Tag Archive for Vision Zero

Morning Links: Why LA bike riders keep dying, Caltrans gets bike friendly, and Forsyth Cup rolls tomorrow

Yesterday morning, a reporter from outside of LA emailed me with a single, very simple question. 

But the answer was just the opposite. 

She wanted to why Los Angeles continues to be one of the nation’s deadliest cities for bicyclists. 

This is how I responded.

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That’s a complicated question.

There are a number of factors involved, but let’s start with the most obvious. Los Angeles is the second largest city in the US, so ignoring any other factors, we could be expected to have one of the highest traffic fatality rates.

We also have roughly 6,500 miles of surface streets, the most in the US. And due to the city’s mistaken obsession with LOS (Level of Service) until recent years, virtually all of those streets have been over-engineered to move as many vehicles as fast as possible, with little or no regard for safety.

That’s complicated by California’s deadly 85th Percentile Law, which allows drivers to set speed limits with their right foot. So you have streets that have been designed like highways, despite their original speed limits.

As a result, drivers naturally speed, which results in a continual raising of the speed limit until some LA streets have speed limits of 50 mph or more. And on those that don’t, drivers routinely exceed the limit by 10 to 15 mph — and complain in the rare instances that they get pulled over, because everyone else is doing it.

Add to that the smallest police force of any major city, resulting in just a few hundred officers patrolling the streets at any given time, most of whom are too busy dealing with major crimes to bother pulling anyone over for an illegal U-turn or weaving in and out of traffic. And until recently, police couldn’t enforce speed limits on most of the city’s streets, because LA failed to conduct the speed surveys required by the 85th Percentile law.

So is it any wonder that LA has what may be world’s most entitled drivers, who seem to feel they have a God-given right to do anything they want, with little or no fear of consequences?

Then there’s the lack of safe bicycling infrastructure in the city. While the city made great gains under the previous mayor, who committed to building 40 miles of bike lanes a year, that has trickled to a crawl under the current administration, resulting in less than 10 lanes miles a year. We have just a handful of parking protected bike lanes, no curb-protected lanes — the first is expected to open this summer on South Figueroa — and a few of what are questionably called protected lanes, guarded only by thin plastic flex posts, which are easy to drive over with no damage to your car.

To complicate matters, there is nothing even resembling a bikeway network in Los Angeles. With the exception of Downtown LA, it is virtually impossible to plan a safe route from one part of the city to another. Bike lanes start and stop at random, and usually don’t connect to anything, forcing riders to contend with high speed traffic and aggressive drivers.

As a result, a disproportionate number of LA riders use sidewalks instead of riding in the street, putting them at significant risk when they have to cross a side street or driveway. In addition, LA has a large immigrant population, many of whom ride bikes as their only form of transportation. And many of whom learned to ride against traffic in their home countries, and continue the practice here; in some neighborhoods, salmon cyclists make up most, if not all, of the bicycling victims according to the LAPD.

Do I even need to mention that there is no bicycle eduction in most California cities? Some of the local advocacy groups offer adult bike education, but that reaches only a handful of people each year. And usually not the ones who need it most.

Finally, Los Angeles has a weak mayor political system which gives the mayor limited authority, while placing most of the power in the hands of individual councilmembers. As a result, while the mayor has set some bike friendly policies, such as Vision Zero, actual implementation falls on each councilmember to approve or deny safety improvements in their own districts.

A fear of angry drivers — and voters — has resulted in the cancellation of shovel-ready road diets and bike lanes throughout the city, virtually halting any real progress on Vision Zero, let alone providing any alternative to driving for most people. And famously led to the reversal of several road diets installed in Playa del Rey last year when pass-through drivers, mostly from outside the city, rose up in revolt.

Los Angeles has great potential for bicycling. If the city actually builds out its Mobility Plan 2035, and the bike plan within it — which seems highly unlikely at this point — it will transform itself from the nation’s most traffic and smog-choked city into one of the safest and most livable communities anywhere.

But that’s a big if.

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Caltrans celebrates the last day of Bike Month by discussing the role bikes can play as a legitimate form of transportation in reducing greenhouse gasses.

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If you’re looking for some serious bike action this weekend, check out Saturday’s second edition of the Wolfpack Hustle Forsyth Cup under the afternoon skies at the Encino Velodrome.

And enjoy free hot dogs, hamburgers and tacos while you watch some of LA’s best track cyclists, hosted by BikinginLA sponsor Thomas Forsyth.

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The Guardian offers a video explaining why forcing bicyclists to wear helmets won’t save lives.

Just to be clear, I’m a firm believer in using helmets on American roads, and always wear a one when I ride. But they should always be seen as the last line of defense when all else fails.

We’ll save a lot more lives by taming traffic and building better bikeways than by making everyone wear a helmet for every ride.

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Speaking of the Guardian, the paper picked up Peter Flax’s story about the death of bicyclist  Mark Kristofferson at this year’s Tour of Palm Springs, and asking why it’s so hard to charge motorists with murdering cyclists.

It’s an important, if difficult, piece.

So if you haven’t read it yet, take a few minutes and give it a read.

We’ll wait.

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Local

Former LACBC Executive Director Tamika Butler reminisces about Bike Month — and feeling excluded by members of the bike community.

 

State

Congratulations to San Diego for being named a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists; newly bike friendly Las Vegas got promoted from Bronze to Silver. Meanwhile, Los Angeles remains on the list at the Bronze level, for no apparent reason.

Two participants in next week’s AIDS/LifeCycle ride discuss why they’re riding 450 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

 

National

A writer for The Atlantic really wants to hate e-scooters, but can’t.

Bicycling lists their take on the best bicycling apps, including the Red Cross’ free First Aid app, for reasons that should be obvious. And lists the 25 best American companies for bicyclists. But you have to have the patience to click through 25 times.

Couldn’t agree more. Treehugger says it’s time to stop arguing about helmets, and start building safe infrastructure.

Nashville gives Bird the bird.

The argument over a proposed protected bike lane in New York’s Sunnyside neighborhood boils down to the same old dispute — business owners want parking spaces, while bike riders just want to stay alive.

The New York DOT puts its foot down, and says a protected bike lane is going to be installed on Queens Blvd, whether or not the local community board approves. Which is exactly what needs to happen in Los Angeles, but won’t.

The hotest perk in Gotham real estate — deluxe bike storage rooms.

Neighbors demand bike lanes along a Maryland highway. But as usual, the call for safety comes after it’s too late.

 

International

Bike Biz looks forward to the first ever World Bicycle Day this Sunday.

A writer for the Weekly Standard spent two months riding his bike along both sides of the US – Mexico border, from Tijuana to Brownsville TX. And says the region has much bigger problems than people trying to cross it to find work.

Montreal will invest $15 million over the next year to improve the city’s bicycling network; they expect to have nearly 550 miles of bike paths by next year, connecting 16 boroughs and four cities.

Toronto celebrates Bike Month by promising to clean up its existing bikeways.

A self-described “keen cyclist” in the London’s Waltham Forest borough says bicyclists have turned a local pedestrian plaza into a death trap. Yet he somehow fails to note that no one has actually been killed by bike riders there. Which is not to say riders shouldn’t show extra care and consideration around people on foot.

A severely disabled British woman plans to ride 2018 miles with her service dog in tow to raise money for assistance dog charities.

According to a new study, potholes and trucks keep people from bicycling on UK roadways; 56% of the people surveyed said they would ride more if they felt safer on the streets. Just like pretty much everywhere else outside of Denmark and the Netherlands.

An Australian bike advocacy group says a petition demanding that bicyclists ride single file and banning bikes from roads with speed limits over 50 mph has no merit. Meanwhile, another bike group cites massive fraud, suggesting the petition is full of false names, while Cycling Tips says we can all learn from the misguided petition.

 

Competitive Cycling

Great interview with America’s only remaining Tour de France winner, as Cycling Tips talks with Greg LeMond about what he’s learned.

 

Finally…

Your next new tires could come with a complete bike attached. Don’t put aero bars on a gravel bike — or do if that’s what you feel like.

And why wait for someone else to fix your pothole, when you can just do it yourself?

 

 

Morning Links: Storm City Hall for safer streets on May 18th, and killer Kalamazoo driver convicted of murder

As the great prophet Howard Beale once said, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

And I’m willing to march on City Hall by myself if that’s what it takes.

