Tag Archive for Paul Koretz

Weekend Links: OC hit-and-run driver to face trial; parking meter bike racks approved for Westwood, but not lanes

Apparently, justice delayed is not justice denied after all.

At least not in Orange County.

Nearly two years ago, 19-year old Manuel Morales Rodriguez was his riding bike on Missile Way in Anaheim when he was struck by a semi-truck driven by 49-year old Filemon Reynaga as he was pulling out of a driveway.

Reynaga dragged Morales Rodriguez and his bike under his truck onto Orangethorpe Ave, leaving him lying in the street where he was struck by another vehicle. There’s no way to tell which one struck the fatal blow, but Morales Rodriguez might have had a chance at survival if Reynaga has stopped as the law, and human decency, dictate.

Reynaga is scheduled to go on trial Monday, charged with felony hit and run causing death and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. He faces up to four years if he’s convicted.

And the OC DA’s office has a good track record of getting convictions and serious jail time in traffic cases.

 

Filemon Reynaga trialThanks to OC cyclist and attorney Edward Rubinstein for the heads-up. That’s Rubinstein with an I, not an E, as I bone-headedly spelled it in an earlier post.

………

Westwood Village points out that it’s technically illegal to lock a bike to a parking meter in Los Angeles, though the law is seldom enforced.

The reminder was made after the city council approved a motion to install bike racks on over 100 parking meters in the village, at the urging of Westside councilmember Paul Koretz. Never mind that they could have just changed the law to allow locking up to meters.

So evidently, Koretz supports bike parking in Westwood, just not safe ways to get there.

Be A Green Commuter looks at the needless controversy over bike lanes on Westwood Blvd through the eyes of UCLA students who have to ride it, dangerous or not. And describes the dispute as “a handful of anachronistic curmudgeons and an LA City Councilmember pitted against transportation experts, UCLA and many Westwood businesses.”

Meanwhile, Joel Epstein calls out Koretz for caving into the demands of “a handful of NIMBYs who haven’t gone out without their car since LA hosted the Olympics.”

And since he broached the subject, Forbes examines just how much NIMBYism costs us.

………

On a related subject, the LA Mobility Plan is scheduled to come up before a joint session of the city council’s Transportation and Planning and Land Use Management committees on Tuesday.

Some of the bikeways, such as Westwood and North Figueroa, are under attack in an unprecedented attempt to remove them from the bike plan, which was already unanimously approved by the city council and incorporated into the Mobility Plan.

If approved bikeway plans that were developed as part of an extensive public process are allowed to be removed at the whim of individual councilmembers and others who failed to participate in the process, the whole thing becomes meaningless.

As a result, a coalition of advocacy groups have designated this Monday as Mobility Monday, urging you to contact your councilmembers to urge them to approve the plan as written.

You’ll find email addresses and a sample email at the link above.

And if you’re free on Tuesday afternoon, drop by City Hall to let them know how you really feel.

………

Great news from the BMC racing team, as Taylor Phinney and Peter Stetina, both badly injured in horrific bike racing wrecks, will make their comebacks in next week’s Tour of Utah.

Maybe they’re onto something in the UK. Just a week after British rider Chris Froome won the Tour de France, a pair of Brit road riders take gold in the Special Olympics.

………

Local

LADOT Bike Blog says corridors and plazas are the malls of the future. Like this car-free plaza that just opened in Pacoima, for instance.

CicLAvia presents a neighborhood guide to the Culver City Meets Venice open streets event coming up a just a week from Sunday. Hopefully, we’ll have the Militant Angeleno’s guide by then, too.

CiclaValley says LA’s first bike park could be coming to the Valley.

The LACBC’s monthly Sunday Funday ride takes a family friendly roll through Lakewood this Sunday, led by board president Steve Boyd.

 

State

San Diego’s new bikeshare program may be off to a bumpy start.

The chair of the San Diego Bicycle Advisory Committee explains how improving bicycling conditions will benefit the city and its residents.

The local paper suggests that giving 60 Coachella Valley kids refurbished bikes abandoned on the local bus system could lead to culture change.

Cyclelicious discusses public safety and bike commuting after an Antioch cyclist is mugged while riding home from work.

The San Francisco Police Department has officially revised their deadly driving campaign to target people walking and biking who, unlike dangerous drivers, pose little risk to others around them. Meanwhile, the SF Weekly looks at what happens when bike riders follow the letter of the law.

 

National

USA Today names the nation’s top 10 beachfront bike rides; our own Marvin Braude trail, stretching 22 miles from Palos Verdes to Pacific Palisades, tops the list.

A Portland paper offers advice for riding in a heat wave as Pacific Northwest cyclists face temperatures in the 100s.

Oddly, a bike helmet didn’t keep a Spokane cyclist from suffering a serious spinal injury in a solo fall; a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with medical expenses.

Bicycle Colorado says three is the magic number when it comes to traffic lanes and road diets.

Minnesota Public Radio asks what will it take to get you to put your damn phone down while driving, while Georgia cops pose as construction workers to nab texting drivers. Maybe the LAPD, LASD, and CHP et al could take a page from the Georgia playbook; thanks to F3nugr33k for the heads-up.

Bike commuting is up a whopping 400% in Pittsburgh, despite the usual arguments over bike lanes versus parking. Nice way to bury the lede, though.

Philly’s bikeshare system may take a back seat to His Holiness, even though the pope is a bike rider himself.

It looks like some of New York’s bike lanes are being allowed to fade to black.

 

International

People for Bikes says Canada is leaving the US in the dust when it comes to protected bike lanes; separated lanes helped Vancouver reach its goal of half of all trips being made by bike, foot or transit.

News is just coming out of a horrifying case of vigilante murder in Hamilton, Ontario, as a driver deliberately stalked and ran down a bike rider in the mistaken belief he was a pedophile; police still haven’t solved the case despite keeping a lid on it for two years.

Caught on video: A road raging British driver chases a bike rider after being called out for a close pass, and takes a tumble in the street.

Bicycling is going upscale in the UK as part of a luxury lifestyle. Try telling that to the people who rely on a bike for transportation instead of an expensive fashion accessory.

A Brit rider is fined the equivalent of nearly $1300 for riding off after plowing into a toddler. And deservedly so.

A government minister for the Isle of Man calls for the equivalent of a nearly five-foot passing law after a driver walks away with a suspended sentence for killing a cyclist.

More on Munich’s plans for a series of radschnellverbindungen, the equivalent of bike autobahns spreading across the city like a spider. No, really, look at the map.

A study from an Australian university identifies the most dangerous intersections for cyclists in Perth. No one knows the most dangerous intersections for bike riders in LA, because the city has never bothered to find out.

 

Finally…

A cyclist admits what so many drivers already think — we’re just here to fuck with them. A Chicago gas station owner would probably agree, as the bike-riding residents of the Wicker Park neighborhood force him out of business.

And maybe drones could be used to make sure you straighten up and ride right on your next group ride.

 

Weekend Links: Koretz keeps fighting Westwood bike lanes, while Ryu fights for Glendale-Hyperion sidewalks

At least Daily Bruin is on the story.

While the rest of the media ignores the city’s Mobility Plan — let alone Councilmember Paul Koretz’ attempt to wrest Westwood Blvd from it — UCLA’s student newspaper reports on Koretz’ unceasing efforts to remove bike lanes, if not bikes, from the boulevard.

After singlehandedly killing planned bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd — along with the study that insiders say would have shown no additional risk or traffic delays — Koretz has now confirmed to the Daily Bruin that he wants to remove plans for a protected bike lane between the UCLA campus and Wellworth Ave, one block below Wilshire.

To justify his efforts, he sites fears that bike lanes in this area would remove parking spaces and turn lanes. Even though current plans don’t call for removing a single lane or traffic spot.

Is that smoke rising from his Dockers?

He also expresses fear that emergency response times could be delayed by the imaginary removal of those parking spots and turn lanes. But without a single traffic study or input from the fire or police departments to support it.

Or anyone else other than the wealthy Westwood homeowners and struggling business owners who seem determined to keep bikes from besmirching the city-owned street they seem to claim ownership to.

Never mind that people on bikes will continue to ride the boulevard in ever increasing numbers as long as it remains the only direct route between the Westwood offices, the UCLA campus and the coming Westwood Expo Line State.

“For the sake of the quality of life of that part of Westwood Village, and the safety of those who travel to and through it, that section should be removed from the plan,” Koretz said in the statement.

This despite numerous studies showing that protected bike lanes improve the quality of life, are good for business, result in higher property values and increase safety for everyone on the roadway as much as 58% — or up to 90% for riders on the type of lanes he’s trying to squash.

Koretz concludes that he continues to work for “safer and less disruptive” routes for the over 3,000 people who bike to campus everyday.

Just like OJ continues to search for the real killer.

And with the same results.

……..

Newly elected City Councilmember David Ryu comes out strongly in favor of a walkable and bikeable Glendale-Hyperion Bridge in a letter to the Public Works Committee.

Of course, the question is whether his opinion will matter in the apparent effort to rush a flawed designed through the council before he can take office.

The matter is scheduled to go before the full council at 10 am Tuesday, before Ryu takes office at the end of the month.

Meanwhile, KPCC picks up the story.

They caused a brief Twitter flap by reporting LADOT Executive Officer Bruce Gillman’s comment that Vision Zero is “not a citywide initiative.” Which left many to wonder, myself included, just what level of death was acceptable in which neighborhoods.

The @LADOTofficial Twitter account later explained that what Gilman meant was that the Strategic Plan’s Vision Zero policy did in fact cover all of Los Angeles, but has not been formally adopted yet.

Well okay, then.

……..

At least one LA visionary isn’t very visionary when it comes to bike lanes.

The founder of Zócalo Public Square says building a bike lane to the farmers’ market won’t build a great city, preferring a focus on ports and jobs. Never mind that many low-income workers rely on bikes to get to those jobs.

And evidently, the mayor’s Great Streets program is a secret plot to forever ruin the City of Angels by installing bike lanes.

……..

Maybe John Kerry’s bike riding skills have been unfairly maligned. Iranian news outlets claim that instead of clipping a curb while riding his bike, Kerry was actually injured in an assassination attempt during a secret meeting with ISIS.

……..

Britain’s Bradley Wiggins takes on the hour record on Sunday.

Business Insider takes a look at the bike he’ll use, while a brief video from the Guardian looks back at the history of the hour record.

Wiggo’s effort is scheduled to be carried live on YouTube — though perhaps available in the UK only — while the Cycling Fan website promises to stream it online.

……..

2015-COLT-Flyer-smallThere’s a lot going on this weekend in our local bike world.

Long Beach host’s it’s first ciclovía on Saturday, including free shuttle buses; Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers advice for first timers, while the Militant Angeleno reprises his guide to the city.

Glendale’s Jewel City Ride rolls this Sunday.

The LACBC’s monthly Sunday Funday ride visits Carson on the 7th.

And Sunday marks the return of Ride the Colt, the Chatsworth Orange Line Tour offering family friendly walks and rides up to 19 miles.

……..

Local

LA Street Services tests out a mini-street sweeper to clean the new protected bike lane on Reseda Blvd.

Joel Epstein looks at how and why CicLAvia works.

Amazing how the neighborhoods north and west of traditionally bike-unfriendly USC have a 20% bike mode share. Imagine how high that could go around bike-friendly UCLA if a certain councilmember who claims to support bicycling actually did.

Concerns are rising that the bike share program in Santa Monica — and Long Beach — will be incompatible with Metro’s planned program projected to eventually spread countywide. That can has been kicked down the road since discussion of the SaMo and Long Beach plans first began.

Santa Monica’s Cynergy Cycles is hosting a series of bike skills workshops every Thursday and Saturday through August 1st. And they want your feedback on how they can be more involved in the cycling community. Be sure to tell ‘em you found the survey on BikinginLA.

 

State

More on the Ventura County Grand Jury saying more needs to be done to improve bike safety, while pointing the finger at drivers who don’t understand bike laws.

Santa Barbara’s Sonos pays its employees to bike to work; 60 – 80 rides earns a new $600 bike, with $5 a day after that.

A San Francisco cop fights bike theft via Twitter.

Google now has their own bike plan.

 

National

Now you can get a heads-up display on your sunglasses telling you when and how much to eat. Because apparently, we’ve been doing it all wrong for the last 100 or so years.

A writer for Vice offers advice on how to be a cyclist without being a dick. Although it usually seems to take one to write about how to not be one.

The shooting of a popular cyclist near my hometown could be the work of a serial sniper.

A conservative Canadian cyclist says Wisconsin’s governor isn’t waging war on bicyclists, and we should all just ride on the damn sidewalk like he does.

Clean Technica says bike commuting makes you healthy and happy. I’m still waiting on the wealthy and wise part, though.

Life is cheap in Texas, as a teenage driver gets deferred adjudication for killing a cyclist after allegedly blowing through a stop light at twice the speed limit; if he completes probation, he won’t even have a conviction on his record. His victim, on the other hand, will still be dead.

Nice story from Illinois, as a cop raises $1,700 through a crowdfunding site to buy a cyclist a new bike after his was destroyed in the collision that nearly took the rider’s life. Meanwhile, a New York rider gets a used bike from a Daily News reader after hers was stolen.

A Michigan judge makes the punishment fit the crime, banning a woman from owning or using a cell phone for two years for killing a bike-riding mother of two while driving distracted; however, she only gets 90 days in jail. Something tells me the cell phone ban will be the tougher punishment.

New protected bike lanes in Pittsburgh recorded over 24,000 trips in May. Just imagine how many trips a safe route through Westwood could record.

A suspected Philadelphia-area robber was killed when he fell off his getaway bicycle and was hit by a pursuing police car.

A bike-riding Miami boy was collateral damage when three gunmen fired on a crowded basket ball court. The 10-year old victim was shot in the leg; fortunately, no one else was hurt.

 

International

Before you dress for your next spandex-clad ride, considers these eight bike kit fashion faux pas.

In a story that is equal parts heartbreaking and inspiring, an 80-year old Montreal man will ride the same route he walked as a child looking for his parents after surviving Auschwitz.

The safety in numbers effect seems to be working in London as injuries fall while ridership climbs; the city tests smart bike lanes to help protect riders from dumb drivers.

The founder of a London start-up explains why she made a laserlight projection to make bikes more visible, while a candidate for London mayor says he doesn’t feel safe riding through the city at rush hour.

This is why more women don’t ride. When a Brit TV host promotes women’s bicycling, a London paper focuses on her ass. Literally.

A new UK study from the University of Duh shows skipping breakfast can affect your athletic performance later in the day.

A cyclist rides a 1910 Tour de France route through five Pyrenees passes, fixed and brakeless.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Michael Bay are teaming up to make a movie about the Rwandan national bike team founded by Jock Boyer, the first American to ride in the Tour de France.

