Tag Archive for LA Metro

Morning Links: LA BAC meets tonight, Los Feliz NC discusses LA mobility plan, and bike Metro’s Rideshare Week

Let’s catch up on a few events of immediate interest.

First up, the Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee is meeting at 7 pm tonight in the LAPD Hollywood Division Community Room, 6501 Fountain Ave.

This month’s agenda includes discussion of the role of the committee in the city’s Vision Zero plan, and why we’re not going to see the planned Northvale Bike Path that was supposed to run parallel to the new Expo Line extension.

And yes, it matters.

The BAC is the only official voice bike riders have in city government. And in theory, at least, its members should have the ear of the councilmembers who appointed them.


The Los Feliz Neighborhood Council is hosting a community forum to discuss LA’s Mobility Plan 2035 from 7 to 9 pm tonight at 1965 N Hillhurst Ave.

The good folks retroactively fighting the Rowena road diet, along with those who want to Fix the City by keeping our streets dangerous, will undoubtedly be there. It might not hurt to have a few rational bike-friendly voices in attendance to balance the scales.

Thanks to BAC VP Glenn Bailey for the heads-up.


It’s Rideshare Week, when Metro encourages you to carpool, ride bikes, take public transit, walk and vanpool to your destination.

And how do they love you? Let them count the ways…

First among these new initiatives, Metro has launched a new Rideshare campaign to encourage Angelenos to bring a friend along for the ride as opposed to driving alone. Statistics show that in California 37.3% of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions come from transportation, 71% of those emissions are from passenger vehicles, and 72% of commuters are driving alone. If every commuter were to involve one other person in their commute mode, then traffic would disappear and GHG emissions would greatly reduce. New campaign ads, titled “Friends don’t let friends drive alone” will appear online and on giveaway items available at events.

Second, Metro has collaborated with 3 community organizations to co-host creative ridesharing events:

  • Innovate LA with the Karaoke Rickshaw — Movable Parts, an artist collective of college professors, engineers, city employees and creatives, will construct and deploy a Karaoke Rickshaw. The bicycle powered machine will tour through various LA neighborhoods amplifying street sounds, interviews, and multi-lingual pop hits. The finale performance will take place at LA Innovation Week’s Innovate Pershing Square event on October 9.
  • Share the Ride to Ambulante Film Festival — Empact Communities, a grassroots bicycle advocacy group, has partnered with Metro to facilitate ridesharing to Ambulante Film Festival. Group bike rides led by Empact partners will bring attendants to several film screenings. All Ambulante events will be registered in www.Ridematch.info, a database website that facilitates carpooling with more than 300,000 users.
  • ¡Mobilizaté! Eastside Commuter Interviews — Multicultural Communities for Mobility (MCM) will convene along popular transit lines in East LA and Boyle Heights to engage ridesharers to share their street stories through a photo or short video. All stories will be captured through Twitter and Facebook and tracked by tagging @mcmhandles, @metrolosangeles and #SharetheRide.

Third, Metro is giving away prizes to commuters who register their rideshare trip using www.ridematch.info. Prizes include handbags from Brighton Collectables, Metro 7-Day TAP Passes, Barnes and Noble gift cards, Macy’s gift cards, gas cards, and more. Special thanks to Macy’s, Burbank TMO, AAA, VRide, Brighton Collectibles, and Enterprise Rideshare for the donations!


Bicycling recaps the Richmond world championships, concluding they were utterly unforgettable.

VeloNews asks if pro cycling’s WorldTour points championship really means anything. Be honest, did you even know there was a points championship, let alone that Alejandro Valverde won it? I didn’t think so.

Two-time Giro winner Ivan Basso retires at age 37, after successful treatment for testicular cancer. Sad to see Basso go out like that. In his prime, he made Lance work for every now-discredited victory.



Another great, if difficult, read from Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman as she looks at the anniversaries of the hit-and-runs that took the lives of cyclists Andy Garcia and Benjamin Torres; the 21-year old drunk driver who killed Garcia and seriously injured two other riders is already out of jail after serving just 16 months of a 42 month sentence. Meanwhile, there will be a ride calling for justice for Torres on Saturday to mark the third anniversary of his still unsolved death.

Councilmember David Ryu’s office is amassing a database of broken sidewalks and cracked streets, and vise versa, that need repairs in the 4th council district. Thanks to David Wolfberg for the tip.

Tired of ticketing cyclists for riding salmon on a one-way street, UCLA responds by devoting half the street to what may be the LA area’s first contraflow bike lane. Update: Richard Risemberg points out there’s a contraflow bike lane on Marengo in Pasadena.

USC is now requiring all students, faculty and staff to register their bikes before parking them on campus, ostensibly to combat bike theft. However, mandatory bike registration programs can easily be used as an excuse to stop and search bike riders in the absence of probable cause, which is why LA’s registration program was repealed in 2009.

Continuing our school report, it’s Bike It! Walk It! Bus It! Week at Santa Monica public schools, while LA has 126 schools signed up for Wednesday’s Walk to School Day. Riding a bike to LA schools seems to be acceptable, as well; walking the last few steps after arriving in Mom’s massive SUV, not so much.



The anti-bike lane madness continues in San Diego-adjacent Coronado, where apparently any bikeway inspired, designed, assisted or implemented by anyone who doesn’t live on the island must be some sort of plot. And that goes for traffic lights, too. That town may be in more desperate need of a civic colonic than anywhere else on earth right now.

Temecula plans to put the fun in Fondo — just go with it — at the grammatically challenged first annual Temecula Spandex Stampede Cycling GranFundo on November 8th. It may be the first of what’s planned as an annual event, but can’t be called that until the second one. Hey, I don’t make the rules.

A former volleyball player who won a gold medal with the US team at the 1984 LA Olympics was seriously injured when he was hit by a pickup in Santa Barbara, after he reportedly ran a stop sign on his bike and rode on the wrong side of the street.

The San Francisco Chronicle looks at the Idaho stop law, which has become a political hot potato in the City by the Bay; a 2010 study shows it reduced bike collisions by about 30% without causing any known problems. But as everyone likes to say, San Francisco isn’t Idaho, and LA is Copenhagen. Which is just an excuse not to try something that has been proven effective somewhere else.

