Tag Archive for Los Angeles Times

Morning Links: Bike commuting Op-Ed video from LA Times, and another attack on bikes and urban planning

Sometimes it’s better just to show what bike commuting is really like, rather than try to explain.

That’s what LA Times reporter Matthew Fleischer did Monday, accompanying an Op-Ed with 360° video of his three-mile commute to work at the paper.

Come join me on my morning bike commute. Ride three miles in my shoes. Maybe you’ll be outraged enough by what you see to write your city councilperson, demanding safer streets. Maybe you’ll decide cycling in L.A. isn’t so bad after all and go for a ride. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll decide not to froth at the mouth in protest when road safety improvements to keep cyclists safe add a couple of minutes to your morning commute.

If nothing else, you’ll get to see what it looks like from the other side when you honk your horn as you blow past a cyclist who momentarily inconveniences you — and, I hope, decide never to do that again.

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One of LA’s most questionable urban planning writers is at it again.

In his latest post for City Watch, Richard Lee Abrams a) confuses light rail with trolleys, b) blames bike lanes, not all those people in single occupancy vehicles, for all that traffic congestion, and c) says the quote below proves the city has an anti-car policy, when it does nothing of the sort.

Bicycles are such a slow means of locomotion that they impede faster vehicles. As a result, bicycles cause increased traffic congestion. The City admits that its policy of adding Bike Lanes to city streets is a part of an anti-car policy. Director of Planning, Vince Bertoni stated in a July 13, 2017 LA Magazine interview:

“…[We want streets that don’t] just revolve around the automobile. We’re looking at what it’s like to walk, bicycle, even skateboard down these streets and all the other ways we’ll get around. We’re going to be putting in wider sidewalks, trees, bicycle lanes that people feel protected in.”  

That’s before blaming corruption for LA’s Transit Oriented Development policies, and prescribing solutions to LA traffic that would only make the problem worse and degrade the quality of life he claims to be trying to save.

And after claiming Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti could face criminal prosecution for placing bike lanes on busy streets where children would be exposed to pollution from passing cars.

Never mind that, despite presenting himself as a Los Angeles attorney, he does not appear to be a member of the California Bar Association, and a Google search does not show a practicing attorney by that name in Los Angeles.

Though it does turn up some of the lengthy public comments he’s submitted.

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The head of Team Sky took advantage of Monday’s rest day in the Tour de France to launch an attack on a writer for Cyclingnews; Sir Dave Brailsford disinvited him from an interview session with Chris Froome because he’d been “writing shit” about Brailsford.

Peter Sagan echoes the sentiments of most cycling fans, saying booting him out of the Tour was a mistake. Nairo Quintana defends his Movistar team after his father trashed it in the press.

An Irish writer says cycling has been vilified for doping, but other sports haven’t faced the same scrutiny — especially since the doctor in Spain’s Operation Puerto doping scandal also had clients in soccer, athletics, tennis and boxing, none of whom have been named.

The Bahrain Merida cycling team competing in the Tour is accused of being part of an effort by Bahrain’s ruling family to whitewash a history of torture and human rights abuses.

And a young Dutch cyclist shows that crossing the finish line first isn’t always the most important thing.

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Local

The Venice Neighborhood Council will consider a motion at tonight’s meeting to host a town hall with Councilmember Mike Bonin, where he’s sure to get an earful from the anti-bike lane/lane reduction contingent.

CiclaValley looks forward to this Thursday’s Draft Meetup at Pure Cycles in Burbank.

 

State

Orange County has evicted a number of homeless people from a nearly half-mile long section of the Santa Ana riverbed near the Honda Center, following complaints from bicyclists and hikers along the Santa Ana River trail. But apparently only managed to move them onto the trail, instead.

An Ocean Beach man writes an open letter to the thief who stole his bicycle but didn’t ruin his day.

Despite earlier reports that he might not be charged, a member of a prominent Kern County farming family was pled not guilty to felony hit-and-run and DUI charges for the January death of a rider. His lawyer claimed the empty vodka bottle found in his back seat just happened to fall out of a box or backpack.

San Francisco celebrated their equivalent of a CicLAvia in the Mission District on Sunday.

Cal Berkeley’s Daily Californian complains that Ford’s Bay Area goBike doesn’t serve underserved communities in Oakland, while one underserved community in San Francisco says they don’t want to be served.

In a preview of what US cities have to look forward to with dockless bikeshare, the Google Bikes the company provides for the free use of its employees are ending up unceremoniously dumped in a Mountain View creek.

A Santa Rosa man is under arrest for teeing-off with a golf club on a man riding a bicycle, knocking the victim into the windshield of a parked car, following an argument between the two men.

 

National

Studies show bicycling is a social affair for many Latinos.

It’s not often that bike advocates find themselves on the same side as the anti-tax wing of the GOP, but that’s the case in Oregon where the governor is expected to sign a $5.3 billion budget that incudes a $15 excise tax on new bicycles over $200. Thanks to Ed Ryder for the heads-up.

A seven-year old boy completed a 203-mile, two-day ride from Seattle to Portland, and still sped up when a group of riders tried to pass him after 170 miles.

Boise police are looking for a bike rider who ripped off the side mirror of a car, causing $1,000 damage to the vehicle. Needless to say, the driver disavows any knowledge of what he could have possibly done to make the rider so angry. We’ve said it before — no matter what a driver might do, violence is never the answer. It only makes things worse in the long run.

Plastic dividers have gone up to separate a three-mile long section of bike lane from motor vehicle traffic on the popular South Padre Island vacation resort in Texas, after a woman was killed and four other bicyclists injured by an alleged DUI hit-and-run driver.

Bicycling crashes have dropped dramatically in Austin TX following construction of new bikeways in 2014.

NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson rides with Detroit’s famed Slow Roll crew.

Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo is one of us, riding a Lousiville KY bikeshare bike on stage to finish out their set at the end of a three-day music festival.

A Vermont psychotherapist and bike advocate wants to cure the world of “automobilism” through bicycling and “automobile reduction therapy.”

 

International

A new Canadian study shows bicycling is the least stressful way to commute to work.

The driver who hit a red light-running Ottawa bike rider in the dash cam video we linked to yesterday says he’s still shook up by the crash; the rider was ticketed for running a red light.

Caught on video: A British driver has been fined the equivalent of $196 after speeding up to crash into a bicyclist, because police say they can’t prove who was behind the wheel of the rental car.

An English town councilor wants to separate bike lanes with pink armadillos he designed himself. Which should be enough to convince any number of drivers it’s time to quit drinking.

 

Finally…

This is why you want to be careful riding around storm grates. Who says you can’t carry a big load on a bike?

And don’t wear underwear under your spandex.

Or over it, for that matter.

 

Morning Links: The great Playa del Rey street debate, new safe zones at LAPD stations, and LA drivers officially suck

There doesn’t seem to be any letup in the great debate over the Playa del Rey lane reductions.

Or the masses of motorists armed with pitchforks and torches marching on LA City Hall.

Although yesterday injected a little sanity into the discussion, through an LA Times Op-Ed by magazine editor and Manhattan Beach resident Peter Flax, who calls out his fellow South Bay denizens for their hysterical reactions to the changes on LA streets.

All hell has broken out in my adopted hometown of Manhattan Beach. If you believe the hysteria, families are being torn apart, livelihoods are being threatened and businesses are in danger of collapse. All because in early June, Los Angeles slowed traffic on several roadways in Playa del Rey, including removing one lane on each side of Vista del Mar, the thoroughfare that runs along the ocean from El Segundo to Playa.

South Bay commuters are livid that rush hour traffic is worse. They claim workers will permanently lose five hours of family time a week (even though no formal traffic study has been conducted). Silicon Beach tech entrepreneurs and private equity guys are sounding the alarm on Twitter that new traffic jams will harm recruitment. At a town hall with Manhattan Beach’s mayor, real estate agents speculated that home values might sag (in a town where the average home costs $2.2 million). A GoFundMe page was launched to raise money for a lawsuit and the Manhattan Beach City Council unanimously directed city staff to support that effort.

Absent from this heated conversation, however, is honest talk about what is really at stake along Vista del Mar: Preventing people from dying.

He criticizes those angered by the changes to improve safety and livability on LA streets, even while Manhattan Beach has removed lanes from their streets to protect their residents and preserve the beach community feel. Including the south end of Vista del Mar, where it changes names and narrows to two lanes as it enters the wealthy beach community.

And he concludes,

Traffic engineering decisions can’t only be about optimizing a morning commute or maximizing the appeal of working in Silicon Beach. They also have to be about Jack Tarwardy, a beloved 74-year-old shop owner in Playa del Rey who was struck and killed by a car in a crosswalk on Culver Boulevard. And about Michael Lockridge and Bridgette Burdene, killed by hit-and-run drivers on Vista del Mar and Culver Boulevard, respectively. And about Naomi Larsen, the 16-year-old who tried to cross Vista del Mar and never made it.

