Tag Archive for Spring Street bike lane

It’s the weekend, and all links must go — CicLAvia, Spring Street and David Whiting, just to name a few

Experts say I need more photos on here. So here's a kitty sleeping in a donation bowl.

Experts say I need more photos on here. So here’s a kitty sleeping in a tip jar.

It’s been one of those weeks.

Which means a long list of bike news and links have been piling up.

And it’s the weekend, so everything must go.

Besides, it could take you until Sunday’s CicLAvia just to get through all of this.

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You are going to be at CicLAvia this Sunday.

Right?

KPCC suggests where to go and what to do there, while Streetsblog’s Damien Newton says treat it like your first one and just go out and have fun. The Militant Angeleno offers yet another of his incredibly fascinating guides to sites along the route; seriously, download this to your smartphone and follow it along the way.

You can even have fun at CicLAvia without a bike, including dancing in the street for six hours straight.

But you might want to visit the Chinatown section first, just in case.

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Photo of no-longer green Spring Street bike lane shamelessly stolen from Niall Huffman

Here’s one of a no-longer green Spring Street bike lane, shamelessly stolen from Niall Huffman

Meanwhile, Newton is frustrated over how long it’s taking to fix the no longer existent Spring Street bike lane along the Downtown leg of the route. LADOT promises it will be finished by Sunday’s CicLAvia; the Times says work is underway to change it from bright to dark.

And Flying Pigeon’s Josef Bray-Ali lays the blame for the whole fiasco at new Mayor Eric Garcetti’s feet.

Then there’s this comment from a rider who went through the unfinished work Friday morning.

I could cry.

So far, Spring’s got its green back… from Aliso Street to half-past Second Street. The FHWA standard “New York” Green hue leans toward blue, so I’m wondering about nighttime visibility. Even where the “green lanes” are in, the buffers aren’t painted down yet. The “cyclist” graphic that’s supposed to be centered in the lane at the approach to intersections isn’t in yet either. Discouragingly, for a stretch, the patched-over recent street work has left an unpleasant, visible lip into the bike lane. Some of the solid green areas had what looked like giant smudges, but a closer squint makes it clear that these areas only got a single slapdash layer of paint.

I wanted to kick over the stupid mocking “ROAD CLOSED SUNDAY” CicLAvia sign.

Heartbreakingly, in a few teeny spots, some of the former green peeks through like a feeble, grizzled old veteran trying desperately to hold onto glory and dignity. And failing.

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The same rider, who prefers to remain anonymous, forwards news that I was quoted in the OC Register recently.

My coworker saved me yesterday’s paper, which includes an article by David Whiting about the new 3-foot passing law.

A brief excerpt:

Ted Rogers has a prominent voice about bicycle safety through his blog, BikingInLA.com. Despite his and other L.A. bloggers’ professed ability to figure me out because I criticize drivers and cyclists for dumb behavior, Rogers makes excellent points about weaknesses in the 3-feet law. 

“The problem is,” Rogers says, “unless a driver actually does make contact with a cyclist, the law is virtually enforceable.

“The bill includes a provision allowing drivers to pass at less than 3 feet if they slow down and pass only when it won’t endanger a cyclist’s safety. In other words, the same sort of vague, virtually unenforceable standard we have now.”

The article also references a guy who began advocate when a boy on a bike was hit in his Garden Grove neighborhood. Since Westminster is the neighboring city, my coworker and I both wondered if the boy was A.J. Brumbeck (this coworker’s brother’s neighbor’s kid), but I snooped a little and he’s not.

The giant photo that accompanied the article was of a single-file herd of MAMILs on Santiago Road. I wish the damn editor had chosen to go with a pic of anyother type of OC cyclist, maybe una pareja de invisibles riding in the gutter in Santa Ana, or a high school kid navigating her way to school on South County’s speedways, or even a beach cruiser with a wet-suited rider & a loaded surfboard rack flying down the bike lane on Golden West. Pictures are powerful, and casual readers aren’t even going to reach Whiting’s “Lance Armstrong wannabes” quote in the second column. Not to mention, Whiting says right there, “the dead aren’t just faceless road riders,” but that huge picture’s failure to show the riders’ faces knocks a big chunk of humanity out of the equation.

Editorial criticisms aside, the article itself is even, fair, and reasonable…. and hey, it quotes you!

Ride safe out there!

I’m linking back to the original column, but you know, draconian paywall and stuff.

Note to David Whiting: Thanks for the kind words, David, didn’t know you were reading. It’s not that I think I’ve got you figured out; I suspect you care about bike safety every bit as much as I do. We just disagree sometimes about who’s responsible and how to go about it.

Now, if you could just do something about that damn paywall, I’d love to get back to reading your column on a regular basis.

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A carwash memorial will be held on Saturday in honor of Luis “Andy” Garcia, killed by a second car last month after being knocked off his bike by a hit-and-run driver.

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LAPD is looking for the hit-and-run driver who critically injured a bike rider in Hollywood on August 6th.

Yes, August 6th.

Maybe it’s just me, but wouldn’t they have a better chance of catching the jerk if they got the word out just a little quicker?

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Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious crunches the numbers and finds San Diego’s planned bike spending is half of what’s planned for the LA area.

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Governor Jerry Brown approves a new law allowing undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses.

Regardless of what you might think about immigration issues, the new law means that there’s a much better chance the next driver who hits you might actually have insurance.

And might actually stick around afterwards.

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A petition calls on Caltrans to stop chip sealing routes where bicyclists ride; then again, they should assume cyclists will ride everywhere and stop chip sealing, period. Like we didn’t know this already; LA has the worst road conditions in the country. LA Times writer Nicholas Goldberg considers my suggestion that cyclists should be exempt from stop signs, and concludes, maybe not. A handful of readers respond to the Times’ Opinion page series on cycling, but why doesn’t the press ever refute the myth that we don’t pay for the roads we ride? The fate of the My Figueroa project could hinge on a hearing before the city council Transportation Committee next Wednesday. Richard Risemberg asks if LA is destroying the Glendale/Hyperion bridge in order to save it. A new DTLA development will have more bike parking than car spaces. SaMo students will participate in Bike It! Walk It! Week next week. Malibu letter writer says no to a PCH bike lane because cyclists are the spawn of Satan, more or less. An armed, off-duty Glendale PI stops a bike thief. Torrance bike thieves caught on camera. Turns out I’m not the only one to have a bee encounter, as Michael of CLR Effect feels a pinch between cheek and gum. SoCal’s Original Night Stalker was a bike rider; not to be confused with the other psycho who followed.

California’s new CEQA reform could mark the beginning of the end for auto-centric Level of Service requirements. Corona del Mar will invest in 50 new bike racks. San Diego hosts a ride to honor late local cycling legend Gordy Shields on October 25th. A cross-country cyclist has his bike stolen in San Diego. San Diego mayoral candidate rides for better bike safety, while a letter writer is critical of Critical Mass. Torrey Pines State Beach officials ban bicyclists from riding downhill; whether that’s legal depends on whether it’s considered a public or private road. Santa Barbara gets its own Open Streets — ie, ciclovia — event in November. In the wake of their non-investigation of a recent bicycling fatality, the SFPD is trying to improve relations with bicyclists, which evidently needs improving. Two-thirds of fatal SF bike and pedestrian collisions don’t result in charges. San Francisco cyclists are getting traffic signals timed so bikes get greens. Yes, it’s legal to ride a bike with your dog on a leash, but may not be smart. No bias here, as a Sacramento cyclist is fatally right hooked by a big rig truck, yet the press blames the victim for crashing into it. A Sonoma paper writes about the new three-foot law, but doesn’t seem to realize the 15 mph clause isn’t in this year’s bill.

Twenty years later, the gas tax is still stuck at 18.4 cents a gallon, which is just one reason our highways are crumbling. Smart infographic offering myths about women and cycling; on the other hand, here’s another reason women don’t ride, as femme bikes become the new push-up bra. Turns out protected bike lanes don’t have to be ugly. A Portland writer says if you get yourself killed by riding recklessly, the driver who hit you is going to feel really bad about it. A Oregon bike rider stabs the road raging driver who came after him; no word on whether he feels bad about it. One more reason not to get run down by motorists in Montana, where it just became legal to eat roadkill. At least we only have to deal with angry drivers; a Wyoming cyclist fends off a stalking cougar with bear spray. Very cool exhibit of bike photos in Denver gallery; if you’re trying to figure out what to get me for Christmas, I want the third one. Cyclists are packing guns in Houston. Do whiskey shots, run down a San Antonio cyclist and get six years in prison. St. Louis could get 100 miles of better bikeways. Michigan rider says its not if, but when you’ll kill a cyclist if you keep driving like that. A Minnesota writer questions whether bike lanes are enough. Tampa Bay pitcher David Price rides a bike share bike to Fenway Park. Goldie Hawn rides a bike in New York. The New York cabbie who took the leg of a British tourist after a road rage dispute with a cyclist is back on the streets without even a slap on the wrist. Biking across the Hudson River without benefit of a bridge. The federal government shutdown may be behind a jump in DC bike share use — including the shirtless Kiwi who followed Thursday’s fatal police pursuit. Severe bicycling injuries are up for the third year in a row at an Alabama Children’s hospital. After a Miami driver backs his SUV over a cyclist, the police do everything but pat him on the back and hang a medal around his neck.

Bike prices may fall north of the border as Canada considers scrapping an anti-dumping duty on imported bikes. A writer argues against use of the term cyclist, which I employ on a regular basis along with every other term I can think of for someone on a bike. Cyclists — there’s that word again — can commit fatal hit-and-runs, too, as a Canadian rider pleads guilty to killing a grandmother and fleeing the scene. Deliberately assault a group of Brit cyclists with your car, and walk away with no jail time. A UK cancer specialist is acquitted of killing a bike rider, despite driving on the wrong side of the road. The sister of a woman killed by a truck in London blames the victim, calling for testing of all cyclists. What happens when you buy a £137.90 — $222.89 — bike. Brit bike thief is cornered by basketball team. This is why you never go around train barricades, as a British woman is caught on video barely avoiding being crushed by a train. Wales votes to build a comprehensive network of bikeways connecting communities. The Giro could be in trouble, with up to $11 million missing from the race’s books. Call it a private bike share program — buy a $16 cup of Czech coffee, and get a free loaner bike. Sri Lankan paper says a cyclist wasn’t killed by a train, he was killed by stupidity. Despite fears, an Aussie bike lane over a bridge adds less than one minute to drivers’ commutes. A decent examination of Down Under bike rage. Road raging Kiwi driver chases down, then repeatedly attempts to run over a bike rider as he hides on the sidewalk.

