Tag Archive for Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition

Morning Links: Erik Jansen replaces Tamika Butler as LACBC ED; Delaware could adopt Idaho Stop

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition has decided to promote from within, turning to interim Executive Director Erik Jansen to replace the irreplaceable Tamika Butler as head of the coalition.

Jansen, the Deputy Executive Director of Advancement, stepped up to fill the void after Butler announced her resignation last June. And was selected to remain as head of the organization by the coalition’s board of directors, following a nationwide search.

Building upon the national reputation the LACBC enjoyed under previous ED Jennifer Klausner for its groundbreaking efforts to reach out to LA’s immigrant community, Tamika Butler led the organization in refocusing its efforts on building equity in underserved communities.

And in doing so, became a leading voice for the underprivileged and people of color within the bicycling community nationwide.

Now it will be interesting to see if Jansen continues those efforts, or moves the LACBC back to a more mainstream form of bicycle advocacy.

He comes at a time of unprecedented bikelash in the City of Angels, with bike lanes and safety projects under fire in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey. And as a lawsuit against the city, and a recall campaign to unseat Councilmember Mike Bonin, attempt to derail LA’s Vision Zero program and intimidate councilmembers to prevent any future lane reductions.

The LACBC has grown to become a mature advocacy group over the past several years. And will need strong leadership to help LA become the bikeable, livable community it must become.

You can meet Erik Jansen when the LACBC hosts a Handlebar Happy Hour at Pure Cycles in Burbank tonight, with free food and drink courtesy of BikinginLA sponsor Jim Pocrass.

Photo from LACBC.

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Delaware could become just the second state in the country to legalize the Idaho Stop.

Hopefully California won’t be too far behind.

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Male pro cyclists get a boost in the minimum wage, but women riders still don’t even have a guarantee of getting paid.

Britain governing body for cycling hopes to create a women’s cycling team patterned on the successful Team Sky.

A reminder to always cover-up or wear sunscreen when you ride, as retired Columbian racer Lucho Herrera blames cycling for his skin cancer. Something I can relate to, and more than once.

Sometimes a wicked time trial crash is the best form of advertising.

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Local

KPCC reports on the bike and pedestrian count conducted over the weekend by Los Angeles Walks and the LACBC.

The MyFigueroa project is just one of the projects changing the face of DTLA’s Figueroa corridor.

UCLA will launch an on-campus bikeshare program next week.

KNBC-4 looks at the COAST Open Streets Festival coming to Santa Monica this Sunday.

 

State

The San Diego Bicycle Coalition is looking for public input on plans for the pre-Halloween CicloSDias open streets event to be held next month.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 81-year old North San Diego County man rode 4,200 miles across Canada in 56 days as part of a church group ride.

San Francisco moves forward with plans to sort of crack down on bicycle chop shops without actually making them illegal; a homeless advocate argues that they’re just an entrepreneurial way to for homeless people to make a living recycling bike parts that they happen to find. Except too often, they happen to find bikes that belong to other people.

A 63-year old Napa woman is back home after riding solo 5,000 miles across the US.

 

National

The Denver Post lists Colorado’s best mountain bike trails for your next trip to the Centennial State.

Police in Colorado arrested a man accused of threatening mountain bike riders with a hatchet, on the same trail where a rider was fatally shot a week earlier.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever ambushed a 13-year old Colorado boy in a park to steal his bicycle.

A 19-year old Fargo SD man was killed in a bicycle collision over the weekend, three years after he was deliberately run down in a dispute with a breakaway Mormon religious sect while riding his bike in Utah.

Bike lanes get the blame for traffic congestion in Minneapolis, even though construction projects are likely the real culprits. Never mind that the local TV station couldn’t seem to find any traffic backups to show in the report, despite taking the time to count bikes and cars during the morning and evening rush hours.

The Today Show’s Al Roker is one of us, making room on his daily bike commute for new co-star Megyn Kelly.

No bias here. When a bikeshare rider was hit by a New York Uber driver, the NYPD went out of its way to blame the victim, even though a witness said the driver was at fault.

 

International

Mexico City residents are using bicycles to deliver emergency supplies and help victims of last week’s earthquake.

The war on bikes continues. A Montreal man was seriously injured when he fell off his bike trying to avoid fishing line that had been strung at neck level across a bridge on a bike path.

A Toronto bike rider says the city’s car-first policies create a war on people, as a backlash results in the removal of stop signs that had gone through a community-driven public approval process.

Kindhearted Brits contribute the equivalent of $4,000 to replace the custom-made trike that allowed a man with cerebral palsy to ride, after his was stolen.

The Guardian says government efforts to criminalize reckless bicycling in the UK are ignoring the cause of 99% of the country’s fatal crashes to focus on just 0.12% of them, calling it headline grabbing hypocrisy.

Amsterdam is cracking down on unauthorized dockless bikeshare systems.

An Istanbul man fights his own depression by documenting his journeys around Turkey on his 1960s bicycle with photos and inspiring messages, earning 130,000 Instagram followers in the process.

An Israeli website takes a two-wheeled tor through bicycle history in the county.

Someone is dumping dockless bikeshare bikes into an Australian river; contractors pulled out 40 bicycles in just four hours. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

China’s Mobike and Ofo are battling for world domination in the dockless bikeshare market.

 

Finally…

Next time you sign up for a bike race, make sure it’s in the right country. Your next jean jacket could be more connected than a mafia hitman.

And now you, too, can live like America’s only remaining Tour de France winner for just $5 million.

 

Morning Links: LACBC steps up for safer streets in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey, and looks to replace Tamika Butler

The LACBC is joining the fight over streets in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey.

Which is good news for everyone who’s been trying to hold their own against the onslaught of angry drivers in the fight for safer streets.

Especially the beleaguered Peter Flax, who has been leading the fight on Twitter and Facebook — at least until they blocked him — as well as in the opinion pages of the LA Times.

But it is the roll of the LACBC, aka Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, to step up and organize the opposition to the opposition, and help keep these much needed safety improvements in place.

Street safety projects on the Westside have come under attack. If opposition to safe streets succeeds in getting these projects removed, it could stifle similar projects across the city…

Some drivers using these corridors have grown impatient because they are unable to travel at the same unsafe high speeds as they previously could. However, LADOT continues working to improve the synchronization of signal lights to help improve traffic flow, while also keeping streets safe for all who use the corridor throughout their day, including drivers.

Despite the great public benefit, these projects unfortunately have come under attack amid a flurry of misinformation being circulated about the projects. There is some concern that they will be removed, but there are actions you can take to make sure that the streets are safer for the communities of Mar Vista and Playa Del Rey.

They share these tips for how you can get more involved.

Want to take action? 

Help make sure these street safety projects are a success and show your support by:

JOINING our Sunday Funday Ride on the Westside this Sunday, July 2nd at 9:30am. We’ll tour the safety improvements in Playa del Rey and Mar Vista. The ride will roll-out at 10am and be approximately 14 miles at an easy-moderate pace. We’ll also make a stop at Mar Vista Farmers Market for a buy-in to show local support for businesses and share fact sheets.

SHARING on social media! Tweet and post photos of your ride through Venice, Jefferson, and Culver Boulevards, and Pershing Drive on the new bike lanes!

Use #SaferVeniceBlvd#SaferJeffersonBlvd#SaferCulverBlvd, and #SaferPershingDr to share your message with fellow safe streets advocates.

VOLUNTEERING for our LACBC phone bank on Wednesday, July 5th anytime between 4:00pm and 8:00pm at our Headquarters. We will be calling members and allies to take action in support of Vision Zero and the new safety improvements! RSVP by email to [email protected].

ATTENDING the Wednesday, July 5th Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC)meeting at the Canal Club at 7:00pm! The VNC Parking & Transportation Committee and Board of Directors Meeting will be discussing Venice Blvd, and there will be an opportunity to provide public comment and vote. Don’t forget to share on social media if you show up!

ATTENDING the Tuesday, July 11th Mar Vista Community Council(MVCC) meeting at the Mar Vista Recreation Center at 7:00pm! The MVCC will be taking action on the bike lanes and it’s critical for us to show up and let them know these lanes are essential for safe Westside streets. If you plan to attend, please let us know by signing in here so we can keep you up to date and help prepare you for public comment. Don’t forget to share on social media if you show up!

SUPPORTING all of LACBC’s work on advocating for safer streets by becoming a memberrenewing your membership, or making a donation.

EMAILING the Mar Vista Community Council and Venice Neighborhood Council TODAY to show your support for street safety improvements on Venice Blvd.

You can find a sample email on the LACBC’s call to action (scroll down to the bottom).

Meanwhile, a Manhattan Beach resident says people from out of town who use Vista del Mar and Culver Boulevard should have been consulted before any changes were made.

You know, just like they consulted LA before calming all those streets in Manhattan Beach.

And offering to pay the legal settlement the next time someone gets killed.

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Speaking of the LACBC, they’re looking for a new executive director to replace the irreplaceable Tamika Butler, who helped lift the organization onto the national stage, and into the debate over bikes and equity.

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How’s this for irony? Lance Armstrong lost his seven Tour de France title for doping with EPO. Now it turns out it probably didn’t do anything to boost his performance. And could give you a heart attack.

Belgian rider Jan Bakelants apologized for suggestive remarks about female hostesses — aka podium girls — at the Tour de France, saying he was just trying to be funny. And not really suggesting they were easy, and probably diseased, which is basically what he said.

No Autobahn here. German time trial specialist Tony Martin will ride a bike designed to pay homage to electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk in Saturday’s Dusseldorf TdF prologue.

Forget all that racing in the Tour de France, ABC would rather just talk about the specter of doping.

Three prominent Irish cycling figures have joined the protest over women racers competing in the country’s national championships being told to get the hell off the course to make way for the men before their race was over.

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Local

Metro Bike is celebrating its first birthday at the Wheelhouse next Thursday.

Maybe you should ride through Eagle Rock or Burbank instead. Glendale has ranked near the bottom of the list of America’s worst drivers for 12 years in a row; needless to say, city officials disagree.

West Covina is looking for input on a new Active Transportation Master Plan, aka Pedestrian and Bike Plan; you can respond through the online survey, or attend an open house workshop July 26th.

 

State

The town council in San Diego’s Ocean Beach neighborhood is seriously considering turning Bacon Street into a bicycle boulevard. Oddly, no one there seems to have any problem with the term bike boulevard, which bike advocates and DOTs are loath to use these days.

San Diego police are using bait bikes to combat bike thieves in Pacific Beach. Something we still haven’t been able to talk the LAPD into trying.

