Tag Archive for Governors Highway Safety Association

Morning Links: Governors Highway Safety Assoc. study looks at bike safety — and gets it right for a change

Last week, we mentioned a study from the Governors Highway Safety Association indicating that bicycling fatalities had spiked 12.2% in 2015.

Now the Governors group has released their full report on bicycle safety.

The new study, A Right to the Road: Understanding & Addressing Bicyclist Safety, offers an in-depth examination of both the causes and possible solutions to the problems facing bike riders in the US.

And for the most part, seems to get it right.

Starting with a title that establishes our unquestioned right to the road right off the bat.

Admittedly, I haven’t gotten very far into the Governors study yet, making it only through only about a third of the report’s 75 pages.

But unlike some of their previous efforts, the GHSA attempts to put the facts — or at least, more of the facts — in context, noting that the jump in fatalities could be due in part to an increase in ridership.

Why hasn’t the percentage of bicyclists killed on U.S. roadways decreased? The simplest explanation may be the lack of protection afforded to bicyclists and the difference in mass when they collide with a motor vehicle. This results in asymmetric risk – bicyclists are likely to sustain a serious injury; the vehicle occupants are not (Ragland as cited in Williams, 2014). Also, noteworthy is the impact weather can have on bicycling. A mild winter, for example, can change bicycling patterns, resulting in increased exposure risk from motor vehicle crashes. Another factor is the economy – more traffic fatalities tend to occur with low unemployment and low gas prices (NHTSA, 2016).

Changes in exposure may also be due to the increase in popularity of bicycling because of its health and environmental benefits. It is estimated that 34 percent of Americans (103.7 million) three years of age and older rode a bicycle in the past year (Breakaway Research Group, 2015). While most rode for recreational purposes, bicycle commuting is also increasing, although the U.S. continues to lag behind other countries in the percentage of people who commute by bike (McKenzie as cited in Williams, 2014). Even so, according to the latest U.S. bicycling and walking benchmarking report, the percentage of adults biking to work has increased from 0.4% in 2005 to in 0.6% in 2013. The increase is more significant in large cities, which saw commuting by bicycle increase from 0.7% to 1.2% during this same time period (Alliance for Biking & Walking [ABW], 2016).

Bike share programs are also helping to spur the growth in U.S. cycling, as the number of systems has increased from four in 2010 to 55 in 2016, with users logging 88 million trips over the past six years. In 2016 alone, bike share riders took over 28 million trips; that is equivalent to Amtrak’s annual ridership and tops visits in a single year to Walt Disney World (National Association of City Transportation Officials [NACTO], 2016a). Despite this unprecedented growth, it is important to note that there have been only two deaths associated with bike share programs.

Although I once again have to object to their lack of nuance regarding helmet use, which fails to take into account the limitations of bike helmets, or whether collisions that resulted in head injuries could have been survivable with one.

Or that the best way to protect yourself is to avoid crashes and falls to begin with.*

The value of wearing a bicycle helmet cannot be overstated, since in a majority of bicyclist deaths the most serious injuries are head- related (Sacks et al., as cited in IIHS, 2016). Helmets are estimated to reduce the risk of head injury by 50 percent, and head, face or neck injury by slightly more than 33 percent (Sacks et. al, as cited in IIHS, 2016). However, a 2012 national survey of adults found that slightly more than half reported never wearing a helmet (Schroeder & Wilbur, 2013).

It’s also surprisingly progressive in places, like this section on where to ride.

Where a bicyclist may ride has been debated by roadway users and elected officials for decades. Where to ride laws generally tell bicyclists where they should position themselves on the road, which in most states is typically as far to the right as practicable.

The challenge comes with defining practicable, which likely means different things to a cyclist, a motorist and a law enforcement official. The LAB notes that “what is practicable is often context sensitive based upon road and traffic conditions” and therefore “recommends that cyclists ride in the right third of the lane with traffic” (2017).

Safety should be the primary focus when it comes to where a bicyclist rides in the roadway. To that end, Colorado’s law states that a bicyclist should ride “far enough to the right as judged safe by the bicyclist to facilitate the movement of…overtaking vehicles” (LAB, 2017). The language strikes a balance between a cyclist’s safety and the efficient movement of traffic.

That progressiveness continues into their their recommended action steps for state officials, ranging from educating policy makers about Complete Streets to developing ebike policies and legalizing speed and red light cameras.

We could all benefit if most, if not all, of the Governors recommendations are carried out. Whether you choose to travel by two feet, two wheels or four.

Let’s just hope the people responsible for making those decisions read it, too.

*Just to be clear, I always wear a helmet when I ride. But they should always be considered the last line of defense when all else fails.

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Once again, the rain in Spain failed to remain on the plain, as riders slogged through the 11th stage of the Vuelta; Cycling Weekly offers video highlights of the race.

How to change your shoe mid-race.

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Local

KCRW’s Design and Architecture program discusses the over-the-top rage over the lane reductions in Playa del Rey, while saying they only saw three bicyclists using the bike lanes over a one hour period. However, it would have been nice if someone had pointed out that the lanes were removed to slow traffic, not make room for bike lanes; it shouldn’t be up to us to make LADOT’s arguments for them.

Bike SGV will be providing a free bike valet at UCLA’s season opener at the Rose Bowl this weekend.

The recently closed Coates Cyclery in Pomona is officially no more, as its landmark sign was replaced with one for the pet hotel that’s taken its place. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

Santa Clarita deputies ticketed 45 drivers in Wednesday’s bike and pedestrian safety enforcement operation; no bicyclists or pedestrians received tickets.

After a decade of discussion, Long Beach is moving forward with planes for a 9.5 mile bicycle boulevard connecting North Long Beach with downtown and the shore.

 

State

Caltrans hired Jeanie Ward Waller, the former Calbike policy director, to head its new Sustainability Program. Which seems like a contradiction in terms for the department responsible for California’s unsustainable highway system.

A new bike and pedestrian safety project designed to improve safety for San Clemente students promises to make things a lot worse before they get better.

San Diego opened a one-mile protected bike lane connecting the Mission Valley and Mid-City neighborhoods.

Police in San Diego are looking for a bank robber who fled the scene by bicycle.

A Thousand Oaks resident says wait just a minute to plans for a bike lane through Potrero Valley, insisting it’s too high a cost for something that will only be used by recreational cyclists. Which is a common argument against bike lanes, based on nothing more than the writer’s own groundless prejudices.

Sad news from San Luis Obispo, where a 22-year old student at Cal Poly was killed in a hit-and-run while riding near his home; a 17-year old girl was arrested later, admitting to police she’d been drinking before the crash.

The hit-and-run driver accused of killing the top lawyer for UC Berkeley as he paused on a bike ride has a reputation for public drunkenness, though too much time had passed before his arrest to test him following the crash.

 

National

Slate says security bollards are the best defense against using motor vehicles as weapons, while helping to make cities more livable; an Op-Ed in the New York Times says expanded, smartly designed pedestrian areas will help reduce the danger, as well. Both could help improve safety on Hollywood Blvd and the area around the Chinese Theater and the Hollywood & Highland shopping plaza, which remain dangerously vulnerable to an automotive terrorist attack.

Good question. Streetsblog asks why automakers are allowed to sell cars that can go faster than 100 mph, exceeding the speed limit anywhere in the US. Judging by their ads, car makers go far beyond enabling speeding to actually encouraging dangerously aggressive driving.

A Bicycle Times Op-Ed says don’t be part of the problem by breaking the law on your bike, because everyone is watching. And judging.

A HuffPo writer heads to her local bike shop to ride a bicycle for the first time in 55 years.

Portland residents hang banners and signs urging drivers to slow down after a woman was killed riding her bike. Meanwhile, Portland’s bikeshare system now offers $3 a month memberships for anyone with a food stamp card.

A Bloomberg editorial in an Idaho paper says speed cameras save lives, and we need them everywhere. Nowhere more than California, where speed limits are mere suggestions, and speed cameras are currently illegal.

Montana residents will get their wish and get their parking back, after the Missoula city council votes to remove bike lanes that people continued to park in anyway.

Denver Streetsblog says glowing balloons aren’t the answer to keeping people safe on the city’s streets.

A teenaged Rhode Island bike rider escaped serious injury when he was collateral damage in a road rage dispute between two drivers who chased each other around a Burger King parking lot.

The company behind New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare is developing a dockless bikeshare bike that would also be compatible with existing docks.

New York City is installing free bike pumps in a trio of popular riding locations.

Philadelphia’s bikeshare bikes will sport fine art from Van Gogh and other artists.

 

International

Cycling Tips offers advice on how to keep riding once you have kids.

A British boy gets his bike back after it was stolen while he helped rescue a two-year old who had fallen into a pond, albeit much worse for wear.

Irish bike riders have been fined 1,660 times since on-the-spot fees for bicycling violations took effect two years ago; bike advocates just wish drivers would receive the same treatment.

French bike couriers say not so fast to plans from the country’s new president to relax labor laws.

A road raging Aussie bike rider has turned himself in for punching a bus driver after confronting him at a nearby bus depot. Note to Daily Mail: Of course he was still in his riding gear; was he supposed to strip naked first?

 

Finally…

Nothing like a bikeshare idea whose time has come 40 years later. Don’t believe everything your GPS tells you.

And you know you’ve got a problem when the people being paid to build a bikeway aren’t allowed ride their bikes, on or off it.

 

Morning Links: Bike deaths up in US, lawsuit filed in death of Newport Beach boy, and bike lanes coming to Cal Poly

A new study from the Governors Highway Safety Association shows bicycling fatalities rose 12.2% in 2015, climbing faster than the overall increase in traffic deaths.

However, that could be due to the continuing rise in bike ridership.

Without placing the figures in context, it’s impossible to know if bicycling is actually becoming more dangerous, or if overall safety is improving as the rate of deaths per million cyclists or miles traveled may be decreasing.

Your guess is as good as theirs.

In other findings from the study, which was funded by State Farm insurance —

  • One-third of Americans surveyed reported riding a bicycle in the last year.
  • Drivers had been drinking in 12% of fatal bike crashes, while 22% of the victims had alcohol in their systems. Which is not the same as saying they were intoxicated.
  • Distracted driving was blamed for just 76 out of the 818 bicyclists killed nationwide. However, that’s likely to be a dramatic undercount, since police need a warrant to check phones after a crash. And seldom ask for one.
  • More than half of the victims weren’t wearing a helmet. Although there’s no information on whether those victims suffered a fatal head injury, or if their injuries could have been survivable with or without a helmet.
  • Intersections are no longer the most dangerous place to ride; 72% of deaths occurred on the roadway, rather than at an intersection.
  • Roughly half of all bicycling deaths occurred at night, even though 80% of all bike rides take place during daylight hours.
  • The average age of bicycling victims was 45.

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The parents of eight-year old Brock McCann have filed a lawsuit in the death of their son.

The third grade student was killed by the driver of a garbage truck as he rode his bike home from school in Newport Beach last year.

Video allegedly shows the driver never looked to his right as he turned from a cul-de-sac, and that he rolled through a crosswalk without stopping.

McCann’s parents are suing the driver, as well as the city trash hauler he worked for.

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Boyonabike’s John Lloyd sends photographic proof that the formerly auto-centric Cal Poly Pomona really is installing the promised protected bike lanes on Kellogg Drive.

Photo by John Lloyd

The school received a lot a well-deserved criticism for failing to improve safety following the death of Ivan Aguilar four years ago.

It’s nice to see that this year’s students will finally find the campus more welcoming for those who don’t come by car.

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In today’s spoiler-free Vuelta report, someone won his first Grand Tour stage, while someone else wore the leader’s jersey. No word on whether either was kissed by a podium boy.

Italian olive oil maker Colavita is pulling out of bike racing after 15 year of team sponsorship.

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Local

A ride will be held this Saturday to explore the new protected bike lanes on Venice Blvd in Mar Vista, which have been only slightly less controversial than the lane reductions in Playa del Rey.

Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s deputies patrolling on bicycles made four drug busts Tuesday evening, as the bikes allowed them to ride in undetected.

Santa Monica’s two-mile COAST ciclovía will return on October 1st.

 

State

A new report shows overall emissions of toxic and greenhouse gasses are going down in California, while transportation emissions are going up. Which means the state and local governments need to do more to encourage people to leave their cars at home.

The Watsonville driver sentenced to eleven years behind bars for the death of a bicyclist was high on Valium and methadone at the time of the crash, and fell asleep during the investigation.

A new bicycle master plan promises to improve safety in Stockton, where 70% of streets are rated high stress. Of course, even the best plan is nothing more than lines on a map until they actually put paint on the ground, which seems to be a step too far for most cities.

More details on the off-duty Modesto police officer who was killed riding his bicycle on Tuesday. The driver was arrested for DUI, and could face a murder charge after a previous conviction for drunk driving in 2014.

 

National

A Seattle weekly says safety in numbers resulting from an increase in bikeshare riders could do more than bike helmets to improve safety. Meanwhile, a sports website tries out Seattle’s new Ofo dockless bikeshare, which could be coming to SoCal soon.

After an Oregon woman sideswiped a bike rider, she demanded $200 to pay for the damage to her car, then fled when the rider, who is traveling cross country to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s, suggested calling the police.

A Chicago letter writer urges bicyclists to follow the rules like she does when she drives. Because apparently, she’s the only driver who never speeds, always comes to a full stop at stop signs, and never makes an unsafe lane change or drives distracted.

Illinois becomes the sixth state to follow California’s lead and adopt a three-tiered system to classify ebikes.

Life is cheap in Michigan, where a stoned driver walked with one year of probation after killing a bike rider, who reportedly “came out of nowhere” to crash into her car.

A Maine court rules that authorities don’t have to prove what a distracted driver was doing at the time of a crash, saying they can presume distraction based on the driver’s behavior.

Tolls could double on a Miami causeway to pay for a fully separated bike lane and other improvements on one of the city’s most popular and scenic cycling routes. Which might improve safety, but won’t win any friends with drivers.

 

International

Los Angeles isn’t the only city facing an angry bikelash. A Vancouver man has started a petition to rip out protected bike lanes on a bridge eight years after they were installed, arguing that the 7,000 riders who use them each day during the summer months aren’t enough to justify the impact on traffic.

Caught on video: Dozens of young British bike riders swarm the streets, pulling wheelies and circling around the roadway in front of drivers, in the latest fad sweeping that’s been sweeping America’s East Coast as well as the UK.

Caught on video too: A London man uses his bikeshare bike to defend himself after a man lunges at him with a knife when he was asked to move aside so they could pass.

A British fixie rider faces up to two years behind bars after he was acquitted of manslaughter in the death of a mother of two kids when he crashed his brakeless bike into her, but was convicted under an obscure 1861 law that forbids “causing bodily harm by wanton and furious driving.” And yes, it’s illegal to ride brakeless in the UK.

Nice story from Wales, where an eleven-year old boy rode a bicycle for the first time after being fitted with two mechanical hands.

Wednesday marked the 104th anniversary of a Russian bicyclist completing his round-the-world ride in Harbin, China; sadly, he died three years later in World War I.

An Indian man has ridden over 11,000 miles through 12 Indian states to fight gender-based violence and injustice.

An Aussie website asks if cyclists are fair game in Australia. It’s a hard-hitting piece, and very difficult to read in places. But well worth the effort — especially since you’ll see exactly the same attitudes expressed by LA drivers.

 

Finally…

Next time, try to time your breakaway so the drawbridge rises after you go past. Who needs tires when you’ve got soles?

And riding to the right is right, except when it’s wrong.

 

Morning Links: Drunk cyclists and pedestrians, bike lanes benefit public health, and support bikes in Hollywood

More victim blaming from the governors.

A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association says one-third of pedestrians killed in 2014 traffic collisions, and 20% of bike riders, were legally drunk at the time of the crash.

Which, like most of their reports, sounds damning but lacks any real context.

Like whether the victims’ intoxicated state had anything whatsoever to do with the crashes that killed them.

The report implies pedestrians stumbling drunk into the path of oncoming motor vehicles, or weaving bike riders blowing red lights to meet their demise.

Yet it’s just as likely that a drunk pedestrian could have been hit while walking legally in a crosswalk, or that a bike rider may have been rear-ended while riding in a bike lane, despite having a couple beers.

As LAPD officers have repeatedly drilled into my head, intoxication is never the proximate cause of a collision. A driver may run a red light or veer onto the wrong side of the road because she’s drunk, but the cause of the crash is the traffic violation, not the DUI, which is considered a separate offense.

And never mind that a drunken bike rider or pedestrian is a danger to him or herself, while drunk drivers pose a danger to everyone around them.

So yes, the public should be made aware that walking or riding a bike after drinking can put you at serious risk. And taking transit or ordering a Lyft may be a better idea if you’ve had too much.

But seriously, everyone will be better off if you do anything except get behind the wheel.

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Another new study shows building bike lanes compares extremely well to other interventions designed to protect health, resulting in significant health cost savings and benefits to society at minimal expense.

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The LACBC is asking you to turn out next Tuesday to support bike lanes in Hollywood, which currently has none.

The Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council Transportation Committee will be discussing transportation issues including cycling. A public show of support for bike infrastructure is needed so that the committee will prioritize bike safety issues. In particular it would be helpful if cyclists were able to speak about The Hollywood Boulevard commercial district/corridor, Vine Street, Cahuenga Blvd, and/or Highland Avenue as they are all heavily trafficked and precarious for daily cyclists.

When: 6 pm Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Where: Hollywood Methodist Church located at 6817 Franklin Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90028

Parking: Plenty at the church itself

Closest Metro Stop: Hollywood/Highland

Please RSVP at if you plan to attend.

As someone who lives and rides in the area, I can attest to the need for major changes, since there’s currently no safe way in or out of Hollywood in any direction.

Let alone that we’ll be throwing tourists to the wolves once Metro’s bikeshare comes here in the next few years.

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Mark Cavendish’s plans to catch the Cannibal’s record for Tour de France stage wins suffers a setback as he’s sidelined with infectious mononucleosis.

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Local

The Daily News says any public sign of friction on the LA City Council is a good thing, such as CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell’s endorsement of challenger Joe Bray-Ali in CD1 over incumbent Gil Cedillo.

Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman talks about the LACBC’s Tamika Butler talking about bikes, equity, and tokenization on the Bike Nerds Podcast.

An Alhambra man was critically injured when he was hit by a car while walking his bicycle across the street; for a change, the driver stayed at the scene.

The 61-year old self-proclaimed UniGeezer spends six days a week mountain unicycling along off-road trails in Agoura Hills, Simi Valley and Santa Barbara.

 

State

Oceanside puts a planned crosswalk on hold as the city questions plans to install a road diet that would protect the lives of kids walking and biking to school.

The second phase of San Diego’s Torrey Pines Corridor project will begin this fall, including buffered bike lanes on both sides.

Professional BMX riders take an anti-bullying message to a Rancho Bernardo high school.

The Big Bear Grizzly says it’s time to ride bikes in Big Bear. I assume that’s the local newspaper, rather than, you know, an actual bear.

A San Francisco bike shop will take your old car in trade for a new ebike. Throw in a sidecar for the Corgi, and I’m in.

 

National

The new Copenhagen Wheel, which promises to turn any bicycle into an ebike, is finally available for purchase. With starting price of $1499, it costs more than most bikes it might be used on.

Denver paramedics are training to ride their bikes to the rescue. Meanwhile, a coalition of bike and safety groups is calling on the city to dedicate $40 million a year for sidewalks, bikeways and access to transit.

Bryan Dotson forwards word that BikeHouston, which just helped guide approval of the city’s ambitious new bike plan, is looking for a new advocacy director. On the plus side, you’ll get to help reshape one of the country’s most notoriously auto-centric cities. On the other hand, you’ll have to live in Texas.

Caught on video: An Ohio driver appears to target one of three kids riding their bikes, running over his bicycle and up onto a lawn as the victim jumps out of the way.

A Massachusetts town votes to remove two whole parking spaces to sort of make way for a bike lane, because removing the four spaces that were actually needed was just too much to ask.

The drunken hit-and-run Baltimore bishop who left a bike rider to die in the street is now eligible for parole, despite serving just 18 months of her seven-year sentence, because Maryland doesn’t consider vehicular manslaughter a violent offense. I’m sure her victim would beg to differ.

A Georgia driver faces multiple felony charges, including aggravated assault and hit-and-run, for turning around and intentionally clipping a cyclist after honking and yelling at the group of riders as he passed moments earlier.

 

International

Caught on video too: The BBC’s Jeremy Vine is once again the victim of a near miss as he rides his bike through the streets of London.

London bike commuters want more showers. And someplace to dry their sweaty clothes.

Dublin’s lord mayor says he doesn’t know anyone who takes bags of shopping home on their bicycles. Maybe he needs to expand his circle of acquaintances since countless people do just that every day.

Irish police sergeants and inspectors say the country’s streets are too dangerous, so they call for making helmets and hi-viz mandatory for bike riders instead of making the streets safer. At least wiser heads prevailed on a plan to force pedestrians to wear fluorescent clothing.

Not even Copenhagen gets bike infrastructure right all the time.

Shanghai tries to halt China’s bike boom, banning bicycles — ridden or parked — from certain downtown districts, as well as a number of roads without bike lanes.

 

Finally…

Seriously, if you’re going to steal a bicycle, inside a police station is probably not the best place to start. Or at least wait until the rider gets off.

And if you’re going to jump your bike across a pond, try stay on until you hit the ramp, anyway.

 

Morning Links: More criticism of the GHSA bike safety report; register now for SoCal state highway safety summit

More responses to the Governors Highway Safety Association’s report on bicycle safety, which we discussed here yesterday.

Bike Portland digs deep into the stats to show the report just doesn’t add up. Streetsblog says despite what the report says, the bike boom has been fantastic for bike safety.

The Alliance for Biking and Walking says those scary numbers the report cited for California add up to just 6.3 deaths per 10,000 bike commuters in the state, and that the real scary data is how little states spend on bike and pedestrian safety.

The Bike League says the tone deaf press release doesn’t even mention speeding or driving behavior, and yes, bicycle safety is a national issue. And People for Bikes suggests that the safety in numbers effect means biking has been getting dramatically safer as Americans ride more.

On the other hand, KPCC’s Airtalk keeps it superficial in discussing the matter.

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The State of California is updating its Strategic Highway Safety Plan, described as a “holistic, statewide plan” that coordinates the efforts of a wide range of organizations to reduce traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries on the state’s roadways.

There are currently over 400 stakeholders participating in the process, from state and federal agencies to police departments, regional transportation agencies, tribal governments and private individuals.

As part of the update process, a Southern California summit will be held to collect public input on how to improve safety on the state’s roadways.

November 12, 2014
8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
California State University, Los Angeles
Golden Eagle Student Union
 

Advance registration is required no later than November 5th at

http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1821831/California-SHSP-Development-Summits

Thanks to Alan for the heads-up.

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Local

Metro gets the ball rolling on South LA’s much needed Rail to River bikeway.

A writer for City Watch bizarrely asks if LA’s walkable streets and bike lanes are only for the creative class, before arguing that the streets will be incomplete if they don’t include street food vendors.

Writing for Streetsblog, former city council candidate Odysseus Bostick asks if Los Angeles can fix roads and sidewalks, invest in rail and bike share, and complete other needed infrastructure projects without raising taxes. Good question.

 

State

After five long years, Newport Beach unanimously approved the new Bicycle Master Plan. Maybe this will finally provide some much needed safety improvements down there.

