Tag Archive for Venice Blvd

Vision Zero is not a fad — and it’s not making our streets more deadly

A traffic safety denying op-ed in the Wall Street Journal claims both. And couldn’t be more wrong.

………

No Morning Links today.

I had planned to take Martin Luther King Jr. Day off, and post some inspirational words to remind us all to treat everyone like our own brothers and sisters, especially in these turbulent times.

But I felt it was necessary to address an op-ed that was inexplicably published in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday, without the apparent benefit of senior editors or fact checkers.

We’ll be back tomorrow with a massive four days worth of links to the latest bike news stories from over the weekend.

Today we’re going to discuss Vision Zero, road diets and traffic safety deniers.

Because sometimes, these people just piss me off.

………

Awhile back, I coined the term traffic safety deniers to describe people who reject the well-established science of traffic safety.

Just like climate change deniers reject the established science behind climate change, for no other reason than they choose not to believe it, or the experts in the field, evidence be damned.

Like lawyer and writer Christopher D. LeGras, who penned a virtually fact free, alternative universe op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, claiming that Vision Zero is nothing but a “road diet fad.” And that it’s having the opposite effect of what is intended, by somehow magically increasing the death toll on our streets.

Or I should say former lawyer, since he apparently gave up his membership in the bar to write full time, resulting in a collection of short fiction published by the small LA-based imprint Rare Bird Books.

Unfortunately, his op-ed reads like a work of fiction, as well.

He starts innocently enough, telling the tale of a 65-year old woman who broke her leg falling on the sidewalk in Mar Vista, suffering a compound fracture. And says it took the fire department paramedics ten minutes to get there, even though the station was just five blocks away.

But in which direction, he doesn’t say.

Yet somehow extrapolates that to blame the road diet on Venice Blvd — and every road diet everywhere else — and Vision Zero in general.

Los Angeles, like cities nationwide, is transforming its streets. In July 2017 the city installed a “road diet” on a 0.8-mile stretch of Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista, reducing four lanes to two and adding bike lanes separated from traffic by parking buffers. The project is part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Vision Zero initiative, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities in the city by 2025. Launched in 2015, Vision Zero is the most radical transformation of how people move through Los Angeles since the dawn of the freeway era 75 years ago.

By almost any metric it’s been a disaster. Pedestrian deaths have nearly doubled, from 74 in 2015 to 135 in 2017, the last year for which data are available. After years of improvement, Los Angeles again has the world’s worst traffic, according to the transportation research firm Inrix. Miles of vehicles idling in gridlock have reduced air quality to 1980s levels.

Well, it ain’t necessarily so

Problem is, the road diet on Venice was part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets program. A community driven project that had been in the works since 2015, and had nothing to do with LA’s Vision Zero, which was only announced in August of the same year.

In fact, Vision Zero in Los Angeles was just vaporware until the Vision Zero Action Plan was released in January, 2017 — two years after community groups began work on a Complete Streets makeover of Venice Blvd, and the same year the Mar Vista Great Streets project was installed.

Never mind that the road diet on Venice reduced it from a massive six lanes to a more manageable four, to reduce crossing distances to improve safety for pedestrians and increase livability.

Not two lanes, as LeGras inexplicably claimed.

Then there’s the claim that pedestrian deaths spiked in 2017, two years after Mayor Garcetti announced the Vision Zero program.

But somehow, before any significant work had been done on Vision Zero, because the action plan, and the High Injury Network it’s based upon, weren’t even released until that year.

Not to mention that none of those pedestrians were killed on streets where Vision Zero improvements had already been installed. So rather than being the fault of Vision Zero in some vague, unidentified way, they can be blamed on the dangerous, deadly LA streets that Vision Zero is intended to fix.

Which is about like blaming the vet because your cat got pregnant after he fixed your dog.

And don’t get me started on LeGras’ laughable implication that Vision Zero is somehow responsible for LA’s worsening traffic and air pollution.

Traffic is bad on streets throughout the LA area, including the other 85 or so other cities in LA County that don’t have Vision Zero programs. Let alone on the streets that haven’t seen any Vision Zero improvements at all. Which is most of them.

Oddly, traffic also sucks on most, if not all, LA-area freeways, which have yet to see a single bike lane or road diet.

The reason LA traffic is getting worse is a population that’s growing by an estimated 50,000 a year, with most of the new arrivals bringing cars with them, or buying one as soon as they get here.

Along with countless kids who receive or buy a car as soon as they’re old enough to drive, resulting in four or five cars cramming the driveways of many family homes. When they’re not out helping to cram the streets.

Combine all that with a record number of miles driven in the US last year, as lower gas prices encouraged more people to drive more. Something that’s reflected in dropping ridership on LA Metro, as more people switch from buses and trains to private vehicles — adding to the traffic LeGras complains about.

And no, LA air quality is nowhere near 1980 levels.

Then again, he also seems to confuse normal traffic congestion with gridlock — defined as a situation in which drivers are unable to move in any direction.

If you can get through a traffic light in two or three cycles, or turn in any direction to get out of it, it ain’t gridlock.

It’s traffic.

By my count, that’s six false statements in just two paragraphs. Unfortunately, he didn’t stop there.

Nothing succeeds like the successes of Vision Zero

Like the next paragraph, where he somehow concludes that light rail lines have anything to do with Vision Zero. (Hint: they don’t.)

Or the following one, where he implies that Vision Zero projects in the Big Apple have failed to make significant improvements. Even though, after five years of Vision Zero, and countless road diets and other safety projects, New York traffic fatalities are at their lowest level since motor vehicles took over the streets. And pedestrian deaths are at their lowest level since 1910.

While bicycling fatalities have gone up in New York, that’s more reflective of a massive 150% increase in ridership as more people feel safer on the streets.

And rather than leading to increased traffic congestion, the changes have actually improved traffic flow.

While individual firefighters may complain that bike lanes delay response in emergencies, as LaGras claims, the facts don’t bear that out.

In fact, more fire departments are realizing that safety improvements on the streets reduce the need for dangerous emergency responses. Which means fewer people they have to scrape up off the streets and try to patch back together.

Meanwhile, more enlightened cities are deciding that is better to build fire engines that fit the streets, rather than widen streets to fit the fire engines.

The myth of the Foothill Blvd evacuation disaster

Then there’s this.

During the 2017 La Tuna Fire, the biggest in Los Angeles in half a century, a road diet on Foothill Boulevard the in Sunland-Tujunga neighborhood bottlenecked evacuations. After the fire a neighborhood association voted to go off the road diet. The city ignored the request and instead added another one to La Tuna Canyon Road.

That’s a myth that has been circulating in the anti-road diet, traffic safety denier community for some time.

While the road diet on Foothill has unfairly gotten the blame, the real problem stemmed from the closure of the 210 Freeway further up the road. Traffic backed up from that closure down to, and through, Foothill Blvd — not from Foothill back.

Officials never considered it a serious enough problem to remove the bollards protecting the bike lanes, or to introduce other emergency measures, including contraflow lanes, on Foothill.

I’m told that an engineer involved in the evacuations said that people on Foothill were never in danger. And fire officials said they had no problem getting through.

With or without a road diet, relying on private motor vehicles to evacuate any population center will always be problematic, as cars break down and run out of gas, and fallible human drivers try to squeeze in and turn around without sufficient space to do so.

LeGras is correct, however, that a road diet was implemented on deadly La Tuna Canyon, following the near fatal crash that left Keith Jackson in a coma for three weeks.

One of the few things he got right.

But rather than reducing road space, it merely reduced the amount of traffic lanes in places — leaving exactly the same amount of space available in the event of an emergency as there was before.

He closes this way,

It’s noble to want to make America’s streets as safe as they can be. But government officials shouldn’t impose projects on communities that don’t work, inconvenience residents, hurt businesses and impede emergency responders in the process.

Had he bothered to do the slighted bit of research, he might have discovered that most people like the Complete Streets that result from the implementation of road diets and bike lanes.

And that road diets and bike lanes have proven good for businesses across the US. And Canada, too.

Emergency response times tell the real tale

As for impeding emergency responders, let’s go back to that 65-year old Mar Vista woman with the broken leg.

A ten minute response time in any emergency should be unacceptable. But countless things can take place to delay emergency responders that have nothing to do with road diets.

It took far longer than that for paramedics to arrive when my father-in-law suffered a fatal heart attack. And that was in a residential neighborhood, in the afternoon, before Vision Zero and road diets were a gleam in Eric Garcetti’s eye.

Responders can be delayed by the same sort of traffic congestion you’ll find on any other major street in Los Angeles, with or without road diets or any other form of traffic calming or safety improvements.

Never mind motorists who don’t have the sense to pull to the right like the law requires. Which seems to be the majority of LA drivers these days.

But if there was a significant problem, it would show up in the fire department’s response times. Yet the average response for Mar Vista’s Station 62 is just four seconds slower than the average EMS response for the city as a whole.

Four seconds.

I sincerely hope Renee Khoury’s mother Rebecca recovers completely from her broken leg.

As for Mr. LeGras, it’s probably a good thing he’s not practicing law anymore, if he built his cases on such flimsy, easily disproven evidence.

