Tag Archive for Westwood Blvd bike lanes

Morning Links: Survey asks what residents really think about Westwood bike lanes; cars vs. cyclists in Flanders

Enough with the posturing.

A new group called Westwood for All wants to know what local residents really think about bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

This is from the press release announcing the questionnaire.

A community group called Westwood4all has released an online questionnaire to advance the discussion about bike lanes on Westwood Blvd. The aim is to provide accurate numbers about local support for bicycle facilities on Westwood Blvd. Results will be shared with elected officials so that they can make an informed decision.

When planning a transportation network, the opinion of local residents is just one factor in a very complex equation. An informed decision by elected officials will also consider the network as a whole, the effects on the neighborhood, on business, safety, parking, environment, congestion, public health, etc. But if the general attitude of the local community towards bicycle infrastructure is known, then a controversial issue can be settled more easily.

So far, the cycling community has posted a petition with 500 signatories. A number of UCLA stakeholders have also called for bike lanes. The Business Improvement District in the Westwood Village has recently voted for bike lanes in the village. One the other hand, the leadership of some local homeowner groups and of the Westwood Neighborhood Council have objected to the plan. Our effort may help to resolve this conflict by documenting local attitudes for or against bicycle infrastructure on Westwood Blvd.

You can take the short survey here.

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The first LA bike has been reported stolen using our new Bike Index stolen bike notice. So be on the lookout for a gold Rocky Mountain Bicycles full suspension mountain bike.

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Italian rider Elisa Longo Borghini won the women’s Tour of Flanders, while Alexander Kristoff took the men’s title. And an Irish rider won his weight in beer.

Although in the aftermath of the race, the story is more about who didn’t win than who did.

The real story, though, is that Shimano service cars took out two riders, one in a collision with another race vehicle; evidently, you’re not even safe from hit-and-run drivers in a bike race, as the video below shows.

Injured New Zealand cyclist Jesse Sergent is expected to be out about a month after successful surgery for a broken collarbone.

Meanwhile, American pro Peter Stetina will be out for the foreseeable future after he breaks his leg, kneecap and four ribs in a peloton pile-up in Bilbao, Spain.

And Jaguar and Pinarello came up with a unique suspension system to ease the discomfort of riding the cobbles, reducing road vibration 50% without adding significantly to the bike’s ultralight frame.

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Local

KCBS-2 looks at Reseda Blvd’s new protected bike lanes.

Evidently, close bicycle access to Mulholland Drive is now an amenity for new housing developments.

WeHo council candidates discuss whether bikes should be kicked off the city’s sidewalks.

A Pasadena mansion up for sale originally belonged to a man who made his fortune by inventing a more comfortable leather bike seat in 1892.

Metro, Bike SGV and CICLE invite you to take a tour of art, bikes and history in El Monte on April 26th.

 

State

In California, bicycling is somehow seen as a greater risk than polio and measles. Yet the state’s mandatory helmet law for kids, unlike voluntary vaccinations, shows no obvious benefit.

San Diego advocates call on the city to emphasize bicycling, pedestrian and mass transit infrastructure in the next budget. Meanwhile, the city gave approval a new retail development catering to cyclists and pedestrians.

Not exactly instant karma, but close. A San Diego County shooting victim was arrested, but evidently not convicted, in a 2006 head-on hit-and-run that seriously injured a cyclist.

A new three-mile stretch of the Coyote Creek Bikeway adds another link to the 66-mile OC Loop.

The popular Tour de Palm Springs could move to January.

This is why you always carry your cell phone when you ride. A Loma Linda mountain biker is rescued after injuring his head; a call to his wife following the fall triggered the search effort.

Santa Barbara will open a new bicycle skills park on April 19th.

Porterville residents pitch-in to buy a new bike for a Navy vet after the bike his great-grandson gave him was stolen.

A San Jose road diet gets mixed reviews, even though it seems to be working. I love this quote from a local resident, which should be recited at every public meeting to discuss one: “I suspect that folks truly wanting to speed are simply finding alternate routes, but who cares about them anyway?”

The Easter Bunny brought bicycles to 24 Suisun City kids at the annual egg hunt.

 

National

The right on red law, which was pioneered here in California, may make life easier for motorists but it raises the risks for everyone else.

The biggest thing keeping Americans from bicycling more is a fear of being hit by a car.

The Department of DIY gets to work in Salem OR as cyclists post their own homemade Bikes May Use Full Lane signs.

A Minneapolis writer says Pittsburgh should embrace bicycling because it makes a city more welcoming. Even though he won’t get on one for fear of being killed.

A Detroit man was killed when he was run over by a bus as he was trying to remove his bike from its rack.

A Muncie IN bike shop celebrates its 150th anniversary, although the shop has changed names, locations and owners. But other than that, it’s exactly the same, right?

Seriously? A Pennsylvania letter writer says bike lanes are a bad idea because they have to be maintained — unlike the rest of the roadway, evidently.

Florida police are ticketing drivers for violating the state’s three-foot passing law, but the courts are letting them off.

 

International

Bicycling looks at the race to the year record.

Two UK candidates blame immigrants for clogging the country’s bike lanes.

Two women are riding from London to Hong Kong to call attention to global food waste.

City Lab looks at the steps Paris is taking to become the world capital of cycling.

A new Spanish collapsible bike helmet appears to flatten down to the size of a large dog dish.

Indian villagers riot after police kill a cyclist while chasing down a driver who failed to stop for a DUI checkpoint.

An Aussie study says riding a bike at least once a week will lead to a higher quality of life. As long as you’re a man.

Bicycle sidecars remain a popular mode of transit in Myanmar.

China’s Flying Pigeon bike maker collaborates with a video website to introduce a “super” smart bike, which will incorporate a music player, navigation, social networking, health monitoring, anti-theft lock and turn signals. Or you could, you know, just ride a bike.

 

Finally…

Seven very tongue-in-cheek tips for urban cyclists, from always strapping a baby onto your bike, to politely taking up as little space as possible when you’re sprawled on the pavement. A Kiwi cyclist pedals to work in a giraffe-print onesie to calm aggressive driving; a requirement for adult animal-print onesies is no doubt being added to California’s proposed helmet and reflective clothing law as we speak.

And before you impatiently honk your horn and buzz a group of cyclists while shouting obscenities out the window, make sure it’s not a group of bike cops on a training ride.

Just a suggestion.

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Thanks to John Hall for his generous donation to help support this site. If the mood strikes, you can contribute here

Weekend Links: Witnesses wanted in El Segundo death, Westwood votes for bike lanes, and more Valley CicLAvia

You’d think the life of a bike rider would be worth more than a single paragraph in the local paper.

Not to mention running it a month late — and incorrectly, at that.

The Daily Breeze has finally gotten around to mentioning that 25-year old Ricky Montoya was killed while riding in El Segundo on February 21st. And even then, only in the context that the police are looking for witnesses.

Never mind that Montoya was killed as he rode on Aviation at night, not 11 am as the paper reports.

Anyone with information is urged to call Officer Jeff Darringer at 310-524-2296 or email darringer@elsegundo.org.

Meanwhile, I’m told the El Segundo police have been conducting braking tests using what appears to be the same PT Cruiser the driver was in when he hit Montoya; you can see one of the tests below.

The same source tells me she overheard an officer tell a bystander the driver had to have been doing at least 60 mph in the 40 mph zone when he hit Montoya.

Note to the El Segundo Police Department: If you’d bothered to return my call asking for more information last month, it’s just possible we might have been able to find a witness already.

I’m just saying.

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Westwood bike advocate Calla Wiemer provided a short update on Thursday’s meeting of the Westwood Business Improvement District, which considered the much-needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

Here is a quick rundown on what happened at the Westwood Village BID meeting yesterday morning.

  • The board voted unanimously to request an LADOT engineering study of bike lane options for Westwood Blvd through the Village, and the message to Councilmember Koretz’s deputies was that they want it expedited and they want to make a decision quickly to endorse a plan once they get a report.
  • They ruled out requesting study of any alternatives to Westwood Blvd in order to laser focus city resources on the street that most needs improvement.
  • They took a straw poll to gauge sentiment on endorsing protected bike lanes – the more ambitious of two proposals put forth in Ryan Snyder’s “Remove Nothing Plan”, and five of ten board members indicated support even without the engineering study; the others want to see results of the study

A large number of bike lane advocates turned out, but the opposition was represented too. The results of the LADOT study will get careful scrutiny.

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A rider who prefers to remain anonymous emailed to report stumbling upon a new semi-separated and, apparently, mostly useless bike lane on Los Angeles Street in DTLA.

Don’t remember hearing/reading anything about new bollards & armadillos on Los Angeles St between First & Temple, but there they were! At first, I didn’t see them, because a texter in an SUV had pulled over to the curb (in his defense, he had his emergency blinkers on). I passed on his left, and swung back into the bike lane with enough time to swerve to the right of the bollards. There are several bollards, then several intact armadillos, then a couple smashed armadillos, then more cars parked in the bike lane which forced me back out into the “car lane.” Fun ride! I stopped in the middle of the bike lane to take pictures, ’cause you’re supposed to stop right there in the bike lane, that’s what it’s for.

I’m just gonna take the lane from now on.

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Game, set, match.

A Seattle road diet reduced high-end speeding (10+ mph over the limit) by up to 70% and reduced crashes by 45%. And at the same time, traffic volume actually increased without slowing travel times.

Show that to the next person who fears that eliminating a traffic lane will result in unspeakable disaster.

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The LA Times says there’s not enough data to mandate bike helmets, and recommends that SB 192, the proposed law that would require all bicyclists to wear helmets, be amended to require California to study whether a helmet law would even do any good.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog vets the Times’ editorial, and Calbike offers a list of Quick Facts explaining why the proposed law is off base.

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Bobby Close emailed to report that a member of his cycling club barely avoided a dangerous crash when some teenagers buzzed him, in clear violation of the three-foot passing law, as he rode on PCH. And that one reached out to smack the rider on the ass.

While the kids no doubt thought it was a pretty funny a prank, they actually committed an assault, which could have left them subject to prosecution.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get the car’s license, which is almost impossible to do when a riders is struggling to maintain control of his or her bike.

And it probably wouldn’t matter anyway; unless there was an independent witness, police would consider it a matter of he said/she said, except in the unlikely event the kids admitted what they did.

Close’s suggestion is that cyclists should use a bike cam to record such situations; he recommends the FLY6 and FLY12 bike lights that also incorporate an HD cam, including audio.

The FLY6, a taillight/cam combo is currently on the market — though sold out — while the headlight/cam FLY12 has already far exceeded its Kickstarter goal.

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If the media coverage is any indication, CicLAvia’s first-ever visit to the San Fernando Valley this Sunday could be one of the biggest ever.

Bike Walk Glendale is hosting a feeder ride with special guest US Congressman Adam Schiff; here’s your chance to ask for more bike funding in the federal budget, though I suspect you’d be preaching to the choir.

KPCC offers the top five things to know about CicLAvia.

The Daily News reports on the Valley’s first open streets event, citing the official CicLAvia Neighborhood Guide and Walk With Me app, along with links to comprehensive guides from CiclaValley and the Militant Angeleno.

CiclaValley adds to his intensive coverage with insider travel and business tips, aa well as a guide to where to eat and drink along the route. And yes, that includes booze; just remember BUI is against the law in California.

Speaking of which, Studio City’s Flask Fine Wine & Whiskey will be hosting a beer tasting from 11 am to 5 pm; 10% of the proceeds will benefit the LACBC.

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Let’s squeeze in a quick listing of upcoming events while we’re at it.

San Diego’s BikeSD will benefit from the Bikes & Beers ride on Saturday, March 28th; just remember the link above about biking under the influence when riding home.

It’s not quite a ciclovia, but the Orange County Transportation Authority invites you to celebrate the Coyote Creek bikeway on Sunday, March 29th.

If you’re one of the first 35 people promising to bike to Santa Monica’s April 16th Sustainability Awards, the Santa Monica Bike Center will pick up your tab.

While there won’t be another CicLAvia until October, Long Beach will step into the breach with Beach Streets Uptown along Atlantic Ave on Saturday, June 6th.

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Local

Ron Milam, one of the founders of the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition, talks mindfulness while bike riding and discusses the founding of the coalition in a Pedal Love podcast.

Flying Pigeon lays the blame for the latest collision in which a driver hit a bicyclist and a pedestrian on North Figueroa at the feet of Councilmember Gil Cedillo, who unilaterally killed a planned road diet for the street. Someone should show Cedillo the results of the Seattle road diet mentioned above, although facts and studies haven’t seemed to have influenced him yet.

Rick Risemberg observes that Huntington Drive is badly in need of a diet. Speaking of Risemberg, he now has a Facebook page devoted to his fiction writing.

If you’ve got a few extra bucks for a great cause, the East Side Riders Bike Club is raising funds on Indiegogo for BEAST — Bicycle Education and Safety Training — for kids in Watts. So far, they’ve only raised $45 out of a $2,500 goal; this would be a great opportunity for some business to step in with a sponsorship.

 

State

Laguna Beach votes to create the city’s first complete street, while the police, community and city council work to improve safety.

Camp Pendleton restricts access to the base by visitors arriving by car, but thankfully, the rules don’t seem to apply to bike riders.

Caltrain will add an extra bike car to accommodate their triple digit rise in bicyclists on board.

 

National

As if texting drivers weren’t bad enough, 27% of teens surveyed said they changed their shoes or clothes while driving. Do I really have to explain why that’s a bad thing?

City Lab’s Sarah Goodyear examines the recent report on bike lanes and social equity, with a decidedly SoCal spin.

Collecting Schwinn Sting Rays isn’t child’s play.

A tweeted tip leads to the arrest of two Seattle bike thieves, and the recovery of over two dozen stolen bikes.

A Kentucky congressman promises to keep the federal Highway Trust Fund solvent by restricting gas tax revenues for highways, and banning funding for bikeways, sidewalks and transit. Yes, it’s all those bike lanes that have busted the system, not the failure to increase the tax since gas prices were a buck a gallon.

A Massachusetts cyclist gets a $300,000 settlement after breaking his hip when a loose dog ran into his front wheel; no word on whether the dog was injured or or if it countersued.

Kill a New York cyclist, and lose your license for a whopping six months.

New York Vision Zero advocates call for redesigning the city’s major arterial streets to improve safety. Something that’s long past due here in LA.

A Florida writer says the key to safe bicycling is to minimize the risks you can, and prepare for the risks you can’t.

 

International

Olympic cyclist Chris Hoy calls on British political parties to make ambitious pledges to boost bicycling, saying bikes should be at the front of the queue when designing new roads and junctions. Or redesigning old ones, for that matter.

A new Kickstarter project promises a lightweight, flexible bike lock that withstands up to five minutes of hacking; the project is fully funded with over a month to go.

New headphones promise to improve safety by allowing riders to listen to music without blocking their ears.

There’s something seriously wrong here, as British school kids are being taught self defense to fend off bike-jackings.