When cars race through neighborhoods where people live, shop and play, speed kills. Taking steps that force us to slow down isn’t an outrage or a conspiracy, it’s making L.A. a better place to live.

It’s a good, and important read. One that deserves your full attention all the way through.

And needless to say, he takes a beating in the comments from self-appointed traffic planners who seem to think they understand traffic flow and safety far better than the people who get paid to do it for a living.

Not to mention the innumerable personal attacks accusing him of bias because he rides a bike. Though no one seems to notice the irony coming from those who suffer from a windshield bias.

I particularly like this one, from someone who blames bike lanes for a backup stemming from the 210 Freeway.

No, really.

 

And to address Mr. — or is it Ms? — bigred’s point, most studies show road diets not only don’t result in longer commute times, they can actually improve traffic flow, while at the same time reducing crashes up to 47%.

Although I must admit, I have never “stode” on a traffic island and watched the “enevedable” happen.

Meanwhile, a letter writer in the Times says Vision Zero is more like zero vision. Evidently, by his account, we’re supposed to keep letting people die on LA streets until Metro provides a viable alternate route to LAX in 2047.

After all, with an average of a little more than one person killed on Vista del Mar each year, that’s only another 30 or so dead mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, and brothers.

No big deal, right?

Then there are these comments, which were forwarded by someone who wisely wants to keep his name out of all this.

Because as we all know, nothing improves traffic safety more than taking a photo while driving.

Although maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see any traffic backup at all in that photo. And only one lonely person on a bike.

 

And yes, I think we can assume Mr. Beall does kiss his mother with that mouth.

So maybe this is a good time to let the unfairly reviled Councilmember Mike Bonin remind us why he approved this roadwork to begin with.

You can show your support — for Bonin, for the lane reductions, or even for Peter Flax — when the LACBC hosts their monthly Sunday Funday ride in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey this Sunday.

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Great idea.

The LAPD has opened safe exchange zones for online buyers and sellers at nine police stations and nearly a dozen Ralphs stores.

Which means you can feel a little safer the next time you try to sell your bike, or buy parts off Craigslist or other online services.

It might also cut down on bike chop shops, since it would take major chutzpah to walk into a police station with a stolen bike or parts.

Then again, no one ever said bike thieves are the sharpest tools in the shed.

Just tools.

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In news that should surprise no one who’s ever ridden a bicycle in Los Angeles, Los Angeles officially has some of the worst drivers in the US.

In fact, Allstate Insurance ranked the city 193rd out of 200, coming in just a few spots above bottom-ranked Boston.

And wipe that smile off your face, Glendale. Your drivers suck even more than LA.

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UCI introduces several safety improvements on the eve of the Tour de France, but still allows race motos in the peloton.

Britain’s Simon Yates will be back at this year’s Tour after serving a four month suspension for doping because his team screwed up his paperwork for an asthma inhaler.

LA’s Phil Gaimon criticizes former teammate Andre Cardoso following the latter’s suspension for doping, saying “…it just comes off like he doesn’t give a shit, which is frustrating.”

Fifty-five year old Cambria resident Sheri Baldwin took three medals at the masters national road championships.

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Local

The LA Weekly offers 20 suggestions on how to fix Los Angeles, most of which make a surprising amount of sense. Including turning LA’s existing bike lanes into protected lanes.

KPCC looks at Vision Zero from a South LA perspective, as Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson promotes safety amid fears of gentrification and increased policing.

Multicultural Communities for Mobility is hosting their annual Eastside Mural Ride this Saturday.

The URB-E electric scooter maker is sponsoring a new mobility hub near USC to help students beat traffic. Although from the description, it sounds more like a glorified scooter showroom.

The board of directors for Santa Monica’s Sunset Beach neighborhood says enough with all those bike and pedestrian plans, what the city really needs is a car plan for all those poor, neglected drivers. The best response came from a councilmember, who said “The reason we don’t have a ‘Motor Vehicle Plan’ is that for close to a hundred years, transportation in Southern California has BEEN a ‘Motor Vehicle Plan.”

The Daily Breeze looks forward to August’s CicLAvia in San Pedro and Wilmington, part of a busy summer in the harbor area. No, Daily Breeze, CicLAvia is a local, not global, movement, though it is a part of the global Open Streets movement, aka ciclovías.

 

State

La Jolla bike advocates call for riders to use bright lights, day or night. Credit Mark Goodley with starting that campaign with a series of posts on here, starting in 2012 after he barely survived a crash in Corona del Mar. Thanks to his efforts, I now ride with an ultra bright headlight and taillights even during the day — and it’s dramatically reduced the number of close calls I experience.

Fontana introduces a draft plan to improve bike and pedestrian safety.

Palo Alto approves plans for new bicycle boulevards, along with extending the bike network throughout the city.

San Francisco pulls the plug on funding the expansion of the Ford bikeshare system over fears of unfair competition with established bike rental companies, but the company goes forward with its official opening anyway; the expansion is part of Ford’s shift from building cars to providing mobility.

The intersection where a San Francisco bike rider was killed last week was on a list of the most dangerous ones in the city, but nothing had been done to improve it.

The kindhearted folks at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition refurbished 20 bikes to give to disadvantaged kids, then took them for a community ride.

Tragic news from Santa Rosa, where a bike rider is fighting for his life after getting hit by driver when he allegedly rode through a red light. As always, the question is whether there were any witnesses other than the driver who hit him that saw what color the light was at the time of the crash.

Call it a national park ciclovía, as Yosemite’s Tioga Road opens for bikes and pedestrians a day before it opens to motor vehicles.

Someone slashed the tires of a bicycle parked at a Davis mosque; police are investigating the incident as a hate crime, after a torn-up Quran was tossed from a moving car the night before.

 

National

Try not to breathe on your next ride. Even “safe” levels of air pollution can shorten your life.

The ebike expansion goes on, with the introduction of a new $3,000, three-wheeled e-‘bent, and a new sub-$1,000 e-urban bike.

Interesting new study from Portland shows whether you ride a bike — and how you ride — affects how much empathy you have towards people on bikes. Evidently, those Manhattan Beach commuters must not ride at all.

A three-year old Las Vegas special needs boy has a new adaptive bike, courtesy of a local man who designs and builds them for free.

Denver may not be the most bikeable city, but evidently, it ain’t bad. Although you know we’re making progress when even cowboy-centric Cheyenne, Wyoming has a Bike Week.

You’ve got to be effing kidding. Life is dirt cheap in Idaho, where killing one bike rider and paralyzing another is only worth a lousy 60 days in jail — with work release, no less.

A Texas man calls for a bike safety plan after his cyclist son was killed in a collision; the driver faces charges of manslaughter and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, suggesting either intent or an extreme degree of carelessness.

Great idea. The recent Pedaler’s Jamboree is a 30-mile long music festival along Missouri’s Katy Trail bike path.

Massachusetts considers a ban on handheld cellphones while driving. What’s really needed is a law requiring phone makers to block all interactive services except 911 and GPS navigation in moving cars, since studies show the distraction from handheld mobile phones is as dangerous as drunk driving. And hands-free use is no better.

If you build it, they will come. Macon GA saw an 800% increase in cycling after striping a network of temporary bike lanes.

A South Florida writer suggests the area’s bike lanes are designed to kill and sharrows are just madness.

 

International

An Indian website questions whether the country’s prime minister will ever be able to ride the bicycle he received as a gift from the Dutch government, given how dangerous India’s roads are.

A Kiwi cyclist on a 2,400-mile journey through Australia’s New South Wales on his wife’s borrowed bike says forget wild animals, the biggest danger he encountered on his journey was from other humans — particularly the ones in motor vehicles.

A Kiwi driver gets off the hook for running down a woman on a bike after buying her a new one for $3,414, the equivalent of $2,500 US.

A Malaysian deli entrepreneur correctly calls bicycling a balm for the soul, and says people from the country should take it up. Cycling really must be the new golf, since that’s what he gave up to start riding.

 

Finally…

If you’re carrying dope on your bike, put a light on it — and don’t tell the cop you were eating green Skittles after shoving it all in your mouth. Take a five week bicycling pub crawl through Europe, for the low, low price of just $9,427.

And yes, your new Porsche mountain bike is just like a racing 911.

Except for the engine, transmission, wheels, cockpit, and all that other car stuff.

 

Morning Links: Playa del Rey roadwork shows the worst in some people, and elite amateur cyclist dies in KC crit

Clearly, there are some very sick people out there.

As we pointed out over the weekend, the LA Times’ Laura Nelson wrote a very balanced piece on the road reconfigurations in Playa del Rey that appeared in the Sunday edition of the Times.

In it, she pointed out that the road diet on Vista del Mar was done in response to LA’s $9.5 million settlement with the parents of a 16-year old girl killed crossing the roadway in 2015.

To which she received the following response.

Yes. Someone actually thinks parents would send their kids out to get killed in order to cash in on the settlement. And more than one someone, apparently.

Something tells me Naomi Larsen’s parents would give back every penny of that $9.5 million just to have her back for one more day.

Then again, that letter writer isn’t the only one who thinks that way.

A Pennsylvania bike rider is on trial for taking the lane and forcing drivers to go around him to pass, which is exactly what cycling instructors teach their students to do. But the DA is alleging he’s just trying to get hit by a car so he can collect the insurance settlement.

Or maybe he’s doing it because he’s already been hit by a drunk driver once, and doesn’t want it to happen again.

Nelson also reports that opponents of the changes in Playa del Rey have resorted to what is, at best, an implied threat. If not an actual invitation to commit violence against a supporter of the changes.

Is this really what we’ve come to?

Is the simple act of trying improve safety on our roadways enough to let their anger twist people into some horrible, heartless semblance of a human being?

Apparently so.

Meanwhile, a writer for City Watch tries to see both sides, saying we all have rights and needs, and we need to find ways to accommodate both people on two wheels and on four.

Which seems perfectly reasonable. Until you consider that the lion’s share of every roadway is dedicated to motor vehicle travel, and bicyclists and pedestrians — and parents — are just asking for the opportunity to stay alive on them.

Which doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

But it seems to be, if it means some people get inconvenienced in their cars.

And anyone who sees an equivalency there has got a serious problem.

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Sad news from Kansas City, where a 30-year old elite amateur cyclist was killed when he crashed into a metal barrier during the Tour of KC crit.

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Once again, women cyclists can spin their way to a pro racing contract. Which is how 37-year old Leah Thorvilson won a place on the Canyon-SRAM team last year.

Forget doping. American cyclist Andrew Talansky is preparing for the Tour de France by stimulating his brain.

So much for equal treatment. The Irish women’s national cycling championship was halted a lap early because they were riding too slow, and the men needed the course. If you want to send a signal to every bike-riding girl in Ireland that she just doesn’t matter, you couldn’t find a better way to do it.

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Local

You’re more likely to see a cop on two wheels in DTLA now, as the LAPD nearly doubles the number of bike cops on the streets in response to an uptick in crime.

Yes, bike valets work. Bike SGV reports they parked over 300 bikes and scooters during last weekend’s Arroyo Seco Music Festival.

 

State

A San Diego man riding a motorized bike was seriously injured in a crash with an Uber driver in the Hillcrest neighborhood; a passenger on the bike jumped off when he saw the wreck unfolding.

San Diego Magazine takes a trip inside the city’s giant wind tunnel, where Kristin Armstrong perfected her gold medal-winning form.

A Riverside man was shot to death while putting air in his tires at a gas station.

A Santa Barbara traffic non-profit dedicated to sustainable transportation puts its money where its mouth is, trading driving for a cargo bike.

Multiple gold medal-winning swimmer Katie Ledecky was just another bike-riding student at Stanford.

Pleasanton is about to get a new bike corral.

A new program is taking Sacramento kids out of the inner city, and onto the 23-mile American River Parkway to get them away from traffic and violence, and teach them skills including bicycling and bike maintenance.

 

National

No, speeding really doesn’t get you there any faster.

Caught on video: A Tesla owner tries to run down his bike-riding friend to prove that Tesla’s Autopilot won’t kill bicyclists after all.

The only thing this new Bluetooth-enabled helmet doesn’t promise to do is actually protect your head.

A Seattle father and daughter are riding tandem across the US to save the orcas.

The victim in Saturday’s Alaska brown bear attack says it happened so fast there was nothing he could do to avoid it, and credits his riding companion with saving his life.

A little good news from Detroit, where the dog who was beaten after she was forced to run next to a bike until she collapsed is improving, though she has a long recovery ahead of her.

Speaking of Detroit, city officials spent $4.3 million to acquire 7.5 miles of rail-to-trail corridor to fill the largest remaining gap in a 26-mile greenway around the city.

Good idea. An Indianapolis-area city is encouraging people to ride to outdoor events by providing free lawn chairs once they get there.

Instant karma sucks. A Georgia woman was hit by a car as she crossed the road to check on the bicyclist she’d just hit with her car.

 

International

Michelin introduced a new ebike motor and battery that can be retrofitted to any bike.

A women’s website offers ten reasons to take up bicycling, calling it the next big thing in stylish travel.

A new Vancouver study shows fewer people are driving to the downtown area and more are riding and walking to stores, restaurants and cafes, and are more likely to have a friendly interaction with someone else when they do.

Ten more European rides to add to your bucket list.

An Indian paracyclist opens a training camp for injured military veterans to prepare them for competition, and a return to civilian life.

Aussie bicyclists will now be subject to an on-the-spot $475 fine if they’re caught using a mobile phone while riding, whether moving or stopped.

A Chinese man is riding over 900 miles across the country to compete with other transplant patients, nine years after he received a liver transplant.

 

Finally…

At least we don’t have to worry about air attacks. If you’re going to get busted riding away from a heroin buy, make sure you have 55 bucks to buy your way out of it.

And seriously, don’t bring a hammer to a machete fight.

 

Morning Links: Times talks bike tours, reward for bike-riding Koreatown killer, and more stupid criminal tricks

The LA Times Travel section went heavy on the bikes this week, following up on yesterday’s story on charity bike rides in the West.

The paper asked “bicycling enthusiasts” for their favorite rides, which ranged from LA’s Ballona Creek north to Washington, and east to the Mississippi. But somehow managed to place Iowa’s RAGBRAI in Missouri.

They suggest trying a pedal-assist ebike to get a bigger charge out of your trip — no pun intended, I’m sure — and follow up with ten questions to answer before you set out on a bike trip.

And last but not least, they offer a short timeline of the 200-year history of the bicycle, noting that the first recumbents were met with derision.

An attitude that continues today in some circles.

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Local

There’s now a $50,000 reward for the bike-riding man who killed a homeless woman in Koreatown in February.

CiclaValley urges everyone to show up for Wednesday’s meeting for bike lanes on Lankershim Blvd.

CicLAvia is looking for a paid digital engagement intern.

A 36-year old homeless man has been ordered to undergo a psych evaluation after getting busted for throwing an object at a driver’s car when he was apparently cut off while riding his bike on a Santa Clarita sidewalk.

 

State

Welcome back to SoCal, Frank. Former Newport Beach bike advocate Frank Peters is back in Southern California, setting up shop in Santa Barbara after a stint in Portland. And back to his old bike advocacy ways.

Plans are starting to fall into place for a possible 13-mile bike and pedestrian path linking Petaluma and Sebastopol.

The organizer of the Napa County triathlon where over 30 competitors were treated for possible hypothermia after swimming in a freezing lake says it didn’t really happen, and besides, they should have worn a jacket.

 

National

Cyclocross Magazine offers seven pretty good reasons to visit your local auto parts store.

Thankfully, there’s no consensus in the Iowa legislature for a bill that would force bike riders to dress like roadway workers and light their bikes 24/7.

Equestrians carry the anti-bike torch in Wichita KS, partially blocking plans for a bike path through a park.

A Wisconsin bike rider faces charges for allegedly beating a pedestrian after they nearly collided as the victim was crossing the street.

Chicago drivers who ignore No Parking signs and park in a buffered bike lane are blocking more than just people on bicycles.

The driver charged in the drug-fueled Kalamazoo massacre that killed five bike riders was arrested for a previous DUI in 2011, but his confession that he was stoned on painkillers was tossed because he hadn’t been read his rights.

Winston-Salem NC plans construction of a separated bike path along with a highway project, minimizing costs and disruption; the route is designed to allow riders to avoid a pair of major hills on their way downtown.

Atlanta is putting the finishing touches on a new three mile, 14-foot wide section of the planned Beltline multi-use trail through the city.

 

International

Treehugger reviews the new book by the Guardian’s bicycling writer, Peter Walker.

Montreal makes a smart move by making their bikeshare free on weekends.

After being acquitted in Britain’s first crowd-funded private prosecution, a British driver says it’s horrifying to be responsible for the death of another person, while insisting that she just didn’t see him.

Police are looking for an English cyclist who assaulted a couple in their 60s when they parked their car after passing him. I’d really like to say there’s another side to the story, but there’s no excuse for physically attacking anyone. Ever. Period.

No bias here. A British paper says a bicyclist suffered serious injuries smashing into a windshield. Never mind that she was actually hit by the car, which apparently did not have a driver.

As long as you run the country, you can make them play any damn song you want. The president of Turkmenistan has chosen a song he recorded as the official anthem of the Asian Indoor Games being hosted by his county.

An Indian couple is riding from Mumbai to Bangkok, having covered over 2,100 miles so far.

 

Finally…

A police station probably isn’t the best place to hide after getting off your bike and snatching a woman’s cell phone. Just a suggestion: If you’re going to ride your bike in the Applebee’s parking lot, leave your gun, heroin and prescription drugs at home.

And if you’re going to drop out of a bike race, try not to get picked up by the police for riding on a highway.

 

Morning Links: Bray-Ali endorsed by Times in CD1, entitled driver behaving badly, and LA BAC meets tonight

Now this is big.

Former Flying Pigeon LA bike shop owner Joe Bray-Ali’s candidacy to unseat incumbent CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo got a huge boost yesterday when he won the endorsement of the LA Times.

While Cedillo has a huge advantage in fundraising, much of it coming from developers and others seeking to influence City Hall, Bray-Ali’s upstart grassroots campaign has been making waves in the district, as he rides his cargo bike door-to-door to talk with local voters.

And the Times has noticed.

Many people in the district think of Bray-Ali, 37, as just a bike-shop owner and bike activist. Frustration over Cedillo’s part in stalling bike lanes on Figueroa Street propelled Bray-Ali into this race. But though he may be campaigning atop two wheels, he has educated himself way beyond bike and transit issues. In fact, his understanding of land-use policy is impressive for someone who has never worked in City Hall, and his experience running a small business in the city will make him a rare and important voice on the council.

They also seem to have a pretty good read on his opponent.

Cedillo has a reputation among community activists as someone hell-bent on helping developers build market-rate housing while paying little regard for the more prosaic concerns of the neighborhoods. This disinterest in the community is troubling; even more so is his indifference to the displacement of low-income constituents. (He called displacement in his district an “urban myth” in a meeting with the editorial board. The city’s own data show it is not.) Building more housing is a virtue — the city is in a housing crunch, and more market-rate housing means more housing, period. But it shouldn’t come at the expense of a neighborhood’s affordability and quality of life. A councilman’s job is to balance the interests of neighborhoods with those of the population as a whole, and Cedillo doesn’t seem to be interested in that task…

The winner of this race will have an extra long term (the recent change in city elections means the winner will hold office for 5½ years) during a building boom that could fundamentally change the district. It is imperative that the person making the decisions focus on the needs of the community, not just a personal vision. The candidate who is best prepared to do that for Council District 1 is Bray-Ali.

Meanwhile, he also won the endorsement of Joel Epstein, writing for the Huffington Post.

Fact: Joe Bray-Ali has been a tireless advocate for safer streets for pedestrians, bike riders and drivers. A key leader in the safe streets Figueroa for All movement, Joe’s advocacy is helping make North East L.A. a safer place to live and is improving the neighborhood’s connections to Pasadena and the Los Angeles River.

Joe’s vision for CD 1 and the entire city, includes zero deaths and injuries from irresponsible, dangerous drivers. This is just one more reason that Josef Bray-Ali should be CD 1’s next councilmenber.

It’s time that CD 1 was represented by a councilmember who cares about the district. It’s time to elect Joe Bray-Ali.

On a personal note, I’ve been encouraging Joe Bray-Ali to run for city council since I first met him nearly ten years ago.

I’ve never met anyone more passionate about improving safety on our streets — myself included. Or more committed to improving the quality of life for the people who live in Northeast LA.

And few people, in or out of government, are more knowledgeable about the way city government works, and how it can be made to work more efficiently and better serve the people of this city. Not to mention possessing a rare ability to dig through city budgets line by line to determine where the money is actually going, as opposed to where it should be.

Joe has been a longtime advocate for better streets and better government. It’s time that passion and commitment is put to work serving, not just the bicycling community, but all the residents of CD1 and the City of Los Angeles.

Thanks to Robert Peppey for the heads-up.

………

If you’re looking for a visual definition of real schmuck, Greg Heining sends us this video of a driver cutting off an elderly woman with a walker as she makes her way across a crosswalk.

Sadly, this sort of thing happens every day, almost everywhere.

And yet, they say bicyclists act entitled.

………

The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee meets at 7 pm tonight at Hollywood Neighborhood City Hall, 6501 Fountain Avenue.

This is the city’s only official voice for bicyclists, yet three of the seats remain unfilled. If you’re a resident of council districts 9 (Curren Price), 10 (Herb Wesson) or 13 (Mitch O’Farrell), contact them today and politely ask your councilmember to get off his ass and appoint someone.

Then not so politely if they still don’t.

………

Bike racing’s governing body issues new rules for support vehicles to improve safety in the peloton. Even though the only way to really improve safety would be to ban them entirely.

The Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition is working to bring back the cancelled Philadelphia International Cycling Classic.

The U-23 development team run by Axel Merckx is providing talented young British riders with an alternative path to pro cycling.

Former cyclist Bridie O’Donnell discusses the sexual and emotional abuse women riders face in the sport, including the abuse she suffered at the hands of her former coach as a young triathlete.

………

Local

Streetsblog looks at the recent LA Great Streets Challenge winners, as well as Vision Zero grants.

KCBS-2 anchor Jeff Vaughn is riding to fight MS.

CiclaValley goes riding on the other road closed to motor vehicles in Griffith Park.

Time Out looks at 14 National Parks within driving distance of Los Angeles. Which means they’re in bicycling distance, too.

Long Beach is challenging residents to walk or ride their bikes on the Shoreline Pedestrian/Bicycle Path, as they try to reach one million trips on the path’s Eco-Counter.

 

State

The San Diego Bicycle Coalition hosted a training session to teach people how to organize grassroots political advocacy efforts for safer, expanded access for bicycles.

In LA, they shut down bike paths to do freeway work; in San Diego County, they shut down freeway lanes, in part to install bike paths.

An alleged drunk driver was arrested for the hit-and-run that left a Bakersfield bike rider with multiple broken bones.

Registration is now open for the 104-mile Tehachapi GranFondo, which will evidently take place sometime. Note to Bakersfield Now: One of those famous Five W’s stands for when. Just a hint. Update: Thanks to MTS, who points out the ride rolls on September 16th.

Now that’s more like it. San Francisco police are deploying extra officers to crack down on traffic violations by drivers at locations where bicyclists or pedestrians have been injured.

San Francisco scraps plans for a raised bike lane on Polk Street after concluding that it would also need to be parking protected. So what’s the point of raising the bike lane if it’s already protected?

 

National

Curbed says even with an auto-centric administration in DC, private car ownership could plummet in the US.

PeopleForBikes ignores the game, and watches the Super Bowl to count the number of bikes in the ads.

Redfin lists the best cities for living without a car; San Francisco takes the top spot, while cross-bay neighbor Oakland checks in at number ten. Needless to say, Los Angeles didn’t make the list.

Lifehacker says there are few things dorkier than putting a bell on your bike, but insists you should do it anyway.

An Iowa letter writer says requiring bicycles to have lights at night won’t save lives because most of the state’s fatalities occurred during the day. Including the one that killed her boyfriend.

Bikeshare is coming to Roanoke VA, with 50 bike at stations scattered around the city.

 

International

Over 5,000 Costa Rican cyclists rode on Sunday to demand safer streets.

A new short film celebrates the success of Vancouver’s prescient multi-modal street design.

London’s Evening Standard explains why you should join a cycling club, and how to fuel your ride.

There’s a special place in hell for someone who would push a 92-year old British woman off her bicycle to steal the equivalent of seven and a half bucks.

Now that’s more like it, too. Large trucks are banned from a narrow British lane where they weren’t supposed to be in the first place after a bike rider was injured in a collision.

The Brit press is up in arms over bicyclists filtering through traffic. Even though it’s legal. And even though it doesn’t seem to be a problem.

A new German project raising funds on Kickstarter promises to deliver a flexible, lightweight bike lock made up of five layers that are saw-resistant, cut-resistant, fire-resistant, waterproof, and dirt-repelling. Because really, who wants a dirty lock?

Today was national Go By Bike Day in New Zealand. Or yesterday, since it’s already tomorrow there.

Chinese app-based bikeshare comes to Singapore to rescue the city from its overly crowded streets.

Caught on video: Dozens of people team up to lift a van off a Chinese bicyclist following a collision; thanks to their efforts, the victim didn’t appear to have suffered any injuries.

 

Finally…

You only have to ride around the block to stay in shape, as long as you do it really, really hard. If you really want to make your point, say it again, and again.

And once again, a bike rider saves the day. Or the dog, as the case may be.

 

Morning Links: Fanning the fires of bike hate, LB hit-and-run suspect busted, and bike smash seen round the world

My apologies for the continued problems with email notifications for subscriber to this site. We’re still working on getting it fixed.

………

It doesn’t take much to bring out the bike hate.

Especially when people are allowed to post their comments anonymously.

Yesterday’s LA Times featured a well-reasoned Op-Ed from Tom Babin, author of “Frostbike: The Joy, Pain and Numbness of Winter Cycling,” and the bike blog Shifter.

In it, Babin argued that the laws governing traffic weren’t written with bicycles in mind, and don’t always work effectively for people on two wheels.

It’s true that Los Angeles is finally taking its first serious steps toward making the city more bike-friendly. But the focus is on building bike-dedicated infrastructure, which can be slow and expensive to build.

The Idaho stop law shows there are other ways for municipalities to encourage cycling while their infrastructure catches up. Cities around the world are demonstrating that simply changing the rules in favor of cyclists can make roads more welcoming.

He continues,

Yet streets are already governed by different rules for different users, such as laws that require slower speed limits for big trucks, or that mandate school buses to stop at uncontrolled railway crossings. Rather than demonize cyclists for their inability to conform to rules designed for cars, laws should recognize that riding a bike is different than driving.

All in all, a reasonable request to simply acknowledge that bikes are different that cars, yet bicyclists are forced to act like motor vehicles, regardless of whether it makes sense.

Yet based on some of the comments, you’d think he declared war on anyone who doesn’t ride a bike.

Like this from OptimisticOrgan, for instance. (Unfortunately, the Times makes it impossible to link to any one comment.)

Stop sign being a yield is fine by me. Cycling culture needs to change, though. Too many jerks are going 15 in a 45 in the middle of the lane. Then they act like yr the bad guy for being annoyed by the fact they’re impeding traffic flow. It’s like “I’m sorry brother, trying to stay far enough behind you,” but the cyclist is still pissed that your car is faster than his bike and projects ill will toward you.

Many commenters went great pains to point out that Los Angeles isn’t Idaho, with many times the population, in case we had somehow missed that point. Apparently failing to notice where he pointed out that the Idaho Stop Law is now in effect in auto-clogged Paris, with it’s 2.24 million population, and a reputation for roadway rudeness that makes our streets seem downright polite.

Other, such as feaco11, apparently couldn’t grasp Babin’s key point that bikes and cars are different.

Better yet, let’s change the law so that motorists can treat a stop sign as a yield sign. Just think of the gas that will be saved if our cars do not have to lose momentum going through an intersection. Maybe the same could be applied to red lights. It would certainly free up the court system because there would be less tickets written.

Then there’s this confession to illegal harassment from boneme8978.

i would not consider riding a bike on a suburban street . but i love the people that do . keeps me laughing all the time . you should see them jump when i blast them with my train horn ! the 300 i spent at ‘summit racing ‘ to buy that bad boy was worth every penny !

And it goes on and on, ad nauseum, just like on any other pro bike piece that appears online, filled with constant reminders of that one time a bike rider broke the law, which somehow projects onto every person on a bicycle who ever lived.

Damnable scofflaws, all.

It’s a reminder of who we share the road with. As well as the Internet.

Protected by layers of glass and steel on one, anonymous pseudonyms on the other.

Spelling and punctuation challenged though they might be.

………

Long Beach police arrested a hit-and-run suspect at gunpoint after he was found hiding under a car. Witnesses said the speeding driver hit a bike rider after running a red light, then drove erratically, running red lights and nearly striking pedestrians as he attempted to escape.

Both the victim and the driver were transported to a local hospital; no word on their conditions.

………

Turns out the bicycle smashed in two by an angry rider in Milan’s Red Hook Crit wasn’t even his.

Deadspin calls it the pinnacle of human rage, though anyone who has dealt with a road raging motorist — or an angry online commenter — would probably disagree.

Meanwhile, VeloNews puts it in the context of other great bike throws in recent years.

………

Local

Bicycling finally gets around to posting last year’s profile of LACBC executive director Tamika Butler online.

LAist calls the coming My Figueroa project the city’s first truly protected bike lane.

Bike the Vote LA offers a guide to the candidates in November’s Santa Monica city council election.

In the latest round of anti-developmentism, Redondo Beach residents could vote on whether to cancel ambitious plans to redevelop the city’s aging waterfront, including plans for an improved bike path through the area.

 

State

New tests from Stanford conclude the unnamed Hövding airbag helmet actually works. And reduces impact up to six times over conventional bike helmets.

A Chico couple propose to replace their daughter’s ghost bike with a sign memorializing her, along with the phrases “How to save a life? Don’t Drink and Drive” and “Share the Road, Drive with Care,” pending approval from Caltrans. Which is not likely, unfortunately.

 

National

A Portland Op-Ed writer complains about car-hating social engineering, while completely missing the point of Vision Zero.

After being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, a Nebraska man takes up bicycling and a better diet, and loses 75 pounds while bringing his illness under control.

An Arkansas paper takes a look at bikepacking.

A road raging DC driver gets offended when a cyclist slapped the back of his car after he deliberately tried to run her off the road, then gets out and repeatedly slaps her before stealing her phone when she tried to call 911.

 

International

A body found near a Halifax trail could be a missing mountain biker who disappeared without a trace two years earlier.

A Scottish parliament member says even a small increase in bicycling could lead to an improvement in air quality, while calling for a decrease in speed limits around schools and residential areas.

At least it’s a creative protest. A Scottish man shows his objection to a new separated bike lane by rowing in it.

Any writer who uses the tired cliché that bike safety is a two-way street should receive a six-month sentence in journalist jail.

A San Francisco rider joins 400 other cyclists in the Haute Route timed cycling event in the Pyrenees; a US event is planned for the Rocky Mountains next year.

Glamour admires the glamorous Iranian women defying the religious edict against bicycling in public.

A South African provincial transport minister says bicycling must be seen as a form of mobility, disputing plans by the mayor of Johannesburg to halt bike lane construction in the city.

 

Finally…

You can’t compete in your first pro race if you’re stuck in traffic. If you’re fleeing police on your bike, you really just need two legs.

And your next helmet could give a whole new meaning to helmet hair.

Or you could let your kid steer you like a bike.

 

Morning Links: LA Times columnist takes his anger out on us, and a section of LA River path closed for two years

Take a breath, George.

Abraham Lincoln had a habit of writing angry letters to let off steam, then placing them in his desk, unsigned and unsent.

Maybe LA Times Capitol Journal columnist George Skelton should take the hint.

In his Thursday column, Skelton reported that his planned trip to Lake Tahoe with his daughter over the weekend was derailed when they ran into a road closure to accommodate an Ironman triathlon — not a bicycle race, despite how he characterized it. And was so incensed he responded by calling for a tax on all bike riders.

Which is like demanding that joggers and pedestrians pay for the sidewalks and crosswalks they use just because the LA Marathon keeps you from crossing the street, as Keith Pluymers pointed out.

Except they already do.

In fact, we all do. Just as we all pay for the roads Skelton seems to think are exclusively financed by motorists.

Even gas taxes and auto registration fees, which he seems to think bike riders don’t pay — even though the overwhelmingly majority of people who ride bikes also own and drive cars — only cover a fraction of the cost of building and maintaining our streets and highways.

The rest comes out of the same income and sales taxes we all pay, whether we travel on two wheels or four.

Or none.

He also seems to forget about those similarly freeloading electric car drivers, who don’t pay a penny more in gas taxes than bike riders do. And hybrid owners, whose relatively high mileage means they pay a fraction of the taxes other drivers pay when they fill up.

Then there’s the simple matter of why drivers are expected to pay for those roads.

It’s not for the privilege of driving on them, as Skelton seems to presume. It’s because those multi-ton vehicles cause exponential wear and tear on the roadways every time they’re driven on them.

Bicycles don’t. Period.

Even at the peak of my out-of-shape weight following my father-in-law’s stroke, when I packed 220 pounds onto a 15 pound bike, my impact on the road was infinitesimal compared to even the lightest motor vehicles. Never mind the massive SUVs so common in California they should replace the grizzly on the California flag.

It’s true that bike lanes aren’t free.

But striping lanes costs just pennies on the dollar compared to the cost of building a roadway to accommodate cars and trucks. Let alone the more than $1 billion — that’s billion, with a b — it cost to put HOV lanes on the 405 through the Sepulveda pass.

And as anyone who’s driven there lately can attest, that’s barely made a dent in the infamous 405 traffic congestion. If that.

Skelton doesn’t address the question of who would have to register their bikes with the state. Does the toddler on her trike have to pay the same fee as the roadie slicing curves on Mulholland?

What about the immigrant worker who can’t afford a car or public transportation? Do we slap him in leg irons if he rides an unregistered bike on the streets of our fair state?

Finally, there’s the question of who would administer the fees he calls for.

The DMV has already said they don’t want the job. The sort of small fees he suggests — such as the $3 licensing fee charged in Long Beach — wouldn’t begin to cover the millions required to administer and enforce a program to register every single bicycle in the late, great Golden State.

And any fee high enough to cover the costs would only serve as yet another barrier to bicycling, at time when we should be lowering those barriers to encourage more people to bike to improve their health, and the health of the cities they live in.

Let alone removing a few more cars from our overly congested streets.

In fact, a recent study showed that every mile traveled by bike results in a net economic gain of 42 cents to society, while every mile traveled by car results in a net loss of 20 cents.

Which means we should be getting a rebate, not charged extra taxes on top of those we already pay.

Skelton should have known better.

And probably would have if he’d just taken long enough to cool off; even a few minutes with Google could have corrected his misassumptions before they ever got into print.

Instead, a respected reporter who usually offers valuable insights into the inner workings of our state government apparently let his anger get the better of him.

And instead of taking it out on the Ironman sponsors, Caltrans or the local governments who permitted the race, he chose to take it out on you and me.

This is one column that should have been placed in his desk drawer. And left there.

Permanently.

Thanks to Noel Smith for the heads-up.

………

Just in case you needed a reminder — which is highly unlikely if you ride LA streets — this is what a too-close pass looks like, courtesy of On My Bike in LA.

………

LA area cyclists are about to lose one of the few safe places we have to ride thanks to the never-ending drive to increase capacity for cars.

A one-mile section of the La River bike path will be closed for two full years between Riverside Drive and the 134 Freeway.

Yes, two years.

All because Caltrans is adding carpool lanes to a section of the 5 Freeway. The construction will impact a section of the bike path that runs nearby, and the closure is for our own safety, according to the notice.

Thanks for looking out for us. No, really.

Bike riders will be diverted onto Zoo Drive and Western Heritage Way, near where Finish the Ride founder Damien Kevitt was struck by a hit-and-run driver who dragged him onto the 5, nearly taking his life.

So if anyone happens to get hit by a car while bypassing the construction zone for the next two years, I’d suggest getting a good lawyer who can reach into the deep pockets at Caltrans.

And yes, I can recommend a few.

………

Mike Wilkinson forwards advice on what to do if you’re the first on the scene following an injury collision. It’s written from a motorcyclist’s perspective, but the advice holds true for non-motorized riders.

………

Welcome to the US. An unidentified cyclist training for the world championships was hit by a car that was somehow allowed to cross the course; fortunately, the victim was not seriously hurt.

Bicycling talks with U23 silver medalist Emma White; the 18-year old is the first American woman to podium in the world junior time trial since 2007.

School students get days off for snow days, teacher training days, religious holidays, and now, UCI world championships race days.

Alberto Contador makes plans to exit stage left after the Rio Olympics next year. Bike racing’s governing body announced next year’s women’s WorldTour with a 60% increase in competition days. Women continue to ride in the back of the bus, though, and there’s still no women’s equivalent to the men’s Grand Tours.

Taylor Phinney discusses the pain of time trials versus the pain that comes from a devastating injury, while the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay offers perhaps the best Taylor Phinney profile yet. And a gofundme account has raised $80 to buy Phinney a muffin.

Yes, a muffin.

………

Local

South LA cyclists demand the Central Avenue bike lanes promised in the mobility plan. And rightfully so.

Bike Portland talks with our own transportation maven Seleta Reynolds.

The latest podcast from Streetsblog’s Damien Newton is a talk with new CicLAvia Executive Director Romel Pascual.

A man is under arrest for murder after shooting another man near West 6th and Lafayette Park, then stealing a bicycle at gunpoint before being captured by police.

Los Angeles Magazine offers five tools to make shopping by bike easier. Although they somehow forgot messenger bags, which were developed by bike messengers for a reason.

 

State

An anonymous tip has led San Diego police to the car used in a hit-and-run that seriously injured a woman riding her bike last week; it was found at a repair shop, apparently getting fixed to hide the damage. Although the local NBC station seems to think the car was acting on its own.

Trial began on Thursday for the wrong-way, allegedly high driver who slammed into 10 riders on San Diego’s Fiesta Island, leaving one permanently disabled.

The San Diego Union-Tribune puts the Coronado anti-bike hysteria in context, saying it’s part of a backlash against increased tourism on the penisula. Maybe tourists should respond by taking their money somewhere else.

Palm Springs cyclists get a new mobile bike repair truck.

Bittersweet story from Camarillo, as a woman is spending her final days touring California by bike with her boyfriend; she was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer shortly after kicking a two decade addiction to meth. Camarillo’s US Bike Company gave them new bicycles after theirs were stolen in Big Sur.

Caught on video: The San Francisco police captain who ordered a crackdown on scofflaw cyclists rolls a stop himself while on his bike. Maybe he was just trying to fit in.

Evidently, San Francisco cyclists will be on the Critical Mass to Hell this weekend.

Sad news from Shingletown, near Redding, as a bike rider was killed Thursday evening when a 17-year old driver drifted onto the shoulder where she was riding.

 

National

The National Bike Challenge hit 35 million miles 10 days before the scheduled end of the program, a whopping 50% increase over last year.

You can now ping your bell to tell you where you parked your bike. Although if you can’t find where you parked your bike, it’s usually a sign it may not be there anymore.

The Portland paper road tests the city’s new bikeshare bikes.

The standard controversy erupts over a road diet in my hometown, with drivers complaining about traffic backups and unused buffered bike lanes, which riders avoid because they don’t connect to anything and dump them back into traffic with no warning.

Denver tries on a protected bike lane for size; for a change, local merchants joined safety advocates in pushing for changes on the busy street.

That’s one way to steal a bike. A woman walked into an Ohio Wal-Mart, set a rack of pajamas on fire, and walked out with a new bike.

Some schmuck stole a 1980 Schwinn 12-speed from a 92-year old WWII vet in Troy NY; he only rode it twice before hanging it up in his garage.

Now those are some serious choppers. A New York bike thief imitates the city’s infamous rats and uses his teeth to gnaw through a bike lock. Yes, his teeth.

A Philadelphia website says the pending papal visit is the perfect opportunity for drivers to experience a Road to Damascus conversion to bike commuting.

That Delaware DuPont exec on trial for killing a man on a bicycle in a hit-and-run last year claimed he thought he hit some tree branches. And yet his young sons saw the bike spinning away and asked if he’d just killed a cyclist. Schmuck.

All Washington DC students will now learn to ride a bike in the second grade. This should set the standard for every city, including LA.

Atlanta officials sign off on 31 miles of new bike lanes.

By his account, a 70-year old Georgia driver was doing everything right when those crazy bike riders started yelling at him, and he accidently ran into one trying to get away. Sure, that sounds credible.

FL police blame a teenage bike rider for not riding in the crosswalk after he’s injured in a collision. Of course, if he had been in the crosswalk, they would have blamed him for that.

 

International

Now those damn Canadians are trying to take credit for the Popebike.

No bias here. The CBC apparently thinks the value of a victim’s bike has something to do with why a left turning driver ran him down in the bike lane and fled the scene.

Serious injuries among British bike riders are going up three times faster than the increase in miles ridden.

Brit bike couriers protest to demand a living wage.

 

Finally…

Evidently, the key to success as a champion lumberjack is riding a bike. Regardless of what the Standard thinks, a combination breathalyzer/bike lock is not a blow to bike-riding boozers as long as its use remains voluntary.

And this gnome-lookalike perv should be locked away until he’s 87. But you’ve got to admire his bike handling skills.

 

Morning Links: The Times looks at rising bike hit-and-run rates; and the year’s most inspirational video

You already knew hit-and-runs were a problem for cyclists.

But maybe none of us realized just how bad it’s become.

According to the LA Times, overall injury and fatal hit-and-run rates have actually declined since 2000. Except for those involving bike riders, which have increased a whopping 42% since then.

It’s easy to lay blame for the increase on a rising rate of bicycling over the same period, which has grown 61% since the turn of the century, according to a recent report from the League of American Bicyclists. But the fact that overall rates have gone down while bike-involved hit-and-runs have gone up just raises the question of why so many drivers think it’s okay to leave a bike rider bleeding in the street.

Then again, maybe it’s just that a collision with a bike rider is less likely to leave the driver’s car too damaged to flee than a wreck with another motor vehicle.

Regardless of the reason, nothing will change until the law is changed to make the penalties for hit-and-run greater than the potential reward for running away.

And that won’t happen until someone can get it through our out-of-touch governor’s head that hit-and-run is a serious — and deadly — problem.

Especially for those of us who aren’t protected by a couple tons of glass and steel.

………

The Times piece also notes that an overwhelming 80% of all hit-and-runs go unsolved. And only half of the cases that do get solved result in a conviction.

In other words, drivers have a 90% chance of getting away with it if they hit the gas instead of the brake after a collision. No wonder hit-and-run remains at epidemic proportions.

In addition, the story profiles some of the victims of fleeing drivers — at least, the ones still able to tell their own story, including Paul Livingston, whose story was told here last June.

There’s a great interactive map, as well, that drives home the obscene number of bike-involved hit-and-runs every year, and where you need to be on the lookout for fleeing drivers. Including Long Beach, Santa Monica, DTLA, Van Nuys and North Hollywood — in other words, the places where you’re most likely to find people on bikes.

And the paper offers a video interview with Finish the Ride’s Damian Kevitt, who barely survived the gruesome hit-and-run that took his leg.

Then again, it’s not just an LA problem, as a Florida paper asks what kind of driver doesn’t stop after hitting someone.

Or more to point, what kind of pond-sucking scum would even consider it?

………

No surprise, as prosecutors have declined to press charges against the South LA bike rider allegedly beaten by cops while being held down after a brief pursuit.

Police had reportedly ordered Clinton Alford to stop while he was riding his bike on the sidewalk along Avalon Blvd, but he kept going because he says they failed to identify themselves as police officers. Then he ran when someone grabbed his bike from behind, which lead to the alleged beating.

Based on the description of events, though, the police appeared to lack probable cause to make the stop, since sidewalk riding is legal in Los Angeles. Which makes everything that followed, including alleged evidence of drug possession and accusations of resisting arrest, inadmissible in court.

Never mind that filing charges would stand in the way of reaching a settlement with the city over the beating.

………

Unbelievable. A Paso Robles cyclist is dead and her riding partner severely injured because the jerk behind the wheel dropped his effing cell phone and bent down to pick it up. Then had to swerve to avoid the stopped car ahead of him, slamming into the riders in the process.

Never mind that using a hand-held phone while driving is illegal in California.

Or that taking your eyes off the road to pick it up is idiotic.

………

Local

CicLAvia offers a narrative guide to Sunday’s event (pdf) from the real voices of South LA.

An Aussie travel writer takes a 32-mile bike tour of LA in — gasp! — a single day.

West Hills’ Spoke N’ Wheel Bicycles bounces back after a summer fire nearly put it out of business.

An important bike route through the UCLA campus is needlessly blocked by construction. And Porta Potties.

Santa Monica sees a dramatic increase in bicycling since 2000, nearly six times the national growth in cycling. And yes, this story is where I got that stat about the 61% increase in bike riding nationwide.

Riding for a great cause. The Midnight Ridazz annual All City Toy Ride takes place on Friday, December 9th. Thanks to James Hawkes for the link. 

The Eastside Bike Club is hosting a family-friendly Slow ES Cool — Cypress Park Ride to explore some of LA’s and the San Gabriel Valley’s beautiful sites and diverse eateries on Saturday, December 13th.

 

State

Riverside police plan to offer a $10,000 reward in the hit-and-run death of fallen rider D’Andre Sutherland.

A San Bernardino man is the victim of a bike-by shooting; he’ll survive, but may have trouble walking for awhile.

Evidently, they’re just a bunch of old softies, as a group of Hell’s Angels — yes, the notorious motorcycle gang — buy up all the bikes at a Fresno Walmart and donate them for needy kids. And not for the first time.

San Jose prepares to ban all bikes on the sidewalk because of a few overly aggressive riders.

The popular East Bay Bike Party has been cancelled for December due to out-of-control and disrespectful riders.

 

National

Evidently, bad research never dies, as the press continues to report on that highly flawed Governors’ report on bike safety.

Rails to Trails offers 10 great bike movie moments.

Your next GoPro could offer overhead shots, as the company is reportedly developing its own line of drones.

A Maine man admits to fatally running down his bike riding friend while driving drunk, after initially claiming he found him lying in a ditch.

New York City cuts the speed limit in Central Park to reign in all those dangerous bikes.

New York police use faulty, or perhaps made-up, data to justify a crackdown on bike riders.

 

International

A Vancouver writer says motorists must take more responsibility for keeping cyclists and pedestrians safe.

An Ottawa paper goes for major click bait, asking their readers whether an idiot on a bike or a moron behind the wheel is worse. How about the idiot editor who approved the piece?

A new association of the top pro cycling teams plans to bring a little more rationality to the sport.

A London writer offers up five mistakes that cancel out even the best bike lights.

London’s mayor Boris considers holding open streets events in the city after seeing similar events in Jakarta. If he thinks that’s impressive, we should invite him to Sunday’s CicLAvia.

Bike cams are being accepted as evidence in cases against Scottish motorists.

An American man and his 12-year old son tour Amsterdam by bike, including the Red Light District.

Caught on video: A Polish rider participating in a bikejoring competition — racing with dogs pulling her bike — is tackled by, not 10 Lords a Leaping, but a leaping herd of deer.

A Chengdu, China bike rider invents an air purifier that fits in a very big backpack.

 

Finally…

Florida cyclists connect through Facebook to get a man’s $5,000 Cannondale back before he even knew it was stolen. Lance just can’t keep away from the sport, as he admits to motorpacing BMC’s Tejay van Garderen.

And they must make ‘em tough Down Under, as a 13-year old boy rides his bike back home after being bitten by a shark.

………

One quick bonus video: Michael Eisenberg forwards what may be the most inspirational video you’ll see this year, featuring former race car champ and champion paracyclist Alex Zarnardi, who lost both legs in a car racing collision.

Seriously, if he can get back on a bike, so can I.

And so can you.

 

Morning Links: Reckless driving laws apply to bike riders, too; LA Times comes down hard on Gil Cedillo

No, your bike isn’t a vehicle under California law.

But that may not matter as far as traffic regulations are concerned.

In a case involving an LA cyclist, a Los Angeles appeals court has ruled that the statute prohibiting reckless driving applies to bike riders, as well.

Even though the state defines bicycles as devices, rather than vehicles. And even though the most reckless rider poses far less risk to those around him or her than a reckless driver.

Jorge Velasquez, Jr was over twice the legal limit when he left a Dodger game in April of last year, riding brakeless on the hilly streets. He swerved to avoid a car, and slammed into a jogger while on the wrong side of the road, leaving her in a coma for 10 days with serious facial injuries.

Rather than charging him with biking under the influence, which carries just a $250 fine and no points against the rider’s drivers license, prosecutors charged Velasquez with reckless driving, with a penalty of up to three years in jail.

His public defender argued, reasonably, that the reckless driving statute was specifically written to apply to operators of motor vehicles who act in a manner likely to injure or kill others.

But the court ruled that CVC 21200, which gives cyclists with all the rights and responsibilities of drivers, meant that all traffic laws that apply to motorists apply to cyclists — unless the law is specifically written to exclude bicyclists, such as the statue setting separate penalties for riding under the influence.

In some ways, the ruling works to our benefit by reconfirming our right to the road.

If the court had ruled that the reckless driving statute didn’t apply to bikes, it could be argued that other laws that work in our favor don’t either, such as the right to ride on any road where cars are allowed — with the exception of some limited access highways — or to use any lane when appropriate, just as drivers do.

On the other hand, not everyone agrees with the ruling.

Cyclist and Century City attorney Stanley E. Goldich, a frequent contributor to this site, thinks the court missed the mark.

My two cents on the opinion.  I read the prior 1980 Clingenpeel opinion in addition to the ruling of the CA Court of Appeal in the Jorge Velasquez (pdf) matter.  The central question seems to be whether the additional reference to Division 17 in the 1982 amendment to Section 21200 is sufficient to satisfy due process requirements by making clear “to persons of ordinary or common intelligence” that cyclists can be charged with reckless driving of a vehicle under Vehicle Code section 23103 notwithstanding that a bicycle is not a vehicle under the Vehicle Code.

I think in order for cyclists to be subject to prosecution and criminal penalties for reckless driving of a vehicle there needs to be an explicit reference to reckless driving of a vehicle in Section 21200 as was done for drunk driving in the 1982 amendment with the language “driving under the influence of intoxicating liquors or drugs, or the combined influence thereof.”  I don’t think it is sufficiently clear that cyclists are subject to criminal prosecution for reckless driving of a vehicle by the vague reference to Division 17, particularly in light of the last phrase in section 21200 “except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application.”  I read this last phrase to mean that cyclists are not subject to punishments for driving of a vehicle because a bicycle in not a “vehicle.”  Certainly, without an explicit reference to reckless driving as was done for drunk driving in the 1982 amendment, there is ambiguity whether the general reference to Division 17 is intended to make cyclists liable for reckless driving of a vehicle.  This general reference does not give fair warning required for criminal statutes. In addition, there are not less severe penalties for bicyclists as was done for driving while intoxicated that takes into account that bicyclists do not pose the same dangers as motorists.

Certainly the actions of Jorge Velasquez in riding a fixed gear bike without a handbrake in traffic after the Dodger game with a blood alcohol level of 2.18 was extremely reckless. However, while he can certainly be prosecuted for biking while intoxicated (and should be subject to civil liability to the pedestrian he hit for his reckless conduct) I don’t think the criminal statute for reckless driving of a vehicle is applicable and criminally charging Velasquez or other cyclists for this violates due process of law. It is also curious that this issue has not arisen in the 32 years after Section 21200 was amended.   I wonder if there have been previous instances where cyclists in CA have been prosecuted for reckless driving of a vehicle. I certainly would welcome having the legislature address this and provide for prosecution of cyclists for reckless bike riding in conjunction with determining an appropriate penalty or penalties as was done with biking while intoxicated.

Unless the California Supreme Court agrees to take up the case, the ruling will now be law throughout the state.

……..

Red Kite Prayer offers an open letter to now ex-Santa Paula reserve officer Laura Weintraub, saying no, you are not forgiven.

And hat’s off to Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson, who responds to my post about the whole imbroglio being a teachable moment. And reaches out to a surprisingly receptive Santa Paula Police Chief Steve McLean; he’ll be meeting with McLean, along with the LACBC’s Eric Bruins, on Friday to help build a better relationship between the department and bicyclists.

I hate to sound like part of a mutual admiration society, but if you’re not reading Seth’s blog, you should be.

……..

The LA Times Opinion page comes down hard on CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo and his single-handed attempt to derail the already approved road diet and bike lanes on North Figueroa.

Unless some demonstrable miscalculation was made in the bike plan, or unless there’s a real safety issue, individual City Council members should not be tinkering with the plan, which was designed carefully with the whole city in mind. Currently, Los Angeles has 337.62 miles of dedicated bike lanes. Cedillo is looking at alternatives to the Figueroa corridor, but the city planners chose these designated routes for specific reasons; nearby streets, they say, won’t work. The idea is to create a seamless network of bike lanes that allow cyclists to travel continuously from one point to another.

It’s a good read, and well worth a few moments of your time. Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.

Meanwhile, KFI’s John and Ken demonstrate how little they know about the subject in this segment from Monday’s show, beginning at roughly the 11-minute mark.

Personally, I didn’t have the stomach for it, tuning out shortly after they disregard studies proving road diets improve safety simply because they choose not to believe them. Life is too short for that kind of indignorant anti-bike drivel; maybe you can tolerate it better than I could. Link courtesy of Erik Griswold.

……..

After giving up his dream of winning a grand tour, Australia’s Michael Rogers wins Tuesday’s stage of the Tour de France. France’s Thomas Voeckler stops mid-race to berate a heckler. And BMC’s Peter Stetina is ready to step up and deliver Tejay van Garderen to a place on the podium; but only if TvG can manage to keep the rubber side down.

……..

Local

London’s Guardian looks at Nona Varnado and LA Bike Trains.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton says new LADOT chief Seleta Reynold’s outside perspective could help overcome LA’s self-defeatist attitude.

Downtown LA could get a new 84-station bike share system and a bike hub at Union Station, courtesy of Metro.

Better Bike looks at three newly approved types of bike facilities and wonders if any will ever come to the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills. Don’t hold your breath.

A Santa Monica bike theft is caught on video; this is why you never secure your bike to a parking meter with a cable lock.

Construction begins on an improved bike route on PCH in west Malibu.

Pedestrian and cycling safety will be a major focus of new Glendale councilmember Paula Devine.

Walk Bike Burbank forms in response to the city’s decision to shelve a planned bike and pedestrian path.

 

State

KCBS-2 looks at last weekend’s Orange County memorial ride to remember fallen cyclists.

A Laguna Beach group proposes a two-way bike path as path of a plan to beautify downtown.

Sonoma County’s bike commuter of the year isn’t who or what you’d expect.

 

National

A new national bike website is for women only.

Even Arizona is driving less and bicycling more.

Lafayette CO police apologize for ticketing a cyclist for riding in a crosswalk, which isn’t against the law in the state.

Even Philadelphia police can be victims of bike theft; the clueless thief abandoned the bike after attempting to sell the clearly marked police bike to someone around the corner.

Not surprisingly, people who live near bike lanes exercise more than people who don’t — although the results may not be immediate.

 

International

Seven innovative ways cities are transforming themselves to improve bicycling.

The Telegraph offers advice on how to avoid common bicycling injuries.

A Kiwi writer calls cars the logical and inevitable solution to cycling injuries and dung-covered streets, and says it’s madness to expect bikes to share roads with cars. Oh, well okay, then.

 

Finally…

When the satirical Bike Lobby twitter account claims credit for two white flags that mysteriously appeared on the Brooklyn Bridge overnight, the media takes them just a little too seriously. And an easily offended Seattle driver assaults a cyclist to defend the honor of another driver. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.

 

Manny Ramirez defense leads to acquittal for Gordon Wray; The Times’ Hector Tobar likes bikes

Evidently, killing a cyclist because you can’t see is nothing more than an accident.

Just say the sun got in your eyes, and walk away.

That’s what happened today, as Gordon Wray was acquitted on a charge of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in the death of Doug Caldwell.

A jury of his peers — though not necessarily the victim’s, since cyclists are usually excluded from bike case juries — took little more than an hour to agree that the prosecution’s case failed to meet the necessary burden of proof.

Never mind that most rational people would agree that the sudden, violent death of another human being should amount to more than just “oops.”

However, Wray’s attorney astutely played the Manny Ramirez defense, claiming the sun was in his client’s eyes at the time of the collision. And rather than pull over until he could see, proceeded to slam into two other people who had the misfortune of sharing the road with him.

At least when Manny used the excuse, he only lost the ball and allowed a few runs to score.

The crux of this case was CVC 22350, which reads:

No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.

Unfortunately, as cyclist and attorney Dj Wheels points out, the problem for the prosecution was determining just what speed was reasonable under the circumstances. They were forced to argue that if Wray was truly blinded by the sun, he should have slowed down to a speed that allowed him to see the two riders, even if that meant coming to a full stop.

The defense countered that Wray understood the risk posed by the sun shining in his eyes, and slowed down to 35 mph in a 50 mph zone as a result.

Except that still wasn’t good enough. And a well-loved man died as a result, while another suffered road rash so severe that he required plastic surgery to repair the damage.

Yet the jury’s reaction was to be expected.

Virtually every driver has found him or herself in that same position at least once. And when they put themselves in Wray’s position, they had to ask what they would have done under the same circumstances.

Which, given the verdict, should serve as a frightening warning to everyone else on the road.

If you want to look on the bright side, it was a victory for cyclists that this trial ever came to court. The case was never strong, and it shows just how seriously authorities took it that charges were ever filed in the first place.

But my heart breaks for Caldwell’s family, who had to watch the man responsible for his death walk away, knowing he’ll never be held accountable in criminal court.

Maybe they’ll have better luck in civil court, where the burden of proof is lower.

Although this acquittal won’t help.

……..

Better news comes from the Orange County Transportation Authority in the form of OCLINK, which they describe as “an innovative and convenient pass that allows riders to hop on trains and buses throughout the county.”

According to their release, the OCLINK pass provides unlimited weekday transfers on a buses and Metrolink trains throughout Orange County for just $7 per person. As a result, OC cyclists can easily hop the bus or train to the riding destination of their choice — even if that happens to be in L.A. or Ventura County — then return home without breaking the bank.

For those of us a little further away, Metrolink is now offering an All-Weekend Pass for just $10 a person, allowing unlimited train rides from 7 pm Friday to midnight Sunday. And anywhere Metrolink travels throughout Orange, L.A., Riverside, Ventura and San Bernardino counties.

Which means you can now take the train to one of those great far-flung riding routes you’ve only heard about, then ride the rails back home without breaking the bank.

The downside is, like the long-despised and recently revoked Metro policy, Metrolink allows only two bikes per passenger car. Although rumor has it they’re considering a prototype bike car that will accommodate up to 20 bikes, making future group tours by bike and train a more viable possibility.

Maybe we should encourage that idea.

……..

LADOT Bike Blog has announced that the city’s long-awaited Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance is finally ready for final approval, and should come before the full council sometime in the next two weeks.

The groundbreaking ordinance, the first of its kind anywhere in the U.S., would make harassment of a cyclist a civil matter, rather than criminal, allowing riders to take threatening drivers to court themselves. And it contains a provision for legal fees, making it worthwhile for lawyers to take cases that might not otherwise be financially viable for them.

Meanwhile, reader Alejandro Meruelo writes to remind us that L.A. Mayor — and my CicLAvia riding buddy — Antonio Villaraigosa has asked for suggestions on how to make L.A. more bike-friendly.

Meruelo suggests using the Ask the Mayor website to encourage hizzoner to inform law enforcement officers that CVC 21202 allows cyclists full use of the lane under many, if not most, circumstances. While every LAPD officer should be well versed on the subject thanks to the department’s bike training video, it wouldn’t hurt to have a little official support from the mayor’s office. And it could carry a lot of weight with other law enforcement agencies that aren’t nearly as enlightened.

……..

The Times’ Hector Tobar talks with some of L.A.’s Ridazz, and decides that the city needs an attitude adjustment regarding bicyclists — concluding that we’re not only a part of the community, but have as much right to the roadway as anyone else.

And yes, that chill you felt was hell freezing over, as the Times has officially crossed over to our side.

Mostly.

Contrast that with this absurdly biased anti-bike lane piece from New York’s WCBS, which argues that city streets should accommodate the 90% in cars and buses, rather than making space for the 10% who ride bikes — even if those bike riders make more room for everyone else. And suggests the danger posed by theoretical bomb-laden bicyclists, who might conceivably use the new lanes to roll up in front of the Israeli consulate.

Because terrorists evidently aren’t brave enough to take the lane in New York traffic.

……..

Bike friendly ad agency Colle+McVoy — the people behind my all-time favorite bike-to-work ad (scroll to the bottom) — has created a Facebook app to let the world know you’re out on your bike. Just download the app, and it will replace your profile photo with the Out Biking image when you ride.

Although I’m not sure I want my clients — or my wife — to know I’m out riding when I should be working.

……..

Finally, thanks to George Wolfberg for forwarding this photo from Jonathon Weiss, showing the new bike-friendly ads on the back of Santa Monica’s Big Blue Buses. I was pleasantly surprised to see that one myself the other day, but was a little too busy trying to survive the obstacles blocking the Ocean Ave bike lanes to grab a photo myself.

Evidently, Santa Monica drivers assume that if we can use their lanes, they can use ours.

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