But I do hope he continues to write.

Judging from this op-ed, he should have a fine future in fiction.

Thanks to Alissa Walker and Felicia G for their help in researching this piece.

Morning Links: Bonin declares Mar Vista a Great Streets success, and LAPD gets it wrong with hi-viz for jaywalkers

It’s the last three days of the 4th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Just three more days to support SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy. It’s easy to donate via PayPal, or through Zelle with the banking app that’s already on your phone, using the email address you’ll find on this link.

Any amount will help, and is truly and deeply appreciated, no matter how large or small. 

We’ll even take the change under your sofa cushions. Or whatever you have left once your holiday shopping is over.

So what are you waiting for, already?

………

It looks like the traffic safety deniers were wrong. And the Mar Vista Great Streets project is here to stay.

Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin released a four-minute video yesterday touting the success of the lane reductions and bike lanes on Venice Blvd in Mar Vista.

Despite the claims of opponents, who seemed to be operating from their own set of alternative facts, the newly configured road has resulted in far fewer serious crashes, while carrying just as much traffic, just as quickly, as it did prior to the new design.

In fact, peak travel times are only 30 seconds slower than before.

But while bicycle counts dropped 16 percent, the number of people walking on the street jumped by a full third over the year before. And Mar Vista business is booming.

So much for the specious claim that no one goes there anymore.

This is what one reader, who forwarded the video to me, had to say.

I’m sure you saw this, but Bonin just sent out a pretty encouraging video on Mar Vista Great Streets.

The 1-year LADOT report is apparently favorable on safety, bike/ped/scooter volumes, and (even) car travel times. (Not sure if the report is out yet.) Seleta Reynolds is recommending that the street configuration (i.e., bike lanes, I think) be made permanent, with Bonin recommending that as well.

They had some big numbers about business activity & business openings being *way* up year-on-year. (My take is this probably has more to do with the macroeconomy than the bike lanes, but it at least proves that bike lanes haven’t “killed” Mar Vista)…

Bonin also announced a bunch of traffic changes to reduce cut-through traffic on the side streets around Venice/Centinela, including some protected left turns and longer right-turn pockets on the arterials, as well as more stop signs on Victoria & Charnock.

I was hoping it’d be an announcement about more protected bike lanes, but after the last couple years, anything that’s not moving backward feels (alas) like a victory.

Unfortunately, the report hasn’t been released, and no word yet on when it will come out. Correction: The report was released the same day as the video; you can read it here. Thanks to Eric B for the heads-up.

And I’m sure whenever it does, opponents will once again deny virtually everything in it, just as they’ve done for the last year since the project was installed. Note: The traffic safety deniers are already hard at work in the comments to the YouTube video.

But maybe, just maybe, we can finally get city officials to start making decisions based on actual facts and real world experience, instead of just listening to whoever screams the loudest.

………

An op-ed in the LA Times ridicules the LAPD’s program to give jaywalkers a reflective vest and clip-on lights in lieu of a ticket.

And justifiably so.

It goes on to say defensive walking is not the antidote for the city’s high rate of pedestrian deaths.

Or bike deaths, for that matter. 

Because, while we all need to take practical steps to protect ourselves, the real problem is cars, and the distracted and overly aggressive people in them.

And dressing up like a glow-in-the-dark clown isn’t the answer.

It should also be pointed out that every corner has crosswalk in every direction, painted or not, unless crossing is specifically prohibited with posted signage.

And jaywalking isn’t against the law unless there’s a signalized intersection on both ends of the block.

Too bad the LAPD doesn’t seem to think any of that is worth mentioning.

………

Don’t make her beg. Support the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive today.

Local

Mashable promotes sale prices on a pair of bikes from Burbank-based Pure Cycles.

The LA Times examines the practicality of Elon’s Folly, the underground tunnel system he promises will whisk cars at high speeds underneath Los Angeles. Although I’m in favor of anything that would get more cars off the streets, even if that means sending them down into the bowels of the earth.

State

No more $2 bus tours of Camp Pendleton any more, but you can still visit the Marine base by bike — if you plan ahead and apply for a permit in person, in advance.

San Francisco debunks the common argument that protected bike lanes will interfere with fire trucks. And moves forward with another protected lane as a result.

It’s been a deadly year in San Jose.

A Marin newspaper says Mill Valley’s new designation as a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community is well-deserved.

National

The Seattle Times asks if Seattle’s new transportation director can build detente with the the city’s sparing drivers, bike riders, pedestrians and transit users, like he did in DC.

The former sex change capital of the world — and the halfway point by rail between Los Angeles and Chicago — will host the first Southwest Chief Bicycle and Comedy Festival next May, combining a “love of the outdoors, bicycle fetishism and the obligatory live entertainment-and-partying.”

In a battle of letter writers, a Colorado Springs CO bike rider says he doesn’t want the bike lanes the city is forcing on residents, while another rider correctly notes that people on bikes are subsidizing the people in cars (2nd and 3rd letters).

‘Tis the season. A Chicago nonprofit refurbished 50 bicycles for kids in Gary, Indiana, part of the 1,400 bikes they donate in the Chicago area, and up to 8,000 bicycles they send to Latin America and Africa.

Condolences to bicyclists in Adrian MI, who are getting new sharrows and being told it’s infrastructure instead of what they really are, arrows designed to help drivers improve their aim.

Honda is testing a smart intersection system in an Ohio city that warns drivers if a pedestrian or bicyclist — or a red light running driver — is about to cross their path. But only if they have the connected car system installed.

Gothamist says New York bicycling deaths have plunged to a record low as the city built nearly 21 miles of protected bike lanes this year. But Streetsblog says no they didn’t, unless you count five miles of lanes without protection as protected.

Frightening and inspiring story from New Jersey, as the long-time lawyer for the state’s governing body for high school sports makes a miraculous recovery from the nearly fatal bike crash that left him paralyzed, after the riders ahead of him went down on a high-speed group ride.

International

Cycling Weekly presents nine Christmas experiences every cyclist will recognize. Unless, of course, like me, you don’t.

Cycling Tips shares their favorite bikes of 2018, sans price tags, unfortunately. On the other hand, you can get a new and improved Oi bike bell for just $36.

No bias here. A British Columbia letter writer says new bike lanes in downtown Victoria have given bike riders a lawbreaking sense of entitlement.

The Evening Standard asks if soaring ebike sales could help London clean the air.

Yes, please. British police plan to use virtual reality to teach dangerous drivers what it feels like to be passed too closely.

BikeBiz says it will take a fresh approach to make the roads safer, as six UK bike and pedestrian advocacy groups band together to get more people riding.

A pair of bike riders are raising funds for charity by biking from London to Tokyo for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, riding over 12,000 miles through 26 countries.

Bikes are being stolen from an English train station because the bike racks are merely bolted to the ground, allowing thieves to simply remove the bolts and walk off with the still-locked bicycle. Which is why you should never use a rack unless it’s embedded in the concrete.

A police union official says separate rules for bikes, ebikes, scooters, mini electric cars and hoverboards are turning bike lanes in the Netherlands into a living hell. Raise your hand if you’d gladly trade the streets you ride for Dutch bikeways, hell or otherwise.

The rich get richer. The Netherlands is investing the equivalent of $390 million to build 15 bicycle freeways and an additional 25,000 bicycle parking spaces to get another 200,000 commuters on two wheels — and paying bike commuters 22¢ a mile to ride to work.

A Palestinian writer calls on the UK to cut ties with what he calls Israel’s oppressive regime, saying he’s being sent to prison for riding a bike during a protest.

No bias here. A Hong Kong letter writer asks who needs bicycles when you can use the city’s speedy, efficient transit system — especially when they annoy people like him.

Competitive Cycling

Forget doping. The way to get a real — and legal — edge in bike racing is supercomputing.

Finally…

Is that a bikeable alley, or an overly realistic trompe l’oeil painting? When your annual bike ride is like a “naked Christmas episode of Doctor Who.”

And if you haven’t signed a pro cycling contract by the time you’re 11-years old, you’re already falling behind.

………

Thanks to John C for his generous donation to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive to keep this site coming to your favorite screen every morning! 


Morning Links: Lawsuit filed over Venice Blvd road diet, and road raging drivers around the world

Traffic safety deniers Restore Venice Boulevard has become just the latest group to abuse California’s CEQA laws in an effort to keep our streets dangerous and unlivable.

The organization has filed suit under the banner of a newly formed nonprofit group, Westside Los Angeles Neighbors Network.

The group is attempting to halt expansion of the Venice Blvd Great Streets project to Lincoln Blvd, as well as what it says are similar projects on Pico Blvd, Motor Ave and Centinela Ave adopted under the Livable Boulevards Streetscapes Plan recently passed by the city council.

The Venice lawsuit, and others like it that were filed in response to the since reversed road diets in Playa del Rey, point out the desperate need for CEQA reform, which was never intended to block non-polluting bikeway projects, or other efforts to cut smog-belching automobile traffic.

They may like Venice Blvd just the way it used to be.

But the city will never survive if we don’t take steps to provide viable alternatives to driving now.

As well as undoing the damage done to our neighborhoods by decades of auto-centric policies on Venice, and countless other streets through LA.

………

Today’s common theme is road raging drivers.

Or more precisely, road raging drivers attacking people on bicycles.

In a five-part Twitter story, a Sacramento cyclist records a driver who buzzed him, then pulled over to threaten to cut his throat. Only to discover that the CHP didn’t really care.

But to her credit, Burbank state Assemblywoman Laura Friedman does.

Witnesses report that a North Carolina driver appeared to accelerate as he drifted off the roadway and slammed into a bike rider, before fleeing the scene.

A British Columbia bike rider was followed by a horn-blaring driver who pulled over and attempted to intentionally door her.

It’s hard to catch at first, but the rider of a possibly stolen motorcycle swerved onto the wrong side of the road to attempt to kick a British man off his bicycle.

………

Jerry Seinfeld is one of us, as he goes bike shopping with Zach Galifianakisz.

………

CicLAvia’s Tafari Bayne demonstrates how to get to the California African American Museum by bike and train.

………

Local

A group of Ukrainian military vets set out from Los Angeles last month on a 6,200-mile ride across North America to call attention to the ongoing conflict.

Apparently not grasping the concept, Pasadena residents call for more free parking, fewer e-scooters and moving bike lanes to a side street at a meeting to update the General Plan for the town’s central business district, conflicting with requirements for sustainability and improved carfree circulation.

Good piece by Curbed’s Alissa Walker, who says people are not defined by what they use to get around, and that transportation stereotypes can make the streets more dangerous.

CiclaValley makes an escape to Mount Baldy.

 

State

Sure, tell us again about those entitled cyclists. California voters appear poised to repeal the state’s recent gas tax increase, imperiling plans to repair the states roads and bridges, as well as funding alternative forms of transportation. Seriously, anyone who votes against the gas tax should be permanently prohibited from ever complaining about bad roads or traffic.

San Diego’s mayor, former police chief and a radio host will team together for a 760-mile bike ride down the California coast to raise money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

More proof there are still good people in the world. A triathlete competing in the Big Bear Triathlon dropped out of the race to perform CPR on a runner who had stopped breathing, even though he was in second place in the race.

An extreme athlete known as the Bionic Woman stopped in Apple Valley on her attempt to become the first woman with a prosthetic leg to ride unsupported across the US.

Folsom is working to complete the city’s first Class IV protected bike lane, which will be colored red to call drivers’ attention to it.

San Francisco discusses how to bring the Bay Area’s docked bikeshare system to the Bayview/Hunter’s Point neighborhood.

Sad news from Eureka, where a bike rider died a week after he was struck by the driver of a truck. Note to CHP: If the victim was struck by the rear wheels of a timber truck doing up to 35 mph, it really doesn’t matter if he was wearing a helmet. Seriously.

 

National

A writer for VeloNews says ebikes can be life-changing for bicyclists with a medical condition.

Bicycling talks with famed stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill, and learns the secret to learning backflips.

Writing for Cycling Savvy, a bike rider says it’s safer to get off your bike and walk for a few minutes when drivers are blinded by the sun’s glare.

The rich get richer. Portland bicyclists will get new protected corners and bike lanes at a complicated multi-angle intersection.

A Colorado town is conducting a trial project to determine the effectiveness of sharrows, as well as buffered and separated bike lanes. Because they can’t just look at the results of projects just like those already in use around the world.

Drivers are convinced that plastic bollards along a bike lane in Jackson Hole WY have narrowed the nearly 11-foot traffic lanes and made it impossible to move wide loads, even though officials insist the lanes haven’t been narrowed an inch. A local columnist doesn’t like them one bit.

An Iowa bike rider is dead, and his wife and four-year old son injured, because an 83-year old driver picked the wrong time to adjust his mirror.

An Irish man visits a crash site to call for safe streets, five years after he was nearly killed when a driver hit his bike while riding to work in Cape Cod, leaving him confined to a wheel chair; his father called the police investigation biased after they concluded his son turned in front of the truck. Which is what police investigations usually conclude when they don’t — or can’t — talk to the victim first.

For once, a fallen New York bike rider gets justice, as a drunk driver gets 15 years for slamming into a group of riders participating in a bike tour, killing one and injuring three others; he was fleeing at a high rate of speed after crashing into a car while trying to park.

 

International

Vancouver bike rental shops are complaining about unfair competition from a Chinese dockless bikeshare system. Which is something SoCal bike rental companies are starting to complain about, as well.

He gets it. A Vancouver writer says there are no winners in the inevitable social media fights over bicycles, but bicyclists are the losers when it spills onto the streets.

An Ottawa news story describes shoaling as sexism in the bike lane. Which is probably true in many cases, even though it happens to men, as well.

Quebec bike riders are now prohibited from wearing earbuds or using an electronic device while riding, while drivers face an automatic license suspension for a second offense within a two-year period for even handling any electronic device.

A Toronto columnist says good intersection design makes it easier for everyone to navigate, whether by two wheels or four. Meanwhile, a Toronto councilor wants the city to investigate using cargo bikes instead of trucks to ship freight.

Unbelievable. An English police chief apologizes to the widow of a fallen bike rider for bungling the investigation into his death; officers never examined the car of the person who claimed to have found him, even though he could be heard over the phone arguing with a woman over whether their car had struck the victim.

An English Premier League referee and his friend rode their bikes 1,700 miles through seven countries to watch England play in the World Cup.

Lime is bringing its e-scooters to Paris with the blessing of city officials.

A new study shows 30% of the people who took part in an Indian ciclovía bought bicycles afterwards.

A South African official warns bike riders to stay off freeways and toll roads that have seen a “dangerous influx of bicycles.” However, given the country’s high rate of violent crime and reports of bike riders being attacked for their bikes and other belongings, it’s understandable that some might prefer to take their chances with high-speed drivers, legally or otherwise.

Kiwi cyclists are applauding $1.1 billion in funding for bike and pedestrian projects.

 

Competitive Cycling

A new book about America’s only remaining Tour de France winner includes his role in the divorce between Lance and Nike.

 

Finally…

LA bike riders were lucky to score CLIF Bars; Denver bicyclists get fresh pancakes and breakfast burritos. If you can’t ban cars, just remove their parking spaces.

And where to turn when you feel the need for $5,000 bike socks spun by a rare olden silk orb weaver spider.

Morning Links: More Venice Blvd disinformation, study says road diets save lives, and East Side Riders video

Sometimes I don’t even know where to start.

In his latest column, the Mar Vista Community Council’s self-appointed traffic planner/dermatologist Kenneth Alpern says it’s time to stop all the lies and abuse on Venice Blvd.

Which I assume means he won’t be writing anymore.

Especially since he doesn’t seem to have a problem co-opting the #TimesUp movement for something that has nothing to do with sexual harassment.

Never mind that he’s the one who’s been dishing out abuse towards anyone who disagrees with him, particularly Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Mike Bonin.

Then again, that comes with their jobs.

But it doesn’t — or at least shouldn’t — be part of the job description for LADOT Principal Project Coordinator Nat Gale, who has been subjected to repeated accusations and character assassination at Alpern’s hands.

Simply because, like the other traffic safety deniers who’ve been fighting the Mar Vista Great Streets project for the past year, Alpern chooses not to accept the established science behind road diets and protected bike lanes.

They also reject out-of-hand any stats that come from LADOT. Not because they have any credible evidence to refute them, but simply because the facts don’t align with their pre-established biases.

So let’s look at just a few of the inaccuracies in his latest screed.

Because it would be rude to call them lies, even though that’s what they are.

So …TIME’S UP! Enough of listening to the hundreds of taxpaying citizens, and overwhelming majority of the community, have their good will and patience and collective voice snuffed out because of a few activists who believe in crushing the voices, safety, and quality of life of that overwhelming majority (which includes the overwhelming number of bicyclists who do NOT support this project).

Seriously, show me one survey that supports his argument that the overwhelming majority of the community opposes the road diet on Venice Blvd. Especially since public opinion at his own community council meetings has been evenly split on the subject.

And never mind that he has absolutely zero basis to claim that most bicyclists, let alone an overwhelming majority, don’t support the project. I’ve personally heard from a few bike riders who oppose the project, compared to dozens who support it.

TIME’S UP! Enough of the false LIE that half of the community wants the Venice Blvd. Road Diet, when at best only 10-20% want it and everyone else hates it, and wants it reversed NOW.

To the best of my knowledge, there has been no survey of the general public to determine how many support or oppose the project. If he has any valid stats to back up his claim, let him produce it.

TIME’S UP! Enough of the constant and daily accidents and near-accidents that endanger motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists, including and especially children!

Again, if he has valid stats to back up his claim, let’s see them. Otherwise, let’s wait until LADOT releases the actual, factual stats at the end of the full year of the pilot project, which concludes this week.

And I have to wonder just how many people have been killed or injured as a result of those constant near-accidents.

TIME’S UP! Enough of a reconfiguration that was not done in compliance with ADA/disability community laws and legal requirements!

If any of that is true, the city would be required to make any necessary changes to bring the project into compliance. And probably subject to numerous lawsuits already.

