Tag Archive for three-foot passing laws

Weekend Links: Santa Ana bike rider injured in street racing crash, a close pass in Stanton, and Bike Events

A Santa Ana bike rider was seriously injured Thursday night, the victim of a driver who was allegedly street racing with another car.

Both drivers fled the scene.

However, 20-year old Christopher Carrasco was arrested about two hours later, after he was encouraged to turn himself in by family members; he was being held on $50,000 bail. Authorities are still looking for the other driver.

The victim was reportedly in stable condition after undergoing surgery Friday morning.

Some news reports have suggested the victim may have been riding without lights, and might have done something that contributed to the crash.

However, no matter what he may or may not have done, street racing is a serious crime with entirely foreseeable consequences, akin to firing a gun down a crowded street. It should not be up to the rest of the world to stay the hell out of the way of dangerous drivers exceeding the speed limit and putting everyone else at risk.

Thanks to Jeff Vaughn for the heads-up.

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Mike Wilkinson forwards video of a far too close pass in Stanton, which just happened to occur right next to the only parked car on the street.

He notes that, despite the perspective, he was riding outside the door zone. However, in the future, he plans to take the lane where the road narrows there.

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Let’s catch up on a few upcoming events.

Metro will be hosting a guided Halloween Metro Bike bikeshare ride around DTLA on Sunday.

Also on Sunday, Finish the Ride and Serious Cycling will host a free community ride in Agoura Hills.

The first three-day Revolution Bike Fest will take place on Orange County next weekend, with a full weekend of rides, music and beer.

revolution-bike-fest

If you find yourself jonesing for another ciclovía now that CicLAvia is done for the year, Long Beach hosts the next edition of their Beach Streets open streets event on November 12th.

nov-beach-streets

And the LACBC will host a discussion of traffic laws with representatives of the LAPD, LA County Sheriff’s Department and the CHP, along with BikinginLA Sponsor Jim Pocrass, on November 14th.

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British Cycling confirms allegations that the head of their bike racing program used inappropriate and discriminatory language in telling a female racer to go and have a baby after her contract wasn’t renewed.

Meanwhile, leaders of the program while face questions in front of Parliament over allegations of legal doping.

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Local

Representatives of a business group call for passing Measure M because voting no would cost LA County too much. Meanwhile, a writer for UCLA’s Daily Bruin says voters have an opportunity to move the city forward by voting yes on M.

Metro officially votes to expand the Metro Bike bikeshare to Venice, San Pedro/Wilmington and Pasadena, where it will focus on the last mile connection; next up is Central LA, followed by Hollywood and West Hollywood, which already has its own system. Meanwhile, UCLA’s bikeshare system will open next spring.

Speaking of West Hollywood, the city’s bikeshare system will be on lockdown Monday during the massive Halloween celebration.

CiclaValley says every lane is a horse poop lane when you’re following the LAPD’s mounted patrol through the bike lanes of Downtown.

 

State

Streetsblog looks at the challenges in Caltrans efforts to develop a statewide active transportation plan, as they seek the public’s input.

Santa Ana goes beyond Vision Zero with a plan to end traffic collisions, not just deaths, while giving the streets back to people.

San Diego’s KPBS looks forward to Sunday’s annual CicloSDias open streets event. Meanwhile, the city’s downtown library is now hosting a monthly free bike repair co-op.

A San Diego man gets two Cervelos worth $46,000 back after they were stolen, thanks to the sharp eye of a neighbor.

After allowing a previous DIY protected bike lane to stay in place, San Francisco’s transportation department wastes little time in removing the latest guerilla installation.

A pair of bike riders are Bay Area heroes, as one retrieves a lost purse left on a bus, and the other leaps off his bike to save the life of a truck driver who’d just been stabbed.

A Vallejo cop hit a bicyclist while looking for a burglary suspect; the rider allegedly went through a red light while wearing all black with no lights on his bike.

A Folsom restaurant owner is collecting funds from the meals he sells to support the family of an Afghan refugee killed by a distracted driver while riding with his son last year.

 

National

A new report reminds us that homeowners who fight bikeways are just shooting themselves in the foot. Or rather, in the pocketbook.

Robin Williams’ bicycle collection raised $600,000 for charity.

A new study ranks the Philadelphia area as the second best place to ride a bike, behind the Minneapolis area and ahead of New York; the LA/OC region checks in at 37.

A new protected bike lane and wider sidewalks have resulted in zero fatalities on New York’s infamous Boulevard of Death, even though local residents don’t like it.

A Maine newspaper says the state’s Complete Streets policy won’t improve safety on the streets unless people in the state push for it to be fully funded and implemented.

 

International

A new British Columbia study says slow down while riding in urban areas to avoid inhaling toxic air pollution; 9.3 mph is recommended as the ideal speed to avoid sucking in too much smog.

An 83-year old Canadian grandmother is on a mission to give bicycles to underprivileged children, saying every child deserves a bike.

A homeless man gets 16 months in jail for knocking a cross-dressing Englishman off his bicycle with a shopping bag.

British tennis star Heather Watson says she was knocked over and verbally abused by someone on a bicycle.

Caught on video: A British driver makes an unsafe pass, then cuts back into his lane just in time to avoid a truck — and barely misses an eight-year old girl.

An Irish newspaper recounts the history of bicycling on the Emerald Isle.

Caught on video too: A Polish cyclist is lucky to walk away without serious injuries after being hit head-on.

Innovative approaches to bicycling and walking are leading Africa to a greener future, where four countries are among the world’s most dangerous for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Impoverished Johannesburg residents question whether bike lanes are racist and classist, after the city painted them without telling anyone who they were for or how to use them.

Life is cheap in Singapore, where the driver of a cement mixer gets a whopping ten weeks behind bars for killing a woman on a bike by failing to look at a pedestrian crossing.

It only took three years and a Freedom of Information request to learn a road raging Minneapolis bike rider and bus driver were both assholes.

Caught in video tres: A Singapore woman repeatedly slaps an elderly bike rider, while claiming she just got out of prison.

 

Finally…

The definition of bad luck: Someone steals your bike just two days after your car was stolen. If you want a free gold-plated Colnago, all you have to do is get elected pope.

And seriously, no sexting behind the wheel.

 

Morning Links: Three-foot passing law sign bikelash in PVE, train bike racks in Seattle, and more kindhearted people

That didn’t take long.

Over the weekend we shared a photo forwarded by Jim Lyle showing the new signs promoting the three-foot passing law that went up in formerly bike-unwelcoming Palos Verdes Estates last week, replacing bike-unfriendly signs warning that bike laws are fully enforced in the city.

Now local residents have already taken to social media to bemoan the “ugly” signs besmirching their streets. And of course, complaining that bike riders never stop for stop signs.

Which, apparently, makes it okay to pass at less than three feet and run them off the road. Or worse.

However, since the complaining is being done on a website exclusively for residents of the exclusive Rolling Hills Estates, Lyle was kind enough to forward a sample of the comments.

image

PVE 2

PVE 3

PVE 4

Meanwhile, Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson posts multiple pages of the same anti-bike and anti-bike-friendly-signs vitriol, while reminding readers that the small victory represented by the signs only resulted from bike riders willing to turn out in force to ask for change.

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Hap Dougherty forwards photos of Seattle’s train system, where bikes actually have racks, rather than just an empty space at the back of the car.

Seattle bike racks 1

Seattle bike racks 2

With something like this, the relatively petite cars on the Expo Line could easily hold four bikes, rather than fitting two at best in the space currently available.

Or just one if the rider insists on standing with his or her bike.

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More kindhearted people.

After a 10-year old boy’s bicycle was stolen during a bike rodeo at a local school, Clovis police replace it for him.

After a 11-year old Canadian girl’s bike was stolen, the investigating officer slipped her mother some money for a new bike, and a family friend left a new bike on their doorstep.

