vision Zero.

Just days after LA Mayor Eric Garcetti announced he was proposing that amount for Vision Zero in next year’s budget, it turns to be yet another disappointment.

Instead, the newly released budget contains $90 million for all street safety improvements, which includes Vision Zero and any other street improvements. And while it’s a significant increase, that’s up from $78 million for street improvements in last years budget, not the $27 million that was budgeted for Vision Zero, as we were led to believe.

As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Meanwhile, the budget does call for $71 million to repave LA’s broken streets, and another $41 million for sidewalk repairs.

………

The bruising battle for safer streets goes on in Pasadena, with a public workshop schedule for May 9th to consider plans for a protect bike lane on Union Street.

Greg Gunther of the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition has put together this practically perfect primer for the project:

Protected bike lanes (PBL) are a simple concept with powerful benefits.

  • In essence, they’re like sidewalks for bikes
  • They put a protective buffer between drivers and bike riders
  • They make it pleasant for anyone to bike – just as sidewalks make it pleasant for anyone to walk
What are the benefits?
  • Increase safety 
    • 89% fewer bicyclist injuries 
    • Reduce driving stress by bringing predictability to the street 
    • Less sidewalk riding reduces pedestrian injuries
  • Promote economic vitality
    • Business revenue increases along PBL routes (NYC DOT, Measuring the Street, New Metrics for 21st Century Streets)
    • Bicycle lanes increase the value of nearby property

Why do PBLs Matter?

  • With increased safety, comes increased ridership (Do you think that biking in Pasadena feels unsafe?  You’re not alone… )
    • Most surveyed expressed an interest in riding a bike more often, but resist because it feels unsafe (2012 – Jennifer Dill)
    • Safe places to ride increase ridership – protected bike lanes have shown to create a proven spike in bicycle traffic (2014 – Monsere, et al)
  • With increased ridership, comes universal benefits
Why on Union Street?
  • Union Street is a major east-west corridor in Pasadena’s Central District – when combined with the proposed Bike Boulevard on Holliston Avenue we will have a network that connects Caltech, Pasadena City College with the Playhouse District, the Civic Center, Old Pasadena and the Gold Line
    • Current traffic volumes are far below the street’s capacity
    • Current plans for the street also include multiple pedestrian enhancements to make the entire street segment safer for everyone 
  • In the future, there are also plans under discussion that would create a “link” restoring historic connections between the Central District and the Arroyo – after that, watch out!
    • The Arroyo Seco Bike Path already provides more than 2 miles of protected bikeway from South Pasadena through Highland Park to Mt. Washington
    • Future improvements are slated to connect downstream to the Los Angeles River – bringing Downtown L.A. within biking reach across comfortable and safe protected lanes
What can I do to help make sure this happens?
  • Make sure you weigh in to voice your preferences
    1.  At minimum, Visit the project website and share your thoughts http://bit.ly/UnionStProtectedBikeLanes
    2.  Even more help:  Send an e-mail that registers your support to Rich Dilluvio [ [email protected] ]
    3.  First Prize:  Attend the City’s Community Workshop
      • Wednesday, May 9th – 6:30 to 8:30pm 
      • Pasadena Presbyterian Church – 585 Colorado Blvd (@ Madison) – Gamble Lounge

“The best thing about a bike-friendly city isn’t the bikes – it’s the city!”

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David Drexler took part in the rescheduled Blumenfield Bike Ride through Councilmember Bob Blumenfield’s 3rd Council District in the San Fernando Valley on Saturday.

According to Drexler,

It was a great ride with all streets closed by LADP for us so we did not have to stop. I highly recommend it — lots of bike advocates were there and it was very well run.

He also reports the councilman’s wife and two kids were along for the ride, and Blumenfield told him they regularly ride as a family.

There may be hope for this city yet.

Councilman Blumenfield addresses the crowd

A good sized group gathers as Blumanfield prepares to lead the ride

It always helps to have a police escort

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Richard Fox sends word of a new Facebook group for casual SoCal bicyclists.

A new Facebook group has been created for casual cyclists to share favorite rides, announce events, and develop ideas to improve cycling facilities throughout SoCal. Casual cyclists are those who prefer to ride at slow to moderate speeds on trails and low-traffic roads with bike lanes, or even sidewalks when roads seem dangerous to ride on. Most public cycling organizations and bike clubs are composed of road cyclists, racers, and commuters that lobby for safer roadways. We also want safer roadways, but we prefer riding on bike trails away from traffic altogether. This group joins together all the SoCal regions so that we can share experiences beyond our boundaries and help each other in our lobbying efforts. Follow or join at: www.facebook.com/groups/430036694076594/.

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Local

Great piece from LA Times columnist Steve Lopez, who spends a day at a South LA bike shop to get a feel for the city’s spandex-free bike culture. Thanks to Alan Ginsberg for the heads-up.

A fundraiser organized by an LAPD officer raised over $5,000 for the family of fallen teenage cyclist Sebastian Montero; police are looking for his bike that was stolen two months before his death so they can return it to his mother.

The AP offers a brief report on Sunday’s CicLAvia.

Somehow we missed this one last week, as Wolfpack Hustle’s Don Ward and Bikes Belong founder and former Long Beach Bicycle Czar Charlie Gandy talk bike politics and environmentalism on Bike Talk.

 

State

It’s a well-deserved seven years behind bars for the 18-year old driver who killed a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student as he rode his bike to class in a drunken hit-and-run. Cases like this are doubly tragic; not only is one life needlessly ended and another ruined; but two families shattered.

 

National

c|net provides your guide to dockless e-scooters.

A new documentary about the faith and determination required to compete in the Race Across America will screen in theaters across the US on May 22nd.

Arizona’s Pima County offers a $2.1 million settlement to a bicyclist who was seriously injured on a bike lane described as a death trap.

The Illinois legislature is considering bills that would require drivers to learn the Dutch Reach, add bike questions to the driver’s test, and teach bike safety to school children.

A Massachusetts paper says the best way to celebrate spring is from behind the handlebars. Something we can probably all agree on.

A Brooklyn letter writer gets it, saying you don’t have to ride a bike to know that carving two blocks of police parking out of a protected bike lane is a mistake.

The same day the LA area celebrated its latest CicLAvia, New York opened up 30 blocks of the Great White Way to bikes and pedestrians for a two-mile carfree open streets event.

If they can do it there, we can do it anywhere. New York finally gives the boot to cars in Central Park. Raising hopes that maybe one day we can see cars banished from Los Angeles city parks, including Griffith Park. Because parks are for people, not cars.

 

International

A 60-year old Canadian woman is riding solo through 5,000 miles of the US and Canada.

No irony here. A British bus driver spent the day training to share the road with bicyclists, then got hit by a bus while riding his bike back home; police say the cell phone in his back pocket may have saved him from paralysis.

Nice video from the UK, where a man surprised his 88-year old father, a former cycling champ, with an ebike and swiftly got him back to racing form.

A 77-year old Scottish man spent three weeks shoveling dirt and debris from three miles of roadway to make it safe for bike riders, after being told the local government wouldn’t get around to it until summer.

Who says politicians are useless? A member of the Scottish parliament rescued an 81-year old bike rider who accidentally rode into a canal.

A Bollywood actress complains that five-star hotels don’t accept bicycles. But rides her single speed bike to them anyway.

Police in New Zealand are taking to their bikes after recognizing what the rest of us already knew — that bikes give you a better view of what motorists are really doing in their cars.

Tragic story from New Zealand, where a mountain biker has spent the last two months in a hospital paralyzed from the neck down except for a little movement in her arms after she was struck by careless trail rider, and calls for better bike rider behavior.

The killer hit-and-run epidemic has spread to law-abiding Japan.

 

Competitive Cycling

Spoiler alert: Skip this section if you’re still planning to watch yesterday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Cycling Weekly provides five talking points from Liège-Bastogne-Liège to impress everyone around the water cooler, who probably never heard of it.

Luxembourg’s Bob Jungels won the men’s race, while Michael Woods became the first Canadian to podium in Liège-Bastogne-Liège; Dutch rider Anna van der Breggen won the women’s race for the second year in a row.

Italy’s Alberto Bettiol will miss the Giro after breaking his left clavicle and a rib in the race, while women’s great Marianne Vos suffered a broken collarbone in a collision with another cyclist.

A semi-pro New Zealand cyclist is showing signs of improvement after being roused from a drug-induced coma following a collision that shattered his upper body.

Everything you always wanted to know about Lance Armstrong but probably didn’t care enough to ask.

 

Finally…

Be vewy, vewy quiet, we’re hunting KOMs. Why buy an ebike when you can just build one yourself?

And if you’re going to ride a bike naked in the middle of a thunderstorm, fasten balloons securely to protect your modesty.

Although if you actually had any, you probably wouldn’t be doing it to begin with.

 

Morning Links: Eric Garcetti fails street safety test, LA BMX pro fatally shot, and meet Cycling Without Age founder

A must read Op-Ed from Bike the Vote LA’s Michael MacDonald, who asks where Mayor Eric Garcetti is, as angry motorists torch the mayor’s signature traffic safety plans.

And Angelenos continue to die on the streets.

And yet, since the mayor’s 2015 directive, Los Angeles hasn’t just gotten more dangerous, it has become outright hostile to the concept of roadway safety. A small but vocal contingent of residents has taken an increasingly combative posture to any meaningful safety improvements that appear to interfere with their daily car commutes. City agencies have responded to this pushback by buckling — either canceling or watering down proposals to address dangerous speeding on North Figueroa StreetLankershim Boulevard, the Hyperion bridge and elsewhere. At the same time, we’ve seen a 43% increase in traffic fatalities in the first year after the adoption of Vision Zero, with the fatality rate trending to rise again in 2017.

Garcetti, meanwhile, has been inexplicably and unaccountably silent on the matter.

When Councilman Mike Bonin and Garcetti announced last week that they were removing a multi-street Vision Zero effort in Playa del Rey, it was in large part because Garcetti refused to insert himself in the debate around safety. As the drama escalated and some residents threatened a recall of Bonin over the safety upgrades, Garcetti never came to the councilman’s defense…

This is why I won’t support Eric Garcetti for any higher office, despite strongly supporting him in the past, first on the city council, then in two runs for mayor of Los Angeles.

The last straw came last week, when Garcetti appeared to take credit — if you want to call it that — for the decision to rip out the road diets and bike lanes in Playa del Rey, even though at least one of those bike lanes was included in the 2010 bike plan.

He has done a great job of setting policy by calling for safer, more walkable and bikeable communities, and bringing Vision Zero to Los Angeles, along with LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds.

But then he disappeared, leaving it up to others to defend those policies, as he set off in search of other initiatives, like so many shiny new toys.

He had the potential to be a great mayor.

But that will never happen unless and until he decides that this is the job he actually wants to have.

And that means rolling up his sleeves and getting to work on the street level with the rest of us.

Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

………

On a related subject, Curbed asks if LA’s road diets are in jeopardy due to the bikelash in Playa del Rey. That would be an unequivocal yes.

Speaking of which, CD4 Councilmember David Ryu has put a survey online asking about safety improvements on 6th Street between Fairfax and La Brea; this is your chance to voice your opinion on whether to improve traffic flow on the deadly street (Option A), or slow traffic and improve safety through a lane reduction (Option B). Do I really have to tell you which one I prefer?

Meanwhile, community group Keep Rowena Safe offers proof that lane reductions, aka road diets, really work. Which isn’t to say that the Rowena road diet isn’t at risk of being ripped out by Ryu, despite its proven success.

………

Fast Company lists 50 reasons why everyone should want more walkable streets, virtually all of which apply to bikeable streets, as well.

And somehow we missed this one from earlier in the month, as an architecture critic for the Philadelphia Enquirer listed seven ways bike lanes benefit motorists and pedestrians. Commit these to memory for the next time an angry driver complains about bike lanes. Which will probably be the next time you go to any public meeting or onto any social media platform.

………

Tragic news from the Vermont Square neighborhood of Los Angeles, where BMX pro Gabe Brooks was found shot to death outside his home at 52nd and Western. Thanks to Matt Ruscigno for the heads-up.

………

Here’s your chance to meet Ole Kassow, the founder of Cycling Without Age — the international program that’s changing lives by giving older people the chance to enjoy bicycling again, often for the first time in decades.

Kassow will hold a meet and greet at the Surf Food Stand on The Strand in Manhattan Beach, from Noon to 3 pm this Saturday.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the tip.

………

Local

KPCC looks at the effects of the deadly 85th percentile law, which will force Los Angeles to raise speed limits on a number of streets, whether we want to or not.

If you think the LA streets you ride could use a good cleaning, there may be a reason for that.

 

State

San Diego State University is cracking down on students who don’t ride their bikes in designated bike lanes or routes. Even though that would appear to violate state law; under California law, bikes are legally allowed on any public surface street where motor vehicles are permitted.

Former motocross racer and current Pink husband Carey Hart catches hell on Instagram for the crime of letting his 10-month old son roll gently on a skateboard, sans helmet.

A San Francisco museum is attempting to halt an effort to close Golden Gate Park to cars on weekends year-round; the main road through the park is already closed on Sundays and half the year on Saturdays. On the other hand, if the street was closed, the museum wouldn’t have to worry about the parking spaces they lost when a cycle track went in.

You’ve got to be kidding. A Novato man has been charged with multiple felony hit-and-run counts, despite intentionally running down four bicyclists earlier this month; he faces a maximum of five years behind bars. He should be facing four counts of assault with a deadly weapon at the bare minimum.

A proposed new bridge over the Sacramento River could improve access for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as providing space for a possible future streetcar line.

The town of Paradise is rewarded with full bike racks at the town’s elementary school as new bike lanes near completion, part of a Safe Routes to Schools project.

 

National

Caught on video: A Chicago burglar discovers that a stolen bicycle can come in handy to cart off a freshly stolen snow blower. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the link.

Not surprisingly, the family of a Michigan cyclist killed by an 83-year old driver want a change in the review process to keep dangerous drivers off the road. And they’re right.

JuJu got his bike back; someone turned the Pittsburgh Steeler and former USC star’s bike in to the police, claiming he’d bought it for $200 before recognizing it on TV. Sure, let’s go with that; no one would want to get rid of a stolen bike just because it got too hot.

New York Streetsblog calls for the state to give prosecutors the tools they need to go after hit-and-run drivers, and for prosecutors to be more willing to do it.

A road raging New Orleans driver tried to run a bike rider off the road after telling him to get onto the sidewalk, then got out of his car and physically attacked him.

 

International

Relatives of people killed by traffic violence in Toronto call for safer streets; the families want safer infrastructure and stiffer penalties for careless drivers.

A new survey shows that 87% of British cyclists think bike lights should be required day and night, 81% call for mandatory helmets, and over half would require mirrors and hi-viz. Which might be explained by the fact that the survey was conducted by a car rental company, of its own self-identified bicycling customers.

After a friend was badly injured riding his bike, a Bengaluru, India writer asks if it’s better to risk life and limb to be socially and environmentally responsible by taking to two wheels, or add to the city’s choking congestion by driving a private car.

 

Finally…

Your next ped-assist ebike could have hydrofoils instead of wheels. Why wait for someone to give you bad bicycling advice when you can read it all here? Thanks to David Drexler for the link.

And this may be the best scary clown bike fast food burger commercial in human history.

Morning Links: The death of LA’s Vision Zero, safety improvements in Mar Vista, and more kindhearted people

Vision Zero, in any meaningful sense, is dead in Los Angeles.

We may see incremental improvements; a new crosswalk here, a bike lane there. But only if they don’t adversely affect anyone on four wheels.

Which is not what Vision Zero is about.

But any meaningful attempt to reduce traffic deaths to anywhere near zero in finished.

That’s because CD11 Councilmember Mike Bonin and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti jointly announced yesterday that they are caving in to the angry NIMBY and driver-led backlash, and ripping out the bike lanes and road diets in Playa del Rey.

Although that’s not the way they put it.

And in the process, throwing bicyclists and anyone else who fought for the changes under the bus. Perhaps literally.

They present it as a compromise, with a long list of pedestrian-focused improvements that won’t do crap to protect people on bikes, slow traffic or prevent crashes between motorists.

But let’s be honest.

This is a compromise like Jim Bowie and Davey Crockett compromised at the Alamo.

Those pedestrian improvements were already planned as the next phases of the community-driven process to improve safety in Playa del Rey — after the road diets, not in place of them.

So instead of improving safety and livability in the area, it will go back to being a virtual freeway for pass-through motorists.

Except now the city will be on the hook financially for every death and injury that occurs in the area, after removing the safety improvements designed to prevent them.

It’s a liability lawyer’s dream.

Worse, though, is the potentially fatal damage it’s done to Vision Zero in Los Angeles, as few, if any, councilmembers will be willing to subject themselves to the hate and vitriol Bonin and his staff have faced.

It’s a surprise they held out as long as they did.

Chances are, road diets are now off the table in this city. Perhaps permanently.

The same with installing the bike plan, which is no longer worth the silicon it’s printed on. Or any other substantive street changes that inconvenience motorists in any way, or makes NIMBY home and business owners sharpen their pitchforks and light the Tiki torches.

Even if they’re the ones who’ll benefit from it.

And even though Vision Zero was never about crosswalks or enforcement — or cutsie football videos — but about redesigning the roadways so that when people act like people do, their mistakes won’t be fatal. To them or anyone else.

Which is what these road diets were supposed to do.

But we’ll never know if they would have succeeded or not, because they were never given the chance.

I’ve long questioned whether LA’s leaders had the courage and conviction to make the tough choices Vision Zero would require, and withstand the inevitable criticism that would be directed their way.

They’ve answered with a resounding no.

The odd thing, though, is that Garcetti somehow got his name attached to the plan to restore traffic lanes — and got top billing, no less.

Even though he didn’t do a damn thing to implement or support the road diets. Or any of the other traffic safety improvements that have gone down to defeat under his tenure, from bike lanes on Westwood Blvd to sidewalks on the Hyperion-Glendale bridge.

He hasn’t shown up for a single public safety meeting since announcing Vision Zero to great fanfare two years ago. Or made a single public statement in support of Mike Bonin and the desperately needed safety changes in Playa or Mar Vista.

And yet, he gets full credit — if that’s the word you want to use — for restoring the Playa del Rey streets to their original dangerous condition, and thrusting a dagger through the heart of his own signature safety policy.

It’s been seven years since the late Bill Rosendahl stood before the city council and proclaimed that car culture ends today in the City of Angels.

He was wrong.

It’s clearly just getting started. And we will all pay the price.

………

In better news, The Argonaut reports on the figures released last week showing safety improvements and a reduction in speeding on Venice Blvd following the recent lane reductions.

However, traffic truthers refuse to accept the results; the leader of the Bonin recall effort tried to claim the street was actually more dangerous, because injuries went up on a per capita basis since there was a drop in traffic.

………

Today’s common theme, kindhearted people — mostly in blue.

An Ohio sheriff held back bicycles from a property auction, insisting that they be given to kids and adults who need them instead.

Tennessee cops pitch in to buy a man a new bicycle, after the one he relied on to get to work was stolen.

A Florida man bought a new bicycle for a boy who was run over by a distracted driver as he was riding to school; unfortunately, he’s too scared to ride it.

But Michigan cops got it backwards, buying a car for a woman who rode her bike or took a bus 13 miles to work for years.

………

Women’s racing takes a big step back, as the Tour de France cut’s the women’s La Course back to a single day.

Austrian cyclist Christoph Strasser set a new indoor 24-hour record at 585.25 miles, and vows to never ride on a track again; he’s a four-time winner of the Race Across America.

And SoCalCross offers a video recap of the year’s first cyclocross race at Irvine Lake.

………

Local

The city council’s Public Works and Gang Prevention Committee approved a motion to paint LA’s bike lanes a dull, non-reflective green, prioritizing the convenience of the film industry over the safety of bike riders. After all, it’s just so damn hard for film crews to cover-up a bike lane with some sort of mat, let alone fix it in post.

LADOT has installed what appears to be a very problematic bus loading platform in the bike lane on First Street in DTLA, which forces riders up a sharp ramp while creating a crowded conflict point when people board or get off; as passengers adjust to it, they will likely start to wait on the platform, blocking the bike lane.

UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup has been honored with the 2017 Distinguished Educator Award, the highest honor offered by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning; Shoup’s work has changed the understanding of the hidden costs of parking around the world.

Musician Andrew Bird used the LA River as his muse, inspired by his bike rides along it.

CiclaValley M.A.S.H.s gears up the Bulldog.

 

State

A 60-year old San Diego man was seriously injured when a woman crashed into his bike in Pacific Beach.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 81-year old San Diego County man just finished a 4,300-mile ride across Canada.

Construction of a new bike path has Santa Barbara residents on edge, as road surface grinding is keeping them up at night.

If people in San Luis Obispo look depressed, it’s because they’re no longer the happiest city in the US. It’s probably no coincidence that every city in the top five is ranked silver or higher on the Bike League’s list of Bicycle Friendly Communities.

A San Francisco bike cop is in grave condition after he was run down by a suspect, who was arrested several hours after fleeing the scene.

 

National

Bicycle Times offers advice on how to clean your dirty, dirty bike.

Rails-to-Trails recommends some haunted pathways for your pre-Halloween riding pleasure, including one with a ghost bike. No, literally.

No surprise here, as the Washington jerk bicyclist who injured a pedestrian after yelling “hot pizza,” expecting her to jump out of the way, is now facing a lawsuit; he uses the same excuse drivers do, saying 3 mph pedestrians shouldn’t mix with cyclists doing 15 mph.

What’s one way to jeopardize a football scholarship at Texas A&M? Stealing a bait bike is a good start.

Bike PGH meets up with carfree former Trojan and current Pittsburgh Steeler JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Now that’s more like it. A New York man was sentenced to five to 15 years behind bars for the hit-and-run death of a bike rider; more importantly, he received a lifetime revocation of his driver’s license. Which should be automatic for any driver in any hit-and-run.

DC has become a testing ground for dockless e-bikeshare.

 

International

A new documentary takes a look at MAMILs, following four men from the US, the UK and Australia. Which should be required viewing for anyone who makes fun of middle-aged people on bikes, spandexed or otherwise.

Road.cc explains how to stop the dreaded speed wobbles.

Bicycles are making a comeback in Cuba.

A Canadian newspaper talks with Danish bicyclist Ole Kassow, who created the Cycling Without Age program.

Ed Sheeran won’t be one of us for a while, after realizing the next day that he had fractured not one, but both arms when he was hit by driver while riding in London; he had to cancel his upcoming Asian tour.

Motorist and bicycling groups both condemn calls for British bicyclists to be required to carry numbered license plates.

A Turkish librarian operates his own personal book bike, towing books for children from village to village in a bike trailer.

An Aussie newspaper says kneejerk decisions to confine dockless bikeshare bikes to specified parking areas defeats the whole purpose.

 

Finally…

Maybe Bonin should have just used a coloring book. Evidently, we’re just sidewalk speeding cyclos.

And the left lane of the southbound 5 Freeway in Newhall Pass may not be the best place to walk your bike.

Especially before 6 am.

Thanks to kdbhiker for the photo.

Morning Links: Bike SGV advocate Brian Velez passes away, new Vision Zero ad, and tips on videoing cops

More tragic news.

As if there wasn’t enough last week, the Los Angeles bicycling community suffered another big loss when one of the area’s leading advocates passed away unexpectedly.

Bike SGV reports that Brian Velez, outreach coordinator for the San Gabriel Valley advocacy group, died last Wednesday from an undiagnosed illness.

Velez also served as the co-host of Streetsblog’s SGV Connect podcast, as well as creating artwork for his blog.

He was just 33.

He is survived by his parents and his sister Diane, who worked with him as the Safe Routes coordinator for Bike SGV.

A scholarship fund is beingcreated in his name, and a memorial ride will be held in his honor on October 15th; you can find information on both on the Bike SGV website.

I hope you’ll join me in offering our deepest sympathy and prayers for Brian Velez, and all those who loved him.

………

Vision Zero Los Angeles punts on its first TV spot, using LA Rams punter Johnny Hekker and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to call on drivers to watch their speed and pay more attention to people walking and biking.

Not exactly the hard-hitting ad some of us were hoping for.

But as Streetsblog’s Damien Newton reminds us, maybe it will mark a turning point in steering the conversation back to safety.

………

The LAPD offers tips reaffirming your 1st Amendment right to film and photograph police officers in public, and how to avoid getting into trouble in the process.

Which is not to say every officer has gotten the memo, or agrees with it. So you may want to copy print this out and carry it with you or commit it to memory.

………

A couple items were inadvertently left out of last week’s listing of upcoming bike events.

Starting with the 2017 South Bay Cycling Awards, hosted by Cycling in the South Bay author and bike lawyer Seth Davidson. If you make it, say hi to everyone; a great group of people and some very dedicated advocates down there.

The Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition is holding their 5th Annual Pumpkin Patch Pedal this Sunday.

And the LA Bicycle Advisory Committee meets tomorrow night in Hollywood.

………

Once again, today’s common theme is bikeshare.

Bikeshare has officially opened on the UCLA campus. Your move, USC.

A Venice writer tries out the area’s new Metro Bike bikeshare, and ends up loaning it to a stranger who tried to wrestle it away from her.

As bikeshare flourishes in DC, questions arise of whether the city has the infrastructure to support it.

A bikeshare bike stopped a teenage Australian boy who was terrorizing the public when a bystander threw it under the boy’s SUV, to keep him from running over people on the street.

An Australian professor explains how dockless bikeshare providers actually make money.

………

Another case of motor doping has been uncovered, as a French amateur rider was caught using a motor hidden inside his bicycle.

Former world team time trial champ Carmen Small retired after suffering her third major concussion since 2006.

Retired Spanish cyclist Oscar Freire says pro racing was much harder back in his day. After which he yelled at the kids to get off his lawn.

Trek is credited with giving men and women equal prize money for a recent cyclocross cup, even though cycling’s international governing body doesn’t believe in equal pay for equal results.

Ventura officials see virtually unlimited potential in hosting next year’s Amgen Tour of California.

The Malibu Times reports on last month’s Malibu Triathlon.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman writes about her experience with the LACBC’s recent bike and pedestrian count in South LA.

LAist says Angelenos need to atone for routinely driving a half mile when they could walk, bike or take a bus.

New plans to restore the Ballona Wetlands include options that would remove the concrete and restore Ballona Creek to a more natural state, requiring a realignment of the bike path.

Funding for the $20 million bike, pedestrian and equestrian bridge connecting Glendale and Griffith Park has been approved by the state legislature, and is sitting on Governor Brown’s desk awaiting his signature.

South Pasadena will establish a Bicycle Friendly Business District (pdf) in the downtown area, as part of the Bike Friendly San Gabriel Valley program. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up and pdf.

Santa Clarita has installed a solar-powered bike counter along a commuter bike trail.

 

State

San Clemente proposes narrowing existing traffic lanes and installing eight-foot wide buffered bike lanes on Calle Saluda.

San Francisco announces another plan to clear the homeless off a popular bikeway known as the Hairball, after encampments made it nearly impossible to ride through.

Kindhearted Antioch cops teamed with a local bike shop to buy a new bicycle for a 10-year old hit-and-run victim.

A Marin hiker says he was beaten by a trio of mountain bikers who were illegally using a singletrack trail where bikes are prohibited. Seriously, never resort, or respond, to violence except to defend yourself or others.

Modesto plans to sell a $9,000 trained police dog to the family of his handler for just $1, after the officer was killed by a suspected drunk driver while riding his bicycle.

 

National

Ford has patented a method to maintain stability on a bicycle and help keep the rider upright. Which in theory could allow countless people who aren’t comfortable balancing on two wheels to get out and ride.

Life is cheap in Idaho, where a truck driver who killed a bike rider was fined just $90 — yes, nine zero — for “inattentive driving;” the victim’s wife was not even allowed to tell the jury her husband had died as a result of the crash.

Country music star Luke Bryan is one of us, as he takes a tour of Austin TX with America’s most famous ex-Tour de France winner.

An Ohio woman rode 1,900 miles from Ohio to Arizona, recreating the route her son took before he died of Ewing’s sarcoma and acute myeloid leukemia.

A New Hampshire city appoints the country’s first bike mayor.

Buffalo NY bicyclists ride to raise funds and awareness for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico. Thanks again to Megan Lynch.

More New York bike couriers are mistakenly riding through the Lincoln tunnel, riding past the signs indicating no bikes in the process.

An 84-year old Virginia man faces charges after making a wide turn at high speed and crashing into a woman carrying three children on her bicycle. Once again bringing up the difficult question of how old is too old to safely drive. And how to get older people off the road once they’ve lost their ability to drive safely, which varies from one person to another.

 

International

A NASA astronaut will join a pair of scientists in bicycling 600 miles across the Amazon to document the effects of climate change.

City Lab reports that bicycles and parks were lifelines for people affected by last month’s Mexico City earthquake. A reminder that owning a bike with durable tires could be a lifesaver for those of us who live in earthquake country.

A hard-hitting piece by a Toronto columnist says the city’s streets are deadly by design. Not unlike the streets of Los Angeles, which some Westside and South Bay drivers are fighting to keep that way.

British bike advocates have mapped out every bicycling fatality in the UK from 2005 to 2016, discovering in the process that roundabouts are risky for bike riders.

Not a hint of eccentricity here. A Welshman is riding 5,000 miles to Africa to follow the swallows that live in his shed.

A UK cyclist calls out his fellow riders for leaving their trash behind on the road. He’s got a point; it always saddens me to see gel wrappers, blown tubes and spent CO2 cartridges littering popular riding routes.

A bicyclist from Malta says he started bike commuting because he wanted to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. And lost 30 pounds in the process.

Athletes in Turkmenistan gave the country’s president a golden bicycle, which inexplicably appears to be painted green. Although it’s hard to tell what the story’s really trying to say in its broken English.

Brilliant idea from a South African writer, who says drivers should be given an automatic 15-minute timeout on the side of the road when they get pulled over by police for bad driving. Although here in LA, that could result in a massive traffic jam of stopped cars on the side of the roads.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to do a good deed, at least keep an eye on your bike. Go to your next Halloween party as a self-driving car.

And congrats, roadies. Your spandex bike shorts are now fashion forward.

………

Thanks to John Hall for his very generous donation to help support this site.

And let’s all take a moment to remember the victims of last night’s shootings in Las Vegas. And dedicate ourselves to keep things like this from happening again.

 

Morning Links: More on Vision Zero funding, bike theft goes unpunished, and Merced driver topples nine riders

There’s more reaction to LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s call to increase funding for Vision Zero, as advocates say it’s not enough.

The mayor’s proposal instead calls for using Measure M return funds to repave 60 lane miles of streets — just 30 actual miles — in the High Injury Network, while making safety improvements at the same time.

Meanwhile, his proposal to boost Vision Zero spending to $16.6 million would still represent just a small fraction of what New York spends each year to reduce traffic fatalities. Even though Los Angeles leads the nation in pedestrian deaths.

The LACBC’s Tamika Butler suggests tapping police and fire departments budgets to make up the difference.

Tamika Butler, executive director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, said the city could find other ways of securing more money for Vision Zero. One option, she said, would be to tap police and fire department funding.

“When you’re looking at the important work these departments do, it’s all about saving lives,” Butler said. “Vision Zero is about saving lives, too.”

The LAPD is chronically understaffed, with the smallest police force per capita of any major American city, while struggling to protect one of the largest patrol areas. As it is now, police have more cases than they can handle, and relatively minor crimes — like stolen bikes — often don’t get investigated.

And the fire department is just recovering from the drastic staffing cuts during the last economic downturn that increased response times to unacceptable levels, putting traffic victims and others in need of emergency care at needless risk.

Yes, we need to find the money to fix our streets somewhere, as well as dramatically increasing spending on Vision Zero to eliminate traffic deaths.

But taking funding from the police and fire departments is the wrong way to go about it.

………

Speaking of bicycle theft, an Op-Ed in the LA Times asks why cities are allowing bike theft to go virtually unpunished.

A big part of the problem has been changes in the law a few year back that reclassified any theft below $1,000 as a misdemeanor, while preventing people convicted of misdemeanors from receiving any real jail time.

And since most bikes fall under that threshold, police put less effort into investigating those thefts, since they know the thief will be back on the street in a few days even if they manage to get a conviction.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t still try to return bikes to their rightful owners when they can. In fact, a detective in the West LA division reported at last week’s meeting of the department’s bike liaison program that they had recovered three bikes in recent months using Bike Index.

Which is just one more reason to register your bike.

………

An 81-year old Merced driver struck four cyclists with his mirror as he tried to slip past a group of riders without crossing the center line, taking down all nine riders in a chain reaction crash, while sending three to the hospital.

Investigators said the riders did nothing wrong, and the driver would likely be ticketed for unsafe passing. Although the CHP suggests being old may be the new Get Out of Jail Free card.

You can put this one directly on Governor Brown’s doorstep.

Unlike some other states, California’s three-foot passing law does not allow drivers to briefly cross the center line when safe to do so to pass people on bicycles, because Brown vetoed an earlier version of the bill that would have permitted it.

The result is drivers who try to squeeze by bicyclists unsafely rather than risk a ticket for briefly having two wheels over the yellow line.

So it’s the people on bikes who pay the price, instead.

………

Thanks to Megan Lynch for forwarding this newsreel view of Nazi occupied Paris in 1944, filmed in part using a camera hidden in a bike basket.

………

The fourth of the five Monuments rolled on Sunday with the Liège-Bastogne-Liège classic, the ending of which should not shock anyone. Meanwhile, the first women’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège ended in a solo breakaway.

The peloton paused before the race to pay tribute to Italian cyclist Michele Scarponi, who was killed in a collision with a van while on a training ride on Saturday. Vincenzo Nibali dedicated his victory in the Tour of Croatia to Scarponi, who he said was like a brother to him. And an Aussie rider wonders if it could be him next time.

………

Local

The new Los Angeles State Historic Park finally opens after 14 years, offering walkways and bike paths in the shadow of Downtown LA and Chinatown.

KABC-7 talks with the architect working on a 12-mile long bike path along the LA River in the San Fernando Valley, part of plans to extend the existing bikeway the entire length of the river.

The Wave newspaper offers an even-handed look at last week’s CD1 debate between Gil Cedillo and Joe Bray-Ali. Speaking of Bray-Ali, the Times has reconsidered their endorsement of him, and concluded that yes, he is the right person for the job.

Burbank approves plans for two-way separated bike lanes on a 1/3 mile section of Leland Way.

Long Beach held a tricycle race at the city’s Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital to raise funds for pediatric cancer research and call attention to next month’s annual Tour of Long Beach.

 

State

Newport Beach pulls back on plans to widen the Coast Highway at Mariner’s Mile to three lanes in each direction, as residents call for revitalizing the street to make it more attractive to bike riders and pedestrians, instead.

They’re onto us, comrades. A San Diego letter writer insists the nefarious bike lobby is running the city government, indoctrinating fourth graders, and forcing poor, put-upon drivers to plod through potholes while we luxuriate in bike lanes. Although he doesn’t begin to compare with the Michigan woman who thinks having to obtain a license to park on the street is just as bad as the Holocaust.

San Franciscans are questioning why bicycles are banned from the city’s light rail trains after an injured woman is denied a ride to the hospital after falling on the tracks.

 

National

Twenty-two mountain bikers have been mauled by bears in the last 17 years, a surprisingly low rate given the number of riders in bear country and the speed they travel.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A skilled reconstructive hand surgeon and medical professor riding in a bike lane was killed in a collision with a bus in Las Vegas, while his wife is undergoing chemotherapy.

Denver police bust a serial bike burglar.

A Montana compromise will create an 80,000-acre wilderness area, in exchange for allowing mountain biking on 3,800 acres.

You’ve got to be kidding. A Texas cop is acquitted of criminally negligent homicide after running over and killing a man who was fleeing on his bicycle. Even though he moved his car and the victim, lied about what happened, and waited over eight minutes to call the paramedics while the man died.

A trio of Peoria IL priests are riding their bicycles 350 miles across the diocese to encourage more vocations to the priesthood.

After years of decreases, doorings increased fifty percent in Chicago in 2015.

Hundreds of people turn out to call for more bike lanes in Boston.

A North Carolina woman suffering from Multiple Sclerosis wins her fight to ride a bicycle.

New Orleans passes ordinances that will require a safer passing distance, as well as prohibiting motorists from driving in bike lanes; the law also bans harassing bike riders or throwing anything at them.

 

International

A group of students is following the monarch butterfly migration on their 9,000 mile journey from Mexico to the US.

Ottawa, Canada residents are up in arms over plans to remove 97 parking spaces to make room for bike lanes. After all, who cares about improving safety if you have to walk a few steps from your parking space?

An artist depicts bicycling through London in a series of illustrations.

A man returns home to his English hometown seven years after he left on a 43,000-mile around the world bike tour that raised the equivalent of nearly $13,000 for charity.

As many as 10,000 people may have turned out in for this year’s Pedal on Parliament calling for safer streets for Scottish bike riders.

Caught on video: An Irish cyclist was nearly hit head-on by a speeding truck that crossed the center line.

An Irish government minister says he’s lucky to be alive after he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle with his wife.

The Danes do know how to combine bikes and beer.

A new Australian bikeway will be built like a limited access freeway, making it difficult for local residents to use it.

Caught on video too: An Aussie cyclist sticks the landing when he’s hit by a driver, flipping in the air and coming to rest sitting on the roof of the car.

A local newspaper talks with the founder of Singapore’s only cycling instruction school, who says over half his students are adults.

Dockless bikeshare may still have a few kinks to work out, after a Chinese man was charged the equivalent of $60,000 for a 20-minute ride. And the founder of one of the bikeshare companies says yes, there’s a bikeshare bubble, but his company will survive.

Bicycling is growing in popularity in South Korea, where beautiful mountains and lakes are just a short ride from Seoul, and the roads have bike lanes.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could have an inflatable frame and fit in the trunk of a Ford. Probably not the best idea to push a baby carriage with a foldie.

And admit it. You’ve spent years perfecting your imitation of Charlie Chaplin hammering a sprint finish.

 

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