Tag Archive for road diets

Morning Links: Disappointment on 6th Street road diet, and new bikeways drop under new LADOT leadership

Hopefully, we’ve got the problem fixed, and subscribers received an email notification of this post. If not, we’ll take another shot at it tomorrow.

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This is why Vision Zero will fail in Los Angeles.

It’s no secret that LA’s 6th Street between Fairfax and La Brea is one of the most dangerous streets in Los Angeles.

And not just for bike riders, but for pedestrians, drivers and even residents of the street, given the number of drivers who lose control and smash into the buildings alongside it.

In fact, according to the Beverly Press, collision data shows it’s three times as dangerous as the average street in Los Angeles.

Yet even though there’s a shovel-ready plan to fix it, it’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

LADOT has proposed a road diet for the one-mile stretch of street, reducing it to one lane in each direction with a center turn lane, and much-needed bike lanes on either side. It’s a plan that’s won significant community support, including the backing of the Mid City West Community Council that represents the area.

And it’s a proven solution. According to the Federal Highway Administration, road diets have been shown to reduce collisions as much as 47%, while retuning road space back to the community.

The resulting benefits include a crash reduction of 19 to 47 percent, reduced vehicle speed differential, improved mobility and access by all road users, and integration of the roadway into surrounding uses that results in an enhanced quality of life. A key feature of a Road Diet is that it allows reclaimed space to be allocated for other uses, such as turn lanes, bus lanes, pedestrian refuge islands, bike lanes, sidewalks, bus shelters, parking or landscaping.

Although at every community meeting where the results of any study are mentioned, someone will inevitably ask if it was conducted in Los Angeles. As if there is something magically different about this city that makes water run uphill and two plus two equal five.

But this time, the answer is yes.

Because the latest research shows that the needlessly contentious Rowena road diet accomplished exactly what it was supposed to do.

Since the road diet was installed more than three years ago, LADOT has been collecting data on traffic patterns. An analysis of that data makes it clear that the project has worked as intended: Average speeds dropped from 39 mph to 35 mph, and safety has significantly increased on Rowena, with no effect on overall traffic volume.

Let’s repeat that.

Despite the claims of local residents that cut through drivers have run roughshod over their neighborhoods, Rowena post-road diet carries the same number of vehicles as it did before. But far more safely.

But that’s where the good news ends.

Because the Beverly Press reports CD4 Councilmember David Ryu, who represents the area, questions the benefits of the road diet, preferring incremental changes to improve safety.

Like bollards, for instance.

And he’s concerned about how a road diet would affect other local development projects, such as a joint Metro/Los Angeles project to encourage transit ridership, new jobs and development along the transit corridor formed by the planned La Brea, Fairfax and La Cienega subway stations, which won’t open until 2023.

So instead of trusting the people the city pays to design safer streets, he prefers to overrule their judgement, and that of the local community, and drag his feet for months, if not years to come.

So a lot of people could be needlessly injured or killed on the street in the next seven years.

And that’s the problem.

Just as we’ve seen with Westwood Blvd, Central Ave, Lankershim and North Figueroa, a single LA councilmember has the power to stop much needed safety projects, sometimes based on nothing more than their own personal whims.

Which means that safety can improve dramatically in one council district, and grind to a halt in the next.

Vision Zero will be impossible to achieve if individual councilmembers are allowed to carve their districts out, and keep the streets dangerous at the behest of constituents fearful of any change to what they consider their streets.

Even if it’s change for the better.

And even though the streets belong to all of us.

We had high hopes for Ryu, who professed to support Vision Zero, as well as encouraging bicycling and walking when he ran for office.

But based on this decision, as well as his votes in support of removing Westwood and Central from the Mobility Plan, we may be disappointed.

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If you thought bikeway construction had slowed down dramatically under Seleta Reynold’s stewardship at LADOT, you’re right.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton took at deep dive into the department’s recently released annual report, and found that the city installed only 17.1 miles of bikeways in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. And that’s using the new lane mile metric, which counts each direction of travel separately.

So that 17 miles of bikeways represents just 6.5 miles of roads and pathways.

That compares to 38 lane miles in Mayor Garcetti’s first year in office, when Reynolds was appointed several months into the year.

And 120 lane miles in Mayor Villaraigosa’s final year in office, far exceeding his commitment to build 40 miles of bike lanes — 80 lane miles — a year.

As Linton points out, LADOT has a number of projects in the works for the coming year.

If all goes according to plans, FY2016-17 looks like it should be better. LADOT is poised to implement plenty of quality bikeway mileage during the current fiscal year, with protected bike lanes anticipated on Figueroa Street (MyFig), Venice Boulevard, Spring Street, Main Street, Van Nuys Boulevard and (newly announced in the report) Highland Avenue.

But he adds,

LADOT has recent accomplishments to be proud of, but, given Reynolds, a committed walk and bike champion at the helm, it is falling short of expectations. Cyclists, communities and advocacy groups will need to continue to press LADOT and L.A. electeds to ensure that progress continues.

Let alone if we ever hope to see even a fraction of the hard-fought gains reflected in the 2010 Bike Plan, now part of the Mobility Plan 2035, on our streets.

Minus Westwood Blvd and Central Ave, of course.

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Today’s common theme is ebikes.

An Escondido father tours Catalina Island on an ebike with his young daughter.

A British Columbia man takes a 1,553 mile ebike ride to next month’s Desert Trip classic rock festival in Indio.

Financial Review calls a new e-cargo bike the equivalent of a muscle car.

And if you like your ebikes to look like 1920’s motorcycles, this one’s for you. Then again, as Cyclelicious points out, America has a long history of making pseudo-motorcycle bicycles.

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The head of the Tour de France says cycling is shedding its image as the black sheep of the sports world as it cleans up its act, while other sports are rocked with doping scandals.

Although Deadspin says trusting anyone in cycling is a loser’s game.

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Local

The LA Times endorses Measure M to provide alternatives to LA’s soul-crushing traffic. However, a representative of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association urges a no vote, saying the plan isn’t perfect yet — in part because it doesn’t include a plan for parking. Which kind of misses the point of getting people out of their cars.

UCLA has established the area’s first online bike traffic school, allowing students to improve their knowledge of bicycle traffic regulations instead of having to pay a traffic ticket. Meanwhile, thirty years ago you could have ridden a pedicab through Westwood Village.

CiclaValley offers a video breakdown of the popular Nichols Ride.

Better Bike’s Mark Elliot points out that the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills set a new record for injury collisions involving bicyclists or pedestrians in August, with six and ten respectively — over four times the average number of bicycling injuries for the previous seven months.

Cycling in the South Bay goes back to third grade dealing with anti-bike Palos Verdes NIMBYs at a pair of city safety meetings, while including his notes of the various NIMBY uninformed comments.

 

State

Governor Brown signed a bill requiring ignition interlock devices for anyone convicted of drunk driving, to keep them from operating their cars while under the influence. Not as good as impounding their vehicles until they get their licenses back, but it’s a start.

A bike path becomes a contentious issue in the Encinitas council election. Yes, a bike path.

Palm Springs uses bait bikes to bust two bike thieves.

A crowdfunding account has been established for the 88-year old grandfather who was killed riding his bike in Goleta last week.

A Monterey bicyclist jumps head-first into the great helmet debate, saying even hard-headed people should wear helmets while biking. Meanwhile, your next helmet could be made from a honeycomb of hollow neon green tubes.

 

National

A stoned Oregon driver gets six years and three months for the hit-and-run death of a bike rider while he was high on marijuana, which is legal in the state. However, driving under the influence isn’t.

There’s a special place in hell for anyone who would try to sell a Chicago ghost bike on Facebook.

Kindhearted North Chicago police buy a new bicycle for a seven-year old boy after his was destroyed in a collision.

A Minnesota writer reviews a new book that says Bike Lanes Are White Lanes, as bike advocacy too often leaves communities of color behind.

New York passes three laws guaranteeing bicycle access to commercial and residential buildings.

It takes a special kind of road raging jackass to pull a gun on anyone, let alone former pro and Lance lieutenant George Hincapie and his eight-year old son as they rode near their South Carolina home.

 

International

Momentum Magazine looks at three grassroots bicycle organizations shaking things up in cities around the world, including our own East Side Riders Bike Club.

Canada is creating a national task force to reduce injuries and fatalities to cyclists and pedestrians. That sound you hear is the silence of the US doing nothing.

Bicyclists in Edmonton, Canada already treat stop signs as yields, even without an Idaho Stop Law. As opposed to LA, where too many riders simply ignore them.

It’s official. The Right Bank of the Seine River through the heart of Paris will be taken back from cars and returned to the people.

Southern Germany features over 120 bike routes with 5,000 miles of dedicated pathways.

A Formula 1 driver wiped out while rounding a corner at nearly 30 mph on his bicycle when he ran over a Thai chicken.

 

Finally…

It’s not a bomb, it’s an inflatable bike helmet. The perfect bike for when you want to ride in a semi-Superman position, cape optional.

And your next bike tour could be led by a pair of porn stars.

 

Morning Links: Backlash to Palisades road diet, shooting of unarmed Castaic man protested, and bike events

No surprise.

The proposal to install a road diet on Temescal Canyon Road, with a parking protected bike lane on the uphill side and a buffered lane downhill, ran into opposition at the Pacific Palisades Community Council last week. (“Proposal to Take Away Downhill Temescal Lane;” right column, bottom of first page)

People tend to be very defensive of their traffic lanes — almost as much as they are parking. And anything that promises to improve safety usually takes a back seat to fears of traffic congestion, warranted or not.

Hopefully, local residents will come around once the benefits of the project are actually explained.

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A group of mostly African-American civil rights leaders is stepping up to protest the shooting of an unarmed bike rider by sheriff’s deputies in Castaic Tuesday night.

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The Ovarian Psychos’ 5th annual Clitoral Mass ride rolls tomorrow for riders who identify as female.

The LACBC is teaming with Just Ride LA for this month’s Sunday Funday Ride in DTLA on Sunday, regardless of how you identify.

Also on Sunday, Finish the Ride and Velo Studio are hosting the free community ride Tour de Griffith Park: An Introduction to Safe and Fun Riding.

West Hollywood will have a soft-launch of their new smart-bike bikeshare system on Tuesday.

Long Beach will celebrate the opening of a new parking protected bike lane on Artesia Blvd this Thursday.

And don’t forget the return of CicLAvia to iconic Wilshire Blvd next Sunday, albeit in a shorter version due to construction of the Purple Line.

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Megan Guarnier has gone from doing risk assessment in nuclear plants to America’s best hope for cycling gold in Rio; she describes the road race as the hardest single-day course she’s seen, stray dogs and slick surfaces included.

Cycling Weekly looks at the favorites in the Olympic men’s road race, none of whom are American.

Australia’s Rohan Dennis was nearly out of the games before they started after crashing on a bad surface on the road course.

The good news is, there’s less doping in the women’s peloton than in the men’s; the bad news is, there’s doping in the women’s peloton.

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Local

The LA Times looks at the popularity of fixies, saying they’ve gone from hipster status symbols to being found everywhere. Although I question whether the too-frequent stories of cyclists injured after recklessly blowing through stop signs in front of oncoming traffic results from the inability of beginning fixed-gear riders to safely stop their bikes.

Atwater Village residents demand the removal of flood control barriers along their stretch of the LA River bike path, after the barriers have been removed everywhere else.

CiclaValley concludes his list of the ten most essential climbs in the LA area.

 

State

A Santa Ana man told police he was shot in the chest when he struggled with an armed gang member trying to steal his bike. Once again, if there’s a weapon involved, just let your bike go. Your life is worth more.

A new UC Riverside study concludes that low income bicyclists who ride out of necessity are largely ignored by SoCal communities, where bike paths and policies favor recreational and upper-income riders.

Salinas ranks among the worst in the state for pedestrian and bike safety.

San Francisco’s mayor announces increased efforts to improve safety on the city’s streets in the wake of recent deaths and criticism by bike advocates.

 

National

A new premium Strava feature will tell your friends exactly where you are so they can meet up, or find you if you don’t get home on time.

An off-duty Oklahoma officer is credited with saving a bike rider from being shot by an admitted killer.

The family of a bike messenger who was killed by a Chicago tour bus have filed suit, alleging the driver blew through the red light.

A Staten Island mom uses Facebook to get her son’s stolen bike back.

The New York Times talks to the hero bicyclist who saved a young man from jumping off the George Washington Bridge.

A New Jersey mountain bike trail is the latest to be sabotaged by anti-bike terrorists who planted barbed wire, broken bottles and boards embedded with screws and nails along the path. The scumbags who did this deserve to have the book thrown at them. But probably won’t, since they’re only targeting people on bicycles.

A full 40% of people in Baton Rouge LA say they would consider riding to work if the city had dedicated bike paths.

 

International

A transportation consulting firm says the cyclists cities should target are the ones who don’t ride yet.

Vancouver’s new bikeshare system has proven more popular than expected just two weeks after its launch.

Bighearted Victoria, Canada police pitch in to ship a boy’s stolen bike back to Alberta after it was stolen while his family was visiting the city.

The mayor of Edmonton, Canada says the racist rants telling a black bike rider to get off the street demonstrates the need for better infrastructure. It also demonstrates the need for fewer racist drivers.

There’s a special place in hell for the Ontario, Canada jackass who dragged a dog behind an ebike; fortunately, the dog is okay, while the driver faces charges including DUI.

Toronto drivers didn’t even wait for a new bike lane to be finished to before they started parking in it.

An Ottawa, Canada woman filed an assault complaint with the police after a male rider slapped her ass for riding too slow. Seriously, let other people ride their own way. And keep your damn hands to yourself.

Speaking of a special place in hell, that goes double for whoever stole the bike used by a British father to take his seriously ill five-year old daughter out for rides, and raise money to fight the disease that will eventually take her life.

The Guardian recounts the tale of bikeshare inventor Luud Schimmelpennink, and the failure of his hometown of Amsterdam to embrace the idea.

Romania wants to install new cycling routes to encourage bike tourism, including bike paths, public roads where cars are banned, and streets where traffic is limited to 18 mph.

Hyerabad, India will install a 300 station, 10,000 bike bikeshare system along the city’s railways.

The Israeli border guards caught on video confiscating a Palestinian girl’s bicycle and tossing it into the bushes say they did it to protect her. Sure, let’s go with that.

 

Finally…

Forget cornering or descending; the most important cycling skill you need is riding the right speed to catch Pokémon. Your next bikeshare helmet could be made of paper.

And a clunky looking bike bell promises to turn any bike into a smart bike; a smart rider is another matter.

 

Morning Links: OC Register writer shows ignorance on road diets, and a look at ghost bikes and bicycle safety

This is the final day of our first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive. And your last chance to get some great bike swag when you sign up or renew your membership with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

We’re up to 29 members who’ve signed up as part of the drive. So we just need two more to make it one a day for the month of May, with 31 members by the end of the month. Or better yet, get your entire riding club to sign up today to help make our original goal of 100 new members by the end of this month.

So don’t wait. Join or renew now to help make this a more livable, bikeable city and county.

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Let’s keep things short today — relatively, anyway — to kick off the week after a far too busy three day weekend. We’ll get back to our regular link-filled format tomorrow.

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This is what happens when someone doesn’t have a clue what he’s writing about.

But doesn’t let that stop him.

Fifty-two years after Bob Dylan warned “don’t criticize what you don’t understand,” indignorant Orange County Register columnist Joel Kotkin attempts to create a public panic over road diets, without apparently bothering to understand what they are or how they’re used.

Kotkin warns that Governor Brown has a secret plan to reduce greenhouse gases by making traffic congestion so bad that it will force Californians out of their cars. And into a “high-density, transit-oriented future.”

And the tool to accomplish this “Soviet-style social engineering?”

Road diets.

That’s right, comrades. He’s onto us.

Never mind that road diets have absolutely nothing to do with reducing global warming or getting people to leave their supposedly non-polluting electric cars at home. (Note to Joel Kotkin: Electric cars cause pollution, too. That power has to come from somewhere, like coal and gas-fueled power plants in most cases.)

Despite his extremely off-base protestations, road diets are performed on streets with excess capacity in order to reduce speeding and improve safety. And in many, if not most cases, can actually improve traffic flow, while making the street safer for bicyclists, pedestrians and, yes, motorists. They can even increase property values by improving livability along the street.

In other words, everyone benefits. Even the bourgeois capitalists in their motor vehicles.

