Tag Archive for Jonathan Weiss

Morning Links: Bike thefts from Westwood Expo Line station, and blocked MyFig bike lane

How many people would continue to use transit if they had to worry about their cars being stolen from the station while they’re away?

Yet that’s exactly the problem people in West LA are facing after a series of bike thefts from the Westwood Rancho Park station on the Expo Line.

Jonathon Weiss writes to report that his son’s bike was stolen from the bike corral at the station, just months after his own bike was stolen from the same place.

And as he continues to wait for a response to his request for temporary bike lockers at Metro stations without a Bike Hub.

Which would be almost all of them.

He also notes that his son’s bike was securely locked with a good quality U-lock; the thieves apparently pried it open to get the bike.

That doesn’t bode well for most of us, who have long been told that a good U-lock was the most effective theft deterrent.

Weiss is right to call for more bike lockers at Metro stations. I’m told the Westwood Rancho Park station has a waiting list over 50 names long for the few available lockers on site.

Rather being reserved 24/7 for one person, like Metro’s existing bike lockers, the kind he proposes would be available for a single, short-term rental, allowing users to lock their bikes securely without having to worry about frequent bike thefts, while only paying for the time actually used.

And making it much safer and more convenient to use bicycles to solve the first mile/last mile problem.

Because no one is going to be comfortable leaving their bikes at the station if there’s no guarantee they will be there when they get back.

And right now, there isn’t.

The bike that was stolen Monday

Let this serve as yet another reminder to register your bike for free before something like this happens. Because that offers your best hope of seeing it again if it does.

Top photo shows the empty Expo Line bike corral where Weiss’ bike should have been earlier this year.

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Chris forwards a brief video clip of yet another driver blocking the MyFigueroa bike lane at 22nd Street Friday afternoon.

Or as he calls it, the MyFig Loading Zone.

He also notes that the semi-protected bike lane didn’t manage to protect one rider.

Also, there was a crash involving a cyclist further up at Fig between 7th and 8th, in the far left lane, closest to the plaza. Did not witness the crash but I did see police questioning a motorist and a witness. The cyclist was in an ambulance and the police put the bike in the ambulance with him or her. Not sure how it happened or the condition of the cyclist. Perhaps something to look into, but I couldn’t find any news or police reports.

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The exceptionally popular beachfront Marvin Braude bike path will be closed for construction work near the border of Santa Monica and Venice through the end of October, except for Sundays.

Hopefully there will be a well marked detour around the construction zone.

Thanks to Alt Housing California for the heads-up.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on.

And it claimed a new victim in Seattle, where an 18-year old man was hospitalized after crashing into a tree because some sick schmuck cut the brakes on the Lime Bike he was riding.

Let’s hope they find the person responsible, and lock ’em up for a long damn time.

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Local

LA Downtown News says the MyFigueroa Complete Streets project has potential — if the bugs can be worked out.

A new proposal would build a pedestrian bridge at the secluded Los Angeles River & Aliso Creek Confluence Park in the San Fernando Valley, as well as adding bike and pedestrian paths leading from the bike lanes on Reseda Blvd.

A Pasadena columnist invites e-scooters to besmirch the city’s streets now that Metro Bike has been given the boot, while blaming high user fees for the demise of the bikeshare program.

 

State

Streetsblog questions whether recent news stories about the dangers of e-scooters are an attempt to derail a newly passed bill that would remove the requirement to wear a helmet, as it sits on Governor Brown’s desk.

The CHP is recommending a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge against the woman who killed Grossmont College professor Brian Jennings near El Cajon while allegedly sleeping behind the wheel.

Sad news from Sacramento, where a bike rider was killed in a collision with apparently driverless pickup.

Sacramento police are looking for whoever brutally attacked a 73-year old bike rider on a secluded trail; a 76-year old man was killed in an attack on the same trail earlier this year.

 

National

A new report suggests that improving transit systems can improve traffic safety, because cities with a higher level of public transit usage have a smaller proportion of road fatalities.

REI offers advice on how to chose an ebike.

A Texas public radio station asks if e-scooters are the key to getting better bike lanes in San Antonio. We can only hope that works in LA, since the limited adoption of bikeshare hasn’t done the trick.

Friends struggle to make sense of the hit-and-run that left a popular San Antonio restaurant manager in the hospital with critical injuries; she was injured when her bike was rear-ended by the driver, knocking her into a tree. Thanks to Stephen Katz for the link.

