Tag Archive for Paul Koretz

Morning Links: New app for navigating LA, advice on running for your local NC, and pointing the finger in Westwood

Figuring out how to get around the City of Angels just got a little easier.

And could help improve the way you get around in the future.

The new Go LA app, created by Xerox for iOS and Android devices, calculates the shortest, cheapest, and most sustainable way to get to your destination — whether on foot, by bike, motorcycle, taxi, car or transit, as well as ride-sharing options — while providing map routing and real time traffic and parking information.

And not just in terms of distance, but also time, cost, carbon footprint, health benefits and calories burned. Which means walking and biking will usually win on the last four counts.

The app also sends anonymous trip data back to LADOT to provide feedback on how people actually get around the city to provide data for future planning.

You can read more about the app on the Go LA press release.

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Maybe that app will make it easier to use Metro, as the LA Times says ridership on public transportation is in a decade-long decline.

The paper cites other transportation alternatives, such as bicycling and ridesharing, as just two in a long list of factors leading to the drop. Although a more likely culprit is increased fares combined with cuts in service.

Charging more for worse service is rarely a good business model.

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The LACBC offers details on the upcoming Neighborhood Council elections, and urges you to not only vote, but consider running for election to your local council.

As they point out, local councils are usually the first stops for any discussion for or against bike projects in the local community, and their opinions often carry a lot of weight with the area councilmember.

So your involvement really does matter. But you need to hurry, because the deadline to register as a candidate is approaching quickly in some areas.

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Speaking of neighborhood councils, a writer for UCLA’s Daily Bruin says the Westwood Neighborhood Council gets the blame for blocking improvements to Westwood Village, including putting up roadblocks to the Westwood Blvd Great Streets project. Homeowners in the area are among the city’s most notorious NIMBYs, and should be held accountable for the decline in the once vibrant Village, where even dancing is banned at their insistence.

Meanwhile, the same writer says Councilmember Paul Koretz has been making opposing promises to both sides about the planned Westwood Blvd bike lanes, promising the neighborhood council and homeowner groups he’d kill the bike lanes, while telling the Sierra Club he supported moving forward with engineering studies. Thanks to Michael Cahn for the heads up.

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BikeSGV reports that a proposed bike park is included in plans for the coming Puente Hills Landfill Park, along with bike and pedestrian access.

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Local

Richard Risemberg accuses the city of malign neglect in its approach to 6th Street in the Mid-City area, where a planned road diet and bike lanes have been blocked as injuries and deaths mount.

CiclaValley looks at the numbers behind the proposed Griffith Park shuttle service, and says they don’t add up. Or even come close.

A Santa Monica advocacy group says the city talks a good game when it comes to promoting alternative transportation, but is hardly discouraging its own employees from driving when they receive free parking.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a $5,300 three-wheeled adaptive bike from a Burbank teenager with cerebral palsy.

Duarte develops a new Citywide Bicycle Master Plan and Safe Routes to Transit Master Plan to encourage more riding and promote bike and pedestrian safety. Evidently, the smaller the city, the more grandiose the title for their bike plan.

 

State

The head of the California State Transportation Agency — no, not Caltrans — says au contraire, the state is actually leading the nation in investments for bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Of course, as the nation’s most populous state, we should lead by default; the question is how do we stack up for spending as a percentage of population.

Some Cardiff residents are up in arms over a proposed bike and pedestrian trail that would run along a railroad track, claiming it would somehow cause irreparable harm to their community and the environment. Because evidently, bikes are so much more harmful than trains.

Menlo Park considers a bicycle boulevard connecting the east and west sides of the city.

San Francisco’s bikeshare program is expanding across the bay to Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville.

The CHP is looking for the heartless coward who fled the scene after left-crossing a Sonoma Valley bike rider; the victim, who was on his honeymoon, is reportedly making a “miraculous” recovery, despite suffering a broken neck.

 

National

Seventy percent of American mayors support more bike lanes at the expense of traffic lanes or parking. The problem is getting their auto-centric constituents to agree.

A Portland cyclist wins a nearly half-million dollar judgment against a car wash after he slipped on the wet, soapy pavement, fracturing his hip, when a car wash customer pulled out and blocked the bike lane he was riding in.

An Idaho bike lawyer makes the case for the Idaho stop law that allows bicyclists to treat stop signs as yields and red lights like stop signs, arguing that it has helped the state maintain one of the nation’s lowest bicycling fatality rates as a percentage of population.

Not surprisingly, it’s going to be days before DC’s bikeways are cleared following last weekend’s blizzard. And things aren’t looking any better in New York.

 

International

Good news from Argentina, as Italian rider Adriano Malori has awakened from a medically induced coma after hitting a pothole at nearly 40 mph in the Tour de San Luis.

A Toronto paper rides along with bike-borne food delivery people through the city’s frozen streets.

It’s a daily double for the Guardian, as the paper test rides the sub-$700 dream bike of the British Labour Party leader, and looks at how bicycling unexpectedly became cool in Tel Aviv.

Caught on video: A British driver gets two and a half years for deliberately swerving head-on at a cyclist from the other side of the road in a successful attempt to frighten him. Thanks to Jeffrey for the link.

 

Finally…

Nothing like getting a punch in the face when you agree to buy a bike. Forget riding with your dog; try riding with a couple goats on your back.

And driving while very distracted: A pantsless Detroit man was killed in a car crash while watching porn on his smartphone.

 

Morning Links: Koretz aid promises Westwood bike lane removal, and the Bieb nearly takes out bikers in the ‘Bu

Don’t forget, there’s just four more days to nominate someone you know to win a new bicycle in our first-ever bike giveaway. So take a moment to tell us who you think deserves to win a free bike from Beachbikes.net today!

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Do they know something we don’t?

A field deputy for Westside Councilmember Paul Koretz assured the Westwood Neighborhood Council that a bike lane slated for Westwood Blvd north of Wilshire Blvd in the Village will be removed from the new Mobility Plan.

Even though he doesn’t have the authority to do that. And even though a proposal to remove it, or any other bike lane, from the plan must first be approved by the city Planning Commission, then face a hearing by the city council Transportation and Planning and Land Use Management Committees, before being voted on by the full council.

To this point, there have been no public discussions of the matter by any of those bodies.

Any secret discussions or backroom deals attempting to bypass that process would be a violation of the state’s Brown Act, which requires that all meetings of official bodies be held in public. And would likely invalidate any decisions resulting from it.

So let’s hope that she just misspoke or was misquoted, and meant to say that Koretz will attempt to have the bike lane removed from the plan.

Because we all have a right to be heard before any decision is made.

Especially the wrong one.

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CiclaValley catches up on the latest details of the LA River bike path closure. The good news is most of the barriers will be on the opposite side of the river from the bike path. However, he says the path will close for construction of the barriers between Riverside and Glendale Blvd for two weeks starting on the 26th; no word yet on whether it will reopen in full or in part once the work is finished.

Meanwhile, LADOT Bike Blog fills in the history and the background of the flood control efforts on LA’s concrete river.

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Tres shock! A new study shows what we already knew — sharrows don’t improve safety, and they don’t seem to increase ridership, either.

Meanwhile, another study suggests that biking infrastructure and gentrification mirror one another, making it difficult to say which one causes the other.

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Semi-reformed celeb bad boy Justin Bieber nearly takes out an entire cycling team that was training in the ‘Bu, inexplicably running out in front of the riders waving his arms while they cruised down PCH at 25 mph.

However, all was forgiven when he posed for selfies with the riders, who forgot to ask why he did it in the first place.

Maybe he just wanted their autographs.

Although one site seems to blame the guys in the tight shorts, saying they should have stuck with SoulCycle.

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Local

The petition to remove bike lanes from York Blvd in Northeast LA has 304 supporters as of this writing; the petition to keep them has 454.

There’s now more hope on Hope Street, as the DTLA street gets a new parklet.

A UCLA alum is filming a documentary about the problems bike riders face, focusing on last year’s Emmy Ride; the film’s executive producer is former Ad Men producer Tom Smuts, who started the ride.

Another former UCLA student writes that she has continued to ride after graduating, commuting to work, leading rides and volunteering as an advocate for safer streets. And it all began with the school’s program to rent out commuter bikes to students for $45 a quarter.

That guy riding one of New York’s Citi Bikes across the US has now made it to Claremont; Santa Monica Spoke invites you to welcome him when he ends his journey at the end of Route 66 on the 23rd.

Long Beach firefighters rescue a woman who injured her head when she somehow fell off the San Gabriel River bike path.