UK police blame the victim, declining to pursue charges against a driver who couldn’t explain why she didn’t see the cyclist she ran down, because the rider wasn’t wearing hi-viz or a helmet.

Dutch rider Thomas Dekker retires from pro cycling when he can’t find a team to sign with after failing to set the hour record.

Is New Zealand’s new Bike Tree sculpture great public art, or a waste of bikes that could be fixed up and donated to those who can’t afford one? I love art, but bikes were made to ride.

Dahon unveils a new folding electric bike built in collaboration with Ford, and based on the 107-year old Tin Lizzy. At least it’s not yet another unneeded hi-end hi-tech concept racing bike.

Vietnam is hosting its inaugural mountain bike stage race.

 

Finally…

Seriously, you can’t make this shit up, as a Key West bike rider was arrested for duct taping three live iguanas to his handlebars. A study shows men who bike more than 8.5 hours a week have a higher risk of prostate cancer than those who don’t, except it doesn’t really.

And once again, Bikeyface nails it.

 

Morning Links: Westwood BID considers Westwood Blvd bike lanes, South LA cyclist critical after collision

If you hurry, you may still have time to make this morning’s meeting of the Westwood Village Business Improvement District, which will vote on the much needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

The proposed lanes have faced intense opposition from Westwood area business and homeowners, even though the latest proposal doesn’t remove a single traffic lane or parking spot, suggesting the real opposition is to having bikes on the boulevard, period.

The meeting begins at 8:30 this morning, at the Skylight Gardens Restaurant, 1139 Glendon Ave.

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KCBS-2 reports a cyclist is in very critical condition after being hit by a car in South LA Wednesday evening, following earlier reports that the unidentified rider had been killed

Sounds like prayers or good thoughts, whichever you are comfortable with, are in order.

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Are you excited yet?

Streetsblog offers detailed tips on how to get the most out of Sunday’s first San Fernando Valley CicLAvia.

Walk Bike Burbank is offering free safety checks on Saturday to help you get ready, while Flying Pigeon is hosting a feeder ride from Northeast LA.

We Like LA explains what a CicLAvia is for the uninitiated.

And the Militant Angeleno once again provides his incomparable guide to CicLAvia, proving he knows the Valley as well as he does the rest of LA. Although he’s got some serious competition from upstart CiclaValley this time around.

My advice is print out both guides and carry them with you.

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In a case way too reminiscent of the death of LA cyclist and former Napster executive Milt Olin, a Florida sheriff’s deputy is cleared of charges he killed a 15-year old bike rider while using his car’s onboard computer.

Then again, he only faced a $1,000 fine.

Evidently, life is cheap down there.

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Local

LADOT, LA Great Streets and Bureau of Street Services officials visit the Temple City cycletracks on Rosemead Blvd. Let’s hope they were taking notes.

Very cool Strava graph shows riders convening for, then riding, last Sunday’s Marathon Crash non-Race; Milestone Rides writes about riding the Crash for the first time.

Actress AnnaLynne McCord, who was blessed with an abundance of capital letters, dons a purple robe to ride her orange Townie on Venice Beach.

Glendale is about a year away from creating a bikeable recreational riverfront across the LA River from Griffith Park.

The Easy Reader names Hermosa Cyclery as the South Bay’s best bike shop.

 

State

Two bike riders are injured in Orange County collisions, though neither appears to be seriously hurt.

An SUV driver takes out a fire hydrant in San Diego, so naturally, a bike rider gets the blame.

A Central Coast TV station explains why green lanes are. Green, that is.

Two recent CSU Monterey graduates are riding cross country to raise funds for a homeless shelter.

Palo Alto opts for a more conservative and bird-friendly design for their new bike and pedestrian bridge.

A Napa Valley letter writer says it’s impossible to comply with the state’s three-foot passing law without risking a head-on collision with another vehicle, not realizing that the law actually allows drivers to wait until it’s safe to pass.

 

National

Nice to know the head of AASHTO, the organization representing state DOTs, says highway design has absolutely nothing to do with cyclist and pedestrian deaths. Odd that he could talk with his head buried so deeply in the sand, among other places.

More great research from the University of Duh, as a new study shows we ride our bikes because we like it better than driving.

Portland riders are about to get a new car-free bridge. And yes, we should be jealous.

A Maine driver gets 10 years for the drunken wreck that killed a bike riding father and injured his wife and 17-month old son while they were riding on the sidewalk.

The US pro national championships will return to Chattanooga for the third straight year. Let’s hope they train race moto officials a little better this time around.

After a DC cyclist has his bike stolen at gun point, he gets it back when the thief brings it into the same shop where he’d just gotten an estimate to have it fixed.

A Baton Rouge judge sentences a DUI driver to 25 years in jail for killing one cyclist and maiming another, then suspends all but 7.5 years; the driver had a blood alcohol level of .307 — nearly four times the legal limit — at the time of the crash.

Alabama considers giving cyclists a five-foot passing margin, rather than just three.

 

International

Two Cambridge UK councilors call for bike riders to be registered and insured, and have to pass a national proficiency test; an Aussie writer provides 18 reasons why that’s a bad idea, all of which apply here, as well.

France offers to pay people to bike to work. And almost no one bites.

Secretary of State John Kerry gets free service on his Serotta when it breaks down while taking a well-guarded ride during the Iran nuclear talks in Lausanne, Switzerland.

 

Finally…

Lance Armstrong is reportedly trying to get his lifetime ban reduced; let’s hope he has better luck than Pete Rose has. An NFL medical consultant says more kids get hurt riding bikes than playing football, but fails to note that a hell of a lot more kids ride bikes, too.

And new LA resident and former Bicycling Editor-in-Chief Peter Flax writes movingly about how a good ride can help you cope with life’s most heartbreaking challenges.

 

Making the case for desperately needed bike lanes on embattled Westwood Blvd

Maybe.

Just maybe, we may finally be seeing progress in getting desperately needed bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard, after earlier plans were summarily canceled by CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz at the urging of a local homeowner’s group.

Now local traffic planner Ryan Snyder has come up with a new plan that won’t result in the loss of a single traffic lane or parking space.

Westwood homeowner and bike advocate Calla Weimer has once again offered a detailed and insightful analysis of the plan and why it’s needed, this time in the form of a presentation to the Transportation Committee of the Westwood Village Improvement Association.

I’m posting it below with her permission.

She also notes there will be another meeting to discuss the plan at the WVIA Town Hall at 5 pm on February 23rd, at 10880 Wilshire Blvd.

Given the rampant objections to bike lanes on Westwood, there’s still a lot of opposition to the plan, even though it won’t affect anything.

Except to improve traffic flow and make a dangerous street safer for the bike riders who will arrive in droves once the Expo Line opens on the Westside.

So support from cyclists will be vital to get it approved.

Note: I initially used the term NIMBYism to describe opposition to bike lanes on Westwood Blvd. While I feel the term aptly describes many residents in the area, where even dancing is banned in Westwood Village at the insistence of local homeowners, it does not further the conversation in this instance. Terming people who object to bike lanes as NIMBYs and those who want bike lanes as activists merely results in talking past one another, and failing to engage in a genuine conversation between people with differing concerns, making consensus difficult, if not impossible. As a result, I have rewritten this piece to remove the term.

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Bike Infrastructure for Westwood Boulevard

Remarks Submitted to the Westwood Village Improvement Association

4 February 2015

Calla Wiemer*

The challenge of transitioning from a car centric streetscape to one that is bike and pedestrian friendly is nowhere more pressing than on Westwood Boulevard. This heavily biked corridor exhibits an alarmingly high incidence of car-bike collision and cyclist injury. With the Westwood station of the Expo light rail line slated to open later in 2015, interest in biking the boulevard can be expected to ramp up sharply, compounding the conflict between bike and car.

This submission to the Westwood Village Business Improvement Association makes three points:

1) The incidence of car-bike collision and cyclist injury on Westwood Boulevard is unacceptably high.

2) Bike infrastructure should be developed as a network and integrated with rail transit. The Ryan Snyder “Remove Nothing Plan” jump starts the conversation on this for Westwood Boulevard.

3) Mayor Garcetti’s “Great Streets” designation for Westwood Boulevard calls on us to aspire to more than just removing nothing.

 

Collision & Injury

First, a few summary statistics on collision and injury for the whole of Westwood Boulevard will be presented. Following that, conditions will be analyzed and collision counts reported segment by segment for the length of the boulevard. Data on collision and injury are drawn from the Transportation Injury Mapping System of the University of California, Berkeley. Case identification numbers for the collisions along with explanatory notes are provided in an appendix.

  • The five year period 2009-2013 saw 36 collisions reported between bikes and motor vehicles along the 2.7 mile length of Westwood Boulevard.
  • Four of the cases were felony hit and runs.
  • The cyclist was at fault in only three cases, the motorist in 26, with no fault assigned in the 
remaining seven.
  • The cyclist was injured in all 36 cases; no motorist was injured.

Collision incidence varies along the length of Westwood Boulevard commensurate with discernible differences in conditions. The table that follows distinguishes four segments, presenting collision counts and distance in miles for each. It should be borne in mind that ridership decreases appreciably from north 
to south. Counts taken during the peak hours of 7:00-9:00 am and 4:00-6:00 pm on November 6, 2013 tallied 256 riders at LeConte Avenue, 157 at Santa Monica Boulevard, 116 at LaGrange Avenue, and 110 at Ashby Avenue (source here).

Location

Collisions

Miles

LeConte-Wellworth (incl)

5

0.5

Wellworth-Santa Monica

10

0.6

Santa Monica-Pico (incl)

18

0.8

Pico-National

3

0.8

Along the most northerly segment of Westwood Boulevard through the Village, motorized traffic moves very slowly. The large number of pedestrians crossing at intersections helps to animate driver attention. Only five of the 36 collisions occurred in the half mile stretch between LeConte Avenue and Wellworth Avenue (inclusive of cross streets at both ends). This is despite the much higher ridership at the north end of the boulevard.

Bike lanes begin at Wellworth Avenue and extend to just north of Santa Monica Boulevard. These bike lanes, however, are narrow and pass through the door zone of parked cars that line both sides of the street. The lanes are often obstructed by double parked cars or cars in the process of parking or exiting parking. Motorized traffic along this stretch can move at high rates of speed. Ten of the 36 collisions occurred along this 0.6 mile stretch.

By far the most treacherous segment lies between Santa Monica Boulevard and Pico Boulevard. Motor vehicle travel lanes are too narrow to allow the three feet of passing space required for overtaking cyclists. On the northbound side, street parking is suspended during peak hours with two lanes then allocated for travel. During these hours, most cyclists cling timidly to the curb, enticing motorists to try to squeeze by within the same lane in disregard of the three-foot law. On the southbound side where parking is
permitted at all times, most cyclists cleave to the door zone, again tempting motorists to pass within the same lane. Fully half of the 36 collisions took place on this 0.8 mile stretch. This high incidence of collision occurred despite a much lower ridership than further north.

The most southerly segment from Pico Boulevard to National Boulevard carries much lighter traffic than parts north. A dedicated left turn lane is little used for the purpose since cross streets are few and lightly traveled. Thus northbound, where there is only one travel lane, motor vehicles overtaking cyclists tend to move into the center lane to afford comfortable passing space. By contrast, with two travel lanes southbound, conflict between cyclists and motorists in the rightmost lane is a problem. Still, only three of the 36 collisions occurred along this 0.8 mile stretch.

To put these numbers into perspective, consider that car-bike collisions on Westwood Boulevard occurred at a rate of 2.7 per mile per year during the period 2009-2013. For the segment between Santa Monica and Pico Boulevards, the rate was 4.5 per mile per year. By contrast, for Los Angeles County as a whole in 2011, the rate was 0.24 per mile. The rates on Westwood Boulevard are thus higher by more than an order of magnitude than for the county generally. This calls for community action to meet a reasonable standard of street safety.

 

The “Remove Nothing Plan”

The “Remove Nothing Plan” by Ryan Snyder takes as its premise that no motor vehicle travel lane or parking space should be given up. Even under this severe restriction, the plan finds scope for bike safety enhancements for each and every diverse segment of Westwood Boulevard. The plan provides a fine point of departure for discussion. By addressing Westwood Boulevard as a comprehensive whole, it stands up to a political process that has in the past treated the street in fragments affording any neighborhood association or influential local figure veto power against change. But a transportation system must function as a citywide network. It cannot be patched together at intervals counted in blocks. And with rail lines going in and interest in cycling surging in the city of Los Angeles, Westwood Boulevard cannot stand apart.

If any portion of Westwood Boulevard is dangerous for biking, the corridor itself is dangerous. Safe passage must be afforded from end to end to create a viable transportation link. For the most dangerous stretch of the boulevard between Santa Monica and Pico, the “Remove Nothing Plan” proposes sharrows (arrows painted on the pavement to indicate bikes and cars must share the lane) and signage. This would constitute a significant improvement over the status quo. When the lane is too narrow for cars to overtake bikes legally, the safest behavior for a cyclist is to take the lane. This forces motorists to move to the adjacent lane in order to pass. Cyclists who are bold enough to take the lane now on Westwood Boulevard are often met with honking and shouting. Many are too intimidated to hold their ground. Sharrows and signage would help check threatening behavior by motorists and encourage cyclists to claim a safe space.

The dangers on the Santa Monica to Pico stretch of Westwood Boulevard are of such magnitude, and the proposed mitigation measures of such ease, that the measures should be implemented without further delay. The conversation should then move on to the larger issue of how the community can best make use of its limited street space. Perhaps this discussion will be catalyzed when motorists find cyclists claiming their shared lane at a rate of one every minute or two during peak hours, especially when that means a given motorist must often overtake the same cyclist repeatedly as they leapfrog along together through stoplights. So, what other approaches might there be to not only accommodate existing cyclists, but motivate people in greater numbers to get out of their cars and take to their bikes? On this note, the discussion should turn to the mayor’s “Great Streets” initiative.

 

Westwood Boulevard as a Great Street

Mayor Garcetti has invited us to re-envision Westwood Boulevard as a “Great Street”. His designation applies specifically to the stretch that runs through Westwood Village, but the community has every opportunity to expand on that. For a street to merit the label “great”, it should act as a safe and welcoming public space. It should accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists, and not allow human life to be crowded out by motorized traffic and parked cars. It should be graced with sidewalk rest spots and beautiful landscaping and should support thriving businesses.

To achieve such a vision will involve change. Street space on Westwood Boulevard is now given over almost entirely to motor vehicles, many of which sit empty. Street parking should be on the table for discussion. Parking can be provided off street – and indeed is overwhelmingly provided off street already – whereas mobility in its various guises cannot be. Along the dangerous stretch of Westwood Boulevard between Santa Monica and Pico, more than 90 percent of parking is currently provided off street (source here). The less than 10 percent of parking that is on street unquestionably yields benefits to some individuals. But whether this is the best use of a public resource under today’s changing circumstances is a discussion the community ought to have.