A former star of the long-running soap opera The Young and the Restless was just two riders back when a rider in Sunday’s Levi’s GranFondo tragically rode off the roadway.

Still more bad news from NorCal, as a Dixon driver is under arrest for felony charges of DUI and voluntary manslaughter after fatally rear-ending a bike rider on Sunday.



Garmin has released a new rear-facing radar that tells you when cars are coming from behind; the unit also includes a taillight that dims to save battery life when there’s no one behind you, and brightens to save yours when there is.

Boulder CO begins undoing the right-sizing of a city street. Which would seem to be wrong-sizing, mais non?

A moving story from Kansas, as 32 cyclists from a four state area come together to help a five-year old boy suffering from life-threatening aneurisms go for his first bike ride.

An Illinois man gets 55 months in jail for killing a cyclist while driving aggressively under the influence.

A new under-two-minute film looks at a 49-year old Minnesota firefighter who is also a champion track cyclist.

Pittsburgh’s bikeshare system is exceeding projections by averaging 12,000 rides a month.

A handicapped Pennsylvania man was rescued after being trapped for two days in a 300-yard bike/pedestrian tunnel when his motorized wheelchair stalled.

An Albany NY writer says it’s time to stop the debate over a proposed road diet and just do it.

A New York city councilman wants to remove 400,000 cars from the city streets by 2030, in part by subsidizing the city’s bikeshare system. Think an LA councilmember would ever have the courage to call for removing nearly a third of the cars from our streets? Me neither.

Alec Baldwin goes for a rainy bike ride in the Big Apple. Riding with earbuds and sans helmet does not, however, make him a “two-wheeled terror.”



The New York Times looks at the efforts of São Paulo’s mayor to shake off the city’s dystopian sprawl and automotive hegemony by making room for bikes, buses and people on foot.

A bike advocacy group on Canada’s Prince Edward Island calls for mandatory use of flashing daytime bike lights to stop an apparently non-existent rash of bike wrecks; a police source says the island experiences a whopping seven to fourteen bike-involved collisions each year. The same group wants to take over a program to enforce helmet use, as well. Maybe they define bike advocacy a little differently up there in the Great White North. Thanks to Lester Walters for the link.

In a tale that will sound familiar to anyone who’s followed the debate over bikeways in New York, London or right here in LA — or just about anywhere else – residents and business owners in a British town are up in arms over plans to make the city center more walkable and bikeable, even though studies show they would actually benefit from plans to de-emphasize cars.

Irish police ticket 244 bicyclists after new rules went into effect allowing on-the-spot fines.

A new Irish study says bike helmets are effective protection in collisions up to 31 mph, and not much good above that.

Only 18% of bike-riding Amsterdam club goers use both front and back bike lights. On the other hand, if you’re going to go lightless, that’s probably the place to do it.

Sixty Mangalore, India cyclists rode to save the embattled Netravathi river.

Two South Korean women completed a 3,300 mile ride across the US to raise awareness of Korean comfort women forced into sexual servitude by Japan in WWII.



Lots of people bike to work; not many do it on a Penny Farthing, though. Don’t express your anarchist leanings by jogging in a DC bike lane or you could face a whole $10 fine.

And who’s the criminal if you break into a home to steal back your stolen bike after spotting it on Craigslist?

Which is not to say I wouldn’t do the same damn thing.


Weekend Links: Environmental hypocrisy rears its ugly head in Westwood; CICLE gets a new director

I’ve been seriously under the weather the past few days, which means we’ve got a lot of news to catch up on.


No hypocrisy here, as Westside City Councilmember Paul Koretz proposes slashing greenhouse gas emissions in the city.

This after unilaterally killing proposed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

And he somehow seems to think the city can cut those emissions by 80% without cutting back on car traffic. Or even mentioning cars in his announcement, let alone offering safe alternatives to driving to reduce traffic congestion.

So let’s be honest.

The only way Los Angeles will ever see a significant reduction in emissions or traffic congestion is to provide residents with viable alternatives that will allow those who choose not to drive to leave their cars at home.

And with his single-handed veto of the Westwood lanes, Koretz has shown himself to be one of the biggest obstacles to accomplishing that.

But at least he talks a good game.


Sad to see Dan Dabek leave after doing so much to revitalize the organization. But congratulations to Vanessa Gray as the new Director of C.I.C.L.E.

Sounds like the group will be in good hands.


Big news from Metro this past week, as the agency antes up $3.7 million to expand CicLAvia-style open streets events throughout LA County. But Long Beach sees just one of two proposed events funded.

Meanwhile, Metro finally adds active transportation representatives to the agency’s Technical Advisory Committee, which should bring a better voice for bicyclists to LA County’s leading transportation authority.

And preliminary plans are in the works for the long-delayed rail connection to LAX, which will include a plush new station connected to the Green and Crenshaw lines, with a mile-plus people mover leading to the airport. Maybe those new TAC members can push for a bike center to be included in the plans to finally make it practical for employees and passengers to ride to LAX.

And Metro honors Steven Nancarrow for transforming his life through bicycling.


Laguna Beach’s Coastline Pilot offers a sad remembrance of fallen cyclist John Colvin; tragically, both his wife and daughter drove by the collision scene only to discover later that the victim was their own loved one.



Messenger bag maker Timbuk2 will open their first LA-area store across from Linus Bikes on Abbot Kinney next month.

After a lot of pushing from Richard Risemberg, among others, the LA River bike path finally gets wayfinding signs through Elysium Valley.

Unlike some councilmembers we could mention, CD15’s Joe Buscaino has turned out to be surprisingly supportive of bicycling, including naming Watts Cyclery as his Business of the Month.

Better Bike offers an update on the embattled proposal for bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills; no action is expected before September. Meanwhile, Beverly Hills NIMBY’s try to raise fears of out-of-town cyclists destroying their precious parks; I wonder if they also object to all those out-of-town motorists besmirching their boulevard and fouling their air?

Curbed misses the mark, as maps based on Strava data don’t show the best bike routes through the city, just the most popular ones for riders who use Strava.

Celebrate Damian Kevitt’s birthday in North Hollywood on July 14th, with a party benefitting Finish the Ride.

A local writer tells cyclists to get off the sidewalk and stop riding salmon.



After a successful introduction in Corona del Mar, new bike racks are coming to OC’s Balboa Island.

Bike Newport Beach rolls out the first installment of a bootleg bike master plan to replace the long-delayed official one.

Cyclists, joggers and equestrians jockey for space in a Bakersfield culvert.

Streetsblog offers an update on bike and transportation-related bills in Sacramento, with things looking good so far. Meanwhile, bills to battle hit-and-run move forward; Santa Monica offers its support, as well.



How many bike riders does it take for the oft-cited safety in numbers effect? According to a new study from the University of Colorado-Denver, the answer is 200.

More on that study showing drivers give bike riders in bike lanes more space when passing.

Good news from injured cycling scion Taylor Phinney, whose recovery is ahead of schedule.

As Spokane becomes more bike-friendly, cyclists still face harassment on the roads.

Chicago cyclists get the nation’s first bike footrest.

A DC TV station offers 13 tips every bike rider should remember to avoid bike theft; good advice, since we seem to be suffering a rash of them lately.

Virginia’s three-foot passing law takes effect July 1st; our won’t be enforced until mid-September.



Calgary cyclists face criticism for bombing down a busy highway.

Is Britain on the verge of becoming a bicycling nation?

A bike path in Ireland’s County Limerick sees a big boost after a visit by Kim and Kanye.

This year’s Tour de France will pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of WWI.

Former world champ Thor Hushovd prepares to call it quits at the end of this season after suffering from mononucleosis.

Over 10,000 Moscow cyclists will ride in support of better bicycling infrastructure.

South African cyclist sells everything he owns to ride through 70 countries on all seven continents.



A Brit writer says it’s irresponsible to encourage cycling on the country’s dangerous roads; after all, there’s no point in trying to make those roads any safer. And don’t swear at a group of children in a crosswalk, especially if you’re the jerk who jumped the light. Just don’t.


On a personal note, before anyone gets too concerned, my diabetes in under control. Despite being told by my doctors it would be impossible, I’ve managed to get my blood sugar levels down to the normal levels without insulin; in fact, I’m having more of a problem with low blood sugar these days. 

On the other hand, I appear to be having a bad reaction to one or more of the medications that have helped me get things under control, which has knocked me on my ass in recent days and left me unable to do much more than try to stay awake long enough to watch the World Cup from the relative discomfort of my couch.

Hopefully, they’ll get my meds adjusted soon.

And this too shall pass. 


Morning Links: LA bike rider is deliberately buzzed by Metro bus driver for legally riding in the traffic lane

Last year, Metro proclaimed that every lane is a bike lane, to the applause of many in the bicycling community.

Unfortunately, they seem to have forgotten to tell some of their drivers.

In an all too common complaint, Twitter user topomodesto posted video of a close pass and brake check by a Metro bus driver apparently attempting to punish him for riding exactly where he was supposed to in the middle of the lane.

Personally, I had no idea bus drivers had been deputized to enforce their own mistaken interpretation of the law. Or that at least some seem incapable of remembering the message that was proudly plastered on the backs of their buses such a short time back.

Topomodesto reports he’s filed a complaint over the incident. But also notes that he and other riders have never heard back after filing similar complaints in the past, so he has no idea how seriously Metro takes them.

Unfortunately, no one outside of Metro does.

Complaints against drivers are considered personnel matters, so no one other than the driver and his or her supervisors are ever told the resolution of the matter.

Or if it was ever resolved, period.

Short of filing legal action — and this would appear to be a perfect test case for the city’s bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance — there seems to be no way to find out.

Which really needs to change.

Because we have a right to know if something, anything, was done in response to a deliberately threatening driver. Even if they don’t actually identify the driver.

And Metro’s well-intentioned attempts to promote bike riding will be meaningless if we have to ride in fear of self-appointed vigilante bus jockeys.


Before you ride to Thursday’s public forum on the North Figueroa road diet and bike lanes with the Bike Oven and the Eastside Bike club, catch up on LADOT’s presentation on the subject from last month’s community meeting.

Meanwhile, it turns out the LA Fire Department did not determine that the North Fig bike lanes would slow response times, despite what a fire captain suggested last month. In fact, it wasn’t even studied by the department.

So why did he imply it was — and would?



The LAPD is looking for bike riders to start a volunteer bicycle patrol team in the northwest San Fernando Valley.

A West San Fernando Valley website looks at last weekend’s COLT ride.

KPCC’s annual Olympic Day considers the rise of bicycling on June 23rd; free, but RSVP required.

Despite what this story says, Santa Monica is already designated as a Bike Friendly Community, but they’re trying to certify more Bicycle Friendly Businesses.



A reporter for Marketplace completes the AIDS Lifecycle Ride.

Good for them. The family of fallen cyclist Paul Lin is suing Newport Beach, alleging that a dangerous intersection at San Joaquin Hills Road and Marguerite Ave was responsible for his death.

Evidently, it’s not just LA. The Voice of San Diego looks at that city’s hit-and-run epidemic.

A Bay Area bike safety instructor is recovering after being rear-ended by a distracted driver.

Sacramento police nail a butt ugly bike thief with a bait bike.



The bike industry wants tariffs reduced on imported bicycles since bikes have a positive effect on the environment.

A Massachusetts cyclist luckily lands in the back seat of a convertible after being hit by the turning car.

Bike shops may be collateral damage to the popularity of New York’s Citi Bike program, even though the opposite appears to be true in DC.

Unbelievable. A new three-foot passing law is approved in West Virginia, which also requires motorists to give an audible signal when passing a rider. Yes, they want every driver who passes a bike to honk or shout, which is about the most distracting and dangerous thing they could do.

Velonews says loyal Lance lieutenant George Hincapie’s new book rationalizes his doping choices; I’ve often wondered why the still popular rider seems to get a free pass on the subject.

The price of that $20 cardboard bike rose to $295 before dropping to $95 plus shipping, then nothing as the business collapsed.



Caught on video: A London cyclist is searching for the rider who crashed into him in a bike-on-bike hit-and-run.

A tragic reminder that bike-on-ped collisions are dangerous for both parties, as a UK scientist is killed when her bike collides with a pedestrian.

