Tag Archive for Hi-Viz

Morning Links: Bonin declares Mar Vista a Great Streets success, and LAPD gets it wrong with hi-viz for jaywalkers

It’s the last three days of the 4th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Just three more days to support SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy. It’s easy to donate via PayPal, or through Zelle with the banking app that’s already on your phone, using the email address you’ll find on this link.

Any amount will help, and is truly and deeply appreciated, no matter how large or small. 

We’ll even take the change under your sofa cushions. Or whatever you have left once your holiday shopping is over.

So what are you waiting for, already?

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It looks like the traffic safety deniers were wrong. And the Mar Vista Great Streets project is here to stay.

Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin released a four-minute video yesterday touting the success of the lane reductions and bike lanes on Venice Blvd in Mar Vista.

Despite the claims of opponents, who seemed to be operating from their own set of alternative facts, the newly configured road has resulted in far fewer serious crashes, while carrying just as much traffic, just as quickly, as it did prior to the new design.

In fact, peak travel times are only 30 seconds slower than before.

But while bicycle counts dropped 16 percent, the number of people walking on the street jumped by a full third over the year before. And Mar Vista business is booming.

So much for the specious claim that no one goes there anymore.

This is what one reader, who forwarded the video to me, had to say.

I’m sure you saw this, but Bonin just sent out a pretty encouraging video on Mar Vista Great Streets.

The 1-year LADOT report is apparently favorable on safety, bike/ped/scooter volumes, and (even) car travel times. (Not sure if the report is out yet.) Seleta Reynolds is recommending that the street configuration (i.e., bike lanes, I think) be made permanent, with Bonin recommending that as well.

They had some big numbers about business activity & business openings being *way* up year-on-year. (My take is this probably has more to do with the macroeconomy than the bike lanes, but it at least proves that bike lanes haven’t “killed” Mar Vista)…

Bonin also announced a bunch of traffic changes to reduce cut-through traffic on the side streets around Venice/Centinela, including some protected left turns and longer right-turn pockets on the arterials, as well as more stop signs on Victoria & Charnock.

I was hoping it’d be an announcement about more protected bike lanes, but after the last couple years, anything that’s not moving backward feels (alas) like a victory.

Unfortunately, the report hasn’t been released, and no word yet on when it will come out. Correction: The report was released the same day as the video; you can read it here. Thanks to Eric B for the heads-up.

And I’m sure whenever it does, opponents will once again deny virtually everything in it, just as they’ve done for the last year since the project was installed. Note: The traffic safety deniers are already hard at work in the comments to the YouTube video.

But maybe, just maybe, we can finally get city officials to start making decisions based on actual facts and real world experience, instead of just listening to whoever screams the loudest.

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An op-ed in the LA Times ridicules the LAPD’s program to give jaywalkers a reflective vest and clip-on lights in lieu of a ticket.

And justifiably so.

It goes on to say defensive walking is not the antidote for the city’s high rate of pedestrian deaths.

Or bike deaths, for that matter. 

Because, while we all need to take practical steps to protect ourselves, the real problem is cars, and the distracted and overly aggressive people in them.

And dressing up like a glow-in-the-dark clown isn’t the answer.

It should also be pointed out that every corner has crosswalk in every direction, painted or not, unless crossing is specifically prohibited with posted signage.

And jaywalking isn’t against the law unless there’s a signalized intersection on both ends of the block.

Too bad the LAPD doesn’t seem to think any of that is worth mentioning.

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Don’t make her beg. Support the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive today.

Local

Mashable promotes sale prices on a pair of bikes from Burbank-based Pure Cycles.

The LA Times examines the practicality of Elon’s Folly, the underground tunnel system he promises will whisk cars at high speeds underneath Los Angeles. Although I’m in favor of anything that would get more cars off the streets, even if that means sending them down into the bowels of the earth.

State

No more $2 bus tours of Camp Pendleton any more, but you can still visit the Marine base by bike — if you plan ahead and apply for a permit in person, in advance.

San Francisco debunks the common argument that protected bike lanes will interfere with fire trucks. And moves forward with another protected lane as a result.

