Tag Archive for New York

Morning Links: The bi-coastal bikelash goes on, and good news on the medical and track racing fronts

The bikelash goes on.

Sometimes, even from people who profess to be cyclists themselves.

Take this writer from Goleta, just outside Santa Barbara.

Please.

He starts with a suspicion of a grand conspiracy to force drivers out of their cars.

According to him, road diets, bulb-outs and bike lanes are planned, not to improve safety or provide transportation options, but to make driving so miserable that people have no choice but to give up on their cars and take to bikes.

Never mind that if bicycling somehow miraculously reached the level of ridership found in the Netherlands, it would still only amount to 27% of all trips.

He insists that those behind it are those damn progressive politicians and traffic department bureaucrats, environmental advocates, and the “well-funded, politically powerful Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition.”

Which would no doubt come as a surprise to the SBBC. And make it one of the few well-funded bike advocacy groups anywhere.

Or maybe the only one.

Then he pivots to the standard complaint that bicyclists don’t pay for the lanes they ride on. Which is based on the false assumption that drivers do, rather than being the most heavily publicly subsidized form of transportation.

The obvious solution, in his mind, anyway, is licensing cyclists.

Even though the money raised by licensing is unlikely to bring in enough to even cover its own operating costs. And even though bike riders already pay more than their share for the roads through their own taxes.

Naturally, he also complains that bike riders break the law. Except for him, of course.

And unlike motorists, who would never, ever dream of speeding, driving distracted or making an unsafe lane change in a vehicle capable of doing far more harm than even the worst scofflaw cyclist.

So the law needs to crack down on cyclists, he insists. And we all need to carry liability insurance, because maybe someday, in the bike utopian world he so fears, a distracted cyclist could cause a massive bike pileup that forces a poor, innocent driver off the road.

No, really.

It’s worth the read if you need a good laugh.

Unlike the New York Post’s latest attack on former NYDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

In what passes for an exceptionally auto-centric, yet pedestrian review of her acclaimed new book, a writer for the paper goes on the attack, less for what she wrote than what she wrought.

He complains about “her ruinous tampering with historic traffic patterns” as she sought to turn the city into one of the world’s great bicycling cities, “everyone else be damned.”

Even though surveys consistently show most New Yorkers support the city’s bike lanes and the changes she helped make, and traffic fatalities have reached historic lows.

He goes on to complain that public plazas around Times Square are so crowded and overrun with tourists and hucksters that New Yorkers “assiduously” avoid it. Sort of like Yogi Berra’s famous proclamation that “No one goes there’s anymore. It’s too crowded.”

And in his eyes, moving parked cars away from the curb to form protected bike lanes makes the streets look like parking lots. Unlike before, when the same cars were far more attractively parked on the same streets.

Somehow, those cars also make it harder to see what’s on the other side of the street. Because they were apparently transparent before being moved a few feet to the left.

He tops it off with the assertion that the city’s bike lanes are only used by food delivery people most times of the day.

Never mind that bike commuting doubled in just five years, and more people are riding that ever before. Let alone those 22 million Citi Bike riders, who have to be riding somewhere.

He ends by complaining that the damage done by Sadik-Khan’s reign is with us to stay.

For which most New Yorkers are undoubtedly grateful.

And the rest of us can only envy.

………

If you haven’t already, take a few moments to sign the petition asking for all new or used cars sold in California to leave the lot with a temporary license plate.

It doesn’t take much effort watching traffic to realize that too many cars are on the streets with no front plates — or any license plates at all — making them virtually impossible to identify in the event of a hit-and-run or other traffic crime.

And enforcing the law requiring front and back plates on every vehicle seems to be a very low priority.

………

Exciting news on the medical front, as stunt cyclist Martyn Ashton takes his first mechanically assisted steps with a new hi-tech walker, three years after he was paralyzed from the waist down.

And after an injection of neural cells taken from his nose, a Polish firefighter can now ride an adaptive tricycle, four years after he was paralyzed from the chest down after a stabbing.