One third of all Czech cyclists blamed for traffic collisions had been drinking; no word on how that compares to the rate of drunk driving collisions in the country.



An Indiana cyclist is doored. By a porta-potty. Here’s the latest bike-themed music video.

And no. Just… no.


Morning Links: Bike Week wraps up at Downtown’s Union Station, and Phinney kicks ass at the AToC

Bike Week ain’t over until the fat lady sings.

And chances are, she’ll be in Downtown LA tonight, along with just about everyone else but me for the first ever Metro Bike Night at Union Station.

The event runs from 5:30 to 8:30 pm, with a full schedule of activities for the bicycling community.

This free event will feature special guests, live music, food trucks, outdoor booths, free bike valet, bike short films, trivia, bike portraits and a fashion show. There will also be a raffle for a chance to win a Tern folding bike, a one year supply of Clif Bar products, Abus U-locks, 30-Day Metro passes, Bike Week LA special edition t-shirts and more!

And did I mention it’s free?

It’s not that I don’t want to be there. But the wife is keeping me on a shorter leash than the Corgi until this diabetes thing gets more under control.

So let me know how it goes.

And have one for me.


Aussie Michael Matthews wins Stage 6 of the Giro d’Italia as a massive crash delays the peloton. He leads the overall standings, with Cadel Evans just 21 seconds behind.

Cycling scion Taylor Phinney takes Stage 5 of the Amgen Tour of California in a thrilling solo breakaway; bike prodigy Peter Sagan is second. Between the two of them, you could be looking at the future of bike racing. Wiggins leads overall.

Meanwhile, Pasadena’s Bike Week will culminate with the penultimate stage of this year’s Tour of California and a mini-ciclovia on the closed streets. And here’s 10 things to know if you’re planning to watch the final stage of the ToC in Thousand Oaks.



Figueroa For All looks at last week’s highly staged public meeting about the North Figueroa road diet and bike lanes, which appears to have been so slanted against the proposal it’s a wonder the speakers didn’t slide right off.

A writer for City Watch is apparently competing to see how many things he can get wrong in a single article politely decrying LA bike lanes. For one, there is no law requiring bike riders over 18 to wear a helmet. And who can legally use a bike lane has long been defined, even if it’s often ignored, just like every other traffic regulation.

The Daily News profiles a physician who planned to ride his bike 60 miles from his Ventura home to Cal State Northridge for Bike to Work Day, then take the train back home. Yet they somehow file the story under Recreational Cycling.

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition calls on the city to pass a bike and pedestrian anti-harassment ordinance; you can sign the petition here.

Newly bike-friendly Rancho Cucamonga will host the Annual Cucamonga Challenge ride, run and walk on Saturday.



San Diego ‘s Bike to Work Day scheduled for today has been postponed two weeks due to the city’s fires.

Santa Rosa plans to substitute a greenway for a once-planned freeway extension that was canceled after public outcry.

A Los Osos woman has been biking to work for over 20 years.



NPR says bike commuting is picking up speed across the US, while a writer for the network explains the lingua franca of the bike world. So that’s where the term shoaling came from.

People for Bikes says a bicycle whizzing past stalled cars in a protected bike lane at rush hour is as powerful an ad for cycling as a 10 pm TV spot is for Taco Bell.

The Washington Post says America is anything but bike friendly.

Tragically, Portland suffers its first bicycling fatality since 2012, a record any other major city would envy.

Kansas City police dip into their own pockets to buy a boy a new bike after his was stolen.

New Jersey ups the ante by considering a four-foot passing law.

A DC real estate agent runs her business by bike.



A Vancouver writer offers advice on how to enjoy biking to work. As I’ve said before, though, the hardest thing about bike commuting is just deciding to do it.

Sad news, as legendary British long-distance cyclist Billie Fleming passed away just days after her 100th birthday.

A new film presents the tragic story of the late, great Italian racer Marco Pantani.

Aussie cyclists are outraged when a road safety official writes that bicycling does not fulfill an important transportation function; he later claims the comment was a clerical error.



Some cool, beautiful and just plain bizarre bikes and riders from the early days of bicycling. But did they have bike locks that could alert you if someone tries to mess with your bike or use your cell phone to call for help if you wipe out?

And for every group-riding cyclist who ever said they can’t ticket us all, a Tucson cop would beg to differ.

A close call in DTLA, a biking Hollywood producer gets left off the bus, and get your kicks on Route 66 next Sunday

It could have been so much worse.

Friday night, a high speed chase ended with a dramatic crash at Olympic Blvd and Los Angeles Street in Downtown LA, followed by police fatally shooting the driver for reasons that have yet to be explained.

And all just steps away from a group of bike riders who were nearly collateral damage in the crash, and had a front row seat for everything that followed.

Take a look at the link below — for some reason, I can’t embed the video — and watch carefully just above the geyser where the other car takes out the fire hydrant. (Hint — click on the full screen option for a better view.) You’ll see three bike riders who can count their lucky stars as both cars spun out on either side of them.


Looks like some of the angels this city is named for were looking out for them. Ether that, or they need to buy some lottery tickets for Tuesday’s drawing, because they had to be some of the luckiest people on two wheels.

Thanks to Matt Ruscigno for the heads-up, who says a friend of his was one of those lucky riders.


You might be surprised who rides a bike. Or takes it on the bus.

When they can, that is.

It’s been a long-time problem that bike riders can be left stranded on the streets when the two bike racks on the front of Metro buses are full — including a woman who was forced to ride home alone at 4 am on New Years morning a few years back when she wasn’t allowed to take her bike on the bus.

TV producer Michael Binkow gets it.

Despite achieving a level of success that allows many of his peers to travel by limo or luxury car, he chooses to ride his bike to worksites throughout the city. And combine that journey with taking a Metro bus to get through some of the more challenging sections.

Except when full racks leave him stranded on the side of the road, waiting for bus after bus to pass by until one finally has an open space for his bike — even when there’s room for both him and his bike inside.

Here’s an email he sent to Metro on Friday, and cc’d me on.

