Tag Archive for Hollywood

Hollywood’s anti-bike green lane myth rises again; Culver City Chamber pres comes out against bikes

Just in time for April Fools Day, the myth of the Hollywood-destroying green bike lanes rears its ugly head once again.

A brief biased story appeared on the website of the L.A. Times over the weekend, quoting a representative of the Teamsters union decrying the buffered lanes designed to keep cyclists safe as they ride south through Downtown.

The man, who represents unionized Hollywood location scouts, claimed the particular shade of green used for the bike path made it impossible to use Spring Street as a location to represent any other city in America, or any time in the past, as it was somehow impossible to cover-up, shoot around or remove in post production.

Evidently, according to him, that particular shade can’t be removed in post, even though green screens are exactly what are used for special effects. And even though others who work in Hollywood have said it shouldn’t be a problem.

Yet somehow, a multi-billion dollar industry that for over a century has created creatures, cities and worlds that don’t even exist is apparently stymied in their ability to cover up a little green paint.

Or maybe they somehow can’t squeeze the relative pittance it would cost into their bloated multi-million dollar budgets without adversely affecting the producer’s cut or maybe the lunch budget.

Then there’s the location scout quoted in the article, who, despite being described as a veteran scout, has absolutely no idea that green bike lanes exist in any other city in the country.

Evidently, she’s never been to Santa Monica. Or Long Beach.

Not to mention, as a commenter to the story pointed out, Portland, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Boulder, DC, Arlington, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

You’d think a decent location scout might know about something that appears in such a broad spectrum of the country, with even more on the way.

So let me offer a low tech, low cost and multi-use solution.

The city’s film authority, FilmLA, should have a mat made to match the color and texture of the surrounding pavement, and rent it out to film crews ridiculously apoplectic over the presence of green on the street.

Sort of like film crews have done for decades to cover up train tracks, as well as countless other street markings.

Or use any one of the multitude of techniques Hollywood has used for decades to hide things they don’t want you to see in the final footage. Or just accept that these are rapidly becoming common markings that shouldn’t shock or offend anyone living in Iowa, or in this century, for that matter.

Then again, as the head of FilmLA pointed out last year, the last time this myth circulated, the real objection was never that the lanes interfered with filming.

It was that they interfered with parking.

Film crews have long been used to free parking along L.A. Streets. And didn’t want to have to pay to park their production trucks, or go through the relatively easy process of getting a permit allowing them to block the bike lane.

And cyclists don’t want those trucks blocking the few feet of street dedicated to keeping us safe, and forcing us into traffic lanes with drivers unwilling to safely share them.

In other words, exactly what happens pretty much every day. And every night.

And yet, still hasn’t stopped a boom in ridership.

It’s bad enough that a few misguided Hollywood types want to park in our bike lanes, and can’t manage to find a solution to the federally mandated shade of green.

It’s worse that the writer for the Times didn’t bother to talk with anyone who might have presented another side of the story.

And evidently, didn’t have access Google, Bing or any other search site that might have allowed him to fact check the crap they were feeding him.

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Speaking of bike lanes, Flying Pigeon calls on cyclists to help save planned Northeast L.A. bike lanes from kneejerk anti-bike NIMBYist opposition with two vital Neighborhood Council meetings this week, one today and another on Thursday.

In possibly the most asinine story in the history of the bike lane debate, here or anywhere else, an Eagle Rock pot shop advocate comes out against the proposed bike lanes on Colorado Blvd because, wait for it, his arch rival pot shop opponent is for them.

Seriously, I’ve checked the date on the story several times hoping this was an April Fool joke, rather than just a massive waste of cyberspace and credibility.

And as long as we’re citing Flying Pigeon as the source for news on important meetings, the quarterly Bike Plan Implementation Team (BPIT) meeting takes place from 2 pm to 5 pm this afternoon at City Hall East, 200 Main Street; the link also has instructions how to participate online.

………

Evidently, at least some members of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce would be just as happy if bikes didn’t sully their streets.

Despite the local Chamber signing on as a supporter of CicLAvia, its president has joined with the usual bike haters in coming out against Metro’s new Every Lane is a Bike Lane campaign.

Stephen J. Rose, president of the chamber, offered his own thoughts in a letter published on the Culver City Patch website.

Here are a few points I would like to ask about bicyclist’s responsibility:

  • Insurance in case of an accident. Is my uninsured motorist insurance going to be raised because of bicyclists’ rights?
  • Motorcyclists are required to wear helmets. Are all bicyclists?
  • Why can a bicyclist ride in the street and then on the sidewalk and then back on to pedestrian walkways?
  • Bicyclists should not only have lights on the front and rear of their bikes, but lights that can be seen from a legal distance.
  • Should bicyclists be allowed to straddle the white line and then stop in front of vehicles at a red light?
  • Why do bicyclists not stop at stop signs, as vehicles legally must do?
  • How do we tax bicyclists for maintenance of the right of way, as motor vehicle owners have to do?

