Tag Archive for My Figueroa

Morning Links: South Figueroa Complete Street project opens next week, and updates on OC court cases

The long awaited My Figueroa Complete Streets project will finally open a week from tomorrow.

City officials will open the long-delayed makeover of the iconic South Figueroa corridor with an official ribbon cutting, as well as walking and biking tours.

Although not everyone is happy with the unprotected, cab-blocked bike lanes by Staples Center, the pedestrian beg buttons required to cross the street, and the interminable bicycle red lights that give drivers clear priority over people on bikes on a street that’s supposed to serve everyone.

LADOT has promised they’re still fine-tuning the street, but I’m hearing complaints that too many compromises were made to get everyone to sign off on the My Figueroa project.

Let’s hope they get it fixed before Angeleno bike riders write off the remade Figueroa as just another incomplete, auto-centric LA street.

Meanwhile, nothing has been done at all on North Figueroa, which remains just as deadly as ever.

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It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from our anonymous OC correspondent, who checks in today with a number of updates on outstanding court cases.

Along with a little justified criticism of yours truly.

Hi, here’s a few overdue updates on OC cases, along with some typical ranting.

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(Alleged) murderer Justin Scott German was released from custody on August 10th on $1mil bond. His preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for September 17th. No surprise that this bartender was on probation for DUI at the time of the killing.

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Baby-faced rager Pratiti Mehta is facing a slew of charges: unsafe right turn, unsafe lane change, unsafe operation of a motor vehicle causing injury, hit and run causing injury, and oh yeah, ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON with an enhancement for great bodily injury. And since her fleeing ass provided false information to the investigating officers, there’s another charge.

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The Rita Faye McLaughlin case drags on and on and on. Last fall, I skipped a “pretrial” hearing. Turns out, it wasn’t yet another pretrial. It was the victim impact hearing. The victim’s siblings and daughter were there, and Rita Faye was supposed to plead. But she changed her mind. The jury trial was scheduled to begin on the 16th, but has been delayed again.

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Jason Roy Rocha‘s case is also dragging. There will be no good outcome; he needs extensive mental health maintenance and he needs to be permanently banned from operating a motor vehicle, but neither of these things will happen.

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Taylor Russell Evans pleaded guilty in June and is currently serving 364 days in County. His prelim on June 11th was canceled because he accepted a plea bargain, and sentencing was the following week (I skipped both because I had that gimongous facial hematoma)*. He’ll probably be out by Thanksgiving, and his victim will probably still be dead.

*(Editor’s note: Our correspondent was hit by a driver while riding, suffering what the police consider minor injuries.)

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Not bike collisions, but Bani Duarte, who was interrupted by officers as she was packing her suitcase to flee the country, will be allowed out if she raises $4mil bail.

And imagine if Garrett James McKinnon injured 12 people in two separate firearms incidents, instead of using a car.

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Can you stop lauding the OCDA sooo highly? I remind you that killer Becki Lee James was acquitted after she ran down a cyclist, from behind, in broad daylight, inside a 23′ lane, even though her victim was riding in the door zone. The deputy DA at the trial sprawled out in his seat like Dwight the Surly Teen and was clearly irritated to be in the courtroom. The DA absolutely failed to provide the level of prosecution the case deserved, and James is still out there driving around.

Young Dylan Rand-Luby served his 90 days in the cushy pay-to-stay section of Santa Ana’s jail, and is going on about his life.

I was sooo hopeful that the OCDA’s Vehicular Homicide Team would be be brave enough to set some precedent and prosecute on murder/DUI-marijuana charges, but they’ve decided not to go for murder, and so far there are no charges at all.

There’s more, but we’ll save it for another day.

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BikinginLA sponsor Josh Cohen offers a good explanation of California’s comparative liability law, which could cut the amount you receive in any settlement if a jury finds you’re partly at fault in a crash.

On the other hand, it could also allow you to receive something, even if you’re the one who screwed up.

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Local

The Los Angeles Public Library has a bouncing baby bakfiets book bike, which was donated to the Baldwin Hills branch by the LACBC.

LADOT and CD3 Councilmember Bob Blumenfield are hosting a public workshop to discuss street improvements for Winnetka Ave between Vanowen St and Victory Blvd next Wednesday.

Bloomberg says forget vaporware tech promises, and just build a decent sidewalk that would allow fans to walk to Dodger Stadium.

A bill just signed by Governor Brown will allow the County of Los Angeles to develop a program to get employers to encourage their workers to use alternative forms of transportation, including bicycling.

 

State

No surprise here, as the San Francisco driver who allegedly admitted he was drunk after running down and killing a bike rider has pled not guilty, with his attorney calling it just a “tragic accident.” He faces a murder count due to two previous DUI convictions, which led to a warning under state law that he could be charged with murder if he killed someone while under the influence.

San Francisco bike advocates want to end the city’s cap on bikeshare ebikes.

Police in Elk Grove turned to Facebook to find the owner of a Colnago Extreme C racing bike after busting a burglar. Seriously, register your bikes, already. It doesn’t cost anything, and will give police a much easier way to find you if something like this happens.

 

National

The national Vision Zero Network says it will focus on managing and reducing speeds, while defending the program against cities that treat it like a tag line or a PR campaign. Like Los Angeles, for instance.

Bicycling says bicycling — lower case — is the best way to banish the blues. Unless, of course, you’re sad because you can’t ride for some reason, in which case you’re screwed.

A writer for Bicycling says keep your feet out of our bike lanes.

DIY advice on how to wall mount your bike.

Portland’s Community Cycling Center is looking for a new Director of Equity, Engagement and People.

A Utah man suffered cuts and bruises, and broken glasses, when he was assaulted by a bike rider who objected to the man’s dogs being off-leash on a shared use trail. Seriously, just… don’t. No matter how justified you may think your anger is, violence is never the answer.

No bias here. A Colorado music professor is being blamed for a fatal suicide swerve into the side of a passing tanker truck. A more likely explanation is the truck driver passed too close at too high a speed, in violation of the state’s three-foot passing law, and the victim got sucked into the truck’s slipstream.

The subway apocalypse predicted for New York when the L-train shuts down for 15 months of maintenance next year could be a boon for buses and bicycling in the city.

A group of DC Eagle Scouts just earned their bicycling across the US merit badge.

This is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. DC is fixing a bike lane and intersection where a bike rider was killed earlier this summer.

Arlington VA is conducting a trial next month to see how well bicycling volunteers can deliver emergency supplies and messages following a disaster. But oddly, they’re charging people to participate.

A North Carolina newspaper says if the city is bike friendly, where are the bike lanes?

 

International

The Guardian says urban walking could save humanity.

Bike riding is growing in Toronto, even as the BBC calls it the worst city in the world for bicycling.

London’s Scotland Yard has developed a “shocking” 360° virtual reality film to show the dangers of riding a bike near large trucks.

A member of the British Parliament accepted an invitation to ride with a bicyclist after his Conservative party sent out a since-deleted tweet promising a crackdown on dangerous bicycling. Many, if not most, of LA’s elected officials agreed to meet and ride with bicyclists when they filled out candidate questionnaires from the LACBC, but to the best of my knowledge, no one has ever held them to that. Maybe we should change that.

Seriously? A UK study shows Millennials are spending more on hobbies, including bicycling, than their elders, because they have to have the latest fashionable gear and most up-to-date equipment. Which is the exact opposite of most bike riding Millennials I know, but sounds like a lot of older riders.