It’s been a deadly year in San Jose.

A Marin newspaper says Mill Valley’s new designation as a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community is well-deserved.

National

The Seattle Times asks if Seattle’s new transportation director can build detente with the the city’s sparing drivers, bike riders, pedestrians and transit users, like he did in DC.

The former sex change capital of the world — and the halfway point by rail between Los Angeles and Chicago — will host the first Southwest Chief Bicycle and Comedy Festival next May, combining a “love of the outdoors, bicycle fetishism and the obligatory live entertainment-and-partying.”

In a battle of letter writers, a Colorado Springs CO bike rider says he doesn’t want the bike lanes the city is forcing on residents, while another rider correctly notes that people on bikes are subsidizing the people in cars (2nd and 3rd letters).

‘Tis the season. A Chicago nonprofit refurbished 50 bicycles for kids in Gary, Indiana, part of the 1,400 bikes they donate in the Chicago area, and up to 8,000 bicycles they send to Latin America and Africa.

Condolences to bicyclists in Adrian MI, who are getting new sharrows and being told it’s infrastructure instead of what they really are, arrows designed to help drivers improve their aim.

Honda is testing a smart intersection system in an Ohio city that warns drivers if a pedestrian or bicyclist — or a red light running driver — is about to cross their path. But only if they have the connected car system installed.

Gothamist says New York bicycling deaths have plunged to a record low as the city built nearly 21 miles of protected bike lanes this year. But Streetsblog says no they didn’t, unless you count five miles of lanes without protection as protected.

Frightening and inspiring story from New Jersey, as the long-time lawyer for the state’s governing body for high school sports makes a miraculous recovery from the nearly fatal bike crash that left him paralyzed, after the riders ahead of him went down on a high-speed group ride.

International

Cycling Weekly presents nine Christmas experiences every cyclist will recognize. Unless, of course, like me, you don’t.

Cycling Tips shares their favorite bikes of 2018, sans price tags, unfortunately. On the other hand, you can get a new and improved Oi bike bell for just $36.

No bias here. A British Columbia letter writer says new bike lanes in downtown Victoria have given bike riders a lawbreaking sense of entitlement.

The Evening Standard asks if soaring ebike sales could help London clean the air.

Yes, please. British police plan to use virtual reality to teach dangerous drivers what it feels like to be passed too closely.

BikeBiz says it will take a fresh approach to make the roads safer, as six UK bike and pedestrian advocacy groups band together to get more people riding.

A pair of bike riders are raising funds for charity by biking from London to Tokyo for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, riding over 12,000 miles through 26 countries.

Bikes are being stolen from an English train station because the bike racks are merely bolted to the ground, allowing thieves to simply remove the bolts and walk off with the still-locked bicycle. Which is why you should never use a rack unless it’s embedded in the concrete.

A police union official says separate rules for bikes, ebikes, scooters, mini electric cars and hoverboards are turning bike lanes in the Netherlands into a living hell. Raise your hand if you’d gladly trade the streets you ride for Dutch bikeways, hell or otherwise.

The rich get richer. The Netherlands is investing the equivalent of $390 million to build 15 bicycle freeways and an additional 25,000 bicycle parking spaces to get another 200,000 commuters on two wheels — and paying bike commuters 22¢ a mile to ride to work.

A Palestinian writer calls on the UK to cut ties with what he calls Israel’s oppressive regime, saying he’s being sent to prison for riding a bike during a protest.

No bias here. A Hong Kong letter writer asks who needs bicycles when you can use the city’s speedy, efficient transit system — especially when they annoy people like him.

Competitive Cycling

Forget doping. The way to get a real — and legal — edge in bike racing is supercomputing.

Finally…

Is that a bikeable alley, or an overly realistic trompe l’oeil painting? When your annual bike ride is like a “naked Christmas episode of Doctor Who.”

And if you haven’t signed a pro cycling contract by the time you’re 11-years old, you’re already falling behind.

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Thanks to John C for his generous donation to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive to keep this site coming to your favorite screen every morning! 