The Desert Sun offers a tutorial on the oddly controversial CV Link multi-use path through the Coachella Valley.

 

National

CNN looks at Mark Beaumont’s attempt to bike around the world in just 80 days, nine years after he set a record by doing it in 115 days more.

Bicycling crosses an advertorial line, posting what’s nothing more than an ad for Performance Bike in the guise of an article. Which could get them in serious trouble if they were compensated for it.

It should come as no surprise that traffic fatalities involving vulnerable road users ranks as the fourth leading cause of preventable death in the US.

A Seattle woman has filed a pair of $300,000 claims against the city and its transit agency after falling on trolley tracks, exactly one year to the day after another woman was killed in the same spot.

You may lose your ass inside a Las Vegas casino, but you can save half off the price of pedaling it to the next one on a bikeshare bike this summer.

A Utah man is alleging that a cop deliberately kneed him in the back, breaking his ribs and puncturing his lung, after he attempted to flee from a traffic stop on his bicycle; the officers say they initially tried to stop him because he was riding the wrong way on the sidewalk. Unless the law is different in Utah — which I doubt — sidewalks are considered bi-directional, so there is no wrong way. Which would mean there was no probable cause for the stop, or anything that followed.

A South Carolina man is visiting Las Cruces NM on a cross-country bike ride, 50 years after he saved a boy’s life on a similar trek. And met Clint Eastwood, too.

Good news from Austin TX, where kindhearted strangers have raised $13,000 for the Spanish-speaking bike rider who was shot in the face with a shotgun by a teenager in a passing car, who told police he was just looking to blow off some steam. Instead he nearly blew Alonso Solis’ face off, as well as the next several years of his own life. Thanks to Steve Katz for the heads-up.

After making it big via Shark Tank, a Dallas entrepreneur is sharing the wealth by giving away custom bikes to pediatric cancer patients.

Chicago city trucks will be retrofitted with side guards to protect bicyclists and pedestrians from getting run over by the trucks’ rear wheels. Something that should be done here in LA. And everywhere else, for that matter.

You could be the proud owner of the 40-acre Minnesota estate currently owned by America’s last remaining Tour de France winner for just $5 million. Which is pretty much the price of a tear-down in Manhattan Beach.

If you’re going to pile all of your belongings on your van before hitting a New Hampshire highway, at least use a bike rack.

New York police are looking for a bike-riding jerk who punched a disabled man who was using a walker covered with LGBTQ stickers; they’re investigating the attack as a hate crime. Proof that people on bikes can be bigoted assholes, just like anyone else.

New York chef Daniel Humm is one of us, going from competitive Swiss cyclist to arguably the world’s best chef.

A Baton Rouge LA bike rider was murdered in an apparently random attack after being approached by the suspects as he was riding on the street.

 

International

Apparently, bike cams have been around since at least the ‘80s. No, the 1880s.

After a bike-riding Montreal purse thief snatched a handbag from a woman visiting a cemetery, she chased after him with her SUV, ending up with her car against a tree with the thief under it.

A London travel writer visits the German hometown of the bicycle on the 200th anniversary of the first Draisine, which was basically a wooden adult balance bike.

Before launching in soggy Manchester, England, a dockless bikeshare company tested their bikes in a Chinese river to make sure they could stand up to the weather.

Swansea soccer player Fernando Llorente is one of us, too, as he suffered a broken arm while riding his bike, and may not be ready for the August start of the Premier League season.

Caught on video: A British bike rider was taken down by a dog that lunged at him as he rode by, then tried to attack him as the dog’s owner tried to help.

Caught on video too: A “secret” cyclist in the UK offers evidence of just how badly bike riders are treated on the streets.

Ten years after an accident left him paralyzed from the waist down, a British man is using a handcycle to ride 2,250 miles around the coast of England and Wales.

A Rwandan writer gets it, calling for the country to promote bicycling as a sport, as well as a means of transportation, and a strategy for health intervention.

A South African newspaper offers advice for the fashion conscious cyclist. Which is really has nothing to do with fashion, and more to do with comfort and practicality.

Bicycling has become an integral part of women’s lives in Malaysia.

 

Finally…

No, your bike is not the proper tool to halt a pair of tools having sex in public. Repeat after me: If you’re going to use a bike as your bank robbing getaway vehicle, get your hair done first.

And if you’re riding your bike with dope, a stolen gun and outstanding warrants, signal your effing turns.

Thanks to Niall Huffman for the featured photo of the Mar Vista road diet on Venice Blvd.

Morning Links: Whittier bike rider dies of heart attack, LACBC hosts cop talk, and Amgen ToC comes back to SoCal

Sometimes the dangers we face don’t come from careless drivers, but from our own bodies.

That was the case last month, when the owner of the Toyota of Whittier dealership died of an apparent heart attack while riding on the Greenway Trail. Curt James was just 53 when he succumbed on October 21st, while riding the bicycle he had purchased in July.

His death serves as a tragic reminder that while bicycling may be good for your health, you should always talk to your doctor before changing your riding habits or beginning any new physical activity.

His death is the 68th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 28th in Los Angeles County; at least four of those deaths have been due to natural causes.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Curt James and all his family.