TIME’S UP! Enough of a reconfiguration that shredded over a decade of community input for what was supposed to be a beautification effort on Mar Vista, and which was (despite the LIES to the contrary) imposed in the dead of night without ANY true input or debate!

We’ll let Streetsblog’s Damien Newton refute that.

Bonin and a band of neighborhood and business advocates have used the Great Streets Plan for Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista (roughly between the 405 and Lincoln Boulevard) as a sort of Livable Streets master class to educate people about what a street can be if it is reimagined as something new. The presentation of the image boards showing the various Great Street options at both the “usual suspect” locations (Farmers’ Markets, the Mar Vista Community Council, and Mar Vista Chamber of Commerce) and high schools, libraries, coffee shops, and markets allowed a wider range of stakeholders to weigh in on the proposed changes.

That was written nearly three years ago. And a full 21 months before the road diet was installed.

You would think that a community council member like Alpern would know what’s going on in his own community. But evidently, you’d be wrong.

Then again, you’d also think Alpern would know what the hell is going on with his own community council, since LADOT lists 12 community events where the project was discussed prior to installation — including two years of attending the Mar Vista Community Council’s Great Streets Ad Hoc Committee meetings.

TIME’S UP! The number of bicyclists using the “protected” (but with lots of blind intersections) bike lane is very small, while both commuters and bicyclists avoiding Venice Blvd. in Downtown Mar Vista is very high, and stop pretending it’s otherwise!

So show us the bike counts. Or any other factual basis for this claim.

Then again, if commuters are avoiding the street, why do traffic safety deniers continue to claim it suffers from soul crushing congestion?

As Yogi Berra famously said, “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”

Of course, the question is why Alpern and Restore Venice Blvd’s Selena Inouye are using such false and unsupported claims to demand the removal of the road diet before the official stats for the project have even been released.

For some reason, they seem to be unable to wait a few more weeks for the stats to be compiled.

Possibly because they suspect the real statistics won’t support their claims. And want to poison the waters before LADOT can tell us what’s really going on.

So let me be clear.

If the facts back them up, and the road diet has actually made the street less safe for bicyclists and pedestrians, I will be the first to demand changes.

Even if that means acceding to their wishes, and restoring the boulevard to its original dangerous and destructive configuration.

But I suspect they won’t.

And I suspect they suspect that, too.

………

A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety examines the rapid increase in pedestrian deaths in the US, which have gone up 40% more than other traffic deaths in recent years.

However, it’s unlikely that Ken Alpern or the rest of the Restore Venice Blvd/Keep LA Moving crowd will like their conclusions.

Pedestrian fatalities have increased precipitously since reaching their lowest point in 2009. To have the largest effect in halting the escalation in pedestrian fatalities, countermeasures should be implemented where the rise in fatalities has been greatest. Specifically, transportation agencies can concentrate efforts on improving urban arterials, which represented nearly two thirds of the increase in fatalities during 2009–2016 and on which about half of pedestrian fatalities occurred in 2016.

And…

Transportation agencies can improve urban arterials by investing in proven countermeasures, such as road diets, median crossing islands, pedestrian hybrid beacons, and automated speed enforcement. Better road lighting and vehicle headlights could improve pedestrian visibility at night.

Of course, that will only work if our council members have the courage to ignore the traffic safety deniers to make those changes.

And automated speed enforcement, aka speed cameras, are currently illegal in California. Which is something that has to change.

Thanks to Peter Flax for the heads-up.

………

Great new video about how South LA’s East Side Riders Bike Club is using bikes to make a positive difference in the community, and maybe even break the color barrier in Olympic and pro cycling.

And about founder John Jones III, who pays most of the expenses out of his own pocket.

Seriously, take a few minutes to watch it. It may be the best four minutes of your day.

………

CiclaValley informs us that the new 7th Street semi-protected bike lanes are proving popular as parking spots for Uber drivers.

………

This is who we share the roads with.

Parody Twitter account @realJohnBoehner forwards video of a British woman calmly removing a barricade, then driving through hundreds of runners taking part in a half marathon.

………

Local

A Hispanic man in his 20s was shot and killed while riding his bike in South LA early yesterday morning; police said there was no initial indication the killing was gang related.

CicLAvia is hosting a community meeting in Panorama City tomorrow to discuss plans for the June 24th open streets event in the north San Fernando Valley.

Pasadena police will be cracking down on traffic violations that endanger bicyclists and pedestrians this Friday and Saturday, even if they only endanger themselves. You know the drill, ride to the letter of the law until you’re outside their jurisdiction. Thanks to Megan Lynch and The Preven Report for the tip.

Bike friendly Santa Monica continues to show Los Angeles how it’s done, as the city planning commission approves plans for a protected bike lane on 17th Street; their only complaint was that federal funding requirements mean it won’t be completed until 2021.

Now the Santa Clarita Cycling Bear sculpture makes a little more sense, as the local paper explains more about it. Although I’m very disappointed that the bear isn’t actually riding a bike.

 

State

San Diego is attempting to put a permanent stop to a DIY pump track in Ocean Beach by building housing on property that was originally deeded as a park for the children of San Diego.

San Luis Obispo County bicyclists celebrate the completion of a road safety project that began in 1974.

There’s a special place in hell for the driver who crashed into a four-year old girl as she rode her bicycle in Stockton last week, then drove off and left her bleeding in the street.

A Redding driver complains about closing a little-used street to improve safety for a bike path because it will inconvenience him personally, and because he seldom sees a bike rider using it. Remarkable how many drivers take the time to perform bike counts while they zoom by. And how rarely bike riders happen to go by at that exact moment.

 

National

Marketplace discusses whether Uber is disrupting itself by moving into bikeshare.

A governing website explains why Seattle paid $3.8 million to build a one-mile bike lane, while the city’s protected bike lanes will cost $12 million per mile — four times the national average. And it ain’t because they paid too much for paint.

Meanwhile, a Seattle website says the war on pedestrians is already underway, because ebikes are now allowed on sidewalks. Maybe they could cite the number of pedestrians killed by bicycles, electric or otherwise, and contrast that with the number killed by motor vehicles each year, and determine which one really poses a problem.

Streetsblog Denver wonders why the local alternative weekly is pedaling anti-bike propaganda.

A Houston sports writer offers ten tips for bicyclists and motorists on how to share the roads with each other, and pathways with pedestrians. Bizarrely, it’s apparently legal to park on a dedicated bike path in the Texas city.

A Texas writer says safer streets will result in more people on bikes.

Work on Detroit’s rapidly expanding bike lane network could go on hold as bike riders complain about poor design and a lack of maintenance on the city’s first protected bike lane.

The road raging driver caught on video deliberately running down a cyclist on Tennessee’s Natchez Trace Parkway has copped a plea to significantly reduced charges that will result in just 10 months behind bars and three years probation. The conviction is credited to the crash being caught on bike cam, which put the lie to the driver’s ever-changing excuses. Thanks to Victor Bale for the tip.

Delaware bike riders complain about a lack of safety, even on back roads.

A Miami commissioner holds a “Dead Serious” meeting to reduce bicycling deaths.

 

International

Toronto residents are still waiting after a newspaper declared it the Year of the Bicycle. In 1975.

A study of 13 European cities reveals London is next to last in air quality, behind only Moscow, and is one of the most dangerous cities to walk or bike. The former may have a lot to do with the latter.

Sad news from the UK, where a bike rider who was killed in a collision with a truck was still setting records at 86 years old, and belonged to the same bike club he founded just after after WWII.

Horrifying story from Australia, where one of the country’s top masters racers died of ovarian cancer after falling under the influence of a self-described healer, who claimed to have cured cancer in hundreds of others.

Caught on video: A Kiwi bicyclist captures a bus driver, who didn’t know the law, nearly merging into him. Followed by another doing the same thing.

In a story that could have been written nearly anywhere, an Aussie writer bemoans the rise of the entitled motorist.

 

Competitive Cycling

It’s split results for Britain’s Yates brothers, as Adam Yates missed the Amgen Tour of California podium by two seconds, while his twin brother Simon continues to lead the Giro. And no, that’s not a spoiler, since the Giro had a rest day on Monday.

Bicycling looks at a day in the life of a bike mechanic.

Outside profiles the incredible Marianne Vos, calling her the greatest cyclist you’ve never heard of. Unless of course you have, in which case she may just be a greatest cyclist, period.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could cost less than 2,000 rupees, which works out to around 30 bucks. Co-existance on the roads is easier when bicyclists follow the rules they’d follow as drivers, if only drivers actually followed them.

And this is why dogs should always wear helmets when they mountain bike.

Thanks to LA bike lawyer and BikinginLA sponsor Cohen Law Partners for the link.

 

Morning Links: Driver arrested in South LA hit-and-run, and fake news from Venice Blvd traffic safety denier

Before we start, don’t miss Doug Moore’s open letter to the LA city council if you didn’t read it yesterday.

You’ll also find instructions at the end on how to submit your own letter to the council if you can’t join us to #CrashCityHall this Friday.

Or even if you can.

These are the gifts we’ll have for the mayor and city councilmembers on Friday. Think they’ll get the message?