A pair of British men now officially own the world record for circumnavigating the globe by tandem, riding over 18,000 miles in a little more than 290 days. Speaking of which, tandems are in again.

This is why you have to ride carefully around horses. A woman in the UK suffered a punctured lung when a bike rider tried to pass between her horse and the curb without announcing his presence. Seriously, equestrians can be self-righteous jerks when it comes to demanding exclusive rights to trails and bridges, but both rider and mount can be seriously injured if the horse gets frightened.

The London driver caught on video deliberately swerving at a group of bike riders wasn’t lying when he said the car was stolen; he faces multiple charges for car theft and driving without a license.

A new British government program will spend the equivalent of $645,000 to train driving instructors to teach bicycle awareness to their students.

 

Competitive Cycling

The Continental Jelly Belly-Maxxis team could be on its way out after 18 years, after Jelly Belly announces it’s pulling out at the end of this year.

An Indiana mountain biker is still winning races after 25 years.

 

Finally…

Apparently, you ride like a moose. An injured goose’s goose isn’t  cooked, thanks to a pair of bike riders.

And evidently, there were no major advances in road bikes before 1948.

 

Morning Links: How LA became deadly for bicyclists, LA River bike path closed, and 2nd Forsyth Cup tomorrow

Powerful piece in Outside Magazine examining how Los Angeles became the world’s deadliest city for bicyclists.

Mayor Eric Garcetti seemingly addressed street-safety concerns in his annual budget proposal, setting aside a record-high $38 million for his signature traffic program Vision Zero. Now in its third year, the ambitious plan aims to eliminate all road deaths by 2025. “Fatalities are not a tolerable byproduct of transportation,” Garcetti said when he launched Vision Zero in August 2015. “Loss of life and severe injuries resulting from traffic crashes are unacceptable outcomes that we can address.”

April’s rash of hit-and-runs, however, show how the city’s Vision Zero program has gotten off to a rough start. Despite two years of analyzing data and installing small-scale safety measures like curb extensions and high-visibility crosswalks, last year was the deadliest in more than a decade: 245 people died on L.A. streets, nearly double the year before. More than 60 percent were hit and killed while walking or riding a bike—a 5 percent increase from when Vision Zero began.

The story looks at the power of LA city councilmembers to halt traffic safety projects in their districts, and the bikelash from angry drivers that forced the removal of bike lanes in Playa del Rey. As well as cowing councilmembers into canceling planned bike lanes in their districts.

And how Frederick “Woon” Frazier paid the price, killed by a hit-and-run driver on Manchester Blvd where a bike lane was supposed to be stripped, but wasn’t.

The piece also quotes yours truly and other LA bike advocates. But you’ll have to read it to see what we said.

Meanwhile, Bicycling picks up the story we discussed recently that ranked Los Angeles and New York as the nation’s two most dangerous cities for bike riders.

Never mind that they are also the nation’s two most populous cities, with a relatively high rate of bicycling. And would likely rank significantly lower if the study considered bicycling fatalities on a per capita basis.

Photo of Frederick “Woon” Frazier, killed in a hit-and-run on Manchester Blvd, where plans called for a bike lane as part of the Vision Zero High Injury Network.

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The LA River bike path will be closed until 2 pm tomorrow as a result of Wednesday’s thunderstorms.

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The second race in the Wolfpack Hustle 2018 Forsyth Cup takes place tomorrow at the Encino Velodrome. And once again, BikinginLA sponsor Thomas Forsyth will provide free hot dogs and hamburgers until they run out.

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My Figueroa looks at some of the connections the new protected bikeway will make possible.

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Local

A Bogota, Columbia newspaper looks at the spread of the city’s ciclovía to the City of Angels.

LA designers recommend bikes and e-scooters to get around during the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics; one suggests creating a permanent carfree CicLAvia route during the games.

Go Human is hosting a pop-up tomorrowon Glendora Ave in West Covina.

A Santa Clarita public safety campaign tells bike riders and runners to keep their “Heads Up.” Because really, bike riders and runners failing to look up is the primary cause of most crashes, right?

Santa Monica is ready to begin construction on connecting the city’s bike network to the Expo Line.

 

State

Ebikes are currently banned on state and federal trails, though that could change once California issues statewide regulations.

San Clemente commissioners delay a vote to allow ebikes on beach trails, while voting to require bike riders to walk across bridges, and limiting bikes to 6 mph on trails less than 10 feet wide.

California’s famed Highway 1 has re-opened through Big Sur after last year’s mud slide, to the delight of fantasizing bicyclists everywhere.

Uber discovers that San Franciscans would rather rent an ebike than take an Uber.

 

National

A new book by Adonia Lugo says bike advocates need to consider issues of race and class in bicycle planning discussions.

Merriam-Webster defines ten two-wheeled words every cyclist will want to know.

Chinese dockless bikeshare company Ofo is in rapid retreat in North America.

Fast Company takes a look at how much space American cities waste on parking.

A pair of academic librarians are taking three months off to bike across the country visiting libraries from DC to Oregon.

Hawaii became the latest state to adopt a three-foot passing law.

Portland bike riders have been slow to accept the city’s first parking protected bike lane.

Seattle considers adding more protected bike lanes in the downtown area, creating a full network of safe bikeways in the city within the next two years.

This is how you invite bike tourism. Arizona unveils a user-friendly, statewide online bike map, showing local bikeways as well as the 573-mile section of US Bicycle Route 90 through the state.

A member of the Moscow city council — no, the one in Idaho — just finished a 4,300 mile ride across the US following the Trans Am Bike Race route; he’s also the owner of the Hog Heaven Sausage Works.

In a problem bike riders nearly everywhere can relate to, a Chicago TV station took a 30-minute ride through the downtown area and ran into 18 blocked bike lanes.

Boston bikeshare companies say please use a seat cover if you’re going to ride sans culottes and/or au natural.

No surprise here, as NYC, which until recently banned all ebikes, has no plans to allows e-scooters.

Life is cheap in New York, where a truck driver who killed a bike rider in a left cross collision walks with just a $1,088 fine and a measly 75-day license suspension.

Philadelphia is the latest city to embrace human protected bike lanes to call attention to the need for safer infrastructure. Which have yet to make an appearance here in Los Angeles, on either count.

DC bicyclists and pedestrians turn out to protest a recent series of traffic death; as one advocate said, Vision Zero is a radical vision that requires a radical shift in how we do things. Meanwhile, a DC advocacy group says the term has lost its meaning, so just demand streets that don’t kill people.

A Virginia letter writer argues against a lane reduction and adding bike lanes when a street is repaved, calling it one of the safest corridors in the city — even though the city says it has one of the highest rates of KSI (killed or seriously injured) crashes.

Apparently, the US Postal Service is totally okay with their trucks blocking New York bike lanes.

Probably not the best idea to rear-end a police cruiser stopped on the shoulder of a Maryland highway.

 

International

You may be able to plug in your next Bianchi. But who says ebikes have to be heavy?

The stupidest advice for beginning cyclists.

Self recommends 12 international bicycling destinations you’ll want to add to your bike bucket list. I can personally attest to the second one, which travels over new trails through some of the most beautiful country in the US.

A Canadian bike rider was charged after crashing into the back of a truck while using his cellphone.

Toronto’s ambitious plan for new bike lanes is already falling behind, just two years after it was adopted. A feeling we in Los Angeles know all too well.

Road.cc looks at the new bike helmets introduced at the recent Eurobike. And considers the laws regarding bike bells in the UK, after a bizarre debate on the subject in the House of Lords.