Detroit is rapidly shedding its reputation as the Motor City, with a five-year plan to build out a complete protected bike lane network, as well as making improvements for pedestrians. Compare that with LA’s mobility plan, which calls for improvements over the next 17 years. And which we’re told is only aspirational.

The hit-and-run epidemic has hit Ohio, with a 50% increase in drivers fleeing the scene since 2012.

A Maine driver has admitted to driving under the influence of a sleep-inducing medication when he allegedly hit a bike rider in the face with the mirror of his truck, before crashing into two other cars; police suspect he was on other medications, legal or otherwise, but were unable to get a blood sample after the crash. He had a previous DUI, as well as a long string of other traffic violations. Yet another example of authorities keeping dangerous drivers on the road until they kill someone. Or in this case, nearly.

A Delaware man faces up to 30 months behind bars after he was convicted of killing the bike-riding owner of a TV station; he unsuccessfully tried to blame the victim by saying the rider swerved out onto the roadway.

Another reason to hate Elon Musk. A New York Tesla dealer is converting the streets, sidewalks and two-way bike lane in the Red Hook neighborhood into its own private car storage.

Bicycling helped save the life of a DC Iraq War vet who suffered from Gulf War Illness; she’s now competed in 27 triathlons.

No bias here. Black bike riders get two-thirds of the bicycling traffic tickets in New Orleans, but make up just one third of the city’s riders.

 

International

After a Toronto city councilor urges pedestrians to point in the direction they want to go to cross a street — even in a crosswalk with the right of way — a columnist compares it to using an automotive air bag or a bike helmet to improve safety.

An Anglican bishop rode his bike nearly 4,500 miles across Canada, raising over $187,000 to support his church’s ministry; that converts to over $147,000 US.

A European website looks at the adoption of graphene in bike tires and clothing, predicting internet-connected bikewear with embedded electronics to help prevent collisions.

This is the benefit of ebikes. A 93-year old English letter writer says his ebike has changed his life, allowing him to get uphill to the local market — and pass younger riders along the way.

In a new survey that should surprise absolutely no one, most people in the UK — but especially women — prefer riding in bikeways that are physically separated from vehicular traffic.

Britain offers incentives to buy any kind of electric vehicle — except ebikesThat’s also true in the US, something that will have to change if the country every gets serious about reducing traffic and fighting climate change.

A pair of bike tourists from Slovenia and the Czech Republic pause in Pakistan on a world tour that began twenty years ago.

Bicycling is making a comeback in India.

A sharp eyed South African driver helped bust a bike theft ring when he spotted a pair of vans with $26,000 worth of high-end bikes carelessly thrown in the back; the bikes had been stolen from a bike shop that same day.

Nothing has been done to fix a deadly Brisbane, Australia intersection, despite the city’s promise to install protected bike lanes after a woman was killed riding there four years ago.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews says five moments in the last two weeks have given American cycling fans a reason to cheer.

Cycling Tips profiles America’s newest cycling hero, newly crowned world mountain bike champ Kate Courtney.

 

Finally…

Now you can get on your bike at spin class, and get off somewhere else. You can own Robin Williams’ fixie — if you have an extra $4K to $6K lying abound.

And apparently, Alabama has repealed the law of gravity, and mountain bikers can now ride horizontally.

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Join the Militant Angeleno and BikinginLA for the first-ever Militant Angeleno’s Epic CicLAvia Tour at the Celebrate LA! LA Phil 100 CicLAvia on September 30th!

Just RSVP to [email protected] We want to guarantee a relatively small group to make sure we can keep the group together, and everyone can hear.

 

Morning Links: Jonathan Weiss on LA and BMX, the LABAC meets tomorrow, and the improper use of a bicycle

My apologies for the continued problems with email notifications for subscriber to this site. We’re still working on getting it fixed.

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Jonathan Weiss, longtime LA Bicycle Advisory Committee, has discussed the history of BMX racing with us before, including the birth of the sport right here in Los Angeles. So when I received the following email from him over the weekend, I wanted to share his thoughts with you.

I have a local history addiction.  I’m into bicycling.  And I hopped off curbs on my Schwinn as a kid in suburban Detroit.  So, when I learned that Palms Park in the nearby Palms district of West Los Angeles was the birthplace of BMX, I had to do something about it.  I could imagine and identify with some these local kids (and others they attracted) racing up, down, and around some hills on their modified Schwinn Stingrays like motocross racers and with races sanctioned (entrance fees, awards and even insurance) by Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department.  This nearby park was the Elysian Fields, the first field of dreams, the epicenter of the first X-Games sport.

So, I put together some of the story, I set up a Facebook page, and I got in touch with some of those who started BMX racing.  That’s the fun part of history.  The tougher part is when some of the participants and eye-witnesses to history, those who I’ve been lucky enough to get to know, start to go.  On October 1st, another left us – Rick Twomey.

From me, and from fans from around the world, thanks for sharing your memories with me and on the Facebook page, Rick.  And thanks for what you’ve left behind.

If we’re lucky enough to have the 2024 Olympics in Los Angeles – with BMX competition in Long Beach – I know I’ll be thinking of you, innovator, sponsor, and author Rick Twomey, and of Rec and Parks’ Ronald Mackler, who left us in 2010, and of Scot Breithaupt, who left us last year.

Note: I failed to mention that Weiss left the BAC earlier this year. We all owe him a round of thanks for his years of service to LA’s bicycling community.

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Speaking of the BAC, the next bi-monthly meeting of LA’s only official voice for bicyclists is tomorrow night in Hollywood.

bicycle-advisory-committee-agenda-2016-10-04

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If you missed it, bicyclists sadly lost their lives in both Palm Springs and Yorba Linda over the weekend.

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Local

The Los Angeles County Bicycling Coalition’s Tamika Butler spoke about Planning While Black at the NACTO Designing Cities Conference last week, with a presentation that reportedly brought down the house.

CiclaValley complains about serious city inaction on clearing the dirt hazard in the Forest Lawn bike lane.

Mickey Rourke is one of us, as he takes his dog for a ride in WeHo.

Santa Monica police arrest a man for attempting to steal a number of bicycles from the Bike Center after employees wrestled him down.

Plans are in the works for a single, integrated bikeshare system that would include Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Long Beach and UCLA, with possible expansion to Culver City and the South Bay.

Rolling Hills Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes and Palos Verdes Estates make plans to work together to address traffic and safety issues across city borders on the peninsula, as South Bay bicyclists push for greater safety on the roads.

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition is holding their October meeting tonight.

Bike the Vote LA is hosting a ballot party in DTLA tonight to discuss choices for next month’s phone book-sized ballot.

 

State

Get your pizza delivered poolside by bicycle in Palm Springs.

The San Luis Obispo District Attorney proves it is in fact possible to charge a driver who wasn’t texting or under the influence with vehicular homicide for killing a cyclist — in this case, a champion triathlete and the wife of a Cal Poly dean.

The story of Benicia cops buying a new bicycle for a teenager who was walking four hours a day to get to and from work has gone around the world.

Napa County tries rumble dots, rather than rumble strips, to keep drivers from drifting off the road, and protect bike riders on the shoulder.

Sad news from Modesto, where a bike rider was killed in a collision Friday night.

A horrifying story from Redding, as a man believes he was attacked while riding his bike to the drug store, but can’t remember what happened after suffering a broken arm and eye socket, along with multiple skull fractures.

 

National

A government website says sharrows don’t make bicycling in urban areas any safer.

Yes Magazine says women are being left behind even in the most bike friendly states, and offers suggestions on how to change that.

A sports website looks back on the Tour de Trump, the American bike race sponsored by the GOP’s current presidential candidate for a two whole years back in the ‘80s.

Colorado Springs CO residents can’t seem to grasp the concept of a road diet, let alone give time for traffic to adjust.

A Polish bike rider sets a new record for bunny hopping 3,461 steps up the former Sears Tower in Chicago.

A Chicago letter writer says bikes should be banned from the city’s busiest streets, insisting that bicyclists somehow make traffic worse by never obeying the law on streets he claims are paid for with gas taxes. Never mind that public taxes pay for city streets, traffic is caused by all those cars, and most drivers aren’t all that law abiding, either.

A Connecticut man returns home after a 12,124 mile ride around the perimeter of the US to help ensure veterans have enough to eat.

A new study finds that every $1,300 spent on New York bike lanes adds another year of life to the overall population of the city.

A New Orleans bike rider plans to keep riding even after she was the victim of a hit-and-run.

A Florida man faces criminal charges for putting a milk crate on his bike.

 

International

The next bus driver who honks at you may not be one.

Stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill offers advice on how to fall off your bike, while Bike Radar tells you how to hose it down.

Caught on video: A London pedestrian berates a bicyclist for riding through a crosswalk when people are using it.

A former Premier League soccer player plans to run and ride 1,000 miles linking 44 UK soccer stadiums.

A one-legged Irish cyclist sets the world’s first Paralympic hour record.

Here’s your chance to cross the Rubicon and take a month-long European bike tour in the steps of Julius Caesar.

A Dutch study concludes bike riders will usually choose the most comfortable route rather than the most direct.

California’s former Governator is busted for biking in the Munich rail station.

Bicycling continues to grow around the world, as Iranian cities Isfahan and Neishabur work to accommodate bicyclists, though Tehran lags behind.

New Zealand bicyclists push for a repeal of the country’s mandatory helmet law, even though the country’s leaders appear to have no intention of doing so.

 

Finally…

Who was that meth-carrying masked man on the lightless bike? It’s one thing to carry a joint when you ride; another to carry the entire plant with you.

And this is not the proper use of a bicycle, no matter how pissed off you are.

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L’shanah tovah to everyone nursing a Rosh Hashanah hangover this morning.

Guest Post: BAC member Jonathan Weiss explains California law on riding side-by-side

Riding abreast on Rodeo Drive, without breaking the law

Riding abreast on Rodeo Drive, without breaking the law

One of the most frequently misunderstood laws governing bicycling is the right to ride two or more abreast, both by bicyclists and — especially — law enforcement. Police too often misinterpret the requirement to ride to the right as forbidding riding abreast.

Although law might be the wrong word, since it isn’t even mentioned in state law.

Los Angeles Bicycling Advisory Committee member Jonathan Weiss has done an exceptional job of digging deep into state law to explain when it’s legal, and why.

This should be mandatory reading for every police officer in California.

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Side by Side

Admit it – you ride side by side so you can chat. But is it legal? The simplest guidance I can formulate is: Except where local laws forbid it, California law allows riding side by side (by side) where the road is not wide enough or in good enough condition for cars to safely pass bicyclists.

Most states allow side-by-side riding – California law is silent

U.S. National Champion road racer and Olympian (and bicycle lawyer) Bob Mionske reported in his 2010 Bicycling.com article, “Road Rights – Two by Two, How and When to Ride Side by Side,” that 39 states expressly regulate riding side-by-side on a statewide basis.  California was (and is) not one of them.  So, he says, side-by-side riding is implicitly allowed in California – except where localities regulate it.

California’s “ride to the right” law (Vehicle Code section 21202) has been interpreted as barring side-by-side riding

If you know anything about laws applying to bicycling, you’ve probably heard that Vehicle Code section 21202, subdivision (a), requires bicyclists to “ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.“ Section 21202 was (and is) the law governing operation of bicycles on roadways. So, when a Statewide Bicycle Committee (set up by the California Legislature – see note at end) asked the Attorney General his opinion on the legality of side-by-side cycling, he relied on section 21202 to say it was forbidden. (“It is our opinion that section 21202 does preclude bicyclists from legally riding abreast of one another assuming both bicyclists are on the roadway.”) When the Deputy Attorney gave his opinion in 1975, Section 21202 said: “(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b) [re one-way streets], every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.” Therefore, bikes could only be side-by-side when passing one another.

The Deputy Attorney General wasn’t unsympathetic to the law’s impracticalities. He concluded by joining in the Committee’s recommendation “that section 21202 be amended to expressly provide that bicyclists are permitted to move to the left when passing a slower moving vehicle, when preparing for a left hand turn, or when seeking to avoid hazards in the roadway.” Indeed, the Bicycle Committee had proposed those amendments and more. They wanted to allow cyclists to “Occupy a full lane to avoid being forced off the roadway when the lane is too narrow for a vehicle to pass safely in the lane, in accordance with CVC Section 21656.”

In 1976, Governor Brown signed a bill adding all of those exceptions to the ride to the right requirements in section 21202.

  • (a)  Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
  • (1)  When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
  • (2)  When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
  • (3)  When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a “substandard width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

The newly added exceptions are discussed below.

The “substandard width lane” exception to the ride to the right law

Even if you knew about the ride to the right law, you may not know about the “substandard width lane” added in 1976. The “substandard width lane” exception means that, where “a lane is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane” – cyclists don’t have to ride to the right. In other words, where there is no room for a car and a bike, the cyclist can (one might say should) take the lane by riding in the center.  (More on that later.)

