Tag Archive for pedestrians

Morning Links: Reminder to expect the unexpected on bike trails; Feds decide bike/ped safety matters, too

People are unpredictable.

Mike Wilkinson sends a video reminder of that, as he barely avoided a pedestrian who turned into him without warning on the San Gabriel River Trail.

I’ve been there countless times myself; I still carry a scar from a piece of Velcro that got embedded in my hip when someone turned into me on the beach bike path.

The obvious solution is to give pedestrians and slower cyclists as much room as possible when you ride by. Mike was able to avoid the woman only because he was riding the center line on the trail, which was as far left as he could go with riders coming in the opposite direction; I usually cross over to the other side when it’s safe to do so.

And using a bike bell or calling it out when you’re about to pass usually helps, though even that can confuse or startle some people. Which is why I usually save it for when I can’t give the person I’m passing at least the same three-foot distance I’d expect from a driver.

The best answer is to always ride defensively and expect the unexpected, even when you’re in a supposedly safe environment.

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The Feds finally recognize that the lives of people on bikes and on foot matter, too, by issuing their first safety performance standards for bicyclists and pedestrians.

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Not bike related, but still worth checking out, as great artworks are reworked by a Minneapolis Group to show how they’d look in the age of the automobile.

Including a typical Sunday in the Park.

Sunday in the PArk

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Local

A man in his 30s survived being shot multiple times while riding his bike South LA Sunday night; police say the victim of the drive-by was not a gang member.  On the other hand, that doesn’t mean the people who shot him weren’t.

Robert Gottlieb, founder and former director of the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College, discusses the possibilities of a post-car, or at least car lite, Los Angeles.

Flying Pigeon captures a shot of the new bollard-protected bike lane on Venice Blvd.

CiclaValley offers video evidence of why the southbound Magnolia ramp off the 170 Freeway is dangerous by design.

KPCC looks at the new bikeshare system in Long Beach, and discusses the lack of compatibility with the coming system planned for Los Angeles. Maybe the operators of both systems should attend the Better Bike Share Conference to work out their differences.

 

State

Palm Desert residents will get a chance to try out a planned road diet, including bike lanes and wider sidewalks, with a pop-up event in May.

A Santa Barbara paper provides tips on where to ride your bike on your next trip to town.

Sacramento is the latest California city to consider adopting a Vision Zero plan. As the story notes, education and engineering are important. But we’ll never come close to eliminating traffic deaths until we change the culture that places the convenience of drivers over the safety of humans and the livability of our cities.

 

National

A writer for Next City says it’s time for American cities to ban right turns on red lights if we’re going to improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians.

The great Seattle bikeshare battle is over, and the good guys won. The city council voted Monday to buy and expand the troubled bikeshare system.

A London cyclist only made it three days into a planned 5,500 mile ride from Vancouver to Panama before he was hit by a Washington driver.

A new study finds a third of all Boston cyclists ride distracted — if you consider earbuds and headphones distractions, that is; otherwise it drops to just 12.5%. And none of them pose anywhere near the danger to others that a single distracted driver does.

A Maryland website says bicyclists and motorists must learn to share the road safely, because people seem determined to ride their bikes despite the risks. Although it’s entirely possible that bicycling is actually safer than other modes of travel, since they failed to put it in context with the risk to people walking or driving.

There is a special place in hell — and hopefully, prison, and for a very long time — for whoever walked up and shot a six-year old Georgia boy as he rode his bike; fortunately, he’s expected to survive.

 

International

Calgary university students now have their own bikeshare system. Which is really more of a bike library, but why be picky?

New children’s bike maker and Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins says bike riders need to mind their Ps and Qs on the streets; his comments raise the question of who exactly is a cyclist? As far as I’m concerned, a cyclist is anyone who rides a bike, just as a driver is anyone who operates a motor vehicle.

The Belgian cyclocross rider at the heart of cycling’s first confirmed motor doping scandal has decided to retire at age 19 rather than defend herself.

Let’s all go fat tire biking down the snow-covered Italian Dolomites.

After an 86-year old man plowed through a group of cyclists, a Spanish news site feels obligated to point out that some cyclists break the law sometimes. Which has absolutely nothing to do with what happened.

Just three drivers have been held accountable for violating the equivalent of a three-foot passing law in the six weeks since it went into effect in Australia’s New South Wales. But they don’t seem to have any problem citing cyclists.

Australia’s NSW government isn’t the only ones who appear to hate bikes Down Under, as a Gran Fondo is halted when a saboteur strews tacks and nails across the roadway.

Not surprisingly, a Kiwi driver appears to have taken down an expletive-laden video showing her swearing a blue streak as she was stuck following a group of cyclists for a whole 53 seconds. The only question is why the hell would she have posted it in the first place.

 

Finally…

Forget doping, motor or otherwise; the latest cycling scandal is hairy legs. Your next Brompton could do a lot more than fold, while your next bike pedals could be made of rice.

And if you still haven’t gotten enough bike news for one day, check out the massive list of links in this week’s Sadik-Khan — with and without the hyphen — themed bike blog roundup from the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain.

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A special thanks to Margaret W. and Todd Rowell for their generous contributions to support this site. Margaret considers it her annual subscription to BikinginLA, while Boston-based Todd says it should be the start of a Rides of March fundraiser.

 

Yesterday’s ride, on which I stop traffic

Maybe it was the uptick in my mood after yesterday’s surprisingly pleasant encounter with the LAPD. Or maybe everyone was just in a good mood brought on by the Lakers parade.

But everywhere I went, people just seemed a little happier to share the road. Pedestrians — other than the hothead who touched off yesterday’s incident — thanked me for warning them when I was about to pass. Bus drivers waited patiently for me to ride out of their way, and even waved in thanks when I moved out of the way so they could turn.

But the highlight had to be the young mother waiting patiently to cross the street with her small daughter.

They were standing next to a crosswalk with no traffic signal. The kind where drivers are legally required to stop so people can cross.

But as I rode up, I watched several cars drive past without even pausing, leaving both mother and child stranded on the curb. So when I got there, I made a point of stopping, and nodded to indicate they could cross.

Just as they stepped off the curb, though, I noticed a car approaching on my left, clearly intending to pull around me and drive through the crosswalk. So I stuck my arm out, signaling him to stop — though it did occur to me later that he could have just as easily read that as a left turn signal.

Either way, it did the job. He stopped, and mother and child crossed safely.

About halfway across, though, she turned back to me and said “Thank You.” Then as she continued on her way, she added “You rock!”

Over 24 hours later, that still feels pretty damn good.

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Flying Pigeon adds Dutch bikes to their lineup of proletarian cycles. Damien Newton observes that yesterday’s Downtown street closures prove the city could host a ciclovia. Streetsblog also notes that cycling and pedestrian projects depend on federal funding, and examines the failure of the Chicago parking privatization plan our mayor wants to emulate. Curbed offers a suggestion to replace the 10 freeway with a bikeway, among other green improvements. A Hoboken cyclist addresses common concerns about adding new bike lanes — maybe LADOT should read it. The Fox News staffer who dragged a cyclist through Central Park has been arrested. And finally, the Beeb examines Britain’s ghost bikes.

That’s so unL.A. — A formerly pedestrian-free crosswalk

Last week I posted a photo last week of the world’s first working, no-pedestrians-allowed crosswalk. And the last thing I expected was that someone would actually do something about it.

Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed.

For nearly three full days, no one even noticed. Then Damien Newton reposted it on Streetsblog LA. And then the snarky, justifiably outraged comments started pouring in. Traffic to my site went through the ceiling — well, it is a pretty low ceiling, after all. Other sites picked it up (thank you, Green LA Girl).

And then Damien had to go and ruin it all.

He emailed someone at L.A.’s Department of Transportation. And actually got a response.

Next thing you know, there’s a work crew on its way to take down the signs and turn it back into a real, functional crosswalk that actually allows pedestrians.

Sure enough, I went by this morning, and the signs are down. People were actually using it. No one was getting a ticket. And no one was getting run over.

westwood-2

So far, at least.

Now, if someone could just do something about the street next to my building, which is starting to look — and feel — like the famed cobblestones of Paris – Roubaix.

Pandora Street, between Eastborne and Santa Monica Blvd.

Pandora Street, between Eastborne and Santa Monica Blvd.

 

Reaview Rider gets challenged to a race, cyclist vs. motorcycle cop. Clean-up is completed along the Orange Line bikeway. Wisconsin lawmakers finally consider changing the law that penalizes the biking dooree, instead of the doorer. Cleveland riders are going to get their very own Bikestation, complete with lockers, showers and repair facilities; we can’t even get sharrows. And the stud factor for local cyclists just went up dramatically — evidently, Mr. Gyllenhaal is one of us.

That’s so unL.A. — A formerly pedestrian-free crosswalk

Last week I posted a photo last week of the world’s first working, no-pedestrians-allowed crosswalk. And the last thing I expected was that someone would actually do something about it.

Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed.

For nearly three full days, no one even noticed. Then Damien Newton reposted it on Streetsblog LA. And then the snarky, justifiably outraged comments started pouring in. Traffic to my site went through the ceiling — well, it is a pretty low ceiling, after all. Other sites picked it up (thank you, Green LA Girl).

And then Damien had to go and ruin it all.

He emailed someone at L.A.’s Department of Transportation. And actually got a response.

Next thing you know, there’s a work crew on its way to take down the signs and turn it back into a real, functional crosswalk that actually allows pedestrians.

Sure enough, I went by this morning, and the signs are down. People were actually using it. No one was getting a ticket. And no one was getting run over.

westwood-2

So far, at least.

Now, if someone could just do something about the street next to my building, which is starting to look — and feel — like the famed cobblestones of Paris – Roubaix.

Pandora Street, between Eastborne and Santa Monica Blvd.

Pandora Street, between Eastborne and Santa Monica Blvd.

 

Reaview Rider gets challenged to a race, cyclist vs. motorcycle cop. Clean-up is completed along the Orange Line bikeway. Wisconsin lawmakers finally consider changing the law that penalizes the biking dooree, instead of the doorer. Cleveland riders are going to get their very own Bikestation, complete with lockers, showers and repair facilities; we can’t even get sharrows. And the stud factor for local cyclists just went up dramatically — evidently, Mr. Gyllenhaal is one of us.

That’s so unL.A. — A formerly pedestrian-free crosswalk

Last week I posted a photo last week of the world’s first working, no-pedestrians-allowed crosswalk. And the last thing I expected was that someone would actually do something about it.

Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed.

For nearly three full days, no one even noticed. Then Damien Newton reposted it on Streetsblog LA. And then the snarky, justifiably outraged comments started pouring in. Traffic to my site went through the ceiling — well, it is a pretty low ceiling, after all. Other sites picked it up (thank you, Green LA Girl).

And then Damien had to go and ruin it all.

He emailed someone at L.A.’s Department of Transportation. And actually got a response.

Next thing you know, there’s a work crew on its way to take down the signs and turn it back into a real, functional crosswalk that actually allows pedestrians.

Sure enough, I went by this morning, and the signs are down. People were actually using it. No one was getting a ticket. And no one was getting run over.

westwood-2

So far, at least.

Now, if someone could just do something about the street next to my building, which is starting to look — and feel — like the famed cobblestones of Paris – Roubaix.

Pandora Street, between Eastborne and Santa Monica Blvd.

Pandora Street, between Eastborne and Santa Monica Blvd.

 

Reaview Rider gets challenged to a race, cyclist vs. motorcycle cop. Clean-up is completed along the Orange Line bikeway. Wisconsin lawmakers finally consider changing the law that penalizes the biking dooree, instead of the doorer. Cleveland riders are going to get their very own Bikestation, complete with lockers, showers and repair facilities; we can’t even get sharrows. And the stud factor for local cyclists just went up dramatically — evidently, Mr. Gyllenhaal is one of us.

That’s so L.A. — Pedestrian-free crosswalks

 

They say no one walks in L.A. And that may be true soon, if our local department of transportation continues their policy of removing crosswalks for the safety of pedestrians.

No, seriously.

Then there’s this intersection in Westwood, which features what may be the world’s first crosswalk where no pedestrians are allowed — despite the presence of a working pedestrian signal.

Kind of makes you wonder just who it’s intended for, doesn’t it?

westwood-crosswalk1

On a totally unrelated note — after two decades as an Angeleno, I had long ago given up any hope of finding a decent tamale in this town. At least without making a pilgrimage to East L.A.

Then a few weeks ago, we took a trip to MacArthur Park and discovered Mama’s Hot Tamales Café. Absolutely the best tamales I’ve ever had in this town. And the best part is, it’s a non-profit restaurant established to help train people for careers in the restaurant industry, while helping to reclaim and revitalize the MacArthur Park area.

So check it out if you get a chance. Because a cyclist has to eat. And be sure to try the Mexican Mocha — by far, the single best cuppa joe I’ve had in years.

Open for lunch 11 am — 3:30 pm, 7 days a week.

The Cycling Lawyer says goodbye to Velo News. A new database has been established to track dangerous and threatening drivers here in Los Angeles. And a Belgian cyclist has been found dead in his hotel room during the Tour of Qatar.

 

That’s so L.A. — Pedestrian-free crosswalks

 

They say no one walks in L.A. And that may be true soon, if our local department of transportation continues their policy of removing crosswalks for the safety of pedestrians.

No, seriously.

Then there’s this intersection in Westwood, which features what may be the world’s first crosswalk where no pedestrians are allowed — despite the presence of a working pedestrian signal.

Kind of makes you wonder just who it’s intended for, doesn’t it?

westwood-crosswalk1

On a totally unrelated note — after two decades as an Angeleno, I had long ago given up any hope of finding a decent tamale in this town. At least without making a pilgrimage to East L.A.

Then a few weeks ago, we took a trip to MacArthur Park and discovered Mama’s Hot Tamales Café. Absolutely the best tamales I’ve ever had in this town. And the best part is, it’s a non-profit restaurant established to help train people for careers in the restaurant industry, while helping to reclaim and revitalize the MacArthur Park area.

So check it out if you get a chance. Because a cyclist has to eat. And be sure to try the Mexican Mocha — by far, the single best cuppa joe I’ve had in years.

Open for lunch 11 am — 3:30 pm, 7 days a week.

The Cycling Lawyer says goodbye to Velo News. A new database has been established to track dangerous and threatening drivers here in Los Angeles. And a Belgian cyclist has been found dead in his hotel room during the Tour of Qatar.

 

That’s so L.A. — Pedestrian-free crosswalks

 

They say no one walks in L.A. And that may be true soon, if our local department of transportation continues their policy of removing crosswalks for the safety of pedestrians.

No, seriously.

Then there’s this intersection in Westwood, which features what may be the world’s first crosswalk where no pedestrians are allowed — despite the presence of a working pedestrian signal.

Kind of makes you wonder just who it’s intended for, doesn’t it?

westwood-crosswalk1

On a totally unrelated note — after two decades as an Angeleno, I had long ago given up any hope of finding a decent tamale in this town. At least without making a pilgrimage to East L.A.

Then a few weeks ago, we took a trip to MacArthur Park and discovered Mama’s Hot Tamales Café. Absolutely the best tamales I’ve ever had in this town. And the best part is, it’s a non-profit restaurant established to help train people for careers in the restaurant industry, while helping to reclaim and revitalize the MacArthur Park area.

So check it out if you get a chance. Because a cyclist has to eat. And be sure to try the Mexican Mocha — by far, the single best cuppa joe I’ve had in years.

Open for lunch 11 am — 3:30 pm, 7 days a week.

The Cycling Lawyer says goodbye to Velo News. A new database has been established to track dangerous and threatening drivers here in Los Angeles. And a Belgian cyclist has been found dead in his hotel room during the Tour of Qatar.

 

A little this, a little that

A few random thoughts while I get back into serious biking and blogging mode after the holidays…

So this is why they hate us. Over the weekend, my wife and I were wandering through Santa Monica, in full pedestrian mode. After awhile, we found ourselves needing to cross a busy street. So like the safety conscious, law-abiding citizens we are, we waited patiently until the light changed, then crossed in the crosswalk.

Unfortunately, not everyone shared our patience.

As we neared the other side, an oncoming cyclist apparently decided that normal traffic laws don’t apply to her. Or possibly to cyclists in general, since we didn’t have the opportunity to discuss her motivation with her.

Instead, we were busy trying to scramble out of her way after she ran the red light — despite the fact that we were directly in front of her at the time.

Now, I’m not one to insist that every rider has to obey every traffic law. Sometimes it’s safer to break the law; sometimes, strict adherence to the law just doesn’t make sense in a given situation. So even though I stop for red lights, I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not you want to stop.

But here’s a general rule of thumb: When there are people in the crosswalk directly in front of you, stop your goddam bike long enough to let them pass, for chrissake.

Loopholes in the lawI was relieved to read in the Times over the weekend that the state legislature didn’t go overboard when they banned texting while driving.

It seems that the law that went into effect on the first only bans two-way communications; that is, you can’t read or write a text or email to or from another person. (Damn, that was a complicated sentence.) But you can still text or email a corporate site or public forum — although how a cop is supposed to know whether you’re texting another person, or posting to your blog, is beyond me.

So by all means, feel free to respond to this post, or bid on that Cervelo carbon frame you’ve always wanted, while you cruise down the 405 at rush hour. (Cruise being a relative term, or course.)

And best of all, the law only concerns motorized vehicles. So while it may be illegal to text from the saddle of a Harley while you’re stopped at a red light, it’s perfectly legal to do so while you pedal down Wilshire Boulevard.

So be sure to take your iPhone with you on the next Midnight Ridazz Vegan Banana Penis ride, and text us all a photo of the cop writing you a probably unenforceable ticket for riding without a license. Or not.

Imagine no more patch kits. Finally, I was catching up on my reading the other day, when I stumbled upon this small item in the December Esquire Magazine. Evidently, a pair of French scientists have invented a form of synthetic rubber that can heal itself — automatically resealing itself in the event of a puncture or cut.

The developers envision using it to make unbreakable glassware, or — far more interesting for us Angelenos with our crumbling roadways — mixing it with asphalt to develop road surfaces that won’t crack.

And as a cyclist, my mind immediately goes to tires and tubes that won’t go flat. Allowing us to leave our patch kits, tire levers and pumps behind, once and for all.

Although that would ruin the fun for all those people who seem to derive such joy from breaking their empty beer bottles in the bike lane.

 

Ubrayj — or El Brayjereno, if you prefer — describes how to stage a coup in the LABAC. L.A. loses it’s Bike Snob, but gains an Anonymous Cyclist. Damien wants to know what kinds of stories you want StreetblogLA to cover in the coming year. Personally, I want to know why no one has chucked a brick through those damned digital billboards yet. (Not that I condone taking the law into your own hands, of course.) And Timur, in his non-cycling blog, poetically describes his language skills in architectural terms — a perfect example of why I love his writing. Borrowing his metaphorical device, though, my German is like an old refrigerator box under the overpass that someone is using to sleep in, while my Spanish is like an empty Carona six-pack at his feet. And my French is like a broken bottle of Ripple in the gutter… 

Shocked — shocked! — I am to find bikes on the bike path

I never cease to be amazed at people who are shocked — shocked! — to discover bikes on the bike path.

Like the people who casually stroll along the bike lanes on Santa Monica’s Montana Avenue, the Marvin Braude (nee Santa Monica) bike path along the beach is inexplicably full of people who seem to have no clue that they might actually encounter bicycles as they blithely ignore the Bikes Only and No Pedestrian markings under their feet.

Just to be clear, I’m not talking the entire 22.3 mile length of the path. The upper portion along Will Rogers State Beach is usually okay, as is the lower portion through the South Bay, at least until you get to Hermosa Beach. No, I’m referring to the vastly over-populated portion from the Venice Pier north to the walkway under PCH at West Channel Road.

I’ve had a number of bizarre encounters there over the years, such as the time a toddler darted out from the parking lost directly in front of me. I jammed on my brakes and managed to come to a panic stop just inches from her.

So did the bystanders chastise her parents, for letting a small child run unsupervised like that? Or did they commend me for riding defensively, and putting the safety of a child ahead of my own?

Of course not.

Instead, I got to hear an old guy complaining about “all the damn bicycles on the bike path.” And I rode off, wondering just exactly what he expected to find there.

Then there was the woman so engrossed in her cell phone conversation that she stepped directly onto the bike path — and right in front of me — without ever looking up. So I yelled out a warning and learned hard to my left, then immediately back to the right, carving a perfect C shape right around her.

And then I made my big mistake. I stopped to make sure she was okay.

She started screaming at me — without ending her call, of course — for having the audacity to frighten her. Never mind that if she’d done the same thing on a city street, she’d probably be dead now. Or that a less experience cyclist probably would have crashed right into her, sending both of us to the ER.

No, as far as she was concerned, she was blameless and I was the bad guy, just because I tried to spare us both from serious injury.

In other words, blame bicyclists first.

Or take the large family of very large Texans I encountered near the volleyball courts awhile back. There were about 12 of them, all gathered in a group and completely blocking the entire bike path in both directions.

Eternal optimist that I am, I assumed that they would move aside to let me pass when I got close. But no, they just stared at me, their bovine expressions unchanging as they gazed at the approaching cyclist.

Polite requests to pass accomplished nothing. So finally I came to a full stop just feet in front of them and, exasperated, yelled at them to get out of the way.

That had the same effect as poking an enraged bull. The women started screaming at me and the men started moving angrily towards me. One woman, apparently the matriarch of the group, sputtered that they were from Texas, and had never encountered such rudeness.

So let’s recap, shall we? They were far from home, blocking a major pathway, preventing anyone else from passing in any direction, and ignoring every reasonable request for passage.

And I was the rude one?

Finally, some other riders approaching on the other side of the group called for them to move, as well, and slowly they gave way to either side, not unlike Moses parting the Red Sea.

And I rode off, wishing them a safe and speedy return to Texas.

Okay, so I may have left out the safe part.

Today’s must reads: Streetsblog reminds readers about tonight’s DWP meeting to discuss the annual Festival of Lights, giving us an opportunity to protest their absurd — and illegal — ban on bicycles (thanks to Alex Thompson for pointing us to section 21 of the state vehicle code). Speaking of Alex, he’s posted a beautiful reverie on racing a magical wave on Ballona Creek. The Time’s Bottleneck Blog provides the details of the proposed sales tax increase, which still lacks any provision for bicycles and pedestrians. And finally, sad news from my home town, where one rider was killed and another severely injured when they were stuck from behind by a drunk driver — at 5:20 in the morning.

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