People in increasing numbers do not wish to be encased in steel and glass and powered by fossil fuels for their every move about town; not when the alternative is the exhilaration of riding a bicycle. This change in lifestyle could be a great thing for public health, for the environment, and for street life. It could be a great thing for Westwood Boulevard.

 

Appendix

Collision data analyzed in this document are taken from the Transportation Injury Mapping System of the University of California, Berkeley (website here). Case identification numbers are given below.

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

4034615
4234410
4344350
4385290
4492457
4512304
4629058
4640680
4643254
4820508
5015804
5112556
5194281
5219033
5219037
5289084
5354124
5354132
5361255
5385158
5453135
5474924
5667951
5760408
5900383
5950842
5960237
5975338
6008917
6065016
6086196
6137746
6260375
6260378
6287803
6305334

Cases were selected only if Westwood Boulevard was reported as the primary street. This means collisions that occurred in an intersection with Westwood Boulevard given as the secondary street were not selected.

Data for 2013 are provisional and incomplete.

* Calla Wiemer owns a home just off Westwood Boulevard and bikes the corridor on a regular basis. This document can be found along with her other writings on bike lanes referenced herein at http://www.callawiemer.com/Pages/BikeLanes.aspx.

 

Morning Links: Busy calendar, more on new Westwood bike lane proposal, and bike riding Hollywood thief is a Dick

Let’s start by opening up your calendar. Because there’s a lot going on in the wonderful world of LA bikes for the next few weeks.

Helen’s Cycles is hosting a group ride with the founders of Capo Cycling this Wednesday, November 13th, departing from Caffe Luxxe on San Vicente Blvd.

The Tour de Compton and Mini-Health Fair takes place on Saturday; here’s a map of the ride.

The Ghost Bike Foundation invites you to a bike light vigil and tour of ghost bikes in Downtown LA on Sunday, November 16th.

Also on Sunday, the Eastside Bike Club and GoBici are hosting an introductory ride for beginning mountain bikers.

A community meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 19th to discuss December’s South LA CicLAvia.

The LA Planning Commission is scheduled to consider the city’s updated Mobility Plan on Thursday the 20th at City Hall.

Stan’s Bike shop invites you to join them for the Monrovia Christmas Parade on Thursday, December 4th.

And the next CicLAvia visits South LA on Sunday, December 7th, with a route that stretches from the legendary jazz sites on Central Avenue, down Martin Luther Blvd to the historic heart of the city’s African American community in Leimert Park. This could easily be the best one yet.

……..

More on the new proposal to place bike lanes on Westwood Blvd — without removing a single parking space or traffic lane.

UCLA’s Daily Bruin says CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz is considering the plan, which may be overstating matters; all we know for certain is that he has been asked to consider it after ruthlessly killing the previous plan.

Meanwhile, the acting Dean of the UCLA School of Nursing and the Vice Chancellor of Health Services write in HuffPo that Westwood should be a Great Street — with bike lanes, thank you.

……..

Evidently, the name fits.

Comedian Andy Dick faces a grand theft charge for riding his bike up to man on Hollywood Blvd, and stealing his necklace before riding off.

I’m all in favor of celebrities on bikes.

But we can pass on this one, if you don’t mind.

……..

I Am Traffic tries to define bicycling courtesy in a very lengthy piece.

While I’m a firm believer in traffic courtesy, I have to disagree with the section on passing on the right. It’s usually safer to stop at the front of the intersection where you can be seen from any direction, rather than wait in line with traffic where you’re hidden from cars coming in other directions.

And in my book, safety trumps being nice every time.

………

Local

A photographic display of Day of the Dead altars from the El Sereno Dia De Los Muertos Festival honors fallen LA County cyclists; very moving, but let’s hope there are a lot less to honor next year.

A self-proclaimed South Bay bike rider blames cyclists for pretty much everything; scroll down to the fifth letter. Thanks to Margaret for the heads-up.

A Hermosa Beach man had no idea he’d end up being one of the South Bay’s leading bike advocates when he bought a bike after moving to the beach city 25 years ago. Thanks to Margaret for this one, too.

A Long Beach group opens a privately operated bike share for women who are victims of domestic violence.

Meanwhile, the Long Beach Post says maybe the LACBC’s new Executive Director should come from that bike-friendly city. Not a bad idea; I could think of a few people I’d like to see apply.

 

State

Laguna Beach receives a grant to target dangerous drivers.

Over 15,000 San Diegans celebrate CicloSDias.

San Diego’s Hermes Sports re-enters the retail market with wheels ranging from $995 for aluminum rims to $1995 for carbon.

An Indio bike rider faces a BUI charge after allegedly riding into the path of a car; fortunately, he only suffered minor injuries.

A Yucaipa cyclist described only as “elderly” is hospitalized following a collision.

Good news, as the state’s new three-foot passing law is already being used to prosecute drivers in the Bay Area.

 

National

The high-speed road designs typical of the US undermines attempts at improving safety. But you knew that already, right?

A Denver weekly interviews the man behind Bike Smut, which focuses on the intersection of bikes and porn, a subgenre I’m not sure I want to know about.

A drunk Texas driver faces serious charges after trying to run down several bike cops and pedestrians before crashing into a median some time later.

No bias here. A Chicago TV station observes an intersection for eight hours, and witnesses drivers, cyclists and pedestrians all breaking the law. Yet somehow still blames the people on bikes.

A proposed DC law would remove contributory negligence in cases involving bike riders and pedestrians, making it easier for them to receive damages in collisions.

 

International

A new website promises to give Vancouver cyclists detailed bike safety and crash data.

A British Kickstarter offers lightweight carbon, equestrian-style bike helmets in your choice of colors. Let me know when someone makes one that looks and feels like a beat up cowboy hat.

A drunken Brit gets 18 months for knocking a cyclist off his bike, then throwing it at him.

A UK business leader says plans for London’s cycle superhighway will cause traffic congestion, even though bikes already make up 24% of the city’s rush hour traffic.

A British bike rider is found dead following an apparent hit-and-run; a 47-year old woman was arrested later on charges of DUI and leaving the scene. Thanks to F3nugr33k for the link.

Scotland considers a strict liability law, which places greater responsibility to avoid collisions on the operator of the more dangerous vehicle. It will take laws like that here if we ever want to achieve Vision Zero anywhere in this country.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: A rider on a rocket powered bicycle hits a world record 207 mph, just a tad faster than my best downhill speed. Before you go off in a road raging tantrum on a couple of bike riders, make sure they’re not off-duty cops — or better yet, just assume every cyclist you see is one.

And an Aussie paper says Katy Perry keeps fit riding to concert venues in her tour Down Under; evidently, her high-energy performance just doesn’t burn enough calories to stay in shape. Or maybe she and her crew just, you know, enjoy riding bikes.

 

Morning Links: New plan for Westwood Blvd removes nothing; Redondo Beach officials tear down that wall

Somehow, I missed this last week.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition reports on a new plan by transportation planner Ryan Snyder for bike lanes on Westwood Blvd. The Remove Nothing Plan would do exactly that, focusing on narrowing traffic lanes to make room for bike lanes and sharrows without removing a single traffic lane or parking spot.

It looks like a great idea.

While I’m not a big fan of sharrows, the green-backed variety should get attention from the too often distracted and otherwise unaccommodating motorists that ply that busy street, and help keep riders from having to fight for a modicum of space like they do now. And sharrows are only used in the section that’s too narrow to accommodate bike lanes given the restriction to remove nothing.

Although whether that will be enough to win the approval of the wealthy homeowners who got CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz to break his word and shoot down the last plan remains to be seen.

The LACBC urges you to call Koretz at 310/866-1828 to voice support for the plan, or email him at paul.koretz@lacity.org.