London’s Telegraph questions whether you can really get fit riding an ebike. Short answer, yes, as long as it’s a ped-assist bike.

A British letter writer says bike racks may be ugly, but it’s better than having trees cut down by bike thieves after riders lock their bikes to them.

A Brit bike rider says go ahead and buzz him. Which is undoubtedly a minority opinion.

Police in the UK use an undercover officer on a bicycle equipped with cameras and distance sensors to catch drivers violating the country’s 1.5-meter safe passing distance, the equivalent of a five foot law here. We’ve repeatedly asked the LAPD to conduct similar operations, pointing out that distance sensors are now readily available. But no luck so far.

An Oslo study shows 45 minutes of bicycling can help ward off Type 2 diabetes, and ebikes could be key to helping people ride enough to protect their health. Although I put in over ten times that much every week for 30 years, and it didn’t do me a damn bit of good.

Another Oslo study has shown yet again that the health benefits of bicycling cancel out the risks of breathing dirty air.

Four members of a Saudi women’s bike team have become the first from that country to participate in the Global Biking Initiative (GBI) European tour.

 

Competitive Cycling

Yes, Team Sky holds the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. But if you haven’t been following the race, it’s probably not who you think.

Mark Cavendish vows to come back next year after missing the time cut on Wednesday’s stage, Marcel Kittel also missed the cut.

Columbian cyclist Rigoberto Uran withdrew after crashing on the cobbles during Sunday’s stage.

Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali, who finished fourth last year, is also out after falling as a result of a crash between police motos; remarkably, he finished just 13 seconds behind the winner on the legendary Alpe d’Huez despite riding with a fractured vertebrae.

World champ Peter Sagan and his wife are getting divorced, less than four years after their very splashy marriage.

Malaysian cycling team had all ten of their bikes stolen from an Edmonton, Canada velodrome where they were training; kindhearted locals have pitched in to loan them replacements.

 

Finally…

Screw the race, what we really need is a better video game. Just stay the elk out of the forest for a few months, already.

And if you’re going to ride salmon on the freeway, at least wear a helmet. And some clothes.

 

Morning Links: Philharmonic CicLAvia, fixing parking problems on MyFig, and the war on bikes moves mostly online

It’s official.

CicLAvia has released the route of September’s Disney Hall to Hollywood Bowl open streets event, which should be epic in every sense, with dozens of performances along the way.

Curbed offers a preview of the CicLAvia event, which celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, culminating in a free concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

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CiclaValley provides a 45-second update on the parking problems on the new MyFigueroa bike lane.

CiclaValley also reminds us about this Nike ad, with new LA Laker LeBron James playing a bike-born Pied Piper to kids in Miami.

And no, it’s not the least bit confusing to go from typing CicLAvia to CiclaValley and back.

No, really.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on. And online.

A Tennessee man assumes he’s an expert on bike safety because he rode his into the side of a truck as a child, and criticizes a recumbent rider for riding in the center of a traffic lane — even though he clearly doesn’t know that word.

Apparently speaking from beyond the grave after being run over by bike riders three times, a New Jersey letter writer says his town shouldn’t encourage more bicycling because of the “mayhem” caused by “psycho” cyclists, even though he swears he rides one himself.

No windshield bias here. A DC writer complains about five types of “smug-ass” people who need to “cut the shit.” Needless to say, bike riders are number one on his list, for the apparently unforgivable crime of acting like bikes are cars, which is exactly what bike riders are supposed to do; number two are pedestrians in crosswalks who don’t get the hell out of his way fast enough.

A Saskatoon cyclist records a confrontation with an angry driver who followed him honking, then wanted to fight when the rider tried to explain his right to the road. Meanwhile, Saskatoon police say yes, bikes have a right to the road, but don’t try to educate the driver who harassed you, because that could be demeaning.

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A video from Slate’s Spokes Man says it’s fine to slap a car while riding.

Then again, he also seems to be okay with undertaking a semi while it’s making a right turn, which should tell you something.

I confess to slapping a few fenders when drivers drifted into my lane, or right hooked me without appearing to even know I was there.

But I stopped several years ago, after a driver got out of his car and beat a pianist to death in Hollywood when the victim slapped the hood of his car for encroaching on the crosswalk.

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Local

LAist gets it. A piece by KPCC’s Meghan McCarthy Carino says nothing can fix LA traffic, so deal with it. The simple fact is, traffic in Los Angeles right now is as good as it will ever be; the only option is to provide safe, efficient alternatives to convince people to leave their cars at home.

Good piece from Streetsblog’s Damien Newton looking at the lessons learned from the failed attempt to recall LA Councilmember Mike Bonin over the equally failed Playa del Rey road diets. And the stifling effect it’s had on street safety projects.

For everyone who missed out on Metro’s free Bike Hub membership during Bike Month, the LACBC is offering a second chance at a free one-year Bike Hub membership through the end of the month.

The Santa Monica Daily Press complains about e-scooters on the beachfront bike path, saying users are scooting through a loophole in the law.

 

State

A Bakersfield mother and bike advocate makes the case for why you should wear a helmet.

San Jose business owners become just the latest to fight a proposed bikeway, fearing it will be bad for business. Even though study after study shows just the opposite.

A San Mateo doctor is suing the other participants in a regular fast group ride for $1 million for injuries he received when another rider crashed into him. Something tells me he may not be welcome on the next one.

Sad news from Concord, where a 60-year old man was killed when his bicycle was rear-ended by a driver.

 

National

Your next power meter could fit on a valve stem.

An ebike helps a woman get back on a bicycle for the first time since she was eleven.

A Spokane writer suggests putting sharrows on a freeway, with bike pool lanes for two or more people on a bike. And no, he’s not serious.

Nevada’s indigenous tribes are welcoming Lime dockless bikeshare to their community to provide a transportation option that improves health and protects the environment.

A Montana man loses nearly half his 500 pound weight after taking up bicycling.

An Omaha bike co-op saved an eight-year old boy from a life of crime on the streets; ten years later he’s a high school graduate with a scholarship from Adventure Cycling.

A Minneapolis bike columnist says it’s time to take a pledge of civility.

A New Jersey woman — and the daughter of Holocaust survivors — discovers riding her bicycle in the recent ride from Auschwitz to Krakow, Poland is cleansing for the soul.

Friends pitch in to rebuild a custom bike belonging to a New Jersey Lakers fan — and Wilt Chamberlain’s second cousin — painting it in the colors of the LA Lakers.

 

International

Designing better ultra-aerodynamic bicycles through artificial intelligence.

That bike bucket list just keeps getting longer, as Forbes recommends five bicycling vacations around the world.

A writer for the Guardian considers the best books on bicycling.

A British Columbia bike rider is using shadows on a straight, flat highway in Saskatchewan to prove the Earth isn’t flat. Because one more proof should be enough to convince all the flat Earthers, even though all the many others haven’t done the job yet.

Caught on video: A British bus driver passes a bicyclist way too close for comfort, coming so close it looks like it may have brushed the rider.

More proof life is cheap in the UK, where a woman gets a year behind bars for running down a bike rider while high on coke and driving without her glasses — with her kids in the car.

A Welsh judge has ordered a new trial in the death of British Olympic hero Chris Boardman’s bike-riding mother; in addition to the crash, the driver and his wife are accused of deleting cellphone data to cover up their actions.

Don’t count on seeing Irish band Glass Animals anytime soon, after the band’s drummer was seriously injured when he was hit by a truck while riding in Dublin.

A Dublin teenager has been jailed for one year for terrorizing bike riders on a canal pathway; he was part of a group that chased riders and strung rope across the trail in an effort to knock people off their bikes.

Helsinki, Finland is using artificial intelligence to position and manage their bikeshare system.

Mobility Lab says Danes bike for the same reason Americans drive — because they’re lazy and it’s easy.

Rome residents are painting potholes to warn bike riders and hopefully shame the city into fixing them.

The Prague, Czechoslovakia bike ban goes into effect at the end of this month; bike riders will be prohibited from pedestrian areas in the city center.

India’s Hero Cycles is reviving 110-year old British Viking bikes after a 40-year absence. So doesn’t that mean it’s really a 70-year old brand?

An Aussie man is attempting to record and preserve all the surviving bikes made by custom bikemaker Milton “Spike” Jones.

Dockless bikeshare company Obike has abandoned thousands of bikes across Europe after filing bankruptcy in Singapore.

 

Competitive Cycling

Wednesday was a good day for the world champ, and Thursday was good for Ireland and Team UAE Emirates at the Tour de France, even though broken spokes set a couple of riders back.

An Aussie writer says Sunday’s cobbled stage will be hell on wheels.

No, it probably wasn’t good taste to hope that a Croatian rider’s crash in the Tour boded well for England’s failed World Cup bid.

It takes a team effort to keep injured cyclist Lawson “Crash” Craddock riding in the Tour de France; by continuing in the race, he’s already raised over three times his original $21,000 goal to support a Texas Velodrome.

Virtually ignored in all the attention gained by the Tour de France, the women’s Gira Rosa stage race goes on, with Australia’s Mitchelton-Scott team threatening to break the recent dominance of Dutch teams.

A new study shows riding in the back of a peloton is even easier than previously thought; riders in the right position face 95% less wind resistance than riders up front.

 

Finally…

Touring the Rockies by bike, and playing the rocks along the way.  When your bike is stolen by the police so Meghan and Harry can have lunch.

And no, telling a woman you want to be her bike saddle is not a compliment.

And not cool. Period.

Weekend Links: Cowboy catches bike rustler, Expo bike path really does need signage, and lots of LA bike lane news

No need to round up the posse.

In the best story of the day, an Oregon cowboy rides to the rescue when a women sees someone stealing her bike. He saddles up and chases the thief down, lassoes him like a calf roper and holds the outlaw at bay until the sheriff arrives to take him away.

Good thing for the thief they don’t string up rustlers anymore.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

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The other day we linked to a story about the new Expo Line bike path, in which Streetsblog’s Damien Newton pointed out the need for better signage.

An email I received this week points out just how much it’s needed.

Have a Google peek at Metro’s Division 14 yard, where Expo line train cars go to sleep at night.

Last Saturday night, a group of about two dozen cyclists may have been traveling westbound on this path. Upon approach to the “terminus” of the path where it effectively dead-ends at Centinela, they may or may not have crossed the street and continued westbound.

After crossing Centinela, they may have proceeded down a newly paved driveway. It is clearly not a bike path, but as mentioned in Mr. Newton’s Streetsblog post, the signage for the bikeway is rather lacking, and confusing when it is present, so it’s not unusual for cyclists to be shuffled off the Expo path onto a Class II facility, or a high-volume arterial, or whatever this long, long driveway was. The sudden shift in facility type is recognizable as par for the course for Los Angeles bikeway “planning.” Adding to the confusion was Metro’s gigantic graphic M on the side of the overpass for the tracks, indicating Metro property. (Although I envision it as M for Militant.)*

As it turned out, the driveway funneled the cyclists through a small, sleepy parking lot. Continuing forward, the riders rolled past parked cars, with no humans to ask for directions and no signs pointing to the continuation of the bike path.

And then even the parking lot ended. Or, better put: It was easy enough to roll forward, but the only unimpeded path was RIGHT INTO THE CAVERNOUS TRAIN SHED, where the majestic, shiny new Kinki Sharyos slumbered on the tracks, oblivious to the sudden burst of awe and terror and alarmed cussing emanating from the cyclists. This was clearly not an extension of any Metro bikeway; nowhere along its length is the Expo bike path so brightly lighted as that shed.

The riders in front slowed considerably, and very briefly stopped as the slower riders rolled up. There was an immediate chorus of solid consensus: “Let’s get out of here!”

In fear of possible detention by the Sheriff’s deputies, the group rolled westward out the only open shed door, and then dismounted to squeeze through a break in the perimeter fence.

It was a heck of a learning experience. The cyclists now know better, and Metro is doubtlessly re-evaluating its security measures.

*That may or may not be a reference to the Militant Angeleno.

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Lots of bike lane news today.

As we noted yesterday, the long-delayed MyFigueroa Complete Streets project on South Figueroa will finally break ground this summer, with completion projected for next March.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton attend the opening of the new Fairfax Blvd bike lanes.

The popular Second Street Tunnel, home to LA’s first semi-protected bike lane, is under an emergency closure for repairs after tiles fell from the ceiling; officials hope to reopen it to bike and vehicular traffic by Monday.

Meanwhile, the LA Weekly’s Hillel Aron offers a good look at the problem of LA sheriff’s deputies harassing bicyclists who are riding legally in the city’s Bus Only Lanes.

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The National Transportation Safety Board has announced it will investigate the Kalamazoo bicycling crash that took the lives of five riders earlier this week. It’s almost unheard of for the NTSB, which usually investigates plane and train disasters, to investigate a traffic collision — and it’s the first bicycle crash they’ve investigated in 30 year. Thanks to Ed Ryder for the heads-up.

The four surviving victims are improving, now ranging from serious to good condition.

CBS News offers photos of all nine victims.

The son of one of the victims wrote on Facebook that he forgives the driver, and hopes the man will make it his mission in life to educate others about the causes of events like this.

A Michigan public radio station asks if the roads are wide enough for bikes and cars. They are if people on four wheels remember they’re operating big, dangerous machines and drive accordingly.

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Pro cycling’s failing financial model means several teams could go under for lack of sponsorship, jeopardizing the future of the WorldTour. This is the end result of cycling’s ongoing doping scandals, as many backers are choosing to back away from the sport.

British endurance cyclist and Trans-Am Bike Race competitor Lee Fancourt says he fell off his bike due to dehydration, then passed out under a tree for 27 hours before resuming the race. Meanwhile, another competitor in the race is crowdfunding a new bike after hers was stolen just three days from the start.

Does anyone really care about disgraced cyclist Floyd Landis’ efforts to retaliate in court against disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong? I didn’t think so.

………

Local

KCBS-2 talks to the West Hollywood bike rider nearly run off the road by a tour bus earlier this week. I understand anchor Jeff Vaughn, who helps introduce the story, is a pretty decent cyclist himself.

The New York Times explains how to spend a weekend in LA by utilizing Metro trains and the coming Metro Bike system. Although that would be a very expensive bikeshare ride to the Eastside, where no docking stations are planned for the foreseeable future.

It’s not every day a sasquatch crashes a South Pasadena city council session to promote the 626 Golden Streets event at the end of this month.

Claremont is planning to convert a section of the famed Route 66 along Foothill Blvd into a bike-friendly Complete Street.

A busy bike weekend gets a little busier, as Chatsworth will host the annual COLT Bike Rally and Health Walk through the historic San Fernando Valley horse country on Sunday. No word on whether there will be any bike rustler roping demos.