Dear Ms. Johnson,

My name is Michael Binkow and I’ve been a resident of Los Angeles (Sherman Oaks) for the past 32 years.  I’m a television producer (“Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” “1 vs 100,” “Container Wars,” etc.) so my work takes me to various parts of the city.  I’m now in Santa Monica and riding a bike to and from work most everyday.  With (the end of) Daylight Savings Time and ongoing construction on northbound Sepulveda Boulevard through the Sepulveda pass (and no bike lane), I’ve been riding the bus for 3 miles from Church Lane or Getty Center to Skirball Center to continue my ride home.

Here’s the issue—if there are two bicycles on the front of a bus, I’m stuck.  Drivers are “not allowed” to let me on and sometimes I must wait for several buses to pass before there’s an open slot.  By then of course it’s dark and even more dangerous to ride.  I’ve heard it’s a liability issue with potential injury to other passengers.  This is just fair.  One possible solution:  leave it to the driver’s discretion.  If there’s room on the bus and the bike won’t affect other passengers, let us on.  If the bus is too crowded and there’s not enough room, so be it, we’ll have to wait for the next one.

It’s obviously frustrating that those of us trying to reduce our carbon footprint, reduce auto traffic and take advantage of public transportation are discriminated against.

Please do what you can to revise this current policy.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Michael Binkow


My friends Jon Riddle and Sarah Amelar, authors of Where To Bike Los Angeles, have been hosting a series of rides around the city and nearby environs in conjunction with the LACBC.

Their next ride will explore the legendary Route 66 that reaches its terminus right here in the City of Angels. Or more precisely, in Santa Monica, despite what the song says.

Route 66

When:   Sunday, December 22, 2013

Time:    Meet at 8:30am; ride at 9:00am

Where: Union Station in downtown Los Angeles

Meet in the garden courtyard on the south side of the main concourse of Union Station. Here’s the map.

Route 66, also known as the Mother Road, Main Street of America, or the Will Rogers Highway, is one of our Nation’s first interstate highways. Opened in 1926, it rolls west from Chicago. In our end of the country, it passes through Azusa, Pasadena, downtown L. A., and on to its unofficial terminus at the Pier in Santa Monica. On this tour, we’ll experience a bit of this historic highway by following a bike friendly version of Route 66 (the current official route is on the 101 Freeway from downtown to Hollywood) from Union Station west on Sunset Boulevard, then Fountain Avenue, then Santa Monica Boulevard and a few side streets to the ocean. Along the way, we’ll ride down holiday decorated streets in Silver Lake, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles and Santa Monica. After a short break at the Pier, we’ll meander back to downtown on Main Street, Abbot Kenney, Venice Boulevard, and another Main Street.

Ride Length: 40 miles.

Ride Duration: Approximately 4-5 hours, including stops.

Difficulty: Recommended for intermediate-level riders, aged 16 and up. We’ll be riding on city streets, sometimes in bike lanes and sometimes on bike friendly streets marked with sharrows. Bottom line: be prepared for riding around automobiles on the last shopping weekend before Christmas. Hardly any climbing.

Weather Policy: Torrential rain, snow, earthquake or fierce wind cancels the outing. Otherwise, we ride.

What to bring: A road-worthy bike, extra inner tubes, a patch kit and pump, plenty of drinking water, a pocket snack (such as an energy bar, banana or trail mix), a helmet, proper clothing, and money for refueling at random espresso bars and for post-ride refreshments.

Parking: There’s plenty of inexpensive parking not far from Union Station in Chinatown. Or, save gas and parking coin—ride a Metro train or a bus to the station.

RSVP: Strongly encouraged, via wheretobikela@gmail.com, so we can send you last-minute advisories, particularly about weather.


Finally, there’s still time to get into the spirit of the season — assuming you read this before Sunday evening — with the LACBC’s annual Larchmont Holiday Caroling Bike Ride.


Today’s post, in which I follow Metro’s lead and issue a challenge to bike lane-averse merchants

I’ve been surprised by the opposition from local businesses to the planned bike lanes that could bring them more business.

Yes, I fully expected some blowback to plans to install bike lanes on busy streets like Westwood, Bundy and Figueroa. Auto-centric residents who can’t comprehend any other means of getting to and from their homes can be counted on to rise up in NIMBYist opposition to any suggestion of reducing traffic flow to a more rational level, or providing a safe alternative to getting behind the wheel.

Even though they don’t have to get out of their cars to enjoy the benefits. But just make it practical for other people to leave their cars behind so they can move more freely in theirs.

But the vehemence of the opposition from the merchants who would benefit from bike lanes has come as a very unpleasant surprise.

It doesn’t take a Masters in Business Administration to realize that anything that enables more customers to come to your door is good for the bottom line. Never mind that bike riders have been shown to visit merchants more often, resulting in higher sales over the long run.

Or that calming traffic — one of the many secondary benefits of bike lanes — can make a shopping district more attractive to everyone, And at the same time, replacing cut-through drivers with destination traffic more likely to actually stop and spend money.

So I was intrigued this morning when I received an email from Metro announcing that this year’s Bike Week will take place from May 13th to 19th. And that a new feature in 2013 will be the first Bike Weekend, in which merchants will be encouraged to offer a discount to bike riders.

Metro invites you to be part of Bike Week LA by offering discounts to any bicyclist who mentions “Bike Week” during Bike Local Weekend, Friday, May 17 through Sunday, May 19, 2013. This is a FREE advertising opportunity to attract and encourage customers to eat, shop, and play locally. Metro wants to promote you as a destination location for Bike Local Weekend through our website, social media network, and other media channels.

Did you know that bicycling is great for local business? Studies show that people who travel by bicycle actually make more visits to small businesses than people who travel by car. These visits add up – cities all across the U.S. are discovering that when bicycling increases, sales revenue does too. In San Francisco and New York City, for instance, retail sales along certain bike lanes is up as much as 50%! Because bicyclists travel at slower speeds than cars, it’s easier for them to stop and smell the coffee. (It also helps that they don’t have to pay for parking).

If your business would like to participate in Bike Local Weekend, please sign up here no later than May 1, 2013. The earlier you sign up, the better we are able to promote you! Please feel free to contact us with any questions at bikeweekla@metro.net or 213.922.5634.

