Tag Archive for road diets

Morning Links: Flax calls out road diet bullies, PCH bike/ped safety grant, and ‘tis the season for bike giveaways

Yes, we were bullied.

An Op-Ed by Peter Flax offers a good look at what he describes as the histrionics and fake news that have corrupted the road diet debate in the wake of the Playa del Rey debacle.

He describes the one-sided videos and unsupported accusations that the lane reductions were harming businesses in Playa and Mar Vista. And that it was Mayor Garcetti who pulled the plug in Playa del Rey.

One unpublicized meeting spelled the end of the task force and the Playa del Rey road diet. In league with outside forces, lower Playa business owners — among them prominent members of the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce, already applying public pressure — demanded an audience with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. People familiar with the proceedings tell me the group confronted Garcetti with a narrative that the road diet was destroying local businesses and made explicit threats to undermine the mayor’s political ambitions. These strong arm tactics set off a chain of events that led to the near-complete reversal of traffic-calming measures on Culver, Jefferson and Pershing…

This was a savvy move: Everyone cares about the health of small businesses in the community. As an advocate for pedestrian and cyclist safety, I will admit that I’m comfortable if peoples’ commutes get a few minutes longer if it makes our streets less dangerous, but I don’t want local merchants to suffer. Nobody does, and a perception that road diets harm local businesses could shift public opinion in a major way. Dozens of studies conducted in major U.S. cities have concluded that traffic calming efforts ultimately boost business, but that certainly hasn’t stopped opponents from arguing that these dynamics don’t apply in L.A.

He also points the finger where it belongs — at the mayor and city departments that have failed to lead and to stand up in support of their own programs.

The absence of facts is a defining problem in the public conversation about our roads. This cannot simply be blamed on one side of this dispute. Part of the problem is how poorly our politicians and transportation officials as well as the city’s dominant news outlets have communicated incontestable facts to people who live and drive in L.A. The mayor has been painfully silent.

This has created a void that allows a free-for-all on Facebook and Nextdoor, where people on both sides can essentially make up their own facts — about travel times, accident rates, business impacts, the laws governing speeding and jaywalking, the scientific underpinning of Vision Zero, and so on. Rather than form opinions about what to do on Venice Boulevard based on substantiated traffic or accident data, published studies on road diets, or an unbiased analysis of business impacts, the public has wound up getting informed and misinformed by social media, where people who are angry about traffic freely dismiss INRIX and LADOT data as #fakenews and then create memes with data they prefer.

It’s worth reading the full piece. Because this is the fight we’re all in if we want safer streets in the City of Angels, whether we like it or not.

And yes, I’ve felt a lot of that bullying myself, usually after something I’ve written has been mentioned on Nextdoor, a site I avoid like the plague.

Although nowhere near as much as Flax, who has been subject to more abuse and attempts at character assignation than anyone should have to tolerate.

All for the sake of safer and more livable streets, and a more vibrant community.

There is a sickness within our society right now, where what should be civil, fact-based debates too often degenerate into name calling and outright lies.

Not to mention the death threats I reported to the police earlier this year.

This is our city and these are our streets. They don’t belong to cars or the people in them.

They belong to all of us.

And we all have a right to live — and survive — on them.

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A $15,000 state grant will be used to improve bike and pedestrian safety along PCH through Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades and Malibu, including better enforcement and education on bike laws.

Although they should start by educating the sheriff’s department, which frequently misinterprets CVC 21202 to ticket people for riding abreast or in the traffic lane, both of which are legal in most cases.

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‘Tis the season.

The parents of a fallen soldier have purchased 70 bicycles for kids at Missouri’s Fort Leonard Wood.

A Virginia Walmart has stepped in to supply 460 of the 600 bicycles needed for a kids’ bike giveaway, after the original order was screwed up.

One thousand volunteers turned out in Tampa FL to build 800 bicycles to give to needy children.

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This is day seven of the 3rd Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive. Your support helps keep SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every day.

You can donate with just a few clicks by using PayPal. Or by using the Zelle app that is probably already in the banking app on your smartphone; send your contribution to ted @ bikinginla dot com (remove the spaces and format as a standard email address).

As always, any donation, in any amount, is truly and deeply appreciated.

And thanks to J Patrick L, Michael Y, Jeffrey F, Mark J, Joel S, Ellen S and Evan B for their generous donations to help support this site. And a belated thanks to Robs M for being the first to donate using Zelle, which apparently doesn’t let me know when someone uses it.

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Local

Spin is the latest dockless bikeshare company to invade LA, setting up office with a pilot program in Koreatown; Streetsblog asks if privately owned dockless bikeshare will prove to be a blessing or curse.

The LA Daily News looks at Metro’s plans to address the eight-mile gap in the LA River bike path through Downtown LA — although construction won’t start for at least another five years. Good thing they weren’t planning to use it for the road cycling course in the 2028 Olympics.

UCLA’s student newspaper say’s Elon Musk’s tunnels won’t solve LA’s traffic problems, and represents the same old thinking that got Angelenos stuck in this mess. Although the point of the tunnels isn’t to solve traffic problems, but just to let wealthy drivers avoid them.

A Monrovia letter writer can’t seem to grasp the concept that sharrows mean that’s where bikes are supposed to be, bike riders don’t have to get the way out of impatient drivers, and drivers are supposed to change lanes to pass people on bicycles.

 

State

Southern California officials say cuts in the proposed GOP tax bill could result in an increase in traffic, including the loss of a $20 benefit for people who bike to work.

The OC Sheriff’s Department is looking for the owners of the 1,000 presumably stolen bicycles that were recovered near a homeless camp along the Santa Ana River; if you think your bike might be one of them, send a description of the bike and the serial and police report numbers to [email protected].

A 19-year old Watsonville man will face a vehicular homicide charge in the September death of a bike rider after police concluded he was speeding. And even though the victim ran a red light.

A new short documentary profiles a bike-riding, tai chi-practicing, tennis-playing San Franciscan octogenarian artist.

Once again, opponents attempt to use California’s CEQA anti-pollution laws to stop construction of bike and pedestrian paths in San Francisco, which is exactly what the revised rules are supposed to prevent. Update: J. Patrick Lynch forwards word that the San Francisco Supervisors shot that attempt down

You’ll soon need a reservation to visit the popular Muir Woods National Monument near Sausalito, unless you’re riding a bicycle or entering on foot.

A Sacramento cyclist is using a new form of inhaled insulin to control his Type 1 diabetes.

 

National

A new bike trailer can carry as much as a minivan while doubling as a fork lift — although you might need an ebike to pull the full 400 pound load.

Phoenix parents hop in their car and chase down a thief who stole their son’s bike.

A Colorado letter writer addresses the hatred expressed by some people towards the people on bikes who have the audacity to slow them down for a few seconds. Proving that it’s not just a SoCal phenomenon after all.

Caught on video: A pair of mountain bikers make the first-ever bike descent of a famed black diamond ski run at Jackson Hole WY.

Once again, authorities managed to keep a dangerous driver on the road until he killed someone. A Houston woman calls for changes in DUI laws after her bike-riding husband was killed by an alleged drunk driver who was already facing a previous drunk driving charge. Anyone arrested for DUI should automatically have their license suspended and the car they were driving impounded until the case is resolved.

A Texas TV station steps in after a bike rider gets the runaround when his bike was damaged by an uninsured Lyft driver.

Heartbreaking story from Minnesota, where a restaurant worker was the victim of two crashes in three weeks while riding his bike. And may not survive the second one, after the driver fled the scene.

Kindhearted Michigan police buy a new bike for a five-year old boy after he got caught in his and had to be cut out.

The Department of DIY strikes in Boston, where someone spray painted a bike lane on a bridge.

Once again, the tone deaf NYPD responds to the death of bike rider killed by a speeding driver by ticketing people riding bikes.

No surprise here, as the man accused of killing eight people in the New York bike path attack on Halloween has pled not guilty.

Hundreds of Philadelphians form a human-protected bike lane to protest the death of a bike rider killed by the driver of a trash truck while riding in a faded bike lane.

A road raging Pennsylvania man was sentenced to between one to 23 months in prison for attempting to run a bike rider off the road and threatening to kill him; he blamed the victim, as well as medications he was taking for paranoia and bipolar disorders.

A Florida bike rider became the latest victim of a police officer responding to an alarm without lights and sirens.

 

International

Local politicians say more has to be done to protect bicyclists and pedestrians in Victoria, British Columbia. And pretty much everywhere else.

Toronto is considering adopting a bike registration and theft reporting app that has resulted in a 30% drop in bike thefts in Vancouver over the last two years. Can we get that here? Pretty please?

London’s protected cycle superhighways move people five times more efficiently than regular traffic lanes. Meanwhile, the city will ban construction of new parking spaces in large segments of the city to reduce pollution. Which is probably better than LA’s approach of ripping out bike lanes.

A British magazine talks with adventurer Mark Beaumont about his record-setting ride around the world in less than 80 days.

Kashmir bicyclists pedal for democracy to call attention to the upcoming election process.

Caught on video too: After an Aussie driver nearly sideswiped a man riding in a bike lane, the driver accused him of riding outside the lane, which he clearly didn’t.

 

Competitive Cycling

Israel may be paying Chris Froome two million euros — the equivalent of $2.37 million — just to participate in next year’s Giro d’Italia, which is scheduled to start in the country.