The “safely side by side” phrase in Vehicle Code section 21202, subdivision (a)(3), was recently clarified by the three foot passing law. Vehicle Code section 21760, subdivision (b), says – “A driver of a motor vehicle shall not overtake or pass a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway at a distance of less than three feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its operator.” A three foot buffer is how much space a car must leave to be “safely side by side” with a bicycle.

This rider on Westwood Blvd could legally take the lane, and probably should

This rider on Westwood Blvd could legally take the lane, and probably should

Consider, for example, northbound Westwood Boulevard between Pico and Santa Monica Boulevards. The curb lane is 12 feet wide. During morning rush hours, there is no parking in that lane. With a cyclist taking about 3 feet (counting from the curb – to stay off of the concrete gutter pan), and the 3 foot passing law, a 6 foot wide car, that’s the tightest fit possible. But with wider SUVs, buses (8 ½ feet wide), and trucks plying that same space – taking the lane is clearly legal.

The “surface hazards” exception to the ride to the right law

The law also allows straying from the road’s edge when reasonably necessary to avoid “fixed or moving objects” or “surface hazards” “that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge ….”

So, if the road is busted up (like Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills) or has unsafe storm drain catch basins (along the same roadway), then there’s another reason to take the lane.

The “speedy rider” exception to the ride to the right law

Section 21202 only requires cyclists riding “at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic” to stay right. So, since the 1976 amendment, those cyclists who can keep up with traffic may take the lane no matter how wide the road or its condition.

If you’ve legally taken the lane, you can ride side-by-side (by side)

The Statewide Bicycle Committee recommended allowing cyclists to “Travel no more than two abreast when traffic is not impeded.”  But that never became law. Therefore, there is still no state law permitting – or limiting – the number of cyclists riding side-by-side. Local entities can (and have) applied their own restrictions. (Under Vehicle Code section 21, most local entities cannot overrule the Vehicle Code.) Locally, Manhattan Beach, Torrance, Long Beach, and Irvine (is that local?) allow no more than two abreast riding. No other local cities appear to limit riding two by two – or more. But that doesn’t hold everywhere. In San Anselmo, you must have a license (is that even legal?) and one condition on the license is that “Every person, when operating a bicycle upon a highway, shall ride such bicycle in single file only.”

So, if you’ve legally taken the lane under the substandard lanes, surface hazards, or left turn exceptions, no state law says your pal can’t ride next to you. And, in most cities, you can ride three (or more) abreast.

Please, please, don’t hold up lots of traffic

Sometimes, even after taking the lane, you must pull over. Vehicle Code section 21656 requires slower moving traffic to move over when safe: “On a two-lane highway where passing is unsafe because of traffic in the opposite direction or other conditions, a slow-moving vehicle, including a passenger vehicle, behind which five or more vehicles are formed in line, shall turn off the roadway at the nearest place designated as a turnout by signs erected by the authority having jurisdiction over the highway, or wherever sufficient area for a safe turnout exists, in order to permit the vehicles following it to proceed.”

So, for example, if you head up Benedict Canyon (which is probably substandard in many areas), and if five cars stack up behind you, you would have to pull over.  On the way down, however, you may go about as fast as the cars, so no need to pull over.  This wouldn’t apply on Beverly Hills’ Santa Monica Boulevard, since it’s not a two lane road.

Why ride side by side?

I started off suggesting you might ride side by side to chat. But there are better reasons to do so. The Statewide Bicycling Committee noted them in its report:

It is not unusual for a motorist to attempt to pass a cyclist in the same lane when it is not safe to do so. This often results in the cyclist being forced off the roadway. Cyclists contend that it is safer in a narrow lane to occupy the full lane, thereby causing the motorist to pass in an adjacent lane or to wait until the cyclist moves off the roadway at the first safe and available opportunity In accordance with CVC Section 21656.

Taking the lane (occupying a full lane – as the Committee put it) may be best achieved with the help of friends. Two bicycles are more visible than one, and so forth.

Jonathan Weiss

This article is dedicated to the memory of cycling lawyer and advocate Howard Krepack.

Note: As background, the Statewide Bicycle Committee was formed in accordance with Senate Concurrent Resolution 47.  The Committee was charged with the following responsibilities:

  • To study problems related to bicycling in California.
  • To review the California Vehicle Code and recommend changes which will benefit both bicyclists and motorists.
  • To develop a Model Bicycle Ordinance for use by local jurisdictions.

You can find the Statewide Bicycle Committee report here; the AG’s opinion is at the very end.

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Thanks to Velo Club La Grange for permission to repost this piece, which originally appeared in the club’s newsletter.

Crappy photos by BikinginLA.

 

Born in West LA — LABAC member traces the beginnings of BMX to a Westside park

The Palms neighborhood has a long bike history dating back to the 1890s; click and zoom in to read. Thanks to Jonathan Weiss for the image.

The Palms neighborhood has a long bike history dating back to the 1890s; click and zoom in to read. Thanks to Jonathan Weiss for the image.

Let’s give notoriously auto-centric Los Angeles the credit it deserves.

Santa Monica’s Z-Boys have long been credited as the fathers modern skateboarding, and the city’s self-proclaimed Dogtown neighborhood its birthplace.

But who knew BMX — aka Bicycle Motocross — racing was born right here in the City of Angels? And that a city employee gets credit for turning a kid’s pastime into one of the most exciting events in the X Games and Summer Olympics.

At least, that’s what a new history from Jonathan Weiss, chair of the LA Bicycle Advisory Committee’s Advocacy & Education subcommittee asserts.

The official history of BMX racing dates the beginning of the sport to the late 1960s or early ‘70s when kids took to their Schwinn Stingrays on a vacant lot somewhere in Southern California. But according to Weiss, the first organized race took place right here in 1969 at the Westside’s Palms Park before evolving to a full-fledged racing season a few years later.

By 1973, BMX racing was thriving. Los Angeles Recreation and Parks youth counselor Ronald (Ron) Mackler, who had planted the seeds for its success with the initial race in ’69, organized a full 10-week Thursday-night racing season. Mackler, who passed away in 2010, is remembered as someone whose “main thing was getting kids on the right track.” Palms Park was the “right track” for pioneering BMX champion Perry Kramer, who had been racing around the park’s sandbox and trees and up a hill on his own modified Stingray. Perry became one of BMX racing’s earliest stars. His namesake PK Ripper bike is still in production, and Perry’s now a Giant Bicycle sales representative and mountain biker.

Meanwhile, racing continued on what Perry described as the ‘prehistoric’ Palms Park track through the ‘70s and into the 1980s.

When Weiss found a nugget about BMX racing and Palms Park, he contacted Kramer to get a first-hand history from one of the sports founders, and started a Palms Park BMXers Facebook Page, which now connects BMX fans from around the world.

Some of what he put together on BMX racing’s birth can be found the History section of the ExpoGreeway.org website. He started that website to support the new water-cleaning, sustainability-demonstrating, open-space preserving Westwood Neighborhood Greenway about a quarter mile west of Palms Park and adjacent to Expo’s Westwood/Rancho Park station, expected to open in 2015/16.

And of course, there’s a Facebook page for the Greenway, too.

According to Weiss, Palms is already one of the most bike and pedestrian friendly neighborhoods in the City, and he sees it being even more so when the Expo bike path opens.

Once it does, he plans to bring BMX royalty and fans together to mark the birthplace of BMX where the bike path connects to Palms Park. And hopes publicity from the BMX connection will encourage school kids to take the new bike path to Hamilton High, Palms Elementary and Overland Avenue Elementary schools.

In addition, Weiss wants to help Angelenos appreciate their city’s history – something that can be missed by those speeding past Palms Park at the northeast corner of the Santa Monica Freeway at Overland Avenue.

Then again, that’s not the area’s only page in LA bike history.

Weiss also notes that “The Palms,” which was subdivided in unincorporated Los Angeles County in 1886 and annexed to the City of Los Angeles in 1915, played an important part in late-Nineteenth Century bike racing.

Palms was the midpoint of the Los Angeles to Santa Monica bicycle races, and its depot — now relocated to Heritage Square — provided convenient access to those who wanted to watch early racers barreling down Palms Hill.

That, too, can and should be marked on the Expo Bike path, though there are currently no plans in place.

Thanks to Jonathan Weiss for sharing his research with us, and his help in putting this together.

Look for the red arrow marking reference to Palms; image courtesy of Jonathan Weiss.

Look for the red arrow marking reference to Palms; image courtesy of Jonathan Weiss.

Ditto.

Ditto.

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