So let me issue a challenge to business owners who oppose bike lanes in front of their shops. Especially those who have been most outspoken in their opposition, like Galcos in Highland Park and A Little Taste of Hoboken in Westwood.

Just give it a shot.

Offer a discount to bicyclists that one weekend.

If you don’t notice any difference in sales, maybe you’re right. You can come to the next meeting and argue that you tried to market your business to bike riders, and it didn’t do any good.

But if, more likely, your business goes up that weekend, you’ll have solid evidence that we bicyclists spend money at places that make us feel welcome.

And that, rather than the highway to financial ruin you fear, a bike lane in front of your business could be the pathway to higher profits. Let alone a better, safer and more livable business district.

The best part is, you have nothing to lose.

Except your misconceptions.

But don’t be surprised if we complain about the lack of bike parking.

Bike rider killed in Blue Line collision; Metro once again fails to inform the public

According to the L.A. Times Sunday edition, a bike rider was killed in a collision with the Blue Line Metro Train yesterday.

According to the paper, the collision occurred about 12:50 pm at the intersection of Grandee Avenue and Century Blvd, apparently in an unincorporated area of South L.A.

The identity of the male rider was unknown at the time of printing; the photo shows a mountain bike with a tacoed and twisted front wheel.

Unfortunately, no other information is available at this time.

The photo is not available on the Times’ website, and no information is available online from the Times, L.A. Metro, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department — which evidently investigated the death — or any other news source. If I hadn’t happened to read the California section of the Times’ print edition just now, I wouldn’t have known about it.

Maybe it’s just me, but I consider it shameful that Metro doesn’t post information about fatal collisions involving their buses or trains as soon as possible after they happen. Or at all, in too many cases.

They have an obligation to keep the public informed about the safety of their operations, and far to often, fail to fulfill it. Which isn’t to say the Sheriff’s Department couldn’t do a much better job, as well.

This is just the third bicycling fatality in Southern California so far this year, and the second in the County of Los Angeles.

My sympathy and prayers for the victim and his family.

Update: Streetsblog has identified the victim as 26-year old Sylvester Henderson.

Monday’s ride, in which the mean streets of the Westside seem safer than the safety of the bike path

Something is seriously wrong when a busy shopping street feels safer than an off-road bike path.

But that was the choice I made on Monday, on what rapidly deteriorated into one of the most stressful bike rides I’ve ever taken. And one of the few times I’ve ever gotten off my bike far less relaxed than when I got on.

Another late start caused me to change my planned route, and break my cardinal rule of never riding the beachfront Marvin Braude bike path through Santa Monica and Venice after noon after Memorial Day.

And I was quickly reminded why I don’t.

It started with a couple of twenty-something couples who were coming out of a parking lot near the Annenberg Center on their way to the beach.

As I approached on the opposite side of the path, I watched as the first member of the group stepped onto the pathway without looking in either direction — right into the path of an oncoming cyclist, who had to make a panic stop on loose sand to just barely miss him.

Then, apparently having learned absolutely nothing from the experience, he stepped right in front of me, forcing me into a panic swerve to avoid him. When I made a comment about looking both ways like his mama taught him, I got a resounding chorus of “what a jerk” from the full group.

And things went downhill from there.

Take, for instance, the grandmother who led a toddler onto the pathway on the far side of a blind curve. And again, stepped out directly in front of me, without a single glance in my direction.

I wonder how she would have explained that to the child’s parents if I hadn’t been able to stop in time?

Or the unsupervised child, around five or so, who was stopped on the opposite side of the bike path, and suddenly swerved directly towards me as I was trying to slip past, forcing me into the sand to avoid him.

But I don’t blame him.

I blame the parents who were nowhere to be scene, leaving a kindergarten-aged kid to navigate a busy bikeway on his own.

And don’t even get me started on the countless groups of pedestrians who somehow managed to block both sides of the bike path as they meandered mindlessly along. Sometimes just inches from the separate pedestrian walkway they should have been using.

All of which combined to make the bike lanes along Main Street seem like the much safer choice on my return trip. And despite dodging doors and double-parked cars and trucks in the bike lane, it felt infinitely safer than the bike path I’d previously navigated just a few blocks away.

Which is absolutely shameful.

It’s one thing to share the pathway with other users, even those sections marked for bicycles only. But it’s another thing when the very people the path was intended to serve are forced to choose alternate routes because it just isn’t safe to ride.

Then again, the streets weren’t that great, either.

As I rode back up Ocean Blvd in Santa Monica, I was nearly crushed between a parked Metro bus partially blocking the bike lane and a passing 720 bus whose driver refused to surrender a single inch of his lane, despite the limited space available.

And evidently, was willing to risk my life to stay on schedule.

Then there’s the driver that right-hooked me as she pulled into the driveway of her apartment building in Brentwood, forcing me to turn along with her to avoid a collision.

By this time, though, I’d had enough.

But when I confronted her about nearly causing a collision, something totally unexpected happened.

She apologized so completely and profusely, I found myself with no idea what to say. And felt all that pent-up anger just melt away.

So I urged her to be more careful next time, more to give myself an exit line than to suggest she drive more safely, since she had clearly gotten the message. And rode off with a cascade of apologies following me down the street.

And oddly, leaving me feeling just a little more hopeful than I had been before she cut me off.

If maybe even a little more stressed.

Do L.A’s bikeways exist where they’re supposed to — and are they actually ridable?

Some of the most interesting ideas pop up in my inbox.

Those broken lines mean dodging traffic once the bike lane ends.

For instance, a rider named Noah emailed me last month asking about the stop and start nature of the city’s bike lanes — something virtually every rider in the city has complained at one time or another.

I wanted to raise a quick issue about bike lanes.  The city has a document online that purports to inventory Bike Plan Designated Class II bike lanes — I am not sure if this is the 1996 plan, if it is an inventory of proposed bike lanes or what it is .  . . but I used it to plot a route home on Monday and did not find bike lanes where I had hoped (based on the list) to find them.  For example, the document lists a lane on Devonshire from Topanga Canyon to Woodman — there was some bike lane in that area, but it was not continuous, and I was forced to ride in traffic (on a heavily traveled street) for part of the ride.  Same thing on Woodman itself, and on Laurel Canyon — a lane is listed from Roscoe to Moorpark . . .  Perhaps I am reading this wrong, perhaps these are planned lanes, but if these are supposed to be existing lanes (and if the claim is that we don’t need more lanes because we already have all these wonderful lanes) then someone (LACBC? volunteers through your blog?) should go an do an independent audit of the actual existing lanes in LA . . .