Morning Links: Drunk hit-and-run driver encourages safer cycling, and an in-depth look at counterfeit bikes

Nothing like encouraging responsibility on the roads.

An English driver was so concerned about the safety of others, she started a petition calling for all bicyclists to be required to wear a helmet and fluorescent clothing, mentioning in passing that she’d been involved in a collision with a cyclist who died.

Of course, she failed to mention that she was drunk at the time. Or that she fled the scene, leaving her critically injured victim lying alone in the street.

But sure, let’s blame the victims.

Maybe a better petition would require drivers to put fluorescent lights on their cars to warn us if they’ve been drinking, since we can’t seem to keep drunks off the roads.

Or get them to take responsibility for their own actions.

Link courtesy of Matthew Hardy.

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Brit bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid takes an in-depth look at the problem of counterfeit bikes and parts, with chapters including:

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Caught on video: Italian cyclist Fabio Felline pulls an endo just seconds after the start of Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race, suffering a broken nose and fractured skull; Enrico Gasparotto took the victory in the Dutch race.

Motor doping may be more common than we might think, as the European press use a heat detector to discover what appears to be seven hidden motors in two different races.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 100-year old man crossed the finish line in this year’s Tour de Yorkshire on an assisted bicycle, 63 years after he founded a British bike club.

And Wolfpack Hustles’ annual Short Line Crit is less than three weeks away.

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Local

Van Nuys MeetingA Tuesday meeting in Pacoima will discuss a bike and pedestrian friendly makeover of Van Nuys Blvd in a bid to improve safety on one of the city’s more dangerous streets.

One of the best things about bicycling is the people you meet. CiclaValley encounters a Korean couple taking a break in LA on their 10-year journey around the world.

A writer for the Gazettes takes a free adult cycling class as part of the efforts of Danny Gamboa and Empact Communities to make Long Beach safer for cyclists.

Lawndale will host its first, albeit very brief, open streets event from 8 am to 10 am this Saturday, followed by a kids ride from 10 am to 12:30 pm.

 

State

A San Diego man receives a life sentence for fatally shooting a bike-riding 46-year old father of six for no apparent reason last year.

Now that the Chargers plan to abandoned their stadium in Mission Valley one way or another, a San Diego city council candidate calls for building a bike path along the river.

San Bernardino police are looking for a driver who allegedly intentionally ran down a cyclist, circling around him before reversing and pinning him to a wall.

A Fresno letter writer says parents should be charged with child abuse for allowing their teenage children to ride their bikes on a busy street. I think he means child endangerment, which is still an absurdly myopic windshield perspective.

Bicycling is booming by the Bay, with an 8.5% increase in San Francisco bike trips in the last year, and an increase of 184% since 2006.

A Monterey CHP officer calls on drivers to share the road with cyclists during this past weekend’s Sea Otter Classic. But mistakenly says bike riders can be cited for impeding traffic for riding too slowly or failing to move over so cars can pass; the latter only applies on two lane roadways when five or more vehicles are following behind and unable to pass. Unfortunately, the CHP frequently misinterprets this law, as well as the requirement that cyclists ride as far right as practicable. Which puts cyclists at risk of underserved tickets, and retaliation from angry drivers who’ve been misinformed about the law.

A Sacramento artist finds new life for old bike chains, turning them into dog sculptures. Meanwhile, both major candidates for mayor of Sacramento pledge to make the city a vibrant place people can safely navigate without a car.

 

National

NACTO’s new Transit Street Design Guide offers a blueprint for how to incorporate transit and protected bikeways on city streets. Let’s hope LA officials read it.

Wired says putting down temporary bike lanes is the best first step to eventually getting permanent protected lanes in place.

Utah could see a future with free transit, along with a bike superhighway on the I-15 corridor.

The Purple One is one of us, as Prince rides his bike just one day after his plane made an emergency landing in Illinois so he could be hospitalized with flu-like symptoms.

Boston boosts funding for their Vision Zero program, budgeting more than $12 million over the next three years.

Federal authorities question whether Baton Rouge LA officials misspent $2.2 million, including $400,000 used to build a bike path along the Mississippi River.