………

You can run, but you can’t always hide.

The Chief Lunes bike ride reports that the hit-and-run driver who killed Frederick “Woon” Frazier in South LA last month has finally been arrested.

In addition, charges are pending for her two passengers, who encouraged her to flee and helped in the coverup that followed.

We’ll let them tell the story.

Let’s hope his family gets the justice they deserve.

Thanks to Sean Meredith for the heads-up.

………

No bias here.

Writing on City Watch, where facts go to die, Selena Inouye, the “chief grassroots organizer” for Restore Venice Blvd, calls the Mar Vista Great Streets project an “epic fail.”

She demands that Mayor Eric Garcetti and Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin keep their promise to remove the road diet if the data shows it’s not working after a year.

Even though that year won’t be up for another week. And the data for that full year probably hasn’t even been compiled, let alone released yet.

Not that any decent traffic safety denier would let an inconvenient little fact like that get in the way.

Instead, she relies on — and distorts — the stats released at the six-month point to make her case, noting that collisions and injury collisions both went up.

Although what she presents as a dramatic increase, the city says was statistically insignificant.

In fact, there were just two — yes, two — more minor injury collisions during the first six months of the trial period than in the same six months the year before.

And let’s not forget that the purpose of the often misconstrued Vision Zero is not to prevent collisions, but to keep those collisions from resulting in serious injuries or death.

Which, based strictly on the data she’s using, the Venice road diet seems have done pretty well.

Or that any major change, to any street, is likely to result in an increase in collisions until drivers get used to it.

Then there’s her bizarre — and demonstrably false — statement that the $91 million devoted to street safety improvements in the mayor’s budget will be spent on road diets.

While Garcetti had initially stated that the budget for Vision Zero would increase to $91 million, he later corrected himself to say that figure referred to the city’s entire street safety improvement program.

Improvements to Vision Zero’s High Injury Network would only get a boost to a relatively paltry $37 million. With none of that specifically budgeted for road diets.

And with the way the city council has been cowed by the angry drivers Restore Venice Blvd and Keep LA Moving purport to represent, there’s not much chance of any many road diets getting installed in the near future.

Then there’s her claim that reducing the number of traffic lanes by one-third on Venice has resulted in gridlock, reflected by a nearly one-third drop in vehicles per day.

Yes, according to her, a substantial drop in vehicle in vehicle usage somehow managed to cause the entire street to become so congested that movement in any direction is impossible.

Or maybe she just doesn’t understand what gridlock means.

Never mind that those same six month figures show that average driver speeds remained unchanged from before the road diet. Yet miraculously, drivers still managed to exceed the speed limit, despite being unable to move at all.

But why let a little thing like facts get in the way?

Although I’d seriously like to know what kind of a person quotes herself in her own opinion piece.

Clearly, when you want to get the quote right, you go right to the source.

Unless you are the source, then you can write whatever the hell you want.

………

Caltrans is looking for applicants for its new California Walk and Bike Technical Advisory Committee to help guide staff decisions about walking and biking design and policies.

Thanks to Marvin Davis for the tip.

………

Metro offers their take on Bike Week activities.

MetroLink is hosting a Twitter party in honor of Bike Week tonight.

Tomorrow night is the worldwide observance of the Ride of Silence, with local RoS rides in the San Fernando Valley, the Rose Bowl, the Conejo Valley, and Orange County. My goal is to one day have a Ride of Silence that goes straight down Wilshire Blvd from Santa Monica to DTLA.

And it turns out that this isn’t just Bike Week, it’s also Infrastructure Week. Or as Treehugger suggests, let’s make it Bike Infrastructure Week.

Please.

………

Local

Los Angeles finally broke ground on the long-promised bike, foot and equestrian bridge over the LA River, connecting Atwater Village to Griffith Park and the LA River bike path.

Mar Vista bike co-op Bikerowave is hosting a bicycle travel meet-up on June 17th, along with bike maintenance workshops this Saturday and May 27th.

When marketing your lightweight German ebike, always include a photo from the Santa Monica Expo Line station.

Best wishes to Santa Monica Next editor Jason Islas, who is scooting off to work for Bird.

 

State

Two guided bike rides will be held Sunday in honor of Grossmont College political science professor Brian Jennings, who was killed in a collision with a sleeping driver last month.

A bicyclist was seriously injured in a collision in Palm Desert yesterday morning; as usual, no information is available.

VeloNews looks at how the Montecito cycling community is coping with loss following the recent fires and mudslides.

A local paper offers ten reasons why you should ride your bike in Sonoma.

 

National

Bicycling says hill yes!

Life is cheap in Oregon, where the local DA determines that a FedEx driver didn’t commit a crime when he killed a bike rider by failing to yield, because he wasn’t drunk or distracted at the time. So go ahead and turn in front of that person on the bike; the worst you’ll get is a traffic ticket.

The local paper says Spokane WA has come a long way in the last decade, but still has a long way to go to be safe and inviting for people on bikes.

Sadly, bike theft is nothing new, as this Arkansas story shows.

An Indiana endurance cyclist talks about how her riding season ended when an aggressive driver tried to pass her on the left as she and a riding companion were trying to make a left turn, after already claiming the left turn lane.

More proof bike riders just can’t win. A Massachusetts bus driver calls the police because a bike rider was tying up traffic trying to save a turtle in the roadway.

A Brooklyn driver gets three to nine years for the drunken, high-speed crash that killed a teenager riding his bike; the driver was at twice the legal limit after drinking all day, and doing 80 miles an hour on a surface street when he hit the victim head on. You have to really fuck up to get nine years behind bars, and make it seem like it’s not enough.

A viral video shows a Philadelphia driver appearing to run down a cyclist from behind in a bike lane, apparently on purpose. Although the police question the validity of the video, in part because the rider doesn’t seem to have any hands.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A Florida woman calls for an end to distracted driving after the March crash that killed her husband; remarkably, she asked that the driver not be prosecuted, because living with what he did was punishment enough.

The head of a Florida rehab facility calls for Complete Streets so his clinic will get fewer customers.

Continuing our Florida traffic safety trifecta, a woman wins her decade-plus fight for red light cameras in the state. Los Angeles cancelled its red light camera program, caving to drivers who claimed it increased the risk of collisions when drivers jammed on their brakes to stop. Because they couldn’t, you know, just drive at a safe speed that would allow them to stop for red lights, or anything.

 

International

The CBC offers six reasons to ride a bike.

Bicyclists hope that the century-old traffic laws in Nova Scotia, Canada, will be rewritten with them in mind, for once.

The BBC, with its keen grasp of the obvious, says cheap dockless bikeshare bikes are flooding the world. Although that’s not exactly how they say it, being British and all.

A Chinese website asks if the country’s polluted cities can leave the car behind.

 

Competitive Cycling

No bias here, either. A writer for the Press-Telegram says the Long Beach start of the Amgen Tour of California on Sunday ruined Mother’s Day business for local restaurants. Or maybe some local restaurants. Or maybe having the race there was good for business after all. Seriously, there may be a good story about the effect the race had on local businesses, for better or worse, but this wasn’t it.

Cycling Weekly features highlights from stage one of the AToC, while the Long Beach Post offers photos of Sunday’s race. But sadly, none showing the countless mothers staying away from empty restaurants in droves.

Thousands turned out to see the riders off on yesterday’s Ventura start, which was won by a rookie rider on the WorldTour who may be destined for great things.

Now you, too, can own a bike ridden by the Rally Cycling team in the Tour of California, while you raise funds for the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation.

And yes, there is still another race going on over in Italy.

 

Finally…

What kind of grownup attitude is saying if you break the law, I will too? So there. No, seriously, if you want safer streets, just stick a seat post up your ass.

And sometimes you just need the right motivation to set an even faster record.

Like making it to the royal wedding on time.

Morning Links: More bike & community events, mixed results for Venice Great Street, and Mariposa bike ban trial

Let’s start by catching up on a few events we haven’t mentioned yet.

The LACBC is hosting a pre-St. Patrick’s Day ride through DTLA at noon today.

Pure Cycles is sponsoring a happy hour ride this evening through Griffith Park and ending with beer.

LA Streetsblog is celebrating their 10th Anniversary at the El Paseo Inn on Olvera Street this Wednesday.

LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis is hosting a Rosemead Blvd Complete Street Community Tour on April 7th to explore the changes coming to the boulevard.

………

Speaking of events, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton attended Wednesday’s Open House for the Venice Blvd Great Streets project, and reported that results are inconclusive at the six month mark.

The project removed a single lane of traffic in each direction, while implementing parking-protected bike lanes and other safety improvements. And resulted in the expected howls of complaints from the Westside’s entitled drivers and traffic safety deniers.

The results so far show that while it hasn’t been the disaster the opponents have claimed, it hasn’t been a rousing success, either. According to Linton, “Overall crashes, injuries, travel times, and even speeding show very little change.”

However, it’s just halfway through the one-year pilot project, so things may continue to improve as people get used to the changes.

Meanwhile, a video from Los Angeles Forward suggests the project may be succeeding in its original goal of creating a small town downtown atmosphere in the long-neglected community.

………

The case against the Burbank man charged with violating the ban on bicycles on the Mariposa Bridge comes to trial at the Burbank Courthouse on March 28th.

He accuses the equestrians who pushed through the ban of being bullies, while insisting there has never been a case of a bike involved in an accident with a horse in the bridge’s 80-year history.

………

Local

Glendale/Burbank state Assemblymember Laura Friedman explains the reasoning behind her bill AB2363, which would give cities more control over how they set speed limits.

Curbed looks at Pasadena’s threat to pull out of the Metro Bike bike share program.

Long Beach is expanding their own bikeshare program into the northern part of the city, approving the purchase of 500 more bikes.

 

State

A San Diego Op-Ed says adjusting to dockless bikeshare is a necessary step to increasing transportation options in the city.

A Del Mar street project will improve access and safety for bike riders and pedestrians in the southern part of the city.

 

National

Honolulu plans to sacrifice 70 parking spaces to build protected bike lanes. Unlike Los Angeles, no one appears to be going berserk over the lost car storage.

Bullhead City AZ is running a billboard campaign to call attention to the state’s three-foot passing law.

Unlike Honolulu, Aspen CO city leaders caved on plans to remove just 15 parking spaces to make room for bike lanes.

Fort Worth TX bike riders are getting physically protected bike lanes. Those planters prove you can beautify the street and improve safety at the same time.

A New Jersey cop is facing multiple charges for hitting a bicyclist with his patrol car while on duty, then trying to cover it up by giving the victim cash and buying him a new bike.

A New York man is creating a new data point by using traffic cameras and his computer to track how often bike lanes are blocked.

A solution to bike theft and expensive bike hubs could be in the offing, as a New Yorker has designed a modular bike-storage kiosk that can be placed anywhere at minimal expense.

This is why people continue to die on our streets. Fifty New Yorkers have amassed over 45 speeding and red light camera violations each, yet continue to drive, and pay just $50 per ticket. One driver received 65 tickets in just 19 months.

Plans for a bike and pedestrian bridge over a Charleston SC river were derailed when the application for a federal grant was denied; the local paper says demand for the bridge is high, so the city should find the money and build it anyway.

Atlanta has doubled its bikeway mileage in six years.

An ebike allows a Georgia man to keep riding after he suffered a heart attack.

 

International

Forbes discusses how to use Apple Maps’ new bikeshare data to find a bike to rent in countries around the world.

He gets it. An Edmonton, Canada city councilor says bike lanes are as much about economic development as they are transportation.

Nearly 10,000 people have complained about plans to ban bikes from a busy British highway.

Caught on video: A bike rider in the UK was seriously injured when a driver fell asleep at the wheel and slammed into him head-on; the dozing driver was sentenced to a year behind bars. Before you click on the link, make sure you really want to see something like that, because you can’t unsee it.

Caught on video too: A truck driver left the country to avoid justice for clipping a British bike rider.

South African police have recovered the bicycle and cellphone of a man who was stabbed to death in a robbery attempt while riding earlier this week; three men have been arrested for the crime.

An Aussie researcher says cities have to improve safety for slow cyclists who have to ride bikes for their jobs.

 

 

Finally…

Your next bike seat could be more hole than seat. And learning how to ride a bike is hard if you faint during your first class.

Morning Links: Venice Blvd open house tomorrow night, and study shows daytime running lights and hi-viz work

Tomorrow night we’ll find out how great the Venice Blvd Great Streets project really is.

And how far the traffic safety deniers are willing to go to fight it.

LADOT is holding an open house Wednesday night to discuss the project, which is intended to improve safety and create a small town downtown atmosphere in Mar Vista.

If you live, work or ride in the area, you owe it to yourself to attend, and get the real facts on how the project on Venice Blvd is working.

Because if the past is any indication, the people fighting to keep Venice Blvd an auto-centric nightmare will be quick with their own set of “facts” to deny it’s working. And demand the restoration of the traffic lanes that were removed to improve safety and livability on one of the Westside’s key corridors.

Photo of Venice Blvd protected bike lane by Joni Yung.

………

Evidently, visibility works.

A new study shows that daytime running lights cut your risk of a collision by nearly half, while wearing hi-viz lowers it by more than a third.

Mark Goodley took a deep dive into the question of daytime lights in a series of popular guest posts over the past several years.

………

Local

Neel Sodha reports that buffered bike lanes are now going in on Figueroa next to LA Live as part of the My Figueroa project.

A new bike shop has opened in the North Hollywood Arts District.

The next Metro BEST Ride will visit the Pasadena Arts Center on March 24th.

 

State

A state appellate court rules that the new law allowing you to cross the street while the walk signal is counting down applies retroactively, which means you might be able to get a refund if you got a ticket for crossing after the countdown began. Thanks to Henry Fung for the heads-up.

San Francisco is re-envisioning iconic Market Street as a complete street.

Interbike will team with the Northstar California Resort in Truckee for a massive bike festival preceding the annual bike trade show this September.

 

National

Apple Maps now shows bike share locations for 179 cities in 36 countries.

Dockless shared e-scooters looks to be the next mobility trend spreading across the US, including scooters from LimeBike and Santa Monica’s Bird scooters.

A new app allows you to find travel options across most cities, including participating bikeshare systems, ride-sharing and transit.

Colorado Public Radio looks at the debate over allowing ebikes on trails.

An Arkansas paper discovers gravel bikes.

After struggling through his first century ride, a Connecticut man decides he’s going to ride his age until he’s 100.

 

International

Business Insider looks at the movement to reduce the reliance on cars — or even ban them entirely — in cities around the world. Meanwhile, an Aussie Op-Ed calls for banning car ads, like cigarette ads.

Scandinavian countries are successfully building a bicycling future, despite long distances, cold winters and a lack of infrastructure. And yet, they tell us no one will ever commute by bike in sunny Los Angeles.

A German man is 20,000 miles into an around the world bike tour, after surviving skin cancer and a brain tumor, and realizing he could ride a bike easier than he could walk.

A third person has died during this year’s snake-bit Cape Town Cycle Tour in South Africa, with the death of a ride marshal; two of the deaths, including that one, are being investigated as culpable homicide, similar to a manslaughter charge in the US.

Kiwi bicyclists are planning a protest ride to demand the repeal of the country’s mandatory bike helmet law and allow adult riders to choose whether or not to wear one; clearly, not everyone agrees. A New Zealand mother is credited with the law, after her 12-year old son was paralyzed after being hit by a car.

Adelaide, Australia’s free public bikeshare system could come to an end, the victim of spreading dockless bikeshare systems, despite its remarkably low $60,000 annual cost.

Protected bike lanes have come to the Philippines. If you consider plastic posts protection.

 

Finally…

Is it the future of public transportation, or just street litter? And no, those aren’t bicycles those squirrels are riding.

 

Morning Links: SoCal bike deaths drop, green bike lanes coming to Mar Vista, and cycling won’t make you limp

Sixty-two.

That’s the number of people who died riding their bikes in Southern California last year.

Which is an improvement in some ways, because it represents a significant drop from the 73 people killed in the seven-county area last year. And an even bigger drop from the 86 people killed in 2014.

But it’s still 62 too many.

LA Curbed examines last year’s deaths, including the 26 people who died in Los Angeles County last year, including my fears of what’s behind the decline.

And be forewarned before you venture into the comments there, or on Reddit.

………

Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin forwards word that the protected bike lanes that were installed on Venice Blvd as part of the Mar Vista Great Streets project will be getting green paint to make them more obvious to some of the more oblivious drivers and bike riders.

As we’ve noted here before, these bike lanes were installed as a one-year pilot project, with adjustments made as needed when issues arise, or opportunities for improvements become evident.

This sounds like a little of both.

………

Relax, guys.

A new study from UC San Francisco says riding a bike does not cause erectile dysfunction or infertility.

In fact, the study showed that not only does cycling not affect men’s sexual or urinary health, but that men who rode over 25 miles a day actually had better erectile function.

So you can spend all the time you want in the saddle and still get it up have kids.

………

Local

You can’t ride on the 10 Freeway in Santa Monica, but you may be able to ride in a park over it someday.

A West Hollywood study suggests a number of safety improvements that could reduce bicycle and pedestrian crashes on Fountain Ave by 25% to 55%. However, bike lanes don’t appear to be among the recommendations; the street currently has sharrows despite the heavy, often high-speed traffic.

 

State

The bicyclist who posted video of the massive homeless camp along the Santa Ana River Trail now wishes he’d been a little more sensitive.

Ebike maker Haibike is moving to Simi Valley after relocating to Denver just a year ago.

Santa Maria considers a makeover of its downtown to create a bicycle and pedestrian-friendly atmosphere. Although they may discover that a $300,000 grant doesn’t go very far.

Bike Bakersfield has a new executive director.

The mayor of Mountain View is one of us, riding his bike around town and taking his helmet with him into meetings.

An armored truck hit a tree in San Francisco after driving down a separated bike lane instead of the traffic lane.

It’s always polite to fist-bump the cop who manages to chase you down on your bike before busting you for possession.

 

National

Bicycling profiles Ben Serotta as he returns to framebuilding, and examines what fear does to your body when some jerk nearly runs you off the road.

HuffPo considers how bicyclists got screwed out of their measly $20 a month bike commuting benefit in the new GOP tax bill, while drivers got to keep a $255 monthly deduction.

The people who work behind the scenes keeping dockless bikeshare working are getting screwed by the outsourcing gig economy. Or at least the ones working for Ofo.

An Idaho self-help author turns his attention advising drivers on how to coexist with bicyclists, with surprisingly good results.

Talk about a bad business deal. A Montana man is busted after buying an $1,800 stolen bicycle for $600, then pawning it for $200 three days later.

A Minneapolis paper discovers the lack of women working in bike shops — which also leads to a lack of women shopping in them.

A New York advocacy group says congestion pricing is the only way to reach zero traffic fatalities in the city, by getting more cars off the street. Something that hasn’t even been discussed in Los Angeles, where drivers would probably riot if anyone actually tried to pry them out of their cars.

This is how it’s supposed to be done. A DC-area county will build protected bike lanes for bicyclists who won’t be able to use a popular bike path during construction for a light rail line.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a trailer from Florida’s Jack the Bike Man, who gives thousands of refurbished bikes to kids every Christmas.

 

International

If you build it, they will come. After Calgary built out a complete protected bike lane network in the downtown area, the percentage of women riders rose to 25%. Which is still far too low, but at least it’s headed in the right direction.

A Montreal writer pens an ode to orphan bikes, which are forced to spend the winter cold, alone and unloved.

A London art exhibit features miniature landscapes of bike routes the artist has traveled.

A woman in the UK writes about how she fell in love with riding a bike after getting on one for the first time in 40 years.

A Brit writer relates how he failed four basic safety lessons on his first day as an amateur bike rider. Which somehow implies the rest of us are getting paid for it.

British police are looking for a bike rider who pushed a 17-year old girl over as she was walking in a bike lane. Don’t do that. Ever. Period.

After an Aussie cyclist barely avoids getting sucked under a semi, she’s victimized again by abusive online comments.

The “menace” of joyriding Malaysian stunt bicyclists is spreading across the country, despite a crash last year that killed eight teenage riders, and another that killed two others last week.

 

Competitive Cycling

A new French book suggests that Lance was doping his bike as well as his blood.

USA Today looks at the debate over testosterone testing of transgender women, two of whom are hoping to make the US Olympic cycling team, on opposite sides of the debate.

Belgian cyclist Tim Wellens says inhaler use is wrong, despite pulling out of last year’s Tour de France with breathing problems.

Sad news from the UK, where a man who had been battling depression hung himself four days after he failed to finish a 24-hour bike race.

 

Finally…

How to pedal without ever leaving home or having to deal with other humans. Seriously, how big a bike pump will it take to inflate that thing?

And this is why you stop traffic before putting up the finish gate.

Morning Links: Father fighting for his life after La Tuna hit-and-run; NC member attacks “cycling zealots”

Earlier in the week, we mentioned the La Tuna Canyon hit-and-run that left a bicyclist in a coma.

Today the news media caught up, as KNBC-4 offered a report on the crash that has Keith Jackson fighting for his life; KTLA-5 had a similar report.

The father of three was riding with his son and daughter-in-law when the driver of a black Mazda plowed into him, then fled the scene without so much as slowing down. His son says the driver was veering all over the road, possibly driving distracted, before slamming into Jackson as he rode on the shoulder.

He remains unconscious in the ICU, four days after the crash.

A ride will be held this Sunday to finish the La Tuna Canyon ride Jackson started, but was unable to complete, departing from the LA Zoo parking lot at 8:30 am.

CiclaValley says the deadly street is slated to have bike lanes under the city’s mobility plan; however, that would be little protection against an out-of-control driver.

Meanwhile, the person who left him bleeding in the middle of La Tuna remains free. LA’s hit-and-run reward program means there’s an automatic $25,000 bounty for information leading to the arrest and conviction of this heartless coward.

Let’s hope someone collects it soon.

………

Mar Vista’s self-appointed traffic expert is at it again.

Dermatologist and Mar Vista Community Council member Kenneth S. Alpern offers a remarkably biased attack on “cycling zealots” who “eschew scientific data,” while doing exactly the same thing himself.

There’s a reason or five why myself and others have decried the Venice Blvd. “road diet”.  Not only does it hurt motorists, it got in the way of a better, safer solution for both bicyclists and pedestrians and motorists, and safety problems have gone up, not down. (Ed. note: That does not appear to be true; the most recent stats from LADOT show just the opposite.)

Bicyclists want safety and respect, but reconfiguring roads in a way that purportedly help a few but tell the majority to go pound sand (the ones who are otherwise very pro-transit, and happy to pay for it) isn’t helpful.  That road diet interferes with Micro Transit, bus operations, and the ability for small businesses to thrive on what should be Great Streets.

However, the studies he conveniently ignores contradict his attacks.

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), road diets have been shown to reduce crashes from 19% to 47%. Other studies have shown that bike lanes reduce injuries and deaths up to 40%, while protected bike lanes, like the ones on Venice, reduce injuries and deaths up to 90% — and not just for people on bikes.

In addition, projects like the one on Venice have been repeatedly shown in cities across the US to improve retail sales, reduce business vacancies, and increase property values in the surrounding neighborhood.

But who would want any of that, right?

It’s far better to pretend the science is on his side, and engage in character assassination of hard working and dedicated city employees.

As well as his fellow Angelenos who are simply fighting for safer, more vibrant and livable streets, and the basic human right to be able to travel safely, and get home to their families in one piece.

Regardless of how or where they choose to travel.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

………

‘Tis the season.

Caught on video: Bighearted LA Rams offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth had a surprise for the students of Grape Street Elementary School in Watts when he showed up to award new bicycles to a few outstanding students — giving new bikes and helmets to each of the nearly 600 students in the school, which he paid for out of his own pocket. Watch the video below if you want to see a lot of really happy kids. And remind yourself what really matters.

A Michigan cop was honored for saving the life of a 12-year old girl who was being attacked by a dog; his department gave the girl a new bicycle and a gift card as early Christmas presents.

………

It’s Day 20 of the 3rd Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive.

You can help keep SoCal’s best bike news coming your way with just a few clicks by using PayPal. Or by using the Zelle app that is probably already in the banking app on your smartphone; send your contribution to ted @ bikinginla dot com (remove the spaces and format as a standard email address).

Any donation, in any amount, is truly and deeply appreciated.

As an added bonus, frequent contributor Megan Lynch will provide a free download of her CD Songs the Brothers Warner Taught Me to anyone who makes a contribution during the fund drive. If you’ve already contributed and would like a copy, just email me at the address above and I’ll forward it to her.

Thanks to Paul F for his generous contribution to help keep bringing you the best bike news and advocacy, from around the corner and around the world.

………

Local

The city council Transportation Committee will consider rules for dockless bikeshare today, proposing the establishment of a pilot program to develop regulations — even though at least three bikeshare providers are already on the city streets.

East Hollywood’s bike trailer-delivered Bicycle Coffee will open a second location in Little Tokyo next year.

The UCLA Bicycle Academy reviews the school’s new strategic plan, and likes the call for better civic engagement.

Curbed says Burbank is leading the way to a more affordable, walkable — and bikeable — future.

 

State

The Moreno Valley Unified School District is looking for volunteers to help contest-winning kids build the bicycle of their dreams.

Former pro cyclist Roy Knickman returned to his hometown as a Paso Robles firefighter to fight the ongoing fires in Ventura County; Knickman won bronze in team time trial in the ’84 Olympics, and had a long pro career before joining the fire department.

A kindhearted Sacramento bike rider is raising funds for a woman who lost her legs when she was hit by a driver after she pulled her car over to help another motorist.

 

National

A recent high school graduate has set out to talk to one veteran of WWII every day, beginning by riding his bike to retirement homes to talk to vets; he estimates it will take 10 years to complete the task. You can see his website here, and contribute to his efforts.

HuffPo offers 12 reasons why bicycling will continue to grow.

Forty-two bike shops in 23 states — and one in Russia — observed the first Bike Shop Day on Saturday.

A long-planned Oklahoma City bike lane somehow disappeared during a series of secret meetings, and no one seems to know who was responsible.

A Tucson running coach traded her car for an ebike for a month. And liked it.

Austin, Texas is transforming a major auto-centric roadway into a bike, pedestrian and transit focused corridor, leaving just one lane for motor vehicles in each direction. Hopefully, Texans will have better sense than to revolt over positive changes to the street, unlike overly entitled drivers in some SoCal cities we could name.

A Boston woman has dropped 55 pounds and quit drinking after taking up bicycling.

When a New York bike rider complained about a state senator’s limo blocking a bike lane, the politician responded by impersonating a cop and trying to pull the rider over. Then his driver floored it, driving on the wrong side of the road and running red lights to get away when bicyclist tried to take his photo.

A Brooklyn bicyclist is preparing to sue the NYPD for wrongful arrest after a judge threw out a ticket he received for arguing with the cop that nearly ran him over.

Florida residents complain that new bike lanes will mean they can’t park in front of their own homes; the state DOT responds saying they can park in their own driveways, and the space in front of their houses was never intended for parking anyway.

 

International

A Canadian ebike rider says sorry he’s not sorry for being happy.

A British driver tells the court he should have slowed down before hitting and killing a man on his bike. You think?

Yesterday we mentioned that a Brit bike rider was facing jail for crashing his bike into a couple of pedestrians; it turns out that the victims were his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend, and the crash was anything but accidental.

A UK advocacy group says stop making it so hard to ride a bike to school.

Dublin bike riders protest new signs telling them to dismount at a rail line by doing exactly that. Meanwhile, a Dublin cyclist chases down and confronts a man he sees stealing a bike, causing the thief to drop the bike and run off.

Bike sales in Poland are shifting from mountain bikes to urban cycling, and bucking international trends by going from the internet back to brick-and-motor bike shops.

Australian police are looking for a road raging bicyclist who hit a woman’s car several times before reaching in and throwing her car keys down an embankment. And scaring her Down Syndrome daughter.

Caught on video: An Aussie bicyclist riding in a crosswalk with the light is hit by a right-turning driver; fortunately, he appears to bounce back up. But even though the video clearly shows the red light stopping cross traffic, a Kiwi website blames him for ignoring the traffic signal. Maybe red means go Down Under.

It was a deadly year for bicyclists in New Zealand, as cycling traffic fatalities were triple last year’s total.

American cycling great Rebecca Rusch writes about bicycling the 1,200 mile Ho Chi Minh Trail in search of the place where her late father’s plane went down during the Vietnam war.

 

Competitive Cycling

UCI announces the 18 teams that will compete on this year’s WorldTour.

The Giro may have to move the start of next year’s race from Jerusalem in light of the tension caused by Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to the city.

Transgender former cyclist Philippa York says cycling’s conservative culture suppresses LGTBQ issues, pointing out there’s not one openly gay cyclist in the men’s peloton.

 

Finally…

If you’re already out on bail while you appeal your conviction for hitting a bike rider while high, try not to get busted in an underage prostitution sting. At last, a cure for helmet hair, also known as a headband.

And it may not be the best idea to crash a holiday boat parade by riding your bike through the crowd and loudly asking if anyone wants to buy heroin.

………

Please accept my best wishes to all celebrating the Festival of Lights this week.

Chag Urim Sameach!

 

Morning Links: Anti-road diet NIMBYs boycott businesses, road safety in LA & Houston, and New Yorker bike covers

Last month, the road diets in Playa del Rey were ripped out before they had a chance to prove whether they were working.

Now we know why.

A must-read tweetstorm from writer Peter Flax, who served on Councilmember Mike Bonin’s ill-fated committee to re-examine the lane reductions, reveals that the primary reason behind their removal was the negative effect they were having on local business.

Which wasn’t coincidental.

He offers a number of social media posts in which opponents of the road diets call for a boycott of businesses in the area to force them to oppose the safety measures. Which were then echoed by anti-road diet forces like Keep LA Moving — whose leader actually lives in Manhattan Beach — Recall Bonin, and conservative radio hosts John and Ken.

And now the same tactics are being used in Mar Vista, where the owner of Louie’s restaurant blamed the lane reductions in the Venice Blvd Great Streets Project for the failure of his restaurant.

Even though it had just reopened after being closed for a vermin infestation. And even though it had a meager 2.5 Yelp rating. And even though a new chef insisted on making much hated changes to the place, including a new upscale menu, that drove longtime customers away.

But sure, let’s blame the removal of excess lane capacity, which didn’t result in the loss of a single parking space.

Despite, as Peter notes, numerous studies from around the country showing that Complete Streets projects like the one on Venice are good for business — including one on LA’s York Blvd, which has thrived since a road diet went in.

Of course, that doesn’t fit with the NIMBY narrative that Vision Zero and road diets are the work of Satan himself.

………

A powerful piece from Los Angeles resident and Houston native Colleen Corcoran compares the traffic safety problems and struggle to improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians in the two cities.

Corcoran, a co-founder of CicLAvia, says no one should die as a result of thoughtless street design — after her own mother was killed riding her bike through a dangerous Houston intersection earlier this year.

………

We’ve mentioned this one before, but it’s worth mentioning again. An online petition opposes a proposal allowing a private school to take over a public road in Calabasas, which is a popular route allowing bicyclists to bypass traffic on busy Mulholland Highway. Thanks to Steve S. for the reminder.

………

A new Flickr page offers an exceptional collection of bicycling covers from the New Yorker dating back to the 1920s.

………

An Irish pundit apologized for calling bike riders Nazis, and swore he would never give a Nazi salute again.

Of course, his apology was to a local Jewish organization, not to the people he accused of being a brown-shirt uniformed, two-wheeled cult.

………

Local

Construction for the MyFigueroa project is getting blamed for some of the parking problems in South Park, even though it has the support of local businesses.

A December 2nd exhibition at the LA Central Library in DTLA will feature makers, including an LA man who explores “unique bicycle shapes and designs.”

The Daily News reports on Saturday’s Finish the Ride event in Sunland-Tujunga in honor of fallen bicyclist Jeff Knopp.

 

State

Advocates for the homeless insist that the 1,000 bikes found after a homeless camp along the Santa Ana River Trail was cleared out had nothing to do with the people who had been living there, since they were found in a tunnel over two miles away.

A Huntington Beach man gets six years behind bars for attacking a police officer who stopped his son for a traffic violation while they were riding their bikes; the younger man had already been sentenced to seven years after pleading guilty last year.

Apple is donating $1.8 million to build a protected bike lane in Cupertino.

Two thousand Bay Area cyclists, joggers, skaters and strollers gear up for Thanksgiving with a 2.5 mile carfree Sunday.

 

National

Denver voted for $431 million in transportation bonds, including $18 million for bicycle projects.

Plans are underway for a program that could link Wyoming’s bike trails into a statewide network.

Sad news, as the 88-year old founder of Iowa’s legendary RAGBRAI passed away last week.

A 21-mile Ohio bike path connects local four breweries and a cider house.

Now that’s more like it. A Kentucky driver gets 35 years for the drunk and stoned hit-and-run death of a bike rider; he drove three miles after the crash with his dying victim still in the bed of his truck.

Evidently Los Angeles isn’t the only place where NIMBYs want to rip out recently installed bike lanes; outraged Cambridge, Mass residents working under the misnomer Safe Streets for All are demanding that the lanes be redesigned and parking restored, and want bike riders to be required to carry ID.

A New Jersey paper says the state’s new governor should embrace multi-use bike and pedestrian trails.

 

International

A Mexican TV executive was shot to death on Sunday when a group of thieves attempted to steal his bicycle on the outskirts of Mexico City.

Forget Everesting. A Vancouver bicyclist climbed one million feet by riding up a local mountain every day for a year to raise funds to fight pancreatic cancer.

Toronto drivers appear to be adjusting to the presence of bike lanes after initial anger. Which is usually what happens if authorities can resist the urge to rip them out before they have a chance to succeed.

A new survey shows four out of five people in the UK want protected bike lanes in cities.

Good question. The Guardian’s Peter Walker asks why cyclists are the one minority the BBC is okay with demonizing. Although there’s no point in limiting it to the Beeb, as media outlets around the world are perfectly okay with attacking people who ride bikes in ways they wouldn’t anyone else. Including right here in LA.

Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson says Britain’s streets aren’t big enough for buses and bikes, and one of them has to go.

The Guardian asks if Copenhagen has hit peak bicycle, as ridership dips and more drivers take to the roads.

Not surprisingly, the best way to tour Soweto, South Africa is by bicycle. Like pretty much any other city you could name.

An Aussie cyclist was deliberately run off the road by a road raging driver after attempting to intervene in his dispute with another motorist. Meanwhile, an Australian councilor calls for an ad hoc committee to find solutions to road rage between motorists and cyclists. Never mind that most of the anger comes from the people in the cars. And they’re the ones with the four-wheeled weapons.

A new Australian study confirms that people who ride bikes are better drivers.

Singapore’s largest organized bike ride draws 6,500 riders, including many dressed as superheroes.

An industrial design student wins an Asian award for his wooden children’s bicycle that converts from a balance bike to a pedal bike as the kids get older.

 

Competitive Cycling

Britain’s Team Sky is accused of gaming the system for therapeutic exemptions that allow riders to use otherwise banned medications.

Fabian Cancellara challenges fellow retired pro Phil Gaimon to beat him in one of Fabian’s fondos, after Gaimon’s new book repeated accusations that Cancellara was motor doping, somehow thinking it would be no big deal. And no, this isn’t beginning to sound the least like a cycling soap opera.

The Daily Beast remembers Italian cycling legend Gino Bartali and his top secret work to save Jews in WWII, as the Giro make plans to start in Jerusalem next year.

VeloNews calls 16-year old Katie Clouse the next star of US cyclocross.

 

Finally…

If you’re riding while already on probation, probably best to leave the meth and dope at home. Your next bike helmet could have an airbag.

And this is why you don’t Instagram while riding.

 

%d bloggers like this: