Sometimes it’s better to let the pictures tell the story.
So here are a few images and random thoughts from the start of Sunday’s Finish the Ride.
Sometimes it’s better to let the pictures tell the story.
So here are a few images and random thoughts from the start of Sunday’s Finish the Ride.
The Times’ Patt Morrison interviews LADOT Senior Bicycle Coordinator Michelle Mowery.
It’s a good piece for the most part, with an eye on where we’re going; using Copenhagen as a role model can’t be a bad thing.
Although I have to admit, I cringed in a few places.
Like where she responded to a question about licensing cyclists by correctly addressing the need for better education, without discussing why licensing is a bad idea. Let alone questions about bikes running red lights, without pointing out most riders don’t, and we’re not the only scofflaws on the road.
Others readers I heard from objected to a seemingly flip response to the question of parents who don’t wear helmets even though their children do.
And Morrison brings up the nonexistent traffic jams on 7th Street following the road diet that added bike lanes, with no refutation from Mowery — let alone a tacit admission that it could have resulted in a significant increase in pollution from idling cars.
Still, she has some good things to say, and it’s a good look at the woman who’s the closest thing this city has to a bike czar.
And who deserves a lot of credit for the changes we’ve seen on the streets in recent years, as the city has done the seemingly impossible by becoming officially bike friendly.
In the single most horribly heartless report I’ve ever seen, a Florida man drives for two miles after striking a cyclist, with the rider embedded in the car’s rear window. Then after arriving home, he pried the rider out of the glass, and dumped him behind a dumpster to die before hiding his damaged car from his girlfriend.
Fortunately, a landscaping crew found the victim nearly over two hours later, albeit in critical condition with a deep gash in the forehead, nearly severed ear, and spinal injuries that could leave him paralyzed.
Police arrested the driver at a body shop later that same day, as he attempted to get his car fixed before the damage could be discovered.
If there’s any justice, he’ll face an attempted murder charge for deliberately dumping the victim and leaving him to die.
And a very long sentence in a very unpleasant pen.
Wait. Attempted manslaughter? Seriously?
A memorial will be held for fallen cyclist, entertainment attorney and former Napster CEO Milt Olin at 2 pm this Saturday at the Jim Henson Company Lot, 1416 N. La Brea. The family asks attendees to carpool and RSVP here.
Still no word on the official cause of the collision that took his life, though rumors are rampant that the 16-year veteran sheriff’s deputy behind the wheel was using the patrol car’s laptop computer while he drove.
The LA Times says the LAPD should focus on riskier behavior than jaywalking; Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers arguments against the crackdown. Meanwhile, Streetsblog Sahra Suliaman asks for community involvement in the planned Slauson active transportation corridor. Better Bike reviews the recent meeting to remake bike-unfriendly Santa Monica Blvd; there may be hope for Beverly Hills yet, thanks largely to the efforts of Better Bike’s Mark Elliot. Santa Monica hosts an important meeting on the planned MANGo project on Saturday, January 7th. Downey’s new mayor has supported bike lanes since he was eight years old; let hope he still does. Wolfpack Hustle announces the official results of their 2013 race series. As we’ve been telling you, wayfaring signs really are coming to the LA River; no, really. Celebrate the season with the LACBC’s East LA Holiday Bike Parade. A bird-flipping Benz driver threatens to kill a Highland Park cyclist; could be another test case for the city’s anti-harassment ordinance.
Coronado’s temporary bike corrals may not be. Annual National City bike giveaway needs more bikes. Now you can ride the last leg of the Amgen Tour of California just like the real pros. but without the EPO and clenbuterol and stuff. Trek’s John Burke backs plans for a Santa Barbara bike network. San Francisco’s fire department opposes safety measures that could protect cyclists and pedestrians. More green lanes in San Francisco, and a parking protected bike lane. Oakland truck driver fatally drags a cyclist two blocks after hitting her; he may not have known he hit anyone. Sonoma County sting stops people driving away from the courthouse after their licenses have been suspended; wait, you mean the judge was serious about that?
Alta offers advice on how to avoid collisions, and what to do if you don’t. The seven habits of highly effective bike cities. Now you, too, can honk your horn in an obnoxious manner, or not. Drunk ND driver hits a cyclist, then backs up and runs over a pedestrian coming to the rider’s aid. Wisconsin hit-and-run driver who killed a 61-year old bike rider had 13 previous traffic violations in the last four years; so why was he still allowed to drive? Maybe bike lanes aren’t the cause of Buffalo’s traffic congestion. New York’s DOT launches a new campaign against reckless driving. Road raging New York cyclist arrested for bashing in a driver’s window for no apparent reason, if you believe the story. Philadelphia now allows you to tweet about blocked bike lanes, and they’ll actually do something about it. Boston police still won’t identify the officer who killed a cyclist last July. Bikes are the new enemy for misguided conservatives.
Canadian bike safety taught via Legos. UK driver gets six years for killing a cyclist while driving drunk and without a license. Riding a bike cross-county, and with a pig. Riding a London bike share bike up Mt. Ventoux before the rental period expires; then again, Boris Bikes are turning up in Gambia, too. UK bike rider takes the long way home — from South Korea. New German fitness shirt promises to manage your e-bike for you; but if you’re riding an e-bike, why do you need a fitness shirt? Ninety-four percent of Turkish motorists think they’re better drivers than they really are; I suspect that would hold true everywhere. Kolkata bans bikes, or maybe not. Saudi groom rides his bike into his wedding hall on a dare. Gambia cracks down on dangerous cyclists. Aussie world-champion time trialist Michael Rogers claims his positive drug test for clenbuterol resulted from tainted meat; why not, it’s worked before. An Australian concrete company bars a bike path. Road raging Kiwi driver gets 32 months in prison for attacking a triathlete.
Finally, a Missouri woman won’t face charges for fatally running down a bike rider at 82 mph. But her ex-boyfriend will, after flashing a gun and chasing her through the streets; he’s charged with second degree murder in the rider’s death.
Seriously, there are no words.
Thanks to John McBrearty and Rich Alossi for their generous donations to help support this site.
Just a few quick notes to kick off what promises to be a perfect weekend to ride a bike.
The LA Times interviews Streetsblog’s Damien Newton, who adroitly points out that everyone breaks the law on our streets — cyclists, drivers and pedestrians alike.
“Pretty much anyone who uses the road breaks the law on a regular basis. But people excuse their own breaking of the law,” he says…
He doesn’t care if you’re on a bike; he cares that you stop thinking of bicyclists as an odd nuisance — and stop framing the debate as “drivers vs. bicyclists”:
“The subtext is ‘We need to get along with these weirdos, because they’re out there.’ ”
As for weirdos, the paper notes Damien isn’t.
I could have told ‘em that.
Speaking of Damien, he offers an insightful look at yesterday’s insurrection by LADOT employees.
In case you missed it, a contingent of LADOT employees — estimated at anywhere from 50 to 200 — stormed Wednesday’s city council session to demand the ouster of their boss, Transportation General Manager Jaime De La Vega, saying the rank and file had lost confidence in their leader.
Just one problem.
De La Vega had been brought in by previous Mayor Villaraigosa to shake things up in a department that had previously been dedicated to automotive throughput at the expense of livability. And survivability.
Whether these employees have a legitimate complaint, or are simply demanding a return to the bad old days when they could ignore the needs of anyone not wrapped in a ton or two of glass and steel is anyone’s guess.
And certainly not mine.
Newton examines it in great detail, in a must read for anyone who cares about the future of our streets.
But consider this.
Many of those complaining are long-time LADOT employees, who were with the department during the bad old days.
And the bike plan they point to as a sign that the department has changed is one that was demanded by bike riders, after they rejected the watered-down plan LADOT presented that no one loved. Except perhaps bike hating motorists and the DOT engineers who bent over backwards to accommodate them while tossing cyclists a bone.
Meanwhile, most of the improvements we’ve seen on the streets have come in the last few years, during De La Vega’s tenure.
That’s not to say there aren’t major problems at LADOT.
Just that Mayor Garcetti and the city council should look long and hard before deciding just what the real problem is.
I haven’t done a very good job of keeping up my Events page, as my focus has been elsewhere while I work on a reboot of this site in the coming weeks.
But a couple of upcoming rides demand attention.
First up, Active Streets LA returns to South LA on Saturday with a free mini-CicLAvia of sorts, featuring a bike ride and walk, free family activities, refreshments and a raffle.
CICLE hosts the perfectly alliterative Pomona Pumpkin Patch Pedal this Sunday, offering a much more sedate alternative to riding Mulholland.
And next Sunday, October 27th, you’ve got another chance to Ride Lankershim in support of a proposed bike lane on North Hollywood’s main street. Even though the bike lane is included in the 2010 bike plan approved by city council, it’s been opposed by bike-friendly-in-name-only Councilmember Tom LaBonge up to this point. So it’s up to us to show just how needed, wanted, convenient, traffic calming and life-saving this lane could be.
One other quick note. The LACBC’s Civic Engagement Committee usually meets on the last Tuesday of every month to talk bike politics. However, due to a scheduling conflict, this month’s meeting has been moved to Wednesday, October 30th at 6:45 pm. The meeting will take place on the mezzanine level of LACBC Headquarters, 634 S. Spring Street Downtown, and is open to everyone; you don’t have to be a member to participate.
Finally, maybe you’ll have better luck loading this page than I’ve had, but you’ve got to respect a $36 million football player who prefers to bike and bus to work. Although I suspect his route is just a tad easier than this one.
And you know there’s something going on when even the Biking Black Grey Hole of Beverly Hills is talking bike share.
Don’t even think about bugging after 5:30 tonight until the Dodgers secure their place in Saturday’s game seven against the Cardinals.
And if they don’t, just don’t bug me, period.
LADOT has just announced that road diets and bike lanes have been approved for Figueroa and Colorado Blvds in Northeast L.A., over the objections of a small but very vocal minority.
I’m guest editing LA Streetsblog once again tomorrow, so look for a full report there. You can read a PDF of the full General Manager’s determination on link below.