A federal judge rules that Lance can use the “everybody else was doing it” defense in the $100 million lawsuit brought against him for allegedly defrauding his government sponsors through systematic doping.

Seven Columbian cyclists and one Bolivian rider failed drug tests at August’s Tour of Columbia, testing positive for a form of EPO. But let’s all pretend the doping era ended when Lance got busted, okay?

 

Finally…

You may able to drink your next Surly. You could be able to ride on, not in, your next Rapha.

And probably not the best idea to interrupt your 25-year ride around the world by getting drunk and assaulting cops just hours after entering a new country.

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Thank you all for the kind words about my wife. It looks like she may be doing a little better, and may be able to avoid additional surgery for now. 

Fingers crossed.

Morning Links: Anti-road diet NIMBYs boycott businesses, road safety in LA & Houston, and New Yorker bike covers

Last month, the road diets in Playa del Rey were ripped out before they had a chance to prove whether they were working.

Now we know why.

A must-read tweetstorm from writer Peter Flax, who served on Councilmember Mike Bonin’s ill-fated committee to re-examine the lane reductions, reveals that the primary reason behind their removal was the negative effect they were having on local business.

Which wasn’t coincidental.

He offers a number of social media posts in which opponents of the road diets call for a boycott of businesses in the area to force them to oppose the safety measures. Which were then echoed by anti-road diet forces like Keep LA Moving — whose leader actually lives in Manhattan Beach — Recall Bonin, and conservative radio hosts John and Ken.

And now the same tactics are being used in Mar Vista, where the owner of Louie’s restaurant blamed the lane reductions in the Venice Blvd Great Streets Project for the failure of his restaurant.

Even though it had just reopened after being closed for a vermin infestation. And even though it had a meager 2.5 Yelp rating. And even though a new chef insisted on making much hated changes to the place, including a new upscale menu, that drove longtime customers away.

But sure, let’s blame the removal of excess lane capacity, which didn’t result in the loss of a single parking space.

Despite, as Peter notes, numerous studies from around the country showing that Complete Streets projects like the one on Venice are good for business — including one on LA’s York Blvd, which has thrived since a road diet went in.

Of course, that doesn’t fit with the NIMBY narrative that Vision Zero and road diets are the work of Satan himself.

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A powerful piece from Los Angeles resident and Houston native Colleen Corcoran compares the traffic safety problems and struggle to improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians in the two cities.

Corcoran, a co-founder of CicLAvia, says no one should die as a result of thoughtless street design — after her own mother was killed riding her bike through a dangerous Houston intersection earlier this year.

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We’ve mentioned this one before, but it’s worth mentioning again. An online petition opposes a proposal allowing a private school to take over a public road in Calabasas, which is a popular route allowing bicyclists to bypass traffic on busy Mulholland Highway. Thanks to Steve S. for the reminder.

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A new Flickr page offers an exceptional collection of bicycling covers from the New Yorker dating back to the 1920s.

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An Irish pundit apologized for calling bike riders Nazis, and swore he would never give a Nazi salute again.

Of course, his apology was to a local Jewish organization, not to the people he accused of being a brown-shirt uniformed, two-wheeled cult.

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Local

Construction for the MyFigueroa project is getting blamed for some of the parking problems in South Park, even though it has the support of local businesses.

A December 2nd exhibition at the LA Central Library in DTLA will feature makers, including an LA man who explores “unique bicycle shapes and designs.”

The Daily News reports on Saturday’s Finish the Ride event in Sunland-Tujunga in honor of fallen bicyclist Jeff Knopp.

 

State

Advocates for the homeless insist that the 1,000 bikes found after a homeless camp along the Santa Ana River Trail was cleared out had nothing to do with the people who had been living there, since they were found in a tunnel over two miles away.

A Huntington Beach man gets six years behind bars for attacking a police officer who stopped his son for a traffic violation while they were riding their bikes; the younger man had already been sentenced to seven years after pleading guilty last year.

Apple is donating $1.8 million to build a protected bike lane in Cupertino.

Two thousand Bay Area cyclists, joggers, skaters and strollers gear up for Thanksgiving with a 2.5 mile carfree Sunday.

 

National

Denver voted for $431 million in transportation bonds, including $18 million for bicycle projects.

Plans are underway for a program that could link Wyoming’s bike trails into a statewide network.

Sad news, as the 88-year old founder of Iowa’s legendary RAGBRAI passed away last week.

A 21-mile Ohio bike path connects local four breweries and a cider house.

Now that’s more like it. A Kentucky driver gets 35 years for the drunk and stoned hit-and-run death of a bike rider; he drove three miles after the crash with his dying victim still in the bed of his truck.

Evidently Los Angeles isn’t the only place where NIMBYs want to rip out recently installed bike lanes; outraged Cambridge, Mass residents working under the misnomer Safe Streets for All are demanding that the lanes be redesigned and parking restored, and want bike riders to be required to carry ID.

A New Jersey paper says the state’s new governor should embrace multi-use bike and pedestrian trails.

 

International

A Mexican TV executive was shot to death on Sunday when a group of thieves attempted to steal his bicycle on the outskirts of Mexico City.

Forget Everesting. A Vancouver bicyclist climbed one million feet by riding up a local mountain every day for a year to raise funds to fight pancreatic cancer.

Toronto drivers appear to be adjusting to the presence of bike lanes after initial anger. Which is usually what happens if authorities can resist the urge to rip them out before they have a chance to succeed.

A new survey shows four out of five people in the UK want protected bike lanes in cities.

Good question. The Guardian’s Peter Walker asks why cyclists are the one minority the BBC is okay with demonizing. Although there’s no point in limiting it to the Beeb, as media outlets around the world are perfectly okay with attacking people who ride bikes in ways they wouldn’t anyone else. Including right here in LA.

Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson says Britain’s streets aren’t big enough for buses and bikes, and one of them has to go.

The Guardian asks if Copenhagen has hit peak bicycle, as ridership dips and more drivers take to the roads.

Not surprisingly, the best way to tour Soweto, South Africa is by bicycle. Like pretty much any other city you could name.

An Aussie cyclist was deliberately run off the road by a road raging driver after attempting to intervene in his dispute with another motorist. Meanwhile, an Australian councilor calls for an ad hoc committee to find solutions to road rage between motorists and cyclists. Never mind that most of the anger comes from the people in the cars. And they’re the ones with the four-wheeled weapons.

A new Australian study confirms that people who ride bikes are better drivers.

Singapore’s largest organized bike ride draws 6,500 riders, including many dressed as superheroes.

An industrial design student wins an Asian award for his wooden children’s bicycle that converts from a balance bike to a pedal bike as the kids get older.

 

Competitive Cycling

Britain’s Team Sky is accused of gaming the system for therapeutic exemptions that allow riders to use otherwise banned medications.

Fabian Cancellara challenges fellow retired pro Phil Gaimon to beat him in one of Fabian’s fondos, after Gaimon’s new book repeated accusations that Cancellara was motor doping, somehow thinking it would be no big deal. And no, this isn’t beginning to sound the least like a cycling soap opera.

The Daily Beast remembers Italian cycling legend Gino Bartali and his top secret work to save Jews in WWII, as the Giro make plans to start in Jerusalem next year.

VeloNews calls 16-year old Katie Clouse the next star of US cyclocross.

 

Finally…

If you’re riding while already on probation, probably best to leave the meth and dope at home. Your next bike helmet could have an airbag.

And this is why you don’t Instagram while riding.

 

Morning Links: Mar Vista Great Streets success, 6th Street safety open house, and road rage around the world

My apologies for yesterday’s unexcused absence.

My hard drive cable failed just as I was finishing yesterday’s post. Fortunately, I was able to get it replaced, and recovered most, though not all, of what I had written.

As a result, today’s post includes news from both days. So grab your favorite beverage and settle in; we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.

And come back tomorrow, when we’ll have even more bike and safety news we couldn’t squeeze into today’s post.

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It’s working.

Despite the claims of road diet opponents, the three-month safety stats show the Venice Great Streets project in Mar Vista is working exactly as promised, with collisions, injuries and speeding down, while resulting in what should be an easily tolerable delay in rush hour traffic.

Which should put the debate to rest, but probably won’t.

Meanwhile, a new Toronto study shows what Mar Vista has to look forward to, as controversial separated bike lanes on a downtown Toronto street have significantly improved safety, while boosting business in the surrounding area.

Like Mar Vista’s Venice Blvd Great Streets Project, Toronto faced near-constant demands from drivers to remove the Bloor Street bike lanes, as well as merchants angry over the loss of parking spaces.

It’s been successful in Toronto.

And it will be in Mar Vista, if local leaders can fight off the demands to remove them.

Thanks to Norm Bradwell for link to the Toronto study.

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Speaking of traffic safety improvements, CD4 Councilmember David Ryu is hosting an open house on Saturday, October 21st, to discuss the desperately needed changes to 6th Street between Fairfax and La Brea.

As we’ve noted before, even though the Mid City West Community Council has voted unanimously to support lane reductions on 6th, Ryu has dragged his feet on the project, despite his oft-stated promises to listen to the local community.

He has suggested an alternative that would keep two lanes in each direction, while adding left turn bays at several intersections and removing parking spaces near intersections.

This would actually have the opposite effect of the safety improvements the local community has been begging for, speeding the flow of traffic rather than slowing it, while increasing the risk to bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as drivers.

It’s important that everyone who uses the street in any way, or cares about traffic safety, attend to if you can to demand a safer 6th Street.

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Long Beach bike advocate and Pedal Love founder Melissa Balmer teamed with Minnesota writer and consultant Jay Walljasper to author a new study on the Surprising Promise of Bicycling to be released today.

The study focuses on the “untapped demographic potential, growth of bike share and infrastructure, the deepening influence of grass roots advocacy,” as well as the promise of ebikes.

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Today’s common theme is road raging drivers.

And bike riders, too.

An Arkansas man faces charges for crashing into a man on a bike — evidently intentionally — then threatening him with a machete, apparently because the rider sprayed a couple dogs with a water bottle when they chased after him.

Witnesses say a driver appeared to intentionally cross over the yellow line to smash into Georgia teenager as the boy signaled for a left turn on his bike.

The Chicago bike rider who was hit with a drum by a road raging driver — after smashing the man’s rear window with his U-lock — has started a crowdfunding campaign to get his damaged teeth fixed.

An Ohio lawyer could face disbarment for brake-checking a bike rider and smashing his cellphone in a road rage incident.

Evidently, there’s no shortage of road rage in Asheville NC. Police are looking for a bicyclist who allegedly hit a driver several times with his helmet, kicked him, and stole his eyeglasses and $80. This comes just two weeks after a driver was caught on dashcam video punching a cyclist.

A London cab driver tells a bike rider to “go back to f***ing Poland” or wherever he’s from after the rider complains about the driver stopping in a bike box.

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We’ll catch up with a long list of bike events tomorrow, but I want to mention just a couple today due to the tight timelines.

Bike SGV is hosting the BEST Ride: Bike Art Night Pasadena tomorrow night, offering a free two-wheeled tour of the Pasadena art fest with stops at several venues.

And AIDS/LifeCycle is holding a pair of Kickoff AIDS/LifeCycle 2018 rides starting at Balboa Park this Saturday, to officially start training for next year’s 545-mile ride down the California Coast. You can choose from rides of 14 or 43.7 miles, with a free lunch provided for registered participants.

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Local

In what’s just the latest multimillion dollar settlement due to the city’s dangerous streets, the LA city council voted to pay $15 million to a man who suffered permanent brain damage due to a substandard Hollywood crosswalk. That’s $15 million they could have used to fix several dangerous intersections, instead of paying for not fixing one.

Paramedics at LAX will now make their way through the terminals by bicycle.

Volunteers are needed for the tenth annual Long Beach bike count.

Sports Illustrated reviews the new book Draft Animals from LA’s own former pro Phil Gaimon.

The SGV Connect podcast remembers Bike SGV staff member Brian Velez, who passed away unexpectedly last month. A memorial ride will be held in his honor this Sunday.

 

State

Governor Brown once again pulls out his veto pen to strike down a bike bill, negating a law that would have required the California Department of General Services to expand an employee bikeshare program it currently runs for staffers in Sacramento to other departments, and other areas of the state.

Goleta considers building a separated bike and pedestrian path through the city.

The very cool new Johnny Cash Art Trail officially opens in Folsom this Saturday.

San Francisco is preparing to issue permits to an e-bikeshare operator, portentially violating the non-compete agreement they have with Ford’s GoBike.

Oakland explores a new approach to fixing a dangerous intersection with paint and bollards, by adding bike lanes and a widened median for pedestrians, in just ten weeks for a mere $30,000. The result has been a 7% drop in speeding with no decrease in median speeds, and a whopping 86% increase in drivers stopping for pedestrians in the crosswalk.

A seven-year old Oakland bike shop provides local youth with job training and affordable transportation.

A Marin writer questions the wisdom of reopening a closed-off tunnel for bike and pedestrian use.

A new study from UC Davis shows that many trips that could be made by foot, bike or transit are now being made by Uber and Lyft, adding to the congestion on our streets.

 

National

Doctors call for cities to do more to keep bike riders and pedestrians safe, as the US faces its biggest jump in traffic deaths in 50 years.

If you’ve spent much time walking or riding a bike, you may be surprised to learn that traffic engineers have an ethical duty to protect public safety, which they’ve too often ignored. Okay, maybe shocked is a better word.

Yes, it is possible to ride a bike from the airport in major cities around the US, including Los Angeles.

An article in Bicycle Times calls bicycling the ultimate social sport.

No irony here. A Nebraska bike rider was hit by a car on the way home from a bicycle safety meeting; needless to say, the driver wasn’t ticketed.

A retired Wisconsin legislator says the state’s governor is no friend to bicycling.

A pair of Detroit men have been arrested for at least three separate daylight abductions and sexual assaults of women as they rode their bicycles. Let’s hope they get thrown into a deep pit for a very long time.

An Indianapolis man entertains passing drivers by juggling and riding his bike backwards in a parking lot.

Massachusetts’ abolition-themed 1854 Cycling Company hires recently released inmates, giving them a second chance in life; the owner grew up in South Central LA.

New York police are targeting people on bikes, rather than focusing on the operators of more dangerous vehicles.

Lawyers are challenging a recent New York Vision Zero law making right-of-way violations a misdemeanor offense; three judges have found the law unconstitutional on the grounds that people can’t be held accountable for violations they don’t know they’re committing.

There’s a special place in hell for the guys who tried to jack a New York bikeshare bike from a 13-year old Hasidic boy; police are investigating it as a possible hate crime.

Delaware is now officially the second state to authorized the Idaho Stop law, allowing bike riders to treat stop signs as yields on two-lane streets.

Officials say a proposal to build a bikeway alongside a North Carolina freeway could reduce congestion while boosting the local economy.

There is something seriously wrong when a soldier can receive multiple Purple Hearts on four overseas deployments, only to be killed in a collision while riding a bicycle back to his Georgia base; he was an advocate for wounded vets through the Operation Enduring Warrior program.

 

International

This is what happens when people who ride bicycles get involved in the political process, as both major candidates in Montreal’s mayoral election court the bike vote. Unlike, say, Los Angeles, where bicyclists should be a major political block, but aren’t.

A writer for a Canadian university says traffic laws apply to those cocky cyclists too, while apparently confusing the rate of fatalities caused by bicyclists with those caused by motorists.

An independent commission has urged London’s mayor to be bold in reducing congestion and air pollution, and create transportation system centered on walking, bicycling and transit.

A British bike rider has been jailed for three weeks for crashing into a four-year old kid while riding brakeless.

Britain’s Chris Boardman offers a ten-point plan to enjoy bicycling in your middle age. I can shorten that to two points: 1) get on your bike, and 2) ride it.

A councilmember in Bengaluru, India has demanded that the city fix the streets and make it pothole-free within 15 days. Let us know if it works; I know a few other cities that could use it.

A writer for the Nikkei Asian Review says a simple formula can reflect the affluence of a country by measuring those who ride a bike because they choose to, as compared to those who ride because they have no alternative.

 

Finally…

No, attaching a flashing light to your helmet will not ward off magpie attacks. Forget Pinarellas and Conalgos; if you really want to impress the guys on your club ride, show up on a gold-plated Giant.

And your new $4,000 BMW ebike would offer as much torque as a small car.

Okay, a very small car.

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A special thank you to Linda Campbell for her generous contribution to help support this site. Or maybe to the BikinginLA computer repair fund.

 

Morning Links: An open letter to David Ryu, Mar Vista CC is at it again, and motion could remove LA bike lanes

Dear Councilmember Ryu,

As a resident of LA’s 4th Council District, I have long been concerned about the risks that drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists face in our district.

One area of particular concern is 6th Street between Fairfax and La Brea. As you are no doubt aware, 6th is a two-lane street west of Fairfax, then becomes four lanes between Fairfax and La Brea.

Once it widens to two lanes in each direction, the character of the street changes dramatically. Speeds increase while drivers jockey for position, often shifting lanes without warning to go around stalled traffic or turning vehicles.

As a motorist, it is an unpleasant street to drive, and one requiring constant concentration. As a pedestrian, it is a difficult, and at times dangerous, street to cross. And someone who used to bicycle to Downtown when I lived in West LA, it was easily the most dangerous part of my commute.

This is borne out by the two pedestrian deaths and hundreds of crashes that have been recorded on the street over the last several years, as well as statistics showing 6th Street is three times as dangerous as the average LA arterial.

Fortunately, there is a proposal from LADOT which would address these issues by removing a traffic lane in each direction and adding a center left turn lane, with bike lanes on each side from Fairfax to Cochran.

Lane reductions like this have been shown to improve safety up to 47%, with an average of 30% improvement in cities across the US. Those same results have held true with previous road diet projects here in Los Angeles, as well.

Further, this is a project that has the full support of the surrounding community. The Mid-City West Community Council voted unanimously to back this project over a year ago.

Before you were elected to office, you told the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition that you start and end any decision with the community. In this case, the voice of the community is clear.

It is long past time to improve safety on this dangerous street. I urge you to immediately support this project as recommended by LADOT.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers, BikinginLA.com

If you want to write in support of the proposed 6th Street road diet, send your email to [email protected], and CC [email protected][email protected], and [email protected]. You can find a brief sample email you can use as a template here (pdf).

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Mar Vista Community Council’s bizarre bike “safety” motions and efforts to roll back the Venice Great Streets project will be back on the table when the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meets tonight.

Among the motions under consideration are one that would require bike “night lights,” even though front and rear bike lights and side reflectors are already required under state law for any bike ridden at night.

It would also require mandatory bike helmet use for all riders, regardless of age, even though that would conflict with existing state law, which means the city has no authority to mandate their use.

Another motion calls for restoring the two traffic lanes that were removed from Venice Blvd as part of the Great Streets Project by removing the center median, or placing a center bike path there. Both of which show a clear lack of understanding of traffic calming, as well as bikeway design.

Center medians are used to slow traffic and prevent unsafe left and U-turns, as well as head-on collisions with speeding drivers who cross the center line.

Meanwhile, center bikeways create multiple conflict points at every intersection, dramatically increasing the risk of injury collisions. Which is why existing median bikeway on Culver Blvd failed.

As alternative, they suggest restoring the traffic lanes by removing street parking, and replacing it with parking garages every three blocks — with no hint of where to put them or how to pay for it.

A final motion simply calls for removal of the entire Venice Great Streets project in order to restore three lanes in both directions.

Clearly, someone on the committee has a fixation with doing everything in their power to keep Venice Blvd dangerous. And at the same time, allowing traffic to continue destroying the fabric of the Mar Vista community, reverting back to a virtual highway to keep peak hour traffic flowing, with excess capacity the rest of the day.

All of which suggests a complete and total ignorance of state bike laws and traffic safety planning, as well as the benefits of road diets. Which is what happens when you put people in charge who have no idea what they’re talking about.

Instead of the misguided, illegal and impractical motions on the agenda, maybe they should replace them with a single motion requiring every member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to actually learn something about the subject.

If you can make it there tonight night, maybe you can try to explain it to them.

Thanks to N.E. Farnham for the heads-up.

………

A new motion from the usually bike-friendly 12th CD Councilmember Mitch Englander (pdf) could potentially halt all new bike lanes in the city of Los Angeles, as well as rip out many existing lanes.

The motion comes in response to the latest city settlement with an injured bicyclist, as the LA city council voted to pay $7.5 million to a man who was left paralyzed from the neck down after hitting a ridge of pavement that had been lifted four inches by a tree root. And which the city had previously been warned about, but done nothing to fix.

Never mind the 17 other lawsuits that have been filed against the city by injured bike riders, or the relatives of those killed, this year alone. Many, if not most of whom, weren’t riding in bike lanes when they were injured.

Englander’s motion, which was seconded by the 2nd District’s Paul Krekorian, would require that new bike lanes only be installed on streets with a pavement quality grade of A. Which sounds good, until you consider that LA’s streets average a C plus.

So basically, new bike lanes could only go on new pavement.

To make matters worse, the motion calls for closing or removing bike lanes from any street with a pavement grade of B or lower. Which would mean most of the bike lanes in the City of Angels would be unceremoniously stripped off the pavement.

The practical result would be that people would still ride those same streets, and be subject to the same bad pavement, but without the separation from traffic that bike lanes provide. So any falls, or swerves to avoid cracks or potholes in the pavement, could be catastrophic.

And by removing a proven safety feature, the city’s exposure to liability could be exponentially higher when, not if, someone is injured on one of those streets.

The motion isn’t all bad, however.

The requirement that pavement quality on current bike lanes be inspected is something that should have been passed into law decades ago. As anyone who has ever ridden the 7th Street bike lanes leading to and in DTLA can attest.

And pavement quality should be considered before installing new bike lanes, rather than just slapping paint down on failing streets, as has been the practice in the past.

If the motion advances, which is not a given, it must be amended to so that only the bike lane would be required to have an A grade, which would allow just that portion of the roadway to be patched or repaved to bring it up to code, rather than the entire street.

Although that would give drivers one more reason to hate us.

And the misguided requirement that existing bike lanes be closed or removed should be stricken, period.

Thanks to T.J. Knight for the tip.

………

In what they describe as a win-win for everyone, the San Diego State University Police Department has teamed with the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), the San Diego County Bicycling Coalition and Cycle Quest Bicycle Store to fight bike theft.

The groups worked together to register 150 bicycles with the university’s bike registration program, which is open to students, faculty and staff. Everyone who registered their received a free Kryptonite lock and mount, as well as free bike repair, and bike lights and literature from the SDCBC.

Which is almost enough to make me want to go back to college.

Including these 150 bikes, the university has registered 476 bikes so far this year, ensuring that the information will be available if anything should happen to the bikes.

They report that 81 bikes have been reported stolen since the first of the year, most of which were secured by just a thin cable lock or locked to the rack by the front wheel alone.

And yes, they also instruct students on how to lock their bikes properly when they register them.

………

VeloNews considers how the Vuelta became cycling’s most dramatic grand tour.

Like father, like sons. A Lithuanian cyclist has been suspended following a positive drug test, 15 years after his father tested positive for EPO after finishing third in the 2002 Tour de France, and just months after his brother died as a result of suspected doping.

Spain’s Samuel Sanchez got fired from the BMC team after his B sample confirmed his positive doping test prior to the Vuelta.  But really, the doping era is over, right?

………

Local

Everyone has an opinion about the proposed restoration of the Ballona Wetlands. Including an environmental advocate who says reversing the Playa del Rey road diets will mean more roadkill. Hopefully, she doesn’t mean us.

Manhattan Beach approves new bike route signs, buts holds off on sharrows over fears that they make bike riders “more assertive about occupying road space.” In other words, they’re worried about those uppity bike riders wanting to ride exactly where the markers on the road say they’re supposed to ride.

 

State

San Diego won’t be changing their sidewalk policies, even after a man was awarded $4.85 million when he was severely injured riding his bike on a tree-damaged sidewalk the city had known about, but failed to fix. Sound familiar?

Over 1,000 bicycles have been stolen in San Diego this year.

A Los Altos writer offers five rules to live by as a cyclist. Although he says not to ride three abreast, even though it’s perfectly legal on non-sharable lanes, as long as you stay within a single lane; however, you should always allow drivers to pass when it’s safe to do so.

San Francisco advocates discuss the status of Vision Zero in the city.

The North Bay Area’s new SMART trains are dealing with an unexpected crush of passengers boarding with bicycles. Which shows who the smart ones really are.

Someone please tell the Mountain View city council that removing a crosswalk is not a safety improvement.

Sacramento’s mayor tries out a new three-day pop-up parking protected bike lane.

 

National

A lifelong roadie turns to dirt jumping at the age of 44, as Bicycling asks if it’s too late him to catch big air. Easy answer: If you’re not dead, it’s not too late.

New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare reaches its 50 millionth ride.

 

International

A UK writer says it’s time to modernize the country’s traffic laws, but adding offenses for bicyclists is not the place to start.

A British cyclist urges others to get trained in CPR; he was revived after his heart had stopped for 30 minutes while riding.

A London journalist captured a month’s worth of close calls on his bike cam to show how dangerous riding in there can be.

 

Finally…

Who says you can’t eat or drink on a bike? If you’re a convicted felon illegally carrying a handgun on the spokes of your bike, put a damn light on it — the bike, that is, not the gun.

And if you’re riding your bike with two outstanding warrants, don’t use your knife to threaten a driver who honks at you. Or a hatchet.

Or better yet, just don’t. Period.

 

Morning Links: Indignorant anti-road diet columnist, bike riders on the wrong end of guns, and more traffic mayhem

So wrong, in so many ways.

A columnist for the LA Daily News goes out of her way to demonstrate her near total ignorance of traffic safety, Vision Zero and “dangerous” road diets in a column saying the latter belongs in a Museum of Stupid Ideas.

Never mind that road diets have been shown to increase safety up to 47%. But why let a little detail like that get in the way of a good rant?

Then there’s her screed about Vision Zero coming from — gasp! — Sweden.

Common sense would tell you that traffic solutions should be developed locally without guidance from irrelevant foreign capitals, and that’s why common sense is not in the museum.

During 2016, the first full year of Vision Zero’s implementation in Los Angeles, fatalities in traffic collisions were up a horrifying 43 percent over the previous year.

Although she might have mentioned that all LA did in 2016 was develop a plan for Vision Zero. And to the best of my knowledge, talking about reducing traffic deaths has never caused a single collision.

Or that the purpose of Vision Zero is not to prevent traffic collisions, but to keep people from dying in them, by recognizing that people will always make mistakes, but better roadway designs can keep those mistakes from killing someone.

And never mind that virtually every traffic solution currently in use in LA came from somewhere else. From traffic lights and stop signs, to the billion dollar HOV lanes on the 405.

About the only innovation we can claim is the right turn on red light. Which isn’t exactly a template for safety.

But the topper is this one, where she goes out of her way to have it both ways.

Although city officials consulted extensively with community groups before turning eight-tenths of a mile of Venice Boulevard into one of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “Great Streets,” the part of the plan that involved taking away a traffic lane in each direction wasn’t exactly displayed on street banners.

So she acknowledges that the city conducted extensive outreach. Then turns around and says it didn’t do enough outreach.

Maybe next time she should do a little basic research so she knows what the hell she’s talking about before flying off the handle.

Or wasting newsprint with uninformed drivel like this.

………

Today’s common theme is bikes and guns.

There are still no suspects in the fatal shooting of a popular Colorado mountain biker as he was riding last week; his body was discovered days later next to a trail.

A Florida bike rider was shot by a driver in an apparent road rage incident; no word on the condition of the victim.

And compared to the previous two cases, a Pennsylvania bicyclist got off easy when an angry driver merely pointed his gun at him following an argument.

Of course, if the drivers had just used their cars instead, it would have been written off as just an accident.

And the bike riders would have been blamed for it.

………

Today’s other common theme is the more traditional form of traffic violence.

A pair of Oklahoma men tried to cover-up a fatal hit-and-run collision by intentionally driving into a highway guard rail to hide the damage from hitting a bike rider.

A Missouri man was doing 93 in a 35 mph zone — and driving on a suspended license — when he slammed into a bicyclist last year; he now faces a charge of first-degree involuntary manslaughter.

A Wisconsin man was turned in by his own wife following a drunken hit-and-run that took the life of man riding a bicycle.

An 83-year old Michigan man faces a misdemeanor charge after killing one bicyclist and injuring another in a rear-end collision last year. Older people may depend on their cars for mobility, but we’ve got to find a way to get them off the roads before it’s too late.

………

Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten bounced back from her horrific crash in the Rio Olympics road cycling race to win world championship in the time trial yesterday.

If you’ve ever questioned how tough women cyclists really are, consider this video of British cyclist Lauren Dolan celebrating her 18th birthday by finishing the time trial despite a horrific leg injury suffered when she hit a manhole cover. Thanks to Jon for the heads-up.

https://twitter.com/JamieHaughey/status/909870748549943296/video/1

……….

Local

Letter writers in the Times say dark tinted windows on cars make it more dangerous for bike riders and pedestrians.

Los Angeles is planning for temporary walkways and bike paths in the recently purchased Taylor Yards railroad site, while plans are developed for a permanent park.

Curbed examines the future of bikeshare in the City of Angels.

Doris Day used to be one of us, riding her bicycle through Beverly Hills to rescue stray animals.

The Beach Reporter looks at Manhattan Beach resident Evens Stievenart’s new world record in the Le Mans Pearl Izumi 24 Hours Cycling race

 

State

Nice story from San Diego, where a nearly blind 94-year old woman took her first bike ride in 15 years on the back of a tandem as part of a Dreams Do Come True program at an Escondido retirement community.

The new dockless bikeshare bikes in San Diego’s Imperial Beach are already getting trashed by users and vandals, less than two weeks after their introduction.

A three mile Wildomar bike lane project has been put on hold after all the bids came in over budget.

A Riverside columnist explain what those green patches in the bike lanes are all about.

Speaking in Oakland, a traffic engineer says protected bike lanes must be the new normal, and urban planners are still trying to undo the damage caused by vehicular cyclists in the 1970s and 80s.

Jens Voigt returns to Marin County to headline the third annual Jensie Gran Fondo of Marin,

 

National

A new study shows teens are increasingly putting off drinking, driving and sex. Which makes sense, since the last one seldom happened without the first two, anyway.

No overreaction here, as TV’s Inside Edition says groups of crazed cyclists are causing “absolute mayhem in the streets.” Meanwhile, a group of young bike riders tried to prove them right by ignoring a ban on bikes to take over New York’s Cross Bronx Expressway.

Houston residents are donating bicycles to help people who lost their cars in Hurricane Harvey.

Kellen Winslow II is one of us, as he tries to sell the home he bought in the Texas hills in hopes of becoming the first pro football player to turn pro cyclist.

A New York woman confirms that riding across the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the city’s most difficult commutes, even if it was better than she expected.

Curbed talks with Philadelphia’s biggest bike advocate.

 

International

Edinburg, Scotland is waiting to give hometown hero Mark Beaumont the welcome he’s earned after a record-breaking 79-day bike ride around the world.

A British personal injury lawyer says the laws must be changed to clarify the rights and obligations of bicyclists, and protect riders who hit someone while riding in a bike lane.

A New Zealand cyclist calls for ripping out a new separated bike lane, after first assuring us he’s one of the good ones — not, he insists, a spandex clad rider on a $5,000 carbon fiber bike, or someone who insists on slowly taking the lane at rush hour.

 

Finally…

Apparently, you’re more dangerous than a truck. And everything you always wanted to know about bicycling in Bogotá but were afraid to ask.

Thanks to Dennis Eckhart for his generous donation to help support this site. Or maybe just help pay for that new hard drive.

 

Morning Links: The unholy battle over road diets in City of Angels, free range kids on bikes, and JuJu is one of us

LA’s bruising street fight is starting to get international attention, as World Magazine looks at the battle over road diets in Los Angeles. And has the good taste to quote yours truly.

Meanwhile, the battle to undo those road diets has spread east, where a petition calls for removing the bike lanes and bollards on deadly Foothill Blvd, as well as Sunland Blvd.

As of this writing, it had garnered over a thousand signatures. Not to mention a lively, if somewhat misinformed and frightening, debate on the local Next Door.

And someone should tell them those bollards are flexible, and can be driven over in case of an emergency.

Thanks to Doug Moore for the heads-up. Road diet photos from the USDOT Federal Highway Administration website.

………

Speaking of debates, David Wolfberg forwards one from the Free Range Kids site asking if kids are learning to ride their bikes at an older age. Or maybe not at all.

………

Former USC and current Pittsburgh Steelers star JuJu Smith-Schuster is one of us.

https://twitter.com/TeamJuJu/status/904857339827597313

………

Don’t try this at home. A hi-viz clad Aussie salmon cyclist decides to make a sudden U-turn across, and through, three lanes of oncoming traffic.

………

The lead stays the same, if a little less so, following a brutal climb in the Vuelta. Cycling Weekly offers five talking points from the stage.

More carnage from the Tour of Britain, where several riders crashed into the back of a car parked on the race course. Meanwhile, two cyclists have been disqualified for riding on the sidewalk to attack the peloton.

……….

Local

In the latest settlement due to LA’s crappy roads, the city council voted to pay a Sherman Oaks bike rider $6.5 million for injuries suffered when he hit a pothole on Valley Vista Blvd. Money that could have been much better spent trying to prevent crashes like this in the first place.

Bono tells KROQ that Brandon Flowers of The Killers is one of us, after he wiped out on his bike like the U2 front man did awhile back.

CiclaValley questions whether the planned East Valley Transit Corridor will underwhelm cyclists and the Valley alike.

Not only will Santa Monica’s Cynergy Cycles measure your butt to find the perfect saddle, they’ll also keep a digital record of your nether regions stored for future reference. At least when someone builds a statue of me after I’m gone, they’ll have a perfect record of my ass.

 

State

The San Diego Union-Tribune offers an in-depth look at the removal of 15 beachfront bikeshare stations.

A Calabasas letter writer says the purpose of a planned bike lane is solely for safety, not recreational riding.

Caught on video: The local paper offers a thrilling — and bouncy — firsthand view of mountain biking down the highest peak in San Luis Obispo County. Meanwhile, a local man  goes on an epic 3,500 word rant accusing San Luis Obispo of “ramming a bicycle freeway” through an unwilling neighborhood, destroying residents’ quality of life and apparently ending life as we know it.

A Ceres man leaves a note thanking the cop who arrested him, saying he needs help after he was busted for meth while riding a stolen bicycle.

Santa Clara County’s $6 billion transportation project is on hold, thanks to a single woman who is suing to stop the whole thing to protect an ancient aquifer under a planned BART station. As opposed to all those modern aquifers, evidently.

You’ve got to be kidding. A Portola driver won’t be charged, despite being found at fault for plowing head-on into a group of cyclists last month, injuring six people.

 

National

When an Albuquerque street turned out to be narrower than expected, planners naturally responded by narrowing the bike lane while leaving the spacious traffic lanes intact.

An admitted Massachusetts gang member accuses police officers of harassment after he was stopped for riding without a helmet, which isn’t illegal, and riding salmon, which is.

Next time you’re in New York, take a 38-mile bike tour around Manhattan.

A Jersey Shore bike rider won a $1.58 million judgment after she was struck by the driver of a city-owned vehicle.

 

International

Residents of a Canadian town complain that bicyclists continue to ride abreast in the traffic lane, instead of single file in the new, apparently substandard bike lane. Just a thought: If you want bicyclists to actually use it, don’t build a crappy, poorly marked gutter bike lane in the first place.

Let’s see if I’ve got this one right. After she’s released from prison two years early for the drunken death of a bike rider, an English woman gets drunk at a concert, and proceeds to punch a stranger who told her boyfriend to stop peeing on the woman sitting in front of him.

Britain’s prime minister says the country may consider new laws to target dangerous cycling, after a woman was killed by an out-of-control fixie rider. Meanwhile, no charges are expected after a British bike rider was killed when a “reckless” pedestrian stepped in front of him; in fact, there’s currently no law against wanton walking. And unlike the bike case, no plans to create one, either.

A cyclist in the UK says horses don’t belong on modern roads, sounding just like the drivers who say the same thing about bicyclists.

The mayor of Paris plans to make it the world’s most bikeable city.

Riding the boardwalk on the Israeli coast from Tel Aviv to Jaffa.

An Aussie writer calls for relaxing the country’s strict bike helmet law, because he says we need more cyclists.

Caught on video too: Seriously, don’t run a red light right next to a Kiwi motorcycle cop. Or better yet, just don’t run red lights, period.

 

Finally…

Enjoy your Yellowstone ride, but keep your distance from the bears and wolves — and the bison. Nothing like having your bike crash recorded for posterity on Google street view.

And it’s probably more credible to claim you’re not a violent man if you don’t get caught on video threatening to follow a cyclist and fuck his life.

I’m just saying.

 

Morning Links: Second lawsuit filed over Playa del Rey road diets, and bizarre racist traffic manifesto mailed

You knew it was coming.

In news that should surprise no one, a second lawsuit has been filed over the lane reductions on Vista del Mar and other streets in Playa del Rey.

This time, by the un-ironically named driver-activist group Keep LA Moving.

Which is fighting efforts to do just that in Playa del Rey and Mar Vista, by demanding a continuation of the failed auto-centric planning that has harmed so many parts of our city, at the expense of everyone who isn’t currently in a car.

What is only a little surprising is the paranoid, tinfoil-hat wearing extremes to which they’ve taken their case.

According to a story in the Daily Breeze,

City officials have “engaged in a campaign of misinformation, name calling and race baiting, claiming that the aforementioned changes were made for ‘safety’ reasons, while the changes have made the affected roadways exponentially unsafe,” the lawsuit states.

Race baiting? Seriously?

In response to backlash, the lawsuit says, Bonin misleadingly used the stories of victims who were killed on the streets, failing to mention details that show lane reductions wouldn’t have prevented their deaths.

“In none of these cases was the unfortunate death caused by too many lanes on the road, or the lack of dedicated bicycle lanes,” the suit states.

Never mind that the victims might have survived the crashes if the traffic had been moving at a less deadly pace. Which was the expressed purpose of removing those lanes.

But here’s the best one.

It also accuses the city of failing to conduct adequate public outreach for the Safe Streets for Playa del Rey Initiative, saying only 150 of Playa del Rey’s 12,000 residents were engaged in the process.

“LADOT thereafter populated neighborhood forums with outside, paid supporters to make it appear that local residents were overwhelmingly supporting the projects,” the suit states.

If you didn’t get your check, contact LADOT and demand payment. Because evidently, everyone else who supported the projects did.

And never mind that many, if not most, of those opposing the projects don’t even live in Los Angeles, let alone in Playa del Rey.

Keep L.A. Moving also alleges Bonin’s office has suppressed free speech by allegedly deleting critical comments and blocking users from his Facebook page.

Maybe they should give the 1st Amendment another read. Because I don’t think it means what they think it means.

Then finally, there’s this.

Keep L.A. Moving director Karla Mendelson said her group isn’t against safety, but wants to make elected officials think twice before implementing road diets.

No, they’re all for safety. As long as it doesn’t inconvenience them.

You can download a full copy of the lawsuit here.

………

Traffic safety advocates and neighborhood council members around Los Angeles have been receiving a very strange and offensive screed purporting to discuss traffic safety.

This bizarrely auto-centric piece, which is filled with bike hate and 180 degrees wrong on most traffic safety efforts, reads like the Unibomber’s manifesto, but without the intelligence.

Take this section on wide bike lanes. Please.

Even more frightening than the writer’s obvious glee at the fantasy of watching another human being die in the street, is the fact that these fliers have been mailed to people’s home addresses — an implied threat clearly saying “we know where you live.”

I’m told that at least one neighborhood council member has resigned as a result.

It’s horrifying to think that working to make this a more bikeable, walkable and livable city could put you in the crosshairs of people willing to threaten others to maintain their philosophy of autos über alles on the streets.

But that seems to be the world we live in.

……….

The self-proclaimed “LA’s #1 walking and biking advocacy group” we mentioned yesterday —which calls Vision Zero “population control,” and falsely claimed to be part of the non-existent group behind this website — says it will hold a public meeting at Intelligencia Coffee in Venice on Saturday.

If you live in the area, maybe you should drop in and see if they really exist.

And if they’re really there, give them a nice, big WTF for me.

And maybe a restraining order.

………

The Colorado Classic aims to reimagine bike racing; the Denver Post gives the details on all four stages.

Here’s your spoiler-free result of the first stage.

A Denver TV station says the presence of the Rwandan cycling team at the Colorado Classic sends a message of inspiration and hope, even if they’re not expected to win any stages.

Ex-Tour de France winner Floyd Landis says banning Lance’s podcast is just being petty, as he prepares to return to mountain bike racing at the Leadville 100 with his Floyd’s of Leadville medicinal dope partner Dave Zabriskie.

Cycling great Andre Greipel says he’s lost all his instincts on the bike.

The Guardian offers a beautiful photo essay examining the 2,400-mile Transcontinental bike race across Europe.

……….

Local

Maybe one day your summer bike rides could be a bit cooler, as Los Angeles experiments with changing the surface color of streets to reduce roadway temperatures.

Great profile of 16-year old Los Angeles public transit enthusiast Kenny Uong.

CiclaValley discovers the San Fernando Valley’s secret climb.

Helen’s Cycles is sponsoring a trio of rides throughout the LA area tomorrow.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson offers his own inimitable advice on commuting to work.

The South Bay’s Easy Reader News credits the removal of the Herondo wall on the Hermosa border and widening the bike path with opening the entrance to Redondo Beach, leading to a boom in business along Harbor Drive. So much for bike lanes killing business, as the above lawsuit asserts, as well as the “fat bike lanes” in the manifesto.

 

State

Residents insist that traffic congestion is a nightmare in Lytle Creek, even without any road diets or bike lanes. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

Caught on video: A San Francisco bike rider is sent flying when he apparently hits a curb after swerving to avoid an SUV that left-crossed him.

A San Francisco website says there ain’t no party like an East Bay Bike Party.

A 74-year old Healdsburg man will face a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge for an unsafe pass that apparently caused a women to fall off her bike during a charity ride.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a specialized bicycle from a Navy vet who was using it to recover from paralysis, after he was shot in the head while serving in Afghanistan.

Violent crime is increasing on a Sacramento bike path with one of the region’s highest concentrations of chronically homeless people; one rider reported getting punched in the jaw just for being there.

 

National

Streetsblog asks why cities shouldn’t fund student bikeshare passes like they do transit passes.

No surprise here. A new study showed that adult-supervised bike trains to and from school increased physical activity for kids, providing 35% of their daily recommended exercise.

Seattle discovers the most effective way to cut solo car commutes is charging for parking by the day, rather than by the month. Just imagine if they combined that with safer streets to encourage more walking and biking at the same time.

Speaking of Seattle, the city’s limited experiment with dockless bikeshare doubled to a total of 2,000 bikes this week, and could double again when two more suppliers hit the streets. My apologies to whoever sent this; unfortunately, I’ve lost track of where I got this story. But thank you anyway.

Caught on video too: A safety conscious Spokane burglar straps on a helmet before riding off with a homeowner’s bike, while ghost riding another.

Good idea. A Kalamazoo MI bike club printed and distributed 100 lawn signs to promote the city’s five-foot passing law.

The Pennsylvania bicyclist on trial for obstructing traffic testified that he was simply riding in the center of the lane to avoid debris on the right and prevent unsafe passing.

A tone-deaf Atlantic City editorial says bicyclists have to ride responsibly to protect themselves from distracted drivers. Which is probably true. But wearing a bike helmet isn’t likely to prevent a collision. And even the brightest hi-viz and lights won’t help if someone is looking at his or her lap instead of the road.

Emmy nominee Keri Russell is one of us, as a fellow bike rider strikes up a conversation about her show The Americans as she waited at a Brooklyn stop light. A) Conversations like that never happen when you’re in a car, and B) it’s proof that bicyclists really do stop for red lights.

Leonardo DiCaprio is still one of us, and still riding bikeshare bikes across New York. No word on whether he stopped for stop lights or paused to speak with any other bike riders, however.

A New York lawyer goes looking for video of the hit-and-run that put a bike rider in the hospital, and finds a city-owned truck with damage matching the one that hit her.

 

International

A 16-year old Calgary boy has raised $8,000 to fight cancer as part of a 124-mile charity ride, four years after an eye exam lead to the discovery of a baseball-sized tumor in his brain.

Edmonton, Canada is testing side guards on trucks to protect cyclists and pedestrians.

Toronto developers are starting to build carfree, bike-only condos.

The sister of a fallen teenage bike rider lashes out at young Brit riders who put their lives at risk by pulling stunts in front of cars. Although you’d think she’d blame the stoned driver who killed him, instead.

Caught on video three: A Dublin bike mechanic tackles a bike thief who tried to make off with his bike after he leaned it against a wall for a few moments.

The mayor of Melbourne, Australia threatens to deal with the problem of abandoned dockless bikeshare bikes by banning them entirely.

 

Finally…

Why bother biking to work or slogging through traffic when you can just swim. You could do worse than the Sneaky Cyclist Robber, as far as bank robber epithets go.

And a mountain biker tries to take a $149 Walmart bike down some steep singletrack, with predictable results.

