Tag Archive for Safe Routes to School

Collision maps reveal L.A.’s unsafe routes to school; more tragedy in pro cycling (and not just Lance)

I knew L.A. wasn’t the safest place to bike or ride.

But it never really sank in until I saw the maps.

Safe Routes to Schools has joined with the LACBC to call attention to just how far this city has to go before children to walk or bike to many schools, especially in lower income areas. New collision maps based on TIMS data (the Transportation Injury Mapping System) clearly shows how many injuries and fatalities occur near schools.

Just take a look at this map showing three years of collision data for South L.A. alone.

And I hope you have a stronger stomach than me when you realize that every dot on that map represents a human being injured or killed on our streets.

Of course, they weren’t all children. But these maps make the strongest argument yet that we have to improve safety around our schools.

“Traffic collisions, and the death or injury of Los Angeles’ people, especially our youngest community members, is heartbreaking and impacts everyone,” says Alexis Lantz, Planning and Policy Director at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

While the city has recently allocated $1.2 million to develop a citywide strategy to provide safer routes for children and their parents to get to and from school — and anyone else who happens to ride or bike nearby — there’s clearly a lot to do.

And a long way to go.

“Now with the TIMS data, the State of California has provided an amazing tool that allows us to see the neighborhoods, intersections and streets of greatest need and make strategic investments.  We need the City to provide staff, and create a plan to implement safety improvements quickly, so we can see our transportation priorities shift.  For too long, there has been a focus on moving cars to the detriment of our health and communities, the City of Los Angeles needs to put safety and people first,” says Jessica Meaney, California Policy Manager, Safe Routes to School National Partnership.

I mean, seriously. Just look at the maps.

………

In pro cycling news, Movistar rider Xavier Tondo was killed in a freak accident when he was hit by a garage door while leaving for a ride; friends and fellow pros remember him. Conspiracy theorists may note that he had recently told authorities about being approached by a doping ring.

Mikel Nieve scores his second mountain stage win in the Giro, as Alberto Contador surges to more than a four minute lead leading up to Monday’s rest day before the final week of racing.

Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner cross the finish line atop Mt. Baldy at virtually the same time to clinch the Amgen Tour of California for Horner. The Claremont Cyclist spends the morning with Rabobank. What it’s like to ride the Mt. Baldy stage of the AToC. Horner wraps it up on Sunday as HTC rider Matthew Goss wins the final stage and Lance Armstrong’s Team RadioShack takes the first two places in the general classification. Bicycling offers video of post-race reactions, while the Daily News is too busy talking with fans to get the details straight.

Between Chris Horner’s exciting run and the race up Mt. Baldy, this is the first Tour of California that seemed, to me at least, like a legitimate contender as a top-tier cycling race. Now if they can add another challenging stage or two — like maybe a peak-to-peak route around the San Diego area ending with a climb up Mt. Palomar, where snow wouldn’t be a factor — they might have something. Although going head-to-head with the Giro will always be a limiting factor.

And in case you’ve been in a coma the past few days, CBS’ 60 Minutes reported that former friends and teammates of Lance Armstrong  have turned on him to accuse the seven time TdF champ of doping; no one seems to care that George Hincapie reportedly confessed, though. If the accusations against Lance Armstrong are proven, he faces serious jail time; at the very least, his reputation will be in tatters. Tyler Hamilton’s lawyer discusses why the rider finally came clean. Former pro Scott Mercier says doping was pervasive when he was racing in the ’90, and UCI responds with the expected shock and indignation.

A writer for Road.cc asks the same question a lot of riders are asking right now: what happens when your idol and inspiration lets you down? And Italian police reportedly find nothing in an impeccably timed raid on Team RadioSchack’s hotel at the Giro.

………

LACBC releases a great new video explaining the upcoming 7th Street road diet and bike lanes in your choice of three popular languages. Meanwhile, those new LED lights on the Elysian Valley section of the L.A. River Bike Path are out of order for the foreseeable future after thieves steal the copper wiring.

………

Streetsblog wants your questions for LAPD Sgt. David Krumer, the department’s popular point man for the cycling community. LADOT Bicycle Services unveils a nifty new website. L.A. bike attorney Howard Krepack argues that the safety of cyclists has to be considered during road work, as well. Richard Risemberg looks at the art of riding in Santa Monica. CicLAvia wants to know what you think about the proposed expansion routes into Boyle Heights and South L.A. The Times looks at some unusual bike designs. Santa Monica riders review that city’s proposed bike plan. The recent presidential visit gives a UCLA employee a chance to ride the Westside.

A reader corrects the Press-Enterprise for saying cyclists are required to ride as far right as possible; the writer insists that possible and practicable mean the same thing. A Fresno-area cyclist’s tragic death in a solo bike accident could help up to eight other people through organ donation; I’d want some good to come out of it for someone if anything ever happened to me. Surprisingly, California ranks 20th on the list of bike-friendly states; surprising we’re that high, that is.

USA Today notes a nationwide movement to make the streets safe for cyclists; thanks to Zeke for the heads-up. That great epiphany moment that turns non-cyclists into confirmed riders is a myth. Fifteen reasons to fall in love with your bike. Elly Blue continues her excellent Bikenomics series with a look at riding while broke. Evidently believing them to be magic talismans that will ward off injury, a writer calls bike helmets the most important safe cycling habit — above, say, stopping for traffic signals, remaining visible or riding with traffic, or any of the other riding habits that might keep a helmet from being necessary. A firefighter’s career could be over after a cycling hit-and-run. New Jersey authorities seem unclear on the concept, as they instruct riders to share the road with fast moving traffic, rather than requiring speeding drivers to slow down; it may be time to retire Share the Road entirely. A New York actor and personal therapist explains why he’ll be riding the 10th Anniversary AIDS Ride. In a classic example of press bias, an 11-year old West Virginia boy is sideswiped while riding his bike, yet the local press reports that he collided with the car; thankfully, they note the car was not damaged.

The return of bike season means the return of road rage. Buy a Victorian London house, and get your very own bike museum. Police tell cyclists to stay off the 2012 Olympic mountain bike course. Scott cyclists pay to ride a new freeway for just one day, though not all do it to celebrate. This is what bike parking is supposed to look like; a Brit company tweets to take credit. A video look at the Pillars of Italian Cycling. How about a Norwegian-style bike lift? Jakarta gets its first bike lane, which immediately turns into parking for three-wheeled pedicabs.

Finally, video captures a cyclist getting by a car, and landing on his feet. And apparently, the solution to dropping off a bike and still getting back home is to throw your Dahon on the back of your Urbana — sort of like tossing a Mini in the back of a Hummer.

More on fallen cyclist Alex Romero, a good guy wins & thanks for supporting Safe Routes to Schools

KABC-7 offers more information on the hit-and-run death of Alex Romero.

Evidently, the driver who hit him had tried to pass a van on the right side when it collided with Romero’s bike at a high rate of speed. Local residents say De Soto is a de facto racetrack from Sherman Way to Saticoy Street, referring to it as a deathtrap. Evidently, they’re right, as witnesses reported the killer car was travelling at highway speeds — reports online vary from 66 to 100 mph.

In a report that oddly wasn’t posted online, KNBC-4 reports that the driver may have been being followed or chased by another car.

Police are looking for a gray or silver — the latest report called it a metallic gray — Toyota Corolla or Camry with moderate to significant damage to the front passenger side. Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Krajchir at (818) 644-8034 or email 26481@lapd.lacity.org. Or call LAPD at (877) LAPD-24-7; anonymous calls can be made to Crimestoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.

The Claremont Cyclist said it very well

How long will we continue to allow the irresponsible, anti-social driving practices of certain individuals, who care not for the lives of any other road users, to be given free reign, to leave trails of death and destruction and shattered lives, across our roads and highways?

Rest in Peace Mr. Romero, and my condolences to family and friends.

.………

Congratulations to LADOT’s Chris Kidd, named Student of the Year by the Los Angeles chapter of the American Planning Association. The award couldn’t have gone to a more deserving person. Just more proof that this is one employee the city can’t afford to lose when his internship with LADOT is up next month.

Just a hint.

.………

As of 10 am Friday, the Safe Routes to School 2012 Southern California Regional Platform had been endorsed by 77 people — two more and three weeks earlier than the original goal of 75 set for May 15th.

I recognize a lot of the names on that list as regular readers of this site, so please accept my personal thanks to everyone who signed after reading about it here. And to anyone who hasn’t signed up yet, there’s still time.

.………

File under the heading of they just don’t get it. After a Brooklyn board votes against bike lanes on the Bay Ridge Parkway, a writer for the Brooklyn Eagle insists that those opposed to the proposal aren’t primitive antediluvians who reject anything not propelled by an internal combustion engine.

Biking here is great, especially along the Shore Road Narrows Promenade. Spectacular! I have two bikes, but find it impossible to ride safely along local avenues because they were not constructed to accommodate designated bike lanes in the first place!

Is it just me, or do the problems inherent in that statement just sort of leap out at you?

.………

Joel Epstein says tear down the fence blocking access to a park at Santa Monica and Bundy, and add a Metro TAP card kiosk and bike parking. Josef Bray-Ali says they start cyclists early at USC; now if school would just show the same support to more adult riders. Take a CicLAvia survey and you could win a $200 gift certificate from Flying Pigeon Bike Shop — which is enough to get you a Flying Pigeon of your very own. Metro’s rush hour bike ban is one step closer to repeal, and L.A. City Planning wins an award for the newly approved L.A. bike plan. Four L.A. firefighters will ride across the country on a 45-day journey to honor those who lost their lives on 9-11. Streetsblog is auctioning a signed Give Me 3 poster online. Jack Black goes bike shopping at I. Martin. Glendale’s city council officially adopts the city’s new Safe and Healthy Streets Plan on a unanimous vote.

Joe Linton give a positive review to Long Beach’s new separated bike lanes, officially opening on Saturday; if you want to understand the meaning of bikelash, read the driver comments on the Linton story. The Long Beach City Council moves to honor Mark Bixby by naming the bike paths he worked so hard to get on the new replacement for the Desmond Gerald Bridge after him. Police escort a cyclist off the 405 Freeway in Orange County after he’d ridden four miles on the highway; a CHP officer struggles with another highway rider in Chico. Cruise the Conejo Valley on April 30th. New York and Long Beach aren’t the only cities with bike lane controversies, as Visalia votes to keep bike lanes on a pair of streets, despite complaints. The Big Sur stage of the Amgen Tour of California is threatened by slides undermining Highway 1 along the coast. A decision has been postponed on a proposed 5 – 10 mph speed limit on the Golden Gate Bridge. Here’s your chance to Race Behind Bars at Folsom Prison if you’re sure they’ll let you back out.

Just in time for Earth Day, Trek plans to start recycling carbon fiber. Mia Birk writes that stop signs don’t work for bikes. A nice thought, every month is bike month. A new business in my home town plans to combine a bar, coffee shop and bike shop; totally works for me. What if the car had been invented before the bicycle? A Yuma paper offers an example of press bias, as a cyclist riding on a separated bike path gets right hooked, then blamed. A Memphis mother says connected bike lanes are the right kind of change. NTDOT offers a simple five-point pledge for better bike behavior; NY Streetsblog says combined with the upcoming “Don’t Be A Jerk” campaign, it sends the wrong message. The value of a human life is just $250 in Florida, as long as that human rides a bike.

A new poll says one in ten would give up bicycling if helmet use is made mandatory. A UK women’s race is disrupted by a hit-and-run driver and a tack-strewing saboteur. The head of the UK’s AA — equivalent to our AAA, not Alcoholics Anonymous — defends the organizations recent helmet and hi-vis vest giveaway following a Twitterstorm of protest from cyclists. Town Mouse takes a lovely scary ride home under a placebo moon, without encountering any creatures of the night. A cyclist complains about biking’s cult of fear. An interview with the Brazilian driver who plowed through the Critical Mass ride that injured at least 17 people; not surprisingly, he says it really wasn’t his fault.

Finally, Copenhagen’s Sperm Bike makes special deliveries to fertility clinics. And the cutest sharrow T-shirt model you’ll ever see.

A busy weekend means I’m not sure if I’ll be able to update the events this week, so just in case, please accept my wishes for a happy Passover, a joyous Easter or just a lovely spring weekend, whichever is appropriate.

Save a life, right now. In fact, save hundreds.

It’s not every day you get a chance to save a life.

But that’s exactly what you can do in the next few minutes. Without moving from wherever you are right now.

Chances are, you’ll never know when it happens.

It could be a young child who doesn’t get hit by a car on her way to school, thanks to a safe crosswalk on a dangerous intersection. Or one who doesn’t develop diabetes or other obesity-related illnesses because he can to safely ride his bike in his own neighborhood.

Or it could be you, benefitting from the same improvements that help keep countless area children and their parents safe as they walk or bike to and from school.

In fact, the life you save could be virtually anyone, and everyone. And all you have to do is take a few moments right now to endorse the Southern California Regional Platform developed by Safe Routes to School California.

I’m not asking you to do anything I wouldn’t do. In fact, you’ll find me right here, along with other names you may recognize, representing people and groups throughout the area.

They’re out to get 75 endorsements by May15th. Personally, I think we can do a lot better than that. I’d like to see at least 75 endorsements by the end of this week. And a few hundred more by the May 15th deadline.

If even just a fraction of the people who visit this blog every day sign up, we can easily meet that goal. And make a real difference in the health and safety of children and adults throughout Southern California.

So if you bike or walk in Los Angeles — or care about children who do — stop whatever you’re doing and take just a couple minutes to click this link and endorse the Safe Routes to School platform.

Please.

.………

Speaking of Safe Routes to Schools, the Santa Monica chapter says there’s a big, gaping Trench of Doom blocking access for students at Santa Monica High. Evidently, there used to be a pedestrian and bike bridge over the Santa Monica freeway, which — despite what one councilmember recalls — was removed to make room for a new off ramp.

And they want it back.

Although personally, I think a park would be a better option there.

.………

Here’s the next bike book I want to read. Olympic medalist and TdF stage winner Davis Phinney writes about his riding career and battle to overcome Parkinson’s disease, as well as raising a rising pro riding phenom in his son Taylor.

Phinney used to lead rides around Denver and Boulder with his wife, fellow Olympian Connie Carpenter, that I fell in with on more than one occasion. So I like to say I’ve ridden with them — even though he probably never knew I was there at the end of the pack.

He’s also one of the few people I’ve never heard anyone say a single negative word about.

.………

Still no charges in the hit-and-run death of Encino endurance cyclist Jim Swarzman; a sheriff’s spokesman confirms that alcohol may have been a factor, as many people have speculated.

.………

A Topeka, Kansas lawyer has his license suspended after pleading No Contest in the DUI death of a local cyclist. Blood tests showed he had a .12 BAC, as well as marijuana, a “narcotic-like pain reliever” and an antidepressant in his system — and was driving in that state with his own son in his car. It was his 4th DUI since 1989, and third since 2000. Thanks to Stanley Goldich for the heads-up.

.………

Zev talks bikes and trains, or more precisely, bikes on trains. Although rumor has it that Metro’s commitment to put bikes back on trains may not be as strong as they suggest, so Thursday’s meeting of the Metro Board’s Operations Committee could turn out to be important.

There also may be some pushback on plans to remove seats to make room for bikes, as well as strollers, shopping and suitcases, all of which can block doorways and turn into projectiles if left in aisles.

.………

If you’re 12 -18, you can earn a bike at Bicycle Kitchen; if you’re too old for that, join the volunteers at Bikerowave. LACBC offers flyers explaining the upcoming road diet on Downtown’s 7th Street. Streetfilms looks back at the recent CicLAvia. Cynergy Cycles is offering an introduction to cycling lecture on Wednesday, and will soon feature a blog of their own. KPCC reports on how to get a bike lane or corral on your street. LADOT Bike Blog examines the long history behind the recently opened Elysian Valley segment of the L.A. River Bike Path. The Source looks forward to next month’s Bike to Work Week. L.A. Creek Freak suggests a visit to the double parentheses of Burbank’s Lake-Providencia Bridge. Bikeside’s Mihai Peteu calls for better — aka separated — bike lanes; Long Beach officially opens theirs on Saturday. The Long Beach City Council takes up the cause of naming the bike paths on the new replacement for the Gerald Desmond bridge for late bike advocate Mark Bixby. Bike and dine at a discount on Earth Day in Long Beach. San Diego magazine looks at the rise of citizen cyclists. The Golden Gate Bridge considers a 10 mph speed limit — and a ban on tall bikes and unicycles. The Art of the Group ride looks at the recent list of bike friendly universities, and concludes that smart people ride bikes.

The Economist says distracted driving is the new drunk driving. Green bikeways finally receive preliminary approval from the Feds. Bicycling interviews cycling actress Monica Raymond of Lie To Me. A woman fantasizes about fighting back when she gets right hooked. Vulnerable user laws gain speed across the country. Apparently, a Portland coffee shop doesn’t love cyclists anymore. Motor-centric Indianapolis will add 33 miles of bike lanes this year alone. A Kentucky jury gets it, as they sentence a drunk driver to 35 years for the death of an 11-year old bike rider. Listen my children and you shall hear of bike routes that follow the midnight ride of Paul Revere. A commenter deftly dismantles the NY Posts latest anti-bike diatribe, while BikeNYC offers photographic proof that the city’s traffic-clogged streets are just a myth, and are actually occupied only by bike riders. Robin Williams gets stopped as part of NYC’s bike crackdown, while talk show host Chelsea Handler reportedly finds dead cyclists amusing. The New York Times discovers Japan’s post-earthquake bike boom. A Virginia campaign urges drivers to be bike friendly. NASCAR driver and cyclist Bobby Labonte is hosting a Share the Road Memorial Ride in North Carolina this weekend to honor fallen cyclists; thanks to Todd Munson for the heads up.

A stabbing victim feels police don’t care, comparing it to reporting a stolen bike; now that hurts. A writer takes the UK’s Automobile Association to task for their recent bike helmet and hi-vis vest handout, rather than focusing on dangerous drivers. London cyclists complain about the city’s ghost bike lanes. Everyone cycles in Antwerp. Pro teams walk out on a meeting with UCI President McQuaid in a dispute over race radios. Plans to remove parking spaces to put in bike lanes have Tel Aviv residents up in arms, who see it as an attempt to turn the city over to the rich; evidently, poor people must not ride bikes in Israel. Pietro Ferrero, CEO of the company that brings you Nutella and Ferrero Rocher died after falling from his bike in South Africa. Philippine cyclists campaign for cleaner air.

Finally, a 72-year old Aussie cyclist says red lights are a bloody hindrance. Maybe he’d like the new brakeless bike from Target, although he may need the Army’s new Kevlar bike shorts if he keeps running them.

%d bloggers like this: