Tag Archive for LADOT

Morning Links: Automakers build in deadly distractions; CD15’s Buscaino multi-modals his way to work

It should come to no one’s surprise that a new study shows in-dash phone and computer systems are dangerously distracting to drivers (pdf).

And apparently, Apple’s Siri is the worst.

Automakers are rushing to keep drivers connected behind the wheel, from providing the turn-by-turn directions we’ve come to expect, to reading and dictating emails and text messages.

Never mind that, as the study above makes clear — and common sense suggests should been have readily apparent — the more distractions drivers face, the less aware they are of what is happening on the road around them. To the detriment of everyone with whom they share the road.

It’s bad enough we have to dodge texting drivers, without getting run down by a driver surfing for Chinese restaurants on the heads-up display.

The feds need to step in to prevent automakers from designing deadly distractions into the dashboards and center consoles of their cars.

Because vehicle manufacturers are clearly unable to resist the temptation themselves.

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Local

Streetsblog looks at plans for a new bike and pedestrian friendly Sixth Street Viaduct.

Caught on video: CD15 City Councilmember Joe Buscaino goes to work by bike, bus and train to discover what it’s like to be carless in LA. He’s turned out to be one of the most open-minded and supportive councilmembers when it comes to transportation alternatives, two-wheeled and otherwise.

An article reposted on City Watch examines new LADOT head Seleta Reynolds, who says LA is moving beyond auto-centrism. And that bikes are a big part of the solution.

 

State

Once again, a writer who just doesn’t get it calls for licensing cyclists and their bikes, and requiring riders to carry liability insurance. Never mind that most adult cyclists already have a drivers license and carry insurance through their auto policies, and that a license plate large enough to be easily read at a distance would be too large to fit on a bike.

Is it still hit-and-run if a drunk driver takes his victim with him? A San Francisco driver hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk and flees with his victim hanging out of the car’s sunroof, then attempts to cover up his drunken state by tossing booze out of the vehicle.

A woman is suing Sacramento for $3.5 million for allowing sidewalk riding after she’s hit by a cyclist while walking; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up.

 

National

A bike advocate says we should refocus on recreation, rather than biking to work, to get more people on bikes. How about if we just focus on making bike riding safer and more convenient for everyone, then let people decide for themselves how and where to ride?

The brother of fallen cyclocross champ Amy Dombroski is channeling his grief into creating more equity for female cyclists and empowering young women through cycling.

Seattle Bike Blog talks in depth with one of the countless survivors whose life has been dramatically changed by a collision with a driver who claimed she never saw him.

A Wyoming letter writer says yes, animal cruelty matters, but so do the lives of bicyclists.

A Chicago writer says bicyclists have rights too, even if some break the law. And no one notices the ones who don’t.

An Examiner writer says the unwarranted prosecution of Kentucky cyclist Cherokee Schill for riding — legally — in the traffic lane is bringing unwanted attention to a state with a backward reputation.

New York’s city council votes to lower the city’s default speed limit to 25 mph, something LA will need to address if it’s serious about the newfound commitment to Vision Zero.

 

International

Caught on video: The page may be in Spanish, but the message is clear, as a cyclist confronts a motorist for driving in the bike lane.

A Brit cyclist videos distracted drivers and turns them into the police. Meanwhile, a writer for the Telegraph says cycling vigilantes aren’t doing themselves any favors by capturing such videos of dangerous drivers, insisting that we’re more likely to break the law than motorists are.

UK police arrest a racist bike rider who assaulted a woman, verbally and otherwise. Jerk.

Authorities in the UK are also looking for rider who punched a woman in front of her children when she didn’t get out of his way. Ditto.

A Brit writer is heartbroken after giving up her favorite ride.

Looks like Formula One driver Fernando Alonso won’t be fielding a cycling team on the pro tour after all.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: If you drop your iPhone in traffic, let it go; or maybe, don’t ride like a maniac if you can’t see what’s in front of you. Streetsblog offers up a Neighborhood Council bike lane bingo card. And if you’re going to return a bike to the store, make sure you paid for it.

 

Morning Links: An open letter to the LA DA’s office; Streetsblog talks with LADOT head Seleta Reynolds

The fight for justice goes on.

