Tag Archive for West Hollywood

Morning Links: Protected bike lanes are now legal; WeHo considers removing crosswalks to improve ped safety

It’s perfect bike weather in LA.

And the tourists are gone, most of them, anyway. Which means it’s relatively safe to return to our usually over-congested bike paths.

So tell your boss you’re coming down with a bad case of bike flu. And hit the road to show your bike some much needed love for a few hours.

Work will wait.

And so will today’s post. I promise we’ll still be here when you get back.

As for my bike, it’s still sitting in the corner of my office feeling neglected, waiting sadly for the day I can get back on it.

And so am I.

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Governor Brown signed two new bike bills, one permitting protected bikeways — which are currently considered experimental under state law — and another allowing voters to add a $5 fee to car registration on a local basis to fund bike infrastructure.

AB 1193 directs Caltrans to develop standards for protected bike lanes, while at the same time allowing cities to use guidelines included in the NACTO guide, rather than rely on Caltrans, which tends to be overly conservative and decades behind the times.

SB 1183 allows local governments to impose an additional $5 fee on car registrations to fund bicycle networks. However, it requires approval by a two-thirds majority. And getting two-thirds of voters, almost all of whom are drivers, to tax themselves to pay for bike lanes seems pretty damned unlikely.

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Under the heading of they just don’t get it, West Hollywood authorities consider removing crosswalks and increasing traffic speeds to improve pedestrian safety. No, really.

Maybe someone can explain it to them.

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Very sad news from Portland, as Kerry Kunsman, a League Cycling Instructor and board member of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, is critically injured in a rear-end collision while on border to border bike ride. The SDCBC asks for your prayers for his recovery from a severe brain injury.

Update: The news gets even sadder, as I’m told Kerry Kunsman passed away this morning. My deepest sympathy and prayers for him and for all his family and friends.  

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According to the New York Post, bikes kill; a bike-hating writer for the paper calls even average cyclists assassins on wheels — neglecting the fact that cars kill roughly 5,000 times more people than the average of six people killed in collisions with bicycles in the US each year.

Meanwhile, the paper is still raging over the recent collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian, who sadly passed away over the weekend.

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Bike racing’s governing body will try out on-bike cameras and real-time GPS positioning at this week’s road cycling world championships.

BMC wins the men’s time trial at the world championships; Teejay van Garderen says it’s the highlight of his young career. Specialized-Lululemon takes the women’s title for the third year in a row.

And pro cycling’s God of Thunder calls is a career.

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Local

Hats off to the LACBC, which filed a public records request with the LA County DA’s office for information on the Milt Olin case.

Bicyclists respond to the anti-bike letters in the LA Times. Meanwhile, Walk Bike Burbank responds to anti-bike letters in the Burbank paper.

A Glendale letter writer says bicyclists should pay a “fairness fee,” failing to realize that cyclists and other non-drivers subsidize our streets for the benefit of motorists; what would be fair is giving every bicyclist, pedestrian and transit user a refund on the portion of their taxes spent on roadwork.

 

State

Orange County opens another two-mile segment of the planed OC Loop, which will eventually create a continuous 66 mile bikeway through the county.

A Fountain Valley woman barely avoids falling debris from a crippled airliner as she rode along the bike path in Huntington Beach.

A helmetless San Diego area cyclist suffers a fractured skull in a solo fall. This is one of the rare instances when whether the victim wore a helmet is actually worth reporting, since relatively slow speed falls are exactly what bike helmets are designed to protect against.

Yes, you’re required to pull over when five or more vehicles back up behind you and are unable to pass, just like any other slow moving vehicle. But only when it’s safe and there’s space to do so.

 

National

Elly Blue looks at the future of bicycling and how to ensure everyone has a seat at the table. Or on a bike, anyway. Which brings us to the good, the bad and the ugly of marketing bicycling to women.

Bicycling offers the 10-best car-free bike paths in the US, and calls the newly combined Bike Index and National Stolen Bike Registry the most powerful tool to fight bike theft.

A survivor of the horrific 1970 plane crash that killed most of the Wichita State University football team plans to ride from the school’s football stadium to the site of the crash in Colorado.

If you’re going to steal a bike, probably not the best choice to snatch one from a San Antonio bike cop. Or one in Zimbabwe for that matter — especially not if you’re a fellow cop.

Delaware is the nation’s second most dangerous state for cyclists on a per capita basis.

What will it take to make Macon GA safe for cyclists and pedestrians?

 

International

A shift to bicycling, walking and transit could save 1.4 million lives by 2050; Hamburg Germany plans to go car-free in 20 years; could other cities follow suit?

The oldest Tour de France stage winner in the post-war era passed away in Belgium on Saturday at age 92, 51 years after he won he race’s ninth stage.

An Aussie take on exploring The Hague by bike.

Explore Israeli history by bike. Though you might want to wait until things settle down just a tad.

British bike advocacy group Sustrans applauds an Australian state’s consideration of bike safety reforms. But why does even a bike website think the Idaho stop law is radical?

 

Finally…

As if cyclists didn’t have a bad enough reputation, are we ready for the Bieb on the bike? For God’s sake, someone buy that boy a belt, already.

And caught on video: a Russian bike rider barely avoids becoming collateral damage in a traffic collision — twice.

 

 

Embarrassing video shows Sheriff’s deputy doesn’t know what a sharrow is or what it means

They should be embarrassed.

Or maybe we should, since the LA County Sheriff’s Department is supposed to work for all of us.

Yet as this new YouTube video from WesHigh shows, at least one Sheriff’s Deputy has no idea what a sharrow is. Let alone that bicyclists aren’t required to ride to the ride on a non-sharable lane.

As the video points out, sharrows are not just wayfinding symbols that indicate a Class III bike route, but indicate the preferred position for bike riders within the lane. While you’re not required to ride on the sharrows, if you position yourself on the point of the arrow, you’ll be in the exact spot traffic engineers think you should be within the lane.

Those charged with enforcing the law should know that.

Yet from what I heard from other bike riders, the Deputy’s misconception, while an extreme example, isn’t that unusual for the department.

Many riders have complained about Sheriff’s Deputies demanding that they ride as far as possible to the right, in violation of CVC 21202, which only requires bicyclists to ride as far to the right as practicable. And then, only when traveling below the speed of traffic.

If you’re riding as fast or faster than the vehicles around you, you can legally ride anywhere you damn please, as long as you travel in the direction of traffic.

Yet even if you’re just crawling along, there are countless exceptions to the requirement to ride to the ride — including riding in a non-sharable lane, which is defined as any lane too narrow to share with a motor vehicle. And that includes allowing for sufficient space to avoid the door zone, which is one of those hazards the law refers to.

Which means that virtually every right lane in the Los Angeles area should be considered non-sharable. Especially if it allows parking on the right.

The officer is also mistaken in his insistence that the rider was obstructing traffic. Under California law, that only applies on two lane roadways, and by definition, requires five or more vehicles stuck behind the slower vehicle and unable to pass. If drivers can pass, or if there is another lane to the left they could use to pass if they chose to do so, the rider is not legally obstructing traffic.

As the video shows, this was a four lane street. And drivers were able to pass with ease — including the officer who dangerously chose to speak with a moving cyclist without pulling over to the curb first.

Unfortunately, this brings up a much bigger problem.

While the LAPD has worked with local bike riders to clarify the laws applying to cyclists, and developed a training session to train their officers in just how to — and how not to — enforce traffic laws relating to cyclists, the LASD, to the best of my knowledge, has not.

Just what training their officers receive in bike law isn’t known outside of the department and the officers who actually receive it. Or not.

And while the department may feel their officer training is adequate, this video — and complaints from bike riders around the county suggesting a lack of knowledge and inconsistent enforcement in various areas of the county — would suggest it isn’t.

It’s long past time for the Sheriff’s Department to step up and work with cyclists to ensure their officers understand bike law and enforce it correctly, and fairly.

In the meantime, this video prepared by the LAPD in conjunction cyclists participating in the department’s bike task force remains the state-ot-the-art for bicycle traffic law training among SoCal police agencies.

Even then, it’s only as good as department’s commitment to ensure every officer views it.

And learns it.

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

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

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

Evidently, not a problem in New York.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If it occurred at all.

West Hollywood needs your help — planned La Brea bike lanes could be replaced by sharrows

I’m not a big fan of sharrows.