Mark your calendar. BikeSGV lists the seven — count ‘em — open streets events scheduled for the LA area this year.

 

State

Three Leucadia coffee shops will soon get bike corrals in the North San Diego County community.

Sad news from the Bay Area, as an 80-year old Novato sidewalk cyclist was killed in a collision with a 16-year old driver who was making a left turn out of a parking lot.

Streetsblog talks with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s new interim ED.

Best wishes to one of last year’s AIDS Lifecycle riders, Sonoma-area winemaker Chuck Hovey, who is recovering from a massive stroke he suffered just a week after finishing the ride.

In a crime that appears to be getting more common, a Sacramento cyclist is bike-jacked at knifepoint. Expanding the city’s bait bike program won’t help with that kind of theft, even though it lead to around 60 busts last year.

 

National

Nice. An Albuquerque program gives bikes to the homeless to help them get back on their feet.

An Oklahoma driver will face a felony manslaughter charge for the distracted driving death of a cyclist, who was biking across the country building and repairing homes; the woman who was riding with him is still recovering from her injuries.

Even the sponsor of the Missouri bill which would require every bicycle to have a 15-foot orange fluorescent flag agrees that it’s ridiculous; he claims he just wanted to get people talking about bike safety. He previously co-sponsored a bill that would have banned bikes from state roads if there was a bike trail within two miles of the highway.

Chicago is ticketing more drivers for parking in bike lanes, while expanding its bikeshare into predominantly African American and low-to-moderate income communities.

A 50-mile Kentucky bike ride will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the bike-riding Buffalo Soldiers in 1896.

A Massachusetts eighth grader testifies in front of a state legislative committee in support of a pair of bike safety bills, after his father was nearly caught between a bus and a row of parked cars when it cut into the bike lane as they were riding together.

Boston’s Bikeface compares bikes to shoes to explain why you always seem to need one more.

You still have a chance to win a bike ride with Bono through New York’s Central Park, who is tempting fate by returning to the scene of his solo crash.

A Georgia nurse who just happened to by passing by saved the life of a bike rider when he collapsed from a heart attack in the middle of an intersection.

Despite doomsday predictions, there have been no bike crashes on a Florida bridge two years after a ban on bikes was lifted.

 

International

Caught on video: An angry Brit bike rider confronts a driver inside a supermarket after a dangerously close punishment pass.

Supporters of British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn raise funds to give him his dream bike, a sub-$700 Raleigh Criterium — even though a writer for the Telegraph criticized him for coveting such an “expensive” bike.

It took four cops to put an “arrogant” Irish bike rider in a squad car after he was busted for insisting on his “right to cycle in the manner in which he insisted he cycled;” during the incident, he called the Irish equivalent of 911 in an effort to report the police to the police.

So much for that friendly welcome to Europe. Norway is sending bike-riding Syrian refugees back to Russia the same way they came after they exploited a loophole banning anyone from walking or driving across the border.

The National continues its recent coverage of bicycling in the United Arab Emirates and beyond, this time offering a look at riding in Rwanda.

Dutch bank ING donates pedicabs to Philippine hurricane survivors to help lift them out of poverty.

 

Finally…

No matter how angry you get, don’t take it out on your bike. Speaking of tres shock!, LA bike thieves learn the hard way not to steal bikes. Or sit on them, anyway.

And it’s a common tactic for bike thieves to lock another bike to yours so they can come back later to take it. But what does it mean when someone ties a cute little dog up to your bike?

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Thanks to John Hall for his generous donation to support this site. Contributions are always welcome in any amount, for any reason.

 

Morning Links: Daily News spins bike news badly, not getting it San Pedro, and a local bike rider needs your help

Fund-Drive-With-Type-2Sometimes, good news is bad news, depending on how you spin it.

The LA Daily News looks at the LA city council’s re-adoption of the new Mobility Plan last week, and the promise to consider proposed amendments after the first of the year.

Except they give it a very negative spin.

The story focuses on the possibility that bike lanes could be removed from the plan, likely or not. Along opposition to the plan from Councilmembers Paul Koretz and, disappointingly, David Ryu.

Koretz focuses his opposition to removing bike lanes planned for Westwood Blvd in and near Westwood Village, just outside the UCLA campus, claiming it’s too dangerous for bike riders. Yet somehow, refuses to consider any plans to make it safer or propose any viable alternative.

His only solution is to keep it dangerous, while his search for a long-promised alternative route is seeming more and more like OJ’s search for the real killer.

Meanwhile Ryu, who promised to reconsider the decisions made by his predecessor Tom LaBonge, instead appears to be following in his anti-bike footsteps.

Writing for Orange 20 Bikes, Richard Risemberg says at least the city isn’t stabbing us in the back anymore.

They’re aiming their knives directly at us.

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Apparently, parking causes less congestion than bike lanes.

A San Pedro letter writer complains that replacing parking spaces with bike lanes on Western Avenue would increase congestion and make it harder for emergency vehicles to get through.

Which seems highly unlikely, unless cars are currently able to pass through parked vehicles, which would appear to violate the laws of physics. And emergency vehicles usually find it easier to drive through bike lanes than parked cars.

He also complains that the Measure R funds that would be used to pay for the lanes weren’t supposed to be used for bike lanes, suggesting they should instead be funded by supporters of Calbike and CABO, neither of whom had anything whatsoever to do with them. And that funds should be raised by registering and taxing bicyclists, and imposing fines on law-breaking cyclists.

The first of which is impractical for many reasons, and the latter already happens, despite his protestations. And those fines go to the state, just like the fines paid by scofflaw drivers.

Never mind that bike riders already pay more than their share for the roads we ride.

Then again, that letter has nothing on this absurdly auto-centric writer from Santa Barbara.

Thanks to Margaret for the heads-up.

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If you’re looking for a good cause this holiday season, you can’t do much better than World Bicycle Relief, which is using donated bicycles to change lives in less developed countries.

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Another good cause a lot closer to home.

Popular cyclist Egee Mabolis was badly injured during the monthly Ride With No Name, leaving him with no feeling in his arms and legs. A gofundme account established to help cover his medical costs has raised nearly $11,000 of the $25,000 goal — even though that won’t begin to cover the cost of his hospital care and rehabilitation, since he doesn’t have insurance.

If the name sounds familiar, it may be because Mabolis was profiled by the LA Weekly last year for his work taming the notorious Trader Joe’s parking lot in Silver Lake.

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Film fans take note.

The first film from famed British director Ridley Scott, the auteur responsible for Alien, Blade Runner and Gladiator, was about a boy and bicycle, starring his late brother and future Top Gun director Tony.

The 27-minute student film is now available online.

While we’re on the subject of films, a writer for the Daily Beast kind of misses the point of the new documentary Bikes vs. Cars, which doesn’t really call for replacing all cars with bicycles, as tempting as that may seem at times.

If you want to see for yourself, Bikes vs. Cars opens this Friday at the Laemmle NoHo 7 in North Hollywood.

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Local

CicLAvia staffer and LADOT commissioner Tafarai Bayne discusses what it’s like to grow up carless in LA and the perils of biking while black.

A cyclist in his 40s suffered moderate injuries when he was hit by a sheriff’s deputy in Carson Thursday night.

Just one problem with LA’s 2024 Olympic bid: The BMX and mountain biking events projected for Griffith Park could be illegal.

Evidently, people really do walk in LA and Pasadena. And ride bikes, too.

 

State

An Escondido cyclist suffered life-threatening injuries when she was the victim of a hit-and-run Saturday night; police are looking for the driver of a black Toyota Corolla.

A local hiking group voices their support for the planned 50-mile CV Link bike and pedestrian pathway around the Coachella Valley.

San Francisco follows an all-too-familiar pattern of fixing dangerous streets only after it’s too late. But at least they fix them, unlike some LA council districts we could name.

A transportation expert from UC Davis will make a presentation at this week’s Paris climate change conference touting the benefits of bicycling as a climate-friendly measure.

Family members and witnesses question the CHP’s investigation of a cyclist killed by a Sacramento judge, leading them to wonder if it’s just sloppy work or a cover-up.

 

National

America may not have hit peak car after all. Or maybe it did.

HuffPo says bikeshare is having a positive impact on city life throughout the US.

Life is cheap in Portland, where a truck driver faces a maximum $260 fine for dangerous left turn that took the life of a bike rider.

A Detroit man raised $15,000 to buy a new car for a man who rode a bike to work every day to save money to care for his sick wife.

The bike-hating New York Post blames scofflaw cyclists for the 4,463 bicyclists injured in the city last year, not the people in the big dangerous machines. And insists an Idaho stop law will only make things worse.

