Tag Archive for Michael MacDonald

Morning Links: Cooler heads in the e-scooters debate, improving MyFig, and parking in a protected bike lane

Here are a couple of the smartest takes on the great e-scooters debate I’ve seen yet.

LA’s own CD15 Councilmember Joe Buscaino penned a great Op-Ed for the Los Angeles Daily News, in which he pointed out the real problem on our streets.

And it ain’t scooters.

Most of those concerned cited safety as their primary issue with dockless scooters- they disrupt traffic when ridden in traffic lanes, cause conflict when taken on the sidewalk by scofflaw riders, and cause accessibility issues when parked in all kinds of inappropriate places.

I understand these sentiments, because I see all the same issues on our streets and sidewalks — with cars. Cars clog our streets everyday in traffic jams which are only made worse when collisions occur. I see cars parked on the sidewalk and on front lawns all the time.

The worst part about cars is the manner in whic*h people are severely injured or even killed due to vehicle collisions. This isn’t some abstract problem — we have good hard evidence that children in America are twice as likely to die in traffic collisions relative to other affluent nations. Traffic collisions are the leading cause of death for children ages 2-14 in Los Angeles.

So while I get the concern for safety on scooters, it strikes me as misplaced to blame the scooters rather than the 4,000-pound steel machines that are actually hurting people.

It’s definitely worth reading the whole thing. And maybe remembering his name when Eric Garcetti is termed out as mayor in 2022.

In another great take, a writer for a governing website says cars cause all the same problems that people complain about e-scooters causing, but scooters don’t pose a risk to others. And smart planners will make room for them.

An Oakland panel discussion tackles the topic of e-scooters, saying they pose the potential to divert drivers for short trips up to three miles, and could be the key to getting safe bike lanes.

And an Op-Ed in the LA Times says let tech solve the problem of e-scooters.

Photo shamelessly borrowed from the Bird website.

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As we’ve mentioned a few times, the long-delayed MyFigueroa project is finally getting an official unveiling on Thursday, after nearly a decade of planning and too many compromises.

Which have left some people ecstatic over the new protected bikeway, and others wondering why the city even bothered.

Fortunately, the LACBC and other bike advocates have made progress in addressing those complaints directly with LADOT.

Here’s what Michael MacDonald of Bike the Vote LA had to say.

We’ve been working behind the scenes in dialog with our local representatives and LADOT about the concerns that many have communicated in this group and on Twitter. We still have work to do, but we’ve made some significant progress that I wanted to share.

Most notably, those of you who visit 7th and Figueroa should find that the ‘beg buttons’ are gone. There are still pedestrian buttons at this intersection, but they aren’t mandatory in order to receive a green walk signal. Similarly, by Thursday the bike signals at Olympic and 9th St should default to a green light on every signal cycle.

We’re hoping to continue to make some progress on the signal design, illegal parking in the bike lane, and improving the look and feel of bike infrastructure to be something that people of all ages and abilities can use comfortably.

If you care about this project — and I believe all in this group do — I would encourage you to attend the opening event on Thursday morning.

Hope to see you there.

 

And this is how LADOT responded to the complaints, in addition to offering a detailed explanation of what was done and why.

Based on community comments, LADOT has made these adjustments to MyFigueroa:

  • Added bollards in areas where the bike lanes are generally unprotected and do not operate with bicycle signals, and for more physical separation and to discourage vehicles from stopping in the bike lane to load or unload or to park illegally
  • Allowed for better signal progression and reduced travel time for bicyclists by adjusting signal timing and instituting rest-in-red for the bicycle and right turn signal indicators
  • Extended the MyFig project north to facilitate a continuous protected northbound bike lane from 11th Street to Wilshire Boulevard (bike lane previously became unprotected at 8th Street and terminated at 7th Street) to allow for a more robust connection to bike lanes on 7th Street and the bike lane on Figueroa Street which continues to Cesar E. Chavez Avenue/Sunset Boulevard

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Richard Rosenthal forwards word that Long Beach has installed a much needed parking-protected bike lane on Bellflower Blvd.

But not everyone seems to have gotten the memo.

Although you’d think the bike symbol right behind his car might have been a clue.

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CicLAvia is holding a meeting to discuss the next event on September 30th, which will end in my figurative backyard.

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LAPD Sgt. Helper has more than lived up to his name, going out of his way to help LA’s bicycling community.

Now it’s our turn to repay him.

A bike cop and bicyclist himself, Helper is raising funds to ride in next year’s Police Unity Tour to honor fallen officers and raise funds for a National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial and Museum.

In other words, a good guy riding his bike to raise funds for a great cause. If that doesn’t make you open your wallet and make a donation, I don’t know what will.

And yes, I may be broke these days. But I still managed to scrape a little together to help him out.

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Local

Now it makes a more sense. Yesterday we linked to a story saying the Gabriel National Recreation Trail was reopening this weekend thanks to the efforts of volunteers. But make that the popular Gabrielino Trail singletrack path through the Angeles National Forest.

TMZ reports actress Maura Tierney appeared to be okay a day after she was hit by a driver while riding in the Washington Blvd bike lane in Marina del Rey, as a paparazzo catches her walking gingerly near her home. Just be glad you don’t have photographers waiting in the bushes outside your door after your next crash.

Bellflower is looking for input as they develop a new active transportation plan. Thanks to Bike SGV for the link.

 

State

No news is good news. Right?

 

National

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on, as a Utah endurance cyclist was the victim of a jerk in a truck rolling coal — and they have a photograph to prove it. But the state police apparently don’t give a damn.

This is who we share the roads with. A Colorado Springs CO news team was lucky to survive when they were nearly run down by a driver while reporting live from a crime scene — even though they were standing in a bike lane. Or maybe because they were in a bike lane. Thanks to Jeff Vaughn for the heads-up.

A Fargo ND city commissioner calls for raising bicycle traffic tickets from $5 to $20, saying traffic infractions committed on a bike should be treated the same as those committed in a motor vehicle. Because bikes pose just as much risk to others as cars and SUVs, right? And if they’re charging drivers just $20, something is seriously wrong. 

A San Antonio company is offering ebike conversion kits to transform your ride into an up to 30 mph speedster for a mere $800 to $1,200.

This is why people continue to die on our streets. An Indiana man got a gentle caress on the wrist for running down a bike rider while high on methadone, leaving his victim seriously injured. Somehow, the judge was convinced to allow him to serve the paltry one year sentence at home, despite two prior convictions.

The NYPD is targeting delivery riders for using illegal throttle-controlled ebikes, rather than ticketing the companies they work for — even though the law clearly says the employer is responsible.

The New York driver who left a car parked in a bike lane with a note saying it predated the lane explained himself, saying the bike lane was painted around the car two days after he left on a weeklong vacation.

You’ve got to be kidding. A DC police spokesperson calls dead pedestrians lazy for getting killed by drivers, and the unquestioning local ABC affiliate runs with the demonstrably false story.

 

International

Vox talks with Chris and Melissa Bruntlett, the couple behind Vancouver’s Modacity, and authors of Building the Cycling City: The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality.

Nova Scotia businesses are discovering the benefits of catering to bike tourists.

Chinese dockless bikeshare company Mobike is bringing their new ebikes to the streets of London to offer “sweat-free cycling.”

It’s happened again. A London bicyclist fled the scene after critically injuring a woman in a collision as she was crossing the street; police found his abandoned bike a mile away. Just to be clear, people on bikes, scooters, skateboards or anything else have just as much responsibility to remain at the scene and help a victim as drivers do, but too often don’t. So just stop already.

A British HuffPo writer says you shouldn’t listen to pro cyclists about the helmet debate, noting that bicycling is safer than walking.

Now that’s how you make a point. Two weeks after the Lord Mayor of Dublin was caught parking his official car in a bike lane, Irish bicyclists gave him a new bike so he can use the lane legally next time.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 97-year old Dutchman rides his bike to old folks homes to play piano five days a week. Of course, that means I’d have to learn to play one.

It was a dark and stormy night. A bike tour in a Mumbai suburb gives riders a thrill with scary stories as they travel the city on two wheels.

A New Zealand city see sharrows as the bicycling solution to narrow streets and parked cars.

Caught on video: A New Zealand security camera captured a bike-riding boy getting hit by a van driver; fortunately, he wasn’t seriously injured. As always with videos like this, be sure it’s really something you want to see before you click the link, because you can’t unsee it.

Caught on video too: A pair of helmet-less bicyclists ride through an Aussie freeway tunnel on bikeshare bikes, apparently changing their mind halfway through and jumping on a ledge before transportation workers pick them up.