Just a few thoughts as the rights of bicyclists may become more important than motorists.

I’m not going to bother correcting the errors in his comments. Particularly since there’s little else there.

Others have already taken him to task in the comments to the story. And Just Another Cyclist has done a great job of dissecting the letter, slicing and dicing the fallacies until there’s nothing left but the signature.

And even that comes into question, because, despite the disclaimer that those are Rose’s own comments and don’t reflect the attitudes of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce, he does exactly that by identifying himself as its president.

Personally, I always thought that the purpose of any Chamber of Commerce was to promote business interests in the city.

But all Rose has done with his misguided letter is suggest that maybe we should take our business somewhere else.

Update: In my rush to get this online last night, I inadvertently left out the link to the original letter on the Patch website; thanks to Margaret for the correction.

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An Echo Park fixie rider collides with a pedestrian, sending both to the hospital with apparent serious injuries; the cyclist’s riding partner said they’d both been drinking before the crash. Better Bike says change may be in the air for cyclists in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills, where the bike lane ends. Santa Clarita cyclists ride to raise funds for the Child and Family Center. Our coastal neighbor to the south will host a day long Green Prix of Long Beach on April 20th, including free bike valet, raffle and group ride. Carlsbad is widening bike lanes to give riders more room. A San Diego School Board Member calls for transforming one of the city’s most dangerous boulevards into a world class greenway, including cycletracks. San Diego becomes the latest California city to remove a bike licensing requirement, at a cost of a whole $260 dollars from city coffers. A bike riding child was injured in a Ventura collision last week; thanks to Steve Herbert for the link. Cyclelicious offers a roundup of biking April Fools jokes.

Bob Mionske provides additional advice on how and when to fight a ticket. Bike Snob says Portland kinda makes him want to puke. Vancouver WA cyclists fight to keep bike lanes from being replaced with sharrows. A Boise bicyclist survives a Dr. Thompson-style brake check. What it’s like to own and ride a bakfiets, which is pronounced like what I have to wipe off after walking the Corgi on rainy days — back feets. This is why you always ride with ID, as Erie police try to identify a bike rider seriously injured in a collision with a car. The not-exactly bike friendly NYPD sticks a popular bike nonprofit bike ride with a $1 million bill to provide security. A Georgia bicyclist is apparently killed by an Escalade-driving hit-and-run motorist leaving a showing of The Croods with two small children. Baton Rouge police will hold an online auction of abandoned and seized bikes this month, but you have to pick up your bike in person.

Vancouver drivers are up in arms over a whopping $3000 spent to provide bike repair stations for commuter cyclists. Totonto cyclist doesn’t make it through a crosswalk before a right-turning semi; needless to say, authorities blame the victim. A former Brit champion cyclist still rides his tricycle at age 100. Shortly after an Irish man returns from an extended visit to the U.S., he’s killed riding to the local pub on Easter Sunday. Fabian Cancellara, aka Spartacus, breaks the competition one by one to win the Tour of Flanders. Meanwhile, second place finisher Peter Sagan is roundly criticized for grabbing the ass of a podium girl; he’s really, really sorry, but the better question is, why do we still have podium girls to begin with? Thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up. A Swedish study shows elderly riders should use step through frames — not women’s bikes, thank you — to avoid injuries. Kind of sad that this is a big step forward, as Saudi women finally get the right to ride a bike, but only in restricted areas; thanks to Rex Reese for the tip.

Finally, if you’re going to use a bike as your getaway vehicle, wouldn’t you want something a little faster than a beach cruiser?

And one last thought.

The oft-expressed idea that there’s a war on cars makes as much sense as mice declaring a war on elephants. The elephants might be afraid, but it’s the mice who are in danger.

Breaking news: Bike rider dies of injuries from dooring last week

Excuse me if I’m a little pissed off.

Not to mention more than a little heartbroken.

On Wednesday, I found myself in a room filled with LAPD traffic investigators to discuss bicycling issues in the City of Angels. And not one of them mentioned that yet another L.A. cyclist had joined that heavenly host as a result of a careless driver.

Maybe they didn’t know.

Maybe there’s a lack of communication within the department, and the people who should be first on the list to be notified about bicycling collisions — the bike liaisons representing the four Traffic Divisions, each of which was represented at that meeting — aren’t.

But either way, a bike rider has been dead for a full week as a result of a Hollywood dooring. And we’re just finding out about it now.

According to a press release from the LAPD, a 49-year old Los Angeles resident, who wasn’t identified in the release, was riding his bicycle in the southbound bike lane on Vine Street near Banner Avenue at 6:30 pm on Sunday, March 3rd, when a driver opened her car door into the bike lane. The rider reportedly collided with the door and was thrown into the roadway.

LAFD paramedics responded to the scene and took the victim to a local hospital, where he died of his injuries five days later, on March 8th.

The driver is identified only as 26-year old resident of L.A. in a 2009 BMW 328i. Police cite unsafe opening of a car door as the primary cause of the collision; drugs or alcohol do not appear to have been a factor.

The press release does not mention the nature of the victim’s injuries or whether he was wearing a helmet; however, this is exactly the sort of collision in which a helmet might have made a difference. The description of the incident suggests that the victim most likely suffered head injuries as a result of hitting the pavement; falling to the street after colliding with a car door is unlikely to result in fatal injuries to other parts of the body, though it is possible.

While dooring is one of the leading causes of bicycle collisions, both here in Los Angeles and elsewhere, it seldom results in fatal injuries. In fact, of the 145 bicycling fatalities in Southern California in 2011-12, only two resulted from a rider getting hit with a car door.

This is the seventh bicycling fatality in the seven county Southern California region this year, compared to 10 this time last year, and the fourth in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his family.

A brief introduction to L.A.

I’ve recently noticed a number of visitors to this site from the U.K., thanks to Just Williams and Town Mouse, who were kind enough to add a link to my site. (And since I enjoyed their blogs, I was happy to return the, uh, favour.)

Since these people have taken the trouble to visit me, I thought I might depart from my usual biking banter, and offer a quick introduction to this City of Fallen Angels we call home.

And there’s one thing everyone should know about Los Angeles.

It doesn’t exist.

At least not the city you think you know. Because the L.A. you’ve seen on countless TV shows and movies is as much a creation of Hollywood as the Terminator’s invincibility or Rock Hudson’s marriage. As these things usually go, the reality is both better, and worse, than the image you may have.

For instance, the air is better than you think, and the traffic is worse.

That perfect weather you always see in shows set in Los Angeles rarely occurs in real life. Somehow, it usually seems to happen when there is a camera crew present; I think they pay an extra fee for that. And it’s long been rumored that the Rose Bowl made a pact with the devil to ensure perfect weather every New Years Day.

Also, Hollywood isn’t in Hollywood. That is, you won’t find the stars and studios that make all those TV shows and movies anywhere in the city of Hollywood, except perhaps on Oscar night, though you will find t-shirt and souvenir vendors, hookers, celebrity impersonators and other entrepreneurs dedicated to separating tourists from their money.

And I have never seen, nor have ever I participated in, a drive-by shooting.

Of course, some of the things you may think you know about L.A. are actually true.

For instance, we do seem to be a magnet for all kinds of disasters, from fires and floods, to riots and earthquakes, not to mention debilitating strikes. (We’re still waiting for plagues of frogs and locusts, and for Moses to part the Santa Monica Bay and lead his people out of Hollywood.) But things like that really don’t happen that often, and we’ve learned to take them in stride.

It’s also true that we’ve have a lot of illegal aliens here. And yes, many are from Mexico, but others come from Guatemala, China, Russia, Canada and Ireland, among others. In fact, the joke was that if you couldn’t get a table at Molly Malone’s, all you had to do was stand in the front door, yell “Immigration!” and watch half the bar empty out the back door.

As you might suspect, there are a lot of celebrities here, and we do bump into them from time to time. Personally, I’ve shared a physical therapy session with Billy Crystal, stood in line next to John Lithgow at the market, and nearly ran into Emmylou Harris rounding a corner at the mall. (Then again, I also met B.B. King, Al Green and Stevie Ray Vaughn long before I ever moved to L.A.)

The standard approach upon spotting a celebrity here is to pretend you didn’t see him or her; running up and begging for an autograph is a sure sign of a tourist. On the other hand, we’re just about fed up with paparazzi.

Speaking of celebrities, Posh and Becks made a big splash when they first got here, but they’ve kept a low profile since; I don’t know anyone who has actually seen them — including on the field for most of his first season here. And even with the most famous right foot in football (as opposed to football), our local club would still have a hard time beating Blackpool.

It’s just a pity we don’t have relegation here. If we did, the local side might play a little better.

And the Clippers would be lucky to compete on the high school level.

 

No Whip gets a ticket for making a right on a red light without stopping — just like many drivers do — while Alex endures playground taunts from a jerk with a badge. Meanwhile, a cyclist in Wisconsin discovers it’s against the law to get doored. Chicago cops take to the streets to encourage safe cycling, rather than writing tickets; I wonder if anyone ever considered that here. Illinois clarifies cycling laws in a way that actually makes sense, and could save lives. Is anyone in Sacramento listening? An L.A. rider hits the pavement, thanks to a scum-filled pothole. An Eastside rider reminds us that the city is still taking comments on revising the bike master plan (as if we actually had one before) and recommends a great place for good mole. And finally, Metblogs covers the inaugural Brentwood Grand Prix. I wonder who won the Manolos? 

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