Yes, they have their place, providing on-street wayfinding for riders and positioning them out of the door zone, while sending a clear signal to drivers that we have a right to ride in the traffic lane.

But they don’t give us any rights to road we don’t already have, or one inch of real estate we aren’t already entitled to. And they don’t move riders out of the way of heavy traffic and impatient drivers.

The strictly vehicular crowd will tell you that sharrows are better than badly designed bike lanes that put riders in the door zone. But they are never preferable to a well-designed bike lane that safely positions riders out of traffic and away from danger.

And unlike bike lanes, sharrows do little or nothing to encourage more timid riders to take to the road.

Yet West Hollywood has decided that sharrows make more sense on heavily travelled La Brea Avenue than the long-planned bike lanes that were supposed to be installed in the next few years. And which were supposed to connect with bike lanes that will be installed on the Los Angeles portions of the street under the current bike plan.

Apparently, they’ve concluded that a wide, landscaped median that would beautify the street is more important than bike lanes that would encourage bike riding, reduce congestion and improve safety for all road users.

LACBC regional chapter West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition is leading the fight to keep bike lanes on the redesigned street. So I’ll let them take up the story from here.

Did you know that the city of West Hollywood is planning a huge redesign of La Brea Avenue? It’s is an amazing opportunity to fix a street that currently suffers from some of the worst congestion and hazardous intersections in West Hollywood. Fortunately, La Brea also enjoys a high concentration of great destinations, diverse growth, and proximity to pleasant neighborhoods. A bike lane would be an easy, inexpensive way to capitalize on West Hollywood’s easternmost assets, and effectively reduce the inconveniences of a city that’s growing by leaps and bounds.

Sound the Alarm

WeHo’s Notice of Intent to Adopt a Negative Declaration incorrectly claims that LA plans to paint sharrow stencils on La Brea. But the city of LA has proposed bike lanes — not sharrows — for La Brea Ave in its 2010 bike plan.

If West Hollywood’s portion of La Brea isn’t built with connectivity to LA’s future bike lanes, it could cost a lot of money to fix — and it could even cost lives.

Follow the Existing Guidelines

As luck would have it, the city of West Hollywood has already conducted a study that calls for bike lanes on La Brea. The recommendations of the Bicycle Task Force include the installation of Class II (that is, non-buffered) bike lanes on La Brea Ave. The report was unanimously approved by City Council in December of 2011.

La Brea bike lanes are also indicated by West Hollywood’s Climate Action Plan, the General Plan, and even the request for proposals for this very project.

Wouldn’t Bike Lanes Just Slow Traffic Down?

No. It might seem counter-intuitive at first, but when done correctly, bike lanes can help move traffic along faster.

How’s that? Well, bike lanes keep cyclists separated from faster-moving traffic, eliminating the need for cars to change lanes or suddenly slow down to pass bikes. They also reduce conflicts between bikes and cars at intersections. And dedicated lanes allow bikes to move safely forward through traffic, rather than swerving hazardously between stopped cars.

And of course, the biggest benefit of all: with more bike lanes, more people bike instead of drive, so there’s an overall reduction in traffic on the road.

Safety Over Aesthetics

What’s more important for La Brea: a giant landscaped median that simply looks nice, or bike lanes that can actually save residents’ lives?

There’s no argument that bike lanes will make La Brea safer for everyone — not just cyclists, but pedestrians and motorists, too.

When Long Beach installed bike lanes, bike accidents decreased by 80%, vehicle accidents decreased 44%, and sidewalk-riding decreased from 70% to 28%. LADOT’s own study showed that bike lanes can reduce accidents by 35%. That reduction isn’t just for cyclists — it also includes collisions between cars.

With numerous new pedestrian-oriented projects under construction on this already-busy street, bike lanes are an easy, cost-effective way to reduce accidents and injuries. If the street’s wide enough for a median, it’s wide enough for bike lanes.

So what can you do?

Contact the City of West Hollywood and let them know that we need bike lanes. The comment period for the Notice of Intent to Adopt a Negative Declaration closes very soon: 5pm on February 28.

Send your comments here:

Donn Uyeno, P.E.
Senior Civil Engineer
City of West Hollywood Department of Public Works
8300 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Tel: 323-848-6457 | Fax: 323-848-6564 | Email: duyeno@weho.org

And of course, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and email newsletter to get updates on our progress with this and other projects.

West Hollywood has just one more week to get the redesigned La Brea Avenue right the first time. So take a moment to take a stand for a safer, complete bike network that would benefit everyone on what is currently one of the area’s busiest and most dangerous streets.

I’ll be emailing them before the week is over. And I hope you’ll join me.

One other brief note.

The West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition is one of the area’s most dedicated and effective groups fighting for better bicycling in the Los Angeles area. If you live or ride in West Hollywood, you owe it to yourself to get involved with them; if you’re an LACBC member, you automatically qualify for membership.

If not, what are you waiting for?

LAPD seeks yet another hit-and-run driver; West Hollywood is in the market for a bike plan consultant

Los Angeles police are looking for a driver who ran down a cyclist near USC and fled the scene, leaving him to bleed in the street.

The rider was hit by a small white car at the intersection of Vermont Ave and 36th Street around 1:30 Friday morning. The cyclist, described only as non-USC student in his 20s or 30s, suffered major non-life-threatening injuries.

Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD South Traffic Division at 323/421-2577.

It’s long past time to get heartless cowards like this off the streets and behind bars where they belong.

Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.

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The City of West Hollywood is looking for a firm to help update the city’s bike plan.

Let’s hope WeHo, self-proclaimed as The Creative City, will take a creative approach to carving out a significant chunk of street space to keep cyclists safe and encourage more people to ride. While the city has made some recent moves to accommodate bikes, it’s time to show cyclists the same welcome and tolerance they famously show everyone else.

You don’t have to do a lot of riding, walking or driving in West Hollywood to realize that the relatively compact, traffic-choked city could benefit greatly by providing more viable alternatives to driving. Aside from some steep climbs on the lower reaches of the Hollywood Hills, it is — or at least, should be — a near ideal location for promoting bicycling.

And maybe they could show the Biking Black Hole to their west how it’s done while they’re at it.

While it’s still early in the process, the best way to ensure your voice is heard in the new plan is to join the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition, an LACBC affiliate chapter that does a great job of engaging civic leaders and fighting for the rights of bike riders.

Many thanks to Matt Baume for the tip. And hey, I’m more than willing to consult, if they’re willing to waive all those technical requirements and stuff.

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The first section of the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk bike and pedestrian path is scheduled to open on December 12th. Richard Risemberg notes the new BMW of Beverly Hills bike shop. Everybody has a favorite bike shop, right? A Napa motorist faces up to one year in jail for killing a cyclist last August.

Looks like America’s only Tour de France winner is officially out of the bike business. Alta Bicycle Share is looking for a Portland-based Marketing Director. The Blackhawk CO bike ban heads to the Colorado Supreme Court. A Montana man says a local road diet was imposed by unelected D.C. bureaucrats, and implies cyclists belong on sidewalks. An Albany NY cyclist becomes collateral damage when he’s killed by a fleeing driver in a police chase. Jackson, Mississippi considers joining other local cities in requiring helmets for cyclists. An Arkansas father and minister is killed while riding in Georgia. Nice to know a Florida deputy didn’t run over a cyclist on purpose.

A fight for the leadership, and nature, of the Belize Cycling Association. Good to know Canadian drivers can kill a cyclist without doing anything wrong. UK bike scribe Carlton Reid points out that hatred of cyclists has a long, rich history. The Evening Standard asks how we can make London safe for cyclists. Seven tips for effective bike lobbying. Cyclists touring Bath, England will soon enjoy Europe’s longest cycling tunnel at over a mile long. An Edinburgh cyclist blames bad roads for a serious fall. Danish cyclists complain a new law requiring bike lights is unenforceable. How a single picture started the Cycle Chic movement. An Aussie cyclist suffers a broken collarbone when someone slaps her on the ass from a passing car.

Finally, a UK hospital receives well-deserved criticism for removing bike parking for a smoking area, even if it will result in a net increase in bike spaces. And it may not necessarily be bike related, but I love these haunting photos of Scotland in winter from my favorite Scottish novelist and bike blogger.

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