 

Competitive Cycling

Three-time national road champ Megan Guarnier announced her retirement from pro cycling after next month’s world championships. Her eleven-year career included wins in the Giro Rosa, Tour of California and Emakumeen Saria, as well as this year’s Women’s Tour de Yorkshire; she’s leaving to pursue an MD/PhD in neuroscience.

Screw spoilers. Popular American cyclist Ben King made his mark on the Vuelta, winning Tuesday’s stage in a sprint to the finish after what ended up as a two-man breakaway.

The folding of the Aqua Blue Sport Continental cycling team means there’s now another 15 riders and support staff looking for work.

Former Jelly Belly and US team member Corey Steinbrecher says he’s glad he raced clean; he’s now a resident at a Tennessee hospital after graduating medical school.

 

Finally…

At least we don’t have to dodge tigers. Maybe there’s an explanation for LA drivers after all.

And why did the chicken cross the road? Apparently to creep out and harass kids on the way to school.

Morning Links: Bike-related SoCal shootings, bad MyFig bike signals, and drunken victim blaming by PBS

It’s been a violent few days in Southern California.

Tragic story from Santa Ana, where a woman collecting recyclables was barely able to get off her bike in time before a truck slammed into it early yesterday. Only to discover the driver was already dead or dying from a gunshot wound; police are unsure where or how he got shot.

And man was shot as he and a woman were riding their bicycles on the LA River bike path in Long Beach on Wednesday. Although given the date, it’s possible it could have been caused by some idiot firing a gun into the air to celebrate the 4th.

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Michael MacDonald, aka topomodesto, offers a scathing indictment of the bike traffic signals on the new MyFigueroa bike lanes.

https://twitter.com/topomodesto/status/1014881629397921792

The response from LADOT simply says they’re still fine-tuning the street.

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Today’s must-read is a powerful op-ed from a pair of Toronto bicyclists and political science professors, who say it’s anarchy on the streets for the city’s cyclists.

An affluent city in which the act of riding a bike means our parents, partners, children and friends can die violent deaths is a travesty. A police force that won’t protect us should be ashamed. A legal system that won’t punish offenders is a farce. City councillors who won’t allocate funds to protect lives should be pushed out of office.

Until the city asserts its proper authority, the act of cycling in Toronto will remain a nasty, brutish and deadly experience.

Much of which applies to Los Angeles, as well. From a legal system that too often lets deadly drivers off with a slap on the wrist — if they get charged at all — to councilmembers who don’t just refuse to fund projects, but actually halt already funded safety projects.

And who should be pushed out here as well if they refuse to protect the lives and safety of their constituents, and anyone else who uses the streets of this city.

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On the other hand, PBS NewsHour offers an incredibly wrong-headed report blaming drunk pedestrians for the rise in pedestrian deaths.

Not distracted drivers. Or even poorly designed SUVs.

A third of pedestrians killed in crashes in 2016 were over the legal limit, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s nearly 2,000 people — up more than 300 since 2014.

“Those numbers are pretty shocking,” said Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety offices. “We think this is a big problem.”

Sure.

Except there is no legal limit for walking, because unlike operating a deadly two-ton machine, drinking doesn’t significantly impair moving your feet unless you get stumbling, falling down drunk.

Never mind that the report doesn’t specify how many of those intoxicated pedestrians were actually at fault, or did anything to contribute to their demise other than simply being there.

And it doesn’t mention how many of those deaths were actually caused by a lack of safe sidewalks and crosswalks that may have forced victims out into the street. Other than to suggest you should walk a quarter mile in each direction to get to a safe crossing rather than simply run across the street, like most people would do, drunk or sober.

Let alone the simple fact that if one-third of the victims were under the influence, that means the overwhelming majority weren’t.

We could spend hours picking this one apart.

But let’s just say this story is an incredible, stinking example victim-blaming windshield bias.

And PBS should be ashamed of it.

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Local

KPCC says LeBron could use the new MyFigueroa bike lane to get to Staples Center, except it’s full of parked cars.

 

State

A San Diego TV station explains how the city’s new bike boxes improve safety for bicyclists.

Now living in Los Gatos, mountain biking legend Juliana Furtado speaks out about the risk of suicide and depression, saying she’s lucky to have survived the disease that took the lives of her mother and older sister.

San Francisco-based Spin is bailing on bikes, and getting onboard the dockless e-scooter craze.

A Sonoma County Facebook group is teaming together to help recover stolen bicycles.

Sad news from Santa Rosa, where a man was killed in a crash with two hit-and-run drivers while riding his bike to see his kids; one of the drivers was arrested four miles away.

 

National

That car exhaust you suck in when you ride might be putting you at greater risk for diabetes. It’s frightening to think I might not have inherited my adult-onset diabetes from my mother after all, but gotten it from 30 plus years of riding in traffic instead.

A writer for Forbes says if you want to stay safe on the streets, you need to get radar taillight. Meanwhile, SoCal pro cyclist Coryn Rivera lists the gear she says you need to stay safe on a road bike.

A local magazine says sprawling, auto-centric Dallas could become a bike city. And if Big D can do it, so can Los Angeles.

A Detroit man is spending his weekends on his bike to photograph the city’s street art.

A Michigan court ordered a new trial over a $1 million judgement in the death of a six-year old boy who was killed riding his bike on a fairgrounds trail, after the fairgrounds argued the boy’s father was to blame for letting him ride there.

An Indiana bike rider was hit by a car, which apparently didn’t have a driver. And despite the statements from a bystander blaming the victim for not having a helmet — and who doesn’t think bikes belong on the road — a witness to the crash says a helmet wouldn’t have kept him from getting run down from behind. Thanks to Melissa McCurley for the heads-up.

Instead of making bridges safe for bike riders — or even legal, for that matter — Newport RI is now offering to drive them across the bridges on shuttle buses.

A Buffalo NY bike rider who refers to himself in the second person does the highly flawed math, and says streets aren’t wide enough for bike lanes.

New York is making plans to fix a scary gap in the city’s bike network. Meanwhile, most of LA’s bike network is a scary gap.

Philly bicyclists demand that drivers stop parking in bike lanes. Meanwhile, an op-ed says the way to build a better Philadelphia is to design it for everyone from 8 to 80.

Baton Rouge LA bike advocates say their best hope for changing the city’s bike unfriendly nature died along with a city councilmember who was run down from behind while riding his bike last week.

 

International

Horrifying video from Vancouver, where a bike rider gets right hooked by a massive gas tanker truck, which proceeds to run over her bicycle just as she jumps to safety.

Great advice for motorists from a Yukon columnist, who says drivers are responsible for 90% of crashes with bicyclists.

Good advice from the CBC in Winnipeg on how to avoid having your bike stolen. And how to avoid buying a hot one.

Guardian readers recommend ten European trips to add to your bike bucket list.

A UK writer ranks every type of bike rider from worst to least worst, saying there’s no such thing as an actively good cyclist. Even though she professes to write from the perspective of one.

 

Competitive Cycling

American Tejay van Garderen won’t be competing to win the Tour de France; instead he’ll be riding in support of team leader Richie Porte.

SB Nation says the Tour de France is a parade of dreams, and every moment of the tour is the highlight of someone’s life.

A new biography of America’s last remaining Tour de France winner credits Berkeley with spawning the modern bicycle-racing boom.

Seven TdF teams will be sucking down their $33 a bottle ketones sports drinks during this year’s race.

A group of women cyclists are riding the full Tour de France route one day ahead of the men competing in the race, while still contending with traffic and other inconveniences. But sure, let’s go ahead and pretend women can’t handle long stage races or difficult courses.

Good profile from Peter Flax, who says world road champ Peter Sagan is an enigma wrapped in rainbow stripes.

This is what happens to cyclists with questionable test results who don’t have Chris Froome’s money or Team Sky’s lawyers.

Now you, too, can own your very own Tour de France bike for a mere twelve grand.

The 805 Thousand Oaks Grand Prix rolls this weekend.

 

Finally…

Oh sure, anyone can ride around the world on two wheels. Actually, Khloe Kardashian doesn’t look a bit like she’s competing in the Tour de France, or any other bike race.

And no need to what until you stop, just grill your food while you ride.

Morning Links: Cyclist’s sister says don’t look away, march for Woon, and cops still don’t get bus & bike lanes

In a truly heartbreaking essay, the sister of a fallen LA bike rider calls on all of us to look squarely at the crisis of traffic fatalities.

In 2016 my brother Tom was biking home in Los Angeles. He took a street that I would learn is quiet for LA, but statistically deadly for bicyclists and pedestrians. At about 6 p.m. on this particular Saturday, a drunk driver in a box truck careened down a side street, hitting parked cars before killing my brother at an intersection. He was 26.

