Tag Archive for Steve Scauzillo

Morning Links: Blaming pedestrians in the name of safety, and free bike for helping catch Burbank bike thief

If you’re reading this, I assume you survived the three-day weekend in one piece.

So welcome back, and lets get started.

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A column by Steve Scauzillo in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune correctly notes that roads aren’t just for cars, and that pedestrians are paying too high a price just to cross the street.

And he describes the dangers of speeding traffic, and having to wave his arms to alert drivers who speed through intersections or aren’t paying attention.

But instead of urging drivers to slow down, or reminding them of the dangers their vehicles pose to others, he offers four suggestions to improve safety — three of which are aimed at people on foot.

1. Put down the cell phone when crossing a street.

2. It goes without saying that drivers should never be looking at or talking into a cellphone (except with the aid of a hands-free device).

3. Pedestrians should stop jaywalking.

4. Be alert in crosswalks — they are not impenetrable.

Like bicyclists, pedestrians have to look out for their own safety, because too many drivers aren’t looking out for either of us.

But the problems on our streets aren’t caused by careless pedestrians. Or bike riders.

They’re caused by a driving public that has forgotten that they’re operating big, dangerous machines that can kill in a moment of carelessness.

Or just don’t care.

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Burbank’s H&S Bicycles is offering a free bike worth up to $1000 for anyone who can help find the burglar who has robbed the store three times this year.

The latest theft involved the 2018 Rocky Mountain Altitude A50 Large seen below.

My apologies to whoever sent this to me; I’m afraid I lost track of it over the weekend. But thank you anyway.

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Speaking of careless drivers, a Jimmy Johns bike delivery rider was hit by a distracted Miami cop while he was riding in a crosswalk.

And he was the one who went to jail.

The rider was so angry when he was struck by the woman driver as she spoke on her handheld cellphone that he failed to notice it was an unmarked police vehicle. And threw his bike against the car, causing $500 damage.

He was arrested for criminal mischief and ticketed for failing to yield. Even though it was at least the third time the same officer had been seen using her phone behind the wheel.

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Irish UFC fighter Connor McGregor is one of us, riding his bike to train for his recent bout with Floyd Mayweather.

Then again, so is the Philadelphia bike cop with the Nazi tattoo. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

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Thirty-year old Canadian cyclist Michael Woods is turning heads in the Vuelta in just his second Grand Tour, starting today’s stage in eighth place. Meanwhile, Russian cyclist Ilnur Zakarin has slowly worked himself up to a podium position.

Cycling Pub offers a wrap-up of the second week of the Vuelta.

Caught on video: Once again, a race vehicle has knocked down a cyclist, this time a team car in the Tour of Britain; fortunately, Polish rider Karol Domagalski was not seriously injured. More proof that motorized race vehicles don’t belong in the peloton, whether two-wheeled or four.

CNN profiles the great Miguel Indurain, the only cyclist to win the Tour de France in five consecutive years who hasn’t been stripped of his title.

Two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador calls for a salary cap for pro cycling teams to help keep teams afloat and competitive.

A new report says current tests can’t discover the latest generation of hidden motors used for motor doping; naturally, cycling’s governing body begs to differ.

Aussie rider Carol Cooke has successfully defended her titles in the road race and time trial at the world Para-Cycling championships; she’s a three-time winner in road cycling, and four-time in the time trial.

Former race car driver Alex Zanardi successfully defended his world Para-Cycling time trial championship, and finished half a wheel behind the winner in the road race; he lost his legs in a horrific IndyCar crash in 2001.

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Local

A 43-year old bike rider was lucky to escape with minor injuries when he was the victim of a drive-by shooting in Rosemead just after midnight Sunday.

Santa Monica is installing a state-of-the-art sensor system on some of its buses to detect bicyclists and pedestrians in time to avoid a collision.

Metro Bike comes to Venice this Thursday, with 165 bikeshare bikes at 15 docking stations.

 

State

An Op-Ed in the Orange County Register says the Santa Ana River Trail belongs to the taxpayers, and the homeless camps alongside it have to go.

Two hundred San Diego bicyclists rode to honor fallen cyclist Paul Cornish; the 70-year old bike rider, who once set a record for riding from LA to New York, was killed last week by a driver with a suspended license in a stolen car.

A 16-year old Hemet pedestrian is in critical condition, and his salmon cycling companion injured, because a driver had a sneezing fit.

A Los Banos burglar learns the hard way that if he’s going to carry two loaded guns, a meth pipe, $137 in cash and several coins on the bike he just stole, to put a damn light on it.

A Bakersfield writer says the city has wide streets that can accommodate everyone, and needs to build safe infrastructure to improve bikeability and walkability.

The San Jose Mercury News takes an ebike trip to Big Sur.

Not surprisingly, bicyclists support a new lane reduction project in San Jose.

A local paper profiles the policy and planning director for the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, who’s working to make Petaluma more bikeable.

 

National

City Lab looks at the nationwide trend of using human bollards to create protected bike lanes and call attention to the need to improve safety for bicyclists.

Scottish cyclist Mark Beaumont is three-quarters the way around the world as he attempts to circumnavigate the world by bike in just 80 days; he’s currently riding through the US.

A Santa Fe truck driver got ten and a half years behind bars for the meth-fueled crash that killed two people when he plowed into a group of five bike riders.

A Boulder CO couple has spent the last 14 months driving around the US to ride their bikes all over the country.

A San Antonio TX bike non-profit is fighting childhood obesity by allowing children to earn bicycles, requiring 12 hours of work to get the bike they want.

The mayor of an Iowa town says building bike trails is good public policy.

Minneapolis police remind bike riders that we need to stop for stop signs for our own safety, but get it wrong when a rider takes the lane. I couldn’t care less if you decide to roll a stop when there’s no one else around. But in the name of all that’s holy, observe the damn right-of-way and stop for stop signs if there’s conflicting traffic.

Authorities say changing the design of a bike trail on a massive DC area highway widening project could jeopardize the entire thing; bike advocates want the trail moved from next to the highway to the other side of a sound wall, which would violate an agreement with homeowners.

Coral Gables FL is planning to use planters and green space to create protected bike lanes.

 

International

Now that’s a ciclovía. Bolivia banned cars from city streets throughout the entire country for one day, dropping pollution levels up to 70%.

Manchester, England police are accused of victim shaming after tweeting that cyclists shouldn’t weave in and out of traffic, after two young women are killed in separate bike crashes that had absolutely nothing to do with that.

The Guardian looks at the maker of The Laserlight, which projects an image of a bicycle onto the street 16 feet ahead of your bike.

Britain’s Cycling Weekly is facing a boycott from women after labeling a woman in a photo of a racing club as a “token attractive woman.”

A British sports site offers their ten favorite inspirational quotes about bicycling.

An Irish father is riding through all 32 Irish counties in just eight days to raise funds in honor of his 16-year old daughter, who died of a brain tumor.

An 18-year old Saudi Arabian woman is using social media to get other young woman riding.

Nigerian soldiers ambushed a group of suspected bike-riding Boko Haram terrorists, recovering 18 bicycles, seven swords and a pair of slippers.

A Malawi cyclist plans to raise funds to send two needy students to school by riding over six miles uphill while standing up on his bike.

A New Zealand coroner blames the death of a woman bicyclist on brakes that were too large for her small hands, recommending that every bike rider should have a properly fitted bicycle.

Perth, Australia will invest $129 million to fill in the gaps and dead ends in the city’s network of bike paths.

The war on bikes continues, as a road raging Aussie driver intentionally rammed a bike rider; no word on the condition of the victim.

When an ebike rider flees the scene after running down an elderly Shanghai woman, it sparks a debate over whether riders of electric bikes should carry liability insurance.

 

Finally…

No, seriously. If you ride your girlfriend’s bike to break into an office, try not to steal any cremated remains. If you’re going to steal a $2,000 bicycle from an unlocked garage, leave your $100 beater bike in its place.

And proof that you can ride a bike in a skirt.

Even if you’re a man.

 

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.

 

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