Part of the problem stems from turning to the wrong source for information. Which is actually easy to do, since searching for online biking information in Los Angeles can be a confusing process, leading to as many wrong turns and dead ends as the routes themselves.

A better source for planning a route is Metro’s L.A. bike map, which — unlike LADOT’s map, which seems to assume you do all your riding within the city of Los Angeles — crosses city limit lines to show a complete picture of local Class I, Class II and the generally useless and often dangerous Class III routes.

But don’t be surprised if your browser crashes; you’re better off downloading it to your desktop and using your pdf software to view it.

A quick look confirms that the route Noah used stops and starts without offering any alternative other than dumping the rider into often heavy traffic on busy Valley boulevards.

Someone who’s comfortable taking the lane in traffic might not think twice about it — though there’s no guarantee that the drivers you’re sharing the road with would understand the concept. And someone who knows the local area might use an alternative route to bypass the areas that lack the magical few inches of paint that are somehow supposed to create a virtually impermeable barrier to vehicular traffic.

Not that some drivers understand that, either.

But even if you map out your complete route using the best maps available — or try plotting your way with Google’s promising but buggy biking directions — it won’t tell you anything about traffic conditions, signalization or what hills you might face along your way. And if you knew those things, you wouldn’t need a map to begin with.

So you plot out the best route you can plan, only to end up dodging buses or riding jackhammer streets that jostle your internal organs to the point that you fear a kidney or bowel could pop loose any moment.

And those are the good streets.

Then there are others where the bike lanes and paths are so cracked and broken as to be virtually unridable on a skinny-tired bike. Or barely even exist anymore.

Of course, the obvious solution would be to require that LADOT and similar transportation departments in other cities ride these routes on a regular basis to monitor the conditions riders face. And report back for anything that needs repair or improvement.

But with the current budget issues, and the 40% cut in staffing that LADOT’s Bikeways department has reportedly suffered, that’s just not going to happen. Even if it did somehow manage to make their radar.

So as Noah suggested, it’s up to us.

We ride these streets everyday. No one has a better idea whether a line on a map actually translates to a ridable bikeway. Or if it actually exists in what passes for the real world around these parts.

I’ve suggested some sort of bikeway survey as a project the LACBC might want to take on, and I’ll bring it up again as time goes on — maybe in conjunction with the deep pockets at the newly bike-friendly Metro. Maybe it’s a project L.A.’s Bicycle Advisory Committee might want to consider. Or it could be something Bikeside might do as a natural outgrowth of their current efforts to map collisions, near misses and harassment — after all, those are places you might want to avoid, as well.

Or just email me — biking in la at hotmail dot com — and I’ll track things on my own until we have a better system for it.

And I’ll mention the worst areas on here, so you can plan a route to avoid them.

Because if we don’t do it, it’s pretty clear no one else will.

You can find links to most of the area’s bike maps on at the LADOT and LACBC (scroll down) websites. And thanks for the reminder from Timur that you find some fully vetted bike routes on his excellent, though recently neglected site; other local cyclist-designed routes are available at MapMyRide.

And after wishing everyone a happy Passover the other day, how could I have forgotten to wish the rest of you a happy Easter? Whatever you believe, best wishes this weekend. And for those of you with children, do not — repeat, do not — eat the ears off their chocolate bunnies.

That’s just so wrong.


Oddly, when I take a day off to attend to other matters — like earning a living, for instance — the stories still keep coming. So settle in for a long list o’links.


A San Francisco cop in an unmarked police car threatens a cyclist, saying “Shut your fucking mouth or I’ll knock you off your bike.” Meanwhile, a New York cyclist gets doored — which is against the law in New York, just like it is here — and police respond by ticketing the cyclist for not having a bell and wheel reflectors.


One of L.A.’s best biking routes reopens after repairs due to rain damage. Dr. Alex rips LADOT’s new bike blog, and suggest that Bikeways Coordinator Michelle Mowery fall on her sword. Will offers an exceptionally artistic photo of his bike, ad look who rolls through a stop into the path of his unblinking bike cam.  A Santa Monica writer and actor says the city could do a lot more to promote cycling. A Downtown street gets a mini-road diet, but oddly, no bike lanes. Gary argues that cyclists spend a lot of money in Santa Monica, so where is our bike parking? L.A.’s Anonymous Cyclist offers the story of a biking detention at LAX, and yes, one should bear yesterday’s date in mind. The 2.5 mile, LED-lit Elysian Valley Bike Path along the L.A. River Bike is coming soon, really. The Mt. Wilson Bicycling Association will hold its 21st annual Save the Trails pancake breakfast on Sunday, April 25th. Don’t forget Bike Night at the Hammer — featuring Pee Wee’s Big Adventure — April 8th. GOOD offers a video look at the Wolfpack Hustle’s roll through the L.A. Marathon course.

The California Bike Coalition pushes a vulnerable user law to protect all at risk road users. Mark Cavendish decides to break in his new dental work on the Tour of California, rather than the tougher Giro. NPR finds a grave problem with Google Bike Maps, literally. Is a bike a toy or a vehicle — or a device, as it’s defined here. Streetfilms looks at DC’s first Contraflow Cycle Track, while Portland releases a video explaining cycle tracks and buffered bike lanes. Consider the Better World Club sort of an auto club for bikes. Five cyclists win a $97,751 settlement in a 2007 New York Critical Mass excessive force and wrongful arrest case in which the arresting officer was caught lying under oath. Portland cyclists are asked to help get a road rage victim back on a bike. The New York Times asks what is bike culture? A Brooklyn cyclist cited for riding outside the bike lane in a police sting fought the law, and for once, the law didn’t win. A Holland, Michigan driver encounters a cyclist riding in the center of the lane on a multi-lane road “going about 5 mph” in a 45 mile zone, and despite honking several times, the bastard just wouldn’t get out of his way. Florida cyclists threaten legal action if bike lanes aren’t included in a major resurfacing project.

A team of Brit rowers teams up to compete in this year’s RAAM. A Royal Mail carrier says please don’t take my bike away. Constables charge a Leicestershire cyclist with murder following the death of a cyclist this week; British press restrictions mean no explanation for why he was charged. Get your bespoke Tweed Ride togs here. Finally, a bike lane even shorter than the one in Westwood.

Finally, take your pick:

1) A Team Sky cyclist lost the lead in the Tour of Oman due to a bizarre pre-planned pee experiment. 2) London’s biking mayor chases down a driver who threw something at his head; oddly, the press reports it as litter rather than an assault, while the driver responded, “Please Mr. Boris sir, this wasn’t meant to happen. We know you is the Mayor, man.” 3) Pearl Izumi tests their new chamois on Uranus.

A little this, a little that: Wolfpack Hustle crashes the Marathon, County bike news, a tragic death in New Zealand

Some of the cyclists in the "bikeless" L.A. Marathon; Wolfpack Hustle crashed the course hours earlier.

A reader sent the following email about crashing Marathon last Sunday by racing the course at 4:30 in the morning with the Wolfpack Hustle. And in the process, getting a reminder of why he rides.

I saw your post about the “bikeless” marathon. I was disappointed to find out there wasn’t going to be a pre-race bike ride this year, but then I saw this:


I dragged myself out of bed to go race with these hardcore L.A. riders, not really sure what to expect, and behold – just under 400 riders showed up for a 4:00am race/ride!  I have to say it was an amazing time.  I also have to say, I have never ridden so hard in my life; these “kids” can ride!  I was really impressed by the fixie riders and the pace they were able to maintain over the entire distance…(here’s to being young).  In addition to the huge fixie/single speed contingent, there were a handful of lycra clad roadies as well (myself included).

As slightly unorganized as it was, we were not bothered by the police at all – most people out setting up for the race (or just out for that matter) were cheering everyone on and/or just baffled by the mass of riders pouring down Hollywood Blvd. at that early morning hour.  By the time we rolled out at about 4:30am, the street closures were just starting to take effect, but the entire route was not closed yet.  Given the time of the morning though, traffic was a non-issue.

I was impressed by some of the riders sense of teamwork as well.  I ended up in a group of about 5 or 6 riders for the last 8 miles and we pushed hard as a group all the way to the finish.  I definitely felt a passion for cycling from everyone who took part and will definitely be doing it again next year.

On a final note, I took off for home from the SM pier at about 6:30am.  I was by myself and it’s about a 10mi straight shot down Pico to my house.  At one point, just as the sun was starting to make its presence felt, I looked around and for just a moment there was nothing but green lights and silence.  No cars, no pedestrians, nothing, just me rolling solo early on a Sunday morning.  In that instant, I was again reminded why I ride.


L.A. County plans to use a $32 million public health grant to create nearly 20 Transit Oriented Districts along Metro’s Blue and Green lines, creating bike and pedestrian paths and amenities near rail stations to help fight obesity, as well as programs to combat tobacco use. Funding will also be provided to conduct environmental reviews for the county’s new Bike Master Plan.

And Metro’s Doug Failing talks bikes, rating Los Angeles C- for bike friendliness, and saying the city needs an A-list bicycle transportation system.

Thanks to County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, via Dr. Michael Cahn, for the heads-up.


More on StreetsSummit and NYC DOT superstar Janette Sadik-Khan. Damien takes a last look at last Saturday’s event; a call to action one step and one cycle at a time; and a Times critic compares L.A.’s innovation-resistant DOT with Sadik-Khan’s Bloomberg-backed reinvention of the Big Apple.


Congratulations to frequent commenter — and one of my daily reads — Tracy Wilkins of Springfield Cyclist, who was just nominated as Springfield, MO’s Sports or Fitness Blog of the Year.


New Zealand correspondent the Trickster reports that an Auckland cyclist was killed in a classic right (our left) cross collision, the driver reportedly “did not see” the academic superstar she killed before she turned into his path; MSN NZ responds by asking if bikes should be banned from the roads.

Note to MSN — it wasn’t the bike that killed someone.


The city finally repaves a troublesome intersection on the (hopefully) future bike boulevard. Metro says the right thing after nearly curbing one of the city’s leading cyclists. Actually, red light cameras do reduce accidents according to the LAPD. Attention Department of DIY: Painting your own bike lane could mean big trouble. A look at Long Beach’s new found bike friendliness. San Diego botches a patch job on a popular cycling route — one I rode frequently when I live down that way — that has already claimed two lives. A Bay Area Jewish group will be “people of the bike” this May; while a “non-kosher” NYC bike shop now offers a bike gear vending machine. A good look at contraflow lanes, and an animated look at wheel sucking and totally cool bike commuting. Now that’s what I call a cargo bike. Idaho’s proposed three-foot passing and anti-harassment laws are done for this year. A 17-year old Chicago cyclist is killed when an 86-year old driver crosses the center line to hit her and two other riders head on. Actually, “avid cyclist” is a perfectly good term if it accurately describes what you are. Time to tell the GOP’s anti-bike lawmakers what you think. The current auto-centric perspective has roots dating back to the birth of cycling; but at least they don’t horsewhip us anymore. A Canadian driver dismantles his truck to avoid arrest after killing a cyclist and fleeing the scene. Danish police prematurely seize unabandoned bikes and deliver them directly to a landfill. Aussie cycling champ James Williamson’s recent death was due to an undiagnosed heart problem. York — the old one, not the New — urges Respect On Our Roads. Amazingly, a UK pregnant driver who fled the scene after hitting and killing a cyclist at 70 mph receives the equivalent of probation so her baby won’t be born in prison; trust me, the baby would get over it. A driver who killed an Irish racing champ while rushing to catch a plane is sentenced to five years. Seventy percent of Taipei cyclists don’t wear helmets, while 70% of survey respondents think they should be forced to.

Finally, a Florida real estate agent was moonlighting as a cab driver last year when a passenger attacked him; when passing motorists ignored his please for help, a Spanish-speaking cyclist loaned him a cell phone to call 911. Now he’s returning the favor by giving away free bike lights to anyone who needs one.

That’s class.

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