 

International

England’s last Plantagenet king is helping to lead the reclamation of Leicester from automobiles, over 500 years after Richard III famously failed to trade his kingdom for a horse.

British bike thieves get 12 years apiece for stabbing a man who was trying to reclaim his stolen bike.

Police in an English town are on the lookout for a cyclist — to thank her for lending them her hi-viz jacket so they could direct traffic.

A British man rides 400 miles to honor his late bike-riding mother.

Brit riders hold their third annual die-in to call for a stop to killing cyclists.

Caught on video: Apparently, being pregnant and wearing glasses is the latest excuse for left-hooking a British cyclist.

An injured cyclist says Maltese authorities are always on the driver’s side, concluding that his recent collision somehow broke the laws of physics.

Vogue says stylish cyclists are taking over Moscow.

Selling bikes by Bollywood.

A gold medal-winning Thai-American BMX rider is just as happy working in the rice paddy as competing against Asia’s best. No, really, that’s what it says.

 

Finally…

The beauty of a bicycle is its simplicity, until designers get their hands on it. Why clutter your home with bikes when you can park them on the ceiling? Evidently, the color of his bike is enough to make a man a suspect in the UK — accurately, as it turned out.

And shirtless cyclist and actor Russell Crowe goes riding with his mates in the “middle of f**king nowhere.”

 

Morning Links: LA’s Mobility Plan 2035 passes the council, but the fight isn’t over yet; cyclist critically injured in OC

Fours years after the 2010 bike plan passed, the media seems to have finally discovered it when the Mobility Plan wins approval from the city council.

And does their best to panic easily frightened autocentric Angelenos into thinking we’re coming for their precious traffic lanes.

As predicted, the LA City Council passed the Mobility Plan, but not by the usual unanimous vote; in an unexpected move, Council President Herb Wesson allowed both debate and public comment before calling a vote.

That turned out to be 12 in favor and two against. Just enough to secure passage on the first reading, though several contentious amendments were deferred for later consideration.

Which means we may have won the day, but the key battles remain to be fought.

According to Streetsblog, still to be considered are motions to remove various bikeways, including:

  • Notoriously anti-bike Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s motion to remove virtually every bike lane in his district from the plan;
  • Councilmember Curren Price’s request to remove a protected bike lane planned for Central Avenue, apparently because he thinks it doesn’t solve the 8 to 80 problem, even though it does;
  • And newly elected Councilmember David Ryu’s call for removal of the long-promised 4th Street bike friendly street — even though such bikeways have been shown to increase property values, reduce speeding and cut-through traffic, cut crime and improve safety and livability.

Yeah, who would want that?

Meanwhile, Westside Councilmember Paul Koretz may have shot himself in the foot by pressing for a vote on his motion to remove Westwood Blvd from the plan, which promptly lost with just three votes in favor.

And you can probably guess which three votes those were.

In an interview with KABC-7 — which includes a highly truncated interview with yours truly — Koretz explains his opposition by saying there’s too much traffic, bus and otherwise, on Westwood for bicyclists to ride safely.

So instead of doing something to improve it, he opts to keep the street dangerous for everyone. Smart.

Most disappointing was Ryu’s support for removing Westwood and 4th Street from the plan.

While most bicyclists supported his opponent in the recent election, many had high hopes that he would turn out to be good second choice, and earn the support of the bicycling community. But if his actions Tuesday are any indication, it could be a very long four years for bike riders in his district.

And needless to say in overly litigious LA, opponents to the plan are already planning a legal challenge based on the worst-case projections that it might lead to increased congestion.

Never mind that it could actually relieve congestion by giving people an alternative to driving. Or that a key component of the plan is a Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic deaths by 2035, in part by slowing traffic.

Evidently, those opponents are willing to accept a little collateral damage if they can get to their jobs just a few seconds sooner.

And let’s not forget that even LADOT describes the plan as “aspirational,” meaning there’s no actual commitment to build any of it.

Meanwhile, Cedillo once again trotted out his argument that he has to represent his entire district, not just the 1% that ride bikes.

Even though that 1% figure only counts those who commute to work, and fails to consider anyone who rides to school, for errands or any other reason. As well as a number of immigrants for whom a bike is their only form of transportation — many of whom live in Cedillo’s district.

And it fails to consider the overwhelming proportion of people who say they would like to ride a bike if they had a safe place to do it.