CiclaValley says it will be a weekend of highs and lows, with Saturday’s Santa Clarita Ride of Silence honoring Rod Bennett, followed by Sunday’s LA River Ride.

 

State

San Diego plans to trade nearly 500 downtown parking spaces for nine miles of protected bike lanes over the next 20 years. Naturally, merchants prefer the few customers they might lose due to less parking to the many they might gain if people felt safe walking and biking there.

Work is moving forward on a 21-mile inland bike trail in North San Diego County, although a money shortage will leave it with a two mile gap for now.

A Ventura man is under arrest for knocking an acquaintance off his bicycle, then punching and kicking him.

 

National

It’s not unusual to find things when you ride a bike. But an Arizona woman’s cremated remains, not so much.

Caught on video: A security camera catches a Phoenix hit-and-run in horrifyingly graphic detail as the rider goes tumbling over the car; the writer for the automotive website Jalopnik says it looks like the wreck may have been intentional.

NFL legend Brett Farve is one of us, preparing to take part in a Wisconsin ride this weekend on bike custom made for him by Trek.

That New York bikeshare rider who was unceremoniously taken down by the police when he crashed a presidential motorcade was on his way to a hook-up. And pumping Call Me Maybe through his headphones.

Treehugger says language matters when talking about bike and car crashes, after a New York bike rider is first blamed for her fatal crash, then exonerated in later press reports. I always take crash reports with a massive grain of salt, especially initial reports, since they often reflect a bias against bicyclists.

Caught on video 2: A New York driver — with a clergy placard in the window — drives down a separated bike path barely wide enough for his car, while flashing his lights at a cyclist to get out of his way. And they call bike riders entitled?

Atlanta launches their bikeshare system with just 100 bikes at 10 stations, expanding to 500 bikes at 50 locations by the end of the year.

The war on cars has officially begun, as a scruffy-faced Florida bike rider was spotted shooting at cars on a highway.

 

International

Canada’s Ontario province considers stiffer penalties for drivers who run down vulnerable road users.

Toronto passes a watered down bike plan.

There’s a special place in hell for someone who would steal a specially adapted bike from a one-armed British cyclist.

It’s now officially faster to ride a bike in Belfast than to drive a car.

You don’t have to speak Norwegian to grasp the idea behind this video, in which a driver is incensed that he’s stuck behind a large group of spandex-clad cyclists and unable to pass. Although in all fairness, the riders could have shown a tad more courtesy. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link.

 

Finally…

Nothing like accidentally entering a triathlon. Now you can fight the power on your very own Public Enemy 29” BMX bike.

And if you think you’re more likely to be run off the road by the driver of an expensive car, you may be right. And there may be a reason for that.

 

Morning Links: City Council may not be PLUM crazy when it comes to MyFigueroa after all

Finally, good news on the needlessly delayed MyFigueroa project, as the City Council’s Planning and Land Management Committee moves forward with it.

Sort of.

In the face of overwhelming support for the project, the committee voted to discuss the matter again in three weeks, while tasking staff with the following:

  1. Report back on the project’s expected impact on traffic delays using more realistic assumptions than the conservative projections in the environmental impact report.
  2. Develop an education and marketing campaign to promote the project and businesses along the Figueroa corridor.
  3. Convene technical working groups to address remaining access and driveway concerns, including concerns about film permit restrictions during rush hour.
  4. Convene a technical committee to evaluate traffic plans for special events.
  5. Convene a technical committee to advise the before and after project evaluation.

Even the Shammas Auto Group, owners of Fig-side Felix Chevrolet, has implied they’ll drop their lawsuit against the project if consensus can be reached before it comes back to the committee on Tax Day.

……….

Local

Yet another reason to ride a bike, as the LAPD and Sheriff’s Department are tracking the license numbers of every vehicle on the street.

That alleged wrong way DUI driver faces a possible life sentence for killing six people — including her own sister — on the 60 Freeway in February; her lawyer says she’s “very scared.” She should be.

Streetsblog is talking to community leaders to get their take on the city’s proposed Mobility Plan 2035.

LA Councilmember Jose Huizar says it’s time to fix the sidewalks.

Wait. Dodger Stadium has bike lanes now?

Work finally gets underway on improving safety on PCH through Malibu.

A Redondo Beach bike rider is hospitalized following a collision with a pickup Wednesday afternoon; let’s hope it’s nothing serious. Thanks to My Redondo Beach for the heads-up.

Long Beach gets a second mini-ciclovia from 11:30 am to 1 pm next Tuesday as the course for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is opened to the non-motorized — and dog-free — public.

 

State

OC vigil celebrates the life of fallen rider Sean Severson on his 16th birthday; you can contribute to a fund in his honor here.

A Redlands website talks with the founder of the Inland Empire Biking Alliance.

A Big Bear cyclist says it’s people like us who give cyclists a bad name, while a writer for Bicycle Retailer suggests it’s better to be an appeaser than a hater. Surely there’s a middle ground in there somewhere.

A Monterrey man is ordered to remain in the mental institution he’s been confined to since throwing sulfuric acid in the face of an unsuspecting bicyclist in 2000.

Tragic news as an 89-year old woman dies following a collision with a bike rider on a pathway on the San Jose State University campus. No word on how or why it happened, but this is why you always ride carefully around pedestrians — especially children and the elderly, who are far more fragile than others.

A Napa man faces charges after he was spotted by the original owner riding a bike that was stolen last August.

Nice story, as a Healdsburg boy creates Bikes Peak, and finds it still standing nearly 20 years later.

 

National

Now that’s my idea of heaven. Yellowstone opens to bikes only for the next few weeks. Just watch out for early rising bears. And angry buffalo.

The mother of a fallen Chicago cyclist sues the drunk driver who killed him, along with his employer, the appropriately named AllYouCanDrink, LLC. They’re about to find out just how limited their liability is.

Eleven women cyclists recreate a 1928 ride by five women from New York to DC.

 

International

No matter how angry you get, don’t slam a truck driver’s head into his door after he gets out to confront you. Just don’t.

An Australian writer says cycling Down Under is getting more dangerous and it’s time for government action.

A blind Aussie cyclist plans to ride through Southeast Asia to raise money for guide dogs.

A New Zealand man dies from a night of binge drinking in celebration of the next day’s mountain bike trip.

 

Finally…

A Vancouver soccer star is questionable after suffering a bicycling-related injury without ever getting on one. He tripped over a bike rack walking down the sidewalk.

And San Francisco may have the state’s first parking protected puppy lane; thanks to Cyclelicious for the link.

Morning headlines: Another day, another three Times bike opinion pieces — and this time, they get it right

Wednesday was a good day for the LA Times editorial department.

First up is a ringing endorsement of the seemingly troubled My Figueroa project, which would create the city’s first complete street if the local councilmember and various bike lane-hating businesses — hello Felix Chevrolet! — would just get out of the way.

Yes, they note, the project may result in some traffic congestion until motorists adjust their routes or adapt to other forms of transportation. But as they put it —

Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council should not let fears of traffic congestion turn this transformative project into another incomplete street.

Meanwhile, another writer for the Times notes that bicyclists are not the only ones who will benefit from the project.

But only if City Hall has the courage to say yes to a project that will benefit everyone. Including the people and businesses currently opposing it.

On a related subject, Times writer Paul Thornton correctly calls the city out for failing to patch the roadway before painting bike lanes.

Like the cracked and badly patched pavement the passes for a bike lane on 7th Street, which too often calls for an ice pack in a very private place by the time I get home. Over in the UK, they sue for that sort of thing.

And Cycling Unbound takes on Tuesday’s Times opinion piece that tacitly endorsed running down cyclists who have the audacity to complain about nearly getting run over.

Funny how bike riders’ instinct for self-preservation so often looks like self-righteousness to uncomprehending motorists.

……….

A high desert official says if cars can’t pass your bike safely and there’s no place to pull over, you have to get off and walk your bike.

Uh, no.

You are required to pull over and let cars pass if, and only if a) you are on road with only one lane in your direction, b) you are traveling at less than the speed of traffic, and c) there are at least five vehicles stuck behind you and unable to pass. If they can go around you, you aren’t impeding anything.

And there is absolutely nothing in the law that would require you to get off your bike.

However, that’s not to say you can’t be polite and pull over to let cars go by. Anytime I take the lane, I try to move right and wave trailing traffic around me when it’s safe to do so.

……….

Mentioned this one over the weekend, but it bears repeating, as Sheriff’s investigators prepare to turn the results of their investigation into the death of cyclist and former Napster exec Milt Olin over to the DA’s office for evaluation. Don’t hold your breath for criminal charges, though; I suspect this one would have been brushed under the carpet along time ago if it had just been you or me under that deputy’s car.

The LACBC calls on Metro and LA County to fight for our share of active transportation funds.

Outgoing County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky looks at Metro’s Bicycle Roundtable, and notes that bicyclists are no longer the squeaky wheel that gets ignored. Even if there is room for improvement.

Long Beach’s traffic calming dinosaurs go the way of the stegosaurus and non-speeding motorists.

San Diego’s Bicycle Film Festival starts this weekend.

Cyclelicious explains why the Fourth Power Rule means cyclists shouldn’t have to pay for the streets we ride on. Or if we do, SUV drivers should be prepared to write a very large check.

San Francisco okays a project to give unclaimed bikes to the poor, starting with low-income at-risk youths. Now that’s a program I can get behind.

When you’re raging against a driver, remember you’re the one who’ll come off looking like a jerk, no matter how much he or she may deserve it. Which explains why some of the videos I record will never see the light of day.

It’s a mixed bag in court for the fallen king of pro cycling, as Lance loses in Texas and wins in LA. But aside from his financial advisors, does anyone really care anymore?

The Canadian politician who killed cyclist Darcy Allen Sheppard is attempting to make a comeback five years later. Unfortunately, his victim won’t be making a comeback anytime soon. Or ever.

A South African bike commuter races for his life to escape armed robbers chasing him in a car, before finally giving up his bike at gunpoint.

A reminder from Tokyo to ride safely around pedestrians. And not just because it could be you that ends up going to the hospital.

Oh, so that’s the reason women don’t ride in greater numbers: it’s the helmets. Or maybe not.

Finally, a Jupiter FL cyclist gets a $3 million dollar settlement for a dooring — yes, million — and his wife gets over half a million for loss of consortium.

Don’t tell my wife, or she’ll ask me to start riding in the door zone. Something tells me she’d gladly trade consortium for a cool half mil.

City Council PLUM committee punts on My Figueroa; major sub-human scum steal an autistic girl’s e-bike

Four years ago Bill Rosendahl fought for bike riders; will anyone step up now?

Four years ago Bill Rosendahl fought for bike riders; will anyone step up now?

Four years ago, former Councilmember Bill Rosendahl famously declared the era of LA car culture was over.

Yesterday’s meeting of the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee head-scratchingly yawned otherwise, as a car dealer and seemingly confused councilmember teamed to throw a monkey wrench into plans for cycle tracks on South Figueroa.

The long-planned and bid-ready My Figueroa has been delayed, perhaps fatally, by the owner of the Felix Chevrolet group of car dealerships, who inexplicably claims to support the project while simultaneously threatening to sue to stop it.

And by Councilmember Curren Price, who has previously proclaimed his support for bicycling, as well as the Figueroa cycle tracks, but now wants further study of a project that has already been studied to death, and consideration of options that have already been rejected for good reason.

And let’s not forget a little bike hate from Hollywood thrown in for good measure, which wants to keep parking their trucks on the street instead of paying for parking like every other Angeleno. Evidently, they’re not satisfied with merely watering down our formerly effective Spring Street green bike lanes, and won’t stop until they’ve turned the entire city into their exclusive back lot.

As Damien Newtown put it on Streetsblog, the project needs a hero.

Unfortunately, Rosendahl has retired. And no one, as yet, has stepped up to claim his mantle in fighting for the rights and safety of LA cyclists on the city council.

The vacuum that exists at the top of the LADOT flowchart means no one there will take on the fight, as the mayor continues to drag his feet on appointing a permanent leader for the department, and prime candidates like New York’s Janette Sadik Khan and Chicago’s Gabe Klein move on to less problematic pastures.

Meanwhile, the mayor himself has yet to publicly take a stand in support of bicycling, other than to sign on to the city’s application to the Green Lane Project — which could be jeopardized by the turmoil over My Figueroa.

That follows other city leaders washing their hands of cyclists, as Westside Councilmember Paul Koretz killed planned bike lanes on Westwood Blvd, and self-proclaimed bike-friendly Councilmember Tom LaBonge has single-handedly stopped major bike projects on 4th Street and Lankershim Blvd, while supporting a killer redesign of the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge complex.

Meanwhile, newly elected Councilmember Gil Cedillo has inexplicably halted all progress on shovel-ready bike lanes on North Figueroa that he previously supported, apparently in a fit of pique directed at his predecessor.

The only action taken by the committee on Tuesday was to ask city staff to study the issues they’ve already studied, using money that has already been spent.

And to report back in 30 days to explain why they recommend what they’ve already recommended.

Maybe it will be enough political Kabuki theater to suggest to opponents that the council members really did consider their objections before going forward with what they should have gone forward with anyway.

Or maybe Koretz, LaBonge and Cedillo will step up and battle for bike lanes, as long as they’re not in their own districts.

And maybe that bacon I had earlier in the week will reconstitute into its original porcine form and aviate out of my ass.

……….

In a major display of sub-human greed, a pair of lowlife schmucks have stolen a custom-made tandem e-bike from a severely autistic 12-year old girl.

The bike has a raised seat back and seatbelt that allows the girl, a double transplant recipient, to ride a bike, which would otherwise be impossible for her. And which render the bike pretty much useless for anyone else.

It was stolen November 30th at 2:32 am from a home in the 4200 block of Marina City Drive in Marina del Rey. Surveillance video shows two men — if you can call them that — carrying the bike over a locked gate at the Marina City Club condo complex.

Chances are, after two months, the bike — which was donated by the Make-A-Wish Foundation — has long been stripped and sold as parts. But the jerks who stole it are still around somewhere, and need to be taken off the streets.

For a very long time.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Sheriff’s Detective Keysha Gipson at the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station, 310-482-6022.

Thanks to Cynthia Rose for the heads-up.

……….

The LA Weekly begs to differ with the LA Times Op-Ed about the living hell Santa Monica has become. Because of, you know, bikes.

Evidently, all those cars streaming in and out of the city have no effect on traffic. Or livability, for that matter.

……….

Britain’s advertising authority bans a Scottish bike safety commercial because 1) it features a cyclist riding without a helmet, and 2) the rider doesn’t cling dangerously to the gutter in an attempt to ride as far right as possible.

The Guardian rightly asks, are they daft?

Note: As Nik points out, that should be “ride as far left as possible.”

Update: In the face of massive blowback, the ruling on road positioning has been suspended; the ruling on helmet use appears to remain in force, even though helmets are not required in the UK.

……….

Finally, Bangkok closes key intersections to become the Copenhagen of the east, even if bikes can hide bombs; thanks to Vanessa Gray for the link.

……….

Thanks to Erik Griswold for his generous donation to help support this site; contributions of any amount are deeply appreciated.

Increasing penalties for hit-and-run, increasing opposition to high-speed Hyperion/Glendale bridges

Today's forecast calls for first winter storm of the year. But hopefully, not this bad. Photo by Eric Rogers.

Forecast calls for first winter storm of the year. But probably not like this. Photo by Eric Rogers.

Momentum is finally building to increase penalties for hit-and-run.

But while increasing penalties to match DUI will remove one incentive to flee, it won’t be enough to stop hit-and-runs at a time when prison overcrowding means non-violent offenders serve only a fraction of their sentences.

Original thinking is required, whether that means automatic revocation of the driver’s license and seizure of the vehicle used, as I’ve long advocated, or extensive home detention and community service.

We also need to require permanent license plates for every car on the road from the minute it leaves the sales lot. Too many drivers use loopholes in the law to avoid putting valid plates on their cars, making them virtually untraceable in the event of a collision.

Just try counting the number of cars you see without plates the next time you ride.

Drivers should also face homicide charges anytime someone dies following a hit-and-run on the assumption that the victim might have been saved if they had stopped and called for help.

………

Opposition is deservedly growing to the planned highway-speed redevelopment of the Hyperion/Glendale bridge complex.

How this deadly throwback design even got preliminary support from city officials is beyond me.

………

Wednesday’s planned hearing of the My Figueroa project before the city council’s Transportation Committee has been postponed until further notice.

Let’s hope it’s soon, because funding requirements dictate that all opponents have to do to kill the project is to delay the start until after the first of the year. It would be very easy for someone to halt the whole project just by demanding further study, without ever publicly opposing it.

Not that any, say, car dealer or councilmember would actually try that, of course.

………

The NY Times profiles our Jewish Latino Moby-accompanying semi-hipster mayor; meanwhile, our own Times talks with LADOT bike czar Michelle Mowery, and apparently approves. City of LA department performance data goes online, including a rising rate of bike lane miles. The Times says the new and de-improved Spring Street bike lane is ready for a road test. Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman walks and thinks at Sunday’s CicLAvia; Boyonabike explains why he boycotted this one. Roaming historic Leimert Park by bike. West Hollywood is about to get a new robot garage; disappointingly, it’s not actually for parking robots. Pasadena man rides to raise funds for a chemical dependency treatment program like the one that saved his life. The inaugural Rose Bowl Legacy Cycling Challenge scheduled for later this month has been cancelled until next year. Bike to the Pomona Pumpkin Festival on the 20th. A new petition calls on El Monte to approve the city’s first bike lane. Funny how frequently opponents can look at bike lanes and fail to see anyone use them, even in bike friendly Long Beach. Will we ever see the promised Bike Nation bike share programs in LA and Long Beach, and should we wait on them? CLR Effect offers more typically great photos from the 2013 Velocity Cross.

Governor Brown has signed AB 417, which will streamline the environmental process for urban bike plans, so they don’t get held hostage by absurd claims that bike lanes will cause pollution. Ride the 2014 Amgen Tour of California route before the pros. I’d love to know what OC Register readers have to say about cyclists and the recently passed three-foot law, but you know, draconian paywall and stuff. An eight-year old Corona boy is released from the hospital three weeks after he was attacked by dogs while riding his bike. Bike SD says without an implementation strategy, the city’s Bike Master Plan is just a wish list. Seven-year old Solano Beach boy finishes third in BMX Nationals. Registration opens for next month’s Tour de (Camp) Pendleton. A driver is sentenced to 11 years and eight months in prison for the DUI death of a Morro Bay cyclist last month thanks to previous convictions for DUI, reckless driving and hit-and-run; she was still drunk from the night before at the time of the 11 am collision, even after going for a run. No bias here, as the local press reports a helmetless Pacific Grove cyclist slammed into the back of a stopped car, but fails to consider whether the driver may have stopped short or cut her off. A Sacramento bike rider is killed when she’s rear-ended by a bus pulling up to a stop. San Francisco cyclists complain about well-documented anti-bike police bias; the question is, was anyone listening?

About time, as the NAACP declares walkability a civil rights issue. A drop in driving rates — especially among young people — is causing car builders to rethink their business model. Not surprisingly, bike friendly mayors often result in bike friendly cities; one hundred days into his administration, it remains to be seen just how bike friendly our new mayor is. Hundreds pause in Boulder CO to remember fallen pro cyclist Amy Dumbroski. Chicago business owner refuses to move to any city without protected bike lanes. One in four Ohio bike collisions ends in hit-and-run. More New Yorkers are killed in motor vehicle collisions than by guns; not that the NYPD seems to give a damn. Leading New York mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio switches from opponent to supporter of protected bike lanes, but won’t bike to work if elected. New York jurists consider whether a driver can be too drunk to be responsible for his or her actions. Lindsey Lohan rides bikes with her mom; no word on whether they rode drunk or crashed into anyone. Because a driver wasn’t willing to wait 15 seconds for a bike rider to cross a bridge, a Maryland family no longer has a mother. Charleston SC officials want to encourage bike riding while reining in all that cluttered bike parking. Georgia’s absurdly anti-bike legislation is pulled by its authors, who don’t understand the negative reaction.

Mass retirements hit the pro peloton. Bolivia’s fourth largest city could require residents to ride once a week; thanks to Cyclelicious for the link. Breathtaking Ai Weiwei bike art installation opens in Toronto. Your next really heavy helmet could be made of flax. Evidently, Cambridge’s new cycle-safe junction design isn’t as two cyclists collide head-on. Biking the back roads of Southern England. Next year’s Giro will pay tribute to the late, great Marco Pantani. The Jerusalem Post looks at “righteous Christian Italian cycling great” Gino Bartali, who risked his life to save Jews during WWII; I look forward to the Catholic church giving him the respect he deserves. Dubai prosecutors want to increase the one-month sentence given the killer of triathlete Roy Nasr. Cape Town’s new cycle track is used primarily for motorbike parking and smoke breaks. Australia’s new Prime Minister defends making the country pick up the tab for his bike rides. An Aussie cyclist is arrested for riding at nearly four times the legal alcohol limit at 11:30 am, still drunk — and surprisingly not dead — from the night before.

Finally, every thief now has an alibi, as a California appellate court inexplicably rules that it’s not stealing if you plan to return a cell phone — or a bike — when you’re done with it. And here’s the perfect bike to borrow for all you temporary bike rustlers out there.

FYI, if you see an ad on this or any other post on here, the money is going to WordPress for hosting this blog, not me.

A new LA councilmember develops memory problems; GiveMe3 and hit-and-run bills move forward

Sometimes I have to wonder if politics causes memory problems.

Plans have been under way for the past few years to transform Figueroa Blvd between Downtown and South LA. The four mile My Figueroa project would narrow and remove some mixed-use traffic lanes, along with some parking, in exchange for transit-only lanes and the city’s first protected bike lanes.

However, Streetsblog reports that the conditions of the funding for the project require that construction has to start by the end of this year, and be completed before 2015.

Now newly elected City Councilmember Curren Price may have thrown a wrench in the works by expressing concerns that could kill LA’s first Complete Streets project by delaying it past the required starting point.

According to Downtown News, Price has straddled both sides of the fence, voicing support for the project while expressing concerns at a recent meeting.

“It’s a promising project. Let’s not rush through it. Let’s make it a good deal for everybody,” (Price) said, adding, “Major stakeholders have lingering concerns.”

Those stakeholders reportedly include the often anti-bike AAA, which has its regional headquarters on Figueroa, as well as the owner of eight car dealerships in the area, who evidently doesn’t offer any parking onsite and can’t conceive of anyone biking in and driving out with a new car.

And never mind all those recent studies showing bikes are good for business.

The website also reports that Price filed a motion asking the city Planning Department and LADOT to provide an in-depth analysis of how they plan to mitigate traffic congestion caused by the removal of auto lanes on the street.

Never mind that the street was chosen for the project, in part, because it would not significantly affect traffic flow on the under-utilized corridor. Or that any delay at this point could kill the project.

And never mind that Price, elected to the state Senate just four years ago before leaving for the higher paying city council seat, claimed to be a supporter of bicycling, and, “among other things, the role that it plays in improving air quality, health, traffic congestion and the overall environmental quality of life in the 26th Senate District.”

In a campaign statement for this site before the 2009 election that took him from the state Assembly to the Senate, he wrote:

A lack of investment in mass transit, infrastructure and Class One BikeWays, coupled with the “love affair” that Angelenos have with their cars and a jobs housing imbalance which has residents commuting on average between 15-20 miles roundtrip each day has contributed to the district’s inability to realize higher air quality standards. These reasons, among others, is why transit, transportation and air quality are at the top of my environmental agenda, why I have earned the endorsement of the California League of Conservation Voters and why I will continue to support increased investment in mass transit as well as alternatives such as cycling, full enforcement of the Clean Air Act, incentives for cleaner technologies and penalties for gross polluters.

He went on to add…

Young people who can’t cycle or exercise outdoors are not only likely to have higher rates of asthma and obesity but to underperform in school.

And…

Whether one cycles for business, for pleasure or for the environment, cyclists and, more correctly, support for cyclists plays a crucial role in creating a more livable 26th Senate District. Improvements and expansion of Class One Bikeways via increased public/private partnership funding and incentives for those who build bike-friendly developments supported by ancillary City street improvements are among the priorities I would have in developing a cycling/environmental agenda.

Then he closed, in part, with this:

I grew up riding my bike in the 26th District in South LA, Leimert Park and the Crenshaw District. I did it for pleasure. As state Senator, I would like to support a climate which allows cyclists to choose their own reason and create an environment which makes it possible.

But not as a council member, perhaps.

Maybe it’s just me. But that doesn’t sound like someone who would halt a major project at the last minute in a fight to preserve parking and under-used traffic lanes.

Or has Price forgotten those high-minded ideals now that he’s not running for office and powerful people with deeper pockets are demanding his attention?

Maybe we need to remind him.

………

According to Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious, California’s latest attempt at passing a three-foot passing law landed on Governor Brown’s desk Monday afternoon.

I’m told he has 12 days to sign the bill, so we should have an answer — good or bad — by Saturday the 21st. You have less than that to urge him to sign it.

………

Legislation to address LA’s hit-and-run epidemic has advanced to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.

AB 184, sponsored by Glendale-area Assembly Member Mike Gatto, was originally written to add an additional one year to the statue of limitations after a suspect is identified in hit-and-run cases. However, the law was significantly amended to double the current three-year statute of limitations, instead.

The bill proved remarkably popular, winning final approval by a unanimous vote of both houses. The LA Weekly says Brown will have 10 days to sign the bill if he gets it by Thursday; otherwise, he’ll have until October 13th.

Don’t ask me why.

Meanwhile, Florida cyclists are backing proposed legislation that would impose a minimum three-year sentence for leaving the scene of a collision resulting in injuries.

………

Speaking of Florida, sentencing has been delayed in the case of Carlos Bertanotti, the Miami musician who killed a cyclist in a drunken 2010 hit-and-run; he dragged the victim’s bike under his car for over two miles before police stopped him.

Family and friends begged the court to show him mercy; not that he showed his victim any. Bertanotti, with 46 violations on his driving record — although his brother claims 12 of those are actually his — faces between 11.56 and 37 years in prison.

And hopefully, a lifetime ban on driving once he gets out.

………

Tuesday was the first day of LA’s 2013 bike and pedestrian count, as volunteers with the LACBC and Los Angeles Walks counted non-motorized travellers during the morning and evening commute times. The count will continue this Saturday to track weekend riders and walkers.

The remarkable thing is that two members of the LA City Council participated in the count along with their staffs; Westside CM Mike Bonin and Valley CM Bob Blumenfield deserve thanks for joining in. Which just goes to show how mainstream bicycling and walking have become when even council members become volunteers.

Maybe there’s hope for this city yet.

Especially if Bonin’s new motion to have the city share such statistics passes the Council.

On the other hand, as great a job as they’ve done, it shouldn’t be up to a pair of non-profit organizations to do the city’s job for it.

New York City can prove the benefits of their efforts to transform the city streets with detailed before and after stats showing traffic, collisions, and injuries or death.

It’s long past time Los Angeles did the same.

………

Alan Stephen ghost bike

Alan Stephen ghost bike

A Central Coast driver pleads guilty to vehicular manslaughter and DUI, just nine days after running down two bicyclists in Morro Bay on Memorial Day.

She tried to do the right thing by taking the train back home after a night of drinking. Unfortunately, she still had a BAC of .07 an hour after killing one rider and seriously injuring the other while driving to work at 11 am.

But at least she did the right thing by taking responsibility for her actions. And doing it right away, rather than dragging out the process in order to get a better plea deal.

When was the last time you saw that happen?

Thanks to Patti Andre — who still hasn’t seen justice for the collateral-damage death of her bike riding brother — for the heads-up.

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Virgil Avenue could be the latest Los Angeles Street to get a road diet, complete with five-foot bike lanes and wider, more walkable sidewalks.

And San Marino will discuss that city’s first bike lanes on Wednesday.

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You’re invited to attend next week’s meeting of the Advocacy and Education Subcommittee of the LA Bicycle Advisory Committee, the city’s only official voice for cyclists. The meeting, with a very full agenda, takes place at 7 pm on Wednesday, September 18, at the IMAN Cultural Center, 3376 Motor Ave.

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Streetsblog offers a nice look at the work of HOLA, or Heart of LA, a non-profit bringing youth art to city bus benches.

What the story doesn’t mention, though, is that one of the members of their Board of Directors is Glenn Gritzner, who pleaded no-contest for the hit-and-run collision that left LA bike advocate Don Ward, aka Roadblock, lying injured in the street.

That was the case in which Ward famously tracked down the driver himself when the police were slow to take action.

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Looks like you’re not going to get back that money you spent on Lance Armstrong’s book.

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I’m told that Tuesday was the 130th anniversary of LA’s first organized bike race, as five riders took to a one-mile dirt track on their Penny-farthings in what is now Exposition Park on September 10th, 1883.

Twitter-er Walt Arrrrr kindly forwards photos of a couple of slightly more recent races.

I wonder what they would have thought about last weekend’s Wolfpack Hustle Drag Race?

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Finally, get out that old catcher’s uniform, as Calgary researchers say a mere helmet isn’t protection enough; you now need body armor. And LA’s Fox 11 (KTTV-11) goes trolling for bike hate, asking their Facebook followers what they think about sharing the road with cyclists; thanks to Michael McVerry for the link.

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