Making matters worse, Kotkin apparently thinks the state’s plan to encourage road diets will a) prevent the widening of freeways, and b) actually be used to narrow said freeways. Although it’s hard to tell with his jumbled, nearly incoherent mixing and mangling of unrelated subject matters.

So just to clarify, road diets are used on surface streets. Period.

They have absolutely nothing to do with freeway projects, nor do they in any way increase freeway congestion. Although they may reduce congestion in the surrounding area by providing people with viable alternatives to driving.

All of which he could have discovered with a simple 30-second Google search.

If he cared enough to actually understand what the hell he’s talking about.

Thanks to Mike Wilkerson for the heads-up.

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Mike also forwards this piece about Southern California Ghost Bikes founder Danny Gamboa.

It tells the story of how Gamboa, a photographer and filmmaker, became involved in the ghost bike movement when his neighbor’s six-year old son was killed while riding his bike.

And how the purpose of the bikes is to call attention to the need to ride safely, and drive carefully around bike riders.

Vincent Chang, who started Bike San Gabriel Valley, remembers two ghost bikes he helped place in Pasadena.

“It’s to honor the individual who passed,” Chang said. “Also, there’s hope that it brings to light the need for safety improvements. They act as a reminder to vehicles that we have to share the road.”

Gamboa’s been asked if he has a morbid fixation. It’s a question he quickly shrugs off.

“Our goal is to be put out of business so we don’t ever have to do this again,” he answered.

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The author of that story, Steve Scauzillo of the Los Angeles News Group, also wrote a piece about bicycling fatalities in Southern California, in which he quoted me extensively, along with Danny Gamboa and the LACBC’s Colin Bogart.

And got it right.

Despite the scary headline, he offers a fair and balanced piece, making it clear that while too many people die on our streets, the rate of bicycling deaths is actually going down as ridership goes up.

And that the odds of returning safely from a ride are overwhelmingly in your favor.

It’s worth noting that Scauzillo, a bike rider himself, spent over an hour on the phone with me to get the story straight. Unlike, say, his colleague above.

I spend a lot of time talking with reporters about bicycling and bike safety, on and off the record. And it’s nice when a reporter goes to the effort to make sure he quotes me accurately and in context.

So whether or not you like what I said, I said it. And meant it.

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Hopefully it’s not a spoiler at this point. But if you still have the last few stages of the Giro or the Nats on your DVR, skip this section.

Still here?

It was a big upset in Friday’s stage 19, as Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali won the stage — and eventually, the tour itself — after Dutch rider Steven Kruijswijk, who seemed to have an insurmountable lead, hit a snow bank and wiped out in spectacular fashion.

Back on our shores, the US National road title was taken by virtually unknown 21-year old Greg Daniel. Megan Guarnier cemented her position as America’s leading women’s roadie by winning her second US road championship, and her third in five years.

And Taylor Phinney completed a nearly impossible comeback from a devastating crash caused by a race moto in the 2014 road championships by winning his second national crit title; doctors weren’t sure he would ever walk again, let alone ride a bike. Carmen Small won the women’s title.

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Sad news from Spain, as former pro David Cañada died after colliding with another rider in a sportiv, just six years after retiring from racing.

And race motos cause yet another massive crash, as two lead motorcycles collided in a Belgium race, causing dozens of riders to go down and leading to the cancellation of the stage. At last report, Belgian rider Stig Broeckx was still in a coma after suffering a skull fracture in the crash; it was Broeckx’ second wreck involving a race moto just this year.

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Over the weekend, my wife and I happened to stumble on another new bicycle-themed coffee shop when we stopped to check out a restaurant in West Hollywood.

The Black Bicycle Café opened two months ago on Havenhurst Drive and Santa Monica Blvd; the name comes from the idea that just like bicycles get you where you’re going, coffee fuels you to your destination.

Black Bicycle Cafe

Black Bicycle Cafe Interior

And they make a pretty good cup of joe.

Tell ‘em I said hi if you stop by.

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Finally…

Your next bike could be a blimp, if they can actually get it off the ground. Or maybe a lawnmower.

And it’s bad enough when a kangaroo knocks you off your bike; worse when it ruptures both your breast implants.

 

Morning Links: Bike lanes get blame in West Hills, East Side Riders profiled, and Bev Hills goes auto autonomous

Somehow bikes always seem to get the blame.

Even when they’re nowhere around.

In yet another horrible sacrifice to LA’s car culture, a woman and her adult daughter were killed, along with their dog, while attempting to cross Roscoe Blvd in West Hills Monday night.

Yet instead of blaming the dangerous drivers who residents say speed through the intersection, the Daily News points the finger at a recent road diet, saying westbound Roscoe was narrowed to provide a buffer for cyclists.

Except it wasn’t.

That road diet, like every other road diet, was done to slow those speeding drivers and improve safety for everyone. Bike lanes are just a tool to accomplish that; providing a buffer for people on bikes is just an added benefit.

Which means the problem isn’t the bike lanes.

It’s the culture that says it’s okay to drive 10 miles, or 20, or even 30, above the 40 mph speed limit, then cut over at the last second when the roadway narrows.

Police say the driver wasn’t intoxicated, and wasn’t talking on his cell phone. So the question is how fast was he going, why didn’t he see the two women and their Labrador retriever in a zebra crosswalk, and why he couldn’t stop in time.

And why in God’s name is a 40 mph speed limit allowed in a residential neighborhood to begin with.

There may be a lot of factors that led up to this tragedy.

But bike lanes isn’t one of them.

Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

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Bicycling Magazine offers a great interview with John Jones III, founder of the East Side Riders bike club, who is using bikes to change Watts for the better.

We have this thing we implemented with the police, the sheriff’s office, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, and the Watts Labor Community Action Committee, called Life Lanes. Basically, it means gang members know not to bother folks on bikes around Watts. We went out and talked to gang members and told them, “You’re gonna see people who don’t look like us riding through here, people from different ethnic groups—don’t mess with them.” And we told law enforcement, “You’re gonna see people from outside the community riding through here—protect them.” And everybody listened! …

Now we ride through some of the projects, and folks don’t bother us. Some of the people in our club are in gangs, but when we’re on bikes, they get a pass from other gangs because they know we’re doing something good for the community.

Nice to see one of LA’s unsung bike heroes get the attention he deserves.

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Beverly Hills, which fought the Purple Line subway extension tooth-and-nail, is now planning an autonomous vehicle program to solve the first mile/last mile problem with a fleet of self-driving cars once it opens in 2026.

Never mind that they could solve a lot of that by just putting bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd.

Thanks to John Dammon for the link.

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Cannondale pro cycling team leader Jonathan Vaughters discusses the future of pro cycling in the US.

CNN offers an extensive profile of Lance Armstrong and the movie The Program, calling him a tragic hero.

And see the grueling Paris-Roubaix from the cyclists’ perspective.

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Local

Streetsblog says Metro bikeshare really is coming to DTLA. Meanwhile, West Hollywood wants to know where you’d put stations for their coming system.

Downtown News looks at plans for protected bike lanes on Spring and Main in Downtown LA.

Pretty Little Liars star Shay Mitchell is one of us, as she tweets about how she loves riding her bike along the beach.

St. Vincent Meals on Wheels is hosting their 21st annual Walk/Bike-A-Thon on Sunday the 24th, including a 10 mile ride along the beach to raise funds for Meals for Wheels. Maybe you’ll see Shay Mitchell there. Or maybe not.

 

State

Concern for equity reaches the state level, as bills in the state legislature would shift priority for transportation funding to disadvantaged communities to ensure everyone has access to safe walking, biking and transit infrastructure.

Streetsblog looks at how the San Diego Association of Governments falsely sold a package of highway expansions under the promise of improving the environment, while kicking bike and walking projects down the road.

The Voice of San Diego says a recent road diet on the Coast Highway in Oceanside marks the end of the road for the car-only highway. We can only hope.

A gofundme account has been established for a Bakersfield 6th grader who was seriously injured in a collision while riding to school on Monday.

Classic bicycle fans from 29 countries took part in last weekend’s three-day Eroica California bike fest in Paso Robles.

San Francisco Streetsblog asks if new paint and phased traffic signals are enough to keep bike riders safe on a dangerous intersection.

A Bay Area website recommends five stunning destinations you can ride to from San Francisco.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is looking for a part-time graphic designer.

 

National

The Atlantic says the absurd primacy of the automobile in American life is insane.

