Tag Archive for Peter Flax

Morning Links: Tamika Butler leaves LACBC, anti-bike NIMBYs sue LA, and Peter Flax nearly needs his own obit

When I was asked to join the board of the Los Angeles County Bicycling Coalition in 2010, I set out a list of goals I wanted to accomplish as a board member.

Chief among those was extending the reach of the LACBC beyond its mostly white, mostly Westside base to serve the too often ignored communities south of the 10 Freeway, and east of the LA River.

Tamika Butler made that happen.

In her nearly three years heading the coalition, she brought a degree of professionalism that the mostly volunteer organization had never known, building a solid organizational structure and hiring an experienced professional staff to serve the bicyclists of LA County.

But more than that, she built upon efforts that had already been underway — some successful, some not — to make the LACBC a national leader in addressing equity in bicycling, and in using bikes as tools for social justice. And in the process, started a conversation on race and bias that has reverberated throughout the US.

Since stepping down from the board last year, I’ve watched as the stature of the bike coalition has continued to grow, not in her shadow, but on her shoulders.

And it had become obvious that she had outgrown her position with the LACBC, and would inevitably soon move on to a more prominent role.

That day has come.

The LACBC announced yesterday that Tamika Butler will be leaving her position as Executive Director as of July 14th. Streetsblog reports she’ll be moving on to head the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust.

They’ll be lucky to have her.

Normally, that would be their gain and the LACBC’s loss. But in this case, that doesn’t fit.

In her short time with the coalition, she has lifted it to heights no one could have predicted when the board voted unanimously to hire her. And left it positioned for even greater growth and success in the years to come.

I hate to see her go.

But it’s time to take her fight beyond the world of bicycling, where she can make a bigger impact on the greater society.

And help make this a better, fairer and more equitable city for all us.

You can read the messages of Tamika Butler and LACBC Board Chair Doug John announcing her departure here.

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The City of Los Angeles is being sued by the guardians of LA past, who think it’s their self-appointed duty to stop any forward momentum in the City of Angeles.

Like the nearly completed Target store that’s been sitting vacant and unfinished at Sunset and Western for several years, keeping the neighborhood blighted, depressing local businesses and denying residents the jobs it would create.

Not because it violates city zoning rules, as they claim. But because they simply don’t want it in their neighborhood.

In other words, the worst kind of NIMBYs, willing to screw over an entire neighborhood — or city — in an attempt to maintain the status quo for the privileged few.

Now these same people are suing the city for — get this — exposing children to dangerous levels of smog by placing bike lanes on major streets.

Not that kids are likely to use those arterial commuter lanes. Or that they give a rat’s ass about kids with asthma.

And never mind that the studies they insist the mayor is refusing to conduct have been done repeatedly around the world, and show that the benefits of bicycling far outweigh any risk from auto exhaust or otherwise polluted air.

They just don’t want bikes besmirching their fair boulevards. Or to sacrifice one inch of pavement that could be devoted to their cars.

And they’re willing to rest their case on bogus fears about the dangers to kids to do it.

If they win, LA’s hard-fought bike plan will be out the window. Which has been their real intent all along.

Meaning that you’ll be forced onto side streets, if you choose to use what few bike lanes they deem appropriate, requiring longer, circuitous routes to get where you’re going. Or continue to mix it up with motor vehicles on streets that will remain dangerous in deference to LA’s automotive hegemony.

Let’s hope the courts see through this one and show them the door.

Preferably with a foot firmly attached to their collective ass.

You have to hand it to any attorney who would be willing to publicly display such a complete and total lack of understanding of bike lanes and road diets.

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Hollywood Reporter features editor Peter Flax writes his own obituary following a chilling close call with the driver of a Porsche on Olympic Blvd.

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Manhattan Beach residents are going to war over the road diet on Vista del Mar in Playa del Rey, preparing to sue the city for their God-given right to drive from the South Bay to their offices in Santa Monica and Century City without setting wheels on a roadway actually designed for that purpose.

Because evidently, it’s worth killing a few strangers every year so they can keep commuting in their single-occupant SUVs from their multimillion dollar beachfront homes. And LA is supposed to just bend over and let them.

Regardless of the harm they do to the people and communities along their way.

You can see what those road diet opponents have to say on the subject by checking out their Facebook and Twitter pages.

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A British woman has started a petition to protect the roads — or rather, those poor, put-upon drivers — from dangerous cyclists who play chicken with cars and hurl abuse at the people in them.

After all, it couldn’t possibly be drivers who pass too close to bikes or do anything that might inspire that anger.

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Britain’s governing body for sports either missed or willfully ignored problems with the cycling program.

Greg LeMond once again calls for banning race radios in the Tour de France to make the race more unpredictable and exciting. An idea I wholeheartedly endorse. Just put the riders on their bikes and let them race.

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Local

Streetsblog reports on Tuesday’s public meeting to discuss changes to deadly Fletcher Drive though Atwater Village, which writer Joe Linton describes as a necessary route for bicyclists through the area, despite the dangers of high speed traffic. Needless to say, most drivers at the meeting seemed to prefer the option that didn’t include a road diet or bike lanes, and wouldn’t do much to improve safety for anyone.

Six streets in the San Fernando Valley are scheduled for Vision Zero safety improvements, including Sepulveda Blvd and Lankershim Blvd — where Councilmember Paul Krekorian has already decided to keep the street dangerous instead of installing a road diet with bike lanes. The misleading headline implies bike lanes are planned for all of the streets, which is contradicted by the story.

Bike SGV reports Pasadena is planning to make the Sierra Madre Villa Gold Line station more walkable and bikeable.

The new superintendent of the La Habra city school district rode a bicycle across the US when she was in her 20s. I like her already.

 

State

That bike-riding rhino replica will complete its tour of the left coast in San Diego this weekend.

A UC Riverside man will ride from LA to DC this summer to spread a message of diversity and tolerance.

It’s safe to get back on your bike again. The Sacramento man who was convicted of deliberately running down three bike riders is back behind bars after being released on a clerical error.

 

National

Wired looks at the movement of women’s bike makers to finally go beyond shrink it and pink it.

An Austin TX teenager says he was “just blowing off steam” when he shot a bike rider in the face with a shotgun, nearly killing him. Hopefully, he’ll be in prison long enough to permanently lose that smug look on his face; thanks to Steve Katz for the heads-up.