I’ve spent the last several weeks trying, and failing, to get support from LA advocacy groups for a plan for bike riders and pedestrians to storm city hall on Bike to Work Day this month to demand safer streets.

While I understand their need for campaigns and strategic planning, too many people are dying right now. And too many city councilmembers are backing away from the promises we were made.

So if this isn’t the right time for action, when is?

As I struggled with my own anger over the recent rash of bicycling fatalities and fatal hit-and-runs, I kept coming back to the questions of if not me, then who? And if not now, when?

Do we wait until someone else dies? Or twenty more people?

Do we wait until the next road diet is cancelled by councilmembers caving to angry drivers and traffic safety deniers?

And when is the right time to demand demand safer streets? As the Chinese proverb famously says, the best time would have been 20 years ago.

The second best time is now.

It’s my intention to give the mayor and every member of the council a copy of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing, and see if they get the message. If we can raise just $400 in the next week to cover the costs, I’ll do it.

Besides, we only need another $375, thanks to a donation from Douglas M to get things started.

But either way, I’m going to be there on May 18th, even if that means standing alone before the city council.

Because something needs to be done now.

I hope you’ll join me. And help spread the word, so we can get as many people as possible to show up that day.

And I hope you’ll consider making a contribution to help send a message to the council that it’s time to show a little courage and do the right thing.

Update: I’ve been reminded that the LA City Council doesn’t meet on Thursdays, so doing this on Bike to Work Day won’t work. 

The question is whether it’s better do storm city hall on Tuesday, May 15th after the Blessing of the Bicycles, Wednesday the 16th before the Ride of Silence, or Friday the 18th before Bike Night at Union Station.

So what works better for you? Let me know in the comments below.

Update 2: It looks like Friday, May 18th works for more people. So that’s the day we’re storming City Hall.

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Guilty.

In a verdict that shouldn’t surprise anyone, the driver responsible for the Kalamazoo massacre has been convicted on five counts of second degree murder for killing five bike riders in a drug-driven 2016 crash, and injuring another four.

Charles Pickett Jr. was also convicted of five counts of causing death while driving under the influence, after allegedly popping a handful of pain pills before getting behind the wheel. In addition, he had meth in his system as well as alcohol at the time of the crash.

Pickett now faces a possible life sentence when he’s sentenced next month.

A well-deserved one.

Thanks to Adam Ginsberg for the heads-up.

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This is the cost of traffic violence.

In a heartbreaking story, a writer looks at the devastating effects of a Texas hit-and-run.

Boston magazine offers an in-depth examination of the events leading up to the death of a brilliant surgeon when she was right hooked by a truck driver while riding to work. And the police investigation that went out of its way to blame the victim.

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Local

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined with other mayors around the world to issue a Commitment to Green and Healthy Streets, envisioning “a future where walking, cycling, and shared transport are how the majority of citizens move around our cities.” However, as Streetsblog points out, it takes more than lip service to be a climate mayor. It will be very hard for LA to live up to that commitment as long as city councilmembers are free to cancel safety and Complete Streets projects to appease angry drivers.

Streetsblog examines the dangers faced by many bike riders on the streets that go well beyond traffic safety. Like the 14-year old bike rider gunned down in a quiet Azusa neighborhood yesterday.

 

State

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) will relaunch their Go Human campaign throughout their six-county region for Bike Month.

Celebrate Bike Month with ten bike trails within ten miles of Morro Bay.

 

National

NACTO presents a nationwide study of bikeshare in the US; while docked bikes outnumber dockless bikes 56% to 44%, only 4% of the actual trips are taken by dockless bikeshare. Something that’s likely to change as dockless bikeshare matures in this country.

In an absolutely brilliant move — sarcasm intendedVista Outdoor responds to the recent boycott by bike retailers over the AR-15 rifles made by one of their subsidiaries by deciding to stop selling guns. And get those darn bike people off their backs by getting rid of their bicycling equipment divisions, as well.

You can now control your LED-lighted Lumos bike helmet with your Apple watch, assuming you have either one. Or buy them both at your friendly neighborhood Apple Store if you don’t.

NPR looks at the LaneSpotter app, which allows users to flag problems with bikeways in real time, like a WAZE for bike riders.

Building bamboo bikes in Oahu.

A Portland nonprofit intends to collect 1,000 bicycles in a single day to refurbish and donate to kids in need.

A Washington sheriff’s deputy says police have to actually observe a traffic violation, such as a violation of the three-foot passing law, in order to write a ticket. Unfortunately, the law is no different here in California.

A Seattle website says the ebike craze has become a verifiable movement in the city.

A Spokane WA bike commuter compares bicyclists to the NRA, and says some bike riders in the city are just jerks. Bicyclists are human, some humans are jerks. Therefore, some bicyclists will inevitably be jerks. Just like some drivers and pedestrians. 

Forget protein bars. Austin TX bike riders get free tacos for breakfast on Bike to Work Day.

Houston residents are calling for changes after two people are killed in the same spot while riding bikes in the last two years; a crowdfunding campaign raised $15,000 to send the latest victim’s body back to India.

Evanston IL city aldermen reject a call to remove a parking-protected bike lane, after a female alderman — alderperson? — calls them “an absolute disaster at rush hour.”

Speaking of Evanston, a local man discovers how it feels when his bike has a starring role in a police chase.

New York council members call on the mayor to stop the city’s ridiculous ebike ban, and talk with the food delivery riders who use them to develop new rules.

 

International

Cycling Industry News considers why the bike industry has such a hard time catching counterfeiters. Which is why you should always buy from a reputable source; any deal that seems too good to be true probably is.

An Ottawa TV station says people are taking to bicycles and ebikes to fight rising gas prices.

Cambridge, England council candidates consider calls to ban parents from driving their kids to school. Unlike the US, where schools attempt to ban kids from biking or walking to class.

One more to add to your bike bucket list — Spain’s sun-soaked Mallorca island.

Tel Aviv, Israel opens the first velodrome in the Middle East.

Around 50 Brisbane, Australia bicyclists stage a die-in to call for better bike safety, tying up traffic during the morning rush hour. While the technique can be effective, we don’t win any friends by inconveniencing people just trying to get to work.

 

Finally…

Ten ways to tell others on the road that an angel just got its wings. Call it a secure dockless bikeshare parking spot.

And the Foos are some of us, too.

Most of them, anyway.

 

Morning Links: Not so fast for Vision Zero funding, Union Street protected bike lane, and Blumenfield bike ride

So much for the $91 million we were promised for Vision Zero.

Just days after LA Mayor Eric Garcetti announced he was proposing that amount for Vision Zero in next year’s budget, it turns to be yet another disappointment.

Instead, the newly released budget contains $90 million for all street safety improvements, which includes Vision Zero and any other street improvements. And while it’s a significant increase, that’s up from $78 million for street improvements in last years budget, not the $27 million that was budgeted for Vision Zero, as we were led to believe.

As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Meanwhile, the budget does call for $71 million to repave LA’s broken streets, and another $41 million for sidewalk repairs.

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The bruising battle for safer streets goes on in Pasadena, with a public workshop schedule for May 9th to consider plans for a protect bike lane on Union Street.

Greg Gunther of the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition has put together this practically perfect primer for the project:

Protected bike lanes (PBL) are a simple concept with powerful benefits.

  • In essence, they’re like sidewalks for bikes
  • They put a protective buffer between drivers and bike riders
  • They make it pleasant for anyone to bike – just as sidewalks make it pleasant for anyone to walk
What are the benefits?
  • Increase safety 
    • 89% fewer bicyclist injuries 
    • Reduce driving stress by bringing predictability to the street 
    • Less sidewalk riding reduces pedestrian injuries
  • Promote economic vitality
    • Business revenue increases along PBL routes (NYC DOT, Measuring the Street, New Metrics for 21st Century Streets)
    • Bicycle lanes increase the value of nearby property

Why do PBLs Matter?

  • With increased safety, comes increased ridership (Do you think that biking in Pasadena feels unsafe?  You’re not alone… )
    • Most surveyed expressed an interest in riding a bike more often, but resist because it feels unsafe (2012 – Jennifer Dill)
    • Safe places to ride increase ridership – protected bike lanes have shown to create a proven spike in bicycle traffic (2014 – Monsere, et al)
  • With increased ridership, comes universal benefits
Why on Union Street?
  • Union Street is a major east-west corridor in Pasadena’s Central District – when combined with the proposed Bike Boulevard on Holliston Avenue we will have a network that connects Caltech, Pasadena City College with the Playhouse District, the Civic Center, Old Pasadena and the Gold Line
    • Current traffic volumes are far below the street’s capacity
    • Current plans for the street also include multiple pedestrian enhancements to make the entire street segment safer for everyone 
  • In the future, there are also plans under discussion that would create a “link” restoring historic connections between the Central District and the Arroyo – after that, watch out!
    • The Arroyo Seco Bike Path already provides more than 2 miles of protected bikeway from South Pasadena through Highland Park to Mt. Washington
    • Future improvements are slated to connect downstream to the Los Angeles River – bringing Downtown L.A. within biking reach across comfortable and safe protected lanes
What can I do to help make sure this happens?
  • Make sure you weigh in to voice your preferences
    1.  At minimum, Visit the project website and share your thoughts http://bit.ly/UnionStProtectedBikeLanes
    2.  Even more help:  Send an e-mail that registers your support to Rich Dilluvio [ [email protected] ]
    3.  First Prize:  Attend the City’s Community Workshop
      • Wednesday, May 9th – 6:30 to 8:30pm 
      • Pasadena Presbyterian Church – 585 Colorado Blvd (@ Madison) – Gamble Lounge

“The best thing about a bike-friendly city isn’t the bikes – it’s the city!”

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David Drexler took part in the rescheduled Blumenfield Bike Ride through Councilmember Bob Blumenfield’s 3rd Council District in the San Fernando Valley on Saturday.

According to Drexler,

It was a great ride with all streets closed by LADP for us so we did not have to stop. I highly recommend it — lots of bike advocates were there and it was very well run.

He also reports the councilman’s wife and two kids were along for the ride, and Blumenfield told him they regularly ride as a family.

There may be hope for this city yet.

Councilman Blumenfield addresses the crowd

A good sized group gathers as Blumanfield prepares to lead the ride

It always helps to have a police escort

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Richard Fox sends word of a new Facebook group for casual SoCal bicyclists.

A new Facebook group has been created for casual cyclists to share favorite rides, announce events, and develop ideas to improve cycling facilities throughout SoCal. Casual cyclists are those who prefer to ride at slow to moderate speeds on trails and low-traffic roads with bike lanes, or even sidewalks when roads seem dangerous to ride on. Most public cycling organizations and bike clubs are composed of road cyclists, racers, and commuters that lobby for safer roadways. We also want safer roadways, but we prefer riding on bike trails away from traffic altogether. This group joins together all the SoCal regions so that we can share experiences beyond our boundaries and help each other in our lobbying efforts. Follow or join at: www.facebook.com/groups/430036694076594/.

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Local

Great piece from LA Times columnist Steve Lopez, who spends a day at a South LA bike shop to get a feel for the city’s spandex-free bike culture. Thanks to Alan Ginsberg for the heads-up.

A fundraiser organized by an LAPD officer raised over $5,000 for the family of fallen teenage cyclist Sebastian Montero; police are looking for his bike that was stolen two months before his death so they can return it to his mother.

The AP offers a brief report on Sunday’s CicLAvia.

Somehow we missed this one last week, as Wolfpack Hustle’s Don Ward and Bikes Belong founder and former Long Beach Bicycle Czar Charlie Gandy talk bike politics and environmentalism on Bike Talk.

 

State

It’s a well-deserved seven years behind bars for the 18-year old driver who killed a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student as he rode his bike to class in a drunken hit-and-run. Cases like this are doubly tragic; not only is one life needlessly ended and another ruined; but two families shattered.

 

National

c|net provides your guide to dockless e-scooters.

A new documentary about the faith and determination required to compete in the Race Across America will screen in theaters across the US on May 22nd.

Arizona’s Pima County offers a $2.1 million settlement to a bicyclist who was seriously injured on a bike lane described as a death trap.

The Illinois legislature is considering bills that would require drivers to learn the Dutch Reach, add bike questions to the driver’s test, and teach bike safety to school children.

A Massachusetts paper says the best way to celebrate spring is from behind the handlebars. Something we can probably all agree on.

A Brooklyn letter writer gets it, saying you don’t have to ride a bike to know that carving two blocks of police parking out of a protected bike lane is a mistake.

The same day the LA area celebrated its latest CicLAvia, New York opened up 30 blocks of the Great White Way to bikes and pedestrians for a two-mile carfree open streets event.

If they can do it there, we can do it anywhere. New York finally gives the boot to cars in Central Park. Raising hopes that maybe one day we can see cars banished from Los Angeles city parks, including Griffith Park. Because parks are for people, not cars.

 

International

A 60-year old Canadian woman is riding solo through 5,000 miles of the US and Canada.

No irony here. A British bus driver spent the day training to share the road with bicyclists, then got hit by a bus while riding his bike back home; police say the cell phone in his back pocket may have saved him from paralysis.

Nice video from the UK, where a man surprised his 88-year old father, a former cycling champ, with an ebike and swiftly got him back to racing form.

A 77-year old Scottish man spent three weeks shoveling dirt and debris from three miles of roadway to make it safe for bike riders, after being told the local government wouldn’t get around to it until summer.

Who says politicians are useless? A member of the Scottish parliament rescued an 81-year old bike rider who accidentally rode into a canal.

A Bollywood actress complains that five-star hotels don’t accept bicycles. But rides her single speed bike to them anyway.

Police in New Zealand are taking to their bikes after recognizing what the rest of us already knew — that bikes give you a better view of what motorists are really doing in their cars.

Tragic story from New Zealand, where a mountain biker has spent the last two months in a hospital paralyzed from the neck down except for a little movement in her arms after she was struck by careless trail rider, and calls for better bike rider behavior.

The killer hit-and-run epidemic has spread to law-abiding Japan.

 

Competitive Cycling

Spoiler alert: Skip this section if you’re still planning to watch yesterday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Cycling Weekly provides five talking points from Liège-Bastogne-Liège to impress everyone around the water cooler, who probably never heard of it.

Luxembourg’s Bob Jungels won the men’s race, while Michael Woods became the first Canadian to podium in Liège-Bastogne-Liège; Dutch rider Anna van der Breggen won the women’s race for the second year in a row.

Italy’s Alberto Bettiol will miss the Giro after breaking his left clavicle and a rib in the race, while women’s great Marianne Vos suffered a broken collarbone in a collision with another cyclist.

A semi-pro New Zealand cyclist is showing signs of improvement after being roused from a drug-induced coma following a collision that shattered his upper body.

Everything you always wanted to know about Lance Armstrong but probably didn’t care enough to ask.

 

Finally…

Be vewy, vewy quiet, we’re hunting KOMs. Why buy an ebike when you can just build one yourself?

And if you’re going to ride a bike naked in the middle of a thunderstorm, fasten balloons securely to protect your modesty.

Although if you actually had any, you probably wouldn’t be doing it to begin with.

 

Morning Links: Recent South LA deaths all on Vision Zero Priority Corridors, and more on Friday’s Frazier memorial ride

Breaking news: KNBC-4 reported last night that a bike rider was killed in a dooring at Alameda and Mariposa in Burbank yesterday; however, there’s no confirmation online yet. More information when it becomes available.

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After reading yesterday’s story about the latest bike rider killed in a South LA hit-and-run, Michael MacDonald wrote to remind us that each of the three recent fatalities were on streets the city already knew were dangerous.

And did nothing to fix.

Which isn’t just morally reprehensible, but will undoubtedly leave the city on the hook for massive liability awards, as well.

Not only were these 3 intersections part of Vision Zero’s High Injury Network, they were set in early 2017 as “Priority Corridors,” a 90.3 mile subset of the overall 450 mile HIN “that will have the greatest effect toward overall fatality reduction.”

The City’s own analysis dictated that it needed to improve safety on these streets and it hasn’t. And this grim prediction is now coming true for the failure of the mayor and city council to act on Vision Zero’s analysis.

And as noted yesterday, all three deaths occurred in CD8 Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s district.

Just in case you want to know who to contact to demand the city stop talking about traffic safety, and actually do something.

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Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman has written another hard-hitting piece about the death of Frederick “Woon” Frazier in a South LA hit-and-run last week, and the pain expressed on Friday’s memorial ride.

“I think we all have a voice,” (Edin Barrientos) continued, gesturing towards the cyclists gathered around the ghost bike. “And nothing’s going to happen until you step up. If we’re not stepping up to city hall, to city officials, to the police, to the media, to the public about these issues, nothing is going to happen and someone else is going to die. Someone closer to you guys is gonna pass away. Someone is going to get killed. They don’t care about us. The laws that are in effect are not about keeping cyclists safe on the streets.”

Barrientos was referring to the recent crashes that the group had also mourned – 54-year-old Elisa Gomez, run over by a FedEx truck in a hit-and-run at Long Beach and Washington, and 15-year-old Sebastian Montero killed two weeks ago in Woodland Hills. What he didn’t know was that just as cyclists began gathering at Hoover Park for Frazier’s memorial ride, a pedestrian was killed at Figueroa and Imperial Highway. Or that later that night, a man in a wheelchair would be killed at Century and Main. Or that yet another cyclist would be run down at Century and Avalon the following night.

Meanwhile, the LACBC calls on you to write LA Mayor Eric Garcetti to demand that he act for safer streets now.

CiclaValley rides with the Frederick Frazier Memorial Ride, and contemplates the emotional pain that comes from such needless loss.

………

The LAPD has released a photo of the woman who appeared to intentionally slam into Quatrell Stallings as he was helping people cross the street at Wednesday’s protest over Frazier’s death.

Anyone who recognizes her or has other information is urged to call Detective Farish at 323/786-5447; anonymous tips can be left at 800/222-8477.

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Local

The upper Griffith Park section of the LA River bike path will be closed north of Los Feliz Blvd through mid-October for construction of the new Atwater Bridge.

Long Beach has postponed the Beach Streets open streets event scheduled for May as part of the opening weekend for the Amgen Tour of California after restaurant owners questioned the wisdom of closing Shoreline Drive and Shoreline Village on Mother’s Day.

 

State

A retired CHP officer was knocked cold as he passed an SUV on the side of the road in Fresno County, and woke up in an ambulance with his bike and wallet missing.

San Francisco’s Upper Market Street gets an “awesome” new protected bike lane.

Diablo residents are going to court to try to have a roadway leading to Mount Diablo State Park declared private to cut off access to “loud packs” of bicyclists “careening through the streets” and wreaking havoc on the quiet community. I’m sure they’ll also try to ban cars, which are even more annoying.

Chico will try out a temporary buffered bike lane through the end of May to see what people think.

 

National

Five cyclists are on a 23-day, 1,300-mile ride linking all three 9/11 sites.

A county commissioner has pledged $10 million to jumpstart efforts to make Houston more bike friendly.

A pair of Arkansas residents are gearing up to ride June’s 545-mile AIDS/LifeCycle Ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Listen my children and you may hear, of the midnight ride before the Boston marathon.

Brooklyn residents complain about plans for a new bike lane on every block except in front of the local police precinct, saying it will dangerously force riders back into traffic.

Touring DC in the springtime by dockless bikeshare.

A Virginia letter writer complains about bicyclists dressed in black and riding without reflectors in broad daylight, even though she doesn’t seem to have had any problem seeing them. And insists bikes should be banned from any roads with a speed limit over 40 mph, apparently because people like her can’t drive safely around them.

Atlanta’s annual bicycling report reflects a major shift in attitude regarding transportation in the city.

 

International

Mark your calendar. The UN has officially declared June 3rd World Bicycle Day.

Bogota, Columbia proves it’s possible to actually reduce road deaths and homicides at the same time.

A new Canadian study shows that bike paths around Montreal don’t benefit children because they go through areas with older populations, and kids under 14 are seldom involved in the planning process.

Montreal will spend $1.2 billion dollars on roadwork, including installing a bicycle-priority street and making improvements to existing bikeways.

A new poll shows Ontario residents want the province to invest in bicycling.

London’s Mirror says one bike is stolen every six minutes in the UK. And yes, they really should lock it up better.

The Finnish Supreme Court has affirmed a 32-month prison sentence for a road raging driver who fled the scene after brake-checking a bike rider; the victim died the next day.

Prague prepares to ban bikes from pedestrian areas in the city center, even though collisions between bicyclists and pedestrians are rare.

A writer for Yahoo takes in Isreal’s booming cycling scene, starting with a fondo in the Negev desert.

A new Australian study suggests that taking the lane on roads with a single clear lane actually increases your risk, while taking the lane next to parked cars decreases it.

No disconnect here. A writer for Japan’s Asahi Shimbun says bikes don’t belong on the sidewalk and it’s not safe to ride on the road, so make bicyclists wear helmets.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews goes riding with the annual Belgian Waffle Ride gravel race in San Diego County, which ends as all great races should, at a craft brewery. Then again, Cycling Tips says it’s not really a gravel race, it’s a road race with dirt.

 

Finally…

Celebrating suffrage Lady Godiva style. If you want to know how many bicyclists will use a roadway in summer, don’t study it in the middle of winter.

And Los Angeles celebrates a more sustainable city. Although apparently one without bicycles.

 

Morning Links: O’Farrell caves to Temple St. drivers, Mobility Plan under attack, and reward in LB hit-and-run

In a decision that shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been paying attention lately, yet another LA council member has caved to the demands of the city’s entitled motorists.

This time on Temple Street.

Despite the city’s lip service to Vision Zero, it’s clear, to paraphrase Casablanca, that the deaths of a few innocent people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy town.

The latest example came on the other end of Temple, after Councilmember Gil Cedillo had already killed plans for a lane reduction in his district.

Now neighboring Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell has joined him, citing a lack of significant, widespread support for the vital safety project.

If that’s going to be the standard, we might as well toss Vision Zero in the scrapheap of Los Angeles history right now. Because we may never get a majority of Angelenos to believe that saving lives trumps saving a few minutes on their commute.

City officials are elected to do the right thing, not the popular thing. And make the difficult choices that they know will prove correct down the road, even if they initially lack “significant, widespread support.”

Like saving lives, for instance.

Instead, O’Farrell became just the latest LA councilmember to back down in the face of organized opposition from angry motoring activists, settling for a number of incremental improvements to the street that may make it a little safer and slightly more pleasant, but likely do nothing to stop speeding drivers from running down more innocent people.

In part, because of attitudes like this from Rachael Luckey, a member of the Rampart Village Neighborhood Council.

A road diet on Temple, Luckey says, would have been too extreme.

“I hate to use the words ‘acceptable loss,’ but we do live in a metropolitan city, and it’s a dangerous world we live in,” she says. “As far as Temple Street is concerned, I don’t know that it is a crisis per-se. If we were seeing 20, 30, 50 people run over, I would be a lot more alarmed.”

A California Highway Patrol collisions database shows that from 2009 to 2017 on the stretch of Temple Street between Beverly and Beaudry, 34 people have been severely injured and five people have died in traffic crashes.

I wonder if she’d still consider it an acceptable loss if one of those victims was a member of her own family.

And once again, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti was too busy running for president to weigh in on one of his own signature programs, exchanging pledged commitment to Vision Zero for zero involvement.

When Vision Zero was first announced in Los Angeles, I questioned whether the city’s leaders had the courage to made the tough choices necessary to save lives, and help make this a healthier, more vibrant and livable city.

The answer, sadly, is no.

………

On a related subject, a new journal article from Chapman University assistant law professor Ernesto Hernandez Lopez examines the legal aspects of the LA Mobility Plan.

And the auto-centric bikelash that threatens to derail it.

Here’s how he summarizes the paper, titled Bike Lanes, Not Cars: Mobility and the Legal Fight for Future Los Angeles:

  • Examines LA’s Mobility Plan 2035
  • Summarizes lessons from biking scholarship
  • Uses these lessons to make sense of the litigation on the Mobility Plan 2035
  • Suggests how law and politics can help city bike lane policies and advocacy and policy making for these
  • Relates bike lanes to Vision Zero (safety), “first and last mile” (intermodal), and mobility (de-car)
  • Correlates the litigation and LA experiences with Vehicular Cycling and Automobility theories

………

The family of Cole Micek have called on the public to help identify the two drivers who smashed into him as he rode his bike in Long Beach earlier this month, leaving him to die in the street.

Los Angeles County is now offering a $25,000 reward to help bring his killers to justice.

………

The San Gabriel River trail will be closed at Carson Street in Long Beach today for an emergency repair due to water damage. Riders will be detoured to Town Center Drive.

The path should be reopened on Saturday, unless they run into unexpected problems.

………

By now, you’ve probably seen the dashcam video of the first fatal crash caused by a self-driving car, which occurred earlier this week in Tempe AZ.

If not, take a few minutes to see if you can reconcile what you see with the local police chief’s insistence that the victim, a homeless woman walking her bicycle across the street, darted out of nowhere into the car’s path.

Right.

Then look closely at the interior view, which shows the clearly distracted emergency human driver looking down the whole time, until just before the moment of impact.

The car should have been able to detect the victim; the fact that it didn’t indicates a major flaw in the system. And the woman behind the wheel definitely should have, if she’d been paying the slighted bit of attention.

Correction: The initial stories identified the driver as a man, Raphael Vasquez. However, it appears that Vasquez has been living as woman, Raphaela Vasquez, since being released from prison in 2005. Thanks to Andy Stow for the correction

Writing for Outside, Peter Flax says something like this was just a matter of time and shows that autonomous cars aren’t ready for cyclists. Or pedestrians, evidently.

A motoring website insists that Elaine Herzberg’s death isn’t just Uber’s problem, it’s everyone’s.

Curbed’s Alissa Walker observes this is the moment we decide that human lives matter more than cars. If only.

Streetsblog says if self-driving cars aren’t safer than human drivers, they don’t belong on the streets.

According to Treehugger, the fatal crash shows we need to fix our cities, not our cars.

The head of a European bike industry trade group responds that bike riders will have to wear beacons to identify themselves to autonomous vehicles. Why stop there? Why not implant all newborns with transponders so self-driving cars can see them regardless of how they travel, and choose to kill the one person crossing the street rather than the three people in a car.

The Wall Street Journal reports the human behind the wheel — it’s hard to call her the driver — was a convicted felon with a history of traffic violations.

The AP says it raises questions about Uber’s self-driving system. Gee, you think?

Just hours later, another self-driving Uber car was caught running a red light in San Francisco. So apparently, they do operate just like human drivers.

On the other hand, a Florida writer says he’ll worry about autonomous vehicles the first time a robot flips the bird and runs him off the road.

………

Local

Great piece from Peter Flax on the short-lived and sadly lamented Wolfpack Marathon Crash Race, which he calls the most captivating, inclusive and deliciously bat-shit crazy bike race in the history of the sport.

Bike the Vote LA has released their voter guide for next month’s elections in LA County.

A former Los Angeles Times staff writer calls LA streets a contested space where no improvement — such as the Venice Blvd Great Streets project — goes unpunished.

Caught on video: CiclaValley captures a red light-running driver who checks most scofflaw motorist boxes.

Another from CiclaValley, as he notices the unwelcome addition of another traffic lane in Griffith Park.

The LA Daily News examines the bikelash against dockless LimeBike bikeshare bikes scattered around the CSUN campus.

Bicycling talks with the founder of LA-based women’s bikewear maker Machines for Freedom.

Monrovia partners with Lyft and dockless bikeshare provider LimeBike to improve mobility options for residents.

Forbes talks with Harvey Mudd College Professor Paul Steinberg about his bike-based course that takes students on a two-wheeled tour of the LA region to explore the challenges of creating bicycle-friendly cities.

 

State

A San Francisco writer describes the bike ride that hooked him for life.

You’ve got to be kidding. Life is cheap in Yolo County, where a garbage truck driver walked in a plea deal in the death of a bike-riding college professor after pleading no contest to vehicular manslaughter. And was rewarded with a deferred judgement and a lousy 80 hours of community service.

 

National

We missed this one from last week. If you have a Louis Garneau Course helmet, it could be subject to a safety recall.

Writing for Outside, Joe Lindsey says the Vista Outdoors boycott was doomed from the start, despite media attention.

Eugene, OR decides to make a six-block test road diet permanent, concluding it was worth the effort despite initial concerns. Sort of what might happen here if more city officials had the guts to actually try it.

Traffic delays caused by highway construction enticed an El Paso, Texas man to sell his truck and buy a motorized bicycle, improving his health and saving at least $800 a month.

A Milwaukee newspaper reminds us that we’re just a week away from 30 days of cycling.

The Michigan state legislature moves forward with a three-foot passing law.

Another one we missed: A New York professor who doesn’t ride a bike explains why he still supports bike lanes, and why he feels safer on streets with them.

The Wall Street Journal looks at cycling attire that doubles as office wear. If you can get past their paywall.

A tragic story from North Carolina, where a hit-and-run driver left the rider of a motorized bicycle lying in the road, where he was subsequently struck by four other drivers.

 

International

Cycling Weekly considers the symptoms, tests and recovery for concussions. Sooner or later, everyone comes off their bike, and chances are, you can’t count on your helmet to protect you from TBIs, because that’s not what most helmets are designed to do.

CNBC examines the increasingly green future of public transportation, including bicycles.

A new reports says 43% of the Ontario, Canada bike riders killed between 2010 and 2015 were struck from behind. And 25% were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Montreal bike riders are about to get their first bike boulevard, aka a velorue. Which LA riders can only look upon with envy from afar.

Wired says London may have reached peak cycling unless they can get more women and non-white men on two wheels.

They get it. A British website says yes, the country’s road rules need to be modernized, but adding offenses for riding a bike is no place to start.

A 30-year old man is bicycling across India to collect stories.

South Korean bike paths are now officially open to ped-assist ebikes, and riders will no longer need a drivers license.

The president of Air Asia has apologized after video of airline employees recklessly damaging bicycles in Kuala Lumpur goes viral; to make up for it, they’re letting bikes fly free next month.

 

Competitive Cycling

After years of denying it was even a problem, cycling’s governing body announced plans to use a mobile X-ray machine to catch motor dopers, who may have a drone hidden inside their bikes.

A young Canadian cyclist looks at the problem of sexism in cycling.

A pharmacist says it’s time to finally ban the pain killer tramadol in cycling. No shit.

 

Finally…

Nothing like putting a few miles on your bike every year. At least we have the socialists on our side.

And a brief look at Toronto, where the Idaho Stop Law already applies to drivers.

Just like LA. And everywhere else.

Morning Links: Crosswalk running parking cop, talking bike theft on Bike Talk, and Blessing of the Bicycles set

Curbed says city officials think Angelenos don’t understand how dangerous our streets really are, while bike and pedestrian advocates just wish they’d commit to fixing them.

On the other hand, our streets might be safer if LADOT’s parking enforcement officers stopped for people in crosswalks, too.

………

The latest edition of Bike Talk feature’s Bryan Hance of Bike Index talking bike theft and prevention with yours truly and Carlos Morales of Stan’s Bike Shop.

………

My favorite event of the annual LA Bike Week is set for May 15th, with the nondenominational Blessing of the Bicycles at Good Sam Hospital.

This year they’ll be honoring Metro with the Golden Spoke Award.

Here’s the spoke card for the event.

………

It was a bad day for a bike-riding refugee kid in Texas, and stroller-riding kids in New York.

The Netherlands became safer when they got tired of burying children killed by cars. But you have to wonder if America’s kindermord moment will ever come, if it hasn’t already.

Then again, we don’t seem to place much value on kids killed by guns, either.

………

Local

The LAPD is looking for a missing 16-year old girl suffering from autism and depression, who may be riding a bicycle.

The Capital & Main website says Elon Musk’s Boring Co. tunnel could just make things worse for Los Angeles by amplifying existing inequities. And the real solution is to get more cars off the road, not trying to reinvent the subway.

A new ranking of America’s best fondos rates Phil Gaimon’s Phil’s Cookie Fondo #8 in the US in just its 3rd year; last weekend’s Malibu GRANFONDO was ranked 13th, and the Campagnolo GranFondo San Diego was 3rd.

Maybe there really will be a Marathon Crash Ride this year after all.

 

State

Officials have broken ground on bike and pedestrian projects in Encinitas designed to provide safe routes under an I-5 overpass.

A Santa Cruz writer says safe and convenient biking and walking can reduce the county’s deep social inequality.

The National Park Service could reopen an off-road trail to give bicyclists crossing the Golden Gate Bridge a safer route into Sausalito.

An Oakland letter writer says putting in a road diet is an “experiment by the traffic calming industry that is using social engineering and behavior modification” to force people onto bikeshare bikes. They’re onto us, comrades.

A Sacramento paper says dockless bikeshare could reduce traffic and ease commutes on a local highway.

Chico bicyclists ride to remember a man who remained a dedicated bike advocate up to his death five years ago, even after a collision that left him a quadriplegic.

 

National

Hawaii bicyclists are calling for the passage of a three-foot passing law. Twentynine states currently require at least a three-foot distance to pass a bicyclist, including California.

It takes a major schmuck to steal a ghost bike for a Las Vegas mom.

Would you want to ride on the Donald J. Trump Utah National Parks Highway?

A road-raging Santa Fe NM driver admits to slamming on his brakes and backing into a senior citizens bike club, sending one rider to the hospital. Of course, in his telling, he’s the innocent victim of the rude and offensive riders who slammed into his car, then wanted to fight him; fortunately, he fled the scene before granny could kick his ass. And needless to say, he got off with a just a traffic ticket. 

Oklahoma City opens a new eight-mile bike path named after the late, great Will Rogers.

In what could be a huge leap in rehabilitation, a man who was paralyzed from the shoulders down in a bike crash was able to feed himself with his own hand and arm at an Ohio University, thanks to electrical brain implants connected to a computer system.

A Charlotte NC business site says developers have to do their part if it’s going to become a bike city.

A North Carolina man gets 28 years behind bars for beating a bike rider to death after the victim complained about a too-close pass — and possibly used racial slurs. The driver’s son, who was 16-years old at the time of the attack, faces charges for joining in the road rage attack.

 

International

Cycling Tips unwraps the mysteries of handlebar tape.

Carlton Reid of Bike Biz says bike mechanics are worth their weight in gold. Seriously, when you find a good wrench, you should treat him or her like your bike’s best friend. Because they are.

Great idea. An English community group is looking for volunteers to help disabled riders go mountain biking on adult tricycles and three-wheeled handcycles.

The Evening Standard offers tips on how to travel with your bike.

Britain’s proposed law banning dangerous cycling could carry a life sentence for fatal crashes; drivers currently face a maximum of 14 years, though that may be raised to match the bike bill.

Unbelievable. An Irish court rules that a driver had no obligation to back out carefully from a walled-off driveway with no view of the sidewalk, after bicyclist crashed into the side of his car.

Even in the Netherlands, you need to know how to ride your bike safely.

The UN is getting into the bikeshare business, opening a system for staff and visitors at their Nairobi office.

Britain’s Daily Mail says an “activist” cycling group in Melbourne, Australia, is fighting to remove fines for not wearing a bike helmet.  Which seems like a perfectly reasonable thing for “activists” to advocate for.

 

Competitive Cycling

Former Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins says allegations that he doped are part of a malicious smear campaign. Which is pretty much what everyone who has been caught doping has said.

The Guardian says the evidence of doping around Team Sky cyclists and other pro athletes shows deep corruption and a “culture of studied evasion.”

 

Finally…

If you can’t get a bikeshare bike in Paris, just buy one already. How do you take the lane when you’re riding in boat traffic?

And evidently, you need to put turn signals on your bike. Because those darn hand signals are just so 2017.

 

Guest Post: CD1’s Gil Cedillo blocks Vision Zero complete street project on Temple Street

We’ve talked a lot on here about North Figueroa. And how CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo singlehandedly blocked a shovel-ready complete streets project designed to tame the deadly street.

Less discussed is how committed Cedillo has been about blocking any similar projects in his district. Including a long-planned lane reduction on Temple Street that crosses council district boundaries.

Derrick Paul writes today to explain what’s going on with Temple.

Or not, in this case

………

I recently discovered a proposal to improve street safety near my neighborhood has been quietly canceled. LADOT proposed a group of projects around the middle of 2017 in support of the city’s Vision Zero initiative, which is a commitment to stop tolerating traffic-related injuries and fatalities on city streets.

One of the streets included — Temple Street — is directly adjacent to my neighborhood. The street carves through numerous street-facing residences and intersects several commercial corridors, connecting residents with businesses and public facilities (schools, parks, a library). However, like many streets in Los Angeles, this very localized thru-fare is also very large, and accommodates little else besides passing automobile traffic.

Crossing the street is a daring negotiation, and attempting to use a bicycle along it is hostile and outright dangerous, pushing any reasonable person to the sidewalk. The Vision Zero project called for numerous infrastructure changes to improve safety for all users of the street, but it’s implementation, set for completion last month, never materialized.

I learned that our district councilman stopped LADOT from moving forward. This is very surprising, as there had been no meetings with my neighborhood, no general outreach to constituents of the community. The project had been shelved with no public explanation.

Seeking further information from Council District 1, which is represented by Gil Cedillo, I reached out through one of his social media channels. I asked why his office doesn’t support mobility safety in our community. A response eventually came, but in the form of another question. “I support vehicle and pedestrian safety in our district. What makes you think otherwise?” he or someone associated claimed. After pointing to his contradicting decisions and pressing for further details, the chat went silent  His form of outreach and accessibility turned out to be lip service, a façade of transparency. So I dug a little further and found this ground had been covered before.

In 2014, residents in Highland Park ran into a similar obstacle. After years of outreach and effort, advocates found their push for better street conditions unilaterally halted by Gil Cedillo. Initially promising constituents he would support their process, which had preceded him under councilmember Ed Reyes (who termed out in 2013), Gil Cedillo changed his mind once winning his election and denied LADOT the authority to implement the project.

Pushes to convince Cedillo to move forward with the project, as he promised, yielded divisive, charade meetings, little reasonable conversation or explanation, and little actual engagement. Pressure from advocates eventually ended with a letter from Cedillo, declaring his decision to indefinitely halt the project and expressing a list of alternatives, which strangely excluded the bicycle lane that formed the centerpiece of the project advocates long pushed for. Nearly four years later, most of Cedillo’s alternatives never materialized.

During this inaction, several people died or suffered severe injuries from traffic collisions along Figueroa Street. The history I reference is well documented in the archives of a blog maintained during the time.

From 2013 to 2017, 23 people suffered severe injuries along the dangerous stretch of Temple Street near me, 5 of them fatal. Under a backdrop of this much carnage, our street has a lot of room for improvement, and our city’s department of transportation recognizes this and has done the hard work of designing, proposing, and funding a project to do so. Yet my city councilman mysteriously wants to keep it from moving forward. It’s really baffling. Is it out of spite? What stake does he have in keeping the street dangerous? None of this is clear. I could understand if Cedillo had made this decision out of a genuine concern of the community, but his decision is unilateral.

Our councilman should be supportive, not disconnecting from his constituents and making these very important decisions on his own. Is it not us who he is representing and responsive to?

The lack of engagement is reflected in our district webpage, where a photo of a smiling Gilbert Cedillo is surrounded by a ghostly shell of text, devoid of many community updates. Our councilmen and councilwomen practically have the power of kings in their jurisdiction, and unfortunately we have to pray they are virtuous enough to empower us. There are engaged constituents in District 1 interested in working to solve problems in our community. Momentum to reconfigure our most dangerous streets to a safer layout, as Vision Zero proposes, is an easy one, and Cedillo should support it. The alternative is dangerous streets that continue to fail us.

Fortunately all is not lost. Temple Street crosses through two districts — District 1 and 13. District 13, overseen by Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, plans to support the project.

Photos of Temple Street by Derrick Paul

………

Here’s the contact page for Cedillo’s office , as well as Mitch O’Farrel’s, if you want to let them know what you think. 

One of them might actually listen to you.

 

Morning Links: LA raises speed limits, Vision Zero holds course, and LA River Bike Path reopens in Long Beach

One quick note. Come back after 11:00 this morning for a guest post from Derrick Paul about the planned Vision Zero lane reduction and complete street project on Temple Street. 

And why it hasn’t happened.

………

Los Angeles will be raising speed limits on nearly 100 miles of streets to comply with California’s deadly 85th Percentile Law, which allows drivers to set speed limits by applying their foot to the gas pedal.

Meanwhile, speed limits will decrease somewhat on a little more than 52 miles of streets.

The tradeoff is that police will now be able to use radar to enforce speeds, which they had been banned from doing on nearly 80% of LA streets.

Under the terms of the law, police can’t use radar to enforce the speed limit if a street hasn’t had a speed survey within the last seven years.

Once the survey is conducted, the speed limit must be set at the speed driven by the 15th fastest motorist driving unimpeded in non-rush hour traffic, although the city does have the option to round down slightly.

So in order to make our streets safer, we have to make them faster and more dangerous.

Or just repeal a stupid, outdated and deadly law.

Correction: In my haste last night, I mistakenly wrote that the 85th Percentile Law was based on the average speed of 85% of motorists, ignoring my gut feeling that I was wrong, but too tired to stop and look it up.

And I was right. That I was wrong, that is. 

The following email from Casey Kerrigan clarifies this complicated law better than any other explanation I’ve seen. 

When doing the speed survey the speed limit is based on the 85 percentile not on the average speed of 85% of the cars surveyed.  Note that speed surveys are conduced under the optimal conditions to speed, ie during the day, at a non rush hour time and only the speed of free flowing cars are measures. Free flowing are cars with no traffic ahead of them for at least 5 seconds on a straightaway and unmarked cars are used to house the speed measurement equipment.
This is from the Caltrans guidelines for how to set speed limits which you can find here.
This paragraph is taken from the Caltrans guidelines linked above on page 36.

3.2.6 Calculating 85th Percentile Speed

If 100 vehicle speeds are plotted, the 85th percentile speed is determined by looking at the speed of the 15th vehicle down from the top speed. Fifteen percent of the vehicles are travelling faster than this speed, and eighty five percent are travelling at or below this speed. If less than 100 vehicles are counted, the 85th percentile speed must be determined by calculating 85 percent of the number of vehicles counted and determining the vehicles’ 85th percentile speed. For example if 70 vehicles were counted, 0.85 x 70 = 59.5. The speed of vehicle 60 represents the 85th percentile. Examples are shown in Appendix A on the Speed Zone Survey Sheet examples.

………

Speaking of which, Vision Zero Los Angeles has released their 2018 Action Plan & Progress Report.

The city plans to remain on course with the program, despite a sharp jump in pedestrian deaths, and badly missing Mayor Eric Garcetti’s goal of a 20% reduction in traffic fatalities in 2017.

Of course, that was overly ambitious, since the program is just now gaining its footing and getting its first real funding.

………

The LA River Bike Path has reopened in Long Beach, where it had been closed for construction work, now that a large construction crane has been removed.

However, work vehicles and flaggers will remain on the path, and riders may be required to slow down or walk their bikes through the construction zone.

Thanks to Long Beach Mobility and Healthy Living Programs Officers Michelle Mowery for the heads-up.

………

Rent-a-cops driving on a Chicago bike path lose it when a bike rider complains that they don’t belong on the path. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the link.

………

Local

The victim’s missing head was finally found in an LA multi-modal murder.

A UCLA letter writer says scofflaw Bird scooter users are no worse than bike riders, who he can’t recall ever having seen “obey the traffic laws to the letter.” Unlike pedestrians and motorists, who evidently always obey the letter of the law in his eyes.

CiclaValley imagines what a re-imagined, bike-friendly Ventura Blvd could be.

The Pasadena Star News looks at the proposal to reconfigure Orange Grove Blvd into a complete street that welcomes everyone.

 

State

Seven proposed U.S. Bicycle Routes could soon be coming to, and through, California.

Encinitas-based cruiser bike-maker Electra Bicycle Company turns 25.

Cycling Without Age comes to Merced.

A pair of dueling Op-Eds in the Sacramento Bee say a bill to allow mountain bikes in wilderness areas would be good for the backcountry, while another calls it a Trojan horse that would put wheels over wilderness.

 

National

Bike Snob says enough with the helmet shaming, already.

Streetsblog says American cities aren’t making much progress on Vision Zero, except for New York and San Francisco. Although for some reason, they aren’t tracking Los Angeles on their chart.

A Seattle-area man had his bike stolen after he was hit on the head with a pipe. No word on whether he was wearing a helmet, which might have helped. Or not.

Washington is the latest state to approve an ebike classification bill based on the one pioneered in California.

Great idea, as a Washington bike school teams with a woodworking school to teach everything from wrenching to wood frame and wheel building.

Evidently, LA drivers aren’t the only ones who complain about removing traffic lanes from massive streets. Tempe AZ will restripe a roadway to remove bollards protecting a bike lane and add back a third traffic lane in response to motorist complaints.

You’ve got to be kidding. Just days after the Utah house approved an Idaho stop law, a bill that would allow drivers to also treat red lights as stop signs passed a legislative committee. After all, what difference could there possibly be between someone on a 15-pound bike and someone wrapped in two tons of high-speed glass and steel? I mean, other than the bodies the latter would likely leave behind?

Plans for a new bridge on I-10 in Mobile, Alabama will be required to include options for bicycle and pedestrian pathways.

 

International

Cycling Tips offers advice on how to use music to get the best out of your rides. They probably don’t mean singing Hank Williams out loud while you ride, as someone who looks a lot like me may or may not have done on occasion.

Toronto rejects a staff recommendation to remove lanes from a major street, and keep it six lanes and dangerous instead.

Caught on video: British police use bike cam video to prosecute a 50 mph punishment pass, resulting in the equivalent of a $365 fine. A much better punishment would be to make the driver stand in the roadway while someone else does it to him.

The Irish government will introduce a safe passing law mandating that drivers pass bicyclists with the rough equivalent of three feet on roads with a speed limit below 31 mph, and five feet above that.

Eat and bike your way across Italy with Top Chef contestants.

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war bikes is all too real, as Aussie bicyclists find thumbtacks spread across at least four popular riding routes. Far from a harmless prank, something like that can cause serious injuries — or worse — if a flat causes a rider to fall. And should be prosecuted as such.

The government of Queensland, Australia, has introduced a presumed liability bill, which would presume that the operator of the more dangerous vehicle has a greater responsibility to avoid crashes, and would be considered at fault in a collision; the head of the local auto club calls it a divisive bill that pits motorists against cyclists. Actually, motorists have done that themselves for decades.

 

Finally…

Your WiFi depends on a Hollywood bombshell who escaped Nazis and an unhappy marriage on a bicycle. It’s golf balls over bikes on the beach.

And can a serial burglar really be a bad guy if he rides a bike and leaves the homes neat and tidy?

………

Thanks to View-Speed for their generous contribution to help keep BikinginLA coming your way every day. Click here if you’d like to donate to help support this site

 

Morning Links: LA Vision Zero turns two, US traffic deaths are up, and close calls in LA bike commuting

Say happy birthday to LA’s Vision Zero program.

It’s been two years since Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that Los Angeles was finally getting around to doing something about traffic fatalities.

Although not much has actually been accomplished in that time, as traffic deaths fell 6% last year after spiking in 2016.

Meanwhile, some of what was has already been ripped out at the behest of angry drivers who insist that the road does, in fact, belong to them.

And don’t seem to care who has to die as a result.

Hopefully, that will change now that the city has finally provided some funding, dedicating $27 million for the program.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton seems to have summed up the current status of Vision Zero in the City of Angels.

Some critics are quick to blame L.A.’s Vision Zero programs for the unhealthy trend. Playa Del Rey road diet critics cite their own documentation showing a doubling of “accidents” since Vision Zero safety improvements were implemented. (If true, this would argue for more traffic calming, though that is not the conclusion they come to.)

The actual reasons for the alarming trend appears to have more to do with increased driving, low gas prices, a strong economy, and a lack of political will to take Vision Zero seriously. The program was barely funded for the first two years, until council leadership recently shepherded $27 million for the current fiscal year which just began on July 1. On top of the paucity of funding, several councilmembers have actively blocked safety improvements in their districts.

The simple fact is, we will never cut traffic deaths in Los Angeles without the political will to make it happen.

And that seems to be sadly lacking, both in the mayor’s office, and in far too many council districts.

………

Speaking of Vision Zero — or in this case, zero vision — US traffic deaths have topped 40,000 for the second year in a row.

………

LA Cyclist captures a couple of close calls on yesterday’s bike commute from Burbank to Culver City.

He calls it a typical commute.

Even though people keep telling us that no one will even ride a few miles to get to work, let alone through a handful of cities.

And especially not in LA’s unbearable winter weather.

Right?

………

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from author and bike lawyer Bob Mionske, who writes about the obstacles to justice for bicyclists.

…If you ask the motoring public, you will likely hear that scofflaw cyclists create their own problems by choosing to ride in the street.

Convincing a driver that a lack of vigilance could potentially take someone’s life is a difficult task. After all, most drivers overestimate their driving ability — particularly when it comes to using a device at the same time. Worst of all, most of us don’t have the discipline to put our devices down when we get behind the wheel. No group is more vulnerable to this lack of discipline than a human on a bicycle. And as a roadie, you probably face the risk of being hit more than anyone else based on the hours you spend weekly on a bike in traffic…

It’s a good read, and should give you a lot to think about.

………

Local

An Op-Ed in the LA Times makes the case for accepting Bird scooters as part of the city’s transportation network. Although while people on bikes still die far too often on our streets, saying bicycling is “often lethal” is an extreme exaggeration. Last year, LA County saw one bicycling fatality per 357,000 residents; the City of LA was even safer, with one death per 442,000 residents.

KCRW looks at the new bike and pedestrian Red Car Bridge planned for the LA River.

 

State

Galt, California is starting work on a $5 million Safe Routes to School project, including two miles of sidewalks and dedicated bike lanes. Not bad for a town of just 23,000. And no, I never heard of it before either.

 

National

Peter Flax interviews Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss in a clash of bike writing titans.

An Oregon newspaper calls on the state to scrap the $15 tax on new bike sales, even as lawmakers consider broadening it.

The Utah house has overwhelmingly approved a modified version of the Idaho Stop Law, which now moves to the state Senate.

Iowa decides that instead of fixing the roads, they’ll just make bike riders wear hi-viz on roads with speed limits above 45 mph. But only in groups of 500 or less; apparently, they think drivers may actually  see over 500 people riding bicycles.

A Chicago website profiles the woman responsible for ghost bikes in the Windy City.

The New York Times illustrates — literally — why self-driving cars can’t save cities.

Sad news from New Orleans, where 32-year old Muhiyidin d’Baha, a well-known leader in the Black Lives Matter movement, died after he was shot in the leg in an apparent robbery while riding his bike; he rode another six blocks before collapsing in the street.

An Orlando street will go on a four-week road diet to judge its effectiveness and reaction of the public before any permanent changes are made. Although a single month seems like a very short amount of time to give it a reasonable test.

 

International

How to avoid a flat.

A new Canadian study suggests that good bicycling infrastructure encourages winter bike riding. Which would be even more true here in sunny Los Angeles, if we actually had some.

A writer for the Guardian complains about “over-entitled” cyclists and their abandoned dockless bikeshare bikes clogging UK sidewalks.

It’s a well-deserved 16-months behind bars for a British driver caught on camera intentionally running down a man on a bike.

Tehran’s Car-free Tuesdays is losing momentum after 117 weeks due to a lack of safe streets and infrastructure.

Frightening dispatch from Australia, where a 72-year old man describes how he played dead after he was shot by an attacker, apparently at random, as he rode a gas-powered motorized bike on a bike path.

Australia has slapped an unexpected 5% tariff on ebikes — and is considering a similar tariff on premium bikes and frame sets — after a local bike maker complained, in a country where native bike makers make up just 1% of the market.

A New Zealand woman has restarted an off-road race series for kids that had been founded by her husband, two years after he died from a heart attack while riding.

 

Finally…

Cracking down scofflaw bicyclists and moped riders in the world’s most bike-friendly country.

And the best day ever is the one where you get back on your bike after an injury.

Especially a 21-day coma caused by a failed stunt.

 

Morning Links: More proof lower speed limit cuts casualties, and CA bill could allow lower limits on dangerous streets

One quick question before we start.

Does it count as Viking Biking in Los Angeles when there’s water falling from the sky?

………

Evidently, 20 really is plenty.

Overall traffic injuries in Edinburgh, Scotland have dropped 24% since the city instituted a 20 mph speed limit. And fatalities and serious injuries dropped nearly a third.

More evidence that if Los Angeles is serious about Vision Zero — something that remains to be seen — it will have to get serious about lowing speed limits.

Which will be difficult to do under current state law.

………

That effort could be aided a little by a new bill in the state legislature that would allow cities to lower speed limits on streets with a high crash rate.

The bill, AB 2363, sponsored by Glendale’s Laura Friedman, is a long way from repealing the state’s deadly 85th percentile law, which allows speeding drivers to set dangerously high speed limits.

But at least it’s a step in the right direction.

And one Los Angeles should support if we hope to make a dent in the city’s far-too-high fatality rate.

Then again, one death is one too many.

………

Local

Ewan McGregor is one of us, as the paparazzi catch him going for a bike ride with his daughter in LA.

 

State

A woman was seriously injured in San Diego County’s Imperial Beach when she was struck by a left-turning driver as she rode with two other people in a bike lane. Needless to say, the driver claims he never saw her — and somehow concludes, based on that total lack of knowledge, that she never saw him, either. Thanks to Frank Lehnerz for the heads-up. 

People for Bikes offers lessons learned from San Francisco’s “lightening-fast, dirt-cheap” protected bike lanes.

 

National

In news that should surprise absolutely no one, studies show that Uber and Lyft are adding to the congestion on our streets, rather than reducing it.

Hawaii bike riders complain that drivers give cyclists less space on the road than they’d give a dog.

A Wisconsin city is making efforts to become more bike-friendly, nearly two centuries after bicycles first came to town. Even if one of the two bike-friendly businesses is the local tackle shop.

Dozens of Illinois cyclists took a 40-mile winter bike ride to promote year-round bicycling, and raise funds to buy a new bicycle for the local police department.

A Detroit newspaper looks at calls to boycott the maker of Giro, Bell, Camelbak and Copilot bike gear, because their parent company also make guns and ammunition, and supports the NRA.

A 77-year old Pennsylvania woman has donated the funds needed to finish a $1 million bike and pedestrian bridge over a highway, which will be named after her surgeon husband, who passed away last year.

Bike riders in Atlanta are complaining about cars blocking bike lanes. In other words, just like drivers do virtually everywhere else.

 

International

Nice story, as a mother worries, and does the research, when her 5-year old daughter asks if she can ride to school by herself.

A Toronto newspaper sings the praises of bicycling in Mexico City, while noting it’s still far from a bike paradise.

An Ottawa, Canada newspaper complains that bikes were an afterthought in plans for a new train line, after commissioners reject plans to ban bikes from the trains at rush hour.

Ebike sales are surging in Europe, as they give older and disabled people the opportunity to ride, while others look to reduce their carbon footprint.

The war on bikes continues, as a road raging English driver tries to run a bike rider off the road, before getting out and pushing him off his bike.

An automotive website looks at the problem of introducing dockless bikeshare to Amsterdam, where most residents already own one or more bikes, and don’t welcome the new bikes cluttering their sidewalks.

A Spanish man tells the tale of how he spent 28 days in a coma after being struck by lightening, then recovered enough to win a bronze medal at last year’s paracycling world championships. Oddly, he was struck just days after getting a lightening bolt tattoo.

New Zealand bicyclists complain that moving a bike lane to the opposite side of the street to avoid conflicts with bus stops has actually made it more dangerous.

Auckland, New Zealand turns to polka dot streets in an effort to get drivers to slow down and protect bike riders and pedestrians.

Caught on video: A lane-splitting Aussie bike rider slams into an 80-year old man who was crossing mid-block between stalled cars.

 

Competitive Cycling

Locals fear Philadelphia’s 33-year old professional bike race is over for good, after being canceled for the second straight year.

VeloNews offers photo essays from the winter Omloop and Muur cycling classics.

 

Finally…

When you feel the need for a hard ride, but don’t actually want to go anywhere. That feeling when the hit-and-run driver who ran you over is a Nintendo character in a go-kart.

And why bother building more bikeways when you can just declare your city bike-friendly?

 

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