That first night after I got the call I was shocked and frightened. My brother was already dead, yet I was scared of what was to come. We had few details that first night, and my recollection is fuzzy. Trauma affects your memory.

Tomas Brewer was killed while riding on Temple Street in Echo Park, where Councilembers Mitch O’Farrell and Gil Cedillo recently blocked plans for a desperately needed road diet on one of the city’s most dangerous streets.

An LAPD officer had noticed 22-year old Cruz Tzoc speeding up Burlington Ave just moments before the crash, but was unable to catch up to him before Tzoc smashed into Brewer’s bike.

He was driving at twice the legal alcohol limit.

His sister went on to put her own grief in context, and ask that you look at the problem without looking away.

I do, however, judge the facts and the broader context of the loss imposed by traffic collisions. We made tremendous progress in the 1960s and 1970s reducing traffic fatalities and cutting drunk driving deaths. Policy changes, automobile safety features, and awareness building through advocacy have helped to save, many, many lives. But now that progress has petered out and started to reverse. Impaired drivers and speeding drivers are still killing us. There are new threats, like distracted driving. Meanwhile, cars are still designed to go very fast, development is sprawling and demands a car-centric lifestyle, bike infrastructure is an afterthought, bars are built in the middle of parking lots, and people protest against changes intended to save human lives.

It is frightening, but please try to look squarely at this crisis. Respect and be gentle with us, the surviving family members. We may be on the edge, or somewhere in the pit of grief. Please allow yourself to feel those ripples of impact, and let them move you to do something, anything to start saving lives.

 

As for the photo, maybe if we had more signs like this, we’d have fewer stories like these.

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There will be a meeting tomorrow night to discuss safety solutions for the long-neglected streets of South LA, where Frederick “Woon” Frazier was killed by a hit-and-run driver last April.

And the LACBC has announced a public march and press conference will be held this Thursday to demand justice for Frazier.

His alleged killer turned herself in last month as police were closing in, but has yet to be formally charged.

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The rights of bicyclists to ride in LA’s Bus and Bike Only Lanes remains under assault by misinformed police officers, who seem incapable of reading the posted signs saying bikes are allowed in the lanes.

Then again, that’s nothing new.

And no, Darth Vader has no begun working with LAPD Traffic; Michael blurred the photo of the officer to protect his identity.

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Once again, a motor vehicle has been used as a weapon.

According to police in Tampa, Florida, a former US track star intentionally drove his car off a highway and onto a separated bike path, killing a father as he rode his bike with his small children.

Thirty-year old Mikese Morse fled the scene, leaving Pedro Aguerreberry’s two kids to watch him die in front of them.

Police arrested Morse a few hours later on a charge of first degree murder — a charge that requires premeditation.

Morse’s parents said he was suffering from a debilitating mental illness, and he had posted a series of “increasingly angry and unhinged” videos on Instagram, saying that he was going to kill someone.

And yet he was still legally allowed behind the wheel of a two-ton machine capable of killing another human being.

Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

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Local

REI has raised $1.6 million to “rewild” five urban projects in cities across the US, including LA’s San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

CiclaValley and Streetsblog both look back at yesterday’s successful San Fernando Valley CicLAvia.

An open house will be held at 6 pm tonight at the Palms-Rancho Park Branch Library to discuss closing the ridiculous Northvale Gap in the Expo Line Bike Path. Local homeowners successfully fought the bike path through the area when the Expo Line was built, claiming thieves would use it to burglarize their homes; now it will cost exponentially more to build what could and should have already been finished.

The LACBC’s next Sunday Funday ride will take a tour of bike-friendly Santa Monica.

 

State

A La Jolla cancer research center has been awarded four grants from the $2.4 million raised by San Diego Padres annual Pedal the Cause fundraising ride.

A teenage San Diego girl was struck by a car while riding her bike when the driver went off the road after apparently suffering a medical emergency.

Monterey is about to break ground on an $8.5 million project to install separated bike lanes along the median on a major roadway. However, without improved signalization, a bike lane in the center of a roadway is likely to result in increased conflict points at intersections, which is why the one on Culver Blvd in Culver City has never been successful.

 

National

Maybe you should take another look at your helmet. A new study shows shows that unvented “urban style” helmets and helmets without the new MIPS anti-concussion technology are twice as likely to result in injuries in a crash.

Bicycling looks at the best tandem bikes, with prices starting at just $430.

A Seattle writer says the only downside to ebikes is the battery dying while climbing a hill.

A Phoenix TV station discovers where LimeBikes go to die.

Authorities in New Mexico believe they’re closing in on a suspect in the cold case death of an 19-year old woman who disappeared while riding her bike in 1988; a Polaroid photo found lying on the ground the next year 1,600 miles away may show her and a young boy lying on a bed bound and gagged.

A Chicago weekly worries that e-scooters will clog the city’s sidewalks and bike lanes.

A Chicago writer says the most direct routes aren’t always the safest or most enjoyable, suggesting that side streets are better for low-stress riding with kids. That’s something that too often gets lost in the debate over bike lanes — different riders have different needs. Some may want a low stress route, while others need to ride busier streets for their commute. That was the beauty of the 2010 Los Angeles Bike Plan, which contained three separate but connected networks ranging from quiet bikeways to protected bike lanes on busy streets. Maybe we can still get LA leaders to pull it off the shelf. Or out of the trash bin. 

The anti-bike lane screed from the publisher of Crain’s is still reverberating through Detroit, as a local advocacy group offers a calm response.

New York bicyclists protest the ICE detention center by riding their bicycles around it and blocking access.

In a very brief letter to the editor, a Pennsylvania bike rider reminds drivers that honking their horns accomplishes nothing but startling someone on a bike.

Caught on video: A bike rider was spotted riding in the middle of a major Virginia highway at rush hour, even though state law bans bikes from limited access highways. Don’t let LA drivers see what rush hour traffic looks like in Virginia, though, or they’ll all want to move to there. Or better yet, show them. Please.

 

International

As Pirelli re-enters the bike tire market, Rouleur takes a look back at the classic Pirelli posters of the last century, which set the standard for graphic design.

Once again, riding a bike proves to be the fastest way to cross a major city, as a bike rider wins a race between a motorcycle, bike bus, car and walking through central London.

A 70-year old British man says he just got out of the hospital with broken ribs and a fractured skull after he was hit by a speeding bicyclist riding illegally on the sidewalk. Seriously, don’t do that. Whether or not riding on the sidewalk is legal where you live, pedestrians should always receive the right-of-way there or in a crosswalk.

Dublin officials have called for greater enforcement of laws banning parking in bike lanes. Which is already proving to be a problem on the new My Figueroa semi-Complete Street in DTLA, where Central Division bike cops cracked down yesterday after receiving complaints.

In an inspired protest, German rabbis and imams rode tandem bikes through the streets of Berlin to fight antisemitism and Islamophobia.

A Tanzanian newspaper says people don’t run or ride bikes in Dar es Salaam because too many roadways lack the required service roads, and those that don’t are often blocked by traders.

A second dockless bikeshare company has closed up shop in Singapore, citing difficulties in meeting licensing requirements.

 

Competitive Cycling

Belgian rider Victor Campenaerts was knocked off his bike after colliding with a drunken fan at the country’s national championships; he managed to finish the race despite a mild concussion.

 

Finally…

If you think you can ride fast, try pedaling at 134 mph. It’s a battle of the Jeremys over moms biking to school.

And if you really need a name for two-wheeled conveyances that aren’t ebikes, here’s one.

Bicycles.

 

Morning Links: LA Times Op-Ed objects to O’Farrell tweet and compares traffic safety denying drivers to the NRA

Evidently, I may have started something.

A few weeks ago, I responded to Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell’s tweet about gun control by suggesting he focus on street safety instead, which he could actually do something about.

Especially since he had just announced he was killing plans for the long-planned Temple Street road diet.

I was surprised when O’Farrell responded.

And shocked when that response turned out to be “Nice try.”

And I wasn’t the only one, as dozens of people responded with varying degrees of disappointment and outrage at the cavalier attitude reflected in O’Farrell’s dismissive two-word answer.

Now Michael MacDonald, who you may be more familiar with as topomodesto, has written a hard-hitting Op-Ed for the LA Times, inspired by that exchange.

When it comes to standing up to the gun lobby, Los Angeles’ leaders are rightly all-in. Our city has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, and a recent bill by L.A. City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell would boycott companies that do business with the National Rifle Association. As the United States coalesces around the courageous teenage survivors of gun violence in Parkland, Chicago and Ferguson to challenge the NRA’s political clout, L.A.’s elected officials are uniting our city in solidarity.

When it comes to fighting traffic violence, however, these same leaders can’t seem to find the same political moxie.