Meanwhile, I’m told Koretz called on LADOT to find an alternative route for cyclists that doesn’t involve Westwood at a recent meeting of the Transportation Committee  — neglecting to consider that every other alternative has already been considered and rejected.

Unless maybe he wants to put a bike lane on the shoulder of the 405.

……..

In a move reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s famous plea to Mr. Gorbachev, Redondo Beach officials tear down the wall separating Redondo from Hermosa Beach to make room for a two-way cycle track on Harbor Drive.

Plans also call for sharrows on northbound Harbor that will connect with the existing sharrows on Hermosa Ave, so riders won’t be forced to ride on the wrong side if they’re not planning to take the Strand through Hermosa Beach, where bikes are limited to 10 mph.

Thanks to Jim Lyle for the heads-up and research on the sharrows.

……..

Local

Fig4All calls for closing the gaps in bikeways that almost but don’t quite connect South Pasadena with Northeast LA.

Pasadena’s city council votes to end the outdated, auto-centric Level of Service standard for measuring traffic efficiency, which emphasizes moving cars over people. Which, oddly, is exactly what often happens.

Santa Monica considers its own 500-bike bike share system. And that’s exactly what I’ve been afraid of; if each city in the LA metro area develops their own bike share, we’ll end up with a mismatched and incompatible series of networks that won’t allow users to ride from one city to another.

The 10th annual Tour de Foothills rolls in Claremont this Saturday, with rides ranging from 33 to 100 miles.

 

State

California’s High Speed Rail Authority reaches out to Calbike for suggestions on how to integrate bikes into the planned rail system.

A CHP Public Information Officer says the law prohibiting crossing a double yellow line may not be a hard fast rule when it comes to passing cyclists with a three-foot margin; as usual, bike lawyer Bob Mionske gets it right — including his observations on the current state of California politics.

San Diego’s third CicloSDias takes place this Sunday.

A Murrieta motorist hits the crappy driver trifecta — driving under the influence while simultaneously eating and using his cellphone — when he hit a cyclist, sending the rider to the hospital with critical injuries. Thanks to Zak for the heads-up.

 

National

The Governing website looks at why bike groups lashed out at the recent governors’ bike safety report, and still misses the mark; what’s missing from the discussion is that bike helmets are a last-ditch safety measure when everything else has failed, not the first line of defense.

Turns out Car Talk host Tom Magliozzi, who passed away on Monday, was one of us.

Bike Portland’s Jonathan Maus has his bike stolen, but steals it back the same day. And discovers an open air bike theft chop shop in the process.

Ohio bike lawyer Steve Magas looks at insurance issues for today’s cyclists, including the fact that homeowners or renters insurance should cover you for liability damage while riding your bike. And warns you against auto coverage from Nationwide, which evidently is not on your side if you’re on a bike.

Boston requires trucks to have side guard panels to protect cyclists, something that should be mandatory nationwide.

New York Streetsblog questions why the NYPD is defending hit-and-run drivers in the press. Damn good question.

 

International

Bike Biz wants your nominations for the Top 50 Women in Cycling.

The Mirror wonders why it’s so hard to prove helmets make cycling safer, while a writer for the Telegraph bizarrely insists that more and better bike lanes are not the answer because not everyone wants to bike everywhere, cycling in the UK is safe enough already, and England will never be Holland and bloody well doesn’t want to be.

Italian great Marco Pantani’s body may be exhumed as suspicion grows that he was murdered by mobsters.

Caught on video: The five best road bike descents.

Once again, a newspaper asks if you can look stylish as you ride to work, this time in Australia. And once again, there wouldn’t be a story if the answer was no.

CNN applauds Bangkok’s airport bike path.

 

Finally…

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson schools a ride newbie, then discovers he’s America’s top track Olympian; not Seth, the newbie. Salt Lake City police look for a knife wielding, sidewalk raging cyclist.

And despite the headline, even the best lights don’t really create a force field around your bike, unfortunately.

 

Morning Links: CD5’s Paul Koretz’ credibility questioned; CABO president calls bike lane advocates Uncle Toms

Westside councilmember Paul Koretz seems to be catching it from all sides lately.

Just days after many bicyclists — yours truly included — reacted negatively to his call for slashing greenhouse gases after killing bike lanes on Westwood Blvd, the UCLA Bicycling Academy falls just short of calling the councilmember a liar.

Consulting Economist Calla Wiemer writes that Koretz appeared before the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners Association recently to explain his decision to kill the bike lanes, after promising the same group last year that the city would study them.

The Councilmember offered two justifications for the cancellation. One was that he realized that incorporating bike lanes into Westwood Boulevard would only make the situation more dangerous. The other was that he recognized an “overwhelming consensus of the community” in opposition. In light of these considerations, he determined that regardless of any LADOT findings, he would not approve bike lanes for Westwood Boulevard. There was thus no point wasting time with a study.

Yet as Wiemer explains, the bike lanes would have improved safety on one of the city’s most dangerous streets for bike riders, while moving riders out of the way of impatient motorists.

In fact, I’m told the safety portion of the study Koretz cancelled was virtually complete when he pulled the plug, and would have shown that the proposal would have no negative impact on safety — something he undoubtedly knew, despite proclaiming just the opposite as a justification for killing the project.

Which could explain his timing in killing the study last year before the results could be released.

As for his other excuse,

Koretz’s second justification for canceling the LADOT study was an ostensible “overwhelming consensus of the community” in opposition. The hundreds of riders who brave Westwood Boulevard daily on bikes would surely be surprised to discover the ease with which their interests can be overwhelmed in the view of the Councilmember. Moreover, those in favor of bike lanes extend well beyond the cycling community, or even the would-be cycling community taken to encompass those who would like to ride Westwood Boulevard but are deterred by present conditions. All who drive Westwood Boulevard regularly have the experience of getting stuck behind cyclists and wishing them out of the way. For motorists too, then, bike lanes are the answer….

With support of bike lanes for Westwood Boulevard so much in evidence, an “overwhelming consensus” in opposition would require a counterforce of a scale difficult to imagine. UCLA is, after all, the largest employer in Los Angeles after government and contributes $12.7 billion a year to the local economy. To understand the influences at work on the Councilmember, a group of UCLA students filed a public records request for all communications of the District 5 Council office pertaining to bike lanes. Covering the period February 24, 2010 to November 22, 2013, the file runs to 1035 pages. It is tough to read through all this material let alone infer any consensus from it. Views are presented on both sides of the issue with a relatively small number of people dominating the input. The most vocal opposition comes from the leadership of the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners Association.

One problem with this whole scenario is that the few who run the WSSM HOA carry such disproportionate weight in the Councilmember’s assessment of public opinion. Another problem is that a group constituted on the basis of homeownership in a diverse neighborhood of single family homes and condominiums, young and old, cyclists and non-cyclists would take such a strident position on bike lanes. As a member of this homeowners association myself, I am an indication of the range of opinion that exists in the neighborhood with regard to bike lanes.

It should be deeply troubling to anyone that a single councilmember can, let alone would, derail the democratic process to satisfy an unelected homeowner’s group — not even the Neighborhood Council elected to represent all those who live, work and shop in the area, rather than just the privileged few who can afford homes in the area.

The late Dale Carnegie once wrote that there are two reasons for anything a person says or does — a reason that sounds good, and the real reason.

Koretz has given us two reasons that sound good, but don’t stand up to even the most basic scrutiny.

Which leaves us to wonder just what his real reason is.

………

Recently we discussed CABO’s opposition to AB 1193, a popular bill before the state legislature that would legalize protected bike lanes in California, which are currently prohibited under restrictive state law.

Jim Baross, president of the California Association of Bicycling Organizations, wrote in response that the group didn’t oppose the lanes, but simply wanted to maintain standards that he said would ensure their safety.

Yet the following comment from Baross, left on the Cycling in the South Bay blog in response to a story about harassment from motorists on PCH, doesn’t sound like someone who supports bike lanes, protected or otherwise.

It is so similar it’s difficult not to menton (sic) the similarity to racists’ treatment of those they consider not to belong – though nothing nearly as pervasive or violent; bicyclists are not lynched, but we are certainly being discouraged from exercising our rights – equal or less than equal. Disturbing to me is the Uncle-Tom response seeking, in effect, separate and usually inferior facilities – the back of the bus may be safer and using shoulder space may be more comfortable, bit (sic) it shouldn’t be forced on anyone by harrasment (sic) or misapplication of laws.

He’s got a valid point that no one’s choice of where to ride should be forced on them at the end of a bumper.

But to call anyone who wants safe infrastructure that doesn’t require us to share the lane with motorists an Uncle Tom couldn’t be more offensive.

Whether to bicycling advocates who disagree with his apparent opposition to anything but the same vehicular cycling approach that has stymied the growth of bicycling for the past 40 years, or to those who have suffered from real racism for the last 300.

Jim, you’ve got some serious explaining to do.

Thanks to Bike SD’sSam Ollinger for finding the comment.

……..

Local

The Cypress Park Neighborhood Council meets tonight to discuss the already approved, funded and shovel-ready North Figueroa road diet and bike lanes, inexplicably halted by CD1 Councilmember — and apparent Koretz emulator — Gil Cedillo.

It only took two years, but a dangerous intersection on the Expo Bikeway has finally been fixed.

Yet another stolen bike, this time in Echo Park.

This is what an unsafe pass looks like captured from behind; thanks to topomodesto for the link.

More on LA Streetsblog’s winning night at the SoCal press awards.

 

State

A Federal court jury awarded $1.9 million to the parents of a cyclist shot by Indio police. No surprise, as this case stunk from the beginning.

A Petaluma bike building project helps steer kids from a life of crime.

A St. Helena columnist questions whether society is best served by sentencing a driver convicted of killing a cyclist in a left cross to prison. I can’t answer that question; I just know that people will continue to die on our streets until we start taking traffic crime seriously.

 

National

Bicycling says you need to lube more than just your chain.

A new national association of bicycling educators has been formed; thanks to Karen Karabell for the heads-up.

New rechargeable bike light allows you to light the road and recharge your cell at the same time.

Ninety-four percent of Oregon cyclists stop for red lights, compared to up to 77% of drivers who break the speed limit.

It’s been a bad year for cyclists in central Wyoming, as a rider from New York is killed while turning left across a highway. A letter writer suggests the solution is to let cyclists ride salmon; uh, no.

A Wisconsin writer says go ahead and ride to work, but buy a waterproof messenger bag first. And never try to race the rain.

A group of bystanders lift a taxi off an elderly New York bike rider.

 

International

A heartless UK thief steals a bike that was left to a woman after her father was killed in a plane crash.

Most Brits think the county’s roads are too risky for bicyclists; thanks to Jim Pettipher for the heads-up.

Scot pro David Millar is booted from his team for this year’s Tour de France.

Belgium’s soccer team prepares to lose to play the US in the World Cup by going for a leisurely bike ride.

 

Finally…

When you’re on parole and carrying meth, ammunition and a practice mortar round on your bike, don’t give police an excuse to stop you.

And guess who doesn’t think the doping investigation that brought down Lance Armstrong was good for cycling? That’s right, Lance.

 

Weekend Links: Environmental hypocrisy rears its ugly head in Westwood; CICLE gets a new director

I’ve been seriously under the weather the past few days, which means we’ve got a lot of news to catch up on.

……..

No hypocrisy here, as Westside City Councilmember Paul Koretz proposes slashing greenhouse gas emissions in the city.

This after unilaterally killing proposed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

And he somehow seems to think the city can cut those emissions by 80% without cutting back on car traffic. Or even mentioning cars in his announcement, let alone offering safe alternatives to driving to reduce traffic congestion.

So let’s be honest.

The only way Los Angeles will ever see a significant reduction in emissions or traffic congestion is to provide residents with viable alternatives that will allow those who choose not to drive to leave their cars at home.

And with his single-handed veto of the Westwood lanes, Koretz has shown himself to be one of the biggest obstacles to accomplishing that.

But at least he talks a good game.

……..

Sad to see Dan Dabek leave after doing so much to revitalize the organization. But congratulations to Vanessa Gray as the new Director of C.I.C.L.E.

Sounds like the group will be in good hands.

……..

Big news from Metro this past week, as the agency antes up $3.7 million to expand CicLAvia-style open streets events throughout LA County. But Long Beach sees just one of two proposed events funded.

Meanwhile, Metro finally adds active transportation representatives to the agency’s Technical Advisory Committee, which should bring a better voice for bicyclists to LA County’s leading transportation authority.

And preliminary plans are in the works for the long-delayed rail connection to LAX, which will include a plush new station connected to the Green and Crenshaw lines, with a mile-plus people mover leading to the airport. Maybe those new TAC members can push for a bike center to be included in the plans to finally make it practical for employees and passengers to ride to LAX.

And Metro honors Steven Nancarrow for transforming his life through bicycling.

……..

Laguna Beach’s Coastline Pilot offers a sad remembrance of fallen cyclist John Colvin; tragically, both his wife and daughter drove by the collision scene only to discover later that the victim was their own loved one.

……..

Local

Messenger bag maker Timbuk2 will open their first LA-area store across from Linus Bikes on Abbot Kinney next month.

After a lot of pushing from Richard Risemberg, among others, the LA River bike path finally gets wayfinding signs through Elysium Valley.

Unlike some councilmembers we could mention, CD15’s Joe Buscaino has turned out to be surprisingly supportive of bicycling, including naming Watts Cyclery as his Business of the Month.

Better Bike offers an update on the embattled proposal for bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills; no action is expected before September. Meanwhile, Beverly Hills NIMBY’s try to raise fears of out-of-town cyclists destroying their precious parks; I wonder if they also object to all those out-of-town motorists besmirching their boulevard and fouling their air?

Curbed misses the mark, as maps based on Strava data don’t show the best bike routes through the city, just the most popular ones for riders who use Strava.

Celebrate Damian Kevitt’s birthday in North Hollywood on July 14th, with a party benefitting Finish the Ride.

A local writer tells cyclists to get off the sidewalk and stop riding salmon.

 

State

After a successful introduction in Corona del Mar, new bike racks are coming to OC’s Balboa Island.

Bike Newport Beach rolls out the first installment of a bootleg bike master plan to replace the long-delayed official one.

Cyclists, joggers and equestrians jockey for space in a Bakersfield culvert.

Streetsblog offers an update on bike and transportation-related bills in Sacramento, with things looking good so far. Meanwhile, bills to battle hit-and-run move forward; Santa Monica offers its support, as well.

 

National

How many bike riders does it take for the oft-cited safety in numbers effect? According to a new study from the University of Colorado-Denver, the answer is 200.

More on that study showing drivers give bike riders in bike lanes more space when passing.

Good news from injured cycling scion Taylor Phinney, whose recovery is ahead of schedule.

As Spokane becomes more bike-friendly, cyclists still face harassment on the roads.

Chicago cyclists get the nation’s first bike footrest.

A DC TV station offers 13 tips every bike rider should remember to avoid bike theft; good advice, since we seem to be suffering a rash of them lately.

Virginia’s three-foot passing law takes effect July 1st; our won’t be enforced until mid-September.

 

International

Calgary cyclists face criticism for bombing down a busy highway.

Is Britain on the verge of becoming a bicycling nation?

A bike path in Ireland’s County Limerick sees a big boost after a visit by Kim and Kanye.

This year’s Tour de France will pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of WWI.

Former world champ Thor Hushovd prepares to call it quits at the end of this season after suffering from mononucleosis.

Over 10,000 Moscow cyclists will ride in support of better bicycling infrastructure.

South African cyclist sells everything he owns to ride through 70 countries on all seven continents.

 

Finally…

A Brit writer says it’s irresponsible to encourage cycling on the country’s dangerous roads; after all, there’s no point in trying to make those roads any safer. And don’t swear at a group of children in a crosswalk, especially if you’re the jerk who jumped the light. Just don’t.

……..

On a personal note, before anyone gets too concerned, my diabetes in under control. Despite being told by my doctors it would be impossible, I’ve managed to get my blood sugar levels down to the normal levels without insulin; in fact, I’m having more of a problem with low blood sugar these days. 

On the other hand, I appear to be having a bad reaction to one or more of the medications that have helped me get things under control, which has knocked me on my ass in recent days and left me unable to do much more than try to stay awake long enough to watch the World Cup from the relative discomfort of my couch.

Hopefully, they’ll get my meds adjusted soon.

And this too shall pass. 

 

Morning Links: Is this the smoking gun? Leaked email behind Koretz’ 2013 veto of Westwood Blvd bike lanes

Email addressed have been removed to protect recipients' privacy.

Email addresses have been removed to protect recipients’ privacy.

This will be a sad week for Westside cyclists.

Even if they don’t know it yet.

As I was out on Sunday, I discovered a freshly repaved Westwood Blvd from Santa Monica Blvd south to at least Pico.

Normally that would be good news, as bike riders benefit from smooth pavement as much as drivers do. If not more, since cars are at little risk from the pits and cracks in the roadway that can throw riders dangerously to the street.

But the problem comes when the traffic lanes on Westwood are restriped. Because they won’t include the bike lanes promised in the 2010 bike plan, thanks to the apparent whim of CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz.

In an email recently forwarded to me, dated November 11, 2013, Koretz announces to bike lane opponents that he is on their side, and that no amount of information will ever convince him to support bike lanes on the boulevard. And so he is killing the project, rather than wait on the results of an LADOT feasibility study of the proposed floating bike lanes.

And even though I’m told the nearly completed study would have showed no negative impact on traffic or local businesses.

After all, why wait for the facts if they might conflict with his already made-up mind?

The self-proclaimed “big fan of bike lanes” and strong supporter of bicycling somehow seems to think bike riders traveling between the new Westwood Expo Line Station and the UCLA campus will go blocks, if not miles, out of their way for bike lanes on Sepulveda Blvd — which currently exist only in sporadic pieces — or in Century City far to the east, which don’t exist at all.

Let alone Westwood-area side streets, which have yet to be proposed by anyone.

His reasoning in killing the bike lanes is that he didn’t want them to be included in the city’s new Mobility Plan, where they might take on a life of their own. Even though his own words cite the need to include bicycling in the Mobility Plan as a way to travel to and from the Expo Line.

After all, why allow the lives and safety of cyclists to take precedence over the convenience of motorists and the preferences of overly entitled local home and business owners?

It’s one of the great flaws of LA city government that a single elected official has veto power over a project contained in a plan that was unanimously approved by the city council — including Koretz himself — in 2011.

Just as CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo has taken it upon himself to delay, if not kill, the shovel-ready road diet and bike lanes previously approved for North Figueroa.

This email isn’t quite the smoking gun bike lane supporters have been looking for.

But it makes it clear that Koretz’ talk about listening to all sides and trying to find a workable solution for Westwood was exactly that.

Talk.

……..

Local

The LA Police Commission hosts a series of three meetings to gather input on the re-appointment of LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. In the five years he’s been chief, relations between cyclists and the LAPD have improved dramatically over the dark days of the relatively recent past.

The LACBC reports that a public records request confirms the road diet and bike lanes planned  for North Figueroa will have no impact on emergency response times.

Malibu and other cities surrounding the Malibu/Agoura Hills seek input on their proposed bike plan, including possible routes through the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Eastside Bike Club founder Carlos Morales organizes a Riff Raff Ride into exclusive — and bike unfriendly — San Marino next month.

Pedal Love’s Melissa Balmer hosts an upcoming webinar on developing effective media strategies for bike advocacy.

 

State

Newport Beach bike cops go ebike.

Pedacabs come to downtown Bakersfield.

San Francisco attempts to crack down on bicycle chop shops.

 

National

I want to be like her when I grow up. Ninety-year old bike-riding founder of a Utah charity ride encourages others to take up bicycling.

A Colorado teenager with cystic fibrosis — and a huge heart — is riding 1,000 miles to raise funds for the state’s Children’s Hospital.

Chicago is halfway to the mayor’s goal of installing 100 miles of protected bikeways, though not all are finding approval from riders.

Florida continues to be a dangerous place for cyclists and pedestrians.

 

International

An 86-year old Saskatoon competitive cyclist calls for a more bike-friendly city after a groove in the pavement throws him off his bike, most likely ending his riding career.

A UK study shows texting behind the wheel is even more dangerous than drunk driving.

Road raging Brit driver attempts to run over a cyclist, and misses. And crashes into a hair salon instead.

A Yorkshire farmer plans to watch the local stage of the Tour de France somewhere else after catching a naked cyclist pooping in his field.

 

Finally…

Bicycling magazine patiently explains why you’re not riding in the Tour de France. And a letter writer explains how local planners can ensure cyclists continue to ride dangerously in highway traffic; vetoing planned bike lanes is a good way to start.

 

Breaking news — bike rider physically assaulted by motorist in West LA

I’ve received an eye witness report of a bike rider being physically attacked by a motorist this afternoon.

According the report, forwarded to me by attorney David Huntsman, a woman was driving north on Westwood Blvd when she saw another driver get out of his car and attack the rider on the southeast corner of Westwood and Olympic just after noon today. As she described it, the driver came at the rider flailing his arms, while the cyclist yelled at his attacker.

The woman said other people appeared to be calling 911 to report the attack.

Let’s be very clear.

No matter what took place between the two parties to cause the conflict, the motorist committed a crime by striking the rider — as one cop explained to me in a similar case, the driver was at fault as soon as he left his vehicle. He can, and should, be prosecuted if he and his victim can be identified.

This is also would appear to be a perfect case for LA’s cyclist anti-harassment ordinance, which allows bicyclists to sue motorists or others who threaten or attack them while riding. The ordinance allows victims to collect three times actual damages or $1000, whichever is higher; it also allows for the payment of full legal fees to encourage lawyers to take a case that might not otherwise be worth their time.

The problem with the ordinance has always been that it can be difficult to gather the witnesses or other evidence necessary to prove the case. But in this case, it took place in front of multiple witnesses, at least one of whom has already come forward.

If anyone has more information — or if you were the rider involved — contact me; you can find me email address on the About page.

And let’s not forget that this is exactly where an innovative floating bike lane was proposed to reduce or eliminate conflicts between cyclists and drivers — without the loss of a single traffic lane or parking spot.

Yet the lane was vetoed by Westside City Councilmember Paul Koretz at the urging of wealthy homeowners, even though it would have zero negative impact on the Boulevard and the surrounding area.

And would move cyclists out of the way of impatient, and too often, angry drivers, helping to avoid incidents like this.

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