………

US women win their first-ever gold in team pursuit at the track cycling world championships; Temecula’s Sarah Hammer was part of the winning team, and qualified for the Rio Olympics in another event.

………

Road raging drivers are one thing. Getting chased by an ostrich is another.

And he really needs to learn to hold his line.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks with Amy Wong of Women on Wheels.

Russell Crowe goes mountain biking on Sunset Blvd, while the Brit press goes gaga over his biceps.

Burbank residents beg for safety improvements on Edison Blvd, including a proposal to install bike lanes to tame traffic.

A Pacoima man was shot to death Thursday night, apparently while riding his bicycle.

The next LACBC Sunday Funday ride with roll this Sunday, with a pre-St. Patrick’s Day themed ride through DTLA led by board member Patrick Pascal.

 

State

It’s been over 49 days since the Marines impounded a number of mountain bikes after their riders strayed onto the Miramar Marine base in San Diego, with no resolution in sight.

A Silicon Valley bike commuter creates a website to provide consumers with more information about insurance companies in an effort to force them to improve their customer service.

 

National

Here’s your chance to work in bike advocacy, as the Bike League is hiring a new Education Director and a Member Services Coordinator.

The Tucson truck driver who plowed into a group of cyclists while allegedly high on meth is being held on $1.5 million bond. Which somehow seems too low.

Two-thirds of Iowans support proposed legislation that would require drivers to change lanes to pass bike riders. Although someone there clearly doesn’t like cyclists, as a popular Des Moines bikeway is sabotaged with tacks.

Chicago is building three curb-protected bike lanes, with an eventual goal of 50 miles of low-stress bikeways.

The Washington Post argue that the federal government should not reclassify bikeshare as mass transit programs, which would qualify it for Fed transit funding.

 

International

The new Audi A4 has lights on the doors to warn drivers if a bike is coming to help avoid doorings. Because actually looking before you open the door is just too hard.

A Vancouver business site says instead of investing $5 million in bikeshare, the city could have bought bicycles for about 200,000 children in low-income households. Which kind of misses the point.

A Toronto lawyer says cars are becoming the weapon of choice, yet drivers who use them to attack others still get their licenses back.

Nice piece on bicycling in Victorian England, which suggests that the bike-riding men of the day were the original hipsters.

Belgian rider Femke Van den Driessche is just 19 years old, and facing a lifetime ban for motor doping.

An Aussie writer says the only thing the country’s mandatory bike helmet law protects you against is fines. Meanwhile, an Australian news network does its best to whip up a panic over e-bikes.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 85-year old Kiwi cyclist refuses to let a collision with a trailer keep him off his bike.

 

Finally…

The next driver who runs you off the road could have two left feet; no, literally. Ford wants to save you from those embarrassing moments when you can’t unclip from your pedals.

And I think we can all agree BikinginLA deserves a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. So who has an extra $30,000 lying around?

 

Morning Links: More media frenzy over fatal NY bike/ped collision; fallen SD cyclist was keeping blog of his trip

The cyclist who killed a pedestrian in New York’s Central Park calls it an unavoidable accident.

And claims he was only riding eight to nine mph at the time of the impact.

Or course, the key to riding safely is to respond to situations, especially those involving pedestrians, before a collision becomes unavoidable. And if he was riding so slowly, the question becomes why he was couldn’t stop and had to scream for people to get out of his way.

When I ride that slowly, which isn’t often, I can stop on a dime. And it’s hard to believe an impact at such a slow speed could cause the serious injuries the victim reportedly suffered.

Meanwhile, a writer for HuffPo asks when New York will crack down on reckless cyclists. And gets just about everything wrong, including blaming a delivery rider in the bike lane for riding too fast instead of the driver who right hooked him.

On the other hand, City Lab’s Sarah Goodyear does a good job of putting it all in perspective, noting that two New York pedestrians have been killed by cyclists in the past five years, while 156 pedestrians were killed by drivers in the city in 2013 alone. Yet still makes it clear that does not absolve cyclists of the need to ride safely.

And New York Streetsblog says every New York traffic fatality should be investigated like this case has been.

……..

Just heartbreaking.

Kerry Kunsman, the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition board member killed while riding in Oregon over the over the weekend, was keeping a blog of his West Coast tour; the last entry was just hours before he was run down by a 74-year old driver.

……..

Local

Okay, so it doesn’t even mention bikes. But the contest between Sheila Kuehl and Bobby Shriver for County Supervisor could be the most important race in the November election; the Time’s Jim Newton says there really is a difference between the two.

Meanwhile, Kuehl talks bicycling and transit issues with Streetsblog and Santa Monica Next in a 30 minute video.

KCET offers a good in-depth examination of the debate over putting bike lanes and sidewalks on the redesigned Hyperion Bridge.

LA2050 and Atlantic Live invite you to a twitter party this Wednesday afternoon; no, not to celebrate my birthday but to discuss placemaking and what it means to be an Angeleno.

The LACBC hosts the first Firefly Ball awards dinner on Thursday, October 30th.

 

State

Streetsblog looks at the new bikeways bills signed by Governor Brown last week.

The Laguna Beach Independent offers more information on the lawsuit filed by the husband of fallen cyclist Debra Deem against California and Newport Beach.

An LA student wins a $1000 Bicycle Accident Scholarship; Gabriel Ybarra, who will be attending Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa, was riding with a friend who was hit and killed by a texting driver. Thanks to Sam Maher for the heads-up.

 

National

Unbelievable. Or maybe all too believable. After a fleeing driver leaves a Colorado cyclist lying in the street, another man walked up and stole her belongings.

The motorist who left American pro cycling legend Dale Stetina with life-threatening injuries faces up to one year in prison after pleading guilty to careless driving in Boulder CO.

A Minneapolis writer says the city’s cyclists are ghosts after dark, and suggests following military rules requiring helmets and reflective vests. But this outfit is definitely not the answer.

The bike-friendly mayor of Pittsburgh wants to Copenhagenize his city

New York considers doubling the fines for hit-and-run, but only if the driver knows or should know that an injury has occurred; laws that hinge on a perpetrator’s state of mind are almost always unenforceable, if not unconstitutional.

A Columbia University professor takes his students on an all-night bike tour to examine the history of New York.

 

International

Toronto cyclists start a sticker campaign to shame drivers who park in bike lanes.

A London cyclist tackles the Tour de France’s legendary Mount Ventoux — not once or twice, but six times in one day.

Yes please. Cycling through France’s Loire Valley.

 

Finally…

A Tucson cyclist tells what it’s like to avoid getting run over by a street car by mere inches. The Chicago Blackhawks invest in bike share. And a Colorado writer apologizes to motorists for the profanity he used when one of their number almost killed him; a good read and definitely worth the click.

 

A little this, a little that — NBC’s Tracy Morgan doors a cyclist, a killer Santa Cruz driver gets a sore wrist

A few quick notes before I hit the ground rolling on what promises to be a gorgeous day.

……..

Comedian, please.

Tracy Morgan, star of NBC sitcom 30 Rock, clearly doesn’t get it after dooring a cyclist in New York yesterday.

After flinging open the door of his car in the path of a bike delivery man, Morgan blamed the rider for wearing black. And made it clear that the incident was no big deal.

And in all honesty, it probably wasn’t.

To him.

According to the New York Post, Morgan was quoted as saying “This kind of stuff happens all the time in the city. I grew up in the city. I’ve been dealing with this stuff for years. Brooklyn-born and -raised, Bed-Stuy do or die.”

Unfortunately, he’s right. Whether he’s talking about cyclists getting doored, or celebs who refuse to take responsibility for their actions.

Meanwhile, E Online seems far more concerned about the comedian’s health than the cyclist he sent to the hospital with minor injuries.

At least future Gotham bike riders will face less risk of dooring from the city’s cabs, as the next generation cab design approved by the city will have sliding doors to protect those around them.

Maybe we can get Tracy Morgan to trade his Jaguar for one.

……..

While we’re on the subject of New York, local cyclists are tired of police blaming the victim and demand better protection and investigations from the NYPD. Meanwhile, a bike riding transit official clashes with a cop who tried to stop him from riding in a no-access area, and tries to pull rank by pretending to be a police commissioner.

……..

Pennsylvania cyclists get protection from a new four-foot passing law as of the first of this month; at least one driver can’t grasp the concept that it’s okay to wait until it’s safe to pass.

That seemed to be the rationalization our own governor used in vetoing last year’s three-foot passing bill, assuming that drivers would mindlessly slam on their brakes to slow down to pass cyclists at less than three feet, rather that wait a few seconds to pass safely.

Now he may get another chance to be less of an idiot do the right thing, as a new three-foot passing bill heads to committee — this time without the driver-appeasing clause Gov. Brown objected to last year.

……..

In a bizarre case from Edinburgh, a cyclist is slightly injured after jumping on the hood of a car during a roadway dispute, then holding on for dear life as the driver swerves from side-to-side and brakes repeatedly in an attempt to throw him off.

Note to cyclists — no matter how smart it may seem at the time, don’t climb onto the vehicle of the driver you’re arguing with.

Never mind getting killed. You could get strip searched.

……..

A Santa Cruz-area driver gets a whopping two years in jail for running down a cyclist and fleeing the scene, leaving his victim to die on the side of the road.

Can someone please explain to me how that isn’t murder?

The collision may have been unintended, but the decision to let his victim bleed out in the street was purely intentional.

Instead, Elliot Dess gets a slap on the wrist, while an innocent bike rider got the death penalty.

If the laws we have now don’t give prosecutors the tools they need to address crimes like this, then we need to change the law so future heartless killers will get the punishment they deserve.

Two lousy years.

Give me a break.

……..

San Diego cyclists are becoming a political force.

That’s something that should soon be happening here, as the LACBC is in the process of forming a political committee to help influence the election of bike-friendly civic leaders; more details soon.

……..

California’s oldest bike racer has another two titles under his belt. In an impressive performance, 93-year old Gordy Shields of El Cajon — soon to be 94 — won the state championship for his age group in both the 20k time trial and the criterium.

Of course, he was the only competitor in his age group.

But still.

……..

Finally, medical science at last discovers the discomfort many women riders have complained about for decades, and realizes that maybe it wasn’t all in their heads after all.

Meanwhile, Gothamist wonders if this, combined with reports of erectile dysfunction among some male riders, means cyclists will soon go extinct.

Uh, no.

Evidently, I’m a hipster from an unhappy home

But I’m just a soul who’s intentions are good; oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood. — Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, The Animals

It’s not just Los Angeles.

All around the country — around the world, in fact — cyclists and biking organizations are fighting for better biking infrastructure. Some insist on separated bikeways where cyclists are safe from careless, distracted or uncaring drivers, and envy those who enjoy a planned, functional system where biking is considered an integral part of the overall transportation plan.

Most of us, though, would gladly settle for a few feet of roadway set off from buzzing traffic by nothing more than a thin strip of paint, on the assumption that something dedicated to cycling is better than nothing.

And nothing is pretty much what we’ve gotten here in Los Angeles.

In fact, since the 1996 bike plan was implemented — the one the currently debated plan is supposed to replace, even though many cyclists consider it a significant step backwards — the city has added an average of just 4.5 miles of bike lanes a year. Not counting the ones frustrated cyclists have painted themselves, of course.

Compare that to New York, which recently added 200 miles of new bike lanes in just three years.

Of course, the excuse reason we’re given is that Los Angeles is too built out and there’s not enough room to add more lanes. Especially not compared to a spacious, low-density and bike friendly community such as New York.

But it’s not enough to simply build bike lanes.

As we learned here over this past summer, we have to defend the ones that have already been built, a lesson New York cyclists have recently learned, as well.

As you may be aware, the city’s cyclists have been up in arms — or off with their tops —  over the removal of a bike lane in New York’s Williamsburg neighborhood, reputedly because the local Hassidic community was offended by the scantily clad cyclists who used it.

Which leads us to this. One of the most astounding demonstrations of sheer, unadulterated ignorance in the guise of offering insight that I’ve ever encountered.

Raanan Geberer, a writer for a local Brooklyn newspaper, lumps those protesting the removal of the bike lane together as “hipsters,” explaining, with some justification, that they were “described in the media as such.” Then after addressing why the Hassidic community was offended — without evidently bothering to talk to any actual Hassidim — he goes on to say this:

One can also understand the anger of the hipsters. By and large, these are people who grew up in unhappy home situations and who have moved to Williamsburg from other parts of the city or the country to “be with their own kind” and live their own unconventional lifestyle. Many, if not most, were teased during their childhood because they were “different,” and fiercely want to defend their hard-fought right to live their lifestyle without interference.

So let me get this straight.

If you’re upset that the bike lane was removed, or that a religious group was apparently allowed to use their influence to dictate the dress and behavior of those outside their group, in violation of the U.S. constitution, you are undoubtedly motivated by an unhappy childhood. Not to mention the desire to be with your own kind and live an “unconventional” lifestyle.

You know, like an irrational desire to conduct radical counter-cultural activities — like riding a bike, for instance — as well as an unreasonable, revolutionary refusal to transport yourself by motor vehicle at all times.

Never mind that many, if not most, of those protesting the lane’s removal may live outside of Williamsburg and use the bike lane, not to get around the neighborhood, but to pass safely through it. Or that it is used — or rather, was — by all kinds of cyclists, some of whom may actually shop at Macy’s and vote Republican on occasion.

Unconventional, indeed.

Of course, while it’s tempting to dismissed this as the isolated ravings of an idiot, the same sort of lazy, biased reporting is found even when writers attempt to dig a little deeper in the story. But it brings up a larger problem, both in terms of infrastructure and acceptance by the larger public.

Too many people see cyclists as a single, homogenous — and often, in their eyes, law-breaking —mass, defined more by their own perceptions than anything remotely grounded in reality. When we’re actually nothing more than a loose collection of individuals trying to get from here to there, each of whom has his or her own reasons for riding and own way of doing it.

Sort of like the great multitude of those behind the wheel, in other words.

And unless we can change those perceptions, we’re going to have a hard time changing things on the streets. Because it’s easy to refuse — or remove — something that only benefits a small group of hipsters, lycra louts, critical massholes or Lance Armstrong wannabees.

But much harder to say no to the guy next door, or the woman who works next to you.

………

LACBC sponsors their Mid-Winter Merriment tomorrow from 11:30 am to 11 pm at the Library Alehouse, 2911 Main Street in Santa Monica; bike valet available after 5 pm. Stephen Box analyzes why 2009 was the Year of the Bike in Los Angeles. Photos from the successful St. Anne’s Toy Ride. Burbank’s newspaper notes that local bicycling is moving into a new age, and encourages cyclists and pedestrians to keep the pressure on. As of January 1st, seatless bikes will be legal in California, even if Bakfiets break the law in the City of Angels. Presenting the possible Algonquin of Bay Area biking. In New Jersey, a step back for bike parking, cleverly disguised as a step forward. New York considers a three-foot passing law, while Mississippi considers laws requiring safe passing and banning harassment, and Baltimore considers simple solutions like changing the direction of storm grates. Do women owe their emancipation to their bikes? Once again, the Tour of Georgia bites the dust, while the French again investigate Lance Armstrong’s former team. Flashing bike lights are now legal in Ireland; legal passing on the inside is still to come. Refurbished bikes are donated to Liverpool churches. A rally for a bike-friendly Bangladesh. Israeli cyclists fight the mandatory helmet law. New Years celebrants in Adelaide could be saved by cycling paramedics. Finally, poof that not all crime-fighting superheroes wear a cape; some ride a bike, then bravely run away.

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