He goes on to compare the actions of the small group of traffic safety deniers, which seem to have too many on the city council cowed in fear, with the actions of the NRA.

In both gun-violence and traffic-violence policy, the battleground is science and data. The NRA and its supporters oppose any efforts to study gun violence in a way that would inform policy making, blocking federal funding for gun violence research for over 20 years.

L.A.’s anti-traffic-safety lobby, meanwhile, vocally questions the accuracy of data collected on traffic injuries and deaths. One federally classified “proven safety countermeasure” in particular has become a target for their obfuscation: the street safety reconfigurations known as “road diets.”…

And yet — invoking a distinctly Trump-like paranoia and embrace of alternative facts — anti-safety activists routinely contend that these national studies are wrong: that road diets make streets more dangerous and are part of a nefarious plot of social engineering “meant to force citizens of L.A. into public transit under the guise of safety,” as one Playa del Rey resident declared on Twitter.

It’s well worth taking a few minutes to read, because MacDonald couldn’t have done a better job of identifying the problem. Or the solution.

And because Mitch O’Farrell is just the latest in what’s becoming a long list of LA councilmembers putting angry drivers ahead of human lives and livability.

You can find a more legible version of that tweet exchange at LA Streetsblog.

………

Toronto removes speed signs intended slow drivers down after getting complaints that they slow drivers down.

Proof that Los Angeles isn’t the only city that tosses both logic and Vision Zero out the window when drivers object.

………

Local

Now you, too, can become an LAPD bike cop.

Turmoil on the Westchester Neighborhood Council, as six members quit in a dispute over whether to boot two other members, including an opponent of the Playa del Rey road diets who hasn’t bothered to attend a meeting in the last six months.

You still have time to weigh in with your thoughts on how LA County should remake Rosemead Blvd into a complete street.

 

State

San Diego’s mayor drops plans for nine miles of curb-protected bike lanes, which would have caused years of delay and more than doubled the cost compared to using plastic bollards and parking-protected lanes.

Life is cheap in Bakersfield, where a wealthy vintner from a prominent family was sentenced to just 90 days in jail for killing a bike-riding mother of five while driving at over twice the legal alcohol limit. Prosecutors blamed the victim for having drugs in her system, and not wearing bright clothing or riding in a crosswalk — neither of which are required for bicyclists. Thanks to Jefferey Fylling for the heads-up.

 

National

Somehow we missed this one earlier this year, as an Oregon man is the only person in the state with a disabled parking permit for a bicycle. Thanks to Eric Rogers for the link.

Outside asks what’s going on with Niner, which was recently acquired in bankruptcy by the owner of Huffy; the mountain bikes will continue to be made in my hometown, at least for now.

A Colorado legal expert examines the question of just how far to the right you should ride. Most of which applies here in California, although we still have the outdated requirement to ride as far to the right as practicable, rather than Colorado’s more progressive statute.

It takes a major lowlife to steal the bicycles residents of a San Antonio TX rehab center use to get to work; fortunately, kindhearted locals helped replace them.

A new study from the University of Arkansas confirms what you’ve already been told dozens of times — you need to drink before you’re thirsty when you ride.

This is why people keep dying on our streets: Illinois police arrest a drunk driver who passed out at a gas station with an open bottle of Crown Royal after trying to fill her car with kerosene; she has six previous DUIs in six states, and was driving without a license. Some people will never stop driving until we start taking cars from drunk and stoned drivers, instead of just their licenses. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the heads-up.

A Massachusetts Op-Ed says a cyclist killed in a collision with a truck was a safe and careful rider, and wouldn’t have swerved in front of a massive truck without signaling, despite what the local victim-blaming DA claims.

Toyota teams with New York’s Priority Bicycles to build what they call the world’s safest bicycle by incorporating safety sensors and other features found on a Camry.

As usual, a plan to improve safety on a Philadelphia bike lane brings out people who say it doesn’t go far enough, and others who think it goes too far.

This is the cost of traffic violence: Pro wrestling Hall of Famer “Luscious” Johnny Valiant was killed in a collision with a truck driver while crossing a Pennsylvania street.

The bike-riding woman who gained worldwide fame for flipping off President Trump’s motorcade explains why she’s suing after getting fired for doing it.

A Charleston SC newspaper wonders why it’s so hard to get a bike lane on the bridge across the Ashley River, a debate that’s gone on since at least 1933.

A local newspaper remembers the black bike shop owner who prospered in a small Alabama town in the first half of the last century, despite being the son of former slaves.

 

International

A group of Calgary students have developed a bizarre new triangular bike gearing system to keep your drive chain from freezing and corroding during winter riding.

Bicyclists in Quebec argue that a proposed dramatic increase in fines for bicycling violations will simply keep people from riding.

A London website wonders why there are so few black and Asian bike riders in the city.

Even in the Netherlands, kids need more practice riding their bikes to avoid being clumsy, unsafe cyclists.

Italian bike riders are fighting to reclaim their space on the street in a country with almost no infrastructure for bicycles.

Horrifying news from Majorca, Spain, as a Porsche driver plowed into a group of nine cyclists, critically injuring one rider; the driver failed a roadside drug test.

The Evening Standard says the booming growth of Chinese dockless bikeshare is emblematic of the rapidly changing Chinese economy.

 

Competitive Cycling

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay says you can have Tiger Woods and the Masters; he’ll be watching Paris-Roubaix this weekend, aka the Hell of the North.

Cycling Tips relates the sad tale of two-time Paris-Roubaix champ Charles Crupelandt, which reads like a Greek tragedy.

The LA Times profiles next month’s Amgen Tour of California, which starts in Long Beach May 13th — for the men, that is; the women have to settle for three stages in Central California.

Eleven things not to do on your first crit.

 

Finally…

Who needs a bike cam when you can just have your drone follow you everywhere? It may look like a bike, but you probably wouldn’t want to ride it.

And introducing five-time Tour de France champ Bernard Renault, the greatest cyclist you’ve never heard of.

……….

A special thanks to John H and an anonymous donor for their generous contributions to the unofficial BikinginLA dead computer replacement campaign

 

Morning Links: Eric Garcetti fails street safety test, LA BMX pro fatally shot, and meet Cycling Without Age founder

A must read Op-Ed from Bike the Vote LA’s Michael MacDonald, who asks where Mayor Eric Garcetti is, as angry motorists torch the mayor’s signature traffic safety plans.

And Angelenos continue to die on the streets.

And yet, since the mayor’s 2015 directive, Los Angeles hasn’t just gotten more dangerous, it has become outright hostile to the concept of roadway safety. A small but vocal contingent of residents has taken an increasingly combative posture to any meaningful safety improvements that appear to interfere with their daily car commutes. City agencies have responded to this pushback by buckling — either canceling or watering down proposals to address dangerous speeding on North Figueroa StreetLankershim Boulevard, the Hyperion bridge and elsewhere. At the same time, we’ve seen a 43% increase in traffic fatalities in the first year after the adoption of Vision Zero, with the fatality rate trending to rise again in 2017.

Garcetti, meanwhile, has been inexplicably and unaccountably silent on the matter.

When Councilman Mike Bonin and Garcetti announced last week that they were removing a multi-street Vision Zero effort in Playa del Rey, it was in large part because Garcetti refused to insert himself in the debate around safety. As the drama escalated and some residents threatened a recall of Bonin over the safety upgrades, Garcetti never came to the councilman’s defense…

This is why I won’t support Eric Garcetti for any higher office, despite strongly supporting him in the past, first on the city council, then in two runs for mayor of Los Angeles.

The last straw came last week, when Garcetti appeared to take credit — if you want to call it that — for the decision to rip out the road diets and bike lanes in Playa del Rey, even though at least one of those bike lanes was included in the 2010 bike plan.

He has done a great job of setting policy by calling for safer, more walkable and bikeable communities, and bringing Vision Zero to Los Angeles, along with LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds.

But then he disappeared, leaving it up to others to defend those policies, as he set off in search of other initiatives, like so many shiny new toys.

He had the potential to be a great mayor.

But that will never happen unless and until he decides that this is the job he actually wants to have.

And that means rolling up his sleeves and getting to work on the street level with the rest of us.

Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

………

On a related subject, Curbed asks if LA’s road diets are in jeopardy due to the bikelash in Playa del Rey. That would be an unequivocal yes.

Speaking of which, CD4 Councilmember David Ryu has put a survey online asking about safety improvements on 6th Street between Fairfax and La Brea; this is your chance to voice your opinion on whether to improve traffic flow on the deadly street (Option A), or slow traffic and improve safety through a lane reduction (Option B). Do I really have to tell you which one I prefer?