Weekend Links: The Battle of Playa del Rey goes on, and felony hit-and-run on a Sacramento bike path — or not

The LA Times catches up with the road reconfigurations in Playa del Rey with the most detailed and even-handed story we’ve seen so far.

The paper reports that people angered by the changes are threatening to sue, even though the changes were made at the request of local residents who fear for their safety on the streets. And that the improvements on Vista del Mar were done at the urging of City Attorney Mike Feuer following the city’s $9.5 million payout for the death of a 16-year old girl in 2015.

Evidently, the residents of Manhattan Beach don’t care if the people of LA have to pay out even more the next time someone gets killed. Or even if someone gets killed.

Never mind that Manhattan Beach has narrowed a number of streets to improve safety and livability in the beachside city. As a matter of fact, it’s funny how Vista del Mar somehow loses two lanes once it enters Manhattan Beach and the name changes to Highland Ave.

But evidently LA beach communities can’t do the same thing.

Then again, this sort of irrational anger at traffic calming projects is nothing new in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, a Playa del Rey resident offers the best response yet to the hordes of angry Manhattan Beach commuters upset over the changes to area’s streets.

And if you read this early enough, there will be a bike ride in support of the changes departing from the Playground Lagoon in Playa del Rey at 10 am today.

………

Sometimes, life — and the law — is just too bizarre for words.

As we mentioned earlier in the week, a Sacramento man was seriously injured when someone on a bicycle plowed into him as he ran on a riverfront path, suffering multiple facial and skull fractures, broken teeth and a broken hand.

The man who crashed into him hurriedly got back on his bike and fled the scene. But not before dropping his cell phone, which is now in the custody of the county DA’s office.

But this is where it gets weird.

If they open the phone, they should be able to find the person it belongs to in order to press charges. But they can’t open it without a warrant. And they can’t get a warrant unless a felony occurred.

And they’re not sure if it’s a felony to flee the scene after a crash on a bike trail, because they’re not sure if California’s hit-and-run statutes apply if the crash didn’t happen on a street or highway. Let alone if the vehicle involved was a bicycle.

And they can’t use the phone to charge the owner with a misdemeanor, because that would be an illegal search.

So they can’t do anything until they figure it all out.

Which seems kind of strange, since my understanding is that bike riders can be charged with hit-and-run if they flee the scene after hitting someone on a street. And drivers can be charged with hit-and-run if they leave after crashing into someone or something in a parking lot, which isn’t a street or highway.

So why can’t a bike rider be charged with fleeing the scene on a bike trail?

Of course, they could allege that the crash was intentional, which would make it felony assault, and bypass the whole issue.

But what’s the fun in that?

………

Great story, as women in India’s Assam province are changing their lives by breaking the taboo against bicycling.

A village cycle bank founded by a non-government organization allows the women to borrow a bicycle on a rotating basis, giving them freedom of movement they’ve never enjoyed before, and providing an opportunity to rise out of poverty.

………

The US national road championships will roll through the streets of Knoxville TN today and tomorrow.

ESPN talks with cycling scion Taylor Phinney on the cusp of his first Tour de France, as part of the nine-man Cannondale-Drapac team.

Chris Froome says I beg your pardon, I was never offered triamcinolone.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An Atascadero man is expected to win this year’s edition of the 2,769 Tour Divide, despite being diagnosed with diabetes last year.

Bike Radar looks at LA ex-pro cyclist Phil Gaimon’s Worst Retirement Ever as he travels the US looking for Strava KOMs.

………

Local

LA officials have filed plans to reconfigure traffic lanes on Temple Street in Historic Filipinotown, removing one lane in each direct, and adding 2.3 miles bike lanes and a center turn lane. Presumably, those are lane miles, so it would actually affect 1.15 miles of street.

The LAPD is investigating the apparent gang shooting of a man on a bike across from The Plant in Panorama City.

West Hollywood creates a new promotional video apparently intended to bore people into using alternative transportation. Very disappointing, coming from the people who brought you Alice in WeHoLand.

A worldwide non-profit group founded by two Pasadena brothers donated 17 bicycles to foster kids associated with a Cal State Northridge program.

Whittier will host its first Open Streets event the middle of next month.

 

State

A new Calbike survey shows even people who drive a lot want alternatives to driving; 78% support complete streets, and two-thirds believe cities should do more to encourage bicycling. Or maybe that should read “…especially people who drive a lot…”

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department will be conducting a bike and pedestrian safety operation on Sunday, so watch how you ride in the county. For one day, anyway.

Some schmuck stole the bike a Santa Cruz writer used to travel the length of the left coast as documented in his book A Bicycle Journey to the Bottom of the Americas.

San Francisco bike rental companies feel threatened by the expansion of the Bay Area’s Ford GoBike bikeshare, which allows users unlimited rides in a 24-hour period for just $15.

A San Francisco public radio station talks with members of the DIY San Francisco Municipal Transformation Agency as they commit illegal acts of bike lane infrastructure.

 

National

A new study shows over riding to hard for too long could be bad for your bowels.

Another new study reports a slight increase in traffic collisions in states with legal marijuana.

A Seattle writer offers three reasons why bikeshare will work in the city, even though the city’s own bikeshare system failed.

Washington may be refusing to fund a 72-mile rail-to-trail conversion, but people are riding it anyway.

Most 10-year olds are happy to ride their bikes to a friend’s house. A Kansas boy just rode his 561 miles across the state.

An Austin TX city employee has developed a bike lane that lights up as a bicyclist approaches an intersection, making the rider more visible and alerting drivers that a bike is coming.

A New York man has been arrested for the apparently random attack on a bike rider that left him in a coma.

No bias here. After a Brooklyn bike rider knocks on the window of a police car to left them know they were drifting into his lane, they respond by giving him a ticket for disorderly conduct.

No bias here, either. Despite the recent deaths of two people riding their bikes, the NYPD doesn’t care enough to send anyone to a community meeting to discuss traffic safety.

Once again, a car has been used as a weapon, as a Pennsylvania man intentionally drove his car into a man on a bike after the two had argued, then drove off dragging the bike under his car.

Great idea. A Maryland county crowdsources feedback on the county’s bikeways, allowing them to plan improvements and flag problems they might not otherwise know about.

Sharrows are coming to South Florida for the first time, despite studies showing they may actually do more harm than good.

 

International

A Columbian village is sponsoring a bike race to promote its natural beauty as the country transitions to peace after decades of guerrilla war.

It’s taken a Canadian man eight years to get back on his bike after recovering from the injuries he received when a hit-and-run driver plowed into a group of five cyclists. Which is four times longer than the driver’s sentence.

A Vancouver college student says bike lanes are great, but shouldn’t come at the expense of nature.

In a study that should surprise absolutely no one, Montreal researchers concluded that people who ride their bikes to work suffer less stress on their commute and are more productive during the day.

Caught on video: Following a too-close pass, a London bicyclist responds by pressing the emergency shutoff button at the rear of the bus.

Even two black belts aren’t not enough to protect a competitor for the UK’s strongest man from an assault by teenage motorists while riding his bicycle.

A British soldier is riding and kayaking across the country to honor six fallen comrades — despite losing both legs and an arm in an Afghan bomb blast.

Teenage bike riders are terrifying drivers in a British town, who fear what could happen if they hit one. Which could be legitimate, although something tells me it might be worse for the kid.

An Australian boxer was banned from driving because of poor eyesight, but did it anyway, fleeing the scene after killing a 77-year old man as he rode his bike. It’s simply not enough to take away a driver’s license; as long as they have access to a car, too many will drive anyway.

South Koreans can now ride their bikes on a 1,677-mile network of trails without ever setting a wheel on roadway, which was built to appease a public angered by a massive river restoration project.

Two Korean men are riding across the US to call attention to the comfort women forced to work in brothels by the Japanese in WWII.

 

Finally…

Don’t ride past police carrying drugs on a stolen bike you weren’t on just a few minutes. When celebs screw up, they go into rehab; when a triathlete gets caught trying to sabotage a competitor’s bike, she checked into an eating disorder clinic.

And if you’re going ride a bikeshare bike naked, using the free seat cover is the least you can do.

Please.

 

Morning Links: Angry drivers and bikelash in Playa del Mar, sinkhole on Angeles Crest, and Bike Life in DTLA

A little bikelash and road diet rage were to be expected.

This is LA, after all.

Which is why it should come as no surprise that drivers are angry they can no longer speed on deadly Vista del Mar, or use the beachfront street as a virtual highway on their cut-through commutes from South Bay cities.

Streetsblog examines Monday’s angry backlash over the changes designed to slow speeds and improve bike and pedestrian safety in Playa del Rey — including one bighearted person who shouted that people killed crossing the deadly street had it coming.

Just in case you wondered what kind of person would oppose desperately needed traffic safety improvements.

After all, who really cares about saving the lives of a few total strangers if it means your commute gets a few minutes longer? Although one person says traffic on his Vista del Mar commute is actually lighter than usual.

Once again, there are dueling petitions both opposing and supporting the changes. And once again, the nays are winning in a landslide.

Meanwhile, The Argonaut considers the resistance of some drivers to the road diet and bike lanes just completed on Venice Blvd in Mar Vista, where over 48 bicyclists and pedestrians have been injured since 2011.

Including one truly bizarre statement that it took someone 45 minutes to drive the half mile from Beethoven to Centinela. Which would only seem possible if s/he stopped for coffee and donuts along the way. And had to wait while they made them.

Because really, why wait a few weeks to see if the changes will actually work when you can just demand they rip ‘em out before the paint is even dry?

And yet people wonder why it’s so hard to change anything in LA.

………

If you were planning to ride Angeles Crest this weekend, start making other plans. Caltrans reports the highway is closed until further notice between Grassy Hollow and SR-39 due to a sinkhole in the roadway. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

………

Since you can’t ride Angeles Crest, head over to Grand Park this Saturday for a one-hour beer and taco-free gathering of the LA bicycling community.

………

Once again, a cyclist competing in an open course time trial has been killed in a collision with a motor vehicle; this time the victim was a 69-year old man in the UK.

More bad news, as a French cyclist was killed in a car crash, and another injured, shortly after taking first and third in a criterium last Thursday; both riders were veterans of the popular Red Hook Crit series.

The New York Times looks at the rise of Columbian cyclists, saying some compete for their county, and some in spite of it.

The Des Moines Register profiles a competitor in next week’s RAAM, saying don’t call her Wonder Woman.

………

Local

LA Times columnist Robin Abcarian celebrates how a chain reaction hit-and-run crash brought an unlikely group of Angelenos together. And a bike rider walked away thanks to the falling skills he learned riding a skateboard.

Helen’s Cycles will host their monthly mountain bike ride this Saturday.

Also on Saturday, learn how to advocate for Complete Streets at The Tripping Point, a free conference sponsored by Investing in Place, AARP California, Los Angeles Aging Advocacy Coalition, Los Angeles Walks, Pacoima Beautiful and Tree People.

 

State

Anticipating an increase in funding, the California Active Transportation Program is looking for shovel-ready bike and pedestrian projects. Like LA’s North Figueroa and Lankershim Blvd road diets, and the bike lanes on Westwood Blvd, for instance. Oh, wait.

Newport Beach police will be focusing on bike and pedestrian safety enforcement this month, with extra officers on duty June 14th and 26th. You know the drill; ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits so you’re not the one who gets ticketed.

Riverside will host the Santa Ana River Trail Bike Ride & Festival this Sunday.

The Pleasanton city council votes unanimously to adopt a new bicycle and pedestrian master plan.

San Mateo plans to double the size of its bikeshare program, the only one in the Bay Area not part of Ford’s 7,000 bike system.

 

National

NACTO is sponsoring a year-long initiative to identify problems that “slow the implementation of transformative transportation projects in cities across the country.” I can save them the trouble: blame NIMBYs who value parking spaces and faster commutes over lives and livability.

Streetsblog says algorithms to improve dangerous intersections are great, but we already know what needs to be done to improve safety.

A new study shows even regular coffee drinkers can get a performance boost from caffeine.

Not surprisingly, Oregon bike retailers are trying to stop plans for a tax on bicycles over $500.

An online travel service ranks Denver the tenth most bike-friendly city for tourists. Not surprisingly, Minneapolis ranks number one; more surprising is Los Angeles getting a nod on the Most Improved list.

Texas finally gets around to banning texting while driving, six years after then governor and now US Energy Secretary Rick Perry vetoed it.

Kindhearted Arkansas cops take the time to help a kid fix his bike.

Life is cheap in Illinois, where a driver charged with reckless homicide in the death of a 16-year old bike rider walks with nothing but probation following a plea deal. Seriously, whoever agreed to this should be ashamed.

After a Chicago boy’s bike was stolen while he was at work, his friends mowed lawns, did chores and donated their allowances to buy him a new one.

Michigan Live offers a complete wrap-up of their extensive coverage of the one-year anniversary of the drug-fueled Kalamazoo massacre.

Indiana police are looking for a road-raging bike rider, though they won’t say what happened or why.

Baltimore’s mayor pledges to look into charges from some residents that bike lanes would make some streets too narrow for fire equipment. Even though parking spaces already do.

 

International

Cycling Weekly offers 15 reasons why you should ride your bike this summer. Or maybe ten, they’re not really sure.

A London advocacy group calls on the city to modify safety barriers that have been placed in bike lanes on three of the city’s bridges.

A Scottish newspaper says the silence was deafening during a minute of quiet to protest the death of a young woman on her bike.

A new Dublin study shows enormous health benefits to bicycling, while noting that the risk to male riders between 20 to 29 increases with every mile, and may outweigh the benefits for some.

Coke is turning to e-cargo bikes to make deliveries. In the Netherlands, naturally.

A cyclist on a French river cruise takes a bicycling tour of the historic city of Rouen, where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431.

An Aussie judge calls a driver a moronic bogan — the rough equivalent of trailer trash in the US — after the man pled guilty to beating and demanding an apology from the bike rider he’d just crashed into. But still let him off with just a fine.

 

Finally…

Training bike cops for the coming zombie apocalypse. If you really want to encourage bike commuting, free donuts and bacon should do the trick.

And nothing like a phalanx of school kids on unicycles unexpectedly rolling past your window.

Morning Links: New bike lanes coming to South LA, and lawyer gets sidewalk riding law wrong, at least in CA

Los Angeles continues to rediscover — or maybe just discover, as in for the first time — that there’s life south of the 10 Freeway.

After years of not-so-benign neglect of the city’s Southside, it’s become a focus of LA’s Vision Zero efforts.

And now LADOT has submitted plans four road diets and bike lanes on four major north-south streets in South LA.

………

Maybe the law’s different in Colorado.

A lawyer answers the question of who’s at fault when a driver pulls out of a driveway and hits a bike rider on the sidewalk, saying the rider could share some of the blame for a) riding on the sidewalk, and b) riding against traffic.

Except here in California, it’s legal to ride on the sidewalk in many cities, though seldom advised. And sidewalks are bi-directional; bicyclists aren’t required to ride with traffic anymore than people are expected to walk that way.

Despite a misguided and very outdated opinion by the then-state attorney general.

………

Bicycling considers the crazy things that happen to a cyclist’s body while competing in the Race Across America. I remember one of the early RAAM competitor warning his crew about the dinosaurs along the roadway in Missouri.

………

Local

The Eastsider looks at the new and improved Spoke Bicycle Café in Frogtown.

If Sunday’s CicLAvia is too tame for you, Helen’s Cycling is hosting a women-only mountain bike ride the same day.

The West Covina city council will consider the city’s possible participation in the San Gabriel Valley Greenway Network tomorrow.

Police stats show bike theft is down in Long Beach, but that may not really be the case.

The Long Beach Bikes bikeshare is offering free ride time for Friday’s Moonlight Mash Long Beach Mad Max Ride.

 

State

A curmudgeonly San Diego sports columnist has taken to calling Kevin Faulconer the city’s Bicycle Mayor. Funny thing is, he seems to think it’s an insult.

The Fish and Wildlife Department is kicking mountain bikers off trails near Carlsbad, where riding was apparently always illegal but no one knew it.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition prepares for the next round in the fight for parking-protected bike lanes in the SoMa district.

 

National

Things could get a little safer on the streets, as Apple introduces a “do not disturb while driving” setting for the iPhone. But probably not a lot, since its use is voluntary.

Boing Boing offers a video look at how bicycles boosted the women’s rights movement. Thanks to David Wolfberg for the heads-up.

A new Kickstarter project promises to turn any bicycle into a cargo bike, complete with removable two-wheeled trolley.

It slowly dawned on a Seattle writer that he’s been riding less after moving to a part of town with less safe bike infrastructure. Something I can relate to after moving to Hollywood.

Now you’ll be able to ride at least a portion of the infamous Trail of Tears as it follows through Arkansas, tracing the steps of the Cherokee Nation on their forced march to Oklahoma.

A year after five bike riders were killed by an alleged drugged driver in Kalamazoo MI, his trial is still at least three months off. The family of one of the Kalamazoo victims says life is uncertain, so enjoy the ride.

Baltimore’s mayor scratches plans for a protected bike lane as it was being built, settling for a narrow two-way door zone bikeway to appease local NIMBYs.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 70-year old Florida man is tackling the 2,745-mile Tour Divide down the full length of the Rockies; it’s his third attempt after failing when he was 63, and succeeding four years later.

 

International

You’ve got to be kidding. A Canadian coroner blames a bike rider’s death on not wearing a helmet. Never mind that she wouldn’t have needed one if a massive truck hadn’t made an illegal right hook directly into her.

Canada’s automobile association says the cost of treating bike injuries is probably going up there, too. But they don’t really know.

Toronto bicyclists complain the city is spending too much money on building out the easy parts of the city’s new bike plan, rather than the ones that would make riders safe.

Speaking of Toronto, 75% of city residents support what had been a controversial protected bike lane, and want it to be made permanent.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a cab driver was fined the equivalent of $387 for allowing a passenger to fatally door a bike rider, plus another $845 in fines. Which he can pay off in low installments of less than $26 a week.

Not surprisingly, new security barriers installed in bike lanes to protect pedestrians on London bridges may increase the risk for bike riders.

No, Taiwan’s Giant bike maker is not being purchased by a Chinese bikeshare company.

 

Finally…

Not only we do we pay way, but bikes can help keep the tax rate down, too.

And seriously, don’t be that guy.

Just don’t.

 

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