Finally, when you get drunk and steal a bike, it may not be the wisest move to make your getaway by riding it down a flight of stairs. When you’re carrying pot and already wanted for violating probation, maybe riding without a light isn’t the best idea. And don’t throw your bike shoe at your wife.

Just don’t.

More on the 2nd-car death of Andy Garcia, no more green bike lane, and LA gets tougher on hit-and-run

Streetsblog attempts to clear up the confusing details over the hit-and-run collision that resulted in the death of Luis “Andy” Garcia.

Garcia was killed after 21-year old Wendy Villegas hit a group of five riders and fled the scene, leaving her victims lying in the street, where he was hit by a second vehicle.

Streetsblog writer Sahra Sulaiman talks with some of the other riders involved.

What they have to say contradicts some of the details in the official press release from the LAPD — including the fact that Mario Lopez, one of the riders hit in the initial collision, suffered a broken back, rather than the minor injuries the police report.

And paints a picture of a needlessly horrifying night that took the life of a young bike rider, shattered two families, and forever scarred the four surviving riders, as well as the three men who prayed over Garcia after their van took his life.

All because a young woman got behind the wheel when she was too drunk to drive, and fled like a coward after colliding with her victims.

Then again, there’s no such thing as being just a little drunk when you’re driving.

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Photo of no-longer green Spring Street bike lane shamelessly stolen from Niall Huffman

Photo of no-longer green Spring Street bike lane shamelessly stolen from Niall Huffman

Also courtesy of Streetsblog, which has been very busy on the bike front this week, comes official confirmation that you can kiss your green Spring Street bike lanes goodbye.

The highly popular bike lanes barely survived an attempt by Hollywood filmmakers to have them removed entirely; regretfully, self-described bike supporter Council Member Tom LaBonge bought into the industry’s easily disprovable lies — as did our new bike-friendly Mayor Eric Garcetti.

If it wasn’t for the efforts of Council Member Jose Huizar and a few others, the bike lanes would have been removed entirely, rather than just stripped of their green paint.

Now they await a newly approved treatment that costs significantly less, but may not be as effective in capturing the attention of motorists.

We should all hold Hollywood — and our elected readers — accountable for any drop in ridership on the street.

Or increase in injuries.

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The LA City Council instructs the LAPD to take a tougher stance on tracking hit-and-runs. And will work at the state level to revoke the licenses of fleeing drivers, and forfeit their vehicles.

Which is exactly what I’ve long been calling for.

So whether someone has read my blog, or just came up with the idea on their own, thank you. Frankly, I couldn’t care less who gets the credit as long as long-needed changes are made.

Now let’s get it done. And put a stop to this deadly epidemic.

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The LA Times says the ball is in Governor Brown’s court when it comes to signing the three-foot passing law, noting that this is the fifth attempt at passing it in California. The first two never made it out of committee, while our esteemed governor vetoed the last pair.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog notes the Times promises more coverage of bicycling issues on their Opinion page. With all the bike-riding reporters and editors who work at the paper, the only question is what took so long.

Speaking of which, Streetsblog and the new Santa Monica Next are holding a fundraiser this Sunday.

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lb_market_valetKelly Heller sends word that the Long Beach Southwest Farmers Market will begin offering a bike valet this Sunday:

Since it doesn’t begin till next weekend, I cannot tell you anything about how the valet staff is or what the bike accommodations look like.

However, I certainly *can* attest to the fact that this farmer’s market has a significant car-traffic problem.  They are paying for at least three traffic guards, and the whole time we were locking up our bikes and readying our shopping bags we observed the frustration of both the drivers and the traffic guards as they yelled at each other and everyone struggled to find any remaining needle-in-a-haystack open parking spots.

It’s nice to see that someone did the math and figured out that putting up a free bike valet might be the ideal solution.

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There may be hope for the LA River yet, beyond the current unfinished bike path next to a graffiti-clad concrete river bed. The city breaks ground on a new park next to the river in Sherman Oaks that will include a short bike path. The city council approves a new $6 million bike, pedestrian and equestrian bridge over the LA River in North Atwater Village. Larchmont Village loses thirty — yes, 30 — bike racks in order to satisfy drivers who prefer parking meters. Residents want to tame traffic on Ave 64.

There will be a blood drive in honor of fallen OC cyclist Kurt Kirkey in Aliso Viejo on Wednesday, October 2nd. Bike Newport Beach looks at the different mindset for riding in Paris. A Bakersfield driver was using a legal hands-free device when she struck and killed a cyclist riding in a bike lane Tuesday night, in what has been a horrible year for Kern County cyclists and pedestrians; police say the driver was at fault. Sharrows or Supersharrows? When a cyclist is nearly decapitated by fishing line strung over a bike trail, it’s not a prank, it’s a terrorist attack.

Industry trade group Bikes Belong folds itself into its own People for Bikes subsidiary. Elly Blue offers five tips for the bike industry to increase ridership among women. Lovely Bicycle asks if it’s possible to have too short a ride. The Houston Chronicle asks how relatively ancient Chris Horner won the Vuelta. A Houston rider has his bike stolen when he’s mugged on a popular bike trail. Evidently, there’s a requirement in Montana that says drivers have to pass bike riders even when it’s not safe to do so. A Milwaukee man is shot and killed after spotting a man riding a child’s stolen bike. Apparently, more bikes really do mean safer streets, even if New York’s Daily News has trouble believing it. Evidently, you can do tricks on a bike share bike. Male riders outnumber women in Philly, like just about everywhere else. A Maryland rider explains what it’s like to be a cyclist on the state’s roads. DC could remove restrictions preventing bike shops from selling used bikes. A 77-year old Arlington VA driver threatens the cyclist he right hooked with a baseball bat; the driver claimed the rider should have signaled for the left turn he wasn’t making.

A Winnipeg law would absurdly force groups of 10 or more bike riders to get a parade permit. Beat the crap out of a UK bike rider in a road rage incident, and walk away with a fine. A three-year old Brit girl is banned from riding her bike because she might damage resident’s cars. Is Europe’s bad economy causing the boom in bicycling? After overseeing the worst doping era in bike racing history, Pat McQuaid says he’s the only one who can clean it up; I’d say let’s give him the same ban Lance got. The mother of racing great Marco Pantani thinks her son was poisoned after breaking pro cycling’s doping omerta. A Sydney paper continues its highly biased anti-bike reporting, including blaming bike lanes for a loss of handicap parking and cyclists for running red lights; apparently, objectivity and grammatically correct headlines aren’t attributes expected of the local press. Meanwhile, the Guardian says the anti-bike hysteria in the Sydney press has got to stop, and local cyclists fight back on Twitter.

Finally, this is one way to ride with a dog. And if you’re planning to burgle a flat screen TV, maybe a bike isn’t your best choice for a getaway vehicle.

Yet another bike rider dies on SoCal streets, as a 57-year old cyclist is killed riding in Carson

I could just scream.

For the fifth time in the last seven days, a bike rider has been killed on the mean streets of Southern California,.

According to the Daily Breeze, a 57-year old man was killed in a collision with a passenger van around 5 pm at the intersection of Avalon Blvd and Gardena Blvd in Carson. The victim, who is believed to be a resident of the city, was declared dead at the scene.

The driver remained at the scene following the collision; no other details are available at this time.

This is the 36th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, a horrifying half of which have occurred in L.A. County – which compares with 23 cycling deaths in L.A. County for all of last year.

My deepest sympathy for the victim and his loved ones.

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Meanwhile, despite the lack of any information, KCBS-2 seems to think it’s important to question whether or not the victim in this case was wearing a helmet — without any details on how the collision occurred or whether a helmet would have made any difference.

Or, evidently, if the victim even suffered a head injury.

Despite popular opinion, bike helmets are not magic devices that can ward off serious injuries or death for the wearer.

While they are designed to protect against catastrophic head injuries in slow speed collisions, they offer little protection in high speed crashes, little or no protection against concussions, and no protection for any other part of the body.

I never ride my bike without one.

But it is simply irresponsible for any journalist to bring up the question of whether the victim was wearing one with no information to support it.

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The Fontana Herald News offers a look at the life of 18-year old Carlos Morales Guzman, the bike rider killed by a train in Fontana last Saturday.

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The green bike lanes on Spring Street, popular with everyone but Hollywood filmmakers, will see a significant reduction in paint coverage — and possibly safety — thanks to an unpopular compromise passed today in a unanimous vote of the L.A. City Council.

You can read my report here on LA Streetsblog.

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Finally, a Santa Monica cyclist pleads guilty to a charge of Assault with a Deadly Weapon after running a red light at the Third Street Promenade and seriously injuring a pedestrian.

I’ve never heard of a motorist facing a similar charge after running a red light, though, even if someone is killed as a result. And to the best of my knowledge, a charge of Assault with a Deadly Weapon requires intent to cause harm, which would seem highly unlikely in a traffic collision — and which the police say was not present in this case.

Yes, cyclists who cause harm by breaking the law can and should be prosecuted, just as drivers are. Or should be, anyway.

But at first glance, this would seem to have been a significant overreach by prosecutors. Even if they did get away with it.

And don’t get me started on the promise by the Santa Monica police to focus on bicycling violations this summer, which sounds a lot like selective enforcement. Let alone the opposite of the bike-friendly city that SaMo aspires to be.

I’ll be writing about this for Streetsblog on Friday. If you have any inside knowledge of this case, or you’re a lawyer or police officer who can offer insight into the matter — on or off the record — email me at bikinginla at hotmail dot com.

An open letter to the Los Angeles City Council — Don’t let LA down on Wednesday

You’re scaring us.

After putting off the motion from Councilmembers Huizar and Reyes to repaint the Spring Street Bike Lanes from last Friday, to Tuesday, to today, we have to wonder what’s going on.

Like whether negotiations have been going on behind the scenes that we haven’t been privy to. Or if the vote has been repeatedly postponed to reduce the number of bicyclists who can attend to argue for the motion; after all, it’s one thing to clear your schedule for a single day, quite another to clear it over and over again.

Paranoid, I know.

But that’s what happens when the lies — yes, lies — of the film industry seem to take precedence over the safety and preferences of the city’s citizens.

Starting with the absurd claim that a little bit of green paint is chasing thousands of film industry jobs out of the city, when in fact, filming in Los Angeles is up over the last year.

Then there’s the lie that no other city in country has green bike lanes, or at least this particular shade of green. When in fact they’ve been in use in cities across the country, from Portland to Chicago and New York, with more coming every day. And the new bike lanes on San Francisco’s Market Street seem to be a very familiar hue.

And don’t get me started on the ridiculous claim that the lanes are impossible to remove in post production. Or that the real problem is the reflected glow from the lanes; I can color correct video to remove unwanted tints in just a few minutes on my laptop, with a lot less computer power — and skill — than even the lowliest production house employs.

Then again, a little paint — or any of the attributes of a modern city, for that matter — never stopped the Hollywood of old, which knew how to hide problematic things before filming ever began.

John Ford, Frank Capra or Stanley Kubrick would have just covered the street with hay or a black mat to hide the offending paint. FilmLA could easily invest in a mat that could be rented to production crews on a daily basis for minimal cost.

Or just give me a couple of hours and a box of gaffers tape, and I guarantee there won’t be a hint of green in the dailies.

Then there’s the claim — okay, lie — that supporters of the bike lanes have repeatedly backed out of compromise solutions that would work for everyone, from changing the paint to a less reflective hue to dramatically reducing the surface area to be painted.

I’ve talked to people directly involved in the discussion. And each one has made it clear that it was the representatives of the film industry that backed out after everyone thought they had an agreement.

Which raises the question of what, exactly, they want.

The only answer that makes sense is they want the bike lanes to go away. Not because they actually cause a problem, but because the film industry wants to stop any future changes to what they consider their street.

But it’s not.

It’s not a Hollywood back lot. It’s our home.

We live and work here. We ride our bikes for transportation and recreation, to work and shopping, nights out and meetings — sometimes with you. And sometimes, just because it’s fun.

Those green lanes, as battered and faded as they may be, have been a huge success.

And even motorists support bike lanes, including, yes, green ones.

According to a letter you’ve already received from the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, the number of people bicycling on Spring Street increased 52% in the first year after the lanes were installed, with another 40% increase this year.

More impressive, the number of women bike riders on Spring increased 100% on weekdays, and 650% on weekends. Women tend to be more risk averse when it comes to bicycling; the fact that they are responding to this street to such a degree suggests just how safe they feel in the green lanes.

In other words, the green lanes are doing exactly what they were designed to do.

If you vote to let them die, as the film industry is selfishly demanding — and as we fear you will in the face of your continued silence —  you will send a clear message that the convenience of wealthy special interests outweighs the safety and desires of the general public.

It will also tell the bicycling community that the hard-won bike plan you approved a few years ago isn’t worth the ink on the pages. Let alone the paint on the street.

Because we’ll know that any bikeway, anywhere, can be removed on the whim of a few well-connected opponents. And that your support for our lives and safety, let alone the livability of our city, runs neither deep nor wide.

Please, I beg you, prove us wrong and dispel our fears.

Send a clear signal that you are sincere in your desire to end car culture and reshape L.A. into the livable, walkable, bikable world-class city it should be.

And that this is our city, not a Hollywood back lot.

Because Hollywood will survive, and thrive, with or without these bike lanes.

We, and the city we love, may not.

Move along, nothing to see here

I have to beg your forgiveness.

Trying to follow up on the recent rash of bicycling fatalities ate up the time I would have used to write today’s post, which was intended to be a rant over the City Council’s repeated rescheduling of the vote to repaint the Spring Street green bike lanes.

Because it’s looking more and more like this issue is being hammered out behind closed doors. And while the council may or may not be talking with representatives of the film industry, they sure as hell aren’t talking to us.

And that scares me.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen them, I’ve updated the stories on the death of the 25-year old Los Angeles resident killed while riding near Caltech, and the 12-year old killed in Camarillo on Sunday.

Just a couple other quick notes.

Damien Newton offers a great recap of the issues involved in the debate over repainting the Spring Street green bike lanes, pointing out the fallacies offered by the other side — which is the nicest way I can put it.

A new study shows California drivers want bike lanes just like we do. I’ve long argued that bike lanes provide as much benefit to drivers as they do for cyclists; thanks to Monet Diamonte for the link.

Yes, the Bible teaches us to share with the less fortunate. But if you encounter a bear while riding your bike, it’s probably best not to offer it any barbecue from your church picnic.

And if you’re too drunk to stay on your bike, you might not want to ride away from the police while making siren noises with your mouth.

Just a suggestion.

A little this, a little that — missing NY green lane, WeHo bike workshop, SaMo bike shooting suspect

Just a little light reading to get you through your Wednesday.

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Remember those vivid green bike lanes that Hollywood says don’t exist anywhere else and are impossible to remove in post-production?

Evidently, not a problem in New York.

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West Hollywood will host a workshop to help overhaul their bicycle and mobility plan this Saturday. The meeting takes place starting at 9 am at the WeHo library, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd; the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition encourages anyone who rides or walks in the city to attend to help make the plan as powerful as possible,

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Sign the petition to keep the bike lanes on Westmont Drive in San Pedro; thanks to Jennifer Gill for the link.

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Santa Monica police have identified a suspect in the shooting of a bicyclist last Sunday. Oddly, they say it doesn’t appear to be related to the shooting of two men, one fatally, in the same area Tuesday morning — let alone the nearby shooting rampage on Friday.

You might want to avoid the area south of Pico Blvd in Santa Monica for awhile until things settle down.

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A 13-year old L.A. boy has been missing since he was last seen riding his bike on Sunday. Bicycle Fixation looks forward to CicLAvia on the Miracle Mile. Bike Nation is seeking a Fortune 500 company to sponsor their bike share program; I could use one of those myself. A sponsor, that is. The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee now has a Facebook page. It’s a busy bike weekend at Flying Pigeon, with a Streetsblog fundraiser on Friday, LACBC’s RideFigueroa Saturday, and a Get Sum Dim Sum ride on Sunday. A look at the World Naked Bike Ride, L.A. edition. The L.A. Sheriff’s Department is fixing unclaimed bikes — actually, the inmates are — to donate to kids throughout the county. The woman who helped put bike lanes in Rolling Hills Estates has passed away. A Sierra Madre cyclist suffers minor injuries when a motorist fails to yield; thanks to John Lloyd for the heads-up. How not to lock your bike.

More money for bike and pedestrian projects in the new state budget, but Safe Routes to School programs are at risk. Santa Ana will build two secure bike parking facilities holding a total of just 36 bikes; evidently, not many riders need secure parking down there. It seems the facts are however you spin them, as a San Francisco grand jury says the city must do more to prevent bicyclists’ deaths — but all a Bay Area website hears is a call to crackdown on scofflaw cyclists.

Nice read on being an unwitting role model for little girls. A new Tucson Walgreens didn’t eliminate a bike lane in front of the store after all. If you’re going to make your getaway by bike, try to steal one your own size. Traffic laws apply to cyclists, even in Idaho. The teams have been announced for this year’s USA Pro Challenge. Colorado man spots his stolen mountain bike on eBay, leading to the arrest of a serial bike thief. A lesson from Kansas for all drivers — don’t kill people with cars; damn good advice if you ask me. A new Cincinnati app allows cyclists to report harassment and collisions.

Brit drivers are more miserable than they’ve been in 25 years. If you really want to be seen, ride a Penny Farthing. An Irish writer demonizes cyclists — literally — in calling for greater courtesy around pedestrians. A look at bicycling in Paris. Johan Bruyneel, former sports director for Lance’s various cycling teams, denies being a demon or putting anyone’s health at risk.

Finally, a self-identifying cyclist criticizes a “small, tiny, sub-section of cyclists” — the cam-wearing, lycra-clad aggressively mentally ill subsection, evidently. Something tells me the conversation he relates may not have occurred exactly the way he tells it.

If it occurred at all.

Hollywood’s anti-bike green lane myth rises again; Culver City Chamber pres comes out against bikes

Just in time for April Fools Day, the myth of the Hollywood-destroying green bike lanes rears its ugly head once again.

A brief biased story appeared on the website of the L.A. Times over the weekend, quoting a representative of the Teamsters union decrying the buffered lanes designed to keep cyclists safe as they ride south through Downtown.

The man, who represents unionized Hollywood location scouts, claimed the particular shade of green used for the bike path made it impossible to use Spring Street as a location to represent any other city in America, or any time in the past, as it was somehow impossible to cover-up, shoot around or remove in post production.

Evidently, according to him, that particular shade can’t be removed in post, even though green screens are exactly what are used for special effects. And even though others who work in Hollywood have said it shouldn’t be a problem.

Yet somehow, a multi-billion dollar industry that for over a century has created creatures, cities and worlds that don’t even exist is apparently stymied in their ability to cover up a little green paint.

Or maybe they somehow can’t squeeze the relative pittance it would cost into their bloated multi-million dollar budgets without adversely affecting the producer’s cut or maybe the lunch budget.

Then there’s the location scout quoted in the article, who, despite being described as a veteran scout, has absolutely no idea that green bike lanes exist in any other city in the country.

Evidently, she’s never been to Santa Monica. Or Long Beach.

Not to mention, as a commenter to the story pointed out, Portland, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Boulder, DC, Arlington, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

You’d think a decent location scout might know about something that appears in such a broad spectrum of the country, with even more on the way.

So let me offer a low tech, low cost and multi-use solution.

The city’s film authority, FilmLA, should have a mat made to match the color and texture of the surrounding pavement, and rent it out to film crews ridiculously apoplectic over the presence of green on the street.

Sort of like film crews have done for decades to cover up train tracks, as well as countless other street markings.

Or use any one of the multitude of techniques Hollywood has used for decades to hide things they don’t want you to see in the final footage. Or just accept that these are rapidly becoming common markings that shouldn’t shock or offend anyone living in Iowa, or in this century, for that matter.

Then again, as the head of FilmLA pointed out last year, the last time this myth circulated, the real objection was never that the lanes interfered with filming.

It was that they interfered with parking.

Film crews have long been used to free parking along L.A. Streets. And didn’t want to have to pay to park their production trucks, or go through the relatively easy process of getting a permit allowing them to block the bike lane.

And cyclists don’t want those trucks blocking the few feet of street dedicated to keeping us safe, and forcing us into traffic lanes with drivers unwilling to safely share them.

In other words, exactly what happens pretty much every day. And every night.

And yet, still hasn’t stopped a boom in ridership.

It’s bad enough that a few misguided Hollywood types want to park in our bike lanes, and can’t manage to find a solution to the federally mandated shade of green.

It’s worse that the writer for the Times didn’t bother to talk with anyone who might have presented another side of the story.

And evidently, didn’t have access Google, Bing or any other search site that might have allowed him to fact check the crap they were feeding him.

………

Speaking of bike lanes, Flying Pigeon calls on cyclists to help save planned Northeast L.A. bike lanes from kneejerk anti-bike NIMBYist opposition with two vital Neighborhood Council meetings this week, one today and another on Thursday.

In possibly the most asinine story in the history of the bike lane debate, here or anywhere else, an Eagle Rock pot shop advocate comes out against the proposed bike lanes on Colorado Blvd because, wait for it, his arch rival pot shop opponent is for them.

Seriously, I’ve checked the date on the story several times hoping this was an April Fool joke, rather than just a massive waste of cyberspace and credibility.

And as long as we’re citing Flying Pigeon as the source for news on important meetings, the quarterly Bike Plan Implementation Team (BPIT) meeting takes place from 2 pm to 5 pm this afternoon at City Hall East, 200 Main Street; the link also has instructions how to participate online.

………

Evidently, at least some members of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce would be just as happy if bikes didn’t sully their streets.

Despite the local Chamber signing on as a supporter of CicLAvia, its president has joined with the usual bike haters in coming out against Metro’s new Every Lane is a Bike Lane campaign.

Stephen J. Rose, president of the chamber, offered his own thoughts in a letter published on the Culver City Patch website.

Here are a few points I would like to ask about bicyclist’s responsibility:

  • Insurance in case of an accident. Is my uninsured motorist insurance going to be raised because of bicyclists’ rights?
  • Motorcyclists are required to wear helmets. Are all bicyclists?
  • Why can a bicyclist ride in the street and then on the sidewalk and then back on to pedestrian walkways?
  • Bicyclists should not only have lights on the front and rear of their bikes, but lights that can be seen from a legal distance.
  • Should bicyclists be allowed to straddle the white line and then stop in front of vehicles at a red light?
  • Why do bicyclists not stop at stop signs, as vehicles legally must do?
  • How do we tax bicyclists for maintenance of the right of way, as motor vehicle owners have to do?

Just a few thoughts as the rights of bicyclists may become more important than motorists.

I’m not going to bother correcting the errors in his comments. Particularly since there’s little else there.

Others have already taken him to task in the comments to the story. And Just Another Cyclist has done a great job of dissecting the letter, slicing and dicing the fallacies until there’s nothing left but the signature.

And even that comes into question, because, despite the disclaimer that those are Rose’s own comments and don’t reflect the attitudes of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce, he does exactly that by identifying himself as its president.

Personally, I always thought that the purpose of any Chamber of Commerce was to promote business interests in the city.

But all Rose has done with his misguided letter is suggest that maybe we should take our business somewhere else.

Update: In my rush to get this online last night, I inadvertently left out the link to the original letter on the Patch website; thanks to Margaret for the correction.

………

An Echo Park fixie rider collides with a pedestrian, sending both to the hospital with apparent serious injuries; the cyclist’s riding partner said they’d both been drinking before the crash. Better Bike says change may be in the air for cyclists in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills, where the bike lane ends. Santa Clarita cyclists ride to raise funds for the Child and Family Center. Our coastal neighbor to the south will host a day long Green Prix of Long Beach on April 20th, including free bike valet, raffle and group ride. Carlsbad is widening bike lanes to give riders more room. A San Diego School Board Member calls for transforming one of the city’s most dangerous boulevards into a world class greenway, including cycletracks. San Diego becomes the latest California city to remove a bike licensing requirement, at a cost of a whole $260 dollars from city coffers. A bike riding child was injured in a Ventura collision last week; thanks to Steve Herbert for the link. Cyclelicious offers a roundup of biking April Fools jokes.

Bob Mionske provides additional advice on how and when to fight a ticket. Bike Snob says Portland kinda makes him want to puke. Vancouver WA cyclists fight to keep bike lanes from being replaced with sharrows. A Boise bicyclist survives a Dr. Thompson-style brake check. What it’s like to own and ride a bakfiets, which is pronounced like what I have to wipe off after walking the Corgi on rainy days — back feets. This is why you always ride with ID, as Erie police try to identify a bike rider seriously injured in a collision with a car. The not-exactly bike friendly NYPD sticks a popular bike nonprofit bike ride with a $1 million bill to provide security. A Georgia bicyclist is apparently killed by an Escalade-driving hit-and-run motorist leaving a showing of The Croods with two small children. Baton Rouge police will hold an online auction of abandoned and seized bikes this month, but you have to pick up your bike in person.

Vancouver drivers are up in arms over a whopping $3000 spent to provide bike repair stations for commuter cyclists. Totonto cyclist doesn’t make it through a crosswalk before a right-turning semi; needless to say, authorities blame the victim. A former Brit champion cyclist still rides his tricycle at age 100. Shortly after an Irish man returns from an extended visit to the U.S., he’s killed riding to the local pub on Easter Sunday. Fabian Cancellara, aka Spartacus, breaks the competition one by one to win the Tour of Flanders. Meanwhile, second place finisher Peter Sagan is roundly criticized for grabbing the ass of a podium girl; he’s really, really sorry, but the better question is, why do we still have podium girls to begin with? Thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up. A Swedish study shows elderly riders should use step through frames — not women’s bikes, thank you — to avoid injuries. Kind of sad that this is a big step forward, as Saudi women finally get the right to ride a bike, but only in restricted areas; thanks to Rex Reese for the tip.

Finally, if you’re going to use a bike as your getaway vehicle, wouldn’t you want something a little faster than a beach cruiser?

And one last thought.

The oft-expressed idea that there’s a war on cars makes as much sense as mice declaring a war on elephants. The elephants might be afraid, but it’s the mice who are in danger.

Green bike lanes aren’t worth a damn if they’re blocked by Hollywood production trucks

This is me, post nuclear.

I went just this side of ballistic this afternoon, when news broke on the KCET blog that an agreement had been reached that would allow Hollywood productions to continue shooting on Spring and Main Streets in Downtown L.A.

Those pretty green bike lanes were already as good as gone, victim of a claim that they would prevent the twinned streets, which had previously been among the most popular filming locations in the city, from continuing to pass for Anytown, USA.

In fact, the story quoted Paul Audley, President of FilmLA, saying that filming was already down 10% to 15% since the green lane was installed. Even though green is the color most easily removed in post-production.

But not this particular shade of green, evidently. At least not according to the filmmakers.

And even though the green lane was already doing a pretty good job of removing itself.

Still, it had become quite clear in recent days that the color-testing LADOT had promised us to ensure the green paint would last for more than a few days was not going to happen anytime soon. And while the bike lanes would remain, the green paint would soon be a thing of the past.

Of course, as the late, great Dale Carnegie once wrote, there are two reasons for anything a man — or a film industry, for that matter — does. One that sounds good, and the real reason.

And in this case, it didn’t take long for the bike-hating LA Weekly to ferret out the reason behind the reason.

While they weren’t happy with the city’s choice of USDOT-dictated green, the studios were actually upset that they’d lost their access to free curbside parking. Because, you know, all those Hollywood studios and production companies can’t manage to find offstreet parking for their massive production trucks.

Or afford to pay for it out of their mutli-multi-million dollar budgets.

Even though Downtown L.A. has more parking per acre than anywhere else on earth, according to UCLA parking maven Donald Shoup.

So having already won the Great Downtown Green War, there was only one battle left to fight.

According to the KCET story, Hollywood declared victory with an agreement permitting film crews to park those trucks on our beloved bike lanes. And nothing in that article suggested that it was limited to Spring and Main, implying that film crews could now park anywhere they damn well pleased, on any bike lane in the city.

And that, my friends, is when my head exploded.

For a change, though, I didn’t go ballistic. Instead I reached out to the people who should actually know what was really going on before going off on here. And used all my self control not to go off on them, either.

First to respond — in a matter of just minutes, in fact — was LADOT Bicycle Coordinator Michelle Mowery, who assured me that permits would still be required to block any traffic lane, bike or otherwise. And that lane closures for film shoots should be limited to the minimal amount required for actual shooting, and not simply to provide parking for cast and crew.

I could feel my blood pressure dropping already.

A few hours later, I got a response from Paul Audley himself, who said the article got it wrong.

Dear Ted,
The article headline is incorrect.
The DOT is allowing film vehicles in the parking lane next to the bike lanes.
Nobody wants to injure bikers!  :)

Good to know. Although my own experience on the roads might suggest that at least some L.A. drivers might disagree with that last line.

Personally, though, as nice as they were, I don’t really give a damn whether the bike lanes are green, blue, black or pink. As long as they’re clear from obstructions and safe to ride.

But the problem is, a blocked bike lane is worse than no lane at all. Because drivers will expect you to ride in it regardless of whether or not it’s actually ridable. And aren’t likely to give you an inch if you dare to venture outside the lines.

So if Hollywood needs to change the color scheme, be my guest.

Just don’t park your trucks where they block our bike lanes.

And that goes for your little orange cones, too.

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