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As we mentioned last week, BikinginLA sponsor Jim Pocrass will be part of a free panel discussion on bicycle laws hosted by the LACBC on November 14th, along with representatives of the LAPD, CHP and LA County Sheriff’s Department.

ask_an_officer_flyer_f

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Next year’s Amgen Tour of California — America’s only men’s WorldTour race — will feature four SoCal stages, with finishes in Santa Clarita, Mount Baldy and Big Bear, along with the final stage in Pasadena. It won’t drop south of Los Angeles this time, although it may come back to San Diego in the future.

Cycling Tips talks with LA pro cyclist Phil Gaimon about retirement and reinvention. Or you can hear Gaimon speak for himself on his weekly podcast.

Petaluma’s Alison Tetrick became a successful pro cyclist after trading one saddle for another.

The German-based Giant-Alpecin cycling team is looking for closure in civil and criminal cases against the 73-year old British driver who crashed head-on into six members of the team on a training ride last year.

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Local

A writer for the Guardian looks at three American cities addicted to cars and their efforts to kick the habit, including our own City of Angels. And goes for an informative ride with Streetsblog’s Joe Linton.

The LACBC offers their endorsements on the local measures on Tuesday’s ballot, along with a questionnaire from county commissioner candidate Janice Hahn. It says something about our local government that Hahn wants to step down from the US Congress to serve on the county board. And I’m not sure that it’s good.

KPCC’s AirTalk program examines five things you should know before voting on Measure M.

A bike rider standing on a Norwalk street corner pulled out a rifle and took several shots at a motorist who slowed down because he thought the man looked suspicious. Evidently, he was right.

 

State

Oceanside hosts a century ride this Saturday with the Bike the Coast/Taste the Coast Ride and Exposition.

San Diego’s eight-term Republican Congressman Darrel Issa campaigns by bicycle as he struggles to retain his seat.

The San Diego Bike Coalition is giving away free bike lights this afternoon in anticipation of the clock change this weekend.

Hesperia authorities are looking for a bike-riding man in a hockey mask who stabbed another man outside a convenience store.

The San Luis Obispo sheriff’s office is looking for unloved bicycles that can be refurbished and given to kids for the holiday’s. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

 

National

Outside Magazine sounds the death knell for the local bike shop, as they face increased competition from direct-to-consumer sales by bike makers. Although online dealers can’t set up your bike for you, and won’t be there for you when you need help down the road.

Evidently, a Portland driver thought repeatedly driving on a suspended license was funny, even after he killed an innocent bike rider.

A Seattle bike writer says plans for a new eight-lane waterfront roadway are too car-centric, despite having pedestrian and bicycle pathways.

A Colorado city is spending $30,000 to rip out bike lanes on one street, after spending $39,000 to paint them. All because confused drivers couldn’t figure out what to make of them.

The Guardian offers a photographic look at Detroit’s custom bicycles. Some of which almost stack up to LA’s own East Side Riders.

Bighearted Connecticut cops buy a 14-year old boy a new bike after his was stolen at gunpoint.

After years of complaints, New York asks bicyclists to report blocked bike lanes. Whether that will have any effect on the NYPD, which is among the city’s worst offenders, remains to be seen.

A road raging New Orleans-area cyclist faces charges for punching a woman in the face after she honked at him for swerving into his traffic lane. No matter what a driver may do, violence is never the answer. Period.

A Florida newspaper gets it, saying the death of a young cyclist should be a wakeup call for a community that too often gets caught up in debates over bike lanes, and misses the point that better-designed roads are safer for everyone. Actually, any traffic death, anywhere, should be a wakeup call, but seldom is.

Apparently, if you want to avoid jail time for a fatal hit-and-run, you just have to be old. An 89-year old Florida man got one year of house arrest for fleeing the scene after killing a man riding a bicycle; on the other hand, he won’t be able to legally drive again until he’s 99.

 

International

A travel website lists the Europe’s five most epic cycling climbs.

If you have wear hi-viz, at least it can look good.

Police in a British city insist they don’t have the manpower to investigate dangerously close passes, but do have the time to stop 450 law abiding bike riders to give them a safety chat.

A New Zealand bike rider gets 20 points against his driver’s license for riding through a stop sign, even though he doesn’t have one.

Life is cheap in Singapore, where a bus driver got a whole 15 days for carelessly killing an elderly bike rider. Meanwhile, a writer says the island city/state must do more to make bicycling a better alternative to driving. Like maybe stopping bus drivers from killing people.

 

Finally…

Stressing over KOMs can be harmful to your relationship. Who needs an engine when your car has pedals?

And yes, you can be a country music star and still wear spandex when you ride your bicycle.

 

Morning Links: Kick off Bike Month — and get bike swag — with the first ever BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive

Bike month officially started yesterday with the beginning of the National Bike Challenge.

And to celebrate, I’ve started my own bike challenge.

I’m challenging you — yes, you — to become a member of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition this month. Or if you’re already a member, to renew your membership through this site before the month is over.

Because this marks the beginning of the first ever BikinginLA LACBC membership drive, with a goal of 100 new or renewing members during the month of May.

That’s just over three people a day.

In other words, you and two others.

Or looking at it another way, less than 1% of the people who will visit this site this month. Okay, a lot less.

Get your friends to join. Your co-workers. Your sister. Your brother-in-law. Anyone who rides a bike in LA County, whether you’re a bike commuter, a committed roadie, an offroad rider or someone who cruises along the beach every now and then.

You don’t even have to own a bike, or live here in LA. Just support a better, more livable and bikeable community for all us.

Simply put, the LACBC is the leading voice for bike riders in the City and County of Angels, advocating for safety, equity and justice for cyclists in the halls of government, with elected leaders and before boards like Metro and the Southern California Association of Governments.

As well as with cities and universities throughout the county through the LACBC’s local chapters and Neighborhood Bike Ambassador program, giving you a far more powerful voice in your own community.

Of course, it’s not all about fighting the good fight.

The LACBC is also about doing the right thing. Like handing out over 2,000 free bike lights through their Operation Firefly. Creating a free pocket guide to the rights and responsibilities of cyclists. Doing the job the city should do by conducting bi-annual bike counts. And working tirelessly to pass and defend LA’s new bike-friendly Mobility Plan.

It’s also about having fun, with monthly Sunday Funday rides. The annual Open House and Firefly Ball. As well as various other activities throughout the year, including the upcoming, hugely popular LA River Ride.

Not to mention discounts at bike shops, restaurants and retailers throughout the LA area.

Better yet, sign up as part of this membership drive, and you’ll get cool bike swag through an exclusive arrangement with the LACBC, with memberships starting at an ultra-low $20.

So what are you waiting for?

Show your support for the LACBC — and BikinginLA — and sign up today.

Full disclosure: After six and a half years as an LACBC board member, I’ll be leaving the board after the June meeting due to my ongoing health issues; I’m simply not able to devote the time and effort I feel the position deserves. However, I continue to support the LACBC, and will remain a member for as long as I’m able to ride a bike in this city, and maybe longer; in fact, I just renewed my own membership.

This membership drive will be my last official act as a board member before I step down. So please, let’s make it a successful one.

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Speaking of the LACBC, they’re in the market for a senior programs director and an organizer, both full-time, as well as a policy and outreach intern.

They’ve also opened up the search for new members of the Board of Directors.

And no, not just to replace me.

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LA gets its first permanent ghost bike memorial to honor Australian tourist James Rapley, who was killed by a stoned driver while riding in the uphill bike lane on Temescal Canyon.

ghost bike

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The Daily Breeze offers an update on the condition of Palos Verdes muralist Steve Shriver, who was critically injured when he was hit by two cars while riding on PCH in Malibu as he was heading home as part of a club century ride.

The paper reports he’s out of the ICU, but no word yet on whether he will suffer lasting injuries.

So far, a fund to help cover his medical expenses has raise nearly $82,000 out of a requested $250,000.

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Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson is always funny. But some days, he also offers important information for anyone who rides a bike.

Today is one of those days, as he tells you how to file a police report about a threatening driver.

And why you have to.

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South Pasadena is gearing up to host the second stage of the Amgen Tour of California on the 17th; Cycling Weekly offers a stage-by-stage breakdown of the race.

Pro cyclist Simon Yates escapes punishment, at least for now, as British Cycling says the banned substance he was busted for was an inhaler for his documented asthma problems. And yes, many elite cyclists really do have exercise-induced asthma.

Pro cycling’s governing body is using a specialized scanner they say is highly effective in examining bikes for hidden motors. On the other hand, if they haven’t uncovered any motor doping after examining over 500 bicycles, is it because no one is cheating or because the scanner’s not as effective as they think?

Cyclists rally around four-time national champion Mark Scott at this past weekend’s Dana Point Gran Prix, organizing a bone marrow drive for Scott, who needs a transplant to live.

And once again, a race moto caused a major cycling crash, as nearly the entire peloton competing in New York’s Red Hook Classic piled into the lead motorcycle after it stalled on the course just seconds after the start of the race.

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Local

Work will finally begin on removing the flood control barriers blocking the LA River bike path, although there’s no timetable for completion.

The head of the LA County Health Agency reacts to being called a faggot while riding his bike. Although it’s unlikely the jerk called him that because he somehow intuited that he was gay; for a subset of indignorant drivers, that’s the term for anyone who rides a bike. Because “real men” drive cars, of course.

Richard Risemberg got cut off by an SUV driver who was clearly in the wrong, but chose not to respond in kind after the driver took it out on him anyway. As he says, it’s an old story, and one we’ve all seen too many times.

Santa Monica will host its first ciclovía on June 5th, with a two-mile route along Ocean, Colorado and Main through downtown SaMo.

Glendora will host a family bike safety rally next Saturday.

Unmapped utility lines and other objects are causing unexpected delays in remaking Carson’s eponymous main street into a Complete Street, adversely affecting businesses along the route.

 

State

A bill in the state legislature, AB 516, would require temporary plates on all new vehicles. The lack of temporary plates makes it nearly impossible to identify hit-and-run drivers, which is one reason they’re required in many other states.

A Hesperia cyclist suffered major injuries when he was rear-ended by the driver of an SUV.

Santa Barbara appears ready to choose parking over bike lanes, shunting riders off to a side street and away from the businesses that could use their patronage.

A San Jose columnist explains what sharrows are all about, and actually gets it right.

A 29-year old Texas man was fatally shot while riding in a bike lane in Oakland; no motive has been established, but police don’t believe it was robbery.

Sacramento police bust a bike thief and recover 60 stolen bikes.

 

National

A pair of British Bobbies biking down the full length of the left coast make a stop in Oregon.

Denver installs a bollard-protected gutter, unwittingly turning the painted bike lane to its left into a loading zone.

A team at the University of Colorado is crowdfunding a bicycle designed for people who weigh up to 450 pounds; the leader of the team lost 160 pounds himself.

Thirty thousand bike riders turn out for New York’s annual Five Boro Bike Tour.

Black Girls Do Bike is expanding with chapters around the US after starting with a Pittsburgh woman’s Facebook group.

Amtrak adds carry-on bike service on the Vermonter from DC through New England.

A New Orleans man is found guilty of manslaughter for fatally shooting the man who was stealing his bicycle; his ex-girlfriend testified that he beat her with a shotgun while she was pregnant.

 

International

A cyclist raced a transit user and a driver to downtown Calgary during the morning commute. And as usual, the bike rider won — even though he was just 11 years old.

Call it Lili’s Secret, as a woman in the UK makes padded women’s cycling underwear that looks more like lingerie.

Caught on video: Usually police look for hit-and-run drivers; a London cop was one as he drove off after hitting a Critical Mass cyclist and destroying his bike.

Paris continues to restrict the use of motor vehicles in order to fight toxic smog levels.

A Swiss canton will install fences to protect bike riders and hikers from killer cows. Yes, cows. Now try not to have nightmares about that one.

Even members of India’s Parliament face speeding drivers, harassment from police and risk having their tires punctured when they ride to work.

An Australian bike rider is threatened with a fine for a law that doesn’t even take effect until next year; meanwhile an Aussie cyclist makes a very tongue-in-cheek call for licensing kangaroos, insisting the animals act like they own the road.

A track cyclist and bike commuter says she’s had it with riding Down Under after she’s punched by a pedestrian, who said he wouldn’t respect her until she got a license and paid road tax.

A Kiwi driver deliberately runs down a cyclist to recover the mountain bike the other man had stolen from him.

Five hundred people applied to take part in last year’s Tibet Challenge, a 10-day ride through the snow-covered peaks of China and Tibet; just 31 were selected. And only nine finished.

A two-year old girl is dead after a speeding driver plows into two separate bicycles in a Bangkok serial hit-and-run; the owner of the car is under arrest on drug charges after turning himself in several hours later, but claims he wasn’t behind the wheel. Don’t watch the video on that link. Trust me.

A Hong Kong man is riding nearly 12,000 miles to Norway on a homemade bamboo bike.

 

Finally…

Get hit by a car while riding your bike, and have a miracle post-menopause baby — and wake up speaking French with a South African accent. Probably not the best idea to steal a bike in front of a martial arts class.

And not even horses are safe in bike lanes.

 

Breaking news: LACBC hires Tamika Butler as Executive Director

New LACBC Executive Director Tamika Butler; photo courtesy of LACBC

New Executive Director Tamika Butler; photo courtesy of LACBC

Finally, we see white smoke rising above the Downtown headquarters of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

Three months after long-time Executive Director Jen Klausner announced she’d be leaving at the end of the year, the LACBC has hired lawyer and non-profit executive Tamika Butler to lead the organization into its next phase of growth.

The hire comes at the end of an exhaustive, nationwide search that brought in resumes from nearly 100 qualified applicants, which was slowly whittled down to a final three before Butler was offered the job.

I’m told it was a very difficult decision. But at every phase, Butler stood out for her experience in leading a non-profit advocacy organization, as well as her focus on building membership and reaching out to the many diverse, and too often undeserved, communities that make up the City of Angels.

She has big bike shoes to fill.

Klausner has been the face of the LACBC for seven years, taking the bike coalition from adolescence to an award-winning organization with a national reputation and influence far beyond its size. And the only leader of the coalition most of us have ever known.

The thought of replacing her was, as the movie says, inconceivable.

Which is why Butler steps into the same role, not as her replacement, but as someone dedicated to building on the organization’s success, and leading it into even greater growth and influence.

She brings a new face, new ideas and fresh enthusiasm for building a better, safer and more enjoyable community for everyone who travels on two wheels. As well as all those who have been reluctant to give it a try, or thought bicycling just wasn’t for someone like them.

She is not the new Jen Klausner.

She is Tamika Butler, the next leader of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

And by all accounts, the coalition is very lucky to have her.

You can read the LACBC’s full press release announcing her hire below.

……..

Introducing the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s new Executive Director!

After an extensive national search, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is pleased to announce that our Board of Directors has selected Tamika Butler to lead LACBC into the next phase of continued growth as we further our mission to make the Los Angeles region a healthy, safe and fun place to ride a bike.

“I’m really proud of the process and results of the search and couldn’t be more excited about Tamika as our next Executive Director,” says LACBC Board President Steve Boyd.

Tamika Butler brings to LACBC a proven track record of sustainably expanding and running programs and organizations, as well as a policy and advocacy background.  She spent three years as an employment lawyer at the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center and most recently comes from Liberty Hill Foundation, where she was the Director of Social Change Strategies. She first made her mark in Los Angeles as the California Director at the startup policy and advocacy organization Young Invincibles, where she managed the west coast regional staff, was the media and policy spokesperson, organized and led coalitions, developed curriculum and trainings, and fundraised to expand the organization’s presence on the west coast. She also developed relationships with community leaders and state and local lawmakers to advance the organization’s policy goals.

“I am thrilled to have the privilege to become the next Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and look forward to continuing the success, growth, and cutting edge work of the organization.  Biking in Los Angeles County has personally changed my life and deepens my love of the region every time I go for a ride. We’re lucky to live and bike in a county full of diverse communities that motivate this talented staff and me to push towards building a healthier, more vibrant Los Angeles County.  I am excited to start pedaling, dig deep, and get to work with our members and partners, within and across sectors, as we race to the front lines of the nationwide movement to create bikeable, safe, and sustainable neighborhoods.”  One of Tamika’s top priorities is to grow the diversity of LACBC staff and coalition membership.

When Jen Klausner started as LACBC’s Executive Director in 2007, there was only one other employee at headquarters, and it was a real struggle to keep doors open. Jen and the organization faced an uphill battle at City Hall to pass the Los Angeles Bike Plan and get pavement striped with room for bikes. Seven years later, under her leadership, there are now twelve employees working on your behalf with a LOT of successes! We continue to expand across the county with twelve local chapters.  We are poised to extend that reach even further as we strive to more fully represent the diversity of those who bicycle and want to bicycle in all neighborhoods across Los Angeles County. Tamika brings deep experience in social justice work and looks forward to working with the full range of communities across the county. We couldn’t be more excited.

Jen says, “Our new Executive Director Tamika Butler brings a fresh perspective to the leadership of LACBC, and one that is so relevant to the growth of the bike-ped movement and to important dialogues happening here and in cities across the nation.  I am confident in Tamika’s ability to take LACBC to the next level, and I, for one, will be staying tuned and keeping my membership current, because this organization is poised to do great things in the coming years.  Please join me in extending a very warm welcome to Tamika!”

Jen Mishory, Executive Director of Young Invincibles, agrees that Tamika will make a great Executive Director: “Tamika is a dynamic, innovative leader who will be a huge asset to the LACBC team.  She brought Young Invincibles to new heights and I know that she’ll do the same in her new role!”

We look forward to introducing Tamika to our members, partners and supporters at the first available opportunity in January. Look for announcements of those opportunities in our weekly newsletter, on the website, and through Facebook and Twitter. And don’t forget—as part of our end of year campaign, any donation at the $250 level and above will get you an invitation to our January 22nd Donor Thank You Party—an intimate gathering with our brand new Executive Director, Tamika Butler, in attendance.  Hope to see you there!

Morning Links: LACBC Open House tonight, Sunday’s South LA CicLAvia, and KPCC talks ghost bikes

Don’t miss tonight’s LACBC Open House in Downtown LA.

From the LACBC’s email:

LACBC Open House
Thursday, December 4, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
LACBC Headquarters, 1st & Mezzanine floors – 634 S. Spring St., DTLA
FREE for LACBC Members, $10 General Admission
RSVP here

Please join us tomorrow evening to celebrate 2014 and look forward to 2015! You’ll have the opportunity to:

  • learn more about our programs, campaigns, and local chapters,
  • bid adieu to our fearless leader and executive director Jennifer Klausner,
  • honor some special folks who have made a difference in the local bike community,
  • dance to the funky sounds of DJ Starskee Suave,
  • capture the night’s merriment (and shenanigans) in our photo booth,
  • enjoy libations from Angel City Brewery,
  • feast on modern Mexican Cuisine from the Border Grill,
  • marvel at and then eat cake from Sweet Lady Jane,
  • and find out what the new year has in store for you from prognosticator Madame Pamita!

And yes, you’ll see me there, as I say goodbye to a good friend.

……..

Excitement is building for Sunday’s CicLAvia.

USC’s Daily Trojan looks at the first ever South LA CicLAvia. Flying Pigeon will host a feeder ride from Northeast LA. And the Los Angeles Post-Examiner offers a preview of can’t miss sites along the way.

You are going, right?

……..

KPCC’s Sharon McNary offers a great first person look at Danny Gamboa and the Ghost Bike Foundation, responsible for memorializing fallen riders throughout Southern California.

But should we be offended when a company pimps ghost bikes to promote its product?

Uh, yes.

……..

Local

The LACBC reports the discussion over bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills has been continued to the January 6th city council meeting; Ryan Snyder Associates offers an idea of what the street could look like if local officials get their shit together.

Day One reports Monterey Park is the fourth city to officially adopt the San Gabriel Valley bike plan.

Metro wants your help to determine where bike share stations should go in LA County.

 

State

Calbike offers their monthly round-up of what the state’s leading bike advocacy group is up to.

Newport Beach police are starting a new safety campaign in areas frequented by bike riders, pedestrians and motorcyclists; the department will direct education and enforcement efforts at all road users.

A San Jose writer says the city was right to ban bikes on some downtown sidewalks, even if it is a token gesture.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has hired Noah Budnick, Deputy Director and Chief Policy Officer of New York’s Transportation Alternatives as their new Executive Director. Meanwhile, the LACBC is currently interviewing candidates for their opening, and expects to announce their choice before the month is over.

A San Ramon business park opens its own bike share program for employees.

 

National

Momentum Magazine offers an infographic illustrating five reasons why riding a bike is safe.

Now you can show allegiance to your favorite baseball team while riding your roadie to the stadium. Although that might give supporters of opposing teams one more reason to run you off the road.

A Reno man is finally headed home after circling the globe by bike five times from five directions.

A Denver bike cop monitoring a protest march is in critical condition after he was hit by a car; three other officers were injured.

No bias here. A Minneapolis paper credits the bike lobby with pressuring city officials; after all, it couldn’t just be bike riding city residents contacting the people elected to represent them.

A Boston bike startup plans to unveil a $500 weather- and theft-proof bike next year.

 

International

A new Kickstarter smart bike project promises to add over 100 intelligent features to your bike for just $159.

Subliminal messages in your videos can make you train harder without knowing it.

Bono is recovering in Dublin after going over his handlebars in Central Park last month; U2 band mate The Edge says no one recognized him following the wreck because he was dressed like a Hassidic Jew.

Not surprising. An American expat working in the Netherlands admits to impatience riding her bike behind slow moving tourists.

 

Finally…

Now that’s more like it, as a bike riding California high school football player not only survived a head-on collision, he totaled the car. If you’re riding your bike with a BAC over twice the legal limit, don’t crash into a road construction sign.

And a Spanish man sets a new record by riding 1,739 miles in six days. Without going anywhere.

 

Morning Links: SaMo approves bike share, SMPD targets bike & ped safety, and a blast from the BikinginLA past

Let’s start with a quick blast from the past.

It came up in conversation on Tuesday, when the subject turned to the needless divisions between bike riders based on what we ride or wear.

This is how I addressed the topic a couple years ago, in a post called The terrible tyranny of two-wheel tribal wear.

The bottom line is, clothes don’t make the bike rider.

It doesn’t matter who you are, how you ride, what you ride, where you ride, or what you wear. Especially not what you wear.

The only thing that really matters that you ride.

The rest is just details.

It’s not a bad piece, if I say so myself. And maybe worth a second look if you’ve got a few extra minutes.

……..

It came too late to make the news, but word is the Santa Monica city council voted to go forward with a 500-bicycle bike share program, making it the first in the LA area.

And hats off to the Santa Monica Police Department, which will fairly target violations that can lead to bike and pedestrian collisions this Friday.

They deserve congratulations, because unlike previous safety efforts that unfairly focused on bicyclists or pedestrians, this one will look equally at violations by drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.

And yes, as we all know, motor vehicles pose the greatest risk.

But police are required to enforce the law equally, rather than targeting one group while ignoring the rest.

Nice to see they get it.

……..

No page to link to yet. But mark your calendar for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s 2nd Annual Open House on December 4th at LACBC world headquarters, 634 S. Spring Street in DTLA.

And while we’re on the subject, the LACBC is hosting a Basic Biking Skills class for coalition members on Saturday, November 22nd. A good reason to join if you haven’t already.

……..

Local

Bike thefts are on the rise in Huntington Beach. And pretty much everywhere else, as well.

Student run Tommy’s Bike Shop is gaining momentum at traditionally less than bike friendly USC.

KABC-7 looks at Ride 2 Recovery, a great program that uses bicycling to help bring wounded vets all the way back home.

 

State

San Diego has to address the concerns of the city’s bike-loving residents if it plans to meet ambitious goals to increase bike commuting by 2035.

A San Diego bike manufacturer makes Oprah’s list of Favorite Things, which is pretty much the next best thing to being anointed by God.

Caltrain is looking for new members for its Bicycle Advisory Committee.

Nothing like getting into a bike collision on the way to an interview with a San Francisco paper to discuss your new album.

 

National

This is what can happen when you ride in extreme weather, as a Portland cyclist is hit by a falling tree; fortunately, she’s expected to survive.

If you’re going to steal a bike, probably not the best idea to try to make your getaway through a group of Spokane ROTC cadets.

Louisville KY plans to build 100 miles of bike boulevards.

In response to the city’s panic over speeding cyclists, New York officials propose banning hand-held cell phone use by bicyclists, which should cut the city’s traffic death toll by roughly zero.

No bias here. A Florida TV station blames a teenage bike rider for a sideswipe collision with a driver when the kid’s pedal — yes, pedal — allegedly hit the car, rather than blaming the driver for passing too close. And they freak out over riding his bike safely and legally a whole 30 inches inside the traffic lane. Or at least it would have been safe if the driver hadn’t been violating the state’s three-foot passing law.

Palm Beach officials seriously think Share the Road signs will make bicycling safer. There’s a first for everything.

Thanks to an alert — and caring — bike rider, a Florida Marine gets his missing ring back.

 

International

A Toronto writer goes into histrionics over the supposed wasted space of bike lanes in the winter when no sensible person would ride a bike; clearly, these people would beg to differ.

A British study shows drivers pass bikes more safely on roads without center lines; not too surprising that motorists will give more space when they don’t feel constrained by lane markings.

London Cyclist offers advice on riding safely around potholes — something every LA bike rider should know, considering the decrepit quality of our deteriorating streets.

‘Tis the season. A UK charity is looking for bike riding Santas.

Apparently, I’m not the only one with concerns about that new solar panel bike path in the Netherlands, which will only generate enough power for three households when it’s fully built out.

 

Finally…

Congratulations to the newly married Chris Froome. If Cadel Evans and Oakley have their way, your next bike could have a truly bizarre set of handlebars. Or you could end up with an e-bike that weighs less than 11 pounds and folds down to fit in your backpack.

 

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.

……..

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.

……..

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.

……..

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.

.………

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.

.………

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.

.………

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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