Tag Archive for scary clowns on bikes

Morning Links: Eric Garcetti fails street safety test, LA BMX pro fatally shot, and meet Cycling Without Age founder

A must read Op-Ed from Bike the Vote LA’s Michael MacDonald, who asks where Mayor Eric Garcetti is, as angry motorists torch the mayor’s signature traffic safety plans.

And Angelenos continue to die on the streets.

And yet, since the mayor’s 2015 directive, Los Angeles hasn’t just gotten more dangerous, it has become outright hostile to the concept of roadway safety. A small but vocal contingent of residents has taken an increasingly combative posture to any meaningful safety improvements that appear to interfere with their daily car commutes. City agencies have responded to this pushback by buckling — either canceling or watering down proposals to address dangerous speeding on North Figueroa StreetLankershim Boulevard, the Hyperion bridge and elsewhere. At the same time, we’ve seen a 43% increase in traffic fatalities in the first year after the adoption of Vision Zero, with the fatality rate trending to rise again in 2017.

Garcetti, meanwhile, has been inexplicably and unaccountably silent on the matter.

When Councilman Mike Bonin and Garcetti announced last week that they were removing a multi-street Vision Zero effort in Playa del Rey, it was in large part because Garcetti refused to insert himself in the debate around safety. As the drama escalated and some residents threatened a recall of Bonin over the safety upgrades, Garcetti never came to the councilman’s defense…

This is why I won’t support Eric Garcetti for any higher office, despite strongly supporting him in the past, first on the city council, then in two runs for mayor of Los Angeles.

The last straw came last week, when Garcetti appeared to take credit — if you want to call it that — for the decision to rip out the road diets and bike lanes in Playa del Rey, even though at least one of those bike lanes was included in the 2010 bike plan.

He has done a great job of setting policy by calling for safer, more walkable and bikeable communities, and bringing Vision Zero to Los Angeles, along with LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds.

But then he disappeared, leaving it up to others to defend those policies, as he set off in search of other initiatives, like so many shiny new toys.

He had the potential to be a great mayor.

But that will never happen unless and until he decides that this is the job he actually wants to have.

And that means rolling up his sleeves and getting to work on the street level with the rest of us.

Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

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On a related subject, Curbed asks if LA’s road diets are in jeopardy due to the bikelash in Playa del Rey. That would be an unequivocal yes.

Speaking of which, CD4 Councilmember David Ryu has put a survey online asking about safety improvements on 6th Street between Fairfax and La Brea; this is your chance to voice your opinion on whether to improve traffic flow on the deadly street (Option A), or slow traffic and improve safety through a lane reduction (Option B). Do I really have to tell you which one I prefer?

Meanwhile, community group Keep Rowena Safe offers proof that lane reductions, aka road diets, really work. Which isn’t to say that the Rowena road diet isn’t at risk of being ripped out by Ryu, despite its proven success.

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Fast Company lists 50 reasons why everyone should want more walkable streets, virtually all of which apply to bikeable streets, as well.

And somehow we missed this one from earlier in the month, as an architecture critic for the Philadelphia Enquirer listed seven ways bike lanes benefit motorists and pedestrians. Commit these to memory for the next time an angry driver complains about bike lanes. Which will probably be the next time you go to any public meeting or onto any social media platform.

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Tragic news from the Vermont Square neighborhood of Los Angeles, where BMX pro Gabe Brooks was found shot to death outside his home at 52nd and Western. Thanks to Matt Ruscigno for the heads-up.

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Here’s your chance to meet Ole Kassow, the founder of Cycling Without Age — the international program that’s changing lives by giving older people the chance to enjoy bicycling again, often for the first time in decades.

Kassow will hold a meet and greet at the Surf Food Stand on The Strand in Manhattan Beach, from Noon to 3 pm this Saturday.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the tip.

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Local

KPCC looks at the effects of the deadly 85th percentile law, which will force Los Angeles to raise speed limits on a number of streets, whether we want to or not.

If you think the LA streets you ride could use a good cleaning, there may be a reason for that.

 

State

San Diego State University is cracking down on students who don’t ride their bikes in designated bike lanes or routes. Even though that would appear to violate state law; under California law, bikes are legally allowed on any public surface street where motor vehicles are permitted.

Former motocross racer and current Pink husband Carey Hart catches hell on Instagram for the crime of letting his 10-month old son roll gently on a skateboard, sans helmet.

A San Francisco museum is attempting to halt an effort to close Golden Gate Park to cars on weekends year-round; the main road through the park is already closed on Sundays and half the year on Saturdays. On the other hand, if the street was closed, the museum wouldn’t have to worry about the parking spaces they lost when a cycle track went in.

You’ve got to be kidding. A Novato man has been charged with multiple felony hit-and-run counts, despite intentionally running down four bicyclists earlier this month; he faces a maximum of five years behind bars. He should be facing four counts of assault with a deadly weapon at the bare minimum.

A proposed new bridge over the Sacramento River could improve access for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as providing space for a possible future streetcar line.

The town of Paradise is rewarded with full bike racks at the town’s elementary school as new bike lanes near completion, part of a Safe Routes to Schools project.

 

National

Caught on video: A Chicago burglar discovers that a stolen bicycle can come in handy to cart off a freshly stolen snow blower. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the link.

Not surprisingly, the family of a Michigan cyclist killed by an 83-year old driver want a change in the review process to keep dangerous drivers off the road. And they’re right.

JuJu got his bike back; someone turned the Pittsburgh Steeler and former USC star’s bike in to the police, claiming he’d bought it for $200 before recognizing it on TV. Sure, let’s go with that; no one would want to get rid of a stolen bike just because it got too hot.

New York Streetsblog calls for the state to give prosecutors the tools they need to go after hit-and-run drivers, and for prosecutors to be more willing to do it.

A road raging New Orleans driver tried to run a bike rider off the road after telling him to get onto the sidewalk, then got out of his car and physically attacked him.

 

International

Relatives of people killed by traffic violence in Toronto call for safer streets; the families want safer infrastructure and stiffer penalties for careless drivers.

A new survey shows that 87% of British cyclists think bike lights should be required day and night, 81% call for mandatory helmets, and over half would require mirrors and hi-viz. Which might be explained by the fact that the survey was conducted by a car rental company, of its own self-identified bicycling customers.

After a friend was badly injured riding his bike, a Bengaluru, India writer asks if it’s better to risk life and limb to be socially and environmentally responsible by taking to two wheels, or add to the city’s choking congestion by driving a private car.

 

Finally…

Your next ped-assist ebike could have hydrofoils instead of wheels. Why wait for someone to give you bad bicycling advice when you can read it all here? Thanks to David Drexler for the link.

And this may be the best scary clown bike fast food burger commercial in human history.

Morning Links: Expanded mobile phone driving ban, Vision Zero speed limits, and scary bike-riding non-clowns

The good news is, we’ve figured out what caused the problem with email notifications for new posts. Now that the tech supports are back from their annual conference, maybe we can get it working again.

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Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation prohibiting drivers from holding and operating mobile phones for almost any reason, including changing a play list or using a GPS.

However, in a sign of just how seriously the state doesn’t take distracted driving, the fine for the first violation is a measly $20, rising to a whole $50 for subsequent violations.

Even though distracted driving is every bit as deadly as drunk driving.

And people will continue to die until we treat it that way.

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Seattle votes to lower speed limits on city streets, from 25/30 mph to 20/25 mph as part of the city’s Vision Zero plan.

Which is exactly what LA has to do if there’s any hope of reducing, let alone eliminating, traffic fatalities by 2025.

Yet here in the City of Angels, the case is complicated by streets with near-highway speeds as a result of the deadly 85% rule, which sets speed limits at the average speed of 85% of drivers on any given street.

In other words, the best way to make sure the speed limit goes up is to keep your foot firmly planted on the gas pedal. Which is kind of like putting bank robbers in charge of bank security.

Never mind that speed limits are unenforceable by radar guns on roughly 75% of the city’s streets, thanks to the city’s failure to conduct the required speed surveys.

And never mind that decades of flawed traffic planning has left Los Angeles with countless streets engineered to carry traffic at speeds far beyond the posted limits, and too many drivers more than happy to take advantage of that.

Angelenos have gotten used to driving that extra 10 to 15 mph above the speed limit, even on streets with posted limits of 45 mph or more.

We could see open rebellion and riots in the streets if the police started cracking down on speeders — or at least a number of recall threats and angry letters to the Times. Let alone if city officials found a way around the 85% law to lower limits to life-sparing levels.

But it has to be done.

Because until we do, Vision Zero will be nothing more than a couple of words.

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Maybe the national obsession with scary clowns is just a tad out of control.

Consider this report from Portland, Tennessee about the arrest of pranksters posing as clowns.

State and local police urge residents to call in all unusual behaviors to the nearest law enforcement agency. The warning comes in light of several incidences in Tennessee and beyond involving people disguised as clowns who have threatened and scared people and children…

Portland (TN) police received another call Tuesday morning reporting a clown was riding a bicycle near Highways 109 and 52. The report was false and police found a person riding a bike wearing a safety vest with flashing lights to warn traffic, Heavner said.

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Cycling scion Taylor Phinney jumps to the Boulder CO-based Cannondale-Drapac team for 2017, just two years removed from the crash that nearly ended his racing career; Cycling Tips offers a good profile of the 26-year old racer as he works to revitalize his career.

Atlas Obscura looks at the demise of America’s love affair with six-day track cycling competitions of the ‘20s and ‘30s.

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Local

Richard Risemberg argues the benefits of a road diet on 6th Street in the face of NIMBY opposition.

CiclaValley offers a recap of recent bike cam videos, including yesterday’s big bike lane dump in Griffith Park and a dump off his bike at the Griffith Observatory.

World Car-Free Day may be over, but Santa Monica gets into the act on October 7th.

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition and Bike SGV wants your input if you walk or bike in the San Gabriel Valley.

Damien Newton talks with Wesley Reutimann about the rescheduled 626 Golden Streets open streets event.

 

State

San Diego’s Measure A would raise $18 billion for transportation infrastructure, but just $540 million would be set aside for bicycle and pedestrian improvements.

Chula Vista applies for funds to build a four-mile bike lane and make other bike and pedestrian safety improvements on a street where 33 bicyclists were involved in collisions over a four year period.

Three Redlands cyclists are riding 250 miles to Las Vegas to raise funds for underprivileged kids.

 

National

Cities around the US are using temporary, pop-up traffic installations to see if they work before making permanent changes. Which is a smart way of avoiding the inevitable panic that stops most projects before they ever start.

Students at the University of New Mexico pitch in to buy a new bicycle for a fellow student after his was stolen.

The nation’s best bike city, as anointed by Bicycle Magazine, has suffered six bicycling fatalities this year, all involving commercial vehicles. Meanwhile, a Chicago TV station finds the city’s bike lanes are often blocked by parked vehicles, despite a city ordinance prohibiting it.

A Michigan middle school student barely avoided becoming collateral damage when he jumped off his bike just before a van involved in a collision rolled over it.

Something is seriously wrong when a Western PA bike rider faces jail for taking the lane.

Boston’s bikeshare system really doesn’t want anyone riding their bikes on a busy highway.

New Yorkers are shaming drivers who block bike lanes on a new interactive website.

A Delaware cyclist says he’s giving up riding after he was rear-ended by a car, saying local roads are too dangerous and drivers don’t care.

Nice gesture, as Atlanta considers naming a one-block section of the Peachtree Street bike lane after the co-founder of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition after he died of a brain tumor.

 

International

Treehugger says Toronto has zero vision when it comes to Vision Zero.

A London supermarket will test one hour bicycle delivery.

A British cop stepped away from his duties protecting the US ambassador to save the life of a cyclist; the rider flew through the rear window of a parked car when he crashed into it on a training ride.

Scotland is in danger of missing their goal of having one in ten journeys made by bicycle by the year 2020, as ridership declined slightly last year.

A beautiful new 2/3-mile bike and pedestrian suspension bridge will be the longest bridge in Finland when it’s finished.

Turkey opens its first bike themed and bike friendly resort hotel.

A South African cyclist faces charges after he became enraged when a driver honked at him, attacking both her and a second rider who came to her defense, then throwing a cup of hot coffee at her husband when they spotted him at a bistro. Seriously, no matter what a driver does, violence is never the answer. Nor is losing control of yourself.

An Aussie cyclist takes silver in finishing her seventh triathlon, just three years after receiving a heart and double lung transplant.

A Chinese cyclist rode from China to Portugal, covering just under 1,000 miles in 87 days.

 

Finally…

When you’re on parole and carrying stolen credit cards and prescription drugs, it’s probably a good idea to obey local bike laws. If you’re carrying coke on your bike and have outstanding warrants, put a light on it — and don’t pass yourself off as your warrantless brother.

And the underwater mountain bike season is officially over.

 

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