A new study from the University of Duh discovers drunk bike riders are more likely to be injured than sober ones. No, really, they needed a study to figure that out.

The next time you head to Ikea for a bookshelf, you can pick up a unisex, belt-drive bicycle, too. No word on whether you have to assemble it yourself.

Seattle’s Transit Blog tells drivers to relax about cyclists blowing through red lights.

Robin Leach, of the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous fame, calls gambler Dan Bilzerian’s successful $1.2 million bet a “dangerous and nearly impossible ride” through the brutal Mojave desert. Even though countless other cyclists have done it for free.

A Chicago couple quit their jobs to travel 4,000 miles across the US on just $6,000.

Charleston cyclists call for a trial bike and pedestrian lane over a bridge to be made permanent since it’s the only safe and, so far, legal route over the river; the local paper says so far, so good.

Louisiana considers a vulnerable user law with real teeth, establishing a $2,000 fine and three months in jail for injuring a bicyclist, pedestrian or motorcyclist, and up to $5,000 and five years in prison for killing someone who isn’t in a motor vehicle.

 

International

The Times recommends a three-day mountain bike, llama and rafting tour of Peru’s Sacred Valley.

Modacity’s Chris Bruntlett writes in praise of the upright bike.

A Toronto bike blog imagines how treating traffic collisions like we do aircraft or marine disasters, where human life has absolute priority, would change our driving culture. Thanks to Chuck Castillo for the tip.

A British opposition MP says there’s a real gap between the government’s words and their actual support for cycling.

A Brit woman says she was just driving alone minding her own business, giving a man walking his bike plenty of passing room, when he just randomly picked up his bike and threw it at her car for no apparent reason. Sure, that seems credible. Let’s go with that.

Now that’s refreshing. After a London cellist hits a woman riding her bike while on his way to rehearsal — in front of an Aussie actor and recording star, no less — he takes full responsibility and tells other drivers to slow down.

Once again, someone has sabotaged a bike trail in the UK, this time stringing fishing line at neck level on a pathway popular with children.

A Brit bike rider says today’s focus on sportives, carbon frames and Rapha kits is sucking the life out of cycling.

All the world is a bikeway, and all the men and women merely cyclists marking the 400th anniversary of the Bards’ death.

A Malaysian writer says it’s hard to grow cycling in the country if there aren’t any races and little or no support at the club level.

An Aussie driver says the equivalent of a three-foot passing law wouldn’t be necessary if they weren’t such a bunch of Neanderthals behind the wheel. Maybe they should pass a law protecting cyclists from kangaroos, too.

A Chinese man is under arrest for allegedly riding his bike up to a car, taking his clothes off, and lying under it to pretend he’d been hit by the driver and demanding compensation. But can someone please tell me what being naked has to do with it?

The 82-year old founder of the world’s biggest bicycle maker is now the poster boy for Taiwanese bicycling; oddly, he didn’t take up bicycling himself until he was 73.

 

Finally…

Yes, you can draw a bike from memory, but you probably can’t ride it. If you’re going to ride off with an $11,400 bike from a bike shop, make sure it has pedals on it first.

And you’re not a bike rider, you’re a member of the Federali terrorist group.

 

Morning Links: Confronting LA’s diabetic drivers, and bike thief’s mom gives back bike her son stole

Let’s talk Diabetes.

Before I was diagnosed last year, I spent about a year trying to keep my sagging energy up with carbs and energy bars.

What was happening, unbeknownst to me, was that my blood sugar would spike after I ate something high in carbs — even the whole grains I thought were better for me — then crash, leaving me hypoglycemic and needing still more carbs to get back up.

In a very real sense, I was chasing the dragon, just like any other addict. Except my addition was to sugar and other carbohydrates.

I thought I could burn them off by riding my bike, even as I became sicker and sicker, my weight slipping from a muscular 190 pounds down to 160, before finally crashing to 145 shortly after I was diagnosed.

I was killing myself with every bite I took, even though I thought I knew what I was doing.

LA drivers are diabetics.

They’re addicted to ever-increasing road capacity every bit as much as I was addicted to carbs, demanding ever more and wider roads, despite the evidence that greater capacity just results in induced demand.

If you don’t believe me, just ask anyone who drives the 405 if the $1 billion road widening project has made their commute any easier.

And they fight tooth-and-nail to preserve every traffic lane and parking spot, even from projects designed to improve safety while providing those who want it with alternatives to driving.

It’s not that they’re bad people. They just don’t know any better.

It’s our city officials that have failed them.

Common sense tells people that removing a traffic lane will only make their commutes worse. Even though it’s been shown repeatedly, in cities around the world, that it can actually improve traffic flow while increasing the odds that they, and those they share the road with, will get home to their families in one piece.

And it tells them that no one will actually ride a bike to work, despite those who do it every day right here in bike-unfriendly LA, and that bike commuting rates have gone up in other cities that have installed safe bike lanes and cycle tracks.

They simply can’t see their addiction is killing them and the city we all love, as LA’s streets, many of which are already at or above capacity for large portions of the day, continue to get more congested as we continue to follow the old failed approach.

Like me, they need an intervention.

In my case, it was my doctor telling me that my blood sugar levels were literally off the charts; so high, in fact, he was surprised I wasn’t already in a diabetic coma. Forcing me to rethink my entire approach to food, and give up those things I thought I needed.

In the case of LA drivers, we need our city officials, from the mayor down to our too-often weak kneed councilmembers, who insist on being led by their constituents rather than the other way around, to explain why the old ways no longer work. And show them how alternative approaches can actually work better, even if it doesn’t seem that way at first.

And that bike lanes, and the people who use them, aren’t the enemy.

They can’t leave it up to us, as they have in the past, to explain why things have to change. That only creates yet another us against them confrontation, as bicyclists fight with drivers and homeowners over our safety versus their fears of gridlock.

It will take our leaders actually leading for a change.

And sticking their necks out to do what’s right, because they already know it is.

………

Talk about an unexpected development.

Three weeks after a man pushed an 11-year old boy off the bike he’d just won during a Halloween celebration at Ted Watkins Park and rode off with it, the mother of the suspect identified by police has returned the bike to him.

Which means he now has two bikes, since the ESR Bike and Skate Shop had already replaced the stolen bike.

Nice to see mom step in and do the right thing.

………

Local

CiclaValley explains why drivers are the real threat, even to other drivers.

Thanks to the LACBC, the NoHo Red Line Station now has a short off-road bike path connecting the station to the popular Chandler Bike Path.

Streetsblog reports Metro’s Planning Committee has approved the fair structure for LA’s coming bikeshare system. Meanwhile, Santa Monica’s Transit App now includes real-time information on the city’s Breeze bikeshare program.

In a totally unsolicited plug for a friend, Richard Risemberg’s Bicycle Fixation is offering merino wool bicycling tops on sale at just above cost.

Monrovia is the latest city in the San Gabriel Valley to develop a bike plan, as well as considering a bikeshare program.

Long Beach will crack down on unsafe drivers who put cyclists and pedestrians in danger on Thursday. But that doesn’t mean they’ll let law-breaking bicyclists off the hook.

 

State

The OC Register looks at the recent Orange County Honor Ride, which raised $40,000 for injured vets.

A Bakersfield school district gets a $100,000 grant to teach children to ride bikes safely during PE time. Although someone should explain to them that’s not what Vision Zero is, and that it can’t be accomplished in a year. Especially not without focusing on drivers instead of kids.

The three-day Eroica California returns to Paso Robles for the second annual vintage bike event next April.

The Santa Cruz paper looks at the city’s elevation to a gold-level Bike Friendly Community.

Noah Budnick, the Executive Directive of the San Francisco Bicycle Coaliton, has unexpectedly stepped down just under a year after he was hired.

The Sacramento-area’s Cycle Folsom is getting casual riders out onto the road and into spandex.

 

National

Streetsblog looks at that study showing a 14% transportation share by bikes in the world’s major cities could result in an 11% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.

Bicycling encourages you to get out and celebrate Blacktop Friday the day after Thanksgiving instead of Black Friday.

Portland prosecutors ask for $250,000 bail for the self-proclaimed King of Bike Thieves.

If you can make it out to Tucson AZ this Saturday, you could ride with America’s only remaining Tour de France winner.

Researchers in my hometown found the air bike commuters breath basically sucks.

A Wichita cop goes way beyond the call of duty, giving his own bike to a veteran in need after his had been stolen.

Nebraska bike and pedestrian deaths reach their highest level since the turn of the century.

A Chicago hospital executive gets a slap on the wrist for killing a cyclist while on his way home from a holiday party; the judge gave him just 100 days behind bars, even though state law calls for three to fourteen years for aggravated DUI.

Intriguing new bike coming from Boston’s Fortified Bicycle, which promises their Invincible urban bike will be theft proof, flat-resistant and virtually indestructible.

In a sign of what can happen when bike riders and local residents actually listen to each other instead of arguing back and forth, the two sides may be close to an agreement in a dispute over a Baton Rouge bike lane. If Paul Koretz or Gil Cedillo showed enough leadership to sponsor that kind of conversation, we might have had an agreement on Westwood Blvd and North Figueroa ages ago.

A South Florida ride combines bicycling and black jack to raise funds to give bikes to children who can’t afford them.

 

International

Ottawa plans a permanent memorial to fallen cyclists.

The new Cycling Revolution exhibit at London’s Design Museum celebrates bicycle engineering; it will be open through the end of June if you’re planning a trip across the pond.

British retailer Tesco is accused of dumping $6,000 worth of new bicycles, some still in boxes, in the trash rather than donating them to those in need.

Fast Company calls the coming 200-foot high Copenhagen bike bridge the craziest bike lane ever built, with elevators that will lift riders up to cross over the harbor.

India’s elite cyclists are attempting to rebuild the cycling team following the death of the team’s coach two years ago, although their training is limited by the country’s dangerous roads.

Motorcycle-riding Bangladeshi gunmen seriously wound an Italian priest as he rode his bike.

Over 3,000 Egyptian cyclists are expected to take part in Cairo’s fourth annual Orange Bike Day sponsored by the Dutch Embassy.

 

Finally…

If you’re holding large quantities of cash and illegal drugs, maybe you’re better off not riding a stolen bike. And if you’ve been very good this year, maybe Santa Claus or Hanukkah Harry will bring you a 62 mph carbon fiber hydrogen-fueled e-bike.

 

Morning Links: The Feds look at road diets, including three LA area case studies, though LADOT’s stats falls flat

The Federal Highway Administration offers a fascinating series of road diet case studies from across the country — including three from the LA area.

  • Santa Monica’s Ocean Park Blvd road diet resulted in a remarkable 65% reduction in collisions, and a 60% reduction in injury crashes — without increasing congestion as measured by average speeds, or any measurable spillover in the surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Adding bike lanes to Pasadena’s Cordova Street increased bicycle traffic and reduced speeding by drivers, without reducing level of service for drivers or pedestrians; there was also a slight decrease in collisions and injuries.
  • On the other hand, the road diet on LA’s 7th Street highlights LADOT’s failure to keep statistics before or after making changes to the streets. They had to rely on the LACBC’s volunteer bike count to show bicycle traffic tripled along the corridor; they also received “positive feedback from users” and found “satisfactory” results from an analysis of traffic at key intersections.

It’s LADOT’s failure to keep any kind of traffic safety stats that allows councilmembers like Gil Cedillo and Paul Koretz, as well as recently departed Tom LaBonge, to weasel out of much-needed safety and livability improvements in their districts, since no one can prove they’re really needed.

And the city can’t demonstrate the success of road changes that have already been made in other areas in any meaningful way.

Hopefully, that’s changing under new traffic maven Seleta Reynolds and Mayor Garcetti’s commitment to stat-based accountability.

But it can’t change soon enough.

………

After getting the year off to a great start by winning the Giro, followed by a tough Tour, Alberto Contador calls it quits for the season. And he didn’t even do it on a 1970s chopper bike.

World cycling chief Brian Cookson is worried about hooliganism at the Tour de France after winner Chris Froome was insulted, spit on and splashed with urine. Seriously, it’s just a matter of time before a rider is seriously injured — or worse — by a crazed “fan,” to use that word loosely.

Cycling’s elite riders are coming to North America this summer, starting with the Tour of Utah next week and culminating in September’s world championships in Richmond VA.

But will any of them will be sampling the new EPO substitute that anyone can get online?

………

Local

Streetsblog wants to know if LA is giving the wrong sign for blocked bike lanes.

KPCC looks at the winners of the mayor’s Great Streets grants; there appear to be more street parties in our future.

Speaking of Great Streets, Flying Pigeon thanks Councilmember José Huizar for the pedestrian oriented makeover of Broadway in DTLA. Nice to see someone on the city council who actually gets it, and is willing to make changes that benefit the public instead of blocking them.

Boyonabike says Pasadena’s newly resurfaced Sierra Madre Villa Blvd coulda, woulda, shoulda have bike lanes.

CORBA offers an updated page on off-road trail etiquette. Really, it doesn’t take much to avoid confrontations on the trails. And everyone wins when you make the effort.

Santa Monica bans private bike parking at their still-unbuilt bikeshare kiosks.

SaMo is holding a workshop next week on re-envisioning Lincoln Blvd south of I-10, which could use a lot of improvement. Back in the bad old days, the street was listed as a Class 3 bike route in an apparent attempt to thin the herd.

Walk Bike Burbank hosts the Midnight Ramble Ride on Saturday.

 

State

The OC Foothills Bikeways Collaborative wants your vote to prioritize bikeway improvements in the county.

Evidently bike theft is a family affair in Seal Beach, as a snatched bike leads to a brawl with the thief’s relatives.

No bias here. After a teenage fixie rider suffers severe head injuries in a collision, San Diego police say they don’t know who had the right-of-way. But blame the victim anyway.

The San Diego Association of Governments will build a bike and pedestrian bridge to connect the Escondido Transit Center with a shopping center anchored by Barnes & Noble. Apparently people who use transit, walk and bike still read books made from dead trees down there.

If you were planning to ride through Camp Pendleton on Saturday, forget it; a shuttle will be available for riders who have to cross the base.

San Francisco cyclists call for adoption of the Idaho Stop law in California, which would allow bike riders to treat stop signs like yields; a supervisor for the city backs the law change. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the Idaho stop law has been shown to improve safety for bicyclists. And it would legalize what most bike riders — and most drivers, for that matter — already do.

Meanwhile, San Francisco bike riders show how following the letter of the law by coming to a full stop slows traffic for everyone; Streetsblog deems it an effective spectacle.

The 10,000 member San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, which has proven itself to be a potent force in influencing city elections, faces a dispute over the balance between member privacy and democratic board elections.

San Raphael is putting the final touches on a $1.6 million shared path through the downtown area.

 

National

Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez is one of us. So are the Green Bay Packers.

A cyclist files a $13.5 million suit against an Arizona county over a dangerous bike lane design that led to him being seriously injured in a collision.

Seems like other states take hit-and-run a lot more seriously than California does. A Montana man is being held on $350,000 bond for fleeing the scene after critically injuring a pedestrian and tampering with evidence.

A Kansas man faces a charge of second degree reckless murder in the death of a college professor participating in a time trial last month.

Tragic news from Oklahoma, as a Florida man riding cross country to raise funds for affordable housing was killed by a distracted driver; a second rider was airlifted with a leg injury.

The Minneapolis StarTribune looks at the intersection of camping and biking.

A Connecticut cop responds to a report of kids fighting, and ends up fixing a broken bike chain.

Gothamist asks if New York is leaving bike lanes and the people who ride them behind in their Vision Zero plans.

Florida bicyclists want a little space on Palm Beach bridges.

 

International

An Alberta paper says a recent dooring death shows the need to improve safety and infrastructure for bicyclists.

A Quebec writer says mandating bike helmets may not be a good idea; shockingly, a bike helmet maker backed the idea before backing off the next day.

Cycling Weekly asks if carbon soled bike shoes are really necessary. Considering the footwear of choice for bike riders in my neighborhood appears to canvas sneakers, I’m going to say no.

The Guardian looks at how Groningen in the Netherlands set the standard for bicycling cities back in the 1970s.

A London rider asks “what’s life without a little risk?” after recovering from a fall when he was cut off by an apparently self-driving Prius.

Portugal tells government employees to get out of their cars and on their bikes.

 

Finally…

Evidently, posh cyclists ride salmon in bike lanes while sipping espresso. A self-described bike guy learns to love cycling; presumably, he hated it before but rode anyway. Maybe you want to take a bike tour of North Korea before you get captured and killed. Or you might become a dictator’s best friend like Dennis Rodman.

And since when do bike riders take UV-busting fashion cues from Donald Sterling’s self-professed non-girlfriend?

No. Just… no.

……..

Let’s offer a round of thanks to BikinginLA sponsors Jim Pocrass and Josh Cohen; their support makes this site possible. 

And thank you to everyone who has contributed to support this site. You help keep it, and me, going.

 

Weekend Links: Witnesses wanted in El Segundo death, Westwood votes for bike lanes, and more Valley CicLAvia

You’d think the life of a bike rider would be worth more than a single paragraph in the local paper.

Not to mention running it a month late — and incorrectly, at that.

The Daily Breeze has finally gotten around to mentioning that 25-year old Ricky Montoya was killed while riding in El Segundo on February 21st. And even then, only in the context that the police are looking for witnesses.

Never mind that Montoya was killed as he rode on Aviation at night, not 11 am as the paper reports.

Anyone with information is urged to call Officer Jeff Darringer at 310-524-2296 or email darringer@elsegundo.org.

Meanwhile, I’m told the El Segundo police have been conducting braking tests using what appears to be the same PT Cruiser the driver was in when he hit Montoya; you can see one of the tests below.

The same source tells me she overheard an officer tell a bystander the driver had to have been doing at least 60 mph in the 40 mph zone when he hit Montoya.

Note to the El Segundo Police Department: If you’d bothered to return my call asking for more information last month, it’s just possible we might have been able to find a witness already.

I’m just saying.

……..

Westwood bike advocate Calla Wiemer provided a short update on Thursday’s meeting of the Westwood Business Improvement District, which considered the much-needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

Here is a quick rundown on what happened at the Westwood Village BID meeting yesterday morning.

  • The board voted unanimously to request an LADOT engineering study of bike lane options for Westwood Blvd through the Village, and the message to Councilmember Koretz’s deputies was that they want it expedited and they want to make a decision quickly to endorse a plan once they get a report.
  • They ruled out requesting study of any alternatives to Westwood Blvd in order to laser focus city resources on the street that most needs improvement.
  • They took a straw poll to gauge sentiment on endorsing protected bike lanes – the more ambitious of two proposals put forth in Ryan Snyder’s “Remove Nothing Plan”, and five of ten board members indicated support even without the engineering study; the others want to see results of the study

A large number of bike lane advocates turned out, but the opposition was represented too. The results of the LADOT study will get careful scrutiny.

……..

A rider who prefers to remain anonymous emailed to report stumbling upon a new semi-separated and, apparently, mostly useless bike lane on Los Angeles Street in DTLA.

Don’t remember hearing/reading anything about new bollards & armadillos on Los Angeles St between First & Temple, but there they were! At first, I didn’t see them, because a texter in an SUV had pulled over to the curb (in his defense, he had his emergency blinkers on). I passed on his left, and swung back into the bike lane with enough time to swerve to the right of the bollards. There are several bollards, then several intact armadillos, then a couple smashed armadillos, then more cars parked in the bike lane which forced me back out into the “car lane.” Fun ride! I stopped in the middle of the bike lane to take pictures, ’cause you’re supposed to stop right there in the bike lane, that’s what it’s for.

I’m just gonna take the lane from now on.

……..

Game, set, match.

A Seattle road diet reduced high-end speeding (10+ mph over the limit) by up to 70% and reduced crashes by 45%. And at the same time, traffic volume actually increased without slowing travel times.

Show that to the next person who fears that eliminating a traffic lane will result in unspeakable disaster.

……..

The LA Times says there’s not enough data to mandate bike helmets, and recommends that SB 192, the proposed law that would require all bicyclists to wear helmets, be amended to require California to study whether a helmet law would even do any good.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog vets the Times’ editorial, and Calbike offers a list of Quick Facts explaining why the proposed law is off base.

……..

Bobby Close emailed to report that a member of his cycling club barely avoided a dangerous crash when some teenagers buzzed him, in clear violation of the three-foot passing law, as he rode on PCH. And that one reached out to smack the rider on the ass.

While the kids no doubt thought it was a pretty funny a prank, they actually committed an assault, which could have left them subject to prosecution.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get the car’s license, which is almost impossible to do when a riders is struggling to maintain control of his or her bike.

And it probably wouldn’t matter anyway; unless there was an independent witness, police would consider it a matter of he said/she said, except in the unlikely event the kids admitted what they did.

Close’s suggestion is that cyclists should use a bike cam to record such situations; he recommends the FLY6 and FLY12 bike lights that also incorporate an HD cam, including audio.

The FLY6, a taillight/cam combo is currently on the market — though sold out — while the headlight/cam FLY12 has already far exceeded its Kickstarter goal.

……..

If the media coverage is any indication, CicLAvia’s first-ever visit to the San Fernando Valley this Sunday could be one of the biggest ever.

Bike Walk Glendale is hosting a feeder ride with special guest US Congressman Adam Schiff; here’s your chance to ask for more bike funding in the federal budget, though I suspect you’d be preaching to the choir.

KPCC offers the top five things to know about CicLAvia.

The Daily News reports on the Valley’s first open streets event, citing the official CicLAvia Neighborhood Guide and Walk With Me app, along with links to comprehensive guides from CiclaValley and the Militant Angeleno.

CiclaValley adds to his intensive coverage with insider travel and business tips, aa well as a guide to where to eat and drink along the route. And yes, that includes booze; just remember BUI is against the law in California.

Speaking of which, Studio City’s Flask Fine Wine & Whiskey will be hosting a beer tasting from 11 am to 5 pm; 10% of the proceeds will benefit the LACBC.

……..

Let’s squeeze in a quick listing of upcoming events while we’re at it.

San Diego’s BikeSD will benefit from the Bikes & Beers ride on Saturday, March 28th; just remember the link above about biking under the influence when riding home.

It’s not quite a ciclovia, but the Orange County Transportation Authority invites you to celebrate the Coyote Creek bikeway on Sunday, March 29th.

If you’re one of the first 35 people promising to bike to Santa Monica’s April 16th Sustainability Awards, the Santa Monica Bike Center will pick up your tab.

While there won’t be another CicLAvia until October, Long Beach will step into the breach with Beach Streets Uptown along Atlantic Ave on Saturday, June 6th.

……..

Local

Ron Milam, one of the founders of the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition, talks mindfulness while bike riding and discusses the founding of the coalition in a Pedal Love podcast.

Flying Pigeon lays the blame for the latest collision in which a driver hit a bicyclist and a pedestrian on North Figueroa at the feet of Councilmember Gil Cedillo, who unilaterally killed a planned road diet for the street. Someone should show Cedillo the results of the Seattle road diet mentioned above, although facts and studies haven’t seemed to have influenced him yet.

Rick Risemberg observes that Huntington Drive is badly in need of a diet. Speaking of Risemberg, he now has a Facebook page devoted to his fiction writing.

If you’ve got a few extra bucks for a great cause, the East Side Riders Bike Club is raising funds on Indiegogo for BEAST — Bicycle Education and Safety Training — for kids in Watts. So far, they’ve only raised $45 out of a $2,500 goal; this would be a great opportunity for some business to step in with a sponsorship.

 

State

Laguna Beach votes to create the city’s first complete street, while the police, community and city council work to improve safety.

Camp Pendleton restricts access to the base by visitors arriving by car, but thankfully, the rules don’t seem to apply to bike riders.

Caltrain will add an extra bike car to accommodate their triple digit rise in bicyclists on board.

 

National

As if texting drivers weren’t bad enough, 27% of teens surveyed said they changed their shoes or clothes while driving. Do I really have to explain why that’s a bad thing?

City Lab’s Sarah Goodyear examines the recent report on bike lanes and social equity, with a decidedly SoCal spin.

Collecting Schwinn Sting Rays isn’t child’s play.

A tweeted tip leads to the arrest of two Seattle bike thieves, and the recovery of over two dozen stolen bikes.

A Kentucky congressman promises to keep the federal Highway Trust Fund solvent by restricting gas tax revenues for highways, and banning funding for bikeways, sidewalks and transit. Yes, it’s all those bike lanes that have busted the system, not the failure to increase the tax since gas prices were a buck a gallon.

A Massachusetts cyclist gets a $300,000 settlement after breaking his hip when a loose dog ran into his front wheel; no word on whether the dog was injured or or if it countersued.

Kill a New York cyclist, and lose your license for a whopping six months.

New York Vision Zero advocates call for redesigning the city’s major arterial streets to improve safety. Something that’s long past due here in LA.

A Florida writer says the key to safe bicycling is to minimize the risks you can, and prepare for the risks you can’t.

 

International

Olympic cyclist Chris Hoy calls on British political parties to make ambitious pledges to boost bicycling, saying bikes should be at the front of the queue when designing new roads and junctions. Or redesigning old ones, for that matter.

A new Kickstarter project promises a lightweight, flexible bike lock that withstands up to five minutes of hacking; the project is fully funded with over a month to go.

New headphones promise to improve safety by allowing riders to listen to music without blocking their ears.

There’s something seriously wrong here, as British school kids are being taught self defense to fend off bike-jackings.

UK police blame the victim, declining to pursue charges against a driver who couldn’t explain why she didn’t see the cyclist she ran down, because the rider wasn’t wearing hi-viz or a helmet.

Dutch rider Thomas Dekker retires from pro cycling when he can’t find a team to sign with after failing to set the hour record.

Is New Zealand’s new Bike Tree sculpture great public art, or a waste of bikes that could be fixed up and donated to those who can’t afford one? I love art, but bikes were made to ride.

Dahon unveils a new folding electric bike built in collaboration with Ford, and based on the 107-year old Tin Lizzy. At least it’s not yet another unneeded hi-end hi-tech concept racing bike.

Vietnam is hosting its inaugural mountain bike stage race.

 

Finally…

Seriously, you can’t make this shit up, as a Key West bike rider was arrested for duct taping three live iguanas to his handlebars. A study shows men who bike more than 8.5 hours a week have a higher risk of prostate cancer than those who don’t, except it doesn’t really.

And once again, Bikeyface nails it.

 

Morning Links: Road raging Malibu driver assaults cyclist, and the Times looks at the politics of LA road diets

A PCH cyclist is in serious condition after being attacked by a road raging driver.

According to the Malibu Times, the victim got into an argument with a pickup driver as he rode west on the coast highway between Busch Drive and Morning View Drive. After the rider moved on in the right hand lane, the unnamed driver sped past him, then stopped, got out of his truck and pushed him off his bike into the left lane.

Fortunately, it was either a rare moment when there was no traffic on the highway, or oncoming drivers were able to stop in time to avoid him. Even so, the victim still suffered serious injuries and lacerations.

The paper quotes a sheriff’s deputy as saying the dispute was over “use of the shoulder lane,” though he doesn’t clarify whether the driver wanted to use it or, more likely, incorrectly thought the cyclist belonged there.

Although you’d think someone with the rank of lieutenant would know that the shoulder of PCH — or any roadway — is not a lane, since it’s not legally part of the roadway.

Not surprisingly, the driver, who wasn’t publicly named, was arrested for felony assault.

Although it should be attempted murder if there was any traffic coming at the time.

……..

The LA Times examines the politics of road diets, and correctly suggests that biking and walking will be issues in next year’s city council elections. At least if we have anything to say about it.

It would have been nice, though, if they’d mentioned that the primary purpose of most road diets is to improve traffic safety for all road users; better livability is just a bonus.

And as John Lloyd pointed out, despite the way the Times piece characterizes it, CicLAvia is more about opening streets for people than closing them off to cars.

……..

Caught on video: Across Los Angeles takes a look at the first half of Sunday’s Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer hill climb competition.

……..

Local

Nice piece on Medium.com, as Steven Corwin explains why he shouldn’t have to justify his decision to live car-free.

The Eastsider asks if a freeway cap can make freeway-severed Belvedere Park whole again.

The former Governator and friend ride in one of Santa Monica’s many bike lanes.

Downtown Hawthorne gets a $300,000 makeover, complete with bike lanes. Eventually.

 

State

San Francisco safety advocates say it’s time to end traffic violence; the mayor promises quick action.

A writer for Streetsblog clarifies that Sacramento is not seriously planning to license bicyclists, despite that breathless TV report we linked to last week.

A Modesto letter writer wants cyclists to explain what makes us so special that we don’t have to obey traffic laws — unlike motorists who never speed, use hand-held cell phones or roll through stop signs. Maybe we’re not so special after all.

Nice. After losing his wife, a Chico Iraq war vet finds peace through Ride 2 Recovery.

 

National

A new city bike promises to fold up in seconds.

People for Bikes explains how Denver got an oil company to help crowdfund a protected bike lane. I wonder if anyone has ever asked any of the many companies that suck LA oil out of the ground to pitch in to make the city a little safer. Probably not.

After a special needs woman has her bike stolen, a Michigan TV station replaces it with a better one.

A Maryland woman makes it back on her bike a year after a near-fatal collision, and brings her previously non-biking husband along for the ride.

West Palm Beach’s Jack the Bike Man is looking for used bikes to fix up so he can give 1,000 bikes to children this Christmas.

 

International

The Guardian takes a look at the world’s best cycling infrastructure, none of which is located south of the Canadian border. And says the BBC still gets it wrong in a week-long look at bicycling.

It takes a major jerk to steal an autistic British man’s bike.

Rather than require motorists to drive safely, a Swiss canton orders children to wear hi-viz vests when biking to school.

That Dutch solar bike path opens this week; the question is whether it’s really as dirt and skid resistant as advertised.

 

Finally…

The difference between an ticket and a night in a Santa Monica jail? Not stopping when a cop tries to pull you over for riding on the sidewalk without a headlight (last item). Caught on video: an Edinburgh cyclist uses entirely appropriate inappropriate language given the circumstances, as he’s nearly run over when a van driver decides to use the bike lane as a shortcut.

And now you can play Chutes and Ladders without shame, as Copenhagenize unveils a game based on the best and worst ways to promote bicycling.

……..

Thanks to all veterans for your sacrifice in service of our country.

 

Near head-on collision with scofflaw tricyclist, OC hit-and-run, good news in San Pedro and NELA

Talk about close.

A late start meant I didn’t have a lot of time to ride yesterday, so I took a quick spin along the beachfront bike path through Santa Monica and Venice — despite my long-held preference to avoid it as much as possible this time of year.

And I nearly paid for it with a head-on collision with a scofflaw salmon cyclist.

Make that a four-year old scofflaw.

On a tricycle.

She didn’t seem too pleased when I suggested she should ride on the other side, either.

……..

Yet another coward has fled the scene following a serious collision, leaving a bike rider to bleed in the street. This time in Orange County.

According to KABC-7, a teenage cyclist suffered critical head injuries when he was hit by an unidentified vehicle around midnight Wednesday on North Harbor Boulevard near La Palma Avenue in Orange.

A passing motorist saw the victim lying in the street and called for help.

Anyone with information is urged to call Anaheim police at (714) 765-1900.

……..

Tuesday’s twin meetings called to oppose bike lanes in NELA and San Pedro may not have turned out the way opponents might have planned.

The special meeting of the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council’s Sycamore Grove Local Issues Committee — maybe they could work on shortening that just a tad — gave every indication of being a set-up for opponents of bike lanes on Figueroa Street in Northeast L.A. Even going so far as to allow a bike lane hater to present an uncontested 15 minute video in opposition to the lanes.

A presentation he reportedly botched — eventually leading to his ejection from the room for disrupting a public meeting.

The Fig4All website calls the meeting a farce in every sense. Yet one that resulted in an overwhelming 41 to 16 in favor of the bike lanes.

Meanwhile, the highly contested road diets and bike lanes recently installed in San Pedro received unexpectedly strong support from city officials, in a special meeting with area Councilmember Joe Buscaino.

The lanes were installed as part of the 2010 L.A. bike plan, as well as in an attempted to calm traffic on streets with excess capacity — including in front of a school, where parents inexplicably complained about the difficulty of dropping their children off, rather than praising the attempt to increase safety for their own kids.

Fortunately, cooler heads seemed to have prevailed, as Buscaino suggested drivers get used to the changes and find ways to avoid the brief periods of congestion.

I’m starting to like this guy.

Now let’s see if he, and the other members of the council, show as much backbone dealing with Hollywood’s irrational demands to remove the Spring Street green bike lanes at Friday’s council meeting.

………

A couple bike-related items from Metro made it into my inbox yesterday.

First up is how to cope with the new locking turnstiles being activated in Metro train stations this summer.

Metro Rail turnstiles will be activated this summer and open only with a valid TAP card. If you bring your bike on board, please plan ahead for how this change can affect your station access.

Some important tips to remember for bringing your bike through turnstiles:

  • Follow ADA-accessible routes to find elevators and wider turnstile gates to safely walk your bike in and out of stations.
  • If lifting your bike over turnstiles, please be careful. Avoid lifting your bike over turnstiles in a crowded station.
  • Using the emergency exit gate for non-emergency purposes is not allowed and punishable by fine.

Whatever type of fare you’re using – single ride, pass or transfer from another system – it must be loaded on a reusable TAP card to ride any Metro Rail line. Please be sure your TAP is loaded with cash or valid fare before approaching turnstiles at Metro Rail stations. If you don’t already have a TAP card, you canpurchase one along with your fare from the TAP vending machine for a $1.

I can’t say I’m fond of the idea that one-time train users will be forced to buy a tap card, increasing the cost of a single ride to $2.50.

And Metro will be working with bike advocacy organizations to co-sponsor a series of bike education and safety classes throughout the county.

All cyclists can benefit from a working knowledge of the rules of the road.

Continuing efforts to educate all road users, Metro presents a new series of free bicycle traffic safety workshops, rolling out across the county over the next few months.

With funding from the Office of Traffic Safety, Metro is working with the LA County Bicycle Coalition, Bike San Gabriel Valley and Multi-Cultural Communities for Mobility to lead the workshops. A 3-hour beginner’s road rules class will be offered in English and Spanish, and an 8-hour workshop for intermediate cyclists will focus on building traffic skills.

The series kicks off with the following classes. As more classes are scheduled, information will be available able at metro.net/bikes andfacebook.com/bikemetro.

Street Cycling Skills Class 
Saturday, June 22 

8am-5pm
Alexander Hughes Community Center
1700 Danbury Rd
Claremont, CA 91711
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Street Cycling Skills Class 
Saturday, July 6 

9am-6pm
Culver City Veteran’s Memorial Building
4117 Overland Av
Culver City, CA 90230
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Street Cycling Skills Class
Friday, July 12, 6pm-9 pm 
AND Saturday, July 13, 8am-2 pm

Azusa Memorial Park Recreation Center
320 N Orange Pl
Azusa, CA 91702
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Bicycling on the Road Class
Sunday, July 14 

10am-1pm
South El Monte Community Center
1556 Central Av
South El Monte, CA 91733
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

Street Cycling Skills Class 
Wednesday, July 17, 5:30pm-8:30pm 
AND Saturday, July 20, 9am-1pm

California State University Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Bl
Long Beach, CA 90815
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Bicycling on the Road Class
Saturday, July 20

10am-1pm
El Monte Senior Center
3120 Tyler Av
El Monte, CA 91731
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

Bicycling on the Road Class 
Saturday, July 27 

10am-1pm
Palm Park Rec Center
5730 Palm Av
Whittier, CA 90601
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

Bicycling on the Road Class 
Thursday, August 4 

1-4pm
Culver City Veteran’s Memorial Building
4117 Overland Av
Culver City, CA 90230
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Bicycling on the Road Class 
Sunday, August 18 

10am-1pm
La Verne Community Center, Classroom 1
3680 “D” St
La Verne, CA 91750
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

Bicycling on the Road Class 
Saturday, August 24 

10am-1pm
Barbara J. Riley Community & Senior Center
7810 Quill Dr
Downey, CA 90242
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

………

Finally, you could soon fly over potholes; no, literally. And if you’re going to steal precious artwork by a revered artist, bring a bag big enough that it doesn’t stick out of your backpack as you make your getaway by bike at 4:30 am. Let alone big enough to carry everything you meant to steal.

Counter-protest angry motorists in San Pedro, ride in Simi Valley to fight homelessness

A couple quick time-sensitive items to wrap up a far too busy first full day back online.

And hey, thanks to the Santa Monica Police Department for cracking down on sidewalk cyclists on Bike to Work Day. That will certainly encourage more people to take up bike commuting.

Not to mention this was the first time I’ve visited a B2W Day pit stop that was delayed by a gun threat.

………

First up is the all-too-typical furor over road diets and bike lanes, this time in L.A.’s long suffering and usually forgotten port city of San Pedro.

A pair of underused streets — Westmont and Capitol Drives — recently underwent reductions to calm high-speed traffic, dropping one lane in each direction and installing the typical door zone bike lanes.

And needless to say, motorists are up in arms, even though the streets are almost always empty. And even though it should be bike riders complaining about the lack of buffers between them and flinging car doors.

In fact, I’m told Westmont, which is causing most of the anger, only backs up twice a day, when parents drop off and pick up their children at the local school. And then for only 20 minutes at a time.

Which means the roads are clear for 23 hours and 20 minutes every weekday — which, by my admittedly math-challenged calculations, that would appear to be most of the day. And which would suggest that it doesn’t back up at all on weekends.

God forbid that parents would address that minimal level of congestion by allowing their children to use those bike lanes to ride to school — let alone walk — and avoid the whole barely there mess to begin with.

After all, this is a community where the local high school students are forbidden from riding to school because the campus doesn’t even have or want bike parking.

And as we all know, the convenience of drivers is far more important than the lives and safety of cyclists. Even school aged ones.

I’m told the villagers are planning to shake their pitchforks angry motorists are planning to take to the streets in protest on Monday at 4 pm. Just coincidentally in time for the evening news.

Meanwhile, bike riders are encouraged to counter protest, not by confronting the insistently motoring public’s complaints, but simply by riding the bike lanes when the cameras are present.

The message will be clear, as the cameras will show angry drivers protesting over streets devoid of traffic backups, while bike riders calmly make use of the lanes studies show will reduce collisions and serious injuries for all road users.

Even for drivers who insist road capacity should be maintained for 40 minutes of peak traffic, at the expense of all other users at any other time.

If you ride in the San Pedro area — or can make it down to a part of the city most Angelenos have never seen and many don’t even know exists — you’re strongly encouraged to meet at the Albertson’s parking lot at Westmont Drive and S. Western Ave at 3:45 pm Monday.

Short notice, I know.

But it’s a good cause. And all you have to do is keep calm and ride your bike.

Thanks to Allyson Vought for the tip.

………

Some people complain about the many homeless people in Southern California.  Most simply ignore them.

A few — far too few — actually care enough to do something about it.

If you fit in that category, you’ll want to head up to Simi Valley on Saturday for the first ever — not the oxymoronic first annual, thank you — Ride for the Homeless. Rides range from two to 10 miles for a $20 registration fee and 25, 50 or 100 miles for just $40, followed by a barbeque and raffle.

It’s a great cause, and highly recommended.

Thanks to Patrick Pascal for the heads-up.

………

The LA Weekly abandons its sometimes irrational anti-bike attitude — okay, the anti-bike attitude is always irrational; they just don’t always express it — to profile one of my favorite people, LACBC Executive Director Jen Klausner.

………

Oh, please.

In an absurd take on the current state of bicycling that ignores trends over the past several years and assumes that the highly diverse bicycling community is just one big monoculture, the Wall Street Journal concludes there is a trend towards casual wear when riding.

And points the finger at a backlash against Lance Armstrong.

Never mind that the more casual, non-spandex bikewear has been growing in popularity for several years, dating back to when only the French and Greg LeMond accused Lance of doping.

Accurately, as it turns out.

Or that bike riders ride in different ways and for different purposes. And what works for a half-century ride up the coast isn’t what you’d want to wear for a bike date or a quick ride to the corner market.

I can also assure the WSJ that the reason no American municipality ranks among the world’s top 20 bike-friendly cities has a lot more to do with a lack of decent infrastructure and governmental support — not to mention San Pedro-style anti-bike lane NIMBYism — than a little spandex.

………

Finally, I hope to see you next Wednesday, when the LACBC presents five perspectives on California’s rules of the road for cyclists. One of which will be mine.

Perspective, that is, not rules. Although I have a few of those, too.

It takes place on the first floor of LACBC’s headquarters, 634 South Spring Street, from 7 pm to 8:30 pm; free for LACBC members and just $10 for non-members.

……..

I’ll be guest editing LA Streetsblog on Friday, as Damien Newton takes some well-deserved time off. So be sure to stop by and see if I can make a muck of their well-oiled transportation news and advocacy machine.

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