BAC President Jeff Jacoberger put that 1% figure in perspective — and I’m told, brought tears to some who heard his comments — when he said that as a gay man, he used to be considered one of the 2%, but see how far we’ve come in such a short time.

Hopefully, this plan will overcome the challenges that still lie ahead, and in 20 years, we’ll all be able to look back and say the same thing.

See how far we’ve come.

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The Times gets it, saying “the old vision of widening streets and accelerating car traffic isn’t possible or practical anymore.”

LA Curbed gets it, too, calling it a “big-time plan to make it easier for everyone to get around the city.”

Writing for HuffPo, Joel Epstein says it’s the opponents, not supporters of the plan, “who are putting up roadblocks to a Los Angeles that recognizes that every bike rider, pedestrian and transit rider is one less car on the road.”

And the LABC thanks everyone who wrote, called and attended council sessions in support of the Mobility Plan.

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Sad news from Orange County, as a man from Bell isn’t expected to survive after he was struck by an SUV while riding his bike in Anaheim.

And a 14-year old girl was hit by a Mercedes while riding her bike in Newport Beach Tuesday night. The car may have been accompanied by two motorcycles, suggesting it might have been part of a motorcade, or the bikes could have been chasing the driver as he fled the scene.

Update: The girl, who was riding a beach cruiser with a group of friends, was apparently hit head-on by the driver of a silver or white Mercedes. The victim is in critical condition with life-threatening injuries; she was not wearing a helmet, though it’s unclear from the description whether that could have made a difference.

Thanks to Amy Senk for the heads-up.

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Disc brakes are coming to the peloton for a two-month trial.

With the Vuelta and the USA Pro Challenge just days away, does anyone really care about the Eneco Tour? TdF winner Chris Froome apparently doesn’t, setting his sights on the Spanish tour.

Anyone can win the Tour de France; a new book looks at the riders who finished dead last.

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Local

SaMo police bust a homeless man for bike theft after tracking a bait bike by GPS.

 

State

Pacific Beach planners are plenty peeved to find San Diego’s bikeshare on the boardwalk. Might as well leave it there; they’ll need something to do on Sundays after their football team moves to LA.

Still more San Diego bike lanes are under attack by misguided business owners who seem to think all customers arrive by car, even though studies repeatedly show bikes boost business.

Cars are now prevented from turning onto San Francisco’s Market Street, though police fear drivers will anyway because their GPS units tell them to.

Caught on video: A Bay Area B-baller makes a half-court shot while riding a bike. Allowing bikes on the court could make the NBA a lot more interesting.

Mountain View bicyclists get their first protected bike lane.

 

National

A new peer-reviewed study looks at how drag affects time trial performance. Though why anyone would dress in drag for a speed competition is beyond me. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Eating your probiotics will lead to better gut bacteria diversity and make you a better bike rider.

Fodor’s ranks the nation’s top 10 urban bike paths. None of which are within 300 miles of Los Angeles.

Fortune says bikeshare is reshaping American cities, even if it’s not making any money.

Honolulu cyclists won’t have to hold their noses anymore as they ride past an illegal dump site.

A New York cyclist has a magical two-hour ride around the city after just setting out to get air in his tires. Things like that simply don’t happen when you drive.

 

International

Canadian bicyclists take to Facebook to fight bike theft.

Once again, a wire has been strung across Brit bike trail. And once again, a deliberate attempt to maim bike riders is inexplicably written off as a prank.

The BBC looks at how Paris allows cyclists to ride through red lights, but only where there is no crossroad.

Good news from the UK, as a 16-year old bike rider is miraculously brought back to life 30 minutes after suffering cardiac arrest during a cycling competition.

Bicycling asks if anyone really needs that Japanese Breathalyzer bike lock. That would be, no.

 

Finally…

No matter who you think had the right-of-way, don’t push another bike rider into an aqueduct. British police haven’t banned bike racing, just cancelled all the upcoming races.

And the Chicago Tribune is frightened by bicycles, and worried sick about where everyone will park.

 

Morning Links: Mobility Plan passes but defers battles, Tito’s Tacos owner battles Culver City over CicLAvia

Good news and bad news from Tuesday’s LA city council committee session.

As we discussed earlier, the council’s Transportation and PLUM committees held a joint session to discuss the plan for managing mobility in the city for the next 20 years.

