Tag Archive for Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition

Morning Links: Deadline for LACBC ED apps extended; Bike League politely abandons Kentucky’s Cherokee Schill

One quick note before we get started.

The LACBC has extended the deadline to apply for the Executive Director position (pdf). If you think you’re up to the challenge of leading one of the nation’s most vibrant and innovative bike advocacy organizations — or know someone who is — you’ve got just a few more weeks to apply.

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The League of American Bicyclists has decided not to actively support Cherokee Schill, the Kentucky cyclist arrested for the crime of riding her bike in the traffic lane.

After analyzing the unique qualities of the state’s antiquated traffic laws, they determined that an argument could be made either way. And since it doesn’t have national implications, they’d rather work to change the law than help fight in court for her right to ride.

Their reasoning makes perfect sense.

But I can’t help thinking they’re leaving her alone to face the legal lions, when they could easily step in to lend a hand.

Because moral support ain’t worth a damn on the streets. Or in the courts.

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Local

The lawyer for the South LA bike rider allegedly beaten by police offers his side of the story.

Bicycling magazine describes the merits of bike-friendly city #28 on their list, also known as the City of Angels.

Santa Monica College is the first California community college to be designated a Bicycle Friendly University.

 

State

California’s own — and now America’s only — Tour de France winner moves forward after 12 years of hell for taking a stand against doping in the peloton.

Laguna Beach riders get a new, continuous north-south route that avoids dangerous PCH.

The Newport Beach City Council is scheduled to vote on adopting the city’s new Bicycle Master Plan on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, friends and family come to the support of the wife of fallen cyclist Shaun Eagleson, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Newport Beach last week.

A teenage bike rider may have suffered serious head trauma when he was hit by a car in Phelan in San Bernardino County.

An estimated 10,000 people turn out for Santa Barbara’s second annual open streets event.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife is going to the mattresses to stop scofflaw off-road riders in the Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve; thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Mountain bikers compete in a 24-hour endurance race in Oroville.

 

National

Bicycling is the new wonder drug.

A new smart bike helmet promises to beam data on your heart rate, calories and performance to your cell phone.

Corvallis OR police are puzzled by a 100% increase in bike thefts over last year.

A Springfield MO man gets seven years in the death of a cyclist who was killed as the man’s girlfriend attempted to flee from him as he chased her through the streets of the town in a stolen car after flashing a gun. Sounds like he got off way too easy.

A Clarksville TN mountain biker wanted a challenging trail to ride, so he built one. Then got hired by the city to build more.

A Chicago cyclist is critically injured when he’s hit by a stolen semi-truck; the driver is arrested after fleeing the scene.

New York’s financially troubled Citi Bike is purchased by a real estate company that owns other bike share programs in North America and Australia.

 

International

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 76-year old UK track cyclist sets a world’s record in the over 75 class.

The Afghan Women’s National Cycling Team has Olympic dreams, despite the difficulties facing women — let alone women cyclists — in their home country.

Nearly 50% of Aussies would bike to work if they received financial incentives to do it.

Evidently, cyclists in Singapore face the same anti-bike clichés as riders in the US. And everywhere else, apparently.

Clearly, distracted driving isn’t just an American problem, as a Chinese bus driver faces criminal charges for killing an elderly bike rider while checking his cell phone. (Fair warning, this story includes video of the collision from the driver’s perspective — something you may not want to see. I know I didn’t.)

 

Finally…

If spandex impacts cyclists’ ability to observe stop signs, then it must affect drivers as well, since 80% of today’s clothes contain at least some of the material. No, seriously, when a highway patrol officer tells you to move your bike, don’t threaten him with a knife.

And in a brilliant idea, Edinburgh, Scotland bans cars from school zones in an attempt to improve safety, something that would undoubtedly cause parental rioting here.

 

LACBC releases latest bike count figures in time for Bike Week

2013-LA-Bike-Count-CoverJust in time for Bike Week, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition has released the results of the city’s latest bike count.

Not that the city itself conducts the count, of course. Even though they should.

Working in conjunction with LA Walks and other groups, more than 400 volunteers conducted the count over a total of six hours at 120 locations throughout the city last September. And the results are intriguing, as the Coalition points out in their press release (pdf), starting with a 7.5% increase in ridership since 2013, driven largely by the addition of 200 miles of new bikeways in the city.

The report also found that:

  • The busiest time for bicycling is the evening commute period, suggesting that most people are riding for transportation.
  • People strongly prefer riding on dedicated facilities like bike paths and bike lanes over streets with no bicycle facilities.
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 bicyclists is female, and female ridership is highest on bike paths and bike lanes, suggesting that the lack of safe and comfortable facilities is causing a gender disparity among bicyclists.
  • Bike lanes improve bicyclist behavior, cutting sidewalk riding in half compared to streets without and reducing wrong-way riding as well.

Interestingly, even though they force riders to share lanes with often unwelcoming drivers, streets where sharrows were installed after earlier counts showed a 132% increase in ridership, though only a 22% increase in ridership compared to similar streets without sharrows.

Meanwhile, bike lanes resulted in an 86% increase in ridership compared to comparable streets. And off-road bike paths showed nearly four times the usage compared to streets with no bike facilities; in fact, a full 25% of the riders counted were on bike paths, despite representing just 8% of the count locations.

Not surprisingly, bicycling was also highest near universities and in low-income communities, which suggests many people may be riding for economic reasons.

Clearly, though, there’s still a lot of work to do.

As Executive Director Jen Klausner puts it in the foreword to the study,

Since the 2010 Bicycle Plan, Los Angeles has expanded its bicycle network at an unprecedented rate, at one point exceeding 100 lane miles in one year. However, most of these miles have consisted of bike lanes “where they fit” and sharrows where bike lanes don’t. The result has been a somewhat fragmented bicycle network primarily designed to avoid impacts to motor vehicle delay rather than designed to meet the needs of people who want to ride a bike. This report makes it clear that where bicycle improvements are made, ridership is up, but that citywide growth is limited by the lack of a connected network of safe bikeways accessible to all Angelenos. 

The report ends with a number of recommendations:

  1. Design streets for people of all ages and abilities
  2. Build a network of protected bikeways, such as the one planned for South Figueroa
  3. Build safe routes to everywhere along Active Streets
  4. Engage communities directly in the design of their streets
  5. Increase age-appropriate opportunities for bicycle safety education
  6. Increase funding for walking, biking and safe routes to schools
  7. Measure results

As noted above, it should be the city’s role to collect the data necessary for effective bicycle planning — not a volunteer effort conducted by a non-profit organization. City planners have been driving blind for far too long; the mayor’s commitment to data-driven accountability must extend to our streets, as well.

Still, the organization should be applauded for taking the responsibility onto their own shoulders. And providing the most detailed look yet at how, where, when and why Angelenos ride their bikes.

You can download the full report here.

 

 

Rolling down Rodeo Drive and the best of the Westside with the LACBC last Sunday

Some of the riders before the start, including the Spoke's Cynthia Rose in the purple top; photo courtesy of Harry Dougherty

Okay, so it turned out to be a very long ride.

When I mapped out a route for the I ♥ the Westside ride, the second in the LACBC’s new series of Sunday Funday rides, I rode the 28 mile route in about two hours without breaking a sweat.

So I added another hour to my estimate to allow for a series of five minute stops to discuss different cities and issues along the way. And then added another half hour just to be safe, and assumed everyone would be on their way home to watch the Super Bowl commercials by 1:30.

Paul Backstrom discusses the proposed Main Street road diet in Venice

Like the song says, it ain’t necessarily so.

What I hadn’t counted on was the need to stop — repeatedly — when riders were cut off by traffic or red lights. Not mention an unexpected encounter with the Sweet E’s Bakeshop truck in Culver City.

I learned a long time ago never to come between cyclists and their cupcakes.

In the end, we got back to our pier-side start point over an hour after what I thought was a very generous worst case scenario.

Rick Risemberg of Bicycle Fixation discusses native plants on Ballona Creek

On the other hand, we made it without a single flat or mechanical problem. And everyone who started out either made it to the finish with the rest of the group, or left along the route to meet other obligations.

That alone made it a successful ride in my book.

I also learned that leading a ride is a lot like hosting a party — you spend so much time looking after everyone that you barely spend time with anyone.

There were a lot of great people that I didn’t get to spend as much time with as I wanted. And some I didn’t get to meet at all, much to my regret. In fact, 42 riders started out, including four new members of the LACBC who signed up that morning.

An unexpected Culver City food truck encounter made it a very sweet ride

And everyone seemed to have a great time, myself included. Then again, any day on a bike is a good day, and the perfect Westside weather and great guest speakers just made it that much better.

We started off with a brief presentation from the LACBC affiliate Santa Monica Spoke’s Cynthia Rose, who offered a brief overview of the many projects the Spoke is working on to make L.A.’s city by the bay live up to it’s bike-friendly status.

After a brief jaunt down Main Street, I asked if anyone could tell me when we left Santa Monica and entered Los Angeles; not surprisingly, almost everyone was able to pinpoint the exact spot where the bike lanes ended, the road widened to two lanes and traffic sped up.

Jim Shanman discusses the work of the recently formed Culver City Bicycle Coalition

That lead to Paul Backstrom from Councilmember Bill Rosendahl’s office speaking for a few minutes about the proposed road diet that would tame the L.A. section of Main, by creating a mirror image of the Santa Monica stretch. He noted that the city is working on solutions to move the bike lanes that would result out of the door zone, which has been fairly criticized in the original plans.

As we rode up Ballona Creek, Rick Risemberg, aka Mr. Bicycle Fixation and one of the city’s leading bike advocates, volunteered to talk about the native plants and rest area that had recently been installed along the bikeway, as well as a water filtration system designed to keep pollutants out of the bay.

Bikes roll down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills; photo courtesy of Joni Yung

When we got to Culver City, Jim Shanman spoke briefly about the efforts of the newly formed Culver City Bicycle Coalition and their work on the new Culver City bike plan. And invited everyone to come back to participate in the LACBC-affiliate group’s next monthly Family Ride on the 27th.

One of my first thoughts in planning this ride had been that I wanted to see bikes rolling down Ferrari, Rolls Royce and Bentley-choked Rodeo drive. But I regretted that I hadn’t had time to reach out to Mark Elliot of the group Better Bike Beverly Hills — yes, yet another LACBC affiliate — to join us on the ride.

Mark Elliot talks about Better Bike Beverly Hills' work to make the city friendlier to bikes

So while we were stopped in Culver City, I asked if any of the riders were from Beverly Hills. When one man raised his hand, I asked if he was involved with the BBBH.

He introduced himself as Mark, and said “I founded it.”

That was how I finally met Mark Elliot, one of my personal heroes among local bike advocates, if only because he’s taken on one of the hardest battles in the L.A. area.

So when we got to Beverly Hills — which currently lacks a single inch of bike lane — Mark spoke about the work his group has been doing to transform the Westside’s bicycling black hole into something more ridable. Including the group’s efforts to capitalize on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to restructure Santa Monica Blvd to make it, not just safe for cyclists, but actually inviting for the countless riders who now go out of their way to avoid it.

I talked about the decline of Westwood and biking through the VA; photo courtesy of Joni Yung

At our stop in Westwood Village, I spoke briefly about the decline of one of the city’s most beautiful neighborhoods, and my personal vision to turn Westwood Blvd into a pedestrian walkway from Wilshire to the UCLA campus. We also discussed the new Veterans Administration master plan and the importance of regaining bike access through the Los Angeles National Cemetery, which was closed to bikes after 9/11 — evidently because of the threat that bicycles would pose to all the people buried there.

LACBC Executive Director Jen Klausner talks about the perils of riding and walking in Brentwood

Finally, Jen Klausner, Executive Director of the LACBC, spoke about the dangers that cyclists and pedestrians face in the Brentwood area, as well as the lack of adequate infrastructure to protect them from the dangerous behaviors and sense of entitlement displayed by many Westside drivers.

In the end, it was a great day, combining a fun, beautiful ride with an overview of local advocacy.

LACBC board member Alex Amerri (in white) will lead the next Sunday Funday ride March 6th

And it sets the stage for next month’s Sunday Funday #3, in which fellow board member Alex Amerri will lead a fast-paced 62-mile ride through the north San Gabriel Valley.

And riders on that one probably won’t have to worry about the group being broken up by red lights.

My thanks to everyone who turned out for the ride, especially Cynthia Rose, Paul Backstrom, Jim Stanman and Mark Elliot for their help in discussing the issues and opportunities for bicycling on the Westside. And special thanks to the LACBC’s Jen Klausner, Joni Yung, Alex Amerri, Greg Laemmle, Carol Feucht and Martin Lopez-lu for making it a success.

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Photo courtesy of Harry Dougherty

 

Harry Dougherty offers a great set of photos from Sunday’s ride — definitely better than my feeble attempts and worth the click to take a look.

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LAB calls on Colorado cyclists to support proposed legislation to fight the Black Hawk bike ban. I’d go a step further and encourage any cyclists to write in to support the legislation; Colorado’s economy depends on tourism, so your opinions on the misguided ban on bikes that could affect your decision to visit the state matters.

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The LACBC notes that a second workshop will be held Thursday night on the proposed redesign of the South Figueroa Corridor that could result in the city’s first true Complete Street, incorporating real pedestrian and bike access.

And don’t forget Wednesday’s 2:30 pm joint meeting of the City Council Transportation and Planning and Land Use Committees at Downtown City Hall to consider the city’s draft bike plan; this is the last public hearing before it goes to the full Council for approval. At the moment, it looks like illness will keep me away, but I urge you to show your support if you can make it.

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Kids, don’t try this at home! A cyclist was injured in a collision with a Blue Line train on Monday. According to authorities, he was holding onto a moving bus while wearing headphones and turned into the train when he let go.

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Long Beach finally eliminates their illegal bike licensing law. A driver sticks her neck out to support the Wilbur Ave road diet (scroll down). RSVP now for a free bicycle inspection and safety check workshop at the Bike Oven Wednesday night. The city’s first bike corral will be officially unveiled Friday morning in front of Café de Leche in Highland Park. CicLAvia invites you to help extend its route into South L.A. Flying Pigeon blogger Mickey Wally offers more of his great urban cycling photos. Green LA Girl talks with Jessica Meaney of Safe Routes to Schools. Car-less Valley Girl asks drivers not to mess with the balance on the street. How to contest a bad police collision report. Charlie Gandy talks about Long Beach’s bike-friendly successes in Corona del Mar. Tracking San Francisco’s most dangerous streets for cyclists. The Bay Citizen analyzes two years of bike collision data, and finds riders responsible for most wrecks — with the chief cause pedaling too fast. Huh? Now this kind of harassment from a passing car I wouldn’t complain about.

Dave Moulton says learn something from DC’s Swanson case, and don’t let matters surrounding the death of cyclist Ben Acree in San Diego last weekend drag on for three years. Better food and bicycling could be the cure for childhood obesity. If there’s a war on cars, then why are so many of the victims pedestrians (and cyclists)? Portland authorities search for the hit-and-run schmuck who ran down a stage 4 cancer patient. A Seattle lawyer jumps head-first into the Great Helmet Debate, concluding skid lids leave a lot to be desired. A Washington woman wins a lawsuit against REI for a defective bike part one day after she died in a backcountry accident. A Minneapolis study clearly shows the rate of bike crashes goes down as ridership increases. New York cyclists are up in arms over a citation to a rider for not wearing a helmet — even though that’s not illegal under New York law. A HuffPo writer urges a backlash to the New York anti-bike backlash. More than half a million New Yorkers ride more than once a month, but the Daily News hasn’t seemed to notice; makes you wonder what other stories they might be missing.

Brit blue-eyed soul singer Adele rides a bike. Pro cyclist Riccardo Riccò is hospitalized with kidney failure after allegedly botching a transfusion in an attempt to kick-start his comeback from a 2008 doping ban, while TdF winner Alberto Contador plans to fight the relative slap on the wrist Spanish authorities are reportedly planning to give him. Somehow, people shocked! shocked! to discover the windshield perspective of the host of the BBC’s top-rated Top Gear show; BBC radio is starting a 10 part series on the history of the bike.  L.A. cyclists have to contend with big ugly cars, while Dutch cyclists have to worry about big friendly dogs. The 2012 Olympic road course will finish with a sprint ending at Buckingham Palace; no word on whether the Queen’s corgis will be in attendance.

Finally, a non-bike related conclusion as a motorcyclist’s helmet cam shows exactly what it’s like to get rear-ended at stop, but without the pain, courtesy of Cyclelicious. Will Campbell plans a train-assisted March March through the real Eastside along historic Whittier Blvd; knowing both Will and Whittier, this one you won’t want to miss.

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