Following up on DA Jackie Lacey’s non-response to the LACBC’s demand for justice in the Milt Olin case, cyclist Al Williams shares an email he sent to the DA’s office. And cites a similar case from Santa Clara County where the DA actually did give a damn.

Milt Olin was cycling in a designated, marked bike lane on a clear, sunny afternoon.

While it may be legal for a sheriff’s deputy to use his computer while driving, it is not legal for him to be inattentive while driving, which he most clearly was; and it is not legal for his car to enter a designated bike lane, as his car clearly did.

It is inconceivable to conclude that Andrew Wood was other than inattentive when he struck and killed Milt Olin on 8 Dec 2013.  Please correct this decision.  Please correct the finding of your office.  It is imperative that a message be sent that inattentiveness resulting in death will not be tolerated.

James Council, the Santa Clara County deputy sheriff who “fell asleep” while driving on duty, crossed the road, and killed Kristy Gough and Matt Peterson on March 9, 2008 was charged with vehicular manslaughter by the Santa Clara Count District Attorney, plead guilty and was convicted.  (http://abc7news.com/archive/6884991/)  The punishment was distressingly minor, but at least he was charged and convicted.  You should follow this precedent.  Failure to charge Deputy Wood is an outrage.

You can contact the DA’s office to express your own outrage any of the following ways, courtesy of the LACBC.

1. E-Mail :webmail@da.lacounty.gov, bcc: info@la-bike.org

2. Snail mail to:
District Attorney’s Office
County of Los Angeles
210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000

Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210

3. Phone: (213) 974-3512

4. Twitter: @LADAoffice

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New Vuelta winner Alberto Contador rules out a trip to the world championships; Chris Froome finished second in the race.

Caught on video: A rider in the Tour of Britain loses it on a sharp curve and takes out several spectators.

Jeremy Powers and Katie effing Compton — no really, that’s her Twitter handle — capture the Boulder Cup cyclocross race.

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Local

The upstart LA Register says fat bikes are big business.

Two former USC students want to cover the world with free bicycles; profits come from ads on the bikes.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks with new LADOT boss Seleta Reynolds; she may just be the world-class transportation leader LA has been begging for. And deserves.

 

State

The Orange County Register takes an in-depth look at the state’s new three-foot law, which goes into effect on Tuesday.

Seriously? A reader poll in the San Diego Union Tribune’s story on the three-foot law says bikes are bigger road hogs than cars. I kid you not.

Incensed motorists accuse San Jose’s Mr. Roadshow of being biased towards bicyclists; bike riders get their say the next day. Personally, I’ve always found the column fair and balanced in dealing with road issues. Then again, I’m one of the one’s he’s accused of favoring.

Hundreds of Marin County cyclists ride to remember fellow rider Robin Williams.

If you’re riding with a fake gun and police try to stop you for a traffic violation, don’t try to flee into an acquaintance’s home — especially if she has meth and hash inside. Oops.

 

National

Miss America contestants highlight their footwear; Miss Oregon gives a whole different meaning to bike shoes.

New York bicycling injuries drop despite an increase in ridership.

A Maryland writer is shocked by the irrational hatred directed towards cyclists by online commenters, saying riders just want to safely return to their loved ones.

A Virginia writer says the first step in solving traffic problems is treating bike riders and pedestrians as respected users of the public right-of-way.

 

International

An 18-year old UK cyclist is back to riding after technically dying four times — whatever that means — following a trackside heart attack.

After a frequently photographed bike is stolen from the Scottish barn it leaned against for at least four decades, a local photographer contributes a suitably rusty replacement.

Another look at Australia’s first hydrogen-powered bicycle.

 

Finally…

Biking to work can improve your romantic relationships — and your sex life. But you already knew that, right? An actual human cyclist pulls off a video game quality stunt; even I’m impressed.

And it seems like the entire world is in an uproar over the Columbia women’s cycling team’s highly unfortunate new uniforms; some with tongue apparently planted deep in cheek.

 

Morning Links: Welcome new LADOT GM, and German police ticket one-armed man for having just one brake

A round of applause for newly approved LADOT head Seleta Reynolds, following her confirmation by the full city council today.

Now, will she please get to work on getting bike lanes on Westwood, Lankershim and North Figueroa, as well as that long-promised Bicycle Friendly Street on 4th Street?

Pretty please?

……..