San Diego plans to change the way residents get to work in the next 21 years.

A San Jose State University art exhibit documents a student’s bike tour down Highway 1.

 

National

Auto-centric magazine Road & Track surprisingly admits America is losing the war on distracted driving.

A cyclist rides a single speed from LA to Charleston SC in 27 days to raise awareness of human trafficking.

You can have Kevin Costner’s bike from American Flyers for a cool $40 grand. No offense, but for that price you can have damn near any bike you want.

Great idea, as the University of Louisville gives over 1,000 students $400 vouchers redeemable at local bike shops when they agree not to buy a campus parking permit for at least two years. Are you listening, parking-challenged UCLA?

A DC website asks if city residents will be willing to make the unpopular decisions necessary for Vision Zero to succeed. LA needs to ask itself the same question, now that it’s finally official policy here.

 

International

Cycling Weekly offers advice on how to ride in the rain, which is about as much winter as we ever get around here.

British employers should do more to ensure bike safety, as a significant proportion of road deaths and injuries are caused by work vehicles.

London’s Express offers ten, uh, make that six tips for safe winter riding.

Cycling Central argues that women riders don’t need their own Tour de France, but should have a pro tour of their own somewhere else. Probably because that would make it easier for TV and the press to ignore.

Bicycling is even booming in the land of Putin, as Russian cyclists bring bike culture to Moscow.

Life is cheap in Singapore, as a driver gets a whopping two weeks in jail for the death of a cyclist. But at least he won’t be driving — legally, anyway — for the next three years.

 

Finally…

No bikes involved, as Michigan man in a zombie costume tries to scare passing motorists, with predictable results; police are still looking for the driver. Speaking of which, you’ll need this bike for the coming zombie apocalypse.

And Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson reports on the 2nd Annual South Bay Cycling Awards in his own inimitable style, tongue planted deeply in cheek.

 

Morning Links: Governors’ safety group discovers rising bike fatality rates, but fails to provide necessary context

For the past few years, I’ve joined with a few others to wave the red flag warning about a dramatic increase in bicycling fatalities.

Now finally, a national organization has joined us in sounding the alarm.

A new study on bicycle safety from the Governors Highway Safety Association cites a 16% increase in bicycling fatalities in just three years, from 2010 to 2012.

The Times’ Jerry Hirsch offers a detailed, yet easy to understand report on their findings.

The problem is, the study presents the bare stats without the necessary context for them to have any real meaning or usefulness.

For instance, they note that 69% of bicycling fatalities occur in urban areas, which correlates to a 62% increase in bike commuting since 2000. But fail to note that the 16% increase in overall bicycling fatalities no doubt corresponds to an increase in overall bicycling rates.

In fact, it’s entirely possible that bicycling is actually getting safer, since no one has any clue how much ridership has increased in that same three-year period, since virtually no one bothers to count it.

Though there are a few exceptions.

They also say that California has the highest number of bicycling fatalities, with Florida coming in second. However, they fail to mention that California has the largest population of any state, so it could be reasonably expected to have the most fatalities.

They repeat the same mistake in observing that six states — California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Michigan and Texas — represent 54% of all bicycling fatalities. Yet don’t bother to point out that those are also the five most populated states, with Michigan coming in at a close ninth, representing over a third of the US population and most of the major urban centers.

Far more meaningful is the fact that bicycling deaths represent just over 4% of all traffic fatalities in California, twice the national average. At least that figure is in context, and clearly sends a message that far too many bike riders are dying here in the late, great Golden State.

Now that’s something we can work with to demand safer streets.

Unfortunately, it goes on.

The study observes that two-thirds of fatally injured bike riders weren’t wearing helmets in 2012. Which sounds significant, until you consider that nowhere do they attempt to determine how many of those fatal injuries resulted from head wounds.

Helmets are useful items — I never ride without mine — but they are designed to protect against relatively slow speed impacts, not high speed traffic collisions. And they don’t do anything to protect against internal injuries or bleeding.

It is worth nothing that 28% of the bike riders over the age of 16 that were killed in 2012 were over the legal limit for drunk driving. A clear indication that booze and bikes don’t mix, since it impairs your judgment and slows your reflexes — exactly the opposite of the skills you need to survive on the streets.

On the other hand, I would much rather see drunks ride their bikes, where they are a danger primarily to themselves, than get behind the wheel of a car and pose a danger to everyone around them.

Finally, the study correctly notes that our current roadway system was not designed with bicyclists and pedestrians in mind, and that integrating the streets poses challenges. They conclude that cyclists are safest on separated cycle paths, but note that such separated facilities are rarely feasible.

That’s true.

But only because our current leadership doesn’t have the courage or political will to make it happen.

It hasn’t proven to be a problem in places with strong leaders committed to improving safety on our streets, like New York and Chicago, which have somehow found a way to shoehorn those “infeasible” bikeways onto the streets, for the benefit of everyone — cyclists and drivers alike.

I’m not saying the study has no value. It clearly points out that too many of us are dying on American — and Californian — streets.

Then again, one is one too many.

And it’s long past time we did something about it.

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A new PSA gets people across LA to promise not to text and drive. Or at least to lie about it, anyway.

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Local

LA Bike Trains helps Los Angeles bike riders get to work safely while inspiring similar programs around the country.

The LAPD and USC’s DPS take victim blaming to a new level, attempting to protect bike riders and pedestrians by — wait for it — ticketing bike riders and pedestrians, rather than the people in the big, dangerous machines. And bizarrely, they ticket a cyclist for entering an intersection while the red Don’t Walk hand is flashing, which is just as legal for bicyclists as it is for motorists.

A new UCLA study points out the many public health and economic benefits of pathways along LA’s rivers; improving health and fitness is a lot cheaper than treating diseases like obesity, hypertension and diabetes.

A Vancouverite goes bicycling on some of the best bikeways the City of Angels has to offer, and not surprisingly, finds it not to her liking.

Calbike invites you to party with them at the Queen Mary next Monday.

 

State

Good news, as San Diego’s recent Ocean Beach hit-and-run victim is making a remarkable recovery from a major traumatic brain injury.

A Stockton teen has his bike stolen in a strong arm robbery.

San Francisco’s blast to the auto-centric past Prop L is called a right-wing attack on bicycling and safe streets.

A San Francisco bike rider gets shot in the foot.

Sad news, as a Cupertino teen is killed by a big-rig gravel truck while riding to school Monday morning.

 

National

Scary news, as a writer for City Lab says your U-lock is pretty much useless.

New York cuts speed limits to 25 mph in all five boroughs to improve safety; needless to say, not everyone approves. If LA’s leaders had the courage to do that and actually enforce it — which they don’t — it would not only improve safety but most likely, traffic flow as well.

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber ride through New York on their family-sized Dutch bike.

Bicyclists have to invent devices to overcome bad road planning.

In an OpEd piece for the Washington Post, a cyclist asks why people who don’t drive have to subsidize parking for those who do. Maybe we deserve a discount on rent and shopping.

Russell Crowe rides a bike to the set of his new movie in Atlanta.

 

International

The Guardian asks if it’s possible to look stylish while riding to work; not to spoil the surprise, but it would be a very short story if the answer was no.

Once again, saying they just didn’t see a cyclist proves to be the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, as not one, but two Brit drivers get off after claiming the sun was in their eyes.

Caught on video: A rare double — and possibly triple — bird, as a UK cyclist and motorist flip each other off after the later drives right at the former.

Caught on video: In case you’ve been wondering how the new Fly6 rear facing bike cam and tail light works, a Sydney cyclist catches a rear view of a major flip following a collision; he wasn’t badly hurt but his bike is a goner.

Two years after a Kiwi cyclist warned about the installation of bollards on a bike path, they’re being removed after his wife was seriously injured falling on them.

 

Finally…

A simple 25 question quiz to determine if you’re overly obsessed with cycling; looks like I’m only mildly obsessed. Halloween costumes for you and your bike. And a new bike tire promises to never go flat because it doesn’t have any air in it.

 

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