Update: So much for that. Just moments after I got my story online at Streetsblog, the city sent out a notice that yesterday’s announcement was merely procedural, and that no final decision has been made.
Not only is the war not over yet, it seems the battle has barely begun.
At least you can console yourself with a mostly bike-centric look at today’s headlines.
The other day, I got an interesting offer from one of my favorite bloggers who had written a detailed examination on how much space a cyclist needs to safely operate a bicycle, as opposed to how little we usually get.
But after writing it, he realized it wasn’t right for his audience. And wondered if my readers would be interested, though he preferred to be anonymous.
Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity.
You can thank me later.
Looking through the Technical Design Handbook for the Los Angeles Bicycle Plan, I was reminded of something I’ve been thinking about lately – operable width. What is operable width? In the context of the bike plan it refers to the amount of space a cyclist needs to safely operate a bicycle.
In the first section of the Handbook, “design needs of bicyclists” is discussed. On page 7 it is determined that cyclists need a minimum 4-feet operating space with a preference for 5 feet. Similarly in the section discussing design for bike lanes, a 5-foot minimum is established for the bike lane width.
In Los Angeles our bike lanes typically are 5 feet wide but they do not allow for a minimum of 4 feet operating width. Why? Because most of Los Angeles’ bike lanes are adjacent to car parking. Bicycle safety literature issued by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation explicitly warns about the “door-zone,” space within the bike lane which may suddenly be interrupted by motorists opening their car door to exit their vehicle. The door zone reduces the safe operable width of bike lanes to 2 or 3 feet.
The door zone is acknowledged in this blog post at the LADOT Bike Blog, suggesting that cyclists position themselves at least 11 feet from the curb to avoid conflict with opening car doors. Anyone who has cycled in Los Angeles long enough eventually learns the potential danger posed by cycling too close to parked cars while in the bike lane. It is for this reason why cyclists often only operate in the left half of a bike lane.
Unless parking is prohibited, cyclists never get the minimum operating width recommended by the Technical Design Handbook. What is puzzling is that despite the Department of Transportation’s awareness of the dangers of cycling to close to parked cars, it appears efforts are not consistently made avoid this danger.
Take for example this proposed bike lane on Winnetka Avenue.
A 6-foot bike lane is placed next to a 7-foot parking lane. If taking the LADOT’s recommendation of placing oneself 11 feet from the curb, the effective width of the bike lane becomes 3 feet, one foot below the desired minimum operating width. If the bike lane were 7 feet, then cyclists could have their minimum operating width of 4 feet. But where would this space come from? The California Highway Design Manual seems to offer a solution
The minimum [motor vehicle] lane width standard is 12 feet. There are situations where it may be desirable to reduce the width of the traffic lanes in order to add or widen bicycle lane or shoulders.
The Manual goes on to say
When vehicle parking is permitted adjacent to a bicycle lane or on a shoulder where bicycling is not prohibited, reducing the width of the adjacent traffic lane may allow for wider bicycle lanes or shoulders, to provide greater clearance between bicyclists and the driver-side doors when opened.
If safety was the number one priority, it would seem the Department of Transportation would propose 10 foot wide motor vehicle lanes. This would allow the creation of 8-foot wide bike lanes with 5 feet of operating space outside the door zone (as defined by the LADOT) or a 5-foot bike lane placed entirely outside of the door zone.
A couple other quick notes.
Despite earlier reports that road-raging Santa Monica driver Jeffrey Ray Adams wouldn’t face felony charges for assaulting a cyclist last summer, two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon were eventually filed.
According to a comment left on one of those earlier stories yesterday, the case has concluded with no jail time for the driver.
Jeffrey Ray Adams pled no contest on May 29th, 2012 to a violation of Penal Code Section 245 (a) (1) Assault with A Deadly Weapon [his car]. He was placed on three years of formal, felony probation and must complete 20 days of labor as well as an anger management program. Restitution was ordered (as required by law) in an amount unknown at this point.
I think we all — or must of us, anyway — would have preferred some jail time. However, we’ve already seen that people sentenced to short terms in county jail usually stay just long enough to change into their prison uniform before they’re back out on the streets.
And undoubtedly, it was the lack of jail time that induced Adams to accept a plea.
It was announced at yesterday’s LAPD Bike Task Force meeting that the shooting death of a 19-year old Koreatown cyclist last weekend was definitely gang related.
That doesn’t make his death any less tragic, or any less of a waste.
But it should reduce fears of murderous road-raging motorists attacking innocent riders. It’s just business as usual on the streets of L.A.
Finally, an arrest warrant has been issued for a San Bernardino County man for attacking a cyclist last July.
According to the Mountain News/Crestline Courier News, 20-year old Steven Wayne Barnett is wanted for allegedly grabbing a cyclist through the passenger window of a passing car, then throwing the rider to the ground. The unidentified victim suffered a broken wrist, as well as scrapes and bruises, and his bike was destroyed.
The rider and a passing motorist were able catch enough of the license plate to identify the car, which belonged to a friend of Barnett’s.
He is wanted on a charge of assault with serious injury, with a $100,000 bond.