 

International

Caught on video 2: A road raging British driver repeatedly brake checks and swerves at a cyclist, apparently incensed that the bike rider had filtered past a line of cars at a red light.

Seriously? The Guardian says don’t wear your bike shorts in public, especially not in front of children. So presumably, you’ll need to throw on a pair of pants or a skirt before you dismount.

The grammatically challenged Telegraph asks what cycling tribe are you? Because evidently, it’s not possible to just ride a bike without being some sort of stereotype. Or to get that whole singular/plural thing right.

Apparently, life is cheap in Britain, where an 80-year old British man gets a suspended prison sentence and lifetime driving ban for killing a cyclist. Not that it will likely keep him off the road, since he was already driving without a license — and his glasses — after failing previous eye tests.

In the US, drivers are allowed to turn right on most red lights; in Denmark, bike riders just got approval to do the same at 33 intersections.

The United Arab Emirates considers locking dangerous drivers up for 24 hours; that’s in addition to a fine, 12 points on their license, and having their cars impounded for 30 days. Nice to see someone take traffic crime seriously, anyway.

A New Zealand railroad tunnel is repurposed as the Southern Hemisphere’s longest bicycle tunnel after lying dormant for over 60 years.

 

Finally…

Now that’s what I call a scary mug shot. Apparently, James Joyce’s Ulysses was about bicycling.

And it turns out there’s science behind spitting instead of swallowing.

Sports drinks, of course.

Why, what did you think I meant?

A Hi-Viz approach to blaming — and trying to save — the victims

Growing up in Colorado, I quickly learned to wear my brightest attire when venturing into the woods during hunting season, lest someone mistake me for Bambi’s mother.

Not that we look the least bit alike.

But still, there was always the risk that some armed fool might sense movement, raise and fire without first determining just what the hell he was shooting at.

Even riding my bike, I had to worry about hunters mistakenly assuming that deer tend to travel at relatively high speeds on paved roads wearing spandex. And have spoked wheels instead of legs.

Things that should be readily apparent at a glance to even the most sleep deprived, drunken and/or inexperienced idiot with a high-powered hunting rifle. And it never ceases to amaze me just how many of those we’re willing to arm and send out into the world.

But every year, it seemed like one or more people would get shot just because they ventured out into the woods when the beer and blood lust was running high.

And almost without exception, it would be written off as just an accident.

After all, the shooter didn’t mean to kill anyone. Even if the victim would still be alive if the person with the gun had taken just a few more seconds to verify what he was shooting at before pulling the trigger.

Instead, the authorities would inevitably blame the victim for venturing out without high-visibility clothing, even though the hunters themselves were usually in camouflage gear.* Or just being outdoors in the relative wilderness, when anyone with a salt-lick of sense would know they just didn’t belong there.

Maybe you can see where I’m going with this.

Despite the requirement for a license, and a proliferation of hunter safety classes, it was still up to everyone else to stay the hell out of the hunters’ way, rather than on hunters not to shoot those on two legs instead of four.

After all, they’d suggest, you should know there are people with guns out there. And it’s up to you to stay the hell out of their way.

Or at least make sure they see you if you do.

Sort of like cyclists and pedestrians are expected to do everything short of setting off a thermonuclear device to get a driver’s attention.

No, seriously.

Don’t require drivers to pay attention to what’s in the road directly in front of them. Or improve infrastructure to help keep everyone safe.

No, the standard solution is to put the blame squarely on the potential victim, rather than on the ones capable of causing harm.

Or as former competitive cyclist and current OC attorney David Huntsman put it, it’s like handing out longer skirts to prevent sexual harassment.

It was David who forwarded me a link to a New Zealand story praising a local trucking company for handing out hi-vis vests to cyclists.

The article quotes Tony Gare, general manager of Icon Logistics, discussing a collision one of his drivers had with a dark-attired cyclist, who fortunately was only slightly injured.

“If he had been wearing high-visibility clothing instead, the crash might not have happened.”

There were many cyclists in Dunedin who did not wear the visibility gear, he said.