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Local

CiclaValley says there’s an important meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss future flood control measures on the LA River, which hopefully won’t result in more closures of the bike path.

A bike rider was shot to death in broad daylight on a Bell bike path Saturday afternoon.

 

State

The Orange County Register paints bikeshare as just a “hip idea to central planners,” and a trendy and “most unnecessary boondoggle” that shouldn’t be the recipient of public subsidies. Unlike driving, which is only possible with massive public subsidies; apparently, the paper feels a desperate need to reaffirm their shaky conservative credentials after a change in ownership.

The Big Bear Cycling Festival began over the weekend, and continues with events all week.

The Lompoc Valley Bicycle Club has been meeting weekly for over 25 years to ride to Buellton for breakfast.

A Chico bike rider says he lost his sense of community after he went over his handlebars on a busy street, as people continued to drive by without stopping to help as he lay there unable to move with a broken arm, and his bike on top of him.

 

National

Portland police ride a 21-mile trail surrounded with homeless encampments searching for stolen bikes. And not surprisingly, find them.

New York police are looking for a bike rider who returned fire when a man in a Jeep shot at him. So why aren’t they looking for the driver of the Jeep?

North Carolina ups the bike-friendly ante with a shiny new four-foot passing law; motorists who force riders off the road, make them crash or even just make bicyclists change lanes will now face increased fines.

Funds that had been raised for a homeless Georgia college student who rode his bike six hours to register for class have been put on hold, as the woman who started the gofundme account has concerns about his story.

 

International

So much for that famed Canadian politeness. A bike rider is the subject of racial slurs after a driver and his passengers get out of their car and tell him to get off the street; however, he reports an outpouring of support after the story went public .

A London columnist claims she came close to being killed by a bike rider when she stepped out of a building on a narrow street without looking. But instead of deciding she should be more careful next time, blames the bike rider who managed to avoid her — and by extension, everyone who likes to ride fast.

Over 26,000 cyclists turn out for the 100-mile RideLondon, though the event had to be cut short after two riders were injured.

A British medical professor says think twice about that acupuncture for cyclists.

British trucking companies are told to remove signs warning bicyclists to stay back.

The widow of a Maltese hit-and-run victim asks drivers to think of the person’s relatives every time they speed past a cyclist.

A Kiwi cyclist says riders are treated like second-class citizens in New Zealand.

Perth, Australia releases ambitious plans to create a Dutch-style bicycle network suitable for eight to eighty-year olds.

A Philippine woman writes an open letter to a road raging driver who fatally shot a bike rider following an argument; the shooter claims he was provoked by the “arrogant” cyclist.

A Taiwanese taxi driver had a blood alcohol level over five times the legal limit when he slammed into two bicyclists; police found four empty beer cans inside the taxi, suggesting he’d been drinking behind the wheel.

 

Finally…

Apparently, the key to remaining royally attractive in your 50s is to ride a bicycle. What do NASCAR drivers do on their days off? Ride bikes, of course.

And now you, too, can have your own Nobel Laureate parking space. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

 

Weekend Links: Koretz faces serious challenge, 3-foot signs in PVE, and sabotage targeting cyclists continues

It looks like LA City Councilmember Paul Koretz is facing a serious challenger after all.

The LA Times is reporting that Westside attorney Jesse Creed has raised nearly $113,000 in just six weeks since announcing his candidacy, which is a remarkable amount for a first-time candidate. Meanwhile Koretz, a career politician who moved to LA’s 5th Council District to run for city council after being termed out in the state legislature, has reportedly raised $190,000.

The Times quotes Koretz’ campaign consultant as saying the councilmember is very popular, and he hasn’t talked to any leader of a community organization who supports Creed.

Maybe he’s just not talking to the right people.

Thanks to Robert Peppey for the heads-up.

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Jim Lyle forwards word that the first three-foot passing signs have already been installed in Palos Verdes Estates, thanks to calls from cyclists following the recent deaths of bike riders on the peninsula.

PVE 3-foot passing sign

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There’s been a rash of sabotage attempts targeting bike riders lately.

And it shows no sign of letting up.

The latest case comes from Marin, where mountain bikers found a rubber strip embedded with over 30 screws hidden in the dirt. Someone had also posted a sign saying bikes were prohibited from using a trail open to cyclists.

Meanwhile, Colorado police made an arrest in a case where hundreds of thumbtacks were strewn along the shoulder of a roadway popular with bicyclists, after a reporter spotted packaging for the tacks discarded along the side of the road. Police were able to trace it back to the store where it was purchased, where surveillance video showed the suspect buying the tacks.

It wasn’t the first time he’d gotten in trouble for attacking cyclists; seven years ago, his mother grounded him for two weeks after he deliberately ran a woman off the road as she was biking to work. She may have to ground him a lot longer this time.

Another suspect has also been identified, and will be issued a summons in the next few days.

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With all the bad news out there, it’s important to remember there’s a lot of good in the world, and a lot of good people.

Like the kindhearted Minnesota truck driver who offered to buy a 10-year old girl a new bike after spotting posters she made when hers was stolen.

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I want to be like them when I grow up.

An 89-year old woman is about to finish her second ride across Iowa.

A 91-year old Maine man still rides almost every day.

And an 84-year old Virginia man has had to cut back on his daily bike rides; he’s now down to just 40 miles a day.

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The head of international cycling says incremental growth is the key to building women’s bike racing.

US Olympic cyclist Lea Davidson has overcome two hip surgeries to compete in Rio.

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Local

The LA Times’ Jonathan Gold is the latest to review Culver City’s meat centric, bike-themed restaurant and butcher shop The Cannibal.

Richard Risemberg says it’s not hard to be cool and comfortable at work after riding in LA’s blazing hot sun.

Santa Monica’s Breeze bikeshare continues to draw new users, but remains about $54,000 in the red each month.

 

State

Coronado, where bike lanes make residents dizzy, considers building a bike and pedestrian tunnel as the final stage of plan to remake the entrance to the city.

La Jolla says yes to expensive classic cars, but no to bikeshare.

Salinas receives over $10 million in grants to make streets and sidewalks safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers, including $7 million for Safe Routes to Schools.

Caught on video: A San Francisco cyclist waves at a driver, and tries to open her car door — then pulls out a knife and stabs her tire. Which makes you wonder what he would have done if that door hadn’t been locked.

San Francisco will invest in more petite fire trucks to better navigate the city’s narrower streets.

 

National

USA Today lists ten great rail-to-trail conversions across the US.

The Department of DIY brings Prince and Bowie back to life on Portland bike lanes.

Denver will install a two-way cycle track on a major street for three months on a trial basis, before deciding whether to keep it for another year. Los Angeles could overcome a lot of community resistance if they’d take the same approach of trying temporary bikeways before making them permanent; people who currently oppose the projects might find they actually like them.

PolitiFact rejects a claim by an Austin TX advocacy group that bike lanes and sidewalks reduce crashes 38%; instead, they find road diets, including bike lanes, reduced the rate of crashes an average of 29%. Which is still pretty damn good.

In a horrifying case from Wisconsin, a 14-year old girl rode her bike over to the home of her brother’s 15-year old girlfriend, then slit the girl’s throat with a broken bowl before asking if she wanted to be killed on the spot, or left to bleed out; fortunately, the victim survived and was able to identify her attacker to police.

The alleged Ohio scumbag accused of murdering a bike-riding college student also chased a couple of young boys as they rode their bikes in 2014.

A new report suggests the news media report tends to scapegoat New York’s largely immigrant bicycle delivery riders, without talking to them to gain their perspective.

A Miami Critical Mass rider collided with a man in his 70s when he evidently didn’t cross the road fast enough. Which is a good reminder to slow the hell down and ride carefully around pedestrians.

 

International

Yesterday marked the third anniversary of the still-unsolved murder of a Canadian bike rider who was deliberately run down by a truck driver, apparently for pretending to take a photo of a little girl.

The mayor of Edmonton, Canada says his inability to get new bike lanes built has been the greatest disappointment of his first three years in office.

Toronto’s Bad Girls Bike Club helps young women overcome their fears of riding in the city.

Britain’s governing body for cycling says it’s time to turn the country into a great cycling nation.

Caught on video: A British delivery cyclist is forcibly arrested for the crime of spooking police officer’s horses.

A Canadian couple traveling around the world swap artwork for new bikes at a UK bike co-op and training center.

An English city plans to hit cyclists with a draconian £1,000 fine — the equivalent of $1322 — for riding through the town center.

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with some people? A bike rider in the Netherlands threatened a handicapped man in a wheelchair and kicked his dog. Then came back a few days later and threatened him again for posting the incident on Facebook.

The mayor of Manila promises to look into installing bike lanes in the Philippine city following a deadly road rage incident.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to deny you stole a bike, maybe you should hide the key you locked it up with. A Berlin reporter samples US pickup trucks, and decides he likes his bicycle better.

And caught on video, too: It’s always the second deer that nearly gets you.

 

Morning Links: They Drive Among Us part deux, and Marina del Rey rider stopped for biking while black

How disappointing.

Last week we looked at the angry anti-bike rants of a self-described former Disney executive, as he vented his spleen over the cyclists who ruined his three week motorized trip through the late, great Golden State.

And how what he termed “nasty, radical bike Nazis” and “selfish bicycle jackasses” were ruining it for everyone with their war on cars.

Never mind that if there really is such a war, the cars are winning.

I was actually looking forward to the promised second part of Greg Crosby’s rant, the same way some people used to pay to see train wrecks.

Sadly, though, he reveals himself to be just another conspiracy nut, convinced there’s a secret plot to use bicycles to turn America into a third world country.

As proof, he offers the bios of the staff of the California Bicycle Coalition, who are well respected in Sacramento. But not, sadly, by our esteemed Mr. Crosby, who faults them all as “proud radicals” and “social justice activists.”

And what do those crazed radicals want? To triple the amount of bicycling by building bikeways — paid for, in his estimation, with your hard-earned gas taxes and registration fees.

Never mind that most bicyclists also drive and pay those same taxes and fees. Or that the general public subsidizes the roads he drives, since those fees cover only a fraction of the cost of building and maintaining the roads.

And never mind the free on-street parking that most drivers seem to feel is a God-given right.

He goes on to complain about being unable to pass cyclists with at least three feet distance, as the law now requires, as if the requirement to pass a bike rider safely was something new. Drivers were always expected to pass at a safe distance; the three foot law merely codifies what that distance is, unlike the six inches some motorists seem to find acceptable.

And he closes with a hint at conspiracy, noting that cities like Burbank have been narrowing streets by building center islands and extending sidewalks. Not to improve safety, in his apparent estimation, but just to frustrate drivers like himself by making it impossible to pass a cyclist.

Oh, the humanity!

Just imagine, all those drivers forced to endlessly idle behind slow-moving bikes, unable to ever get home to their families because of a vast leftwing conspiracy to bring America to its knees.

In all, his rumblings were a disappointment.

Just the self-deluded babble of an angry, indignorant* man so desperate to find someone to blame he creates an enemy in his own mind, rather than taking a few moments to try to understand the world from someone else’s perspective.

How sad.

Then again, he may have relatives overseas, as one British Lord blames bike lanes for London’s traffic congestion, which evidently didn’t exist before they were put in. And another suggests cycling has done more harm to the city than anything since the Germans relentlessly bombed the city.

*Indignorant, an expression coined by my friend Will Campbell to describe someone who is both indignant and ignorant, usually willfully so.

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A celebrity chef is justifiably outraged after he was pulled over by police — most likely sheriff’s deputies — in Marina del Rey for biking while black.

According to his video statement, he was stopped for “going too fast,” and asked if he was running from something; the officer also implied that his pale blue t-shirt might be some sort of gang attire.

Just to be clear, unless he was riding faster than the posted speed limit, or somehow going too fast for conditions, which was highly unlikely, he wasn’t going to fast.

Period.

We should be long past this sort of harassment. Let’s hope he got a badge number and files a complaint.

And that someone in the department actually cares.

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Sometimes zoning and planning regulations can seem a little arcane, at best. But this PSA from Ottawa, Canada clearly explains in just 90 seconds the harm minimum parking requirements can do, and how getting rid of them can make room for bike lanes and transit.

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Call it Strickland’s Law.

Bicycling Magazine’s Editor in Chief Bill Strickland nails it when it comes to any discussion involving bike helmets:

“Anything written or shown anywhere about cycling with or without a helmet can devolve into a helmet debate — and with enough time all will.”

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Help keep LA’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming to you this holiday season.

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Local

CapoVelo looks at South LA’s East Side Riders Bike Club and the work they do to keep kids out of gangs and off drugs.

The LACBC looks at last weekend’s effort to Clean Up Mulholland with pro cyclist Phil Gaimon.

Bike Walk Glendale invites you to light up your bike for the holidays with a Holiday Bike Ride this Sunday.

The Eastside Bike Club — not to be mistaken with the East Side Riders — hosts their annual Christmas Bike Ride to Downtown LA next Tuesday.

 

State

The Fresno Bee asks if a $150 million allocation will solve California’s transportation woes.

Merced may have to abandon plans to extend a bike path because the route infringes on raptor habitat.

It was a bad day in the Bay Area. A 26-year old man is under arrest for allegedly killing a cyclist while speeding and driving on the wrong side of the road. And a San Jose woman was killed while riding her bike near a park at eight in the morning.

A Chico woman will spend her summer riding across the US to build affordable housing with Bike and Build.

 

National

The president of the American Public Works Assoc says the new $305 billion federal transportation bill lacks “targeted funding for bike and pedestrian projects that promote physical and social health, decrease emissions, and ease congestion.”

Now that’s what I call an e-bike.

A Portland cyclist was killed by an allegedly stoned hit-and-run driver at a spot where a writer had warned of danger just the day before.

A writer in my hometown offers 10 reasons why cars are in decline. None of which Mr. Crosby would probably agree with.

A writer for the Louisville KY paper calls for a three-foot passing law in the bike-unfriendly state, which is rated 49th out of the 50 states.

The entire bicycle committee of Salem MA resigned at once to protest their concerns being ignored. Good for them; let’s hope the city takes the hint.

Nice gesture, as Buffalo NY police give a new bike to the family of a four-year old boy who survived on milk and maple syrup for two days after his mother died unexpectedly.

Under the first 10 months of New York’s Vision Zero plan, crashes are up 1%, while traffic fatalities are down 12, and injuries have decreased 2.5% — even if some drivers don’t like the new lower speed limits.

 

International

The Calgary paper says it takes a special kind of creep to steal a bike from a special needs kid. No argument here.

A London cyclist urges people to look out for each other on the roads, after surviving a crash with a stoned driver.

A British driver who deliberately slammed into a cyclist last June has confessed to murder most foul.

A London bike advocate discovers the loudest voices aren’t always the majority, as most local residents support a plan to turn their neighborhood into a bike-friendly Mini Holland.

Former Lance Armstrong team sponsor Discovery Channel could be the new owner of the Giro d’Italia.

A newspaper in the United Arab Emirates is encouraging cyclists to participate in the paper’s own ride to work day next month.

An Aussie woman’s post went viral after saying she wanted to give a bike to someone whose kids really needed it, not someone “who wastes money on cigarettes;” she finally settled on a family whose daughter spent six weeks in the hospital after nearly drowning.

 

Finally…

If you don’t want a ticket, make sure you understand the local dialect. Evidently, one of the best states for bicycling in Australia is France.

And go ahead and proudly wear that bike cap, even if it makes you look like a dork.

 

Weekend Links: South Bay 3-foot enforcement, bike safety is actually up not down, and more ‘Tis the season

Guess how many tickets have been written in LA’s South Bay cities for violating the state’s three-foot passing law in its first year.

No, seriously, take a guess.

That suggests drivers aren’t even being ticketed for driving too close if they actually hit someone.

Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

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Despite an incredibly misleading headline, more pedestrians and cyclists aren’t actually being killed on US streets.

According to a recent GAO study, the rate of bicycling fatalities has increased only slightly, while ridership has gone up; in fact, bike commuting is up over 60% since 2005. As a result, the actual risk to riders has decreased significantly.

The same report adds that bad street design may explain why bike and pedestrian deaths haven’t dropped, even though motor vehicle deaths have.

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‘Tis the season.

A Sacramento charity is raising funds to give homeless people patch kits, tools and air pumps to keep their bikes on the road.

An Illinois group raises funds and collects bicycles for a rescue mission. Although they probably don’t have much competition as “North America’s premiere professional fur-covered bicycle cycling team.”

Alabama third and fourth graders get bikes as a reward for being responsible, respectful and/or safe.

Belfast police dig into their own pockets to replace a bike stolen from a boy with Asperger’s syndrome.

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Help keep the Corgi in kibble this holiday season.

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A top amateur cyclocross racer was banned for one year for using coke, although presumably there’s no way to tell if was recreational or performance enhancing.

Speaking of ‘cross, a transgender racer who was born male has been barred from competing with the men this year because she identifies as female, even though she has been one of the top men’s finishers in previous years.

Forty-five-year old American cyclist Chris Horner has contracted an antibiotic-resistant superbug that could end his unusually long racing career.

And Ivan Basso looks back on a great career that ended with his successful treatment for testicular cancer

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Local

Streetsblog asks for your tax-deductible donation to support LA’s most important site covering transportation and livability issues.

The LA Weekly lists the city’s most dangerous intersections, all but one of which are in the Valley or the Southside, and mostly in low-income areas. Not surprisingly, two of the most dangerous intersections for pedestrians are just a block apart on Hollywood Blvd; nothing like inviting tourists to visit LA, then throwing them to the wolves on our deadly streets.

Culver City installed bike Fixit stations along the “bike path” at Sepulveda and Culver Blvds and adjacent to Syd Kronenthal Park near Jefferson and National Blvds. It would be nice if they said which bike path, though; presumably, the first is on the bike path along Culver, while the other appears to be at the east end of the Ballona Creek path.

If you read this early, there may still be time to clean up trash on Mulholland with pro cyclist Phil Gaimon, and get a free cookie.

 

State

The OC Register talks with San Clemente bike/ped advocate Brenda Miller, who says things are looking up.

A San Diego cyclist suffered a serious leg injury when he was the victim of a hit-and-run; he allegedly ran a red light while riding downhill.

The madness continues in Coronado, where a letter writer complains about bikes and skateboards on the sidewalks. A problem that could have be solved if residents hadn’t risen up with torches and pitchforks to fight proposed “vertigo inducing” bike lanes.

The Santa Barbara planning commission approves a plan for bike lanes that will require the removal of 85 parking spaces on a busy street , over the vociferous objections of local residents.

Something’s seriously wrong in Mountain View, where bike collisions spiked 480% over the summer.

Caught on video: A driver appears to deliberately attack a San Francisco cyclist. Unfortunately, the beginning of the incident is cut off, so it’s hard to determine exactly what happened.

 

National

Bicycling looks at the history of what may be cycling’s hardest and coldest competition. Which runs along the same route where my soon-to-be formerly Alaska-based brother used to race sled dogs.

Seattle police are looking for a bike rider who left an 85-year old man with serious injuries in an October collision as he was walking for a flu shot. Like the recent case in Echo Park, the rider stayed to talk to paramedics, but left without giving her contact information; and despite the tone of the article, it’s entirely possible that it may not have been her fault.

Atlanta kills plans for bike lanes on the city’s iconic Peachtree Road in the face of heavy opposition, even though the planned road diet will go forward.

Now that’s more like it. DC dramatically increases fines for traffic offenses, including a ten-fold boost in the penalty for hitting a bicyclist; naturally, AAA calls the increases draconian and promises to fight them. Then again, it was only a fifty buck fine to hit a cyclist before, which some drivers probably considered worth it.

 

International

An Aussie cyclist plans to ride non-stop across Cuba in less than 55 hours. Lengthwise, I assume; crossing the width of the island would be little more than a century, at best.

The rich get richer. Bike-friendly Vancouver approves another 12 new bike lanes, mostly in the downtown area, even though that will mean the loss of up to 50% of parking spaces on some streets. However, Vancouver bike lanes aren’t just for bikes anymore.

Just five months after opening, ridership has doubled on Calgary’s network of protected bike lanes.

Evidently, bike riders are under attack in the UK. Welsh police are looking for the jerks who grabbed a teenage bike rider from a moving car and pulled him off his bike, while another rider crashed into a tree after being pushed from behind.

A 20-year old Indian track cyclist is the first woman from her country to be ranked fourth in the world, just eleven years after she survived the Indonesian tsunami by hiding in a tree.

 

Finally…

Make your own DIY bike-powered menorah, just in time for the last few days of Hanukkah. Challenge an auto-centric writer to bike commute for a week, and he may actually enjoy it.

And kids, don’t try this at home; it’s probably not the best idea to hold onto a truck with one hand with a full-size dog slung over your shoulder.

 

Weekend Links: Getting buzzed in DTLA, life is cheap in OC and Alameda courts, and more bighearted strangers

Nothing like getting buzzed by an impatient jerk to ruin a ride on a beautiful day.

Richard Bidmead forwards video of what happens when a bike lane ends, and riders are forced to take to the traffic lane. Especially when you’re being followed by someone in a Corvette who knows how to use his horn, but can’t figure out how to change lanes to go around.

………

Evidently, life is cheap in Orange County.

Following his conviction in the hit-and-run death of bike rider Manual Morales Rodriguez two years ago, truck driver Filemon Reynaga faced up to four years in state prison.

Instead, My News LA reports Reynaga will serve just one year in county jail, thanks to a very generous judge.

Even though a witness saw him get out of his semi after hitting Rodriguez, look at the victim lying in the roadway, then drive off, leaving him unprotected in the darkness, only to be hit by another car a few moments later.

No one will ever know if Rodriguez might have been saved if Reynaga hadn’t shown such a callous indifference to human life.

Despite that, the judge indicated that he will sentence Reynaga to just two years, and put off sentencing until next January to allow him to serve his time in county lockup. And he’ll end up doing just one year behind bars.

One lousy year for intentionally leaving a man to die in the street.

………

Apparently, life isn’t worth any more in Alameda County, as a San Francisco attorney could serve just 30 days behind bars for the hit-and-run death of a Chinese tourist.

Bo Hu was walking his bike when a car driven by Spencer Freeman Smith slammed into him from behind, and fled the scene without ever applying the brakes. Prosecutors were prevented from introducing evidence that he had been drinking that night.

Once again, despite a callous indifference to human life, Smith was sentenced to just five years probation and one year in county jail; he can apply to finish his sentence in home detention after serving just one month.

Talk about hard time.

Let’s just hope he’s not scarred for life by being forced to watch the Giants and 49s on his flat screen from the comfort of his own den.

………

Yet another bighearted cop replaces a stolen bike, this time for an Indiana girl whose bike was apparently taken by neighborhood bullies just one day after she got it for her eighth birthday.

Evidently, cops aren’t the only ones in Indiana with big hearts. A tattoo artist raised $1,800 to buy a new bike for an Indiana boy who was hit by a car outside his shop.

And a stranger bought a new bike for a Tampa Bay girl after she collided with a car driven by an elderly woman; the driver asked if she was okay, gave her $20 and drove away.

………

Looks like the US is building a women’s cycling dynasty, as Chloe Dygert and Emma White take first and second in the under-23 road race; they finished in the same order in the U23 time trial earlier this week.

The US is favored to podium in the elite women’s road race on Saturday, while VeloNews says three-time world cyclocross champ Zdenek Stybar should be a favorite in the men’s race.

They must have made a good impression. A British pro cycling team signs three riders off the New Zealand U23 team from the world championships.

Africa’s first and only pro cycling team to compete in the Tour de France will now be known as Team Dimension Data.

And the head of pro cycling’s governing body says they’ve made great strides to restore credibility in the post-Armstrong era, despite the continuing drumbeat of cyclists banned for doping.

………

Local

Writing for Streetsblog, Richard Risemberg explains what a fair road use fee would be, suggesting that car-free bike riders should get a $250 rebate. And Streetsblog’s Joe Linton reports on Thursday’s Vision Zero forum.

Bike friendly UCLA gets even friendlier with a new traffic light and a bike lane on the uphill side of Charles E. Young Drive North.

Boyonabike looks at transit developments and bike parking in the San Gabriel Valley, and finds the bike racks at the Monrovia Metro station both artsy and impractical.

A San Pedro letter writer complains about a road diet and bike lanes on Pacific Avenue, saying no one bikes in that part of town.

Long Beach gets $23 million in grants for bike, pedestrian and transit improvements, including a bikeway over the LA River connecting with the bike path on the coming replacement for the Desmond Thomas Bridge.

Just one more week to take Metro’s active transportation survey.

The SoCal cyclocross season kicks off this Sunday at Glendale’s Verdugo Park.

There will be a press conference at 11 am Monday at City Hall to support AB8, aka the Hit-and-Run Yellow Alert Bill, currently awaiting Governor Brown’s signature after he vetoed a similar bill last year.

 

State

No bias here. The auto-centric CHP concludes that bicyclists are at fault in 61% of collisions, and drivers only at fault in 20%. Which says more about the department’s lack of training in bike law and a bias towards those on four wheels than it does about bike riders. As does the lack of enforcement of the state’s three-foot passing law.

The Port of San Diego stands in the way of completing a 24-mile bikeway around the bay.

Coronado is having its 15 minutes of fame — or maybe infamy — as the mass anti-bike insanity threatens to go viral.

A 13-year old boy is under arrest for attacking an 84-year old La Quinta Walmart employee as he tried to walk out with two bicycles.

Things were calmer in Bagdad by the Bay this month, as riders in the San Francisco Critical Mass were on their best behavior, and no one beat on cars with U-locks.

San Francisco’s SF Gate looks at how they roll in bike-friendly Davis CA, where everyone is issued a bike in the hospital at birth. Or so they say.

Truckee is punching a hole in a rock wall to make a tunnel for a paved pedestrian/bike path.

 

National

Bicycling magazine talks to the man riding one of New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare bicycles across the US; so far he’s traveled 1,000 miles and incurred the maximum $1,200 late fee.

Bicycling continues to boom in Portland.

Las Vegas decides maybe it’s time to start enforcing Nevada’s three-foot passing law, including putting plain clothes cops on bikes to catch drivers passing too close.

A blogger in my hometown offers up three things cyclists wish motorists understood. I could come up with a lot more than that.

Wichita KS moves to eliminate fines for riding a bike after dark without a headlight, giving out 1,200 free bike lights instead.

An Iowa judge rules it’s okay to buzz bike riders and roll coal in their faces from a diesel pickup.

The bikeway network in Dallas TX grows to 39 miles, a big improvement over the eight miles of on-street bike lanes just three years ago. Although 32 miles of that are sharrows.

A new Minnesota parking lot opens near a bike trail, allowing people to remove bikes from their cars without fear of getting hit by passing cars; the project fulfills the dream of a former Eagle Scout who was later killed in action in Afghanistan.

Sad news from Ohio, as a second bike rider has died as a result of a collision when an apparently driverless truck left crossed a group of five riders; thankfully, the other three have been released from the hospital. Update: The victim was identified as Jim Lambert, an alternate on the US cycling team for the ’84 Los Angeles Olympics.

An Arkansas rider is on track to beat the 76-year old record for riding the most miles in a single year; two other riders, one in England and the other in Australia, are also attempting the same thing this year.

Memphis is on track to get bikeshare next year.

A Philadelphia woman faces a host of charges, including vehicular homicide, for running down a high school football player as he was riding his bike, then removing her plates and hiding in her SUV in a failed attempt to avoid arrest.

Get your resumes ready. Key West FL will be hiring a full-time bicycle and pedestrian coordinator.

 

International

A Canadian bike rider faces charges after reaching into the car that hit him, grabbing the keys, and dropping them into a storm drain. Maybe we should take up a collection to pay his fines.

An Irish charity gives a recumbent hand-bike to a wheelchair-bound teenage boy suffering from a degenerative neuromuscular disease, to provide him with more independence.

Belfast will transform into a bicycle paradise for a whole three hours and 45 minutes when they hold their first ciclovía next weekend.

 

Finally…

Physicists try to figure out how far you can lean into a corner on a bike without falling. Based on personal experience, I’d say the answer is pretty damn far. Four years after LA’s Wolfpack Hustle beat a jet from Burbank to Long Beach, a New York rider races a helicopter across Manhattan. And wins.

And no. Just… no.

 

Morning Links: Ramsay endorsement, a way to measure 3-foot violations, and Sagan takes the AToC by 3 seconds

Don’t forget to Bike the Vote in tomorrow’s election if, like me, you live in LA’s 4th council district.

I’m casting my vote for Carolyn Ramsay.

Then again, so is every other bike rider I know who has publicly expressed an opinion. Endorsements for Ramsay range from Bike the Vote LA to the LA Times, as well as Mayor Eric Garcetti and the candidate previously favored by many cyclists, Tomas O’Grady.

If anyone in the cycling community has endorsed David Ryu, I’m not aware of it.

It’s not that there aren’t a few questions marks surrounding Ramsay.

Like the fact that her boss and mentor, outgoing councilmember Tom LaBonge, has publicly supported bicycling for years, while quietly stabbing us in the back time and again. LaBonge was personally responsible for the death of the long-planned 4th Street bike boulevard, as well as killing bike lanes on 6th Street and Lankershim Blvd, at least until he leaves office.

Which can’t happen soon enough.

She has also publicly questioned current plans to put bike lanes on Hollywood Blvd, preferring crowded, high traffic and high speed Sunset Blvd as an alternative.

Yet Ramsay has tried to make it clear she is not LaBonge, and thinks for herself.

When I spoke to her after a debate, she seemed stricken to learn just how poorly her boss was perceived by cyclists. And said her support would go beyond words and an occasional bike ride.

She also said that she would keep an open door and an open mind. And was willing to be convinced in cases like Hollywood Blvd.

Unlike her former boss, who turned a deaf ear to pleas from bike riders if they conflicted with demands from home or business owners. And would often cave in at the first sign of objection, rather than trying to find a workable compromise.

The one advantage I can credit Ryu with is that, unlike Ramsay, who has spent years working in LA’s less than democratic city hall, he would bring a much-needed outside perspective to the office.

But as Ramsay points out, there are advantages to knowing how to get things done on the council, without having to learn on the job.

You can read the responses from both candidates to bicycling issues on the LACBC’s detailed candidate survey.

But whatever you do, get out there and vote.

Because your right to vote doesn’t matter if you don’t use it.

And with turnout expected to barely reach the double digits, every vote matters; this election could be determined as much by who doesn’t vote as by who does.

LA bike riders are depending on you to make the right choice.

……..

In what could be a huge step towards enforcing three-foot passing laws around the country, Chattanooga police develop a radar device that measures the distance between a bike rider and a passing car.

The LAPD, LA Sheriff’s Department and CHP need to get their hands on this ASAP.

……..

You don’t have to understand French to get the message behind this beautiful TV spot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smREcqxm6D0&sns=tw

……..

Now that’s more like it. The Amgen Tour of California comes down to mere millimeters in the final stage from LA to Pasadena, as Peter Sagan wins by just three seconds. VeloNews looks at the winding road that put him atop the podium.

Meanwhile, Contador continues to lead the Giro whil taking nothing but over-the-counter pain killers for his dislocated shoulder; a writer for the Guardian says his toughness puts a lie to all-too-frequent homophobic slurs against cyclists. Cycling Weekly looks at what a solo breakaway feels like.

Former pro Jens Voigt settles into life off the bike as a race ambassador and quasi philanthropist, while Wiggo calls for mandatory bike helmets.

And women’s racing has a long way to go to catch up to the men; pay is so low some riders can’t afford to join a pro team even if they get the invitation.

……..

Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton says the decision to keep traffic lanes over sidewalks on the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge was based on outdated Level of Service metrics.

KCET’s Krista Carlson looks at how local resources and social rides can help turn every week into Bike Week.

The Westwood Business Improvement District applies for a Great Streets grant. And considers using the funds for parking improvements. No, really. This is the kind of thinking that has helped keep storefronts empty in what should be one of the city’s most vibrant shopping districts.

The first phase of Santa Monica’s MANGo Neighborhood Greenway opens May 30th.

 

State

Not surprisingly, Governor Brown once again ignores active transportation in his proposed state budget.

Writing for Bike Newport Beach, David Huntsman says bicycling would look less dangerous if you’d just take your helmet off when you get off the bike.

The San Diego Association of Governments goes back to the drawing board after an auto-centric regional transit plan was rejected by the courts.

A planned 50-mile Coachella bike path is threatened by a dispute over funding for maintenance.

Writing for the Fresno paper, a CHP officer says cyclists and pedestrians can be discourteous, just like law-breaking drivers. I’d call breaking the law in a dangerous, multi-ton machine more than mere discourtesy. But hey, that’s just me.

Fresno riders take over a local freeway. Hopefully, courteously.

The cyclist who crashed into an 80-year old woman on a Marin County pathway tells his side of the story, insisting she stepped into his path as he tried to avoid her; the CHP is investigating the crash.

Instead of embracing a socially and environmentally friendly form of tourism, the Sausalito city council continues to complain about the up to 1,000 bikes and riders who visit the city each day. Maybe the town should find a way to accommodate bikes instead of fining the people on them. Or bike riding tourists may decide to spend their money somewhere they’re actually wanted.

A 50-year old cyclist is killed in a collision with a truck during a double century race in Solano County; witnesses report he went through a stop sign.

The Turlock newspaper apparently believes a bike helmet could have kept an 11-year old bike rider from suffering a leg injury in a collision.

 

National

A planned Montana bike path is rerouted to preserve a century-old landmark tree.

Three upstate New Yorkers face charges for the hit-and-run death of a bike rider; the driver was on the phone when she veered off the road, and her sister and boyfriend allegedly helped cover up the crime.

Today Show host Matt Lauer will be riding 250 miles from New York to Boston, in support of NBC’s Red Nose Day to call attention to children living in poverty.

New Jersey has the nation’s second highest percentage of fatal bicycle and pedestrian deaths; a proposed four-foot passing law has stalled in committee.

The DC area’s Bicycle Bandit is busted after a series of two-wheeled getaways following bank robberies; thanks to Nancy Duley for the heads-up.

Instead of saying a bank robber used a bike to make his getaway, a Florida paper writes that a local bank was robbed a bicyclist. No bias there. Has anyone ever said that a bank was robbed by a car driver?

 

International

Famed theologians, including Albert Schweitzer and C.S. Lewis, rode bikes; the story quotes Schweitzer saying he used his “abundantly and with delight.”

Sad news from Mexico, as a 17-year old BMX rider is killed in a fall attempting to qualify for the national Olympics.

London’s Telegraph says one way to make London better would be bike lanes that don’t make riding more dangerous. Busting more bike thieves, as London police did at the famed Brick Lane Market, would help, too.

The owner of a UK trucking firm who called bike riders the worst of all road users joins with a bike shop owner to metaphorically sing Kumbaya and call for détente on the streets.

A European study says traveling by car instead of bike costs society six times more. And yes, bike riding really is environmentally friendly.

Nigerian cyclists threaten to give up the sport if there aren’t more races.

A Kiwi cyclist gets a two-year ban for doping.

 

Finally…

Brooklyn’s love affair with the bicycle goes back nearly 150 years; even before a certain baseball team threw its first pitch. An Alaska truck driver somehow manages to see a salmon cyclist sneer at him as she blows through a stop.

And both discredited American former Tour de France winners continue their legal pissing match. If anyone other than their lawyers still care.

 

Morning Links: Sad Fiesta Island news, for and against the 3-foot law, and a new reflector could stop cars sooner

We have a lot to catch up on after yesterday’s unexcused absence,* so let’s get to it.

………

Bad news from San Diego. The wife of the cyclist critically injured by an allegedly drunk and/or high wrong way driver on Fiesta Island says he’s on a breathing machine and fighting for his life; if he survives, he’ll be paralyzed from the waist down.

Sounds like prayers or good wishes are in order, whichever you’re comfortable with.

……..

The family of fallen randonneur Matthew O’Neill encourages drivers to observe the new three-foot passing law and change lanes to pass a cyclist.

Meanwhile, a website uses video from the Rock Store climb, aka The Snake, to suggest the three-foot law will make driving impossible, even though passing at an unsafe distance has always been illegal; the only thing this law changes is specifying just what a minimum safe distance is. And the rider in question is legally taking the lane on what is clearly a substandard lane.

Bottom line, as a side-by-side comparison of these two stories make clear, observing the three-foot law is a question of safety — that is, someone’s life — versus a minor inconvenience to impatient motorists.

I know which side I fall on.

……..

This could be a big step forward in bike safety, as a new reflector tricks the Crash Avoidance System found in many new cars into seeing a cyclist or pedestrian as being closer or larger than they really are. The makers are looking for a strategic partner to help bring it to the right markets; this could be a great investment for someone with the right knowledge.

And yes, I want one. Now.

Thanks to new ROAD Magazine editor Chris Klibowitz for the heads-up.

……..

Time to loosen up those wallets. The Kickstarter for BikinginLA sponsor AnyKicks has just over $18,000 to raise with two weeks to go.

Let’s push ’em over the top and show bike shops and manufacturers that advertising on here really works. And fund a deserving project while we’re at it.

……..

Evidently, the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree, either. The father of the teenage driver who got off using the affluenza defense was arrested last month for impersonating a police officer.

If you’ll recall, his 16-year old spawn got away with killing four people in an under-aged drunken crash when the judge agreed his parents were too rich for him to be expected to take responsibility for his own actions.

Thanks to the Witch on a Bicycle for the link.

……..

Elia Viviani wins the fourth stage of the USA Pro Challenge after retiring rider Jens Voigt fades after a 40 km solo breakaway; that other famous bike rider from my hometown keeps the leader’s jersey.

Is it just me, or is there less interest in the Pro Challenge this year? There seems to be a lot less press coverage this time around. Except for the drunk driver who somehow made it onto the closed course.

Italy’s economic woes lead to the merger of the Cannondale/Liquigas and Slipstream teams. And Vavel previews the first seven stages of the Vuelta, along with the seven that follow.

……..

Local

Boyle Heights residents worry the new Eastside extension of the Downtown CicLAvia route will lead to increased gentrification, while LA’s incredibly popular open streets event officially comes to the San Fernando Valley next March.

A ride marshal is ticketed — and may have been intentionally doored by police — for running a red light on the Clitoral Mass ride.

The LA Times looks at the new Timbuk2 store on Abbot Kinney in Venice.

Sweet Ride USA invites you to explore the intersection of bikes and sweets in Little Tokyo this Saturday. The Santa Monica Museum of Arts’ Tour Da Arts rolls on Sunday, as does the LACBC’s Sunday Funday ride through Carson.

A chef famed around the world for his cuisine and temper gets his new bike on at Cynergy.

The bike friendly Fiesta La Ballona takes place in Culver City this weekend.

LACBC local chapter Bike Walk Glendale sponsors Operation Firefly to give free bike lights to riders without them.

 

State

The state legislature passes a bill allowing local jurisdictions to tack an extra $5 onto vehicle registration fees to fund bicycle infrastructure. But what are the chances of actually getting 2/3 of drivers to tax themselves to fund bike projects?

Laguna Beach votes to explore ways to ease congestion and improve bike and pedestrian access on Laguna Canyon Road.

The Bike League profiles BikeSD’s own Sam Ollinger, who has quickly risen to become one of the leading bike advocates — not women’s bike advocate, thank you — in the US.

An Ohio man pleads no contest in the alleged DUI hit-and-run that took the life of a Chico State cyclist.

The EPA honors a 116-mile bike path from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake; when a new segment opens, it will be 75% complete.

 

National

CNN asks if Lance’s lies and bullying can be forgiven. The former, maybe; the latter, not so much.

Protected bike lanes are rapidly spreading throughout the US.

Our own Boyonabike looks at riding in bike friendly Portlandia.

Life is cheap in Utah, when not even killing a bike riding judge while driving distracted is enough to get authorities to take traffic crime seriously, as the driver gets off with a lousy $670 fine and six months probation.

Seventy-year old basketball great Rick Barry is slowly recovering from a bad solo bike crash in Colorado.

University of Chicago Hospitals illegally applies stickers to discourage legal bike parking.

A New York cyclist is fined $675 and loses her drivers license for running a red light on her bike and not having a bell — $5 more than some states fine drivers for killing someone.

The Washington Post asks if bike riders should be allowed to roll stop signs. The obvious answer is yes, but good luck convincing most motorists. And voters.

 

International

A writer for the Vancouver Sun says bike lanes will do more to protect cyclists than helmets.

Toronto authorities exonerate a local police department on accusations that they whitewashed a case involving the wife of an officer who killed a cyclist. Even though they failed to test the driver for drugs or alcohol and allowed her to drive home while the investigation at the scene was still ongoing.

Northern Ireland plans a two week bicycling festival.

Caught on video: An Edinburgh cyclist learns first hand the dangers of getting a wheel caught in tram tacks.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: Sometimes it’s the other riders you have to watch out for. It doesn’t even take a whole car to send a cyclist to the hospital; sometimes, a stray part is enough.

And Gizmodo looks at seven bikes that, thankfully, didn’t change bicycling forever.

……..

*My apologies for missing yesterday’s post, as well as a few others in recent weeks. I try to post every weekday; however, while my diabetes is officially under control, I’m still having major health problems that may or may not be related, and which leave me largely incapacitated for much of the day — and have kept me off my bike for the better part of two months. Most days, I’m able to rally long enough to get a new post online, but others — like yesterday — find me down for the count.

Hopefully, my doctors will finally figure out what’s going on, and this too shall pass.

 

For once, California cyclists don’t get Jerry Browned. And finally get a three-foot passing law.

Yes, we won.

But just what did we win?

Monday afternoon, Governor Jerry Brown announced that he’d signed AB 1371, the Three Feet for Safety Act, after vetoing similar three-foot passing laws in each of the last two years.

So we should be happy, right?

Yes.

Sort of.

For the first time, California drivers will have a clearly defined passing distance, rather than the current requirement that they pass at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of the bicycle being overtaken. Which in the real world, too often passes for anything that doesn’t actually result in contact with the rider.

No, really.

More than once I’ve caught up with a driver who buzzed me at a dangerously close distance. And the response has been a sarcastic “Well, I didn’t hit you, did I?”

Well, no.

Just scared the crap out of me, taking all my self-control not to overreact and swerve into the passing car or some other object. Not to mention risking getting sucked into the side of a larger vehicle by its slipstream.

Sort of like the school bus that passed me at speed at less than an arm’s length distance on San Vicente Monday afternoon. Or maybe this pass by a Big Blue Bus that barely did.

Pass, that is.

And I’m still waiting for someone, anyone, at the Santa Monica bus company to give enough of a damn to call me back.

Now drivers will know anything less than three feet is too damn close.

Though some would question that.

Some lawmakers who opposed the bill, such as Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, said it would be difficult to estimate a 3-foot distance while driving, especially when cyclists also might be swerving to avoid road hazards.

That’s kind of the point, though. We need that three feet of space so we can swerve to avoid road hazards without plowing into the vehicle next to us.

Anyone convicted of violating the law will face a $35 base fine, plus fees that will take it up to $233, or a $220 base fine if a collision resulting in injuries to the rider occurs.

The problem is, unless a driver actually does make contact with a cyclist, the law is virtually unenforceable.

The bill includes a provision allowing drivers to pass at less than three-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.

Still, it’s worth celebrating simply because we’ve joined the other 22 states and the District of Columbia with a clearly defined standard. And unlike last year’s bill, this one applies whether you’re in the same lane as the vehicle passing you or in a separate bike lane or parking lane.

Which should help stop those drivers who buzz you with two wheels on, or in, the bike lane while you’re riding in it.

Key word being should.

So let’s give credit to former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for pushing for a third attempt to pass this bill. And Gardena Assemblymember Steven Bradford for shepherding this law through the legislature, even if it was severely watered down from the brilliantly written bill he originally proposed.

Including removal of the much-needed provision allowing drivers to briefly cross the center line in order to safely pass cyclists with a minimum three-foot distance. In other words, legalizing exactly what many drivers already do, despite the fears our governor expressed in vetoing last year’s bill.

Like Glendale’s Mike Gatto, who took on the successful fight to extend the statute of limitations in hit-and-run cases, Bradford has shown himself as a skilled legislator willing to go to the mat for bicyclists. Both deserve our support, and will be worth watching — and working with — as we go forward.

We should also thank the strange mix of supporters who backed the bill, from Calbike and CABO, to traditionally bike-unfriendly AAA, which helped kill the last two bills.

And we owe a begrudging round of thanks to Jerry Brown for not going down in history as the only governor to strike out when it comes to bike safety legislation; it’s enough that he’ll be remembered by bike riders for being the only governor, besides Rick Perry of Texas, to veto a three-foot passing law once, let alone twice.

As the bill’s author put it,

“I sincerely thank the Governor for signing this commonsense measure to protect cyclists on our roads,” Bradford said. “When cars and bikes collide, it often turns to tragedy. This bill is a great reminder that we all have to work together to keep our roads safe for all users.”

Which begs the question, do we now stop referring to dangerously close passes as being Jerry Browned? Or is a single signature not enough to overcome the harm he’s already done?

The law takes effect a year from now, on September 16, 2014.

Which means things should start to get a little better then. If we can all survive that long.

And once Brown leaves office, we can work on strengthening the law and giving it some real teeth.

A new LA councilmember develops memory problems; GiveMe3 and hit-and-run bills move forward

Sometimes I have to wonder if politics causes memory problems.

Plans have been under way for the past few years to transform Figueroa Blvd between Downtown and South LA. The four mile My Figueroa project would narrow and remove some mixed-use traffic lanes, along with some parking, in exchange for transit-only lanes and the city’s first protected bike lanes.

However, Streetsblog reports that the conditions of the funding for the project require that construction has to start by the end of this year, and be completed before 2015.

Now newly elected City Councilmember Curren Price may have thrown a wrench in the works by expressing concerns that could kill LA’s first Complete Streets project by delaying it past the required starting point.

According to Downtown News, Price has straddled both sides of the fence, voicing support for the project while expressing concerns at a recent meeting.

“It’s a promising project. Let’s not rush through it. Let’s make it a good deal for everybody,” (Price) said, adding, “Major stakeholders have lingering concerns.”

Those stakeholders reportedly include the often anti-bike AAA, which has its regional headquarters on Figueroa, as well as the owner of eight car dealerships in the area, who evidently doesn’t offer any parking onsite and can’t conceive of anyone biking in and driving out with a new car.

And never mind all those recent studies showing bikes are good for business.

The website also reports that Price filed a motion asking the city Planning Department and LADOT to provide an in-depth analysis of how they plan to mitigate traffic congestion caused by the removal of auto lanes on the street.

Never mind that the street was chosen for the project, in part, because it would not significantly affect traffic flow on the under-utilized corridor. Or that any delay at this point could kill the project.

And never mind that Price, elected to the state Senate just four years ago before leaving for the higher paying city council seat, claimed to be a supporter of bicycling, and, “among other things, the role that it plays in improving air quality, health, traffic congestion and the overall environmental quality of life in the 26th Senate District.”

In a campaign statement for this site before the 2009 election that took him from the state Assembly to the Senate, he wrote:

A lack of investment in mass transit, infrastructure and Class One BikeWays, coupled with the “love affair” that Angelenos have with their cars and a jobs housing imbalance which has residents commuting on average between 15-20 miles roundtrip each day has contributed to the district’s inability to realize higher air quality standards. These reasons, among others, is why transit, transportation and air quality are at the top of my environmental agenda, why I have earned the endorsement of the California League of Conservation Voters and why I will continue to support increased investment in mass transit as well as alternatives such as cycling, full enforcement of the Clean Air Act, incentives for cleaner technologies and penalties for gross polluters.

He went on to add…

Young people who can’t cycle or exercise outdoors are not only likely to have higher rates of asthma and obesity but to underperform in school.

And…

Whether one cycles for business, for pleasure or for the environment, cyclists and, more correctly, support for cyclists plays a crucial role in creating a more livable 26th Senate District. Improvements and expansion of Class One Bikeways via increased public/private partnership funding and incentives for those who build bike-friendly developments supported by ancillary City street improvements are among the priorities I would have in developing a cycling/environmental agenda.

Then he closed, in part, with this:

I grew up riding my bike in the 26th District in South LA, Leimert Park and the Crenshaw District. I did it for pleasure. As state Senator, I would like to support a climate which allows cyclists to choose their own reason and create an environment which makes it possible.

But not as a council member, perhaps.

Maybe it’s just me. But that doesn’t sound like someone who would halt a major project at the last minute in a fight to preserve parking and under-used traffic lanes.

Or has Price forgotten those high-minded ideals now that he’s not running for office and powerful people with deeper pockets are demanding his attention?

Maybe we need to remind him.

………

According to Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious, California’s latest attempt at passing a three-foot passing law landed on Governor Brown’s desk Monday afternoon.

I’m told he has 12 days to sign the bill, so we should have an answer — good or bad — by Saturday the 21st. You have less than that to urge him to sign it.

………

Legislation to address LA’s hit-and-run epidemic has advanced to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.

AB 184, sponsored by Glendale-area Assembly Member Mike Gatto, was originally written to add an additional one year to the statue of limitations after a suspect is identified in hit-and-run cases. However, the law was significantly amended to double the current three-year statute of limitations, instead.

The bill proved remarkably popular, winning final approval by a unanimous vote of both houses. The LA Weekly says Brown will have 10 days to sign the bill if he gets it by Thursday; otherwise, he’ll have until October 13th.

Don’t ask me why.

Meanwhile, Florida cyclists are backing proposed legislation that would impose a minimum three-year sentence for leaving the scene of a collision resulting in injuries.

………

Speaking of Florida, sentencing has been delayed in the case of Carlos Bertanotti, the Miami musician who killed a cyclist in a drunken 2010 hit-and-run; he dragged the victim’s bike under his car for over two miles before police stopped him.

Family and friends begged the court to show him mercy; not that he showed his victim any. Bertanotti, with 46 violations on his driving record — although his brother claims 12 of those are actually his — faces between 11.56 and 37 years in prison.

And hopefully, a lifetime ban on driving once he gets out.

………

Tuesday was the first day of LA’s 2013 bike and pedestrian count, as volunteers with the LACBC and Los Angeles Walks counted non-motorized travellers during the morning and evening commute times. The count will continue this Saturday to track weekend riders and walkers.

The remarkable thing is that two members of the LA City Council participated in the count along with their staffs; Westside CM Mike Bonin and Valley CM Bob Blumenfield deserve thanks for joining in. Which just goes to show how mainstream bicycling and walking have become when even council members become volunteers.

Maybe there’s hope for this city yet.

Especially if Bonin’s new motion to have the city share such statistics passes the Council.

On the other hand, as great a job as they’ve done, it shouldn’t be up to a pair of non-profit organizations to do the city’s job for it.

New York City can prove the benefits of their efforts to transform the city streets with detailed before and after stats showing traffic, collisions, and injuries or death.

It’s long past time Los Angeles did the same.

………

Alan Stephen ghost bike

Alan Stephen ghost bike

A Central Coast driver pleads guilty to vehicular manslaughter and DUI, just nine days after running down two bicyclists in Morro Bay on Memorial Day.

She tried to do the right thing by taking the train back home after a night of drinking. Unfortunately, she still had a BAC of .07 an hour after killing one rider and seriously injuring the other while driving to work at 11 am.

But at least she did the right thing by taking responsibility for her actions. And doing it right away, rather than dragging out the process in order to get a better plea deal.

When was the last time you saw that happen?

Thanks to Patti Andre — who still hasn’t seen justice for the collateral-damage death of her bike riding brother — for the heads-up.

………

Virgil Avenue could be the latest Los Angeles Street to get a road diet, complete with five-foot bike lanes and wider, more walkable sidewalks.

And San Marino will discuss that city’s first bike lanes on Wednesday.

………

You’re invited to attend next week’s meeting of the Advocacy and Education Subcommittee of the LA Bicycle Advisory Committee, the city’s only official voice for cyclists. The meeting, with a very full agenda, takes place at 7 pm on Wednesday, September 18, at the IMAN Cultural Center, 3376 Motor Ave.

……..

Streetsblog offers a nice look at the work of HOLA, or Heart of LA, a non-profit bringing youth art to city bus benches.

What the story doesn’t mention, though, is that one of the members of their Board of Directors is Glenn Gritzner, who pleaded no-contest for the hit-and-run collision that left LA bike advocate Don Ward, aka Roadblock, lying injured in the street.

That was the case in which Ward famously tracked down the driver himself when the police were slow to take action.

………

Looks like you’re not going to get back that money you spent on Lance Armstrong’s book.

………

I’m told that Tuesday was the 130th anniversary of LA’s first organized bike race, as five riders took to a one-mile dirt track on their Penny-farthings in what is now Exposition Park on September 10th, 1883.

Twitter-er Walt Arrrrr kindly forwards photos of a couple of slightly more recent races.

I wonder what they would have thought about last weekend’s Wolfpack Hustle Drag Race?

………

Finally, get out that old catcher’s uniform, as Calgary researchers say a mere helmet isn’t protection enough; you now need body armor. And LA’s Fox 11 (KTTV-11) goes trolling for bike hate, asking their Facebook followers what they think about sharing the road with cyclists; thanks to Michael McVerry for the link.

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