After what the LACBC’s Eric Bruins described in an email as “quite contentious discussion of some the proposed amendments,” the plan was passed unanimously, with two primary amendments. One to prioritize equity during the implementation, and another to add the council as an implementing agency along with the mayor’s office and city departments.

What the last one means in the real world, I have no idea.

Photo courtesy of Streetsblog's Joe Linton

Photo courtesy of Streetsblog’s Joe Linton

Two other amendments aimed at derailing significant portions of the plan were tabled for the time being.

As expected, Westside Councilmember Paul Koretz asked that planned bike lanes on Westwood Blvd be stripped from the plan, saying the street is not suited for bicycling — even though hundreds of riders already use it every day. CiclaValley offers much better arguments against them than Koretz and his minions supporters.

Although it’s hard to top a claim that a mobility plan that aims to improve safety and reduce reliance on motor vehicles will somehow harm habitats and wetlands (see photo to right).

Photo shamelessly stolen from @Marccaz's Twitter feed

Photo shamelessly stolen from @Marccaz‘s Twitter feed

And needless to say, while NELA Councilmember Gill Cedillo claimed to support the plan, he also offered an amendment to gut it by removing some of the bike lanes in his district.

Or just about all of them.

The plan now goes to the full city council next week, leaving the bike portion of the plan, along with the city’s Vision Zero to eliminate traffic deaths within the next 10 years, intact for now.

However, the motions by Koretz and Cedillo will undoubtedly rear their ugly heads at a future date when they’re reconsidered in committee. And could still be passed by the council, stripping out key parts of the plan after we all turn our attention somewhere else.

Still, it’s considered a big victory by just about everyone.

With the exception of Flying Pigeon’s Rick Risemberg, that is, who takes a contrarian view by suggesting that the proposed amendments will gut the plan. And that councilmembers have no legal veto power over agency-approved projects, either individually or collectively.

Yet they do it anyway.

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You already know CicLAvia is coming this Sunday, right?

Thankfully, it will bring changes from the hugely overcrowded 2013 CicLAvia to the Sea route, which saw massive bike traffic jams as riders limited to just one half of Venice Blvd backed up for blocks at red lights.

KNBC-4 calls it a come-as-you-are affair, though they recommend putting some sparkly handlebar streamers on your bike.

There are plenty of feeder rides to help get you there. And thankfully, the Militant Angeleno has created the latest in his indispensible guides to what to see, including the movie studio where my dad used to lay tile for movie sets and met Judy Garland.

However, the owner of popular Tito’s Tacos clearly doesn’t get it, threatening to sue Culver City for blocking motor vehicle access to the busy taco stand, which she claims is the only way her customers could possibly get there.

If she’d stop complaining and embrace the hundred of thousands of people who will be riding and walking past on sunday, she could end with lines around the block.

The Militant sums it up about as well as anyone can in his guide.

But seriously, Señora Davidson, you have no reason to fear CicLAvia this Sunday. Because we are coming. And you will get A LOT of business. And you can be rest assured that unlike your car-oriented customers, we won’t be crashing into your wall. [MIC DROP]

………

Teams are announced for Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge taking place in two weeks.

Eric Heiden, one of the first wave of American pro cyclists — and a five-time gold medal winning speed skater — is still active in the sport 30 years later as team physician for BMC. Laurens Ten Dam could have used his help, as the Dutch rider’s season may have come to an early end after he was hit by a car while training.

And in the story that never ends, the Feds want Lance’s medical records as part of their $100 million case against him.

………

Local

The latest Clitoral Mass drew hundreds of women and women-identified riders to reclaim the streets.

Santa Monica’s Breeze bikeshare program is officially online.

A Burbank letter writer claims to be a bike advocate, as long as they ride slowly and don’t arrogantly compete with cars.

LA County has approved a bike path leading to an eventual Metro stop in Duarte.

The Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition hosts a Bicycle Scavenger Hunt this weekend, and Streetsblog is holding a fundraiser Summer Garden Party at Eco-Village this Saturday.

 

State

Nice piece from former Long Beach Mobility Director and current Calbike board VP Charlie Gandy offering a brief history of the US bike movement, and saying if we really want to be the “all powerful bike lobby,” we need to be more like Gandhi.

The Newport Beach e-bike rider killed when he crashed into the back of a minivan on Sunday may have been distracted by his cell phone. Seriously, put the damn thing away when you ride; if you need to use it, pull over and stop first.

San Diego neighbors team together to catch a bike thief who has been plaguing their neighborhood.

Fresno sees a near 40% jump in bike commuting since 2009.

A Morgan Hill business owner says don’t believe the hype from opponents of a road diet; his business has gone up since it went in, and the street is calmer, quieter, safer and more active, with a more diverse group of users. But other than that, it’s a failure, right?

Lets hope there’s a good bike lawyer in the Bay Area, as San Francisco police ticket bicyclists for not putting a foot down when they stop — even though that’s not required under California law. Expecting cyclists to put a foot down is the equivalent of making drivers put their emergency brake on at every stop sign.

Once again, bike hate rears its ugly head in Marin County, as a road raging driver tries to run down a pair of cyclists, striking one from behind. Fortunately, both escaped serious injury, while the driver was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

Then again, landlocked Turlock is no better, as a driver uses his car as a weapon, intentionally sideswiping a bike rider following a dispute.

 

National

Scenic Jackson WY is the latest town to get bikeshare before LA, even if you can’t tour the Tetons on it.

A Kansas cyclist bizarrely says having to use lights on his bike after dark is an “absolute atrocity,” and the city council members are idiots for requiring it. Apparently, it’s just another government conspiracy to take away our God-given right to ride like ninjas.

After Texas thieves force a bike rider off the road with their car and steal his cellphone at gunpoint, he goes home and tracks it on his iPad before telling the police where they can find them.

It just keeps getting more bizarre. A Vermont woman married to a cop could lose her license — not because she killed a cyclist, or drove drunk while under the influence of three prescription drugs, but for failing to submit the proper form in time. At least she faces a misdemeanor DUI charge, even though it would probably be a felony for anyone else.

Bikeshare will continue to besmirch the sidewalk in front of New York’s iconic Plaza hotel, as the state supreme court upholds dismissal of the hotel’s lawsuit demanding its removal.

If a New York bus driver says you can’t bring your bike onboard, don’t whack him with it and threaten to kick his ass.

A Pennsylvania legislator is the latest to propose requiring bicyclists to wear reflective clothing, after a similar California proposal thankfully died on the vine earlier this year.

An apparent salmon cyclist was killed in a bike-on-bike collision on a Delaware highway. Or if he wasn’t riding the wrong way, the other guy was.

You know things are bad in Baton Rouge when a bike rider is hit by a car on his way home from a memorial for another rider.

A Miami area woman is under arrest for punching a seven-year old bike-riding boy in the face for making fun of her. She must be the poster child for anger management dropouts.

 

International

A new Brazilian action cam promises to simplify the process of uploading and automatically editing the highlights.

A Vancouver cop is convicted of punching a red-light running cyclist after he was cuffed for talking back.

Caught on video: A London cab driver narrowly avoids running over a cyclist after the rider is knocked off his bike by a driver’s car door. He didn’t just swerve to avoid it, despite what the headline says.

Unbelievable. A London cyclist requests security camera footage from the city that could show the hit-and-run driver who ran him down from behind, and is told he could only get it if he died.

The BBC offers twelve tips for first time bike commuters, while the Independent can only manage five.

The UK plans to use infrared sensors to count cyclists and measure riding activity to improve streets and communities. Can we get some? Pretty please?

Self-titled Brit lawyer “Mr. Loophole” urges motorists to turn the tables by recording cyclist who ride dangerously in order to goad motorists into attacking them so they can capture it on video. He’s onto us, comrades. Although I’d suggest he may be some other type of hole.

A UK truck driver was reaching across his cab to play a sermon on his mobile phone moments before running down a bike rider.

Australia will reconsider its mandatory helmet law, which is blamed — or credited, depending on your perspective — with helping the country bypass the bike boom.

An Aussie website offers nine tips on how to look good on your bike. All of which apply only to the spandex set, and most of which are totally full of crap. Except for the one about sleeveless jerseys, which don’t look good on anyone. No, not even you.

 

Finally…

At last, there’s a bike built for aspiring Bruce Waynes. The Onion offers their own take on car maker’s attempts to improve safety for cyclists, which makes more sense than some of the real ones. I’m looking at you, Volvo.

And next time you’re riding in the Bay Area, keep your eyes open for falling lampposts felled by urine.

 

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.

 

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