Meanwhile, community group Keep Rowena Safe offers proof that lane reductions, aka road diets, really work. Which isn’t to say that the Rowena road diet isn’t at risk of being ripped out by Ryu, despite its proven success.

………

Fast Company lists 50 reasons why everyone should want more walkable streets, virtually all of which apply to bikeable streets, as well.

And somehow we missed this one from earlier in the month, as an architecture critic for the Philadelphia Enquirer listed seven ways bike lanes benefit motorists and pedestrians. Commit these to memory for the next time an angry driver complains about bike lanes. Which will probably be the next time you go to any public meeting or onto any social media platform.

………

Tragic news from the Vermont Square neighborhood of Los Angeles, where BMX pro Gabe Brooks was found shot to death outside his home at 52nd and Western. Thanks to Matt Ruscigno for the heads-up.

………

Here’s your chance to meet Ole Kassow, the founder of Cycling Without Age — the international program that’s changing lives by giving older people the chance to enjoy bicycling again, often for the first time in decades.

Kassow will hold a meet and greet at the Surf Food Stand on The Strand in Manhattan Beach, from Noon to 3 pm this Saturday.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the tip.

………

Local

KPCC looks at the effects of the deadly 85th percentile law, which will force Los Angeles to raise speed limits on a number of streets, whether we want to or not.

If you think the LA streets you ride could use a good cleaning, there may be a reason for that.

 

State

San Diego State University is cracking down on students who don’t ride their bikes in designated bike lanes or routes. Even though that would appear to violate state law; under California law, bikes are legally allowed on any public surface street where motor vehicles are permitted.

Former motocross racer and current Pink husband Carey Hart catches hell on Instagram for the crime of letting his 10-month old son roll gently on a skateboard, sans helmet.

A San Francisco museum is attempting to halt an effort to close Golden Gate Park to cars on weekends year-round; the main road through the park is already closed on Sundays and half the year on Saturdays. On the other hand, if the street was closed, the museum wouldn’t have to worry about the parking spaces they lost when a cycle track went in.

You’ve got to be kidding. A Novato man has been charged with multiple felony hit-and-run counts, despite intentionally running down four bicyclists earlier this month; he faces a maximum of five years behind bars. He should be facing four counts of assault with a deadly weapon at the bare minimum.

A proposed new bridge over the Sacramento River could improve access for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as providing space for a possible future streetcar line.

The town of Paradise is rewarded with full bike racks at the town’s elementary school as new bike lanes near completion, part of a Safe Routes to Schools project.

 

National

Caught on video: A Chicago burglar discovers that a stolen bicycle can come in handy to cart off a freshly stolen snow blower. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the link.

Not surprisingly, the family of a Michigan cyclist killed by an 83-year old driver want a change in the review process to keep dangerous drivers off the road. And they’re right.

JuJu got his bike back; someone turned the Pittsburgh Steeler and former USC star’s bike in to the police, claiming he’d bought it for $200 before recognizing it on TV. Sure, let’s go with that; no one would want to get rid of a stolen bike just because it got too hot.

New York Streetsblog calls for the state to give prosecutors the tools they need to go after hit-and-run drivers, and for prosecutors to be more willing to do it.

A road raging New Orleans driver tried to run a bike rider off the road after telling him to get onto the sidewalk, then got out of his car and physically attacked him.

 

International

Relatives of people killed by traffic violence in Toronto call for safer streets; the families want safer infrastructure and stiffer penalties for careless drivers.

A new survey shows that 87% of British cyclists think bike lights should be required day and night, 81% call for mandatory helmets, and over half would require mirrors and hi-viz. Which might be explained by the fact that the survey was conducted by a car rental company, of its own self-identified bicycling customers.

After a friend was badly injured riding his bike, a Bengaluru, India writer asks if it’s better to risk life and limb to be socially and environmentally responsible by taking to two wheels, or add to the city’s choking congestion by driving a private car.

 

Finally…

Your next ped-assist ebike could have hydrofoils instead of wheels. Why wait for someone to give you bad bicycling advice when you can read it all here? Thanks to David Drexler for the link.

And this may be the best scary clown bike fast food burger commercial in human history.

Weekend Links: A wake-up call for Eric Garcetti, an endorsement tie in CD9, and upping the visibility arms race

Bike the Vote LA co-founder Michael Macdonald has penned a must-read Op-Ed for the LA Times, saying Los Angeles has seen too much talk and not enough action from Mayor Eric Garcetti when it comes to making our streets safer.

Couldn’t agree more.

Garcetti has done a great job setting priorities and policies for the city. But he’s done a lousy job of translating them to the real world, especially when it comes to our streets. Let alone his failure to even weigh in on street-level fights like ensuring human access on the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge, or the shameful, and ultimately successful, effort to remove Westwood Blvd and Central Ave from the city’s Mobility Plan.

Let’s hope he does better in his next term.

Our lives, and the future livability of the city, depend on it.

………

Speaking of Bike the Vote LA, they continue their recent string of endorsements with a tie in LA’s 9th council district between Jorge Nuño and Adriana Cabrera, saying the district has languished under current Councilmember Curren Price Jr.

And the Los Angeles Post-Examiner examines CD5 incumbent and pseudo-environmentalist Paul Koretz’s recent call to ban bikes from Westwood Blvd.

………

A new waterproof cycling jacket ups the visibility arms race, with hi-viz panels for day use, and LED lights and reflective panels on the front, back and sleeves.

A new sci-fi styled bike taillight includes turn signals, crash detector, automatic brake light, and a rear cam that projects images directly to your handlebar-mounted smart phone, so you can watch your bike get rear-ended in real time.

Thanks to Zwift, riding indoor doesn’t suck as much. Even ghosts are getting in on it.

………

The season’s last World Cup track cycling stage starts today at the StubHub Center’s Velo Sports Center in Carson. Although the Aussie team may have to withdraw after their bikes got stuck in Columbia.

You don’t need to read French to get the message not to celebrate your victory too soon.

Lance will finally face trial in DC this November for the feds $100 million dollar doping fraud lawsuit.

………

Local

The LA Times goes fat biking in the snow.

Not surprisingly, West Hollywood has a higher rate of DUIs than surrounding cities, given the high number of nightclubs and bars in the city.

Santa Monica is throwing a party today to celebrate four park projects.

Monday will be another day of enhanced traffic enforcement in Santa Monica, as police are once again on the lookout for violations that affect bike and pedestrian safety, regardless of who commits them. So just make sure it’s not you.

The San Gabriel Valley’s 626 Golden Streets lists seven can’t miss open streets events this spring, starting with their own 18-mile event next Sunday.

 

State

San Diego’s Padres Pedal the Cause raised $2 million for cancer research.

A San Francisco supervisor commits to supporting protected bike lanes on upper Market Street, which has one of the city’s highest collision rates.

 

National

National Geographic shares bike maps from the 1890s, while questioning whether the current urban bike craze will live on.

The Denver Post says yes, walking, biking and transit are good things, but let’s not make it harder for people to drive, noting that it would take a monumental shift in behavior to get commuters to leave their cars at home five days a week. On the other hand, if people left their cars at home just one day a week, it would probably solve all of the city’s traffic problems.

Caught on video: A Chicago TV station catches a bike colliding with a taxi during a live remote.

A Detroit bike rider was the victim of second-hand lightening when a bolt struck a utility pole, causing a live wire to fall and electrocute him.

There’s a special place in hell for the jerk who mugged a 79-year old Michigan bike shop owner, stealing several hundred dollars from the shop; the victim recognized the thief as someone he had once fixed a bike for.

The good news is New York traffic deaths are down 23% under the city’s Vision Zero; the bad news is the good news doesn’t include bicyclists and pedestrians.

A Pennsylvania man got three months to five years behind bars for the drunken crash that left a bike rider with life-threatening injuries. But he wasn’t behind the wheel; he was pedaling his own bike at the time.

A North Carolina runner was impaled by a nail purposely placed on a trail; investigators have found at least 40 more four-inch nails pounded into tree roots and logs so up to an inch was sticking out. Like similar cases affecting bike trails, this needs to be treated like the domestic terrorism case it is, rather than just a dangerous prank.

 

International

Cycling Weekly says your riding habits will change when you have kids, but that it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Protected bike lanes on a major Toronto street have boosted bicycling rates 36%, while increasing rush hour drive times by 8.5 minutes. However, the city believes they can eliminate that delay by making adjustments to turns, parking and traffic signals.

The thrills of playing Pokémon Go by bike on London’s busy streets.

Maybe they didn’t tip him. A Brit food delivery driver is caught on video stealing a customer’s $250 kids bike.

It’s ten years behind bars for a stoned British driver who killed a bike rider while fleeing from police.

Chinese police crack down on bike-riding food delivery people.

 

Finally…

If you’re on probation and riding your bike at two in the morning, leave your stun gun and blow pipe at home. If you have a lifetime driving ban for too many DUIs, it’s probably not the best idea to ride a gas-powered bicycle when you’re wasted.

And that’s one way to build a DIY protected bike lane.

And fix your toilet, too.

 

Morning Links: 4th Annual Resolution Ride this Saturday, local advocates nominated for Streetsblog awards

Update: The Resolution Ride has been cancelled for this weekend: 

The Resolution Ride has been postponed due to inclement weather! But don’t worry, you’ll still get a chance to continue your resolutions on our rescheduled date of February 12th! Same time, same place – and with the added bonus of happening alongside our annual Expo! This means more chances to win, more fun, more resolutions, and even more reason to come out and ride with us.
If you can’t attend the rescheduled date and would like a refund, please contact Gonzalo Garcia ([email protected]) to do so. Keep those resolutions going in the new year and come ride with us February 12th!

I’m a sucker for a good cause.

This Saturday, AIDS/LifeCycle is hosting their 4th Annual Resolution Ride in Griffith Park to raise funds the HIV/AIDS treatment programs of the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

With rides of 15 and 35 miles, the very reasonable $30 pre-registration fee — $35 for day-of registration — is even more reasonable when you consider it includes lunch and music.

If the name sounds familiar, AIDS/LifeCycle hosts the hugely popular 600-mile San Francisco to Los Angeles ride each year, benefitting the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center.

Here’s what they have to say about the day’s events.

WHAT:  4th Annual Resolution Ride

Join AIDS/LifeCycle for a fun bike ride to keep your New Year’s fitness resolutions going! Roll into the new year with two fully-supported bike rides (15-mile or 35-mile) and festival in beautiful Griffith Park. This annual event is for riders of all skill and fitness levels. The day includes a bike skills and safety clinic for new riders, a fitness festival with local businesses, nutritious food, and great music! Participants will have a chance to win a new bike from Just Ride LA.

Register at resolutionride.org.

The 4th Annual Resolution Ride is produced by AIDS/LifeCycle and benefits the HIV/AIDS treatment programs of the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

WHEN:  Saturday, January 7, 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.                             

WHERE:  Griffith Park – Crystal Springs Picnic Area, 4730 Crystal Springs Dr.

COST:  $30 Registration Fee until January 6. (Registration fee increases to $35 on-site on January 7.)

Lunch is included.


Each rider is required to bring a bicycle, identification, and a Consumer Produced Safety Commission-approved helmet.

A limited number of loaner bikes will be available on a first-come, first-served basis courtesy of Just Ride LA. To reserve a bike, email [email protected].

For more information, visit resolutionride.org.

………

Congratulations to CiclaValley’s Zachary Rynew on his nomination for Streetsblog’s 2016 Journalist/Writer of the Year; as of this writing, he’s leading with over half the vote.

You’ll also see familiar faces among the candidates for Advocate of the Year, including Bike the Vote LA’s Michael MacDonald and CicLAvia’s Romel Pascual, and Advocacy Group of the Year, where Bike SGV leads Investing in Place with LACBC.

Voting ends at noon tomorrow.

………

Thirty-one-year old Belgian pro Gianni Meersman is forced to retire after discovering he has a heart condition, blocking his transfer to a new team.

Newly retired Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins attempts to follow in the tracks of Britain’s Eddie the Eagle by competing in ski jumping TV show.

American Olympic cyclist Missy Erickson talks about being sexually abused by someone close to her when she was 17.

I want to be like him when I grow up. France’s Robert Marchand will attempt to break the world senior hour record he set five years ago when he was just a wee lad of 100 years old.

………

Local

The LACBC’s Colin Bogart is raising funds to go on this year’s Climate Ride, asking 200 people to donate $20.17 apiece.

Boyonabike looks back at year’s developments in car-free transportation in the San Gabriel Valley.

Time is running out to tell Metro where to put their bikeshare stations in Pasadena and Venice. Although we desperately need to come with a good nickname for them.

Ride smart in Hawthorne today, where police are conducting a bike and pedestrian safety operation, focusing on violations by drivers, cyclists and people on foot that can lead to crashes.

Chris Brown is one of us, even if he’s just riding past his fleet of luxury sports cars at his Tarzana home.

Caught on Video: Long Beach expats and famed bike travelers the Path Less Pedaled return to SoCal for a ride to the Tree of Life in the Verdugo Mountains.

 

State

A writer for San Francisco Streetsblog gets a horn-blaring punishment pass from an Uber and Lyft driver while riding in San Diego, for the crime of riding a bicycle — legally — on the street.

A suspected drunk driver faces charges after crashing into a Concord bike rider on New Years Eve.

Sad news from Elk Grove, where a bike rider was killed when he was rear-ended by one driver, then struck by another; and yes, he was riding with lights and a helmet.

 

National

Men’s Journal offers their annual bike buyers guide, with bikes ranging from $950 to $10,000.

That’s one way to get a ride home on New Year’s Eve. Oregon state police drop a bike rider off at his home after citing him for bicycling under the influence.

A Washington drunk driver will spend more than three years behind bars for killing a lightless, intoxicated bike rider.

China’s massive LeEco electronics conglomerate unveils two new smart bikes at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas; both have a built-in four-inch screen with an Android operating system.

Wichita KS will spend $1.6 million to expand three bike paths this year.

Missouri police shoot and kill an armed bike rider who they suspect of being mentally ill.

A popular Indianapolis charity ride loses its booty.

A New York TV station looks at the perennial complaints about NYPD officers jeopardizing the safety of bicyclists by parking in the city’s bike lanes. So naturally, they focus on the people who think cyclists should just get over it.

Even though Savannah GA leads the state in bike commuting, the city has just two bike lanes to serve over 150,000 residents.

 

International

How to be a weight weenie.

Montreal residents are fighting a bike path behind their back yards as a symbol of densification and the direction the city is headed.

A London politician calls on the city to put plain clothes bike cops on the street to watch for bad drivers who put cyclists at risk.

Caught on video too: A Brit driver’s phone magically drops his phone from his hand when he realizes his texting is being filmed by a cyclist.

Northern Ireland’s police service says bike theft is the new car theft.

A German collector is selling his entire collection of 75 steel road bikes and frames on eBay for $35,000.

An Aussie rider describes what he saw on a 2,800 mile ride along the South Australian coast.

Another app-based Chinese bikeshare company hits the streets, putting 70,000 bicycles to work in just one month; unlike the dock-based American bikeshares, the Chinese systems use GPS to locate a nearby bike, allowing bikes to be picked up and left anywhere.

 

Finally…

We may have to deal with LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about e-rickshaws. You can see a lot of things on a bike — like an alligator engaging in a death match with a Burmese Python.

And just stick it in your ear, already.

Morning Links: Buzzed by Metro Bus, blown off by Metro security, and a better Share the Road sign

This is what it looks like when an LA Metro bus passes way too close, in violation of the three-foot passing law.

And common sense.

Thanks to Don Ward and Carlos Morales for the heads-up.

………

Speaking of Metro, you may recall last week Michael MacDonald wrote a guest post about being told by a sheriff’s deputy to get out of the Wilshire Blvd Bus-Only Lane.

Even though he was directly under a sign reading “Bikes Okay.”

On Friday, MacDonald, along with the BAC’s David Wolfberg, met with Metro head of security Alex Wiggins.

Suffice it to say it did not go well.

We hope to have a follow-up from MacDonald about his meeting, once he has time to think the matter over.

………

Frequent contributor and unofficial BikinginLA proofreader Mike Wilkinson says he just happened to stop into his local Performance bike shop over the weekend, only to discover LACBC volunteers getting ready for next Sunday’s LA River Ride.

Volunteers from the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition were at Performance Bicycle in Long Beach yesterday signing up riders for Sunday’s 16th Annual Los Angeles River Ride. The event will feature rides from two miles to 100 miles that are meant to be enjoyed by every type of rider. The ride benefits the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. Online sign ups are available through Wednesday, and there is more information on the LACBC website.

Volunteers sign up LACBC River Ride participants at Performance Bike

Volunteers sign up LACBC River Ride participants at Performance Bike

Adrian Oviedo and Sandy Brambila pose with the LACBC River Ride logo at Performance Bike in Long Beach

Adrian Oviedo and Sandy Brambila pose with the LACBC River Ride logo at Performance Bike in Long Beach

Meanwhile, CiclaValley looks forward to the River Ride.

………

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske points out the real reason you need to wear a helmet: defense lawyers will use it against you if you get hit by a car and don’t have one on your head.

And Ohio Bike Lawyer Steve Magas offers an improvement to the useless and too-often misunderstood Share the Road signs.

Bikes May Be In The Way

………

A driver’s training school forwards advice for young cyclists and drivers on how to safely share the road.

………

Muhammad Ali may not have been The Greatest if someone hadn’t stolen his bicycle when he was 12 years old.

………

Local

The LA Weekly asks if the City of Angels can really reduce the number of traffic deaths to zero, in a surprising fair report.

Richard Risemberg looks at LA’s non-network of disconnected bikeways.

A complication that could hold up the completion of the LA River bike path — and restoring the river itself — is the 400 parcels of river channel controlled by individual owners.

We already knew the former governator was one of us, as he takes a helmet-less spin in LA. So are Liev Schreiber and sons on the other coast.

Burbank residents suggest a bike lane would help beautify a sound wall along the 5 Freeway.

Santa Monica is revamping the beachfront parking lot at Ocean and Hollister Aves to reduce conflicts between cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.

 

State

The Daily Pilot gives a brief mention of Saturday’s memorial for eight-year old Brock McCann, who was killed by a garbage truck while riding his bike in Newport Beach last month.

The OC Register’s David Whiting looks at the ongoing conflict between mountain bikers, hikers and horse riders. Which could be solved with just a little courtesy and consideration on everyone’s part.

Napa is experimenting with roundabouts leading to the downtown area, though local cyclists aren’t too sure about the idea. Meanwhile, the victim of Friday’s fatal bicycling collision has been identified as a Napa bike commuter and advocate.

Not surprisingly, the hit-and-run driver who intentionally ran down three bike riders to culminate a Sacramento-area crime spree has pled not guilty by reason of insanity. As if a rational person would run down three innocent people just for the hell of it.

 

National

A website for Millennials offers five ways to reduce stress on your bicycle commute. Which actually make pretty good sense for a change.

USA Cycling dumps a British anti-doping expert after he calls for a re-examination EPO, asking why some substances are banned while others aren’t.

A Denver TV station breaks the shocking news that some bike riders break the law. Unlike, say, most motorists.

A group of fathers is riding 1,500 miles from Boston to Chicago by way of Baltimore to support fatherhood and raise funds for organizations that support parenting. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole the ghost bike for a highly decorated former Navel Seal who was killed while riding in Maryland last year.

A Louisiana legislator says drivers in his district shouldn’t be punished for hitting someone on a bicycle if they insist on playing in the street.

 

International

Canadian cycling champ Jocelyn Lovell has passed away at age 65, 33 years after a training collision that left him a quadriplegic.

If you build it, they will come. Bicycles now outnumber cars on two of London’s new bicycle superhighway corridors, with up to 1,200 riders per hour.

Seriously? After a British cyclist is clipped by a passing car, the local press responds by asking if bicyclists should stay off the roads. Sounds like they’ve been talking with a certain Louisiana politician.

A mountain biker in the UK was saved from a near-fatal heart attack because during a race because the riders behind him just happened to be medical resuscitation specialists.

A record 150 people from eight countries will take part a 55-mile ride from Poland’s Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp to the Jewish community center in Krakow to commemorate the Holocaust.

Touching story, as an elderly Chinese woman was killed falling off her bike, and the eight stray dogs she had taken in surrounded her body to guard her for over six hours.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could have a belt drive and no seat tube — or Chinese Lacquer and no seat tube. If you’re going to pull a gun on someone who asks for his friend’s stolen bike back, get rid of the evidence. And the meth.

And if you’re going to steal a bicycle, at least put some damn pants on.

 

Morning Links: It’s Bike Night at Union Station, OC witnesses wanted, and don’t miss yesterday’s guest post

We’re stalled out once again at 24 new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition who’ve signed up in the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive.

Which means we need just seven more people to sign up or renew your membership today to make get to 31 new members by May 31st.

So please take just a moment and invest a little time and a few dollars in making this the city and county it should be for bicyclists, by joining the one organization dedicated to fighting for your right to ride in comfort and safety, wherever you ride in the LA area.

Not to mention there’s still time to get some great LACBC swag with your membership. But only if you join before the end of this month!

………

If you haven’t done it yet, take a few minutes to read Michael MacDonald’s guest post about being stopped by an ill-informed LA County sheriff’s deputy for riding in the Bus Only lane on Wilshire Blvd — right next to a sign saying bikes are allowed. Along with a couple other incidents in which police officers seem unaware of the laws regarding bike riders.

Just more proof that we have to know the law. Because the ones charged with enforcing it too often don’t.

Meanwhile, CiclaValley offers his take on the incident.

………

Bike Month officially concludes tonight at with the free Bike Night at Union Station from 5:30 to 8:30 pm.

This is from the event’s Facebook page —

Bike Night is more than just bikes. You are invited to Bike Night at Union Station, hosted by Metro and our partners. Join us for music from Jungle Fire, raffles and games, awesome prizes like a Public Bike, and the highlight of the evening, a bicycle fashion show. The fashion show features works by OTIS Fashion Design students under the direction of Todd Oldham, presented with a sneak preview of the Downtown LA bike share Metro Bikes.

Bike Night is free and will feature special guests, live music and entertainment, complementary bike valet, and non-hosted food trucks and vending.

………

The CHP in Orange County is looking for witnesses to the tragic death of an eight-year old boy who was crushed by a garbage truck while riding his bike on Thursday. The Newport Beach neighborhood is reportedly devastated by the death of the boy, who still has not been publicly named even though his identity appears to be common knowledge in the area.

………

Cycling Weekly offers five talking points from the 18th stage of the Giro, where Dutch rider Steven Kruijswijk maintains a nearly insurmountable three-minute lead.

Italian pro Fabio Taborre gets a four year ban for doping.

Several members of pro cycling’s Team SmartShop are suing the team owner in Orange County Court for failing to support the team, which folded last year.

Steel frames may be making a comeback on the pro tour.

And Cycling News calls this weekend’s USA Cycling Professional Road Championships course in Winston-Salem NC a technical, hilly death by a thousand cuts.

………

Local

Metro approves an Active Transportation Strategic Plan for first mile/last mile connections to transit, though the commitment to pay for it along the Purple Line leaves something to be desired. You can use their interactive budget tool to tell Metro what to do with their money.

Great idea. Give up your UCLA parking permit, and get a $400 credit towards a new bike from Helen’s Cycles in Westwood.

Cycling in the South Bay offers a primer in how and why to file a police report when you’ve been harassed, threatened or assaulted on your bike. Even if the cops really don’t want you to.

A sheriff’s SWAT team captured the man who shot a cop in West Covina last weekend when the deputy approach him as he walked his bike.

 

State

A local website looks at last week’s Temecula Ride of Silence. Meanwhile, Richmond CA bicyclists ride to remember victims of gun violence.

Newport Beach considers safety improvements on PCH and the Mariner’s Mile. Although converting the latter to a six-lane “super highway” to speed traffic flow should not be considered an improvement, safety or otherwise.

The new bike path along Highway 101 between Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties wins a state award for Bicycle Pedestrian Project of the Year.

Google funds the repaving of a four-mile stretch of a Bay Area bike and pedestrian trail.

Caught on video: A road raging San Francisco driver got out of his car to threaten and spit on a frightened female bike rider, after she became angry when he parked in a protected bike lane. Which evidently isn’t protected enough.

San Francisco plans improvements to the dangerous Masonic Drive, including raised bike lanes; the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition calls for protected lanes instead.

 

National

A Forbes writer asks for a bike brand just for women to increase the number of women on bikes, while a London bespoke framebuilder has the same idea, but one custom frame at a time.

An Illinois man used a fake check to buy a real 1957 Schwinn Black Phantom worth nearly two grand.

Hundreds of car racing fans will skip the traffic and parking hassles by biking to the Indy 500.

A Vermont website is apparently dedicating itself to ferreting out the grand AARP – World Health Organization conspiracy behind Complete Streets. Or maybe walkable neighborhoods are just part of the Agenda 21 plan to wipe out the auto industry.

Evidently, New York Bike Month plays second fiddle to Fleet Week.

Gothamist lists the six best bike rides in New York for your next trip to the Big Apple. Or maybe you’d prefer seven great places to bike in Bethesda.

A peeved Philadelphia cyclist blocks a city bus for a full hour because he felt the driver was following him too closely. Meanwhile, a Philly writer says if bicyclists had better infrastructure, there’d be fewer public displays of self-righteous moral outrage.

 

International

A Canadian writer predicts disaster when an Ontario regional government legalizes riding two abreast next year, even though the law prohibiting it was repealed because it was never enforced to begin with.

The Guardian says new London mayor Sadik Khan faces a challenge standing up to the fading dinosaurs who oppose improving bikeways and livability.

Olympic medalist Victoria Pendleton says she was forced out of bike racing by the corrosive culture in British cycling.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 99-year old British man looks back on 70 years of riding around the world.

The Netherlands is considering banning cell phone use while riding, after a 13-year old boy was killed while using his last year. But how would that affect mobile cycling apps and GPS systems?

Dutch bike maker VanMoof promises their new bike is so theft proof, that they will replace it if it can’t be recovered in two weeks after being stolen.

A 75-year old Catholic priest has put 50,000 miles on his bike serving his parish in Africa.

An Aussie study shows the further the distance cycled, the fewer women who make the trip.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could be a pedal-powered hamster. Maybe bicycling really is the new golf, at least for traffic planners.

And who needs a map when you’ve got GPS built into your shoes — or your handlebar grips?

……….

I’m planning to take the holiday weekend off. So get out and ride your bike. And unless there’s breaking news over the weekend, we’ll see you bright and early Tuesday morning.

And please join the LACBC or renew your membership today if you haven’t already!

 

Guest Post: Law Enforcement Needs to Understand Traffic Laws

Despite years of effort, we still have a long way to go in educating police officers on the rights of bicyclists. 

It seemed like we had solved the problem, in Los Angeles at least, five years ago when the LAPD worked with bike riders and the City Attorney to clarify the laws governing bicycling, and create a bicycle training module that all street level officers were required to complete.

Yet bicyclists still encounter officers who seem to have missed, or forgotten, that training. And as architect and bike commuter Michael MacDonald learned the hard way, we still haven’t made any progress with the Sheriff’s Department. 

lasd_interaction

By Michael MacDonald

I’m frequently the recipient of harassment, insults, and aggression from drivers who don’t understand that riding on the street is perfectly legal. Commuting by bike around Los Angeles — with little-to-no bike infrastructure within a 5-mile radius of my house, I’ve come to expect the regular rage-fueled driver. And yet as frustrating as this aggression is from the motoring public, it is even more demoralizing to receive similar harassment from law enforcement personnel. Too many officers in Los Angeles aren’t familiar with the fact that a person on a bike is perfectly within their rights to control a travel lane on almost all Los Angeles streets, and that cyclists take the lane for safety.

Before I started riding a bike in Los Angeles, I had thankfully had very few interactions with law enforcement. But then in 2013, I was detained in the back of a Sheriff’s Department squad car because 2 deputies thought that a person riding a bike on the street in Rosemead didn’t look right.

Over the last 2 weeks, motorcycle officers have twice stopped me – for riding in the street, legally.

The first incident was on returning from the wonderful CicLAvia Southeast Cities on May, 15 2016. On my way home by bike, still on a high note from the event, I took Central Avenue. Despite its lack of bike lanes, Central is a critical North/South connector within South L.A. Proposed bike lanes on Central are included in the City’s Mobility Plan 2035, have widespread community support, and are needed to address Central’s horrific safety record. But frustratingly, Councilmember Curren Price has blocked the bike lanes from being installed and is working with Councilmember Paul Koretz to try to get them removed from the Plan, so they won’t even be considered in the future.

While I was waiting at a red light in the rightmost travel lane on Central at 27th Street, an LAPD motorcycle officer approached at a rapid pace and stopped inches from me. He proceeded to aggressively explain, “This isn’t your lane – you can’t ride in the middle.” I have been riding long enough to have nearly memorized California Vehicle Code, not just CVC 21202(a)(3), but 21656, 21760, and 22400 too. I knew he was wrong. And yet his tone and demeanor made it clear this wasn’t a conversation. This was a stern demand with the threat of a ticket seconds away.

As he pulled off, I wasn’t even clear on how he expected me to ride since the lanes on Central are so narrow. I stopped and took some time to compose myself after this demoralizing experience of state-sponsored harassment. Then, I continued to ride in the middle of the lane: where it’s safest when bike lanes aren’t provided, and where California’s Vehicle Code says I have the right to ride.

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10 days later, I was again confronted with a similar situation – but this time I had my helmet camera rolling. During the Tuesday evening rush hour on May 24th, a Sheriff’s deputy pulled up alongside me as I rode in the Wilshire Blvd bus/bike lane through Koreatown (Wilshire & Kingsley). Just as before, the deputy clearly wasn’t familiar with relevant California traffic laws, but still felt the need to tell me what I was doing would not be permitted and that I would receive a ticket if I continued on.

First, as an aside, I will say that these Wilshire bus/bike lanes are so frequently filled with dangerous scofflaw drivers that it’s a tiny bit refreshing to see them actually being patrolled, and I commend Metro/the Sheriff’s Department for efforts to try to speed up the 20 & 720 buses on this route. But this deputy seems to be completely unaware that these lanes are also for the use of people on bikes, just as the lane’s signage says.

Photo of Los Angeles’ peak hour bus/bike lane signage, credit: Marc Caswell

Photo of Los Angeles’ peak hour bus/bike lane signage, credit: Marc Caswell

He started by claiming that cyclists are not permitted to use the bus/bike lane whatsoever. After I pointed out the sign ahead saying, ‘Bikes OK,’ he said that cyclists must ride the curb edge, which is dangerous and without legal basis. Finally, he claimed that cyclists are required to get out of the way of buses. Of course, how people on bikes are supposed to accomplish this feat within this tightly sized lane with no turnouts is a mystery to me.

Just to state the obvious: this deputy is wrong on all counts. First, LADOT has designated these lanes for the use of bicycles and accordingly posted signs stating “Bikes OK.” Second, there is no requirement to ride along the curb as CVC 21202(a)(3) applies, since the lane is too narrow to for a bicycle to be safely be ridden side-by-side with a vehicle, let alone a bus. Metro’s own “Bike Guide” even instructs people on bikes to ride at the center of the lane when proceeding straight. Third, there is no requirement for bikes or slower vehicles to turn-out on a multi-lane roadway. CVC 21656, the law requiring vehicles to turn out, only applies on 2-lane highways – and even then, it only is triggered when there is a queue of 5 vehicles behind.

This isn’t the first time someone has been pulled over by LASD in a bus/bike lane in Los Angeles. In 2014, my friend, Marc Caswell, was wrongly ticketed by a Sheriff’s deputy for legally riding in a bus/bike lane on Sunset Blvd. In the end, the deputy failed to appear at the hearing, so the ticket was dismissed.

But it isn’t just being pulled over. Twice last year, I was aggressively instructed by Sheriff’s deputies to ride up onto the sidewalk to let a bus pass while in the Sunset Boulevard bus/bike lane. And when I called to report Tuesday’s incident on Wilshire, the LASD Watch Commander also appeared to be completely unfamiliar that bikes might be permitted to ride in bus/bike lanes or centered within a lane.

If I have been the recipient of these types of incidents three times in the last year, how many other Angelenos have received the same dangerous misinformation, been ticketed incorrectly, or had an unwarranted traffic stop trigger other policing problems? If we are to look to officers to enforce traffic laws, it seems only reasonable to expect that they would understand the law. And, certainly, we should not accept these officers instructing people to endanger themselves by riding in an unsafe way just to speed up motor vehicle traffic.

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It’s obvious to me at this point that LADOT, Metro & the Sheriff’s Department need to sit down and get on the same page about bus/bike lanes and the Vehicle Code. There is a simple fix: Sheriff’s Department deputies, who are acting on Metro’s behalf, need to understand the laws they are sworn to enforce. Since these patrols are funded by Metro, the Agency has the responsibility to ensure that these deputies are performing enforcement in compliance with Metro policies.

The bigger picture is that all L.A. law enforcement needs to step up their game on bikes. I am not suggesting special treatment, just that officers take some time to better understand the laws they enforce. Different departments have made some commendable strides, recognizing that cyclists belong on the street and don’t deserve extra scrutiny beyond that which is applied to motorists. But we are well past the point where any law enforcement officer patrolling L.A. streets has an excuse to not be familiar with the fact that people are allowed to ride bikes in the street and legally afforded options to maintain their own safety.

The City, County, and State all have ambitious goals to increase bicycle commuting to increase public health and reduce greenhouse emissions. To paraphrase a friend of mine: People are not going to be attracted to cycling as long as you need to be a traffic law expert – capable of citing Vehicle Code chapter, line, and verse – just to ride on L.A. streets.

We need law enforcement to get on board. And fast.

……..

South Los Angeles-based architect Michael MacDonald is a frequent bike commuter and a steering committee member of local advocacy group, Bike The Vote L.A. His architectural practice, Studio MMD, provided design for Street Beats, one of 8 project teams awarded by the Mayor’s Great Streets LA challenge grant program to re-envision Los Angeles streets.

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