Local

This weekend’s LACBC Sunday Funday ride travels from City Hall to see Michael Parker’s The Unfinished.

Cyclists are gearing up for Wolfpack Hustle’s Civic Center Crit on July 12th.

A Santa Clarita cyclist say no other city can come close to their bike trail network. Meanwhile, a sixth suspect has been arrested in a string of armed robberies on those same bike paths.

 

State

Newport Beach unveils the city’s draft bicycle plan.

Huntington Beach police use Facebook to bust a thief caught on film stealing a bike.

A Marin woman swears she didn’t have anything to do with the theft of 130 bikes recently recovered by police.

 

National

Fox News ranks the five safest cities for cyclists. And is anyone shocked to learn Los Angeles is not on the list?

A new bike radar system promises to give you the speed and distance of vehicles approaching from the rear, while alerting drivers to your presence.

Oklahoma City will add 62 miles of new bike lanes, after installing 70 in 2012.

A Minnesota cyclist is killed by a cell phone-using driver while towing her children in a bike trailer; fortunately, the two girls were not seriously injured.

A New Orleans women’s bike collective will ride in protest of the dangers female riders face when traveling home alone at night, after several recent incidents.

 

International

A UK cyclist warns that bike trailers can be deadly to your dog.

A British rider is killed descending France’s famed Alpe D’Huez; oddly, the driver who hit him was a British tourist, as well.

A Fresno paper says this year’s Tour de France is controversial; no more than usual, really. Meanwhile, Colorado’s Peter Stetina hopes to help lead BMC’s Tejay van Garderen to victory.

And actually, this isn’t the first time women have competed in the Tour de France.

 

Finally…

German police apologize for ticketing a cyclist for only having one hand brake on his bike after realizing he only has one arm.

 

Morning Links: A shameful plea for money, bike corrals hit contested streets and the worst bike injury ever

Before we start, just a quick reminder that this site is advertising and donation supported.

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Finally, let me offer my sincere gratitude to our sponsors, and to everyone who has donated help support this site. We couldn’t do this without your help.

Thank you.

Update: Thanks to Jim Lyle and Mark Jones for their generous donations.

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More on last week’s waste of two hours Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s vanity session public meeting to discuss the proposed North Figueroa road diet and bike lanes.

Meanwhile, LADOT installs new bike corrals on North Figueroa and Lankershim; hopefully Council Members Cedillo and Tom Labonge, respectively, will stop blocking blocking safety and livability for everyone so the bike lanes promised for both streets can follow soon.

Seriously, even AARP is in favor of road diets.

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Sad news, as a Topanga man dies of a heart attack after a bike ride through Topanga Canyon with his new husband, just a month after they were married. Sounds like we lost a great guy. My prayers and condolences to all his loved ones.

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The Pasadena Mountain Bike Club is hosting a Bike Swap Meet this Sunday.

swap meet

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Local

KCRW traffic maven Kajon Cermak says it’s time to do something about LA’s hit-and-run epidemic and get the creeps off the road. You’re preaching to the choir, sister.

The Hollywood Fringe Festival presents Bike Odessey LA on Saturday, a combination bike tour and multi-location theatrical event.

A new section of the LA River bike path opens up for bikes and pedestrians from Sherman Oaks to Studio City.

Culver City’s Chubby Bikes offers a free Confident City Cycling Clinic, social ride and after party on Saturday; thanks to Walk ‘n Rollers for the tip.

Speaking of Walk ‘n Rollers, they’re sponsoring a series of monthly family rides, starting July 5th in Culver City.

Santa Clarita sheriff’s deputies continue to arrest additional suspects in a rash of bike path robberies.

 

State

Three Santa Ana men are under arrest for critically injuring a bike rider in a possible gang-related assault.

The Sacramento cyclist who was intentionally run down by a road raging driver after slashing his tire says he did it in self-defense.

San Francisco cyclists get new left turn bike boxes.

Santa Rosa riders team up to recover their stolen bikes.

Salinas cyclists protest mud and debris from farm trucks blocking a bike lane.

 

National

A new tire and tube repair tool promises to fix any flat in seconds without taking the tire off. Although I don’t know how you can fix a flat if you don’t know where the leak is until you get the tube off, which is usually the case.

New bike lane design offers protected intersections for bike riders.

Life is cheap in Washington state, where a driver gets off with a $175 fine for killing a teenage cyclist riding in a crosswalk.

A Kansas cyclist is deliberately hit and run off the road by a road raging driver.

A New Hampshire boy rides his bike to school for an entire year, regardless of the weather. Sad that something like this is actually news.

Colorado-based Oskar Blues Brewery is opening a combination beer and bike ranch near the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina.

 

International

London’s Mayor Boris gets credit for the city’s bike share program, even if it was his predecessor’s idea.

A writer for London’s Guardian discovers the joys of social cycling.

 

Finally…

Seriously. This has to be the most cringe-inducing bicycling injury ever.

And when you’re riding a bike through Santa Monica with burglary tools and stolen credit cards, just stop for the damn stop sign, already.

 

Michelle Mowery in the LA Times, the most heartless hit-and-run driver yet, and a Saturday memorial for Milt Olin

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.

Right.

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.

The Times on Streetsblog’s Damien Newton, Newton on LADOT insurrection, and lots of weekend rides

Just a few quick notes to kick off what promises to be a perfect weekend to ride a bike.

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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 confess.

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.

The LACBC and Wolfpack Hustle host the first ever Huntington Park Grand Prix single speed bike drag race on Saturday.

For those looking for a reasonably challenging ride, the authors of Where to Bike Los Angeles are teaming up with the LACBC to host a ride on Mulholland this Sunday.

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.

Seriously.

Update: Bike lanes approved for Figueroa and Colorado Blvds in NELA. Or not.

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.

This is a huge victory for supporters who have been battling for the lanes, including Flying Pigeon’s Josef Bray-Ali, Fig4All and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

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.

LADOT LOD 053013

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.

Guest post: Just how much space is enough for cyclists and bike lanes; no jail in SaMo road rage case

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.

……….

Operable Width?

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.

A visualization of dangers typical bike lanes pose to cyclists in LA. This bike lane, like most bike lanes in LA, does not achieve the desired minimum operable width. Image credit: Gary Kavanagh

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.

Image credit: LADOT Bike Blog

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.

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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.

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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.

The link love is back — Villaraigosa’s failing bikeway promise, Roadblock joins the bloggerati

Leading L.A. bike advocate and Creak Freak Joe Linton offers another of his exceptional bike wonk efforts, digging deep into the mayor’s promise to build 40 miles of bikeways each year.

And not surprisingly, finding it lacking.

Linton points out that between what’s already installed and what’s projected to be installed by the end of the fiscal year on June 30th, the city will end up over 23% short of the mayor’s promise, at 31.04 miles.

And that includes eight miles of sharrows, which we all seem to appreciate, but which most would hardly consider fulfillment of the mayor’s promise.

After all, sharrows are easy to put down almost anywhere. But unlike bike lanes, they don’t grant us one inch of pavement we weren’t entitled to before. Or get us out of the traffic lane, where our safety depends on the willingness of drivers to observe the law. Let alone pay attention.

Which isn’t something you really want to count on.

Still, Joe holds out hope that L.A. will live up to its promise. And offers a list of low hanging fruit that could be installed quickly and easily.

Are you listening Mayor?

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Speaking of our soon-to-be outgoing mayor, Streetsblog is keeping an eye on L.A.’s 2013 mayoral candidates.

I particularly like cyclist, businessman and former First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner’s comment that 35 years is too long to build out the city’s bike plan.

“We want a bike-friendly city. What does the City deliver? A 35-year plan.  It took Tolstoy one year to write “War and Peace,” four years for physicists to assemble an atom bomb, eight years to answer JFK’s call to land a man on the moon, and it took Dick Riordan three months to fix the 10 freeway after the Northridge earthquake. Why is it going to take 35 years to make us bike-friendly?

Why indeed?

A motivated mayor could easily build out the entire plan before he or she is termed out, even if we tossed in a few cycle tracks, bike boxes and other assorted infrastructure still considered experimental under current Caltrans guidelines.

As NYDOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said, it’s just paint.

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In a very pleasant surprise, one of the leaders of L.A.’s cycling community joins the bloggerati, as Roadblock begins a bi-weekly column for the excellent KCET’s Departures series; it’s worth the click just for the breathtaking photos.

They also offer a first-hand report on Flying Pigeon’s ever popular Get Sum Dim Sum ride.

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The long awaited Main Street road diet in Venice is now underway. Richard Risemberg reminds the Tea Partiers among us that bikes aren’t socialistic, but highways are. The LACBC tours bike-friendly Long Beach with County Supervisor and presumed L.A. mayoral candidate Zev Yaroslovsky. LADOT offers an update on the latest BPIT meeting, while Street Services take a patchwork approach to preserving sharrows. Better Bike offers advice on how to put a dent in Beverly Hills bike theft. The Weekly looks at the Fresh Food Bike grocery delivery mentioned here awhile back. USC releases a draft plan for dealing with bike safety on campus; all options seem to include at least a partial bike ban or dismount zone. Will Campbell discovers a new bike/ped path in Burbank. South Pasadena is looking for advisory committee members for a remake of Monterey Road, including possible bike lanes. A must read, as KCRW’s Shortcut’s blog asks if the auto industry will ever give a crap about safety; the proliferation of texting and Facebook enabled dashboards suggests otherwise.

California has updated it’s overly conservative guide to what traffic signals, signage and markings are allowed on our streets; wayfinding and Bikes May Use Full Lane signs are now allowed, NACTO not so much. Riverside’s mayor calls for fighting obesity with more bike lanes. Redlands cyclists set out to form the desperately needed Inland Empire Bicycle Alliance; if you’re in San Bernardino County, you should definitely look these guys up. A look at the recent High Desert Cyclocross. Buellton approves a close-circuit bike race for March 31st; yes, that’s what they call it. Santa Barbara’s Wheel House Dutch-style bike shop will go out of business at the end of the month after a steep rent increase; don’t get me started on greedy landlords, especially in this economy.

People for Bikes is now up to nearly 500,000 supporters; as I recall, I signed up about 490,000 ago. Bike lawyer Bob Mionske says “I didn’t see the cyclist” — or as the Queen’s loyal subjects put it, “Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You” aka SMIDSY — is a confession of guilt; something I’ve been saying for years. Good offers a beginners guide to Cycle Chic. There seems to be little love for Seattle’s so-called Mayor McSchwinn. Albuquerque decides to ban bikes from an industrial area rather than require truckers to drive safely; a local bike blog quite correctly calls them on it. A Madison WI cyclist offers a mittened response to angry drivers on snowy days, and not the one you might think. St. Louis could soon require bike parking along with new car parking lots. New York vehicle crashes disproportionately affect children in poor neighborhoods. More Miami mayhem as a Brazilian race car driver plows into a man loading his bike onto a car, allegedly after a night of drinking and cocaine use. A long time vehicular cyclist feels uniquely qualified to debunk the practice.

A writer for London’s Guardian considers his double life as a slow cycling Dutch-style commuter and a Lycra-clad speedster; meanwhile, the paper offers advice on how to start cycling to work. While we’re on the subject of Fleet Street, a writer for the conservative London Mail says he wishes cars had never been invented after getting hit by one while riding to church. UK businesses offer to pitch in with money, materials and equipment to cut the cost of a much-needed bike path. Britain’s Parliament considers a new law to criminalize dangerous cycling that results in death — of others, that is; causing your own death by riding recklessly will remain perfectly legal. Bicycle registration is not the answer for bad behavior, according to the European Cyclists’ Federation. A witness claims that bike-hating Aussie cricketer Shane Warne deliberately hit a cyclist he blamed for attacking his car; thanks to cyclist and attorney David Huntsman for the tip. Horrifying story of an Australian sex offender who deliberately ran down and crippled a female cyclist in a failed attempt at abduction; there is not a hole in hell deep enough for someone like that.

Finally, a reminder to check the background of your photos before you post them online, even if it does feature a famous cyclist. And a great Monty Python-esque response to the question what have the cyclists ever done for us?

And thanks to Margrét Helgadóttir and D. D. Syrdal for reminding me that it’s possible to ride past angry drivers as calmly as I’ve passed other dangerous beasts over the years.

Catching up: A well deserved award, an aside to Beverly Hills, and a lot of links

Congratulations to LADOT Bike Blog’s Chris Kidd for winning the California APA Distinguished Leadership Award — Student Planner. It couldn’t go to a more deserving person.

Or one who more deserves a job with the city; money may be tight, but we can’t afford to lose this level of talent and commitment.

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One of California’s leading bike bloggers is visiting Los Angeles this coming weekend, and looking for some fun bike-related activities. But aside from Critical Mass and Bicycle John’s Customer Appreciation ride in Agoura Hills, I’ve got nothing.

Any suggestions for fun bike activities this weekend? Just leave your suggestions in the comments below, and I’ll forward them.

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Note to Beverly Hills: If the city was safer and more inviting to walk and bike — and stopped fighting transit plans that might relieve your hellish traffic congestion — you might not have that high commercial vacancy rate. And that lack of parking south of Wilshire Blvd wouldn’t really matter.

Just a thought.

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The International Rescue Committee works with LACBC and C.I.C.L.E. to provide bikes and helmets to refugees in L.A. Streetsblog gets L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslovsky on the record supporting bicycling — including a hint that he might support extension of the L.A. River bike Path through Universal Studios — and picks up the story of what to do about trash cans in the bike lane. Just when I finally get the monthly BPIT meeting on my list of events, they move to quarterly meetings, among other changes; LADOT lists bikeways installed so far in year zero of the new bike plan. Downtown News names CicLAvia the best reason to leave your car at home. A Santa Monica writer says cyclists need to tell other riders to obey the law and ride responsibly; I understand the thinking, but does anyone ever say drivers need to tell other motorists to clean up their act? Hear in the City talks to LAPD bike liaison Sgt. David Krumer about the recently passed cyclist anti-harassment ordinance; speaking of which, when can we expect the Mayor’s signature?

In the wake of a recent death, the San Francisco Examiner weighs mandatory helmet use. A San Francisco designer tackles a bike thief; thanks to Steve Herbert for the heads-up. The Sonoma paper considers what they call the peloton of Peter Pans; maybe someone can tell me what riding a bike has to do with refusing to grow up. A California woman rides RAGBRAI on one leg after losing a leg to cancer as a child. Charges have been dropped against an alleged distracted driver who killed a popular Nevada City cyclist. A cyclist files suit after she was snagged by a hot air balloon.

Maybe it’s enough for bike riding to just be, you know, fun. Ten tips to find the right bike, and 10 great American cities for urban riding; any guesses on whether L.A. made the list? Maybe the hysteria over emasculating bike seats is just a tad overblown. Great idea, as towns across the country build Safety Towns to teach bike safe bike riding techniques to kids. A road rage incident with racial overtones ends well, after all. Three suspects have been arrested for assaulting a 71-year old cyclist from a passing car. If you were involved with the late, great Red Zinger/Coors Classic bike races, you’re invited to a reunion; too bad watching the races isn’t enough to get in or I’d be there. Chicago officially unveils its first separated bike lane with a second on the way, even if drivers don’t know what to make of it. After a DC area cyclist is killed in a hit-and-run, Maryland authorities suggest that he shouldn’t have been on the road to begin with. In a nice piece, Zeke finds balance in his life as a bike advocate. Spotting the rare bare-breasted Florida bike thief.

Your next Porsche could fit between your legs if you have a spare $5,000 to $9,000. A cyclist riding from Alaska to Argentina has his bike stolen in Canada. A Toronto columnist discovers the glories of the fixie. An Ottawa paper calls out the bad bicyclist of the day; I’m sure elsewhere on their site they focus on bad drivers, right? After being passed so closely that his bike mirror was smashed, a Canadian cyclist calls for bike training for drivers; maybe the Ottawa paper should post a photo of that driver. A British news anchor asks why cycling fatalities are up while other traffic fatalities are down. A bungling thief rides the bike he’d stolen to a police station to claim his belongings. Best shot yet of Alberto Contador punching an over-aggressive fan in the Tour de France last week; meanwhile, his appeal hearing has been postponed yet again. The infinite jest of the TdF; Dave Moulton calls it a perfect result. Aussie cyclists push for a safe passing law in the wake of Cadel Evans victory in the Tour de France. After getting hit twice, a Kiwi cyclist doubts the value of high-visibility bikewear.

Finally, a cop nails a raccoon and a cyclist with a single shot. A Wisconsin bike thief completes his own unofficial triathlon in an attempt to escape authorities. And the Onion notices our little anti-harassment ordinance; Streetsblog invites you to come up with a better caption.

 

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