So Mr Gare bought several hundred high-visibility vests, at a cost of about $50 each, to give away to cyclists.

“If, at the end of the day, it’s going to save someone’s life, it will be worth it.”

Clearly, his heart is in the right place.

Even if his efforts could, perhaps, be better directed by improving training for his drivers, rather than getting local cyclists to dress like people hiking through a high-fire hunting zone.

Huntsman, however, is clearly not one to let a matter such as this lie. So he sent the following email to Mr. Gare.

Mr. Tony Gare
Icon Logistics

 Mr. Gare,

The referenced article came across in my alerts this morning here in California.

First I want to say that the purchase of those reflective vests is a nice gesture.

However, as a logistics firm, isn’t your organization better suited to assess and address the education and habits (and any deficiencies) of truck drivers?  I’m curious to know if your firm has taken any steps in that direction.

Of course it would be helpful if all cyclists and pedestrians dressed in day-glo.  But focusing on that aspect of accident prevention distracts from the other side of the equation – the motorists’ side.

Regards,

David Huntsman

Remarkably, the response came just a few minutes later.

Dear David

Thank you for your email regarding the Hi Vis Vests.

As a company Icon Logistics Ltd  is very proactive in its driver training and all safety matters whether it be on road or off. We have regular Training,  Health and Safety sessions, including those with the local enforcement agencies to keep our staff aware of their responsibilities in operating heavy vehicles.

On this occasion our most senior driver, plus the truck turning into the freight yard failed to see the cyclist because he was indistinguishable from the parked vehicles. This accident occurred on a heavy traffic bypass and an industrial area and as a result of this many of the business in the area have asked for changes in where people can park so turning vehicles have better visibility. While we can’t direct people where to ride, they also must take a degree of responsibility to ensure they can be seen and the choice of roads that they use.

Our General Manger, Tony, has kept in touch with the cyclist, to ensure he has had no further health issues, has replaced his bike and ensured he has the proper reflective clothing.

Regards

Glenda

 Glenda Kempton
Administration Officer

And a few hours later, this came in from Mr. Gare himself.

Hi David

Thanks for your e-mail but as far as training goes in this situation the cyclist was in a heavy transport area with-out any hi-viz and the driver concerned and all of our drivers to this point are well trained and equipped in all aspects of the heavy transport industry

Many Thanks for your response

Kind Regards

Tony Gare
General Manager
Icon Logistics Ltd

Evidently, there’s a punctuation shortage down there in Kiwi land.

But don’t get me wrong.

Like David Huntsman, I appreciate the gesture. Even more when it’s done on a more personal basis, simply because someone cares.

I’m also a firm believer in being as visible as practical, if not as possible. I make a point of riding where I can be seen by everyone else on the road, and lighting myself up like a Christmas tree after dark.

And I’ve learned over the years that what I wear makes a big difference in how well drivers see me. Bright reds, yellows and whites seem to result in far fewer close calls, while an otherwise good bright blue jersey seems to mean dodging cars all day.

I call it my cloak of invisibility because it somehow seems to make me disappear from drivers’ view.

But I draw the line at wearing fluorescent vests to ensure that those who should see me anyway actually do. Let alone that we don’t blend in with parked cars, not one of which I have ever seen that looked even remotely like a bike rider.

There is a point at which drivers must be held accountable for seeing other road users and operating their vehicles safely, without cyclists having to light themselves up with neon signs to point out their position on the road.

Just as hunters have an obligation not to pull the trigger until they know what the hell they’re shooting at.

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One quick suggestion for anyone who still hasn’t finished their holiday shopping.

L.A.’s own Pure Fix Cycles offers this very cool $1000 table made with their own Pure Fix Urban Forks and custom wheels, in your choice of frame and wheel colors. Or maybe you’d prefer one of their single speed/fixed gear bikes, starting at just $300 — each of which comes standard with front brakes, as well as optional rear brakes.

After all, if comes down to a choice of brakes or wearing a Hi-Viz vest, I’d rather err on the side of stopping.

*Whenever I see someone dressed in camo, I have to resist the urge to run up and say “I can totally see you, you know.”

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