Must be something in the water. In another Austin case, a 26-year old man was arrested after trying to ride salmon on an Interstate highway in an effort to elude police.

An Op-Ed in the New York Daily News calls on the NYPD to stop automatically blaming bike riders for crashes where they weren’t at fault, and stop cracking down on people on bikes as a result. Like in the case of the Israeli man killed riding a New York bikeshare bike, who didn’t swerve into a bus after all.

Philadelphia steps up plans for Vision Zero after a longtime transportation advocate was killed when a driver jumped the curb onto the sidewalk where he and another person were walking.

A Baltimore lawyer and the head of the city’s bike advocacy group explain why they successfully sued to prevent the mayor from ripping out a protected bike lane.

What the fuck is wrong with people? A Baltimore mother was murdered in a dispute over her son’s bike seat.

Jamie McMurray is one of us, part of the brigade of NASCAR drivers who’ve taken up bicycling, including a recent 102 mile ride up a South Carolina mountain.

 

International

Treehugger reviews Carlton Reid’s new book Bike Boom: The Unexpected Resurgence of Cycling. Which I hope to have in my own hot little hands in the near future.

The Guardian asks if you can pick out cities from just their naked bikeway networks. Even without looking at the multiple choice answers, Los Angeles is obvious from its disconnected non-network and over-reliance on river and beachfront bike paths.

Evidently, it’s perfectly okay to kill a bike-riding woman with your truck in the UK, then decide there’s no point hanging around once the paramedics arrive, and continue with your deliveries.

A Welsh website explains why participants in the World Naked Bike Ride aren’t likely to be arrested; apparently, public nudity is legal as long as you aren’t offensive. Which pretty much rules me out.

I want to be like him when I grow up. Record-setting, 105-year old Robert Marchand helps kick off a French cycling event he competed in several times in years past.

A Berlin bicyclist was fatally doored by a diplomat, apparently from the Saudi Arabian embassy. Thanks to again to Steve Katz.

Denmark focuses on building streets where children can bike to school alone, resulting in happier, healthier kids. And adults.

ZDNet looks at the smart internet-connected Estonian bike lock being installed in the Bay Area BART stations.

A 26-year old Indian man will spend the next three years bicycling around the country to share the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi with school children. I want to be like him, too.

A bike group paints murals around Beirut, Lebanon to promote riding over driving.

Melbourne, Australia is the latest city to be invaded by Chinese dockless bikeshare.

 

Finally…

Your next bike light could help fill potholes. Bike racing comes to Beverly Hills; no, not that Beverly Hills.

And no, hurling it off a seven-story building is not the proper use of a bikeshare bike.

 

Morning Links: CA needs big bike boost to meet climate goals, screw the Rules, and riding on glass through NYC

It’s election day. Get out and bike the vote if you haven’t already.

And if you haven’t made a final decision in where to put your X, check out the voting guide from Bike the Vote LA.

I’m voting no on Measure S and yes on H. And wishing I was in CD1 to vote for Joe Bray-Ali, or still in CD5 to vote for Jesse Creed.

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California will require a nine-fold increase in the rate of bike ridership, along with dramatic increases in walking and transit use, to meet the state’s 2030 climate change according to the LA Times.

Not to mention a corresponding decrease in driving rates, and an increase in density — which would be blocked if Measure S passes.

But it will take more than denser neighborhoods to get people out on their bikes.

Like a real commitment to building out the bike lanes and bicycle friendly streets contained in the Los Angeles Mobility Plan 2035. A commitment we’ve yet to see from our certain to be re-elected mayor or the city’s Department of Transportation.

And one that will have to be replicated in cities and towns up and down the state.

Not to mention a genuine commitment to LA’s Vision Zero Plan, which the people in charge of implementing it still see as “aspirational.”

That suggests they’re not willing to make the tough choices necessary to actually end traffic deaths, but will gladly settle for merely reducing them.

Which means people may still not feel safe on the streets unless they’re wrapped in a couple tons of steel and glass. And as long as they don’t feel safe, those lofty bike and walking goals won’t be met in the next 13 years.

Or maybe ever.

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Another great piece from former Bicycling editor in chief and current Hollywood Reporter features editor Peter Flax, who says the Velominati’s Rules were funny at first, but it’s time to give them a rest.

Seriously. Just get out on your bike and ride. Everything else is just details. And if someone else doesn’t like it, that’s their problem.

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If you haven’t seen it yet, this may be the coolest video you’ll see all day. Or maybe all week.

Bored New Yorker magazine illustrator Christoph Niemann sketched a simple illustration of a bike rider on the inside of a car window as he rode in the backseat. And filmed it as the rider appears to magically come to life, riding alongside as they travel through the city.

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More news from around the world about the Para-cycling Track World Championships that took place in our own backyard. But which no one seems to know about, since the local news media hasn’t bothered to mention it.

The US won its first-ever gold in the men’s team sprint event as the meet came to a close, with American Joseph Berenyi claiming double gold in the sprint and scratch C1-C2-C3 events.

Britain dominated day three with six medals, including a sweep of the tandem time trial; Brit rider Jon Gildea won two golds and a silver.

Slovak cyclist Jozef Metelka defended his title in the individual time trial.

And after so much bad news from Malaysia lately, it’s nice to see the country’s athletes shine in LA, taking bronze in the 200 meter sprint.

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The US and the UK are finalizing plans for an every-other-year Olympic-style competition involving a half-dozen sports, including cycling; the first could take place in 2019.

After months of accusations of sexism and doping, Britain’s governing body for cycling has chosen a female soccer executive to head the organization.

Cycling Weekly hunts for the truth about the prevalence of asthma in the peloton, and the use of Therapeutic Use Exemptions to gain an unfair advantage over the competition.

You should be able to see the inaugural four-day Colorado Classic bike race, as NBC Sports has agreed to broadcast it and stream it live online.

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Local

KPCC reports on plans for parking-protected bike lanes on Spring and Main in DTLA. The streets will eventually get concrete islands and curbs to protect riders and pedestrians at intersections.

The Source offers great photos of Sunday’s 626 Golden Streets open streets event through the San Gabriel Valley. Streetsblog reports on the event and solicits comments from readers who attended it.

 

State

Helmet cam video from the Santa Ana River trail shows it’s becoming a homeless encampment for several hundred people, potentially putting riders at risk. This is a lose/lose for everyone involved. A bike path should be safe for the people who use it. And everyone should have the right to have a roof over their heads, something Measure H will help accomplish in LA County.

San Francisco’s bike coalition object to the sudden removal of protected bike lanes from plans to improve safety on Upper Market Street. Maybe city officials want to improve safety, just not that much.

The San Francisco Weekly questions whether a proposal to put an end to bike chop shops in the city targets the most vulnerable. So, they’re saying stealing bikes is okay if you’re poor?

A Berkeley ghost bike memorializes a 78-year old man who had been riding in the city since he was a child.

 

National

Popular Mechanics says gravel cycling is terrifying — and exhilarating.

Legislation was introduced by California Representative Tom McClintock that would end the blanket ban on bicycles in federal Wilderness areas. Since it’s sponsored by a Republican, it might actually have a chance of passing in the current GOP dominated Congress.

The official report has been released into the death of a Montana Forest Service officer who was mauled by a grizzly bear, after crashing his mountain bike into it while rounding a blind curve at high speed.

Billings MT is struggling to find a way to pay for the city’s bike and pedestrian plan as federal funding dries up.

Austin TX has embarked on a three-year plan to reduce traffic congestion by doubling the number of people on bikes.

Muhammad Ali started boxing after his bike was stolen in Louisville KY; if he was still around this summer, he could just take the city’s new bikeshare, instead.

Bike Portland looks at day one of the first National Bike Summit of the Trump era.

 

International

Good news and bad news when it comes to the effects of bicycling on your sex life.

To the shock of absolutely no one, Carlos Vives and Shakira say their song La Bicicleta wasn’t copied from a Cuban singer.

Winnipeg officially decides it’s up to you whether or not to wear a helmet.

Bizarre tragedy from great Britain, where a bike rider died days after suffering a broken leg when he fell on a descent.

A British driver gets eight months for a “catastrophic error of judgment” for passing a bicyclist at the wrong time, even though the rider was wearing more hi-viz clothing than is “normally necessary.” So just how much is necessary?

Odd posters of a faceless boy on a balance bike have got residents of an English town talking.

Berlin is the latest city to plan a network of bicycle superhighways. You’ll note that Los Angeles is not rushing to join them.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to fuck someone in the bushes, get off your bike first — and maybe don’t do it in full view of a passing bus. If you’re going to steal a bike, promising to return it later probably isn’t going to work.

And no, sneaking your gun past airport security hidden in your bicycle probably isn’t the smarted move, either.

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Thanks to Margaret for her generous donation to help support this site. And a special thanks to Pocrass & De Los Reyes for renewing their sponsorship for another year.

 

Morning Links: Happy 200th bike birthday, US traffic fatalities jump, and DMV says no parking in bike lanes

If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t miss yesterday’s guest rant on why motorists hate bicyclists.

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Stop whatever you’re doing, and read this.

Hollywood Reporter editor Peter Flax has written a truly exceptional piece on the 200th birthday of the bicycle. Or the forerunner of the bicycle, if you prefer.

And the star-crossed German inventor who brought it into existence.

What is the soul of a bicycle? Is it a pedal-driven drivetrain? Or is it more elemental than that — a human-powered, two-wheeled machine that must be balanced and steered? These questions seem to underscore the doubts many cyclists have when they ponder Drais’ invention — or a modern e-bike. Is it actually a bike if it isn’t entirely powered by pedals?

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

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If you thought American roads were getting worse, you’re right. After a decade-long downward trend, traffic deaths in the US jumped to an estimated 40,200 last year — the highest total in more than 20 years.

The news is no better here, as California traffic fatalities rose at more than double the rate of the US as a whole.

Authorities blame increased driving, prescription drugs and distracted driving.

Then again, there could just more people of color on the streets. According to a study from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, drivers are more likely to stop for a white person in a crosswalk than they are blacks.

Or if they’re rich, they’re less likely to stop, period.

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Came across this piece from the DMV while researching parking restrictions in bike lanes.

As it says, a bike lane is a dedicated traffic lane, and must be treated like any other traffic lane. That means parking in a bike lane is clearly prohibited, just like it is in an HOV lane, turn lane, or the #1, 2 or 3 lanes.

Remember that the next time you see someone parked in one. Although you might have to explain it to the local authorities.

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More endorsements for LA City Council from Bike the Vote LA, as they call for re-electing Mitch O’Farrell in CD13 and Bob Blumenfield in CD3.

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After most Russian athletes were tainted by charges of systematic doping, they’re recruiting Australian former world track champ Shane Perkins to ride for them.

The UK’s Cyclist Magazine explains everything you need to know about Europe’s one-day classics.

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Local

After years of discussion, Metro approves a budget for a Bike Hub at Union Station.

CiclaValley goes riding in Griffith Park.

The Monterey Park Police Department is the latest to step up enforcement of violations that can lead to serious injuries to bike riders and pedestrians. Observe the usual protocol today; ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits.

A new survey says Agoura Hills residents like bike lanes, but they hate traffic.

Redondo Beach considers beautifying the bike path at the north entrance to town with drought-resistant plants, as well as widening it to accommodate more people on foot.

 

State

Even tiny Joshua Tree is about to get its first bike lane. Although putting it behind traditional angled parking is just asking for trouble; back-in angled parking would be much safer.

Santa Barbara police blame a bike rider for colliding with a car, saying he gained too much speed coming out of a driveway; fortunately, he seemed okay other than some road rash.

A Fresno rider calls for improving the relationship between motorists and cyclists.

San Jose’s traffic columnist explains what sharrows are, but misses the opportunity to explain what they mean.

More sad news from Northern California, where a 77-year old man riding a bike was murdered by a hit-and-run driver; it’s the second Sacramento bicycling death in two days. And a Napa man was found dead on the side of a highway in what appears to be a solo bike crash.

Davis police bust the bike-riding mosque bacon draper.

An Oroville man was reunited with the bike and trailer he abandoned on the side of the road when everyone downstream from the damaged dam was evacuated. Although you’d think a bike would have been the best way to get out.

Horrible news from Redding, as a bike rider was shot and killed by a motorist in a road rage dispute. But the man had a concealed carry permit, so that makes it okay, right?

 

National

US News & World Report says ditch your car if you want to save real money. Who even knew they were still around?

Ditching your car could also save your life; heart disease is expected to be a $1.1 trillion dollar problem by 2035, with 45% of Americans suffering from some form. Fortunately, the cure could be as simple as getting more people out of their cars and onto bicycles. Thanks to my brother Eric for the heads-up.

PeopleForBikes looks at my already very bike-friendly hometown, as it prepares to get even more so. Every place I’ve ever lived has made great changes to become bike-friendly only after I left. Maybe I need to leave Los Angeles so it can finally make some real improvements on the street.

Bicycling Magazine looks at the nation’s first glow-in-the-dark protected bike lane at Texas A&M.

West Virginia considers stronger penalties for hit-and-run by making it a felony with up to three years in prison; right now it’s just a misdemeanor.

Sad news from DC, as the founder of the Rails-to-Trails movement has died from acute myeloid leukemia; David Burwell was 69.

The Big Easy demos the city’s coming bikeshare system.

 

International

Life is cheap in Britain, where a star player for the Southampton soccer team faces just a driver’s education class after admitting to careless driving in a collision that left a bike rider with critical injuries; the victim got a equivalent of a $37 fine for going through a red light.

An Irish man with schizophrenia says he doesn’t remember punching a man in his 60s and knocking him off his bike, but he’s very, very sorry.

The Copenhagen-based makers of the Bullitt cargo bike hire an illustrator to turn their cargo boxes into works of art, too.

A Kiwi cyclist was knocked cold in a moped hit-and-run. A she was helmetless, after her bike and helmet were stolen last week.

Caught on video: A Jeep driver cuts off a sidewalk-riding Aussie bicyclist in the right-hand drive equivalent of a right hook. Despite what the story implies, there’s no question who is at fault. And it ain’t the guy on the bike.

 

Finally…

Forget scofflaw cyclists; Millennial drivers are the real road terrors. If you run over protesters, you’re the victim.

And don’t smash mirrors, dude.

 

Morning Links: The tragic story of a ghost bike, and pre-holiday coffee and carb loading in the South Bay

It’s the final day of the 2nd Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive. Give now to keep Southern California’s best source for bike news coming your way every morning!

One quick note before we start.

Unless there’s breaking news, this will be the last new post until after the New Year, as we take the next week off for a little well-deserved rest and the opportunity to make some behind-the-scenes improvements.

So please accept my best wishes for joyful holiday, whatever and however you celebrate. And for a very healthful, happy and prosperous year to come.

May we all have peace, if not on the Earth, at least in our hearts.

Ride safely, and we’ll see you back here bright and early on January 3rd.

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In a truly heartbreaking story, Hollywood Reporter editor — and former Bicycling editor-in-chief — Peter Flax follows a ghost bike from being stripped down and painted, to installation as a memorial to fallen bike rider Deborah Gresham.

As you may recall, Gresham was the victim of a drunken hit-and-run just seconds from her Stanton home this past October; she’s recalled as the giving, generous and caring founder of a popular Walking Dead fan site.

Flax traces the history of the ghost bike movement from its beginnings in San Francisco and St. Louis, and talks with local ghost bike organizer Danny Gamboa.

It’s a moving long read that reminds us of the horrible, needless waste on our streets, and the unbearable loss suffered over and over throughout the country on a daily basis.

And one that brought tears to my eyes before he was done.

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Delia Park forwards news of a good excuse to load up on coffee and sweets tomorrow for a Christmas Eve and pre-Chanukah celebration.

Join for some post Donut Ride carb loading!

WHERE: St. Honore Bakery in Lunada Bay, Palos Verdes Estates.

WHEN: This Saturday, December 24th from 10am to 12pm. Come anytime- we will be there!

WHY: Seth Davidson Bike Injury Lawyer and Cyclists For PV and So Cal Bike Safety will be picking up the tab for coffee and sugary bakery items in order to support local businesses.

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‘Tis the season.

Kindhearted employees of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office pitch in to buy a tandem bike for an El Rio man after thieves stole the money he’d been saving for two years so his medically challenged son could ride with him. Bad enough if thieves steal your bike; worse if they take your money before you can even buy it.

Food Network celebrity chef Guy Fieri rounded up bikes, helmets and other fun gifts for distribution to various NorCal children’s organizations.

Sacramento police give out bikes, helmets and toys to children. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

The Butte County Sheriff’s Office donated over 100 refurbished bicycles as part of its 17th annual Christmas Bike Giveaway.

An Ohio non-profit donates eleven new bicycles for children with a history of abuse, neglect and abandonment; since 2008, they’ve given new bicycles to nearly 6,500 children in foster care.

British cycling legend Brian Robinson dresses like Santa to give away 50 refurbished bikes for a UK charity.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks with Bike SGV advocates David Diaz and Wes Reutimann, as well as South Pasadena Mayor Mike Cacciotti and Transit Coalition executive director Bart Reed about the years biggest stories, and what we can look forward to in 2017. Meanwhile, Joe Linton calls on readers to support the non-profit news organization.

West Hollywood’s Community Development Department says the lamely named WeHo Pedals bikeshare is off to a strong start, with 545 people completing 3,919 trips since it was launched at the end of August.

One Santa Monica paper says it’s been a great year for bikeshare in the city, while another looks at Santa Monica’s new bike counter.

Long Beach bike and pedestrian deaths are increasing, which reflects the larger national trend.

 

State

The family of fallen San Luis Obispo triathlete Bridget Dawson files a lawsuit alleging that the driver was on the phone with her employer at the time of the crash. Meanwhile, a pair of SLO bike advocates says it’s possible to halt the increase in bicycling fatalities in the county.

Richmond votes to conduct a road diet to create a four-mile Complete Street, including bike lanes.

A Marin County writer says the world isn’t going to come to an end when an existing trail is opened to mountain bikers, and that concerns over safety are just an excuse to try blocking bike access.

After an accused drunken, underage hit-and-run driver killed a bike rider in a Fairfield collision, he came back to ask a bystander what happened.

Redding police recover a 7-year old girl’s stolen lime green BMX after a month-long investigation.

 

National

Finally, a use for your hi-viz. Other that trying to not get run over, that is.

Streetsblog looks at how states are standing in the way of cities’ efforts to lower speed limits. California’s deadly and outdated 85th Percentile Law is to blame for our state’s constant increase in speed limits and the inability to reign them in.

No, seriously. As much as some of us would like to bring back hanging for bike rustling, it’s really not worth having a shootout with Tucson AZ police to escape after stealing a child’s bicycle.

An Austin TX bike rider settles with the city for $3,000, two years after he was hit by a police detective in an unmarked car who was unfamiliar with the rider’s right to the road.

The hit-and-run epidemic is really getting bad when even the cops are doing it. A Massachusetts police officer was charged with leaving the scene of an off-duty collision with a bike rider, as well as negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

An Alexandria VA writer discusses what his bicycle has taught him about local politics, noting “it remains socially acceptable to stereotype people riding bicycles as ‘scofflaws’, while people driving cars are given a pass on speeding.”

 

International

After a Calgary man tried to sell his bicycle to raise money for Christmas presents, he ended up in the back of a patrol car suspected of bike theft — even though he still had the original receipt.

Things are looking up for people-powered transportation in Winnipeg.

New Delhi drivers may soon have to prove they have a place to park it before they’re allowed to register a motor vehicle.

A letter writer says Rwanda must leverage its success in cycling, like other African nations have in marathons and soccer. And apparently, domestique translates to house-helper.

A 26-year old Eritrean man has been named African Cyclist of the Year.

Fifty Malaysian civil servants have been given foldies and instructions to bike to work.

A Singapore writer asks if tougher sentencing would reduce collisions — not accidents, please — before concluding that dangerous drivers need to be stopped before they kill.

 

Finally…

Now you can stick Peter Sagan on your next envelope. It’s one thing to take the lane on a busy highway, another to ride with no hands so you can give a cop the double bird.

And if you’re riding after dark with four grams of coke on your bike, put a damn light on it and stay off the sidewalk.

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Thanks to Samuel Kurutz for his generous support of the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive. And to everyone who contributed their hard-earned money to keep this site coming your way every day.

I can’t begin to tell you how much your support means to me.

And if you have given yet, there’s still time.

Morning Links: Former pro Steve Tilford seriously injured, Mercedes decides who to save, and retracing a rare bike

Hopefully we’ve finally got the problem with email notifications fixed. Let me know if you’re still not getting them.

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Former pro cyclist Steve Tilford, one of the first wave of American cyclists to enter the top levels of the sport, suffered a severe head injury in a fall last week.

Tilford was participating in a regular group ride when his bike struck a dog that had run into the street and he went over his handlebars, striking his head on the pavement; he was not wearing a helmet.

While the prognosis is positive, he is expected to take a year of intensive therapy to make a full recovery.

Another rider who crashed into him suffered a collapsed lung and four broken ribs.

And no, there’s no word on the dog.

For Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson, it brings up the debate over whether or not to wear a helmet.

Meanwhile, BMX pro Scotty Cranmer is in critical condition in a Las Vegas hospital after falling face-first when his front wheel got stuck in a hole; as of Sunday night, a crowdfunding site had raised over $25,000 for his medical expenses.

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In the ongoing debate over self-driving cars, Mercedes Benz decides the lives of its occupants are more important than the lives of others.

After all, they’re the ones paying for it, right?

Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

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Nice piece from Peter Flax about tracking down the history of a rare Richard Sachs racing bike that won the collegiate cyclocross championship for Adam Myerson in 1997, after it found its way back to its original owner.

………

Twenty-year old Dutch rider Amalie Dideriksen outsprints the favorites to take the women’s world championship. Meanwhile Peter Sagan repeats as the men’s champ and Mark Cavendish settles for second, while John Degenkolb gives another rider a squirt.

The head of UCI praises Qatar for developing a cycling culture, while saying with a straight face that there hasn’t been any cases of heat exhaustion in the extreme desert temperatures, despite the many riders who collapsed along the course.

Aussie cycling champ Anna Meares calls it a career after winning six Olympic medals.

The cycling community wants to ban the narcotic painkiller Tramadol, which is popular in the pro peloton to help riders bounce back from the pain of racing. Meanwhile, former world champ David Millar explains how the therapeutic use exemption allows riders to get away with doping; thanks to Ralph Durham and George Wolfberg for the link.

………

Local

A homeless Santa Monica man was found with bike parts and a nine-inch bolt cutter, admitted to being a meth addict, and told investigators how to bust a U-lock by twisting the bike frame. And was let go with a citation, along with his companion, for medical reasons. Homeless people need help, not jail. But writing a damn ticket to a confessed bike thief isn’t going to stop anyone.

Santa Monica will host a Kiddical Mass Halloween costume ride on the 29th.

Santa Clarita is the site of a Gran Fondo next Saturday to benefit the fight against Parkinson’s disease.

Long Beach is looking for volunteers for their annual bike count this Thursday.

There’s a special place in hell for anyone who’d steal a bike from a Long Beach man who had passed out from a diabetic incident.

 

State

A 15-mile stretch of bike path along the Santa Ana River due to be completed by 2019 would bring long-standing plans for a continuous 100-mile bike and equestrian trail reaching from the San Bernardino Mountains to Huntington Beach one step closer to completion.

A San Diego bicyclist was injured Sunday when her bike hit a steel plate in the road covering repair work. Which is a reminder that raised plates can knock you off your bike, while the plates themselves can provide little or no traction, especially if there’s moisture present.

A Santa Cruz letter writer says it’s your own damn fault if you get hit by a car if you don’t come to a complete, foot-on-the-ground stop at stop signs. Actually, there’s no requirement that bike riders have to put a foot down when coming to a stop. And it can actually increase the risk, while being guaranteed to piss off the drivers around you if you insist on putting a foot down at every stop.

 

National

The Feds have finally concluded that bike boxes really do reduce conflicts between bike riders and motorists at intersections.

A writer looks at why cyclists and drivers don’t get along, explaining that insurance is a better option than trying to get even with someone. Although it’s a false premise; the overwhelming majority bicyclists and drivers do get along; it’s the exceptions that are the problem.

A former Hawaii police officer has been indicted for negligent homicide, tampering with evidence and filing a false report in the hit-and-run death of a vacationing bike rider; he was fired from the force as a result of his actions.

Life is cheap in Illinois, where the death of a mother of five who was riding in a crosswalk marked with flashers merits a lousy $150 fine. Although it will result in a change in the state’s driver’s manual requiring motorists to stop for a crosswalk warning signal until pedestrians and bicyclists have safely crossed the road. Because evidently common sense is not a requirement for a license, there or anywhere else.

A Chattanooga writer says bike riders shouldn’t be licensed and aren’t the real problem, but bike lanes don’t belong on busy streets. But what the hell is a “California-type politician”?

A 15-year old Pennsylvania boy was sentenced to spend the next 35 years behind bars for shooting another teenager while attempting to steal his bicycle.

Most drunk drivers get off with a slap on the wrist. A Delaware bicyclist busted for biking under the influence following a crash got 32 days in county jail, plus 90 days house arrest, a $1,500 fine and lost her driver’s license for 18 months. In California, that would merit just a $250 fine, with no points on your license.

NPR takes a look at sidewalk cycling in DC, making the point that, legal or not, you’re usually safer on the street — which is exactly where pedestrians want you. Thanks to Joni Yung for the tip.

 

International

Bike Radar offers 11 ways to be a greener cyclist. Like don’t drop your damn trash on the side of the road — and that includes gel packs and CO2 cartridges.

Canadian cyclists are outraged at Orange Theory Fitness for co-opting ghost bikes for their marketing campaign. Apparently, the chain gets enough benefit from the publicity that they don’t care about offending bike riders, since they keep doing it, despite the complaints.

A front page editorial in the Times of London blames segregated bike lanes for helping to increase traffic congestion, but hides most of the story behind a pay wall. Bike Biz points out just .02% of London roads even have them, never mind that the real cause of increased congestion is the millions of additional cars on the road.

Once again, bike riders are heroes, as a group of passing bicyclists save the life of a British woman who drove into a lake.

An Irish writer complains about the moral ambiguity of inviting Lance Armstrong to speak at a public event in Dublin, while imagining him being wheeled out in a mask like Hannibal Lector.

Two Indian cyclists rode 2,700 miles to raise awareness of the need for girls’ education.

A group of 30 cyclists plowed into a 95-year old Aussie man, then just left him lying on the side of the road. Although, despite what the article initially says, one rider identifying himself as a doctor did stop briefly to check the victim out before rejoining the other riders. Regardless, there’s simply no excuse to leave an injured person like that, young or old.

 

Finally…

No, you can’t peddle ice cream while pedaling in Victoria, BC. If you’re going to ride your bike over the roof of a car, make sure it’s your car.

And it’s no surprise that drivers who accidently run down cyclists just get a slap on the wrist when doing it on purpose only gets a year in jail.

 

Morning Links: Connecting the dots in LA doping scandal; bike routes through Camp Pendleton closed next week

One quick note before we get started.

I’ll be meeting with the officers in the LAPD’s bike liaison program later today; leave a comment below if you know of any bicycling issues or problem areas you’d like me to address with them.

………

Peter Flax, former editor in chief of Bicycling magazine, connects all the dots in the Nick Brandt-Sorenson doping scandal.

He points out that the rider disqualified for doping after winning the Masters 30-34 national road championships — and recently convicted of selling performance enhancing drugs over state lines — is the same one who owns many of the allegedly dope-aided LA-area KOMs on Strava.

Many people, especially road-racing types in Los Angeles who have to wake up to emails from Strava notifying them of lost KOMs, would like to see these marks stricken. We are talking about a convicted doper who now has admitted to selling EPO. We are talking about a strong but undistinguished big guy who was pack fodder in Pro/1/2 crits who has taken dozens of KOMs from far smaller WorldTour climbers.

When I asked Marcotte about Brandt-Sorenson’s Strava achievements, he laughed out loud. “There’s no way that guy could have done that with the fitness I ever saw — no fucking way,” Marcotte said. “He’s a pretty stout dude. He must be 75 kilos [165 pounds]. That’s a red flag.”

Then there’s this,

I emailed a copy of these testing claims to Cannondale pro Phil Gaimon, who says he doesn’t know Brandt-Sorenson, but has riding friends in common. His reply: “To be honest, he seems like Lance-level creep, just not as good at it.”

It’s a good story, from someone who knows how to tell it.

………

Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious forwards word that the bike path through Camp Pendleton will be closed next week — as will the usual alternate route on the shoulders of I-5 through the base.

This comes from an email from Caltrans’ Seth Cutter —

The U.S. Marine Corps is planning to temporarily close the Camp Pendleton Bike Path—the only bike access between Las Pulgas Rd. and Basilone Rd. along Interstate 5 (I-5)— for military operations between this Monday, Mar. 28 and Friday, April 1, 2016.  Under normal bike path closure circumstances Caltrans would open the freeway shoulders in this segment to bicyclists, however there is a construction project that has closed the shoulders of I-5 in that segment.  Caltrans will provide a 24/7 on-call shuttle to carry bicyclists through the closures in the I-5 corridor between Oceanside and San Clemente.  The phone number for the shuttle is (619)385-3267.  Pick-up/drop-off locations are at Oceanside Harbor in the east parking lot (NW corner of the lot), at the park and ride lot at Las Pulgas Rd., and Basilone Rd.(at the south end of the Trestles bike path, where it meets Old Hwy 101).  Signs at these locations will include the shuttle phone number.  Please share this information and make your plans accordingly. We apologize for any inconveniences in advance.

………

A British driver is caught on video deliberately driving onto a sidewalk to run down a bike rider, who then gets up and smashes the car’s rear window.

………

 

Local

Councilmember Jose Huizar announces a new plan called DTLA Forward to improve safety in the Downtown area, including parking-protected bike lanes on Spring and Main. Which just shows what can happen when a councilmember actually gives a damn about improving safety, rather than blocking needed improvements.

Boyonabike gets excited about the new buffered bike lanes on North Halstead Street in Pasadena. Especially since he called for them in his very first blog post nearly four years ago.

Stephen Frears, director of The Program, talks with Variety about Lance and doping.

BikeSGV will celebrate the new Gold Line extension with a Bike the Gold Line ride this Sunday.

CiclaValley talks with John Morlock about Ride2Recovery and next month’s Honor Ride in Simi Valley.

 

State

Redlands will host the 7th annual RUFF Ride this Saturday to benefit animals, including shelters, rescues and spay-neuter initiatives. Yesterday was National Puppy Day; celebrate by adopting an adult rescue dog who used to be one.

San Francisco’s bikeshare system is expanding by adding 72 new stations and up to 1,000 more bikes by the end of the year.

Bike-friendly UC Davis is looking for a new Bicycle Program Coordinator, while Calbike is looking for a Communications Director. I’ll take it if they change the title to Minister of Bicycle Propaganda.

 

National

Portland traffic fatalities are running ahead of last year, despite the city’s Vision Zero pledge last year. Just adopting a Vision Zero isn’t enough; it takes real changes on the streets, as well as education and enforcement. And more than just one year.

City Lab says every city needs a Bike Batman to recover stolen bikes, not just Seattle.

A Utah driver gets off with a misdemeanor after fatally running down a bike rider; he had a BAC nearly three times the legal limit following the crash. This kind of failure to take traffic crimes seriously is why people continue to die on our streets.

Ohio transit workers pitch in to buy a 14-year old boy a new bike after his was crushed in a collision while on the front rack of a bus.

Kentucky expands the time period for tracking DUI offenses from five to ten years; a fourth conviction for driving under the influence within a decade would be treated as a felony. Nice that they’re finally doing something. But allowing four strikes before the crime is taken seriously just keeps dangerous drivers on the road.

A new Texas study says women who take oral birth control are less likely to suffer a knee injury and recover faster if they do.

New York plans to remove a four-lane highway blocking access to the Niagara River, replacing it with a park and walking trails.

 

International

A new study from the University of Duh says if you’re out of shape, an intense training session could do more harm than good. Which anyone who has gone for a hard ride too soon in the season can attest to.

Your front derailleur could soon be a thing of the past.

Argentina’s president gives President Obama a new 250-watt e-bike foldie (scroll down). Which should be good for zooming around DC once he’s a private citizen next year.

A Toronto cyclist says a new parking protected bike lane could be a game changer.

A Belgium bike race goes ahead despite this week’s terrorist attacks, with a local favorite coming in first.

Bike Radar talks with the German expat bike shop owner at the heart of Dubai’s cycling revolution, who’s selling high-end bikes to royal customers.

Surprisingly, an Australian study shows there’s no difference in how drivers treat cyclists, regardless of whether they ride themselves.

That $3,000 Chinese smart bike has already smashed its crowdfunding goals, selling 110 bikes with two more weeks to go.

Tokyo authorities hope a new bikeshare system and a 100-bike sidewalk parking space will reduce the number of illegally parked bikes in the Akihabara district.

 

Finally…

Yes, your bike helmet has an expiration date, or maybe not, after all; thanks to Ron Richings for the correction. What do a tandem bike, a WWII grenade and a headless Paddington Bear have in common?

And a Kansas man noticed someone riding a bike that looked just like his son’s. Because it was.

 

Morning Links: Gov. Brown approves bike rider traffic school, too much Seth, and Peter Flax pens two must reads

Big news from Sacramento, as a bill allowing traffic schools for bike riders survives Jerry Brown’s veto pen.

The bill allows local jurisdictions to create diversion programs for traffic violations committed by non-motorists, such as bicyclists and pedestrians. Which means you could pay your penance with a few hours of class instead of a large fee.

But the real benefit is that it will provide a way to educate bike riders who may not be clear on the law, such as salmon cyclists who believe they’re riding the right way by facing traffic.

I’m told by police officers that many cops have been reluctant to ticket bike riders because they don’t think the relatively minor infractions are worth the large fees.

Of course, there are exceptions.

So you might be more likely to get a ticket when you roll that stop. But you could actually learn something from it.

………

That last link came courtesy of Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson, who’s been on a roll lately.

And I don’t mean with his new titanium pulley wheels.

He tells the story of accompanying a bike rider to court for a bogus ticket for riding inside the traffic lane, which is legal anywhere there is not a marked bike lane.

Anything right of the limit line is not considered part of the roadway, and you aren’t legally required to ride there, though you can ride on the shoulder or in the parking lane if you choose.

The single exception is that you are legally required to ride in a bike lane where one exists, though you’re allowed to exit it to avoid obstacles such as debris and parked cars, to pass another rider or pedestrian, or to make a left turn.

These kind of must-use laws should be repealed, as they have been in some more enlightened states; it should be up to the rider to decide where he or she feels safest, without second guessing from a cop who may not understand the many safety choices riders are forced to make.

Getting back to Seth, he finds the law on his side when he’s assaulted by a teenage ham and mustard-throwing car passenger, for a change.

He also pens a post dripping in sarcasm about a call to the courthouse on November 18th for the arraignment of a driver who aimed his car at a cyclist just for the hell of it.

And he’s hosting his own awards show at the Strand Brewing Company in Torrance next month, which should be a hell of a good time. If I win anything, I’ll expect someone to step up and speak about the plight of Native Americans on my behalf.

Seriously, Seth writes one of the best blogs on bicycling, here or anywhere else. Put it in your reading list, and make a point of checking in now and then, if not daily.

And I’m not just saying that to return the favor.

………

Mad Men producer Tom Smuts rode to the Emmys from his home in Santa Monica for the second time, accompanied by an entourage of actors and fellow producers, along with bike advocates and former pro cyclists, to send a clear message about everyday bicycling for anyone paying attention.

Peter Flax of the Hollywood Reporter went along for the ride.

Now if we can just get some of the many bicycling actors to join Ed Begley Jr in riding to next year’s Oscars.

Yes, I’m taking to you, Russell Crowe.

Not to mention Anne Hathaway, Patrick Dempsey, Liev Shreiber, Naomi Watts, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson and far too many others to single out.

………

Speaking of Peter Flax, the former Editor in Chief of Bicycling magazine offers a great overview of the current state of bicycling in the City of Angels for Los Angeles magazine. And pretty much nails it.

Which shouldn’t be too surprising for someone with his background.

Call it your must read for the day.

My understanding is he’ll be penning a regular column for the magazine, so let’s hope this is just the first of many.

………

Once again, CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo has blood on his hands.

A pedestrian was critically injured in a hit-and-run while trying to cross North Figueroa in a marked crosswalk Friday evening, in an area that would have undergone a road diet a couple year ago. Not just to install bike lanes, but to slow traffic and improve safety.

Instead, Cedillo arbitrarily cancelled the fully funded and paint-ready project for reasons known only to him. And personally guaranteed the street would remain one of the most dangerous in Los Angeles.

Nice work, councilman.

………

Copenhagenize sends word that you’re safer on a bike than on a sofa, at least in Denmark.

Safer Than on a Sofa

………

The Christian Science Monitor writes about the return of the world championships to the US, although a restaurant owner says the races are bad for business. And mixing the races with Civil War imagery? Probably not the best idea.

US women scored first and second in the under-23 junior women’s individual time trials at the world championships, while a Danish rider won the men’s title; the top American man finished 10th. WaPo looks at two young men competing in the U23 road races this week who could be the next superstars of American cycling.

American great Kristin Armstrong will attempt to cement her comeback from her latest retirement in today’s time trial; a podium spot would guarantee her a place on the US team for the Rio Olympics. But New Zealand’s top women’s time trial rider is out with a broken collarbone that refused to heal in time.

On the men’s side, a fully recovered Taylor Phinney could drive the US team to greater success than anyone expected. He talks about what it meant to win the team time trial on Sunday.

This is what the racers competing in the world championships might be riding if there were no rules limiting bicycle design. Thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up.

Not even a closed-off race course is safe from intoxicated drivers, as a Richmond driver with a long list of traffic offenses led police on a brief high-speed chase after somehow driving onto the worlds course; not surprisingly, police say he was under the influence of some unspecified substance.

And if the doping era is really over, why do people keep getting caught? And yes, women and mountain bikers do it, too.

………

Local

The Long Beach Post profiles two local natives who rode 4,500 miles from NYC to LBC while covering their journey on the blog Westward Wheels.

A Westside Urban Forum panel tackles the question of healthy communities; bikes are just part of a very big picture.

Feeder rides are already starting to form for next month’s CicLAvia. This one from USC looks to be both educational and fun as they travel up from campus along the coming MyFig corridor.

 

State

A San Diego cyclist looks for the hit-and-run driver who nearly severed her foot.

It’s the age-old battle of bike lanes versus parking spots in Chula Vista, as businesses worry about the loss of parking for bike lanes that would help get riders off the sidewalk.

A Riverside welder turns discarded bike parts into art.

Cyclists from Santa Clara and San Mateo counties call for Vision Zero to eliminate traffic deaths in their area.

A majority of San Francisco supervisors support allowing cyclists to treat stop signs as yields; however, they can’t change state law, and the non-binding ordinance will need the support of the SFPD to have any effect.

The bike-riding ranger of Mount Diablo State Park has retired after 24 years of rescuing riders and ticketing scofflaws.

Chico makes a well-intentioned proposal to stop bike thefts by banning ghost riding and dismantling bikes in public. Nice idea, but it would also stop people from fixing their bikes in the driveway or riding home with a friend’s bike.

 

National

Protected bike lanes are popping up in unexpected places. A writer for the Green Lane Project says they’re are even more useful in snowy climates. Which is not a problem we’re likely to have anytime soon.

Caught on video: Dashcam view of a cyclist getting hit by a Seattle police car after the rider went through a red light; the cop was using lights and siren at the time.

Sales go up nearly nine percent after Salt Lake City installs a protected bike lane, though local merchants credit the overall street improvements; business in one store jumped 20% when a 20 mph speed limit went into effect.

What good is an Albuquerque bike lane if drivers are allowed to park there illegally?

Chicago’s bike plan improves equity after all.

New York’s mayor says he believes in bike lanes and they should be “well established” in all five boroughs, even though installation has slowed under his administration. If you say you don’t believe in bike lanes, does another one die?

A writer for the New York Times says bicycling doesn’t need to be a collision course, citing the need for better infrastructure, more alert motorists and safety-conscious cyclists.

More proof cyclists are tough: After a New Jersey man is shot in the back while riding with his nephew on his handlebars, he keeps going until he gets to a friend’s house.

The DuPont manager who killed a Delaware cyclist in a hit-and-run admits he was on the wrong side of the road, admits to drinking even though he swears he wasn’t drunk, and thought he just ran over some tree branches. You’d have to be pretty damn drunk to mistake a bike rider for a tree branch.

The Birmingham AL bikeshare system scheduled to start this week has been delayed due to inclement weather; a Taiwan typhoon prevented production of the bikes.

 

International

A 23-year old New York woman is taking a solo trip around the globe to collect stories about climate change.

Montreal proposes a revamp to its code for bicycling; one without mandatory helmets, unlike other Canadian cities, and allowing cyclists to roll through stop signs if no other traffic is present. But drunk and distracted biking is out.

When is a Canadian bike rack not just a bike rack? When it looks like a swastika.

Caught on video: After a British cyclist gets buzzed by a delivery van,  the driver apparently tries, and fails, to do the same thing with the car stopped just ahead.

A Parisian writer offers lessons learned from learning to ride a bike at the ripe old age of 29 using the city’s bikeshare system.

An Indian cyclist makes a stop in Cameroon on his round-the-world journey to promote HIV/AIDS awareness; it’s the 106th country he’s visited since 2004.

A South African cyclist spends two years riding his bike 25,000 miles to see the rugby World Cup. Only to watch his team suffer the greatest upset in the history of the event.

 

Finally…

Don’t argue with a man who nearly runs you over while looking for his cat, or you might both be charged with disorderly conduct after he whacks you with his cane. We may have to deal with angry LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about kangaroos.

And if you’re going to pull up in your car and demand money from a bike rider, make sure he’s not a plain clothes cop first.

………

One last note. I really wanted to attend Thursday’s discussion on what Vision Zero means for LA, with LADOT maven Seleta Reynolds and Leah Shahum of the Vision Zero Network.

But it just happens to fall on the 30th anniversary of my 29th my birthday, so I’m going to be spending that night with my family, instead.

If you’re planning to attend and would like to cover it in a guest post for BikinginLA, just let me know.

Vision Zero talk

 

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