Tag Archive for Examined Spoke

Morning Links: Torrance tri canceled, Riverside carnage continues, and bike advocate ponders if it’s time to quit

If you haven’t read it yet, don’t miss yesterday’s guest post Letter From St. Louis, from CyclingSavvy’s Karen Karabell.

Go ahead. We’ll wait.

Then buckle in. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover today.

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Don’t bother showing up for this weekend’s triathlon in Torrance.

Word comes from Todd Munson that the race has been called on account of apparent greed and billing irregularities from the cities involved, and not involved.

This is what the organizers had to say.

Yesterday, the city of Torrance canceled the 2016 LA Triathlon at Torrance Beach.  With much regret, we are forced to announce this cancellation to our participants and sponsors only 4 days prior to race day.  We understand that the cancellation will come with great disappointment to those of you who have worked hard and prepared for months toward this year’s triathlon.  We are disappointed by the unexpected and unprecedented circumstances and demands that have unfolded to cause this cancellation.

We have listed the key points that led to the city’s cancellation of our event in an effort to offer some immediate transparency to all participants:

  1. On August 31st, the City of Torrance sent to Pacific Sports an email demanding advanced payment, in full, to the city, prior to the event, for city services.  There was no detail of the charges, simply amounts in total and the requirement to bring two cashier’s checks by 5pm.   This is not standard practice in other municipalities and certainly not in those where all previous invoices had been paid in a timely fashion.
  2. In the same email on August  31st, we were informed that a significant separate payment was also required to be paid to the neighboring City of Palos Verdes, a city in which we have no footprint, no permit, no participants enter their city as part of our course, no liability coverage, and no relationship of any kind.  This demand is unprecedented in our 36 year history as an event production company, and to our knowledge unprecedented in the event industry in the United States.    This payment is demanded by Torrance (to be paid to Palos Verdes) although we have never been made aware of the apparent business relationship (although it has been requested) between Torrance (where we do have permits) and the city of Palos Verdes.
  3. Also in this email, it was finally revealed by the City of Torrance, after an audit requested by Pacific Sports, the city had significantly overbilled us by an amount in excess of 30% to the total in 2015 for city services.   We have strong evidence that the 2014 invoice may have been overbilled as well.   Importantly, we have no reliability that the advance payment demanded for 2016 (without detail of its calculation) is backed up by verifiable charges which will only be available after the event has occurred.
  4. Since August 31st, we have worked tirelessly with all levels of the city government including the city council and Mayor’s office in an attempt to bring resolution.  We offered a structured and fair written compromise on these issues in attempt to  insure the event went on as planned on September 11th.  Ultimately, the city offered no compromise or proposed solution and informed us they had unilaterally canceled the event.

We are upset and deeply disappointed by the cancellation, but the requirements were unreasonable and excessive.  Accepting the terms would have compromised the entire event and were untenable for us to continue at the current site for the LA Triathlon.

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Yet another teenager has been injured riding her bicycle in Riverside, where it’s apparently open season on bike-riding school kids.

A 14-year old girl is in stable condition after being hit by a pickup while riding in a crosswalk just 100 feet from her school Wednesday morning. The driver fled the scene after stopping briefly; she was taken into custody on a nearby highway about 10 minutes later.

Although despite what the story says, it’s hard to imagine the driver was “fully cooperative” with police when she tried to make a getaway before being caught.

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Lucas James Guidroz pled not guilty to in the hit-and-run death of math and music teacher, musician and cyclist Rod Bennett as he was riding on Placerita Canyon Road last May. Guidroz faces felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run driving resulting in death or serious injury.

Note to Santa Clarita Valley Signal: Show a little respect, and get the victim’s name right in the caption.

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In the wake of yesterday’s blog post from Surly’s Skip Bernet, in which he said he’s done riding on streets due to the dangers posed by cars, long-time LA bike advocate Examined Spoke questions whether he wants to keep riding his bike.

Is cycling in traffic safe? I can find statistical support for any answer I want: yes, no, who knows. My own experiences suggest the answer should be no, not safe. In 2009 I was rear-ended while riding on Los Feliz Boulevard; last year I was brushed (side-swiped) on Fountain Avenue. I can recount several other close passes, terrifying moments — the usual stuff that you will hear from almost any cyclist. I shrugged off these experiences when they happened, but they still haunt me. They’ve also made me into a poor advocate; I cannot argue for cycling’s essential safety, I am a personal testament to its dangers. As much as I want to believe the opposite, little by little I’ve had to admit to myself that I don’t feel safe on the road. I never feel safe out there.

It’s a very well-written and challenging piece, and one that poses some very difficult questions.

If anyone wants to respond to it, let me know. I’ll be happy to share your thoughts here.

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The bus carrying Britain’s Team Sky pro cycling team nearly made mince pie out of a cyclist on a narrow country road.

The team contacted him a few hours after the video went online to apologize.

They should give him an autographed team bike, at the very least. And a new pair of shorts, since he probably needs them after that.

Meanwhile, Lance’s doping ban has been partially lifted, so he is now free to compete in non-bike related Olympic sports, like ski jumping, pole vaulting and synchronized swimming.

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Local

Props to CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo for beginning work to create a pedestrian plaza, including bike racks, on the Hoover Triangle in University Park. Now if he could just do something to make it safer to bike or walk there.

More honorees at the LACBC’s upcoming Firefly Ball include Culver City Council Member Meghan Sahli-Wells and The Walt Disney Company.

CiclaValley shares video of the new Spring Street bike lane between 1st and 2nd Streets in DTLA.

Damien Newton talks with Marisa Creter of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments about plans for a 200 mile bike superhighway crisscrossing the entire valley.

WeHoVille examines the 18-month timeline to reconstruct Santa Monica Blvd through Beverly Hills; the street will be widened, providing enough room for the bike lanes that won’t be installed. Increased costs and the objections of residents to widening one narrow section of the street was given as the reason not to install much-needed bike lanes on the boulevard. So why won’t they commit to adding them now that the street is being widened anyway?

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson reports on Wednesday’s meeting of the Palos Verdes Estates Traffic Safety Committee as only he can.

 

State

A Canadian man is riding over 1,500 miles to attend next month’s Desert Trip music festival in Indio on his Pedego ebike.

Pismo Beach votes to move a bike path into a busy parking lot to keep it from besmirching a coastal subdivision for wealthy homeowners.

Fresno jurors find an accused career criminal not guilty of attempted murder of a police officer in a struggle that began when the cops tried to stop him for riding without a light.

 

National

Streetsblog says the US has the worst per capita traffic fatality rate in the developed world because we drive too damn much. Not to mention too damn fast, too damn drunk and too damn distracted.

Zocolo Public Square says modern roads resulted from a coalition of early bicyclists and rural farmers banding together to demand better streets, only to see cyclists squeezed out with the advent of the automobile.

Build your own DIY ebike that looks like it would probably alert the bomb squad.

Bicycling offers advice on how to ride through your pregnancy.

Exploring Hawaii’s Lanai island by bicycle, where only 3,200 people live and there are no traffic lights.

The Tacoma teenager tackled by police as she rode her bicycle through a mall parking lot is suing the police department, as well as the officer in question, the mall and its security company.

American Denise Mueller hopes to set a new motor-paced bicycle land speed record of over 168 mph at Utah’s famed Bonneville Salt Flats this weekend.

A Chicago area writer can’t seem to figure out if he’s pro or anti bike, saying allowing bicycles in wilderness areas is a bad idea, but giving bicyclists the same rights as drivers is a good one — especially if it means more riders get tickets.

An Op-Ed writer in the Chicago Tribune complains about a parking protected bike lane, and insists that bike riders can’t be ticketed — or pay fees — because they don’t have operators licenses. Never mind that most bicyclists have driver’s licenses, like most other human beings in this country, and can be ticketed even without them.

Cleveland officials say the bike lane that was removed to provide parking for the Hilton hotel wasn’t really removed because it was never really a bike lane to begin with.

A retired Boston doctor encourages drivers to open their doors with their right hands to avoid dooring cyclists.

New York protected the security of the presidential candidates from bike riders by forcing the riders onto a busy highway at rush hour.

A Pennsylvania website says bicyclists face a life and death struggle for space on the state’s roads.

 

International

Ottawa officials say it’s okay that bike lanes on a newly opened bridge are too narrow to meet official guidelines, because they’re not really bike lanes. Evidently, they’ve been talking with the people in Cleveland.

It only took 120 years to get a bike lane on one Toronto street.

The Guardian looks at the Rails to Trails movement in the UK, where abandoned rail lines are being turned into world class biking and walking trails.

Curbed introduces Amsterdam’s first Bike Mayor, elected as an unofficial representative for the city’s bicyclists.

Apparently Belgrade, Serbia fails to make the grade when it comes to being bike friendly.

A new report says Adelaide, Australia isn’t ready for bikeshare because of its immature bikeway network, mandatory helmet law and crushing car culture. Los Angeles can cop to two out of three.

An Aussie writer calls for a network of segregated cycle routes to replace painted bike lanes, augmented by a network of shared quietways where cars don’t own the roads. Which sounds a lot like the apparently forgotten Bicycle Friendly Streets called for in LA’s Mobility Plan.

 

Finally…

Bicycling may be good for your health, but good sex may kill you. Seriously, if you’re already on probation for drug charges and carrying an “unknown white substance” on your bike, don’t ride on the damn sidewalk.

And just in time to beat the Halloween rush, a bicycle on a kickstand pedals itself, both forward and back, with no one but the camera around.

Morning Links: Biking the Oscars, challenging helmet stats and a big jump in Santa Monica bike commuting

Even the threat of rain couldn’t keep a handful of Angelenos from biking to the Oscars on Sunday.

Actor Ed Begley, Jr. lived up to his promise to bike into the Academy Awards over the Cahuenga pass, donning rain gear on the ride before switching to his tux for the ceremony.

Laemmle Theater president and LACBC board member Greg Laemmle also rode in, wearing his tux on his folding bike despite the threatening weather.

And even the LAPD biked the Oscars as part of the massive security presence protecting the event.

LAPD bike cops at the Oscars

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Somehow I missed this one earlier this month.

The Examined Spoke examined that highly flawed stat behind SB 192, Glendale state Senator Carol Liu’s proposal to require bike helmets for all riders, as well as reflective hi-viz after dark.

Liu cites a statistic from the National Conference of State Legislatures that says 91% of bicyclists killed in 2009 weren’t wearing helmets. Never mind that it fails to addresse how many bike riders actually suffered head injuries, or whether their injuries would have been survivable with one.

ES looks at it another way, revealing that the 91% figure may questionable, since it appears the authors may have combined the figures for victims who weren’t wearing a helmet with those where it’s unknown whether or not a helmet was used.

As he points out, that’s a big no-no, statistically speaking.

And it’s definitely not true in California.

Separating out the unknowns from the cases where it’s known if the victim was wearing a helmet, the figure drops to just 63% of bike riders killed in California in 2009 were without helmets.

And it drops even further in recent years, as just 53% — barely over half — of cyclists killed in the state in 2012 weren’t wearing one.

Hardly the overwhelming statistic that would justify forcing every rider to wear a helmet under every circumstance.

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Local

Built it and they will come. Afternoon rush hour biking in Santa Monica is up 67% between 2011 and 2013, while overall bike commuting rose from 2.3% to 3.7% from 2010 to 2013. That corresponds with the city’s efforts to improve conditions for cyclists, with 45 miles of new bike lanes and sharrows since 2011.

Writing for HuPo, Joel Epstein reports on a panel discussion questioning whether LA has embarked on a bicycling revolution that will bring about post-car dominated city embracing transit, biking and walking. We can only hope.

Bicyclists get new bike racks in Echo Park. Which should come in handy since bikes are forbidden from the pathways around it.

Two UCLA alums will ride from San Francisco to New York to promote science education, especially for girls.

Don’t miss tonight’s Town Hall Meeting of the Westwood Village Improvement Association to discuss the Remove Nothing Plan for much-needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

CICLE’s Tweed, Moxie and Mustaches Ride rolls on Sunday.

 

State

The editor of the Stockton paper says yes, helmets are important, but mandating them is the wrong answer. The Woodland newspaper disagrees, though they could do without the tasteless and highly offensive cartoon that accompanies the editorial — which also appeared down here in the Daily Breeze, though they don’t seem to have posted it online.

The Times looks at the route for this year’s Tour of California.

A San Diego woman suffers major head injuries despite wearing a helmet after touching wheels with her husband’s bike.

Signs warning drivers about the state’s new three-foot passing law go up outside of Napa.

 

National

Salon looks at why it’s so hard to punish killer drivers.

A Seattle rider travels all of the city’s protected bike lanes in a single day. That would be a lot easier here in LA.

A Wyoming paper calls for a statewide bike path, calling it a visionary proposal. Depending on the route, it could pas through some breathtaking scenery and be a huge draw for bike tourism, as well as long-distance recreational riding.

When life gives you snow, build a 40-foot long bike tunnel to get through it like they did in Boston. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

 

International

A Dutch bike team has to go home after thieves steal all their bikes and equipment from the team truck.

Rising American rider Teejay van Garderen misses a chance to win the Tour of Oman after the fifth stage was cancelled due to sandstorms and extreme temperatures.

Another attempt to ride around the world has ended in tragedy in Thailand, as a Chilean cyclist attempting to set a record by riding 155,350 miles across five continents in five years is killed in a collision, less than two years after a British couple on a similar quest lost their lives in the country. Tragically, the wreck happened right in front of the victim’s wife, who was riding separately with their two-year old son.

 

Finally…

San Francisco police recover a stolen bike, but release the suspect because the bike hadn’t been reported stolen yet, except it had. Let’s get one thing straight: It’s not a bicycle if it has more than two wheels, electric or not. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

And Bicycling says if you want to lose weight and improve your performance, put butter in your coffee. No, seriously.

You first.

 

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