 

Finally…

Wait, you mean bike riders aren’t the only ones who blow through red lights? Now cars aren’t the only ones with air bags. It can only be a matter of time before newspapers report on bike riders who failed to don an inflatable vest.

And an Olympic track cyclist manages to make toast with just the power of his legs. If he can make bacon and coffee to go with it, we’ll be on to something.

 

 

Morning Links: Koretz reportedly kills Great Streets bike lanes in Westwood Village; new Redondo bike lanes paved

So much for Great Streets.

According to UCLA’s Daily Bruin, the Westwood Community Council discussed removing bike lanes on Westwood Blvd from the city’s Mobility Plan, despite being unanimously approved by the full city council as part of the 2010 bike plan.

And yes, CD5’s Paul Koretz was one of those councilmembers who voted to adopt the plan.

Yet Koretz has already single-handedly killed bike lanes on Westwood south of Santa Monica Blvd, and now the Daily Bruin reports he’s agreed not to allow the much-needed bike lanes to be painted in Westwood Village, which is scheduled to be part of the Great Streets program.

Even though the plan currently under consideration doesn’t remove a single traffic lane or parking spot from UCLA south to the Expo Line.

Thanks to Koretz, Westwood will continue to fail the thousands of students and faculty who ride to the campus every day, as well as the countless more who will come when the Expo Line opens next year. Not to mention anyone wishing to visit the area’s shops and restaurants by any means other than motor vehicles.

All this from someone who claimed to support implementing the bike plan in his own district. But who has, through his actions, become one of the biggest obstacles to the growth of bicycling and the safety of cyclists on the Westside.

Clearly, the bike plan, which LA bicyclists had to fight for, isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

And evidently, neither is a formal approval by the city council.

Maybe what we need is a good lawyer.

……..

VeloNews says pro cycling once again shot itself in the foot by penalizing Richie Porte for accepting a wheel from a member of a competing team when he punctured in the Giro. There’s something wrong when the rules stand in the way of genuine sportsmanship.

Meanwhile, the director of Team Sky wants you to be able to hear radio communications between team directors and riders.

And the Feds say Lance continues to obfuscate, as Olympic champion Nicole Cooke blames the “Cult of Lance Armstrong” for continued doping problems in cycling. Note to Cooke: Pro cyclists doped long before Lance joined the peloton, and many will continue to as long as they think they can get away with it.

……..

Ted Faber reports the new Redondo Beach separated bike lanes have been paved and painted green; at last report was they’re still scheduled to open by Memorial Day.

Redondo Bike Lane

……..

Local

Streetsblog explains what the misguided decision to include just one sidewalk on the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge really means. Hopefully new CD4 Councilmember David Ryu will keep his promise to hold out for bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides.

Santa Monica students take part in the Bike It Walk It program, which is now part of the Safe Routes to Schools Initiative.

The LACBC, CICLE and Metro host the last in their series of family friendly Southeast LA rides this Saturday, with a six-mile route through Bell Gardens.

 

State

The California Bicycle Coalition offers their monthly report, and urges action to increase funding for the state’s Active Transportation Program.

Speaking of Calbike, Damien Newton talks to board member Chris Kidd, who also serves on the boards of Walk/Bike Oakland and Bike East Bay. Chris has come a long way since he founded the LADOT Bike Blog while serving as an intern with the agency.

Thirty-seven Orange County kids got to take home a new bike as part of the national Build-A-Bike program for military families.

Yet another bike rider was shot and killed this week, this time in a Santa Ana drive-by late Tuesday night.

Bike cops return to Costa Mesa for the first time since the 1990s.

A local TV station says a cyclist is in critical condition after colliding with another rider in a Lompoc pro race on Wednesday. However, there doesn’t appear to have been a pro race in the area; maybe it was a group or training ride.

Heartbreaking profile of a San Francisco bike rider who lost his life following an “amazing renaissance” in the last few years. This is the price of our dangerous streets, even though most victims never receive more than a few inches in the local paper. If that.

Eureka decides not to ban bikes from the sidewalk to combat bike-born burglars. Note to Eureka: Not everyone who rides on the sidewalk is a criminal, especially where safe bikeways are lacking.

 

National

Yet another study shows bike riders and pedestrians overpay for their share of the road, while imposing almost no costs for wear and tear.

The Bike League says if bicycling is going to continue to grow, bike shops need to welcome everyone.

Forget just biking to work; the office of the future will allow you to ride up to your desk.

Tucson agrees to pay a bike rider $1.8 million, without admitting guilt in the case, after he was run over by one of the city’s garbage trucks while riding in a bike lane. Although it looks like they’ve admitted responsibility about 1.8 million times.

Investigators are questioning whether the fatal shooting of a Colorado cyclist could be linked to a series of shootings on nearby I-25; a triathlon planned for this weekend has been canceled because of the shooting.

Formerly bike friendly Wisconsin continues its attack on bicycling, proposing a $25 tax on every new bicycle sold; this comes after the governor’s proposal to eliminate the state’s Complete Streets requirement. I don’t have a problem with taxing bike sales as long as 100% of the fund go to pay for bike infrastructure. However, the amount of the tax should be tied to the value of the bike; a $25 tax is more likely to discourage someone from buying a $250 bike than it would a $2,500 one.

Chicago business leaders stand behind efforts to preserve one of the city’s most heavily used protected bikeways during a construction project.

A Nashville bike club gives away 25 bicycles to honor a member who was killed in a robbery Monday night, in an attempt prevent more violence by getting kids on bikes.

Bicycling reports on a Philadelphia company where all 114 employee commute by bike.

The widow of a cyclist sues to force improvements to a Maryland highway where her husband was killed five years earlier.

 

International

A cyclist and a jogger team up to save the life of an Ottawa bike rider after he fell into a canal next to a bike path; he was still clipped into his pedals as he sank into the water.

An anonymous 90-year old Montreal man has given free bikes worth over $600,000 to local kids for the past three decades. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Newfoundland city councilors want to rip out a lightly used bike lane so local residents can park in front of their houses again. Never mind that ridership might increase if they waited until the city’s bike plan was actually completed.

A couple riding across South America with their dog launches a crowd-funding campaign to pay for cataract surgery after the Westie goes blind.

London bike-jackings are on the rise; over 550 people were mugged for their bikes while riding last year.

Scientific American reports on several cities where it’s faster to ride a bike than drive during rush hour. Not surprisingly, that includes LA, where traffic averages 8 mph on one unidentified corridor.

 

Finally…

Yes, a New York man is stealing purses and iPhones, but at least he does it while riding a Citi Bike. A Portland cyclist who helps bike theft victims recover their bikes had his own stolen while he was watching a news report about his efforts.

And if your bike isn’t safe inside a medical marijuana dispensary, where is it?

 

Making the case for desperately needed bike lanes on embattled Westwood Blvd

Maybe.

Just maybe, we may finally be seeing progress in getting desperately needed bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard, after earlier plans were summarily canceled by CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz at the urging of a local homeowner’s group.

Now local traffic planner Ryan Snyder has come up with a new plan that won’t result in the loss of a single traffic lane or parking space.

Westwood homeowner and bike advocate Calla Weimer has once again offered a detailed and insightful analysis of the plan and why it’s needed, this time in the form of a presentation to the Transportation Committee of the Westwood Village Improvement Association.

I’m posting it below with her permission.

She also notes there will be another meeting to discuss the plan at the WVIA Town Hall at 5 pm on February 23rd, at 10880 Wilshire Blvd.

Given the rampant objections to bike lanes on Westwood, there’s still a lot of opposition to the plan, even though it won’t affect anything.

Except to improve traffic flow and make a dangerous street safer for the bike riders who will arrive in droves once the Expo Line opens on the Westside.

So support from cyclists will be vital to get it approved.

Note: I initially used the term NIMBYism to describe opposition to bike lanes on Westwood Blvd. While I feel the term aptly describes many residents in the area, where even dancing is banned in Westwood Village at the insistence of local homeowners, it does not further the conversation in this instance. Terming people who object to bike lanes as NIMBYs and those who want bike lanes as activists merely results in talking past one another, and failing to engage in a genuine conversation between people with differing concerns, making consensus difficult, if not impossible. As a result, I have rewritten this piece to remove the term.

……..

Bike Infrastructure for Westwood Boulevard

Remarks Submitted to the Westwood Village Improvement Association

4 February 2015

Calla Wiemer*

The challenge of transitioning from a car centric streetscape to one that is bike and pedestrian friendly is nowhere more pressing than on Westwood Boulevard. This heavily biked corridor exhibits an alarmingly high incidence of car-bike collision and cyclist injury. With the Westwood station of the Expo light rail line slated to open later in 2015, interest in biking the boulevard can be expected to ramp up sharply, compounding the conflict between bike and car.

This submission to the Westwood Village Business Improvement Association makes three points:

1) The incidence of car-bike collision and cyclist injury on Westwood Boulevard is unacceptably high.

2) Bike infrastructure should be developed as a network and integrated with rail transit. The Ryan Snyder “Remove Nothing Plan” jump starts the conversation on this for Westwood Boulevard.

3) Mayor Garcetti’s “Great Streets” designation for Westwood Boulevard calls on us to aspire to more than just removing nothing.

 

Collision & Injury

First, a few summary statistics on collision and injury for the whole of Westwood Boulevard will be presented. Following that, conditions will be analyzed and collision counts reported segment by segment for the length of the boulevard. Data on collision and injury are drawn from the Transportation Injury Mapping System of the University of California, Berkeley. Case identification numbers for the collisions along with explanatory notes are provided in an appendix.

  • The five year period 2009-2013 saw 36 collisions reported between bikes and motor vehicles along the 2.7 mile length of Westwood Boulevard.
  • Four of the cases were felony hit and runs.
  • The cyclist was at fault in only three cases, the motorist in 26, with no fault assigned in the 
remaining seven.
  • The cyclist was injured in all 36 cases; no motorist was injured.

Collision incidence varies along the length of Westwood Boulevard commensurate with discernible differences in conditions. The table that follows distinguishes four segments, presenting collision counts and distance in miles for each. It should be borne in mind that ridership decreases appreciably from north 
to south. Counts taken during the peak hours of 7:00-9:00 am and 4:00-6:00 pm on November 6, 2013 tallied 256 riders at LeConte Avenue, 157 at Santa Monica Boulevard, 116 at LaGrange Avenue, and 110 at Ashby Avenue (source here).

Location

Collisions

Miles

LeConte-Wellworth (incl)

5

0.5

Wellworth-Santa Monica

10

0.6

Santa Monica-Pico (incl)

18

0.8

Pico-National

3

0.8

Along the most northerly segment of Westwood Boulevard through the Village, motorized traffic moves very slowly. The large number of pedestrians crossing at intersections helps to animate driver attention. Only five of the 36 collisions occurred in the half mile stretch between LeConte Avenue and Wellworth Avenue (inclusive of cross streets at both ends). This is despite the much higher ridership at the north end of the boulevard.

Bike lanes begin at Wellworth Avenue and extend to just north of Santa Monica Boulevard. These bike lanes, however, are narrow and pass through the door zone of parked cars that line both sides of the street. The lanes are often obstructed by double parked cars or cars in the process of parking or exiting parking. Motorized traffic along this stretch can move at high rates of speed. Ten of the 36 collisions occurred along this 0.6 mile stretch.

By far the most treacherous segment lies between Santa Monica Boulevard and Pico Boulevard. Motor vehicle travel lanes are too narrow to allow the three feet of passing space required for overtaking cyclists. On the northbound side, street parking is suspended during peak hours with two lanes then allocated for travel. During these hours, most cyclists cling timidly to the curb, enticing motorists to try to squeeze by within the same lane in disregard of the three-foot law. On the southbound side where parking is
permitted at all times, most cyclists cleave to the door zone, again tempting motorists to pass within the same lane. Fully half of the 36 collisions took place on this 0.8 mile stretch. This high incidence of collision occurred despite a much lower ridership than further north.

The most southerly segment from Pico Boulevard to National Boulevard carries much lighter traffic than parts north. A dedicated left turn lane is little used for the purpose since cross streets are few and lightly traveled. Thus northbound, where there is only one travel lane, motor vehicles overtaking cyclists tend to move into the center lane to afford comfortable passing space. By contrast, with two travel lanes southbound, conflict between cyclists and motorists in the rightmost lane is a problem. Still, only three of the 36 collisions occurred along this 0.8 mile stretch.

To put these numbers into perspective, consider that car-bike collisions on Westwood Boulevard occurred at a rate of 2.7 per mile per year during the period 2009-2013. For the segment between Santa Monica and Pico Boulevards, the rate was 4.5 per mile per year. By contrast, for Los Angeles County as a whole in 2011, the rate was 0.24 per mile. The rates on Westwood Boulevard are thus higher by more than an order of magnitude than for the county generally. This calls for community action to meet a reasonable standard of street safety.

 

The “Remove Nothing Plan”

The “Remove Nothing Plan” by Ryan Snyder takes as its premise that no motor vehicle travel lane or parking space should be given up. Even under this severe restriction, the plan finds scope for bike safety enhancements for each and every diverse segment of Westwood Boulevard. The plan provides a fine point of departure for discussion. By addressing Westwood Boulevard as a comprehensive whole, it stands up to a political process that has in the past treated the street in fragments affording any neighborhood association or influential local figure veto power against change. But a transportation system must function as a citywide network. It cannot be patched together at intervals counted in blocks. And with rail lines going in and interest in cycling surging in the city of Los Angeles, Westwood Boulevard cannot stand apart.

If any portion of Westwood Boulevard is dangerous for biking, the corridor itself is dangerous. Safe passage must be afforded from end to end to create a viable transportation link. For the most dangerous stretch of the boulevard between Santa Monica and Pico, the “Remove Nothing Plan” proposes sharrows (arrows painted on the pavement to indicate bikes and cars must share the lane) and signage. This would constitute a significant improvement over the status quo. When the lane is too narrow for cars to overtake bikes legally, the safest behavior for a cyclist is to take the lane. This forces motorists to move to the adjacent lane in order to pass. Cyclists who are bold enough to take the lane now on Westwood Boulevard are often met with honking and shouting. Many are too intimidated to hold their ground. Sharrows and signage would help check threatening behavior by motorists and encourage cyclists to claim a safe space.

The dangers on the Santa Monica to Pico stretch of Westwood Boulevard are of such magnitude, and the proposed mitigation measures of such ease, that the measures should be implemented without further delay. The conversation should then move on to the larger issue of how the community can best make use of its limited street space. Perhaps this discussion will be catalyzed when motorists find cyclists claiming their shared lane at a rate of one every minute or two during peak hours, especially when that means a given motorist must often overtake the same cyclist repeatedly as they leapfrog along together through stoplights. So, what other approaches might there be to not only accommodate existing cyclists, but motivate people in greater numbers to get out of their cars and take to their bikes? On this note, the discussion should turn to the mayor’s “Great Streets” initiative.

 

Westwood Boulevard as a Great Street

Mayor Garcetti has invited us to re-envision Westwood Boulevard as a “Great Street”. His designation applies specifically to the stretch that runs through Westwood Village, but the community has every opportunity to expand on that. For a street to merit the label “great”, it should act as a safe and welcoming public space. It should accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists, and not allow human life to be crowded out by motorized traffic and parked cars. It should be graced with sidewalk rest spots and beautiful landscaping and should support thriving businesses.

To achieve such a vision will involve change. Street space on Westwood Boulevard is now given over almost entirely to motor vehicles, many of which sit empty. Street parking should be on the table for discussion. Parking can be provided off street – and indeed is overwhelmingly provided off street already – whereas mobility in its various guises cannot be. Along the dangerous stretch of Westwood Boulevard between Santa Monica and Pico, more than 90 percent of parking is currently provided off street (source here). The less than 10 percent of parking that is on street unquestionably yields benefits to some individuals. But whether this is the best use of a public resource under today’s changing circumstances is a discussion the community ought to have.

People in increasing numbers do not wish to be encased in steel and glass and powered by fossil fuels for their every move about town; not when the alternative is the exhilaration of riding a bicycle. This change in lifestyle could be a great thing for public health, for the environment, and for street life. It could be a great thing for Westwood Boulevard.

 

Appendix

Collision data analyzed in this document are taken from the Transportation Injury Mapping System of the University of California, Berkeley (website here). Case identification numbers are given below.

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

4034615
4234410
4344350
4385290
4492457
4512304
4629058
4640680
4643254
4820508
5015804
5112556
5194281
5219033
5219037
5289084
5354124
5354132
5361255
5385158
5453135
5474924
5667951
5760408
5900383
5950842
5960237
5975338
6008917
6065016
6086196
6137746
6260375
6260378
6287803
6305334

Cases were selected only if Westwood Boulevard was reported as the primary street. This means collisions that occurred in an intersection with Westwood Boulevard given as the secondary street were not selected.

Data for 2013 are provisional and incomplete.

* Calla Wiemer owns a home just off Westwood Boulevard and bikes the corridor on a regular basis. This document can be found along with her other writings on bike lanes referenced herein at http://www.callawiemer.com/Pages/BikeLanes.aspx.

 

Morning Links: New plan for Westwood Blvd removes nothing; Redondo Beach officials tear down that wall

Somehow, I missed this last week.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition reports on a new plan by transportation planner Ryan Snyder for bike lanes on Westwood Blvd. The Remove Nothing Plan would do exactly that, focusing on narrowing traffic lanes to make room for bike lanes and sharrows without removing a single traffic lane or parking spot.

It looks like a great idea.

While I’m not a big fan of sharrows, the green-backed variety should get attention from the too often distracted and otherwise unaccommodating motorists that ply that busy street, and help keep riders from having to fight for a modicum of space like they do now. And sharrows are only used in the section that’s too narrow to accommodate bike lanes given the restriction to remove nothing.

Although whether that will be enough to win the approval of the wealthy homeowners who got CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz to break his word and shoot down the last plan remains to be seen.

The LACBC urges you to call Koretz at 310/866-1828 to voice support for the plan, or email him at paul.koretz@lacity.org.

Meanwhile, I’m told Koretz called on LADOT to find an alternative route for cyclists that doesn’t involve Westwood at a recent meeting of the Transportation Committee  — neglecting to consider that every other alternative has already been considered and rejected.

Unless maybe he wants to put a bike lane on the shoulder of the 405.

……..

In a move reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s famous plea to Mr. Gorbachev, Redondo Beach officials tear down the wall separating Redondo from Hermosa Beach to make room for a two-way cycle track on Harbor Drive.

Plans also call for sharrows on northbound Harbor that will connect with the existing sharrows on Hermosa Ave, so riders won’t be forced to ride on the wrong side if they’re not planning to take the Strand through Hermosa Beach, where bikes are limited to 10 mph.

Thanks to Jim Lyle for the heads-up and research on the sharrows.

……..

Local

Fig4All calls for closing the gaps in bikeways that almost but don’t quite connect South Pasadena with Northeast LA.

Pasadena’s city council votes to end the outdated, auto-centric Level of Service standard for measuring traffic efficiency, which emphasizes moving cars over people. Which, oddly, is exactly what often happens.

Santa Monica considers its own 500-bike bike share system. And that’s exactly what I’ve been afraid of; if each city in the LA metro area develops their own bike share, we’ll end up with a mismatched and incompatible series of networks that won’t allow users to ride from one city to another.

The 10th annual Tour de Foothills rolls in Claremont this Saturday, with rides ranging from 33 to 100 miles.

 

State

California’s High Speed Rail Authority reaches out to Calbike for suggestions on how to integrate bikes into the planned rail system.

A CHP Public Information Officer says the law prohibiting crossing a double yellow line may not be a hard fast rule when it comes to passing cyclists with a three-foot margin; as usual, bike lawyer Bob Mionske gets it right — including his observations on the current state of California politics.

San Diego’s third CicloSDias takes place this Sunday.

A Murrieta motorist hits the crappy driver trifecta — driving under the influence while simultaneously eating and using his cellphone — when he hit a cyclist, sending the rider to the hospital with critical injuries. Thanks to Zak for the heads-up.

 

National

The Governing website looks at why bike groups lashed out at the recent governors’ bike safety report, and still misses the mark; what’s missing from the discussion is that bike helmets are a last-ditch safety measure when everything else has failed, not the first line of defense.

Turns out Car Talk host Tom Magliozzi, who passed away on Monday, was one of us.

Bike Portland’s Jonathan Maus has his bike stolen, but steals it back the same day. And discovers an open air bike theft chop shop in the process.

Ohio bike lawyer Steve Magas looks at insurance issues for today’s cyclists, including the fact that homeowners or renters insurance should cover you for liability damage while riding your bike. And warns you against auto coverage from Nationwide, which evidently is not on your side if you’re on a bike.

Boston requires trucks to have side guard panels to protect cyclists, something that should be mandatory nationwide.

New York Streetsblog questions why the NYPD is defending hit-and-run drivers in the press. Damn good question.

 

International

Bike Biz wants your nominations for the Top 50 Women in Cycling.

The Mirror wonders why it’s so hard to prove helmets make cycling safer, while a writer for the Telegraph bizarrely insists that more and better bike lanes are not the answer because not everyone wants to bike everywhere, cycling in the UK is safe enough already, and England will never be Holland and bloody well doesn’t want to be.

Italian great Marco Pantani’s body may be exhumed as suspicion grows that he was murdered by mobsters.

Caught on video: The five best road bike descents.

Once again, a newspaper asks if you can look stylish as you ride to work, this time in Australia. And once again, there wouldn’t be a story if the answer was no.

CNN applauds Bangkok’s airport bike path.

 

Finally…

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson schools a ride newbie, then discovers he’s America’s top track Olympian; not Seth, the newbie. Salt Lake City police look for a knife wielding, sidewalk raging cyclist.

And despite the headline, even the best lights don’t really create a force field around your bike, unfortunately.

 

Morning Links: CD5’s Paul Koretz’ credibility questioned; CABO president calls bike lane advocates Uncle Toms

Westside councilmember Paul Koretz seems to be catching it from all sides lately.

Just days after many bicyclists — yours truly included — reacted negatively to his call for slashing greenhouse gases after killing bike lanes on Westwood Blvd, the UCLA Bicycling Academy falls just short of calling the councilmember a liar.

Consulting Economist Calla Wiemer writes that Koretz appeared before the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners Association recently to explain his decision to kill the bike lanes, after promising the same group last year that the city would study them.

The Councilmember offered two justifications for the cancellation. One was that he realized that incorporating bike lanes into Westwood Boulevard would only make the situation more dangerous. The other was that he recognized an “overwhelming consensus of the community” in opposition. In light of these considerations, he determined that regardless of any LADOT findings, he would not approve bike lanes for Westwood Boulevard. There was thus no point wasting time with a study.

Yet as Wiemer explains, the bike lanes would have improved safety on one of the city’s most dangerous streets for bike riders, while moving riders out of the way of impatient motorists.

In fact, I’m told the safety portion of the study Koretz cancelled was virtually complete when he pulled the plug, and would have shown that the proposal would have no negative impact on safety — something he undoubtedly knew, despite proclaiming just the opposite as a justification for killing the project.

Which could explain his timing in killing the study last year before the results could be released.

As for his other excuse,

Koretz’s second justification for canceling the LADOT study was an ostensible “overwhelming consensus of the community” in opposition. The hundreds of riders who brave Westwood Boulevard daily on bikes would surely be surprised to discover the ease with which their interests can be overwhelmed in the view of the Councilmember. Moreover, those in favor of bike lanes extend well beyond the cycling community, or even the would-be cycling community taken to encompass those who would like to ride Westwood Boulevard but are deterred by present conditions. All who drive Westwood Boulevard regularly have the experience of getting stuck behind cyclists and wishing them out of the way. For motorists too, then, bike lanes are the answer….

With support of bike lanes for Westwood Boulevard so much in evidence, an “overwhelming consensus” in opposition would require a counterforce of a scale difficult to imagine. UCLA is, after all, the largest employer in Los Angeles after government and contributes $12.7 billion a year to the local economy. To understand the influences at work on the Councilmember, a group of UCLA students filed a public records request for all communications of the District 5 Council office pertaining to bike lanes. Covering the period February 24, 2010 to November 22, 2013, the file runs to 1035 pages. It is tough to read through all this material let alone infer any consensus from it. Views are presented on both sides of the issue with a relatively small number of people dominating the input. The most vocal opposition comes from the leadership of the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners Association.

One problem with this whole scenario is that the few who run the WSSM HOA carry such disproportionate weight in the Councilmember’s assessment of public opinion. Another problem is that a group constituted on the basis of homeownership in a diverse neighborhood of single family homes and condominiums, young and old, cyclists and non-cyclists would take such a strident position on bike lanes. As a member of this homeowners association myself, I am an indication of the range of opinion that exists in the neighborhood with regard to bike lanes.

It should be deeply troubling to anyone that a single councilmember can, let alone would, derail the democratic process to satisfy an unelected homeowner’s group — not even the Neighborhood Council elected to represent all those who live, work and shop in the area, rather than just the privileged few who can afford homes in the area.

The late Dale Carnegie once wrote that there are two reasons for anything a person says or does — a reason that sounds good, and the real reason.

Koretz has given us two reasons that sound good, but don’t stand up to even the most basic scrutiny.

Which leaves us to wonder just what his real reason is.

………

Recently we discussed CABO’s opposition to AB 1193, a popular bill before the state legislature that would legalize protected bike lanes in California, which are currently prohibited under restrictive state law.

Jim Baross, president of the California Association of Bicycling Organizations, wrote in response that the group didn’t oppose the lanes, but simply wanted to maintain standards that he said would ensure their safety.

Yet the following comment from Baross, left on the Cycling in the South Bay blog in response to a story about harassment from motorists on PCH, doesn’t sound like someone who supports bike lanes, protected or otherwise.

It is so similar it’s difficult not to menton (sic) the similarity to racists’ treatment of those they consider not to belong – though nothing nearly as pervasive or violent; bicyclists are not lynched, but we are certainly being discouraged from exercising our rights – equal or less than equal. Disturbing to me is the Uncle-Tom response seeking, in effect, separate and usually inferior facilities – the back of the bus may be safer and using shoulder space may be more comfortable, bit (sic) it shouldn’t be forced on anyone by harrasment (sic) or misapplication of laws.

He’s got a valid point that no one’s choice of where to ride should be forced on them at the end of a bumper.

But to call anyone who wants safe infrastructure that doesn’t require us to share the lane with motorists an Uncle Tom couldn’t be more offensive.

Whether to bicycling advocates who disagree with his apparent opposition to anything but the same vehicular cycling approach that has stymied the growth of bicycling for the past 40 years, or to those who have suffered from real racism for the last 300.

Jim, you’ve got some serious explaining to do.

Thanks to Bike SD’sSam Ollinger for finding the comment.

……..

Local

The Cypress Park Neighborhood Council meets tonight to discuss the already approved, funded and shovel-ready North Figueroa road diet and bike lanes, inexplicably halted by CD1 Councilmember — and apparent Koretz emulator — Gil Cedillo.

It only took two years, but a dangerous intersection on the Expo Bikeway has finally been fixed.

Yet another stolen bike, this time in Echo Park.

This is what an unsafe pass looks like captured from behind; thanks to topomodesto for the link.

More on LA Streetsblog’s winning night at the SoCal press awards.

 

State

A Federal court jury awarded $1.9 million to the parents of a cyclist shot by Indio police. No surprise, as this case stunk from the beginning.

A Petaluma bike building project helps steer kids from a life of crime.

A St. Helena columnist questions whether society is best served by sentencing a driver convicted of killing a cyclist in a left cross to prison. I can’t answer that question; I just know that people will continue to die on our streets until we start taking traffic crime seriously.

 

National

Bicycling says you need to lube more than just your chain.

A new national association of bicycling educators has been formed; thanks to Karen Karabell for the heads-up.

New rechargeable bike light allows you to light the road and recharge your cell at the same time.

Ninety-four percent of Oregon cyclists stop for red lights, compared to up to 77% of drivers who break the speed limit.

It’s been a bad year for cyclists in central Wyoming, as a rider from New York is killed while turning left across a highway. A letter writer suggests the solution is to let cyclists ride salmon; uh, no.

A Wisconsin writer says go ahead and ride to work, but buy a waterproof messenger bag first. And never try to race the rain.

A group of bystanders lift a taxi off an elderly New York bike rider.

 

International

A heartless UK thief steals a bike that was left to a woman after her father was killed in a plane crash.

Most Brits think the county’s roads are too risky for bicyclists; thanks to Jim Pettipher for the heads-up.

Scot pro David Millar is booted from his team for this year’s Tour de France.

Belgium’s soccer team prepares to lose to play the US in the World Cup by going for a leisurely bike ride.

 

Finally…

When you’re on parole and carrying meth, ammunition and a practice mortar round on your bike, don’t give police an excuse to stop you.

And guess who doesn’t think the doping investigation that brought down Lance Armstrong was good for cycling? That’s right, Lance.

 

Weekend Links: Environmental hypocrisy rears its ugly head in Westwood; CICLE gets a new director

I’ve been seriously under the weather the past few days, which means we’ve got a lot of news to catch up on.

……..

No hypocrisy here, as Westside City Councilmember Paul Koretz proposes slashing greenhouse gas emissions in the city.

This after unilaterally killing proposed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

And he somehow seems to think the city can cut those emissions by 80% without cutting back on car traffic. Or even mentioning cars in his announcement, let alone offering safe alternatives to driving to reduce traffic congestion.

So let’s be honest.

The only way Los Angeles will ever see a significant reduction in emissions or traffic congestion is to provide residents with viable alternatives that will allow those who choose not to drive to leave their cars at home.

And with his single-handed veto of the Westwood lanes, Koretz has shown himself to be one of the biggest obstacles to accomplishing that.

But at least he talks a good game.

……..

Sad to see Dan Dabek leave after doing so much to revitalize the organization. But congratulations to Vanessa Gray as the new Director of C.I.C.L.E.

Sounds like the group will be in good hands.

……..

Big news from Metro this past week, as the agency antes up $3.7 million to expand CicLAvia-style open streets events throughout LA County. But Long Beach sees just one of two proposed events funded.

Meanwhile, Metro finally adds active transportation representatives to the agency’s Technical Advisory Committee, which should bring a better voice for bicyclists to LA County’s leading transportation authority.

And preliminary plans are in the works for the long-delayed rail connection to LAX, which will include a plush new station connected to the Green and Crenshaw lines, with a mile-plus people mover leading to the airport. Maybe those new TAC members can push for a bike center to be included in the plans to finally make it practical for employees and passengers to ride to LAX.

And Metro honors Steven Nancarrow for transforming his life through bicycling.

……..

Laguna Beach’s Coastline Pilot offers a sad remembrance of fallen cyclist John Colvin; tragically, both his wife and daughter drove by the collision scene only to discover later that the victim was their own loved one.

……..

Local

Messenger bag maker Timbuk2 will open their first LA-area store across from Linus Bikes on Abbot Kinney next month.

After a lot of pushing from Richard Risemberg, among others, the LA River bike path finally gets wayfinding signs through Elysium Valley.

Unlike some councilmembers we could mention, CD15’s Joe Buscaino has turned out to be surprisingly supportive of bicycling, including naming Watts Cyclery as his Business of the Month.

Better Bike offers an update on the embattled proposal for bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills; no action is expected before September. Meanwhile, Beverly Hills NIMBY’s try to raise fears of out-of-town cyclists destroying their precious parks; I wonder if they also object to all those out-of-town motorists besmirching their boulevard and fouling their air?

Curbed misses the mark, as maps based on Strava data don’t show the best bike routes through the city, just the most popular ones for riders who use Strava.

Celebrate Damian Kevitt’s birthday in North Hollywood on July 14th, with a party benefitting Finish the Ride.

A local writer tells cyclists to get off the sidewalk and stop riding salmon.

 

State

After a successful introduction in Corona del Mar, new bike racks are coming to OC’s Balboa Island.

Bike Newport Beach rolls out the first installment of a bootleg bike master plan to replace the long-delayed official one.

Cyclists, joggers and equestrians jockey for space in a Bakersfield culvert.

Streetsblog offers an update on bike and transportation-related bills in Sacramento, with things looking good so far. Meanwhile, bills to battle hit-and-run move forward; Santa Monica offers its support, as well.

 

National

How many bike riders does it take for the oft-cited safety in numbers effect? According to a new study from the University of Colorado-Denver, the answer is 200.

More on that study showing drivers give bike riders in bike lanes more space when passing.

Good news from injured cycling scion Taylor Phinney, whose recovery is ahead of schedule.

As Spokane becomes more bike-friendly, cyclists still face harassment on the roads.

Chicago cyclists get the nation’s first bike footrest.

A DC TV station offers 13 tips every bike rider should remember to avoid bike theft; good advice, since we seem to be suffering a rash of them lately.

Virginia’s three-foot passing law takes effect July 1st; our won’t be enforced until mid-September.

 

International

Calgary cyclists face criticism for bombing down a busy highway.

Is Britain on the verge of becoming a bicycling nation?

A bike path in Ireland’s County Limerick sees a big boost after a visit by Kim and Kanye.

This year’s Tour de France will pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of WWI.

Former world champ Thor Hushovd prepares to call it quits at the end of this season after suffering from mononucleosis.

Over 10,000 Moscow cyclists will ride in support of better bicycling infrastructure.

South African cyclist sells everything he owns to ride through 70 countries on all seven continents.

 

Finally…

A Brit writer says it’s irresponsible to encourage cycling on the country’s dangerous roads; after all, there’s no point in trying to make those roads any safer. And don’t swear at a group of children in a crosswalk, especially if you’re the jerk who jumped the light. Just don’t.

……..

On a personal note, before anyone gets too concerned, my diabetes in under control. Despite being told by my doctors it would be impossible, I’ve managed to get my blood sugar levels down to the normal levels without insulin; in fact, I’m having more of a problem with low blood sugar these days. 

On the other hand, I appear to be having a bad reaction to one or more of the medications that have helped me get things under control, which has knocked me on my ass in recent days and left me unable to do much more than try to stay awake long enough to watch the World Cup from the relative discomfort of my couch.

Hopefully, they’ll get my meds adjusted soon.

And this too shall pass. 

 

Morning Links: Is this the smoking gun? Leaked email behind Koretz’ 2013 veto of Westwood Blvd bike lanes

Email addressed have been removed to protect recipients' privacy.

Email addresses have been removed to protect recipients’ privacy.

This will be a sad week for Westside cyclists.

Even if they don’t know it yet.

As I was out on Sunday, I discovered a freshly repaved Westwood Blvd from Santa Monica Blvd south to at least Pico.

Normally that would be good news, as bike riders benefit from smooth pavement as much as drivers do. If not more, since cars are at little risk from the pits and cracks in the roadway that can throw riders dangerously to the street.

But the problem comes when the traffic lanes on Westwood are restriped. Because they won’t include the bike lanes promised in the 2010 bike plan, thanks to the apparent whim of CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz.

In an email recently forwarded to me, dated November 11, 2013, Koretz announces to bike lane opponents that he is on their side, and that no amount of information will ever convince him to support bike lanes on the boulevard. And so he is killing the project, rather than wait on the results of an LADOT feasibility study of the proposed floating bike lanes.

And even though I’m told the nearly completed study would have showed no negative impact on traffic or local businesses.

After all, why wait for the facts if they might conflict with his already made-up mind?

The self-proclaimed “big fan of bike lanes” and strong supporter of bicycling somehow seems to think bike riders traveling between the new Westwood Expo Line Station and the UCLA campus will go blocks, if not miles, out of their way for bike lanes on Sepulveda Blvd — which currently exist only in sporadic pieces — or in Century City far to the east, which don’t exist at all.

Let alone Westwood-area side streets, which have yet to be proposed by anyone.

His reasoning in killing the bike lanes is that he didn’t want them to be included in the city’s new Mobility Plan, where they might take on a life of their own. Even though his own words cite the need to include bicycling in the Mobility Plan as a way to travel to and from the Expo Line.

After all, why allow the lives and safety of cyclists to take precedence over the convenience of motorists and the preferences of overly entitled local home and business owners?

It’s one of the great flaws of LA city government that a single elected official has veto power over a project contained in a plan that was unanimously approved by the city council — including Koretz himself — in 2011.

Just as CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo has taken it upon himself to delay, if not kill, the shovel-ready road diet and bike lanes previously approved for North Figueroa.

This email isn’t quite the smoking gun bike lane supporters have been looking for.

But it makes it clear that Koretz’ talk about listening to all sides and trying to find a workable solution for Westwood was exactly that.

Talk.

……..

Local

The LA Police Commission hosts a series of three meetings to gather input on the re-appointment of LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. In the five years he’s been chief, relations between cyclists and the LAPD have improved dramatically over the dark days of the relatively recent past.

The LACBC reports that a public records request confirms the road diet and bike lanes planned  for North Figueroa will have no impact on emergency response times.

Malibu and other cities surrounding the Malibu/Agoura Hills seek input on their proposed bike plan, including possible routes through the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Eastside Bike Club founder Carlos Morales organizes a Riff Raff Ride into exclusive — and bike unfriendly — San Marino next month.

Pedal Love’s Melissa Balmer hosts an upcoming webinar on developing effective media strategies for bike advocacy.

 

State

Newport Beach bike cops go ebike.

Pedacabs come to downtown Bakersfield.

San Francisco attempts to crack down on bicycle chop shops.

 

National

I want to be like her when I grow up. Ninety-year old bike-riding founder of a Utah charity ride encourages others to take up bicycling.

A Colorado teenager with cystic fibrosis — and a huge heart — is riding 1,000 miles to raise funds for the state’s Children’s Hospital.

Chicago is halfway to the mayor’s goal of installing 100 miles of protected bikeways, though not all are finding approval from riders.

Florida continues to be a dangerous place for cyclists and pedestrians.

 

International

An 86-year old Saskatoon competitive cyclist calls for a more bike-friendly city after a groove in the pavement throws him off his bike, most likely ending his riding career.

A UK study shows texting behind the wheel is even more dangerous than drunk driving.

Road raging Brit driver attempts to run over a cyclist, and misses. And crashes into a hair salon instead.

A Yorkshire farmer plans to watch the local stage of the Tour de France somewhere else after catching a naked cyclist pooping in his field.

 

Finally…

Bicycling magazine patiently explains why you’re not riding in the Tour de France. And a letter writer explains how local planners can ensure cyclists continue to ride dangerously in highway traffic; vetoing planned bike lanes is a good way to start.

 

Breaking news — bike rider physically assaulted by motorist in West LA

I’ve received an eye witness report of a bike rider being physically attacked by a motorist this afternoon.

According the report, forwarded to me by attorney David Huntsman, a woman was driving north on Westwood Blvd when she saw another driver get out of his car and attack the rider on the southeast corner of Westwood and Olympic just after noon today. As she described it, the driver came at the rider flailing his arms, while the cyclist yelled at his attacker.

The woman said other people appeared to be calling 911 to report the attack.

Let’s be very clear.

No matter what took place between the two parties to cause the conflict, the motorist committed a crime by striking the rider — as one cop explained to me in a similar case, the driver was at fault as soon as he left his vehicle. He can, and should, be prosecuted if he and his victim can be identified.

This is also would appear to be a perfect case for LA’s cyclist anti-harassment ordinance, which allows bicyclists to sue motorists or others who threaten or attack them while riding. The ordinance allows victims to collect three times actual damages or $1000, whichever is higher; it also allows for the payment of full legal fees to encourage lawyers to take a case that might not otherwise be worth their time.

The problem with the ordinance has always been that it can be difficult to gather the witnesses or other evidence necessary to prove the case. But in this case, it took place in front of multiple witnesses, at least one of whom has already come forward.

If anyone has more information — or if you were the rider involved — contact me; you can find me email address on the About page.

And let’s not forget that this is exactly where an innovative floating bike lane was proposed to reduce or eliminate conflicts between cyclists and drivers — without the loss of a single traffic lane or parking spot.

Yet the lane was vetoed by Westside City Councilmember Paul Koretz at the urging of wealthy homeowners, even though it would have zero negative impact on the Boulevard and the surrounding area.

And would move cyclists out of the way of impatient, and too often, angry drivers, helping to avoid incidents like this.

Thirteen fallen cyclists in the City of Angels, and no one even seems to notice — or care

Ghost bike for Andy Garcia, from MidnightRidazz.com

Ghost bike for Andy Garcia, from MidnightRidazz.com

Thirteen.

That’s the answer to the question the LA Times didn’t ask.

In an opinion piece that went online Thursday as part of the paper’s extensive coverage of bicycling issues in the City of Angels, Times writer Robert Greene notes that London is reeling over the deaths of six bike riders in the last two weeks. And 14 this year.

It’s a devastating total for a city that, like Los Angeles, has made great strides in accommodating cyclists in recent years, and has seen an accompanying jump in ridership.

Or maybe it’s the other way around, as an increasing number of riders have demanded better infrastructure.

Either way, the uproar is entirely justified, as Londoners are shocked by the carnage on their streets, and demand action. Even if some insist on blaming the victims, whether for wearing headphones or other imagined violations that had noting to do with the deaths.

Just one problem.

Los Angeles, with less than half the population of the British capital, has suffered just one less death this year.

Thirteen Angelenos have lost their lives on the city’s streets since the first of the year. All in traffic collisions.

And shockingly, nine of those 13 deaths have been hit-and-runs, as heartless drivers have fled the scene, leaving their victims to bleed out in the street.

Yet unlike London, there is no outrage on the streets of LA.

There are no protests. There are no die-ins. There are no calls in the press for urgent action to keep our two-wheeled citizens safe as they ride, whether for transportation or recreation.

In fact, as far as I can tell, no one in the press has even noticed.

It’s just accepted as the cost of sharing our streets. Maybe there’s brief outpouring of shock and grief in some cases, near total silence in others. But in the long run, as the late Phil Ochs sang, it doesn’t seem to interest anyone outside of a small circle of friends.

And no one in the media or government ever does the math to come up with the horrifying total.

Thirteen.

Some might say it’s only 12, as one victim — Markeis Vonreece Parish — was walking his bike when he was run down by a cowardly killer in a speeding Mercedes who didn’t even slow down after blasting through another human being.

Technically, Parish was a pedestrian when he was hit. But the fact that he was holding his bike as he walked with friends implied he’d ridden it there, and would likely get back on it to return home.

And that makes him one of us.

Then again, I don’t see where 12 victims is any less tragic than 13. Especially when the city saw just five fallen cyclists in each of the last two years.

As if that isn’t five too many.

Even as the press reports on the deaths in London, the loss of lives on our own streets is unnoticed or ignored.

There’s no demand for action from our advocacy groups as the death toll mounts; no mass protests at city hall.

And no reaction at all from city hall. No calls from the mayor to halt the bloodshed, no action from the city council to help keep bike riders alive, no demands, unlike other cities, for an end to traffic deaths, let alone those of more vulnerable cyclists and pedestrians.

In fact, in this bloody year of 2013, with nearly three times the bicycling deaths of recent years — and still six weeks left to go — supposedly bike-friendly councilmembers like Tom LaBonge and Paul Koretz have gone on record as opposing bike lanes on Lankershim and Westwood. And had the mayor’s support in gutting the green lanes on Spring Street.

When we need a hand up, we get a knife in the back.

But what’s a few more dead cyclists in the grand scheme of things, if that means drivers — and Hollywood — can continue to maintain their hegemony on our streets?

Greene’s piece isn’t bad.

He suggests the need for protected bike lanes, though noting that we’re unlikely to get them everywhere they’re needed. And he calls for greater enforcement against law-breaking drivers, even though he can’t resist the false equivalency of headphone-wearing bike riders.

But where is the outrage over the blood that’s being spilled on our own streets, as too many Angelenos lose their lives on the hoods and bumpers of cars? And the angels that watch over this city silently scream at the indifference we show to the deaths of our brothers and sisters.

Thirteen.

It’s just accepted as the cost of transportation, the desperately high price we pay for getting from here to there.

And that may just be the greatest tragedy of all.

%d bloggers like this: