Tag Archive for Marvin Braude bike path

Update: Bike rider illegally ticketed by pissed-off cop for non-infractions on Venice bike path

Give Yo! Venice! credit for reporting this one.

The popular website broke the news yesterday that a bike rider on the beachfront Marvin Braude bike path was ticketed by a cop for a made-up violation — simply because he pointed out the LAPD officer’s motorcycle was blocking the pathway last Thanksgiving weekend.

According to the site — and backed up by a helmet cam video of the interaction — Venice resident Chris J. was slowly riding north on the pathway when he encountered the officer blocking the entire southbound section of the bikeway, at the same time a girl on a tricycle was blocking the north side of the path.

So after going around, he — politely, evidently — informed the officer his motorcycle was blocking the path, to which the officer responded “I can give you a ticket for that.”

Next thing he knew, the cop was following behind his slow moving beach cruiser with lights flashing.

And that’s when it gets interesting.

The cyclist turned on his helmet cam and recorded the officer fumbling for something, anything, he could ticket him for. And admitting on camera that the only reason he was writing up the rider was because he had argued with him.

Politely asking a cop not to block the bikeway may not be smart, but it sure as hell isn’t arguing.

Kind of violates the meaning of “To Protect and Serve,” doesn’t it?

First the officer threatens to write up the cyclist for riding on the wrong side of the bike path. Which, to the best of my knowledge, isn’t illegal; if the same traffic laws that apply to motor vehicles also apply to an off-road, Class I bikeway — a multi-use pathway in places — this is the first I’ve heard of it.

If so, the department could make up the state’s entire budget deficit just by writing tickets on the bike path. Starting with pedestrians walking on the bike-only sections, since people generally aren’t allowed to walk in the street, either.

Of course, it would also require cyclists to signal their lane change every time they pass someone. Along with a host of equally absurd requirements never before enforced on this bike path, or any other that I’m aware of.

So Chris argues that there’s a dotted yellow line dividing the two sides of the path in that section, rather than a solid yellow line, legally allowing him to cross over it in order to pass someone.

When the officer can’t argue that point, the cop switches gears. And instead, writes a ticket for violating the state’s Basic Speed Law, for — wait for it — riding 5 mph in a 10 mph zone.

Never mind the fact that the officer appears to have made up the 10 mph speed limit, which is not posted anywhere along the bikeway. Or anywhere else that I can find, for that matter.

Instead, let’s consider that the Basic Speed Law, CVC 22350, refers only to a speed greater than is reasonable under the circumstances. It says absolutely nothing about going too slowly.

Basic Speed Law

22350.  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.

And to the best of my knowledge, a bike path is not a highway.

But I could be wrong about that; I’ll let you know if I see a semi-truck and a few speeding SUVs rolling down it when I’m out that way this afternoon.

Maybe the officer meant to write a ticket for CVC 22400, the Minimum Speed Law. Except that pertains only to highways, as well.

Not bike paths.

And part of which only applies to vehicles subject to registration.

In other words, not bikes.

Of course, had the officer written a ticket for that, he likely would have been laughed out of court when the case comes up before a judge on Friday. As he should be for attempting to make up traffic laws on the spot in order to cite a bike rider simply because the rider pissed him off.

Which is not exactly what we should expect from a trained officer sworn to uphold the law, who should have known better.

Or at least, known enough not to admit it on camera.

And I should also point out that it’s not against the law to argue with a cop. Although it’s seldom a good idea.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, take the ticket. Then take it up with the officer’s superiors, or fight it in court.

I’ve reached out to the LAPD’s bike liaisons for the West Traffic Division to see what they have to say on the subject. So far, I haven’t gotten a response; I’ll let you know if I do.

Update: According to KNBC-4, Detective Gus Villanueva of the LAPD’s Media Relations Section says the ticket was canceled “in the interest of justice,” and that the department was conducting an investigation into the officer involved.

Yo! Venice!, which has done a great job keeping on top of this story, reports that the officer involved works out of the West Traffic Division; still no response from the bike liaison from that Division. 

One of L.A. County’s most dangerous streets gets a little safer with buffered new bike lanes on Fiji Way

Just quick update on last week’s item about pending bike lanes on Fiji Way in Marina del Rey.

A ride down to the South Bay yesterday morning showed that nothing had been done on the street beyond the preliminary markings that had gone down earlier.

Yet by the time I rode back a few hours and many miles later, the street had been transformed into, if not a cyclists’ paradise, a much safer and more inviting connection between the Santa Monica and South Bay bike trails.

And turned what has been one of the area’s busiest — and most dangerous — bicycling thoroughfares into something that promises to be significantly safer.

As you can see from the video, a bike lane has been installed on the west/southbound side of the roadway, and the much hated, and probably illegal restriction to ride single file — which is unsupported by anything in California law — has been painted over.

Moving down to the turnaround at the end of the street, near the connection to the Ballona Creek bikeway, the road narrows to a single lane, with painted separators keeping motorists away from riders. And hopefully, reducing the risk of right hook collisions.

Continuing around the turnaround to the north/eastbound side of the street reveals a road diet for most of its length to Admiralty Way.

It was unclear yesterday whether the reduced roadway was being striped for a buffered bike lane, or if the county was planning to allow curbside parking, which had previously been banned, with door-zone bike lane alongside.

But a quick conversation with a member of the county road crew confirmed that cyclists will now enjoy a wide curbside bike lane with a comfortable buffer to the left — separating riders from the high speed, and often confused, drivers who have traditionally frequented the area. And that work on re-striping the street should be finished today.

Fiji Way has long been the missing link in the Marvin Braude bike trail, the name given the full length of the bikeway connection Palos Verdes with Pacific Palisades

As well as one of the most dangerous streets for cyclists, with multiple near-daily collisions as drivers entered or exited driveways without looking for riders first — like this one. Or brushed past or rear-ended riders on the previously unmarked street.

This should go a long way towards reducing those collisions, making what had been a needlessly risky ride much safer.

And it’s a high-profile improvement that shows the county may really be committed to improving conditions for cyclists.

Update: 30-year old woman killed on PCH by hit-and-run driver — and a lack of lights on nearby bike path

The seemingly endless rash of recent Southern California cycling fatalities goes on, as a 30-year old woman has been killed riding on PCH at the border between Santa Monica and Los Angeles.

And this one hits far too close to home.

According to numerous sources, the woman, who has not been publicly identified, was riding south on PCH just below Entrada Drive sometime around 11 – 11:30 pm last night when she was hit from behind by a white pickup.

She died at the scene; according to KCBS-2, the impact was so severe that police had to search the area to find her body.

The driver sped away without stopping, disappearing into traffic on eastbound I-10.

Authorities are looking for what is only described as a white pickup or possibly an SUV with significant front-end damage. Anyone with information is urged to call Santa Monica police at 310/458-8491.

Tragically, there’s a good chance this death could have been avoided.

Early in 2011, George Wolfberg, president of the Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association, bike advocate Eric Bruins and I met with officials from L.A.’s Department of Public Works, along with the construction company working on the Coastal Intercepter Relief Sewer project on southbound PCH.

That’s the project that has closed traffic lanes on PCH for the last year, and required temporary rerouting of the bike path near the walkway under PCH at Entrada.

To their credit, they were very open to our suggestions on how to keep cyclists safer during the approximately 18 month construction project.

But one thing we asked for didn’t make the final cut.

The city’s plan was to encourage cyclists to leave PCH and take the beachfront bike path at Will Rogers State Beach to avoid the obstacles and congestion created by the construction work.

A reasonable plan, at least during daylight hours.

However, many riders, particularly women, would be uncomfortable riding on the pathway at night, largely out of sight from drivers on PCH and hidden in the shadows — especially given the large number of homeless people and others who congregate in that area during daylight hours, let alone after dark.

As a result, riders who would gladly take the bike path during the day might feel safer riding on PCH, despite the risks posed by construction and heavy, high-speed traffic.

As one woman once told me, there are worse things than getting hit by a car.

So we asked that temporary lighting be installed along the bike path, at least through the construction zone, so bicyclists would feel safe riding there until they could return to PCH or turn off onto other routes.

While they agreed to consider it, they also said it was unlikely to be approved because there just wasn’t enough money in the $10 million budget. And clearly it wasn’t, as no lights ever appeared on the bike path, other than those required to light the construction site itself.

Now a woman is dead because she chose to ride on PCH instead of diverting onto the darkness of the bike path.

Why she made that choice, we’ll probably never know.

But the knot that’s been building in my stomach all morning tells me this tragedy could have been avoided. And that a women with decades of life ahead of her is now gone, needlessly.

And I’m holding my breath, selfishly hoping and praying that it wasn’t someone I know.

This is the 33rd cyclist killed in Southern California this year, and the 10th already this year in Los Angeles County; it’s also the second cycling fatality in bike-friendly Santa Monica.

And the 8th fatal bike-related hit-and-run — nearly a quarter of all cycling fatalities in the seven-county Southern California region.

Even worse, this is the 13th SoCal bicycling death since June 1st — a horrifying, deplorable rate of one rider killed every 3 days for the last six weeks.

And it’s got to stop.

Now.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and her loved ones.

Update: The Santa Monica Daily Press reports the victim, who still has not been publicly identified, lived in the area and was biking home from work after taking the bus part way. Witnesses say she was riding in the right lane before swerving into the middle lane, where she was hit and killed.

The paper reports that the truck dragged her bike about a half-mile from the crash site as it sped away.

Police report that the suspect vehicle is a full-size GM pickup; they’re examining crash debris to determine the exact year and model.

Update 2: The Daily Press has updated their story to identify the victim as Erin Galligan of Venice. She reportedly was on her way home from her job as a waitress when she was killed; the paper does not name the restaurant she worked at.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the SMPD watch commander at (310) 458-8495, or you can report information anonymously online at wetip.com or lacrimestoppers.org.

KTLA-5 reporter David Begnaud reports that police are looking for a white 1999 Chevy Silverado 1500 Xtra Cab with damage to the grill, hood and headlight. And offers a touching photo of Erin that just drives home what a waste this is.

Update 3: According to her Facebook page, she worked at Craig’s in West Hollywood; thanks to an anonymous commenter for the tip.

Update 4: The Palisadian Post reports that Galligan worked at Maison Giraud in Pacific Palisades, rather than Craig’s as her Facebook page indicated. The paper reports that the collision occurred directly in front of the driveway The Beach Club, and that police have video of the pickup speeding away with Erin’s bike trapped underneath. 

According to KNBC-4, Galligan was “an avid cyclist and adventurous woman,” who was well loved by her friends, and thinking about going back to school to become a teacher.

“I don’t know of a sour word that came from the girl,” Bryan McKinley, friend and coworker, told NBC4. “I guess that’s what makes the accident so tragic; it would be ok if it was just an accident.

“But what bothers everyone to their core is there was no accountability by this cowardice person who just ran off.”

 

Minor miracles — new signage in SaMo and bike lanes on Via Dolce, and a new bike commuter benefit

If you’ve been coming here for awhile, you’ll know that one of my biggest complaints is the beachfront bike path through Santa Monica and Venice.

Or more precisely, the fact that it’s often almost impossible to actually ride a bike on it on busy summer days and weekends, when it’s overrun by pedestrians, skaters, skateboarders, dog walkers, Segway riders and other assorted forms of beach-loving humanity.

At its worst, the much dreaded Carmegeddon anticipated when the 405 closes this weekend will merely approximate a vehicular version of the congestion cyclists face on a daily basis.

At least, those patient and/or brave enough to attempt it.

Whenever the opportunity has presented itself, I’ve complained to anyone who would listen about the lack of signage along the bike path. And how it contributes to the problem by failing to warn crossing pedestrians about the presence of cyclists — after all, who would ever expect to find bikes on a bike path? — let alone direct riders and walkers to the sections devoted to each.

So imagine my shock this week when I rode through and saw exactly that.

Granted, it’s only a handful of signs, and only in the most crowded section around the Santa Monica Pier and just south.

And they’re only temporary signs, easily moved or knocked over. But they seem to be working, at least when the path isn’t already overrun with people.

On a quiet Tuesday morning, most people appeared to follow the warnings, whether pedaling or bipedaling. On a crowded Thursday afternoon, not so much.

But still, it’s a start. And maybe if it works, they’ll make these signs permanent, and spread them out throughout the pathway from the Palisades to the Venice Pier.

……..

That wasn’t the only minor miracle I discovered on my rides this week.

When I ride the bike path, I often continue down Pacific Avenue to the end of the Marina del Rey peninsula, returning along Via Marina. Depending on my mood, I may continue around the Marina on Admiralty Way, or turn off onto Via Dolce to make my way back home.

The route adds a little more than two miles to my ride, while giving me a relatively car-free — and mostly pedestrian-free — section of road where I can open it up a little without fear of hitting anyone who might unexpectedly step or pull into my path.

The only problem was the pitted and potholed surface of Via Dolce, which required frequent swerves into oncoming traffic to avoid the obstacles. Or at least it would, if there was traffic to contend with.

So imagine my surprise on Tuesday when I turned onto the street and found smooth, fresh pavement under my wheels, with a newly resurfaced road marking a refreshing change to a formerly jolting ride.

Let alone my shock on Thursday, when I rode the same route and discovered that the newly repainted lane lines had resulted in newborn bike lanes in the interim.

Granted, it’s only a few blocks, from south of Washington Blvd to near the junction with Marquesas Way.

And it’s a lightly travelled side street where bike lanes are largely superfluous, and of primary benefit to the people who live in the immediate area.

But still, it’s nice.

And aside from the bike lanes on Washington Blvd and the Marina extension of the bike path, it’s the first biking infrastructure in the Marina.

……..

SB582 was passed by the state legislature Thursday, mandating transportation benefits to employees who choose not to drive —including bike commuters. It now moves on to the Governor’s desk, who has 12 days to sign or veto it.

Meanwhile, L.A.’s proposed bike parking ordinance has passed the city Planning Commission, and moves on to the City Council Planning and Land Use Management Committee. And Councilmember Bill Rosendahl explains the upcoming Bicycle Anti-Harassment Ordinance he has shepherded through the Council, while Damien Newton gets responses from local bike advocates about the ordinance.

……..

Not surprisingly, the ill-conceived near-killer speed cushions that resulted in critical injuries to cyclist Richard Schlickman have proven unpopular with local drivers and haven’t solved the problem of speeding drivers. So Palos Verdes Estates is looking at yet another study of how to solve the problem, including possible medians, chicanes and roundabouts.

Aside from the cost, the concern is that such measures could slow response times for emergency vehicles. Like the ones who came to save the life of Schlickman after he was nearly killed by their first failed attempt at traffic calming.

……..

The Source offers a two-wheeled guide to surviving Carmageddon, which does not include riding your bike on the 405, under penalty of arrest.

Speaking of which, anyone who enjoys a good race should be in front of their computers on Saturday, as Wolfpack Hustle challenges Jet Blue to a race from Burbank to Long Beach

You know, just your typical bike vs commercial airliner race.

The route will run door-to-door, from a home in Burbank to the lighthouse in Long Beach, starting at 10:50 am with an expected finish around 1:20 pm. And yes, the cyclists will observe all traffic laws; no word on whether the jet will signal or stop for red lights.

The story has gone viral, picked up already by bike writer Carlton Reid, Road.cc, the L.A. Times, Streetsblog, Cyclelicious, Slate and USA Today.

Gary explains how it all came together; follow #FlightVsBike to keep up with the rapidly developing events.

My money’s on the bikes.

……..

The first mountain stage of the Tour de France shuffles the standings, as expected. After 13 stages, Thomas Voeckler leads by 1:49 over Frank Schleck; his brother Andy is 4th with Cadel Evans in between.

Things are not looking good for defending champ Alberto Contador in this year’s Tour, who’s already 4 minutes back; guess that’s what happens when you stop eating Spanish beef. Samuel Sanchez won Stage 12, but to many, Geraint Thomas was the hero of the day. After unexpectedly finding himself in 9th place overall, tour rookie Tom Danielson plans to attack.

Maybe it’s just me, but this has been the most exciting Tour in years
……..

In an amazingly horrifying tale of the legal system run amuck, a mother is convicted of second degree vehicular homicide after one of her children was killed by a one-eyed hit-and-run driver who had been drinking and was on pain medication. She was held accountable simply for not using a crosswalk to walk across the street with her three children, even though they crossed at an intersection and the cost of prosecution was greater than the cost of painting one.

The driver faces just six months after the other charges were dropped, despite previous convictions for two prior hit-and-runs — on the same day, no less — while the mother faces three years for the crime of crossing the street.

And doing it in a manner that would be legal in more enlightened states, where every intersection is assumed to have an unmarked crosswalk.

Unless there’s more to the story that hasn’t made the press yet, something tells me the DA who prosecuted this case won’t be in office very long. If he’s not tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail first.

Thanks to Rick Risemberg for the tip.

……..

Will Campbell writes a truly outstanding letter of complaint about AAA’s opposition to SB910, California’s proposed three-foot passing law. Stephen Box says L.A.’s super secret final bike plan in finally available online; you might not need the infrastructure it includes, but the overwhelming majority of potential riders do. A Los Angeles firefighter will ride coast to coast to remember victims of 9/11, while a father and son from Manhattan Beach ride across the county to raise money for cancer research. Love this evocative photo from Long Beach’s biking expats as they ride through Eastern Oregon. The sobering truth about drinking and driving. Huntington Beach City Councilman Joe Shaw explains the city’s new bike traffic school program for adult offenders. An Ojai man is arrested for an allegedly drunken hit-and-run that left a cyclist with moderate injuries. Hollister asks Caltrans for roundabouts and bike lanes.

After being convicted in the death of a cyclist, a Portland man will pay to fly her family out for his sentencing. A Houston driver says he’d rather hit something — or rather, someone — soft than something hard. An Ohio judge is killed while riding his bike when a woman swerves to avoid a raccoon, and thinks she hit a mailbox — despite knocking the judge’s body 160 feet through the air. The New York Post fires another salvo in the city’s bike wars, blaming bike lanes for bad business on Broadway rather than blaming bad businesses; after all, a good business might consider putting in some bike racks or even a bike corral to entice those passing riders to stop. A lawsuit will attempt to prove that NY officials lied about stats supporting the popular Prospect Park West bike lanes. Cycling collisions are up in tiny Elmira NY. Outrage in Charleston SC when a distracted driver is ticketed for improper lane usage after knocking a cyclist off a bridge to his death; thanks to Dave Yount for the link. A new Miami shop rescues and resells unloved bikes.

Montreal police crack down on earphones. Rachel McAdams rides a bike in Toronto with boyfriend Michael Sheen. Bike teams scramble for sponsorship despite positive returns. London attempts to improve road safety for cyclists by leaving no room for them. The Brit driver who punched a cyclist turns himself in. More road rage in the UK, this time it’s a cyclist who punched a passenger through a car window. A writer for London’s Guardian says the U.S. has a lot to learn from Europe when it comes to encouraging bike commuting; link courtesy of Rex Reese. The seven Estonian cyclists kidnapped in Lebanon while on a bike tour last March are finally free after French authorities negotiate their release. Following a collision, a drunk cyclist is fined for BUI in Dubai.

Finally, an auto-centric columnist for the Boston Globe calls for banning cyclists from the city, while the Times’ Hector Tobar urges patience even though some cyclists are setting a bad example for all those law-abiding drivers out there. But seriously, when you pass “two slow moving cyclists” and have no idea why they’re both flipping you off, there’s probably a reason for it.

And here’s your perfect soundtrack for Carmegeddon weekend.

Although this one seems kind of appropriate, too.

Monday’s ride, in which the mean streets of the Westside seem safer than the safety of the bike path

Something is seriously wrong when a busy shopping street feels safer than an off-road bike path.

But that was the choice I made on Monday, on what rapidly deteriorated into one of the most stressful bike rides I’ve ever taken. And one of the few times I’ve ever gotten off my bike far less relaxed than when I got on.

Another late start caused me to change my planned route, and break my cardinal rule of never riding the beachfront Marvin Braude bike path through Santa Monica and Venice after noon after Memorial Day.

And I was quickly reminded why I don’t.

It started with a couple of twenty-something couples who were coming out of a parking lot near the Annenberg Center on their way to the beach.

As I approached on the opposite side of the path, I watched as the first member of the group stepped onto the pathway without looking in either direction — right into the path of an oncoming cyclist, who had to make a panic stop on loose sand to just barely miss him.

Then, apparently having learned absolutely nothing from the experience, he stepped right in front of me, forcing me into a panic swerve to avoid him. When I made a comment about looking both ways like his mama taught him, I got a resounding chorus of “what a jerk” from the full group.

And things went downhill from there.

Take, for instance, the grandmother who led a toddler onto the pathway on the far side of a blind curve. And again, stepped out directly in front of me, without a single glance in my direction.

I wonder how she would have explained that to the child’s parents if I hadn’t been able to stop in time?

Or the unsupervised child, around five or so, who was stopped on the opposite side of the bike path, and suddenly swerved directly towards me as I was trying to slip past, forcing me into the sand to avoid him.

But I don’t blame him.

I blame the parents who were nowhere to be scene, leaving a kindergarten-aged kid to navigate a busy bikeway on his own.

And don’t even get me started on the countless groups of pedestrians who somehow managed to block both sides of the bike path as they meandered mindlessly along. Sometimes just inches from the separate pedestrian walkway they should have been using.

All of which combined to make the bike lanes along Main Street seem like the much safer choice on my return trip. And despite dodging doors and double-parked cars and trucks in the bike lane, it felt infinitely safer than the bike path I’d previously navigated just a few blocks away.

Which is absolutely shameful.

It’s one thing to share the pathway with other users, even those sections marked for bicycles only. But it’s another thing when the very people the path was intended to serve are forced to choose alternate routes because it just isn’t safe to ride.

Then again, the streets weren’t that great, either.

As I rode back up Ocean Blvd in Santa Monica, I was nearly crushed between a parked Metro bus partially blocking the bike lane and a passing 720 bus whose driver refused to surrender a single inch of his lane, despite the limited space available.

And evidently, was willing to risk my life to stay on schedule.

Then there’s the driver that right-hooked me as she pulled into the driveway of her apartment building in Brentwood, forcing me to turn along with her to avoid a collision.

By this time, though, I’d had enough.

But when I confronted her about nearly causing a collision, something totally unexpected happened.

She apologized so completely and profusely, I found myself with no idea what to say. And felt all that pent-up anger just melt away.

So I urged her to be more careful next time, more to give myself an exit line than to suggest she drive more safely, since she had clearly gotten the message. And rode off with a cascade of apologies following me down the street.

And oddly, leaving me feeling just a little more hopeful than I had been before she cut me off.

If maybe even a little more stressed.

Roraff apologizes for killing Jorge Alvarado; cyclists disagree with city on environmental review

According to the Highland Community News, Patrick Roraff is sorry he killed pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado last April.

In a brief story about the case going forward against Roraff and co-defendant Brett Morin for the alleged street racing collision that killed Alvarado, the paper mentions that Roraff wrote a letter apologizing to Alvarado’s family — as well as telling investigators how much he regretted his actions.

According to the accident report, Roraff wrote a letter to Alvarado’s family apologizing for the crash and told investigators, “I feel so stupid for even doing that, like trying to show off … I wish I could go back and just change everything, but I can’t … I can’t believe I took away a life.”

Unfortunately, no amount of remorse will bring the rising pro rider back to life.

Then again, no amount of punishment will either, no matter how much jail time the two teenage drivers receive.

Thanks to Dj Wheels for the heads-up.

Update: I received an email from an L.A. cyclist named Bret Morin, who pointed out that I had misspelled the name of the driver charged in Alvarado’s death as Bret, rather than Brett. My sincere apologies to the other Bret Morin for any inconvenience this may have caused.

.………

Surely no one is really surprised by this. Damien Newton reports that cyclists are in conflict with L.A.’s notoriously risk-averse agencies over plans for environmental review of projects in the new bike plan.

You didn’t think the fight was over once the plan was unanimously passed by the city council, did you?

.………

Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson ride a tandem in Venice, which brings up one of my pet peeves.

For those unclear on the subject, the world-famous Venice Boardwalk is that crowded sidewalk between the stores and the beach where bikes are banned. That narrow strip of asphalt where Simpson and Johnson rode last weekend is the world-famous Marvin Braude, formerly Venice/Santa Monica, Bike Path, where bikes are actually allowed and pedestrians banned.

In theory, at least.

.………

LACBC calls for volunteers for this weekend’s Culver City bike count. The West Hollywood Bicycle Task Force meets this Wednesday at 6:30 pm. Bikerowave is hosting a bike swap meet this Sunday. Source readers overwhelmingly approve of removing bike restrictions on Metro trains. Fourth District Councilmember Tom LaBonge rides next to the L.A. River; public television station KCET offers a field guide to biking it yourself. Harry Dougherty offers great photos from last weekend’s Sunday Funday ride, as well as the L.A. River clean-up. Santa Monica Spoke will host a bike exhibition at the 20th Annual Santa Monica Festival. Gary Kavanagh says Santa Monica could be the envy of the bicycling nation. Hermosa Beach invites you to an all ages bike playdate on Saturday the 14th. SoCal’s bike-friendliest city celebrates Bike Month. The Claremont Cyclist offers local bike news, including the new Citrus Regional Bikeway. The Amgen Tour of California will bypass the scenic central coast due to a massive landslide.

Astronaut Grover says wear your helmet. It’s Bike Month, so get out there and don’t proselytize. What to consider when you get new tires. Then again, maybe you’re overinflating your tires; based on this, I may try dropping my front tire a little. What’s your motivation to ride to work? The League of American Bicyclists shifts their focus from educating cyclists to educating the drivers who threaten us, and wants your help to do it; they also release the latest list of bike-friendly cities. No surprise cycle tracks save lives. Touting the environmental benefits of cycling could do more harm than good. People for Bikes says 2011 could be the year of the bike. The perfect accessory for your designer handbag could be the new Kate Spade bike.

Lovely Bicycle ponders why some towns aren’t cycling towns. Participants in New York’s popular Five Boro Bike Ride seem to spend more time walking than riding. The Washington Post implies cyclists are the only ones who need to obey the law, while Wash Cycle deftly dismantles their arguments. DC cyclists are threatened by drivers, as well as the roads they ride on. Maryland adds tougher penalties for negligent drivers who kill cyclists. A cyclist is killed by a hit-and-run driver in North Carolina after falling in the street, even though his friends tried frantically to stop the oncoming driver; thanks to Zeke for the heads-up. Florida cyclists may get a chance to ride a local causeway legally. The legal deadline has passed for Lance Armstrong to sue Floyd Landis over doping allegations.

Canadian parents are charged with letting their nine-year old son ride without a helmet after he’s hit by a car. Maybe if you rode with a halo around your head, you might not end up with one. A nurse saves the life of a man who collapsed during a triathlon, then finishes the race herself. Town Mouse wonders if we’re teaching our children the right lessons. An 81-year old UK man dies after a collision with a cyclist. Great mostly bike-related artwork. Good road design makes peace break out between cyclists and drivers. Sydney homeowners discover living near a bike path is good for property values.

Finally, if you’ve already jumped bail after being ordered not to drink, don’t get drunk and ride your bike into a parked patrol car.

Open letter to Metro and LA County DPW — making the Marvin Braude Bikeway a transportation corridor

Pedestrians often block cyclists on the bike path, despite numerous bike-only signs

If you’ve ever tried to ride the beachfront bike path through Santa Monica and Venice, chances are, you know what the problem is.

Despite countless bike-only signs along most of its length, the path is plagued by the seemingly inevitable conflicts between cyclists, skaters, joggers and pedestrians, as we all fight for a few feet of space on what should be the crown jewel of SoCal cycling.

The problem stems from a traditional lack of enforcement, which has caused countless residents and tourists to believe the path is open to everyone. Not mention location, since the bike path is situated directly on the sand, while pedestrian walkways, where they exist, are often well away from where most people want walk.

Now the County Department of Public Works is preparing a proposal that might solve that problem for a relatively lengthy section of the bikeway.

The County is submitting an application in Metro’s Call for Projects for a pedestrian walkway that would parallel the bike path from Ocean Front Walk north to Will Rogers State Beach. Something that would provide other users a space of their own directly on the sand, while freeing room for bikes on a path that was built for our use — but which many riders avoid because it’s often too crowded to ride.

Problem is, they’ve made a similar request before. And were turned down because the project was seen as benefitting recreational riders, rather than commuters.

This, despite the fact that simple observation indicates that at least some commuter cyclists already use the bike path as an alternative to PCH and crowded Santa Monica streets. And more commuters would use it if there weren’t so many non-cyclists clogging their way.

As a result, I’ve written the following letter in support of the project.

I urge you to write a letter of your own asking Metro to fund the pedestrian walkway, and send it to L.A. County Bikeway Coordinator Abu Yusuf, who has agreed to forward our letters to the right people and include them in the application.

Since Metro’s focus is on transportation, rather than recreation, your letter should stress how a pedestrian walkway would make it easier for you to commute to work, class or other situations, and make you more likely to use your own bike as opposed to other methods of transportation; feel free to use my letter as a guide.

.………

January 11, 2011

Gail Farber
County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works
900 South Fremont Ave
Alhambra, CA 91803-1331

Dear Ms. Farber,

It has come to my attention that the Department of Public Works for the County of Los Angeles will be submitting an application for funding for the Marvin Braude Pedestrian Walkway Gap Closure Project in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 2011 Call for Projects.

As you are undoubtedly aware, the Marvin Braude Bike Trail is one of Southern California’s most popular bikeways, drawing a very high volume of bicyclists, pedestrians, skaters and other users. While there are nearby walkways along other sections of the bike path, there is no pedestrian walkway along the section between Ocean Front Walk in Santa Monica and Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades.

As a result, bike riders and pedestrians are forced to compete for a limited amount of space, creating inevitable conflicts between various users, as well as congestion that greatly reduces the path’s utility for transportation riders and dramatically increases the risk of serious injuries.

Closing the proposed gap closure between the existing walkways would allow both bicyclists and pedestrians to travel this section of the Marvin Braude bikeway with greater safety. It would also provide access to local transit hubs, as well as the Exposition Light Rail Transit line that is currently in the beginning stages of being extended to Santa Monica.

In addition, moving pedestrians onto a separate pathway would increase the viability of the bikeway as a transportation corridor for bicyclists by providing safer access for riders commuting to the many activity, shopping and employment centers in the Santa Monica, Venice and Malibu areas. It would also encourage people who do not currently use their bikes for transportation to consider it as an alternative to driving or other methods of transit.

I myself have often considered using my bike for transportation to work or meetings in the area, but have usually rejected it at least in part due to the congestion and safety hazards caused by pedestrians and other non-bike users on the bike path.

I strongly urge the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to move this vital project forward by approving funding for the Marvin Braude Pedestrian Walkway Gap Closure Project in the 2011 Call for Projects.

Sincerely,

Ted A. Rogers
BikingInLA.com

.………

UCLA will host a day-long Complete Streets workshop Downtown on Friday, February 25th; participation is open to registered attendees; thanks to @Maddz4planning and @kneel28 for the heads-up. Bikerowave is offering a free bike-fitting workshop at 6 pm Saturday, January 15th; few things will improve your performance and enjoyment more than a bike that fits right. CicLAvia ventures into L.A. cycling’s undiscovered country, scouting streets for a possible South L.A. route. Bikeside encourages cyclists to walk precincts for the newly beardless Stephen Box. LADOT Bike Blog introduces LADOT’s Assistant Coordinators. Flying Pigeon looks at the January Spoke(n) Art Ride; the next one takes place on Feb. 12. Gary writes about the lessons learned from Long Beach’s bike planning. One of L.A.’s best wrenches, who I never seem to get over to see even though he works just down the road, offers some breathtaking views of the city from a recent off-road ride.

A Huntington Beach cyclist sues the city after falling while crossing railroad tracks. San Clemente requests funding for a possible bicycle freeway. Would new bike racks encourage more San Diego cycling? Santa Cruz officials consider moving the 1800-mile Pacific Coast Bike Route off a busy main road and onto a quieter, more picturesque street. Even famed bike builder Gary Fisher is a victim of bike theft.

Streetsblog says we’re all pulling for AZ Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords; a vigil will be held for her and the other shooting victims on Tuesday evening. Commuting to work could save your life. Bike Portland’s Jonathon Maus says it’s time to tone down the rhetoric on our streets, as well as our political discourse; I couldn’t agree more. People riding bikes aren’t jerks, they’re just like you. Does the Mary Poppins effect keep cyclists in regular clothing safer? New Belgium’s Tour de Fat raises over $300,000 for bike non-profits, including C.I.C.L.E. and LACBC.  Ohio bike lawyer Steve Magas — one of the out-of-area lawyers you’ll find over there on the right — looks at the official stats for cyclists killed in that state in 2010, and lowers the count by two. Make phone calls directly from your bike with this awkward, butt-ugly innovative helmet with built-in phone; thanks to Just Another Cyclist for the link. Tips to quiet your ride. Fears of unbridled gentrification rise as streetcars return to Lego City; yes, it’s written with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

I confess, there were times I felt like a cowboy riding around the Mountain West, but turn my bike into a horsie? No. Just no. A top British barrister says the courts have to do more to protect cyclists. A Spanish mountain biker charged with doping offenses has committed suicide. The London Olympic Velodrome could be the world’s fastest track. British Olympian James Cracknell says he’s lucky to be alive after getting hit by a gas tanker near Winslow AZ last July; I think everyone who’s followed the story would agree. A Surrey cyclist raises over £90,000 for charity by riding 100,000 miles. Spanish cyclist Alejandro Valverde remains banned. A German biker didn’t think cycling through Siberia would be so darn cold.

Finally, the solution to dooring could be as simple as stop riding your damn bike on the street, according to antidooring.org, which also notes that every car on the road can replace up to six bicycles; I sincerely hope this is tongue-in-cheek. An Ohio used car dealer is willing to give joggers and cyclists a 15% discount if you just promise to stay the hell out of his way. Maybe it would help if we all took this pledge.

And RIP to Peter Yates, director of Breaking Away, the movie that got me on a bike three decade ago. Arrivederci, papa.

Tuesday’s ride, in which I discover that not all dangerous jerks ride on four wheels

Recently, Santa Monica’s Parks and Rec Commissioner commented about how dangerous the beachfront bike path can be.

I experienced that for myself yesterday, when I was almost nailed by another cyclist who couldn’t seem to grasp what the problem was.

I’d thought I was going to be stuck at home all day, despite the best weather we’d seen in a few weeks. But as the morning progressed, I found myself with an unexpected opportunity to get out for a quick ride, so I grabbed my bike and took off for the coast.

Apparently, a lot of other people were distracted by the lovely day, too.

I could almost count on getting left crossed and right hooked, cars pulling out in front of me and doors flying open unexpectedly. But a little defensive riding kept me out of harms way.

Still, I was having a very enjoyable ride as I come down the bike path below the Palisades, headed towards the pier. I had just passed the life guard headquarters, and was approaching the end of the parking lot below the life guard station, at the point where the bike path takes a short jog to the left before turning right and down a short hill.

While I usually prefer to stay on the bike path to enjoy the view, a lot of riders take the more direct route through the parking lot there. And sure enough, I saw a rider coming up on my left through the parking lot to merge onto the bike path.

A quick mental calculation indicated we were on a direct collision course; if neither of us changed our pace, I would arrive at the access point just in time for him to t-bone me.

Since I was already in the superior position on the path, prudence would have dictated that he should yield and pull in safely behind me. But sometimes, prudence is nothing more than a woman’s name. And not a fashionable one at that.

As I watched, he accelerated, picking up his cadence in an apparent attempt to beat me. Sure enough, he darted onto the path just feet in front of me, as I feathered my brakes to avoid a collision.

As he darted down the hill, I yelled out “a**hole!”

And instantly regretted it.

Not because his riding didn’t deserve it, but because I’ve learned over the years that the only thing you accomplish by calling someone that is to convince them that you’re one yourself. And it didn’t fail in this case, either.

Clearly, he heard me, as he slowed down to let me catch up to him, anger evident on his face. Yet in typical passive aggressive style, insisted that the only problem was my anger over something so trivial as risking the safety of a total stranger.

It was clear that any discussion would be a waste of breath, so I just rode on, leaving him in my wake.

Yet a few moments later, he was at my side again, demanding to know what he did wrong. So I pointed out that he had sped up to cut me off, and said that what he did was no different than what a bad driver might have done. And that merely avoid a collision wasn’t good enough, any more than it is when a driver thinks he passed safely after buzzing you, just because he didn’t actually make contact.

And that he would be just as angry if someone did to him.

Instead of conceding the point, though, he denied accelerating — despite having started out well behind me, yet somehow miraculously getting there before me.

Again, it was evident that I was wasting my time, so I refocused on my own riding as he once again dropped back behind me.

This time, though, he slipped into my wake, and drafted on me for about half a mile. Then out of the blue, called out from behind, asking me to get out of his way so he could finish his ride — despite a wide open lane on the other side of the center line where he could have easily gone around me.

Once again, exactly like drivers all too often do, honking and yelling behind a cyclist rather than just pulling around to pass.

So I moved to my right and slowed to let him go by, sincerely hoping that I wouldn’t see him again.

I’ve long suspected that people ride the way they drive. So it wouldn’t surprise me if he would have done exactly the same thing if we’d met when he was behind the wheel.

All I know is that’s not the kind of person I want to share a road or path with, on two wheels or four. And proving once again that anyone can learn to ride fast, but it takes experience and effort to learn to ride well.

And for once, I understood what drivers are talking about when they complain about dangerously aggressive cyclists.

Turns out it’s not a myth, after all.

.………

If you’re not busy Wednesday evening, stop by the Palms Neighborhood Council, as Mayor Villaraigosa stops by to discuss making the streets safer for cyclists. Or discuss the Santa Monica Bike Plan with special guest Long Beach Mobility Coordinator Charlie Gandy. Meanwhile, Gary sums up coverage of the recent SaMo Bike Plan Workshop, and takes a consultant to task for the absurd comment that all the easy bike projects have been done already.

.………

Amazingly, the bike lane on eastbound Ohio near the VA Hospital has been restriped and moved out of the badly broken asphalt along the gutter; I’ve long considered this the worst bike lane on the Westside, so the news is more than welcome. Interestingly, I just rode that section on my way home Tuesday afternoon and nothing had been done yet; clearly, they worked fast.

.………

Council candidate Stephen Box releases his first campaign video. Don Ward, aka Rhode Block, responds to his well-deserved honor as Advocate of the Year. The city authorizes a $50,000 reward in the murder of a 14-year old bike rider. Mark your calendar for the next Streetsblog event on Tuesday, January 18th, as they join with KPCC, American Institute of Architects, Pasadena and Foothill Chapter, and Pasadena Magazine to discuss Planning the Future of Our Streets. The L.A. Business Journal looks at the story behind Riding Bikes With the Dutch.

Bike San Diego says 2011 will be the year of the bike in our neighbor to the south. A Davis cyclist is left crossed by a 78-year old driver, while a Modesto cyclist is killed in a right hook while riding in a crosswalk without a light. CHP investigators are “getting pretty close” to an arrest in a fatal Redding-area hit-and-run last November. California’s new higher threshold for grand theft will be “bad for bikes, and bad for bike business.” Life as a diabetic cyclist. Courtesy of Just Another Cyclist comes word of DIY bike snow tires.

Ending the mythical war on the car, or how to talk to conservatives and drivers; a writer for London’s Guardian newspaper astutely asks where the victims of this so-called war are, maybe the real war is the one on bikes. The focus for government should be on comprehensive policy measures to make cycling safer, not helmet laws. The old saw that roads pay for themselves turns out to be a myth, and cyclists probably overpay for our share of the road; dig deep into the details with the full report. Virtually ride through virtually any neighborhood with Google Bike. Safe passing bills are introduced in Virginia and Washington state, but not everyone thinks the Washington law is a good idea. Taking a stand against a dangerous project in Montana. A DC cyclist spots his stolen bike and politely leaves a note on it. The new year claims its second victim in Florida.

The best way to protect cyclists and pedestrians could be to make driving more dangerous. Researchers call for a ban on large trucks in cities after finding they’re involved in 43% of fatal bike collisions — despite making up just 4% of traffic. An Edinburgh city councilor gets criticism for claiming mileage when travelling by bike. A Dutch formula for calculating the benefits of cycling, including cupcakes consumed. Bike helmets may offer protection for children, but can be dangerous when not riding. Say it ain’t so, Jeannie — the ageless Jeannie Long-Ciprelli, one of the greatest cyclists of all time, hints at retirement at age 52.

Finally, the former king of Bhutan takes up cycling to support the county’s GNH — Gross National Happiness. Imagine what could happen in this country if our leaders actually focused on what would make us happy.

And seriously, don’t build jumps on multi-use trails; that won’t make anyone happy.

Texas jogger dies after colliding with a cyclist; is it just a matter of time before it happens here?

It was bound to happen sooner or later.

Last week, a jogger on a popular shared use trail in Dallas suddenly turned to reverse direction and collided with a cyclist who was attempting to pass her. She struck her head as she fell, resulting in a fatal brain injury.

The reports I’ve seen don’t say how fast the rider was going or how close he was passing, or if he tried to warn her first. It didn’t help that her headphones may have kept her from hearing the rider as he approached.

Unfortunately, you don’t have to spend much time riding along the beach in Santa Monica and Venice to realized that a similar tragedy could happen here anytime.

Collisions between cyclists and pedestrians occur on the beachfront bike path on almost a daily basis.

Like the elderly rider I saw go over his handlebars when a small child on a tricycle suddenly strayed onto the wrong side of the path. Or the cyclist who was knocked of her bike as she tried to pass a group of pedestrians who stopped to talk without moving off of the path they shouldn’t have been on to begin with.

I’ve had several close calls exactly like this one myself, where someone has turned directly into my path without checking to see if anyone is behind them. Sometimes it’s a pedestrian or jogger, sometimes another rider making a left turn without bothering to look back first, evidently operating under the assumption that they’re the only ones there.

I’ve also had a number of close calls when a pedestrian has stepped onto the bike path without looking in either direction for oncoming traffic.

Call me crazy, but I’d think the mere existence of a bike path is a pretty good indication that there could, maybe, just possibly be bikes on it. And simple prudence would suggest that looking for them before attempting to cross would be a good idea.

But hey, that’s just me.

The Texas tragedy has reverberated around country, as the Bike Portland says it shows the need for more, and therefore, less crowded trails, as well as more courtesy on them, and Witch on a Bicycle offers advice on how to ride a multi-use path. Meanwhile, some people have responded by saying a 10 mph speed limit may be necessary on multi-use trails.

But it’s not a question of how fast you ride. It’s a matter of riding safely, and being prepared for other people on the path to do the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time.

I’m usually one of the fastest riders on the bike path. But I make a point of riding with my hands on my brake levers whenever there’s someone else around, which is most of the time. And passing other riders and pedestrians with the same three-foot or more passing distance I expect from drivers.

If I can’t, or if the other person’s actions make me suspect that they may somehow pose a hazard, I’ll announce my presence and tell them I’m about to pass — even though it’s often wasted breath, too many people can’t hear me or anything else over their headphones.

Sooner or later, though, something like this is bound to happen here. And when it does, the question isn’t whether the fault will lay with an overly aggressive cyclist or careless pedestrian.

It’s whether the city agencies who have repeatedly failed to enforce the path’s bike-only restrictions will be held accountable for it.

………

The Santa Monica Public library will host a free discussion with David Herlihy, author of The Lost Cyclist tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in the Main Library’s MLK Jr. Auditorium, 601 Santa Monica Boulevard; thanks to Dr. Michael Cahn for the heads-up.

David V. Herlihy, author of the acclaimed Bicycle: the History, will discuss and sign his new book, The Lost Cyclist: The Epic Tale of an American Adventurer and His Mysterious Disappearance.  The book tells the true story of Frank Lenz, a young photographer who disappeared in Turkey in the spring of 1894 while trying to complete a round-the-world bicycle ride.  Herlihy will show photographs by Frank Lenz, taken before the world tour, when he rode an old-fashioned high-wheeler bike, and during the tour, when he rode a modern-style “safety” bicycle across North America and Asia.  A book sale and signing, courtesy of Diesel Bookstore, will follow the program.

And speaking of L.A.’s city by the bay, the Santa Monica Spoke invites you to attend a social mixer to talk bikes with the candidates for Santa Monica City Council tomorrow evening from 6:30 pm to 8:45 pm at 502 Colorado Blvd.

Plan carefully, and you could even make an evening of it.

………

Rumors that Alberto Contador’ blood contained traces from a plastic IV bag have evidently been confirmed, as the New York Times reports that a new test first used in this year’s Tour de France showed plasticizer levels eight times over the allowed limit; a spokesman for Contador calls the story unfounded.

The Times quotes Bernhard Kohl, who finished 3rd in the 2008 Tour de France before being disqualified as saying:

“It’s impossible to win the Tour de France without doping…. Riders think they can get away with doping because most of the time they do.”

Lance Armstrong’s test samples from his riding days could be subjected to the same tests in a seemingly relentless effort to prove the new-retired rider cheated. Fortunately, not every cyclist is dirty.

………

Word came yesterday that the Massachusetts LAB-certified cycling instructor who was stopped repeatedly and arrested for the crime of riding in the roadway on a state highway had his charges dismissed last month, though authorities still have a few days to appeal.

………

The video may be three years old, but it’s relevant today since it shows the current front-runner for mayor of Toronto. On it, he says his “heart bleeds” for cyclists killed on the streets, but at the end of the day it’s their own fault, comparing bicyclists riding with traffic to swimming with the sharks.

………

Evidently, the anti-bike backlash has extended to wildlife, as riders are taken out by squirrels and wallabies in separate attacks; this comes on the heels of an elite New Zealand rider whose season was ended by a magpie.

………

A warm welcome to L.A.’s newest cycle chic. KPCC’s Larry Mantle had a good program on distracted driving on Tuesday; maybe the solution is hands-free texting. KABC-TV offers a mostly balanced, if somewhat lightweight, look at the conflict between bikes and cars; Damien Newton artfully deconstructs it. A new 3,000 square foot bike shop opens Downtown; link courtesy of @LosAngelesCM. USC’s Neon Tommy says the draft bike plan could make L.A. bike friendly, and reminds us there’s still time to submit your comments. Lisa Simpson, bike shop owner. Census data shows my hometown in the nation’s #3 cycling city behind Boulder CO and Eugene OR; L.A. checks in at a surprisingly high #26. In Oregon, anyone can write a traffic citation, even if the police and courts don’t always know it. And remember to wear orange if you ride there during hunting season. The Wisconsin bike shop owner who was hit by a car five yeas after barely surviving a racing accident died on Tuesday; the driver says he couldn’t see the riders in front of him because the sun was in his eyes. Don’t even try to figure out who’s at fault in this wreck as a salmon cyclist is hit by two drunk drivers in rapid succession; link courtesy of the previously mentioned WoaB. Advice on how to ride with another cyclist. After an Augusta driver hits five riders, critically injuring one, debate rages over how to keep cyclists safe — or whether we even belong on the roads. If you see someone riding your son’s stolen bike, don’t hit him with your SUV. Get out that ugly bridesmaid dress you thought you’d never wear again, as bike Pittsburgh hosts their first Bridesmaid Dress Ride. Rhode Island authorities look for the young motorists who intentionally forced a rider off the road during a triathlon. A London cyclist who was charged with assault after being strangled with his own scarf during an argument with a cab driver has his case dismissed; the court rules the driver’s version of events wasn’t credible. A driver in Singapore hits a cyclist with enough force that the rider smashes her windshield ­— then drives home with his bike jammed under her car, convinced that she was hit a falling branch; amazingly, the judge believed her. A bicyclist is killed when a school bus overturns in India’s Uttar Pradesh province, injuring 12 students; the driver ran away following the incident.

Finally, drivers evidently don’t stop for stops signs, either; then again, there are worse things than getting a ticket. And it looks like the LAPD won’t be pulling anyone over using jet packs, after all.

A minor miracle on the beachfront Marvin Braude bikeway

Finally, the sand is on the side of the bike path, where it's supposed to be.

Did you notice that?

To be honest, I almost missed it. Not because the change wasn’t dramatic, but because things were finally exactly the way they’re supposed to be — and until this year, usually had been.

For the first time in months, the bike path along the beach was virtually clear of sand, all the way from the Venice pier to the northern terminus in Pacific Palisades.

Finally, no sand on the path as far you can see.

Last week, I wrote that even though the county has been very responsive in clearing the sand that had built up on the sections they maintain in Santa Monica and Venice, results from the city had been significantly less impressive.

And the relatively small section the city is charged with maintaining, from north of the Annenberg Community Beach House to Will Rogers State Beach, remained covered with sand that had been there since the storms of last spring.

The telltale scrape marks left by a front loader after clearing the sand.

Scrape marks left by a front loader after clearing the sand from the concrete.

What a difference a few days makes.

On Thursday, Eric B commented that he’d just seen a heavy front loader, followed by someone with a leaf blower clearing away the sand, on the bike path. So I reworked my planned route for the next day to take in that section.

Focused on my ride, I was halfway through before I saw the telltale scrape marks on the concrete. And finally noticed what wasn’t there.

Sand.

Now there's enough room that users in each direction can stay on their own side.

It had been cleared away at last, and the path was open and truly ridable for the first time in months. And like me, no one even seemed to notice.

Which is exactly how it should be.

So thank you, Mr. Haynes, or whoever it was who was responsible for finally getting it cleaned. Now if you can just have those maintenance people come back every now and then to keep it that way, we’ll all be happy.

There's still a little sand spilling over in places, but nothing we can't ride around.

Speaking of which, I received a report this morning from LAPD bike liaison Sgt. David Krumer that he observed police officers advising pedestrians to stay off the bike path in Venice over the weekend.

Politely, I hope.

But still.

And on Friday, I watched as a private work crew worked to remove the broken and battered sailboat that had been beached just off the bike path in Venice for the last several months, after the skipper was tragically killed in one of last May’s storms.

The boat beached after a fatal sailing accident was finally removed on Friday.

So after months of dealing with a barely ridable path — and in the case of pedestrians on the bike path, years of virtual non-enforcement of the bikes-only restrictions — it looks like we’re finally making some progress on Southern California’s most popular bikeway.

Now if someone can just give me the name of whoever is in charge of getting the sun to come out…

No one seem to notice where city assumes responsibility for maintaining the bike path; they just enjoyed a nice ride for a change.

………

Coverage of Friday’s Critical Mass ride and Blood In protest redux; links courtesy of Damien at Streetsblog. Beach bikes cruise PCH to Save the Ta-tas. The Anchorage paper tells drivers and cyclists to curb the temper and share the road. A 14-year old Fairbanks girl is dead and her brother injured after a pickup driver runs a red light. Oregon transit officials turn 8 parking spaces into 74 by trading cars for bikes. A Texas traffic engineer says just push the damn button if you want the light to change. Norman OK considers a three foot passing law after two cyclists are killed in OKC. A bike cop’s-eye view of a popular DC walking and biking trail. Mass Senators talk politics over bikes. Some drivers are jerks around cyclists, some cyclists are jerks around pedestrians. A Indianapolis triathlete gets right hooked by a minivan on its way to a Burger King. Evidently, the Tour de France is nearly as hard on reporters as it is on the riders; thanks to George Wolfburg for the link. A soon-to-be-ex member of Lance Armstrong’s Team RadioShack faces a two-year ban for doping. Belfast bobbies bear down on bike-raging bicyclists. A look at dooring from the driver’s perspective. Just one weekend into London’s new bike sharing program, refunds are already in the works. Biking across Australia in eight days or less. If you need a good laugh, check out the cycling infrastructure failure of the month, courtesy of Bicycle Fixation’s Rick Risemberg.

Finally, a UK cyclist takes one last ride to his own funeral.

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