LA Times tells state to speed up slowing drivers down, Streets For All goes all in on ads, and 5 riders run down Down Under

I seem to be apologizing a lot this week.

Sorry for the downtime on this site yesterday morning, and thank you to everyone who notified me about the 502 error; unfortunately, I wasn’t able to access the backside of this site, either.

It turned out to be a large scale glitch that took down a number of sites across the internet. But everything’s back to normal now.

Hopefully, it will stay that way.

And let me apologize to everyone who sent me links the past few days. I’ve lost track of most of them, and I’m way too tired to track them all down now.

So allow me to just offer a general and generic thank you to everyone who contributed something for your help, which I genuinely appreciate.

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They get it.

In recent years, the LA Times editorial board has taken strong stands in favor of safer streets and alternative transportation.

Yesterday was no exception, as the paper complained about the state slow-walking efforts to slow motor vehicle traffic. And called on California to finally get rid of the deadly 85th percentile state speed limit law, calling it “outdated, absurd and downright dangerous.”

The problem stems from a decades-old state law that essentially requires cities to set speed limits based on how fast people are already driving on that stretch of road, regardless of whether that speed is safe or whether the street has a history of wrecks. It was adopted more than 60 years agoto prevent cities from setting speed traps, or arbitrarily low speed limits aimed at sticking drivers with pricey tickets…

The more common and unintended consequence of the 85th percentile rule is what’s known as speed creep. Higher speed limits encourage motorists to drive faster, which in turn prompts higher speed limits. That’s what happened on Zelzah Avenue in L.A.

It’s not surprising, then, that the task force has recommended giving cities more flexibility to set lower speed limits, particularly on streets with lots of injury crashes or an abundance of pedestrians and cyclists. Research shows that speed limits do affect drivers’ behavior, and even modest reductions in speed can save lives. A pedestrian or cyclist hit by a vehicle traveling 35 miles per hour has a 68% chance of survival. A person hit by vehicle traveling at 40 mph — just 5 mph faster — has only a 35% chance of survival.

They conclude this way.

None of these steps will be easy; Californians have fiercely resisted safety-promoting reforms that might slow their commutes. But at the very least, lawmakers should get rid of a system that forces cities to give in to speeders before cracking down on them.

Amen, brothers and sisters.

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Here’s something that’s been missing from Los Angeles for far too long.

LA nonprofit Streets For All has produced YouTube ads supporting safe streets candidates in the upcoming March 3rd election.

The short ads endorse CD4’s Sarah Kate Levy and Loraine Lundquist in CD12, while taking well-deserved shots at incumbents David Ryu and John Lee.

While there’s an argument to be made against independent groups getting involved in local political races, until campaign finance laws are reformed to remove outside influence and expenditures, it’s vital to get our side out there, too.

And yes, I’ll be casting my vote for Sarah Kate Levy during the early voting period next week.

Meanwhile, Bike the Vote LA lists their endorsements in the coming election, including Levy and Lundquist, as well as Calbike’s endorsements for the state legislature.

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Horrible news from Australia, where five bicyclists have been injured, two critically, when they were run down from behind by a hit-and-run driver while riding in a clearly marked bike lane.

A 28-year old man has been arrested for the crime after police discovered his blood-splattered SUV.

He faces numerous charges, including multiple counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing grievous bodily harm; dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and adversely affected by an intoxicating substance; and failing to remain at the scene and render assistance.

The question is whether he was just too drunk and/or stoned to control his damn vehicle, or if this was a deliberate attempt to run down as many riders as he could.

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A meeting will be held in NoHo this afternoon to discuss the ill-advised widening of Magnolia Blvd, which contradicts LA’s Vision Zero and climate action plans, and all that is holy.

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A UK website questions whether police have given up on bike thefts, saying many riders are putting off buying expensive bikes for fear of having them stolen.

Case in point, a bike thief uses an axle grinder to slice through a lock, stealing a bike on a crowded street in broad daylight.

Then threatens a bystander with it when he objects.

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The source of those nonstandard, and likely legally unenforceable, Dismount Bikes signs in the construction zones on Wilshire Blvd has been revealed.

In case you want to order some of your own. Maybe someone could convert them to Drivers Dismount, instead.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on. And on. 

A road raging Miami-area driver was caught on video brake checking a bike-riding couple and trying to run them off the road, screaming that they aren’t allowed on the street; naturally, the local police don’t seem to care.

Sometimes, though, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

A Washington burglar was busted just five minutes after raiding a restaurant freezer while making his getaway by bike. Although it does make you wonder if maybe he was just hungry.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton says just eight days into the mayor’s “Decade of Action” on climate change, the closure of the Jefferson Blvd bike lanes has left the city’s bike infrastructure worse off than it was last week.

Pasadena News Now allows the four candidates for the city’s mayor to make their case; all but one ignore transportation, except to complain about traffic. The fourth, Major Williams, gets points for wanting to get cars off the street — but what the hell are “motorized walkway paths?”

 

State

Bicycling says NBA Hall of Famer — and UCLA legend — Bill Walton is a huge cyclist, riding the streets of San Diego when he’s not broadcasting basketball games or engaged in multi-day tours.

Santa Barbara sheriff’s investigators are asking anyone with information or video regarding the allegedly drunken hit-and-run that took the lives of Mary Jane Becerra Corral and Adolfo Corral on a Goleta bike path to contact them; their accused killer, Eric Mauricio Ramirez-Aguilar, remains in custody on $1 million bond.

San Francisco’s mayor proposes congestion pricing and charging for metered parking on nights and weekends to reduce traffic in the congested downtown area.

An architecture and design site talks with the urban planner behind San Francisco’s newly carfree Market Street. Meanwhile, a San Jose columnist says closing streets there would have major benefits.

 

National

Seventy-seven-year old Harrison Ford is one of us. And wants you to know he doesn’t ride an ebike.

Peloton wants to swap your Flywheel in-home cycling bike for a “like new” Peloton, after the former lost a patent infringement suit to the latter. You might want to think twice about an Echelon stationary bike, too.

A Golden, Colorado bike thief made off from a bike shop with an $8,000 bicycle after leaving a stolen ID and credit card as security to take it on a test ride, and never came back.

After kids bike was stolen, a Colorado cop followed tracks in the snow to find it, along with another stolen kids bike, as well as the homeless addict who admitted taking them.

A Buffalo, Wyoming website tells the convoluted tale of why there were bike tire tracks in the snow one recent morning, after a rancher remembered he left his pickup in town following a late night visit to a “parts store.”

Nice piece from VeloNews, as a Marine lieutenant colonel describes how he started bicycling to recover after he was shot by a sniper in Afghanistan, and fell in love with the Dirty Kanza gravel race.

A Texas county commissioner pledged $7.4 million to build 3,000 acres of greenspace along Houston’s bayous, along with 150 miles of connected hiking and bicycling trails.

Cincinnati is moving forward with plans to create an additional 176 miles of bike lanes.

New York’s ped-assist bikeshare ebikes are back, after a redesign to prevent the brakes from locking and tossing riders over the handlebars.

New York City met its goal of 20 miles of protected bike lanes last year, and commits to 30 miles this year. That compares to LA’s firm commitment to maybe build a mile or two if it doesn’t, you know, inconvenience anyone.

Former New York DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan says car crashes are an epidemic, but one we can solve. But autonomous cars aren’t the answer.

This is who we share the road with. A West Virginia woman admits to distracted driving after killing a man riding a bike, saying she never saw the victim until she heard the thud because she was too busy looking at her phone.

An 88-year old DC crossing guard is a hero, holding his ground against a speeding driver and sacrificing his own life to save two children. Thanks to Orange House for the heads-up.

Kindhearted Virginia firefighters started a crowdfunding page for a man with Down syndrome after the custom three-wheeled bike he relies on for transportation was stolen; the site has raised over $1,600 in two days.

The Department of DIY strikes in the Big Easy, as a carnival krewe posts their own handmade signs urging drivers to watch out for bike riders during the upcoming Mardi Gras season.

Over 500 people are expected to turn out for a 51-mile bike ride commemorating the 55th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March of 1965.

 

International

A new report says e-scooters are just as safe as bicycles, and drivers are the real problem. But better regulation is necessary.

Cycling News considers the counterintuitive benefits of slapping wider tires on your skinny tire bike.

Now you, too, can own your very own badly named online bicycle accessory site.

A group of bicyclists ride 285 miles across Nicaragua in three days.

A proposal to require licenses and insurance for bicyclists in British Columbia is met with decidedly mixed reviews.

Despite the overwhelming success of London’s bicycling superhighways, merchants in the city’s Holland Park district fear it will cost them business — once again mistaking passing cars for paying customers.

This is who we share the roads with, too. A 75-year old London rabbi offered to help a woman park her Jag, and somehow confused the brake and gas pedals, crashing into two pedestrians before plowing into a pharmacy. Yes, the news is two years old; British privacy rules prevent releasing details on cases like this before they go to trial.

A man in the UK was driving at twice the legal alcohol limit when he hit a traffic island. So naturally, he blamed a bike rider for the crash.

British rock group Glass Animals makes a comeback 18 months after drummer Joe Seaward suffered a serious head injury when he was hit by a truck driver while riding his bike in Dublin.

A South African “adventure enthusiast, businesswoman and entrepreneur” describes how taking up bicycling twelve years ago has opened up her world.

Now that’s a beautiful bike. A Japanese student designed and built a handcrafted bespoke bike, melding traditional kitsuregoshi woodwork with a modern bicycle.

A Christian group has kicked off a campaign to provide 2,500 bicycles to pastors in Asia at a cost of $110 apiece.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews talks with American cycling legend Davis Phinney.

🎶 Hello muddah, hello faddah, busted for burglary, in Granada. 🎶 Former TdF stage winner Juan Miguel Mercado was arrested on suspicion of leading a violent burglary gang in Granada, Spain. Scroll way down, or read the original story en español. And anyone too young to get the musical reference can catch up here

 

Finally…

When you’re skipping school to ride your bike and carrying a little weed and a gun in your pants, make sure you have something in there to keep it in place. Your next ride could be on car tires.

And when you’re bunny hopping a canal, don’t miss.

Breaking news: Motorbike rider fled after killing woman riding bike on San Gabriel River Bike Trail

Apparently, no one is safe from idiots with engines.

According to a tweet from the Norwalk Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, a woman was killed in a collision with a motorcyclist while riding on the San Gabriel River Bike Trail a little over two weeks ago.

Yes, on an offroad bike path.

And yes, her killer fled the scene.

The victim was identified as 31-year old Carla Becerra, who was killed in the crash on Sunday, February 2nd.

 

Twentynine-year old Brandon Lindsley was arrested for the crime eleven days later, and charged with vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run last Friday. Since Becerra died, both should be felony counts. 

Unfortunately, that’s all we know right now.

No word on exactly where or how the crash happened. And no explanation for what the hell someone on a motorbike was doing on a bike path.

Hopefully we’ll learn more on Wednesday, when the department is expected to issue a press release.

This is at least the seventh bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Carla Becerra and all her loved ones.

Redesigning our cities for people, Metro planner killed in SaMo, and illegal bike dismount signs on Wilshire Blvd

My apologies to anyone who saw a premature draft of today’s page while it was still under construction; I somehow hit the Post button instead of Save. 

Blame a daylong rollercoaster dealing with the literal highs and lows of diabetes.

Photo by Emre Kuzu from Pexels.

………

He gets it.

Writing for Forbes, an instructor at a Spanish university says it’s time to redesign our cities around people, not cars.

The message is clear: cars must go, they have made our cities unhealthy and expensive for everyone, and while bicycles and pedestrians are part of the solution, we need to redesign streets for pedestrians and for autonomous vehicles. This needs to be backed up by competitive public transport that is more intelligent and versatile, and powered by real-time data.

Shops on streets that are closed to private cars do not suffer, but quite the opposite. Living in a city without a car is perfectly possible: it is already significantly cheaper to rent a car as often as you need than to own one and have to face expenses such as insurance, parking or taxes. But all these solutions raise a fundamental question about changing our habits, about how we get to work, for example: working from home or flexible hours are increasingly established trends.

Someone should mention that part about business thriving on streets that are closed to cars to the business owners on Broadway, who could be looking at exactly that in the near future.

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Sad news from Santa Monica, where Metro Transportation Planner Daniel Chuong was killed when he was struck by a driver while training with his brother for the LA Marathon.

It’s long past time to stop traffic violence in Southern California.

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Signs telling bicyclists to walk their bikes have popped up along the subway construction zones on Wilshire Blvd.

However, the signs do not appear to be compliant with the California MUTCD manual — the state’s official traffic sign guide — and not legally enforceable.

Although I could be wrong on that.

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Apparently, the bike lanes on Jefferson have been closed for sewer pipe work for the next year.

And as usual, there doesn’t seem to be any accommodation for bike riders.

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It looks like the Culver Blvd pathway is closed for construction work, as well. But at least this should reopen in a better version soon.

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Talk about burying the lede.

A Stanton woman suffered serious, but non-life-threatening injuries when she was struck by a hit-and-run driver while pulling a trailer on her bike.

However, the OC Register mentions that the driver fled the scene almost as an aside, before finally getting to a description of the suspect vehicle near the end of the story.

There’s also video from the scene showing the aftermath of the crash. But be warned, it’s tough to watch. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link.

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Bike talks mountain bikes, including how to fly like Superman, how to dial in drops, how to ride a step downhow to ride rollers, how to ride turns and berms, and how to do a back flip.

And an English filmmaker looks at what happens when a mountain bike race shuts down and the trail is converted to a new singletrack course.

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Long Beach expats the Path Less Pedaled take a short ride on an LA gravel rollercoaster.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on. And on. 

A London driver walked with a warning despite repeatedly brake checking a bike rider — in a bike lane, no less.

Sometimes, though, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

A Washington credit card thief was busted when he showed up at a hospital with a leg injury, after he was hit by a driver while attempting to make his getaway by bicycle.

A Florida driver asks if bicyclists are allowed to ride salmon in bike lanes, after she nearly hits a wrong way rider who yelled at her and smacked her hood.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton says Magnolia Blvd, Broadway, and traffic signal pre-emption are three early tests for Mayor Garcetti’s Climate Directive.

Streets for All has echoed Bike the Vote LA in endorsing Loraine Lundquist in LA’s 12th Council District and Sarah Kate Levy in CD4.

The Bieb took his fat tire ebike out for a spin on the mean streets of Beverly Hills, after first shaving off that cheesy mustache.

Bike thieves made off with a pair of high-end road bikes with electronic shifting from an unlocked Pasadena garage. Let that be a lesson, kids — don’t leave your garage or your bikes unlocked any longer than necessary. Thanks to TJ Knight for the heads-up. 

On the other hand, Santa Monica bike thefts have reached their lowest level in five years.

Long Beach police shot and killed an armed man who refused to cooperate after police ordered him to stop his bicycle, allegedly pointing his gun at them.

 

State

Santa Barbara will conduct a road diet on De la Vina Street, narrowing it to a single one-way traffic lane, along with a bike lane.

A Beaumont bike rider suffered serious injuries Monday morning when he or she was hit by a driver, who actually stuck around and waited for the police, for a change.

A Porterville man faces charges for literally running from police when they tried to pull his bicycle over while he was riding stoned, and illegally loading real bullets into a replica BB gun, which he wasn’t allowed to own as a convicted felon.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a $4,000 ‘bent that an autistic Fresno man used as his only form of transportation.

 

National

The Week argues that the real promise of the electric vehicle revolution lies with ebikes, rather than electric cars.

Americans are addicted to their cars.

Clearly, you can do that on a bike, especially on one like this. Whatever you’re trying to do.

Rapper Jeezy is one of us, going for a Valentine’s Day bike ride with girlfriend Jeannie Mai on the back.

A Missoula, Montana man wants to thank the two women who came to his aid when he broke his leg riding in the snow. And get his bike back from the one who promised to hold it for him, but apparently gave him a fake address for where he could pick it up.

An Oklahoma couple is planning to set a new Guinness world record for the longest ebike ride, traveling 20,000 unsupported miles across 48 states. Get back to me when they actually do it. Because it’s easy to make plans, much harder to actually do it. As I’ve learned the hard way. 

Columbia, Missouri is apparently following the Los Angeles model for Vision Zero, with traffic deaths and serious injuries on the increase four years after adopting the safety plan.

If you build it, they will come. Which apparently works just as well for an Illinois bake shop located across from a popular bike path as it does for anything else.

Seriously? A self-proclaimed bicycle rider blames bike lanes for all that traffic congestion in Pittsburgh, which apparently didn’t exist before they were painted. And compares bike lanes to dogs marking their territory.

A Massachusetts man now owns the same bike shop where he worked as a bike-obsessed teenager.

New York Streetsblog argues that a new survey shows America’s mayors know cars are killing people and ruining our cities, but don’t have the courage to do anything about it.

Closing a section of a busy New York street to cars in favor of a busway is literally saving lives.

Kindhearted cops in Richmond VA gave a new bike and helmet to a woman who was hit by a car while riding, after learning her bike was her only form of transportation.

Evidently, they take distracted driving seriously in Georgia, where a driver faces a vehicular homicide charge for killing a bike rider when he looked down at his coffee cup.

An Orlando, Florida writer confesses to blowing through stop signs while riding a bicycle on a trail dedicated to non-motorized transportation, where bike riders should get priority, but don’t. Each of the past two nights, I’ve watched drivers blow through the stop signs on my block without even slowing down. But let a bike rider do the same thing at 10 – 15 mph, instead of 30 or more, and people get apoplectic.

This is who we share the roads with. A Florida man confessed to intentionally running down a Vietnam veteran, who the killer described as “an old man with a cane,” just because he was curious about what it’s like to kill someone.

 

International

They get it, too. A writer for Rouleur says the one thing all bicyclist have in common, regardless of ability, is how vulnerable we are on the roads. And concludes that the culture, and the laws, have to change.

Mark your calendar for the World Naked Bike Ride in London this June. But pack some clothes anyway.

A London bike rider gets ordered off his bike while riding on a shared-use path after a cop ignores the signage and decides it’s for pedestrians only.

As Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo runs for re-election with a promise of bike lanes on every street, Parisians continue to ride their bikes, even after a disruptive transit strike has ended.

A Pakistani delivery driver working in Dubai faces six months in jail followed by a fast deportation for sexually harassing a customer by kissing her wrist and cheek when he tried to drop off the bicycle she ordered for her husband.

A South African ultra-endurance cyclist has made a remarkable comeback from a solo crash that nearly took his life, but couldn’t stop him.

A Kiwi town gets a new hot pink, car-shaped bike corral.

New Zealand bicyclists demand better infrastructure following a recent bicycling fatality, arguing that paint isn’t protection.

Yet another new study, this time from New Zealand, shows that biking to work can reduce your risk of dying and could extend your life.

A social media backlash erupted after a Formula 1 racing driver unveiled his relationship with an Aussie women’s cyclist, just three months after divorcing his ex-wife.

File this one under you’ve got to be kidding. Melbourne residents are calling for bikes to be banned from shared paths because riders are exceeding the ridiculously low 6.2 mph speed limit. I’m not sure my bike can even go that slow without falling over. Or maybe it can, and I can’t.

Apparently, running over an elderly Singapore bike rider felt just like driving over a plastic bottle to the truck driver who killed him.

 

Competitive Cycling

Dutch pro Tom Dumoulin’s return to racing following a knee injury last June is on hold due to parasites in his gut.

Adults over 50 are invited to compete in the Pasadena Senior Games, which includes cycling as well as a number of other sports. Although it’s not clear from the article whether you have to be a Pasadena resident.

 

Finally…

Pedaling a party bike through a winter bomb cyclone doesn’t look like much of a party. Who needs wheels to join a group ride when wings will do just fine.

And evidently, the San Francisco Chronicle has been reading my Twitter feed.

 

Stolen bikes and the jerks who take them, 9-year old San Marcos BMX bike flipper, and South African bicycle hip hop

Today’s a holiday, in case you hadn’t noticed. Which is easy to do if you didn’t get it off. 

But my wife did, surprisingly enough.

So we’re going with sort of a Morning Links lite today, with most of the weekend’s bike news, so I can get a little sleep before she wakes me up too damned early in the morning; we’ll catch up on the rest tomorrow.

Today’s photo is what’s left of a bike after thieves stripped it, leaving its mangled carcass behind. 

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Today’s common theme is stolen bikes and the jerks who take them.

A Santa Cruz man got his bike back three years after it was stolen, after deputies recovered it when the wanted criminal they were chasing abandoned the bike he was riding, and they were able to track down the real owner.

Oregon sheriff’s deputies bust a major schmuck who scammed people out of bikes they were trying to sell online — including a 12-year old boy. See hell, special place in.

Gotham’s ebike crime wave continues, as a 20-year old delivery rider was stabbed in both legs and robbed of his bicycle, cellphone, jacket, around 70 bucks and a pizza.

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Online viewers are flipping over nine-year old San Marcos BMX rider Connor Stitt.

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Introducing my new favorite South African hip hop video.

Seriously, who can top rhymes like this?

When I hop on the metal and push on the pedal, there’s a certain peace that I get that’s really good for my mental.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on. And on. 

A Willits CA woman intentionally ran over a man on a bike who she had been arguing with; she was arrested after fleeing the scene, along with her husband and son-in-law, who were booked as accessories after the fact for helping with her coverup.

The New York Post’s notoriously anti-bike columnist says car culture could be squashed and America covered with bike lanes if Michael Bloomberg gets elected president. But somehow seems to think that’s a bad thing.

Some jerk Down Under was apparently proud of himself for tossing a drink on a woman riding a bike from a passing car, posting the video online.

Sometimes, though, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

A bike-riding man dressed like an old-time railroad engineer injured two women on San Francisco’s Embarcadero in a pair of unrelated, seemingly random attacks.

The bike-riding serial groper in Davis CA is still on the loose after attacking a third woman.

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Local

No bias here. A Pepperdine University professor, who should know better, repeats the unsupported myth that more people will die because emergency personnel can’t get through traffic, than will be saved by LA’s Vision Zero and Mobility Plan 2035. Never mind that no one has shown it has actually happened anywhere. Or that the mobility plan is about modernizing the city’s transportation plan, not reducing traffic deaths.

CicLAvia is returning to Glendale and Atwater Village this summer, with a short 3.5-mile route.

South Pasadena Councilmember and AQMD (Air Quality Management District) board member Michael Cacciotti gets it, fighting the battle for clean air by riding his bike and taking the bus everywhere.

A Brea motorcycle dealer is branching out into ped-assist ebikes and accessories.

 

State

Good for him. After a 14-year old Turlock special needs boy was beaten up and had his shoes and bike by group of boys, he responded by organizing a bike ride calling for an end to bullying.

Sacramento’s popular American River bike path finally reopens, three years after it was closed by a landslide.

Residents of Arcata are raising funds for a woman who suffered a serious spinal injury when she was struck by a driver while riding her bike; the crowdfunding page has raised nearly $29,000 of the $33,000 goal in four days.

 

National

A writer for HuffPo calls for better bike and pedestrian planning and infrastructure to make it safe for people of any age to walk and bike, to reduce the decline in children riding bikes.

A Honolulu writer calls for fixing a 750-foot gap in a pair of bike paths that makes it dangerous to ride a bike between two side-by-side neighborhoods.

A Portland family proves that yes, the entire family can ride their bikes to church every week. Maybe someday we’ll get to a point where that not surprising to anyone.

The Washington state senate voted overwhelmingly to approve a partial Idaho Stop Law, allowing bike riders to treat stops as yields, but not red lights as stop signs.

Thousands of Colorado residents ignored the snow on the ground, and took to their bikes for Winter Bike to Work Day.

J. Patrick Lynch calls our attention to a little automotive schadenfreude, as thousands of Colorado hockey fans demand refunds after major traffic jams forced them to miss large parts of an outdoor NHL match. Or are they really just mad LA’s Kings beat the hometown Avs?

An upstate New York town supervisor calls for a bike path leading to a new bridge after two deadly crashes. Yet somehow assumes most bicyclists don’t get that riding in traffic can be dangerous, despite being one himself.

New York is installing concrete barriers that beautify the city and protect bike riders at the same time.

After a New Jersey man suffered a major brain injury when he was hit by a drunk driver, and got tired of living on food stamps, he set out on a recumbent to ride across the country; he’s now on his sixth trip across the US in just over two years.

A Jacksonville, Florida sports writer takes part in the Champions Ride with a peloton made up of NASCAR drivers and crew members to promote traffic safety. And gets a hand to the finish line from ride founder Jimmie Johnson.

 

International

Shimano has come out with an updated electronic gear shift you can retrofit your bike with for a cool $2,300.

No bias here, either. A Toronto columnist says the city’s Vision Zero isn’t failing because drivers need more safety education, but rather, they break the law because they’re frustrated by gridlock caused by all those bike lanes and lower speed limits. Which doesn’t explain why drivers broke the law before all those things, though.

British foldie Gocycle is re-entering the American market, offering magnesium frame bikes starting at $2799, and carbon frames at nearly twice the price.

A writer for The Guardian takes a 600+ mile ride along bike trails through the Seine, Loire and Rhône valleys, experiencing a view of France inaccessible by cars.

An Indian man rode his bike nearly 375 miles to meet his favorite Bollywood star at an awards show, even though the actor may not even attend it; he also holds a certificate for riding his bike 24 miles in one hour — with no hands.

If you’re looking for Asian connections to get a leg up in your career, you could do worse than an early morning ride with Singapore’s Rapha Cycling Club.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews looks at the long road back for Olympic silver medalist Rigoberto Urán following his crash in last year’s Vuelta, which left hm with a broken collarbone, broken ribs, shattered scapula and a punctured lung.

Eighteen-year-old Turkish cyclist Azize Bekar is making the jump to a Belgian road cycling team, while aiming her sights on representing her country in Olympic mountain biking.

 

Finally…

Bikes are a great way to get to your train — but stop riding once you get on. Drinking in public and biking under the influence, but at least he wasn’t driving this time.

And the next time you think it’s too windy to ride a bike in LA, watch this.

 

 

Bike and civic giant George Wolfberg dies at 82, Mariah Kandise Banks prelim a bust, and anti-bike bias in CA Senate

Happy International Winter Bike to Work Day.

Oh, and Valentines Day, too. 

And sorry if I leave a tear or two on your screen today.

………

Giants are usually invisible.

You seldom notice them hiding among the rest of us, doing the same things we do.

Until one falls. And it’s felt all over the city.

Like my friend George Wolfberg, an invisible giant of the Los Angeles bicycling community.

And virtually every other community in the City of Angels.

It was just yesterday, flipping the pages of the LA Times, that I recognized Wolfberg’s face looking back at me from the obituary pages, and learned he’d passed away last week after an extended illness at the age of 82.

His death did not go unnoticed in Pacific Palisades, where he was a longtime resident, chair emeritus of the community council, and the former leader of the Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association.

I first met the longtime bicycle and community advocate nearly a dozen years ago, when he was fighting a battle to extend the beachfront Marvin Braude bike path to Malibu.

One he ultimately lost to a group of fellow advocates who preferred the danger of keeping bicyclists on deadly PCH to the optics of such an expensive bikeway project.

But George quickly got me involved in other projects, from joining the PCH Task Force to represent the needs on bike riders on the dangerous corridor, to connecting me with just the right people in the city and county governments to get finally piles of sand swept off the beachfront path months after a storm.

Which wouldn’t have happened without Wolfberg’s help.

Because George Wolfberg knew almost everyone at every level of the city, county and state governments. And even set up meetings with state Assembly Members and Senators to present my approach to halting hit-and-runs.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to convince them at the time that hit-and-run was that big a problem.

I wonder if they get it now.

For years, I could count on finding links to some bicycling story or another from the Wall Street Journal or New York Times popping up in my inbox on a regular basis, with the email address invariably leading back to him.

And he never missed contributing to this site’s holiday fundraiser every year; it breaks my heart to think this last one was, in fact, the last one.

But that’s the funny thing about giants.

They don’t always tell you they are one. Or why.

I’d known for some time that George Wolfberg was one of the first members of the Los Angeles Bicycle Advocacy Committee.

But it wasn’t until yesterday that I learned he’d also served on the LA County BAC. Or that there even was an LACBAC.

I was familiar with the late LA bike legend Alex Baum’s work to bring the ’84 Olympic Games to Los Angeles, and that he was instrumental in bringing women’s cycling to the Games for the first time.

But I never knew Wolfberg had worked hand-in-glove with him, writing the original proposal for the Games that forced the International Olympic Committee’s hand by including women’s cycling as a demonstration sport.

Or that he was instrumental in bringing the World Cup to Los Angeles in ’94. Let alone that he fought the horrific South African apartheid by working to get the city to divest from the racially divided county, later earning thanks from Nelson Mandela himself.

And worked just as hard for the residents of South LA, setting up a meals program for soccer playing kids who didn’t get enough to eat at home.

George never told me any of that. Or the countless other civic and athletic accomplishments on his resume that have made this city a better place for all of us.

Because that’s not what giants do.

I am poorer today, because I lost a friend and ally.

But more importantly, this city is poorer because it lost a true giant of a community leader. A man who did everything Los Angeles asked of him, then kept on doing more.

We will all miss George Wolfberg, even if most of us will never know it.

May his memory be a blessing for all of us.

Photo from Pacifica Palisades Community Council

………

Our anonymous courtroom correspondent attended yesterday’s hearing for Mariah Kandise Banks in the hit-and-run death of fallen bicyclist Frederick “Woon” Frazier, which turned out to be a prelim, rather than the actual trial.

But for no apparent reason, as it turned out.

Banks’ public defender couldn’t get herself extricated from another case that’s currently at trial (these things happen), so today’s preliminary hearing was delayed until March 17th, and I’ll be there.

A film crew from USC was there to cover the proceedings, which were brief. Bogart was there, Spencer was there. I met a budding activist, new to LA from Chicago, who had lost his fiancee of 8 years, and another activist fresh from Corvallis.

Nobody’s bike was stolen during the hearing, but Bogart et al were in the elevator (with Courtroom 38’s bailiff!) when it jammed, so their arrival was delayed for 20 minutes.

Woon’s mama was there and holding it together as best she could, which of course meant rivers of tears. She wore a t-shirt with a picture of young Woon and his bike, from which his face beamed. She repeated the words he said to her as he walked out the door for the last time, and I could just about hear them in his voice. Then her body heaved with sobs. So many arms were there to comfort her, but there’ll never be enough.

After Banks accepted the motion for continuance, the Assistant DA spoke to us in the hallway, providing a basic overview of the prosecution process and a chronology of expected future events. Woon’s mama indicated that she’s unlikely to actually be in the same room with Ms. Banks.

God damn. I wish I could suffer her pain for her.

………

No bias here.

Streetsblog reports that the Republican Vice-Chair of the California Senate Transportation Committee buys into the myth that bike lanes increase traffic emissions.

Bates has made it clear that she is hostile to taxing people to pay for transportation, and hates the idea of paying for transportation infrastructure that doesn’t involve cars. At the hearing, she said that active transportation projects–“translated as ‘road diets,’ which is the term used these days,” she said, further muddling the topic–contribute to higher emissions by causing “mounting congestion on some of the primary arterials.”

“I think [the Active Transportation Program] had more to do with moving people out of automobiles and onto bikes and things where you create less greenhouse gas and the emissions, but when you’ve got the other two lanes and people are sitting in their cars, running, you have the same problem,” she said.

The transportation site’s Melany Curry had this to say in response.

And a lot more.

This actual data is in sharp contrast with the kind of fearmongering promulgated by groups like Keep L.A. Moving and Keep Pasadena Moving, whose anti-bike advocacy has prevented safety measures in those cities, and resulted in the removal of a road diet in Playa Del Rey before data could even be collected. Those fears are also fed by awful click-bait headlines like the one on the recent story in the S.F. Chronicle blaming bike lanesvery wrongly — for congestion on the Richmond San Rafael Bridge.

Sure, it’s possible for a poorly designed road diet to increase congestion. But that’s not what happens, for the most part. And Senator Bates’ repeating the idea that they do is unhelpful, at best.

And blaming bike lanes for vehicle emissions is just gaslighting. Senator Bates is not alone in doing this, and she needs to stop. And she also needs to stop pushing that as a reason for the state to stop funding active transportation projects.

Seriously, give it a read.

Because we have to know who and what we’re up against out there.

And how to respond to made-up facts with real ones.

………

This is who we share the roads with. And the airspace, apparently.

………

It may not be romantic, but chances are, you’ll still love killing a little time this foggy downhill run.

………

Local

Crosstown LA at USC crunched the numbers, and came up with a list of the most dangerous intersections in Los Angeles; surprisingly, all but three are in the San Fernando Valley, with the others in South LA. Hint: You might want to avoid Sepulveda and Sherman Way. 

Curbed looks at CD14 Councilmember Jose Huizar’s proposal to permanently prohibit cars from a 1.5-mile stretch of historic Broadway in DTLA.

Active SGV will host their first Emerald Necklace Bike Train of 2020 this Sunday.

The Santa Monica City Council voted to approve the bike and pedestrian friendly makeover of deadly Wilshire Blvd.

You can stop waiting for the other shoe to drop, as CiclaValley’s Zachary Rynew unveils his Karate Kid custom hand-painted bike shoe; he showed off the other one earlier this week.

 

State

New polls show San Diego residents want parking more than bike lanes, and stricter regulations on e-scooters — even though the current regs have already chased some providers out of town.

An 11-year old Ventura boy was seriously injured when he was hit by a driver while riding his bike on a private roadway in a condo complex; needless to say, the driver played the Universal Get Out of Jail Free card, claiming he just didn’t see the kid.

UC Santa Barbara’s HOPR bikeshare will be hopping off campus this spring.

The garlic capital of the world considers establishing bicycle parking minimums for apartments and commercial buildings, including both long and short term bike parking.

A Modesto paper welcomes a road diet and protected bikeway, as long as it’s accompanied by affordable housing.

A debunking website says yes, Amazon’s first CFO really was killed by one of the company’s own delivery subcontractors while riding her bike in San Jose.

San Francisco’s shortest protected bike lane could be here to stay — assuming all goes well at a hearing next week, after it was already ripped out once.

 

National

Streetsblog says don’t hold your breath waiting for a Democratic presidential candidate who’s committed to breaking car culture.

Writing for Bicycling, a woman describes how her fellow mountain bike coaches got her through the darkest days of her divorce.

It’s 44 days into Oregon’s new Idaho Stop Law, and the sky hasn’t fallen.

There’s a special place in hell for the bike thief who stole a beautiful, $4,000 custom-made low rider bike from an Arizona barbershop.

Colorado Public Radio offers tips on how to keep riding in the snow. Which is not a problem you’re likely to encounter on International Winter Bike to Work Day here in Los Angeles.

A Michigan School got a visit from professional mountain biker Jeff Lenosky, and every 1st and 2nd grader got a new bike and helmet, thanks to Lenosky and a local nonprofit.

Over 2,000 safety-minded people signed a petition calling for protected bike lanes downtown Nashville TN.

A Boston TV station comes to the rescue of a college student, who got stuck with a $1275 bill when she was unable to dock a bikeshare bike after a $2.50 ride.

Singer and rapper Ray J discusses his Scoot e-bike/scooters on a Gotham morning talk show.

 

International

A red light-running London driver has been convicted in the hit-and-run death of a bike rider, who slipped away after 18 months in a coma; his father, cousin and younger brother were convicted of helping him coverup the crime.

The driver of a commercial skip loader got a well-deserved three and a half years for killing a bike rider while high on coke and cannabis.

A British woman refused to accept the diagnosis when doctors told her she’d never ride a bike again following brain surgery; now she rides a bike, runs, climbs mountains and jumps out of perfectly good airplanes.

A woman in the UK is furious after thieves stole her $1,000 bike, then came back to take her hot tub, too.

Forget CicLAvia. Paris will now ban cars from four arrondissements — aka districts — on the first Sunday of every month, opening the streets to the people.

German bicycle and trucking associations say the country has to do more to improve safety for bicyclists, with over 400 people dying while riding their bikes in Germany every year.

The hit-and-run epidemic has spread to Oman, where a driver was busted for fleeing the scene after running over a bicyclist; no word on the condition of the victim.

 

Huizar calls for carfree Broadway in DTLA, Arroyo Seco Bike Path finally open, and studies support bus and bike lanes

Breaking news: KNBC-4 reported that a bike rider was critically injured last night in a collision at Hollywood Blvd and McCadden Place. However, video from the scene appears to show the victim may have been seated on a Wheels scooter rather than a bicycle.

Unfortunately, nothing has been posted online yet.

………

Outgoing CD14 Councilmember Jose Huizar responds to the question of whether other California cities will close streets to cars — or rather, open them up to people — in the wake of San Francisco’s closure of Market Street.

Huizar called yesterday for the possibility of a complete closure of historic Broadway in DTLA to motor vehicles between 1st and 12th Streets, with the exception of buses.

This comes after years of efforts to revitalize the corridor, including a road diet that cut the number of traffic lanes in half, and reopening or repurposing many of the street’s grand theaters.

Note to KCBS-2: Despite the headline in the above link, the proposed ban is on cars and trucks, not feet. 

………

The Arroyo Seco Bike Path is officially open, after being closed for a year to repair damage caused by last year’s rains.

………

No surprise here.

A new Portland study shows bike riders are safer sharing a bus only lane with transit vehicles than sharing regular traffic lanes with everyone else.

And if you build it, they will come. A new British government reports shows that investing in bicycling pays, as building bike lanes encourages people to bike more and drive less.

………

Former New York DOT Commissioner Janet Sadik-Khan teams with another writer to examine the real global health crisis —

Deaths caused by motor vehicles and the people who drive them.

………

Some things are universal. And definitely worth 35 seconds out of your day.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

It’s a well-deserved three and a half years behind bars for a road raging New Mexico driver who put his car in reverse, floored it and slammed into a group of senior Santa Fe bicyclists; he’ll have to serve at lest 85% of his sentence — and attend anger management sessions. Thanks to Brian Kreimendahl of Bike Santa Fe for the link.

A Kenyan driver takes a punishment pass to the extreme, sideswiping a pair of bike riders and speeding away without stopping.

………

Local

The Daily News provides a look at the race for LA city councilmember in CD4 as three candidates vie to unseat David Ryu.

More on Santa Monica’s plan to give Wilshire Blvd a safety makeover to protect bicyclists and pedestrians, including a ban on left turns onto the boulevard from cross streets.

The Savage Hearts Love Ride 2020 will roll from Marina del Rey tomorrow to provide care packages and love to those in need.

 

State

The community turned out to show their support for fallen bicyclist Kevin Wilson as the hit-and-run driver who killed the beloved postal worker near El Cajon was sentenced; the victim’s wife said his killer got less than four years behind bars, but she got a “life sentence without the love of my life.”

Indio is investing $1.25 million to build four miles of new art and music-enhanced bike lanes.

After a video circulated of a Turlock special needs boy getting assaulted and robbed by three other kids, a Good Samaritan stepped in to replace his shoes and bicycle.

San Jose puts its money where its mouth is, providing $7 million upfront to fund their new Vision Zero plan, as well as forming a task force to curb traffic deaths.

After three Marin County men were charged with building an illegal offroad trail, a Marin paper calls on everyone to work together to create legal multiuse ones.

Healdsburg is installing wayfinding signs to help bike riders navigate the Sonoma County city.

Ten years after a Nevada City bike rider was killed by a distracted driver, the memorial ride and run held in his honor is still going strong, with up to 300 riders participating.

 

National

A must-read from Curbed, which argues that public meetings are broken and offers advice for how to fix them. Anyone who’s been shouted down by traffic safety deniers and NIMBYs in recent years knows just how broken the current system is.

A supercar designer introduces a new autonomous electric car so cute, that will probably be your last thought as it runs you over. Thanks to Mike Cane for the heads-up.

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss says recent Los Angeles transplant LeBron James is the new hero of bikeshare and bike lanes, saying children need access to bikes and safe places to ride them. Rumor has it he also plays basketball here in LA. LeBron, that is, not Weiss.

They get it. Boulder CO bike commuters say every day is Winter Bike to Work Day; the official international Winter Bike to Work Day is this Friday. Except in Los Angeles, where the weather would be perfect for it. 

A new Pueblo CO bike bank is fixing up bicycles and giving them to homeless people.

A Colorado CEO plans to ride a bike barefoot across the US, from Disneyland in Anaheim to Disney World in Orlando, to call attention to human trafficking; it’s the first known attempt by anyone to pedal barefoot across the country.

A Texas writer explores Fort Worth by bikeshare, and discovers it’s a lot easier and more fun than he could imagine.

An Iowa bill that would require bike riders to wear high-viz and have both front and rear lights is moving forward in the state legislature, even though no groups support it.

New York learns the hard way what happens when a protected bike lane isn’t protected enough.

New York preschoolers are learning to recycle cans to buy a new bicycle for their school gym.

A DC adjacent Maryland county is considering a proposal to make bike registration voluntary, instead of the current mandatory, but usually ignored, requirement.

A DC site says the city can learn from Oslo and Helsinki when it comes to Vision Zero, both of which didn’t have a single bike or pedestrian death last year. Then again, so can every other city.

A Virginia transit system has spent five years and $3.8 million to build two secure bike corrals, and they’re still not done. Give me a million dollars and a few tools, and I’ll build the damn things myself. Seriously. 

Florida may be the nation’s deadliest state for people on bicycles, but one Central Florida county hasn’t had a bicycling death in two years.

 

International

Four intrepid travelers recount lessons learned from riding fat bikes around St. James Bay in Antarctica. Here’s one more tip: Go in the summer next time.

This is who we share the roads with. A Calgary prosecutor says a driver high on meth chuckled when he learned he’d killed a 15-year old boy riding a bike and injured his companion.

Forget a bike bridge. Local officials are considering opening a bike ferry across the Saint Lawrence River to connect an upstate New York city with another in Ontario, Canada.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says forget that 350 million pounds he promised for active transportation projects in England; he really meant £1 billion for biking and walking.

Once again, a bike rider is a hero, as a man in the UK discovers three barely living lobsters on the side of the road that had apparently fallen off a truck, and carries them back to the sea on his bike to set them free.

An Irish writer says she still gets flashbacks from getting hit by a driver while riding her bike. And that just going for a bike ride shouldn’t feel like going to war.

The Netherlands has fined over 21,000 bike riders for using a handheld phone while riding in the first six months the ban has been in effect. That compares to 98,000 California drivers in all of 2017, with over twice the population.

A new Ai Wei Wei sculpture in Abu Dhabi continues his celebration of pedal power, made from 720 carefully stacked bicycles.

Your next bike could be handmade from bamboo in Kathmandu with seating for three. Or a lot more, judging by the last photo.

Pink Bike looks at the potential impact of the novel coronavirus, aka Covid-19, on the bicycle industry, at a time when most bikes and parts come from the Middle Kingdom.

 

Competitive Cycling

Actor and bicyclist Patrick Dempsey will serve as the honorary captain of the US Olympic Cycling Team at the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

The nation’s largest fat bike beach bike race will be held in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina next month.

Who needs a mountain for downhill mountain bike racing when you’ve got a perfectly good city?

 

Finally…

Your next bike could have skis instead of wheels, but it only goes downhill. Your next saddle could have a rat on it; no, not you.

And sometimes you just have to bust out of preschool and ride your bike.

 

Not guilty plea in Goleta DUI bike path deaths, important bike meetings today, and Pasadena council endorsements

The driver accused of fleeing the scene after killing a Goleta couple walking their dog on a bike path pleaded not guilty after being formally charged in the deaths.

Goleta resident Eric Maurcio Ramirez-Aguilar was charged with felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run causing death, and driving under the influence causing great bodily injury, as well as special allegations of fleeing the scene of a fatal collision and injuring multiple victims.

He was already on four years supervised probation for misdemeanor child cruelty at the time of the crash, with an order to abstain from all drugs and alcohol, and attend AA meetings twice a week.

Needless to say, he didn’t.

Allegedly.

The couple leaves behind four kids, ranging from 10 to 20; a GoFundMe page for their care has raised nearly $170,000 of the $300,000 goal.

………

Today’s LA City Council Transportation Committee meeting includes discussion of the city’s participation in a pair of national bike routes, as well as an update on the nearly dormant Vision Zero program.

Meanwhile, tonight’s meeting of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council will consider proposals to improve safety on the 4th Street non-bike boulevard by adding traffic signals and diverting motor vehicle traffic where it intersects with Highland and Rossmore.

Needless to say, the proposal faces stiff opposition, even though it would greatly benefit local businesses and homeowners.

………

Bike the Vote LA grades their picks in the Pasadena mayoral and council races.

………

This one should be pretty self-explanatory, since it’s clearly up to us to get the hell out of the way of drivers, regardless of who has the right-of-way.

https://twitter.com/EntitledCycling/status/1227293630185914369

………

Shawadli forwards video of this year’s Tour de Palm Springs.

That’s a hell of a lot of bike riders rolling out from the start.

………

Today’s common theme is BMX and mountain biking.

Adam Driver, aka Kylo Ren of Star Wars fame, got his start as an actor after he was medically discharged from the Marines following a mountain bike crash.

After an Oregon bike shop owner died unexpectedly of a heart attack while mountain biking, the bicycling community he fostered rallied around his 18-year old daughter and a 22-year old bike mechanic he mentored to keep the shop open.

A mountain biking coach for an Arizona middle school — yes, they have those, apparently — took the DIY approach, and spent three years building a singletrack practice course on the school grounds.

A nice video looks at a handful of competitors in last year’s BC Bike Race in British Columbia, and forward to this year’s edition in July, as well as a quartet of upcoming public rides.

Bad news from Australia, where a 23-year old Olympic BMX hopeful is in a medically induced coma after suffering a serious head injury while competing over the weekend; Kai Sakakibara has been one of the world’s top ranked riders in recent years.

A former racer gets back on a bike for the first time in three years, after the pressure of performing took all the fun out of it.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

A Portland woman reports that she and her husband were assaulted by the driver of a large pickup. But the police couldn’t do anything about it because they were busy with a KKK rally.

Sometimes, though, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

A Santa Barbara bike rider reportedly harassed and blocked riders on a bike trail for the crime of failing to stop at an intersection.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton applauds Mayor Garcetti’s new climate directive calling for a major shift to green transportation in the next decade, but points out he’s running out of time to get anything accomplished while he’s still mayor. Let’s just hope Garcetti actually reads it.

Los Angeles won a ruling saying the city has the right to suspend Uber’s permit for dockless bikeshare and e-scooters after the company refused to share its user data.

This is who we share the roads with. A Florida woman faces charges for literally running away after shifting a car into gear and running over her friend, who had somehow fallen out and struck a tree following a road rage dispute with a motorcyclist in Hollywood. And yes, that’s every bit as confusing as it sounds.

A new video taken by a mountain biker shows the immediate aftermath of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, along with seven others.

CiclaValley lets his bike shoes do the talking.

 

State

The San Diego Padre’s Pedal the Cause has raised a whopping $13 million to fight juvenile cancer in just seven years, bringing in $3.1 million last year alone.

As expected, Craig Wendell Nelson has been sentenced to four years behind bars for the hit-and-run crash that took the life of bike rider Kevin Wilson east of El Cajon last month.

A Tulare bike rider literally dragged Congressman Devin Nunes’ name through the dirt. There’s no indication the man on the bike was homeless, as the Congressman indicated, although he can undoubtedly expect his subpoena any day

A 32-mile combination light rail and bike/ped trail may finally be making progress in Santa Cruz County, in the state’s latest rail-to-trail conversion. Or in this case, rail-to-rail-and-trail.

Stanford is mapping bicycle crashes on campus, and discovering several locations are as bad, or worse, than the school’s so-called “circle of death.”

A San Francisco letter writer says a proposal to tax and license bicycles would discourage bicycling and disproportionately harm low-income riders.

Bicyclists in San Francisco call for quick-build improvements to improve safety at the Embarcadero, even though a cop illegally broke up their demonstration.

A Saint Helena letter writer complains about “terrible roads and laughingly bad bike lanes,” saying the city has everything it needs to be a great bicycling town, but it’s embarrassingly bad. Sounds like it could be LA’s Mini Me.

A Vallejo police officer will be deposed in a federal lawsuit over the failed traffic stop that led to the shooting of an unarmed black bike rider, after the officer was cleared of criminal charges.

 

National

Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong anti-cancer charity is attempting a relaunch after separating itself from the former doper.

Denver bike advocates say the city is nearing a tipping point for using bicycles as transportation, as they work to connect bikeways into an actual network. But the head of a Denver automobile dealers association says the city is waging a war on cars and drivers. Not that a car dealer would have any reason to be biased or anything.

A Helena, Montana nonprofit is getting local teens into road cycling, providing them with bikes, helmets, shoes and other assorted gear, as well as training, to overcome financial barriers to cycling.

Seriously? Residents of a Minneapolis suburb are fighting plans for a bike lane and parking bays — not because of the loss of trees and parking spaces, but because it would make the street feel “cramped, not as safe and not as livable.” Meanwhile, a letter writer says the bike lanes will be unsafe and no one will use them anyway.

New body cam video shows the controversial arrest of an 18-year old Florida bicyclist for the crime of running a stop sign, as well as allegedly fleeing from police and resisting arrest. Must have been a really sensitive cop, because the video doesn’t appear to show any of those things except blowing the stop.

 

International

Treehugger wants to know why the press reports someone was killed instead of merely died — unless the victim died in a traffic collision.

Bike Radar considers the best Valentine’s gifts for bicyclists. Apparently, if you really love someone, you’ll help them avoid saddle sores and butt rash.

No bias here. A writer for the Guardian blames bike lanes and pedestrian crossings for traffic “grinding to a halt” in central London, despite what he calls a complete absence of private cars — even though by his own admission, they’ve actually declined by just 15%. Never mind that the real cause of traffic congestion is all those delivery trucks, ride hailing drivers and all the other cars and trucks on the streets. In London or anywhere else. 

Cyclist compares the bicycling cities of London and Paris, where both bike-friendly mayors are up for re-election this year.

More proof that Vision Zero is achievable, as Helsinki becomes the second Scandinavian country to go a full year without a single bicycling or pedestrian death.

DIY cycling is growing in Peshawar, Pakistan, as local men — and yes, women — are buying inexpensive Chinese bikes and rebuilding them as racing bikes, while making the rest of their kits and gear themselves.

Australian police want to know why a child’s Spider-Man bike was found next to a murder victim whose body had been dumped after he was killed with a tomahawk; two men were arrested the next day and charged with the murder.

 

Competitive Cycling

A writer for Rouleur says this is cycling’s #MeToo moment, as she uncovers abuse and harassment at the highest levels of the sport.

I want to be like her when I grow up. An 80-year old great-grandmother is still breaking track cycling records for her age group, after taking a 20-year break from competition.

French cyclist Jimmy Turgis was forced to retire from racing due to a heart condition at the ripe old age of 28, 16 months after his brother retired with the same problem; a third brother continues to race.

Cyclist profiles pro cyclist Alex Dowsett, who they say is the only hemophiliac competing in professional sports.

A Philippine bike race sponsored by 7-11 became the latest victim of the coronavirus.

 

Finally…

Watch out for giant bipedal frogs on Ohio bike trails.

And that feeling when the antenna controlling your drone falls off in mid filming.

 

Garcetti orders bold climate plan, couple killed by drunk driver on Goleta bike path, and Corona DIY hit-and-run investigation

Maybe he means it this time.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an executive directive yesterday to enhance portions of the city’s Green New Deal.

Which would be a big deal, if he actually follows through this time.

There’s a lot to like in the plan. Starting with a commitment to active transportation; according to My News LA, the plan would

— promote walking, bicycling and micro-mobility with a comprehensive citywide network of active transportation corridors, including protected bike lanes, paths along regional waterways and low-stress neighborhood bike improvements;

The order also calls for more cool streets and roofs, a congestion pricing pilot program, zero emission buses, and increasing transit speeds by 30% in the next ten years.

More importantly, it calls for reducing Vehicle Miles Traveled through expanded use of transit, walking, bicycling and micromobility.

And of special interest to many of us, more frequent open streets events.

But as always, the devil is in the details.

It remains to be seen whether that implementation plan for an active transportation network means we’ll finally get around to building out the hard-won 2010 Bike Plan that was unanimously passed by the city council when Garcetti was still council president.

Or if they intend to re-invent the wheel yet again, with or without our input.

Curbed reports the mayor at least struck the right sense of urgency.

“Can we make this happen?” Garcetti asked Monday, speaking broadly about the city’s sustainability goals. “We don’t have a choice.”

But they added —

It remains to be seen whether this will be enough to achieve one of the key goals laid out in the city’s Green New Deal: A nearly 50 percent reduction in the number of miles LA residents drive daily.

Although it’s not a bad sign that the NRDC is on board with it.

The problem, of course, is that we’ve been here before.

Any progress on the bike plan, or the mobility plan that subsumed it, ground to a near complete and total stop after Garcetti took office as mayor.

And any real progress on the mayor’s own Vision Zero plan came to a halt the first time drivers complained about a road diet.

The result that not only have bike and pedestrian deaths not declined by 20%, as the plan called for by this year, they’ve actually gone up.

So this could be the beginning of the groundbreaking, tide-turning movement to re-invent the City of Angels into the more livable — and survivable — city so many of us have fought for.

Or it could be just another bold plan that will soon by gathering dust on the shelf.

It’s all up to Mayor Garcetti.

And whether he’s suddenly found the political will to see it through.

Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels.

………

This is who we share the roads with.

Or in this case, a bike path.

Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk website reports that a married couple was killed in a collision while walking their dog on an offroad Goleta bike path Sunday evening.

The driver, later identified as 39-year old Eric Mauricio Ramirez Aguilar of Goleta, fled the scene on foot.

A writer for the site estimated that Aguilar had to have driven at least 100 yards on the bike path before coming to a stop, slamming into his victims somewhere along the way.

Police took the alleged drunk driver into custody three hours later in nearby Carpinteria. He was a passenger in a car, whose driver was returning from Ventura County after learning that Aguilar was a wanted man.

Authorities threw the book at him, and deservedly so.

According to the site,

Aguilar was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving while intoxicated causing injury, hit and run causing death or injury, fleeing the scene after committing manslaughter, and driving while intoxicated, with an enhancement for causing the deaths of more than one person.

He remained in custody Monday night, with bail set at $100,000.

Fortunately, the dog somehow survived the crash, and was turned over to a family member.

Let’s hope Aguilar gets the hard time a crime like this calls for.

But let’s face it.

As long as drunks continue to get behind the wheel, we’re not safe anywhere. And no amount of jail time can bring back the lives they take.

………

This is who we share the roads with, too.

After a Corona mother was killed in a hit-and-run while riding her motorcycle last week, leaving behind eight kids, her husband made it his mission to track down her killer.

Remarkably, he found the car parked in a nearby apartment complex, with passenger side damage matching the details of the crash.

Police arrested the 85-year old driver, Tashiro Isa, on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter.

Once again raising the question of how old is too old to drive.

Thanks to Ted Faber for the heads-up.

………

The LAPD is asking for your help to find the heartless coward who fled the scene after backing into a 92-year old man, leaving him bleeding in the street.

………

Or as we call it here in balmy Los Angeles, Friday.

………

After a British truck driver knocked a bicyclist off his bike in a left hook, the equivalent of our right hook, the driver refused to admit he was behind the wheel — and walks with just a fine and points against his license.

………

Take a quick break with mountain biker Greg Williamson doing “dusty laps” on a dry and dirty Kiwi singletrack trail.

I think Dusty Laps will be the name of my new cowboy alter ego, although Twitter user Mumen Rusto suggested that could be my porn name.

But no one wants to see that anymore.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

An Aussie state department of transportation posts a simple question about bicycling rules online. And opens the floodgate for an avalanche of bike hate.

A Tokyo bicyclist catches a punishment pass and a brake check from a school bus driver on his bike cam — while riding in a bike lane, no less.

Sometimes, though, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

Sacramento police are looking for a man who fled on a bicycle after robbing a business and threatening the employees at gunpoint.

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Local

Streetsblog adds its voice to those calling out against plans to widen dangerous Magnolia Blvd, which is already on the city’s Vision Zero High Injury Network.

Bike riders aren’t the only ones being inconvenienced by the closure of the Arroyo Seco pathway; horse people are calling for the equestrian trail to be reopened, as well.

While Los Angeles talks about safer streets, Santa Monica is actually doing something, as the city announces plans to make over deadly Wilshire Blvd to improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians.

Sad news, as longtime bike industry vet Jim Whitsett died of an apparent heart attack before South Bay Cycle, his new 2,100 square foot Manhattan Beach bike shop, could open this coming weekend.

 

State

My point exactly. A writer for California Streetsblog argues that the state is missing a significant opportunity to fight climate change by failing to offer the same sort of rebates for ebikes that they do for electric vehicles. Except we should go further, and offer them for any bicycle intended to replace at least one car trip a week.

They get it. An editorial in the Times of San Diego says driving like maniacs is the root cause of bike and pedestrian collisions.

Fifty-six-year old Julian resident Craig Wendell Nelson faces up to four years and eight months behind bars after pleading guilty to the hit-and-run death of Kevin Wilson as he was riding his bike on a rural road east of El Cajon last month; police eventually found Nelson hiding under some bushes after abandoning his car.

It takes a major schmuck to steal a ghost bike, like the one that was installed for fallen bicyclist Raymundo “Ray-Ray” Jaime following the Palm Springs hit-and-run that took his life; the killer of the 30-year old father is still a large.

Palo Alto considers fixing a “terrifying” intersection used by around 4,000 cars and 20 bicycles per hour during the morning rush. Maybe more bike riders would use it if it wasn’t so scary.

San Francisco bike riders are calling for a concrete barrier along the Embarcadero bike lanes.

Uber says Sacramento ranks second in the world for shared rides, if you include bikeshare and e-scooters along with ride hailing.

 

National

VeloNews says 2020 is all about gravel and e-bikes and smart-bikes and materials and versatility.

Bicycling says blame a stiff neck for your numb hands.

New York bike riders can’t use the city’s bike lanes because they were built wide enough for street sweepers and snow plows, which makes them wide enough for people to drive and park in, too.

New York is finally getting around to questioning whether dangerous drivers should be taken off the road before they kill someone. Not after, like the woman with eight speeding and red light violations who killed a couple kids as they were walking in a crosswalk.

Florida bike riders are up in arms after an 18-year old bicyclist was cuffed and arrested after allegedly running a stop sign; the officer says he and another bike rider refused to stop when ordered to, while the riders say they just didn’t hear him. Advocates also want to know why the kid from Puerto Rico was the only one to get busted. Thanks to Victor Bale and J. Patrick Lynch for the links.

 

International

Canadian Cycling Magazine unveils the secrets bike mechanics don’t want you to know, like maybe you’re putting your bar tape on wrong.

The English city of Coventry just got Britain’s first bicycle mayor. Meanwhile Los Angeles, with ten times the population, is still waiting.

I want to be like her when I grow up. A French woman who may have been the world’s oldest person was still riding her bike as she approached 100.

The Netherlands ranks second in Europe for bicycling fatalities. Which isn’t too surprising, considering they also have one of the continent’s highest rates for bicycling.

An arrest warrant has been issued for an Aussie man who failed to show up for sentencing after pleading guilty to killing a bike rider; the victim frequently posted videos of close passes while calling for a safer passing distance.

Macau leaders shut down hiking trails and bike lanes to combat the novel coronavirus, telling everyone to just shut yourself in and exercise at home.

 

Competitive Cycling

Twenty-three-year old Tour de France champ Egan Bernal will lead the Ineos team in this week’s Tour of Columbia.

New Zealand’s Georgia Williams is making a comeback to the women’s pro cycling tour after being knocked off her bike by the increasingly common Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport, aka RED-S, which prevented her from getting enough fuel for her body while making her bones more brittle.

 

Finally…

Your next bike helmet could fold up to fit in your briefcase or backpack; let’s hope it also protects your head. Now you, too, can compete in the world’s greatest bike races without risking all that road rash and broken bones and stuff.

And apparently, Los Angeles used to be a lot better for bicycling.

91-year old actor killed on Venice Blvd, LA Times endorses Ryu in CD4, trash cans in bike lanes, and bike videos

Is this really the Los Angeles traffic safety deniers want?

According to the LA Times, 91-year old actor Orson Bean was killed crossing dangerous Venice Blvd near the Pacific Resident Theatre Friday night when he was struck by first one, then another, driver.

The longtime television star was crossing to the theater, where his wife was volunteering as an usher.

“Many of us do this, including the audience,” (theater publicist Judith) Borne said. “The crosswalk is out of the way. Many people … just cross” the lanes.

And there’s the problem.

The street is designed to maximize traffic flow, with pedestrians expected to walk at least a full block in either direction to use a crosswalk to cross the wide, four-lane street.

Except people usually won’t do that.

Most people tend to take the most direct and convenient route. Which in Bean’s case, meant crossing without a crosswalk.

And no, that’s not jaywalking.

Under California law, every intersection has a crosswalk, whether or not it’s marked on the pavement.

Which is often what it means when the police say, as they did in this case, that someone was crossing outside a marked crosswalk.

However, it’s also perfectly legal to cross in the middle of the block, as long as it’s not controlled by a traffic signal on both ends; in this case, the only traffic signal is on Oakwood Ave on the east end of the block.

What’s missing from the street are the safe, convenient crosswalks, and narrowed streets at intersections to slow speeds and reduce crossing distances, that advocates have long been calling for.

And which are exactly the sort of safety improvements that groups like Keep LA Moving and Restore Venice Blvd have been fighting, in an attempt to prioritize the convenience of drivers over the lives and safety of human beings.

If something like this had been in place on every block, rather than just some parallel painted lines where they pose the least inconvenience to drivers, Orson Bean might have lived to see his 92nd birthday.

And if that’s not a tragic waste, I don’t know what is.

Bean deserved better. So do the rest of us.

………

The LA Times endorsed incumbent David Ryu for re-election in my council district, despite the presence of two candidates with better safety and planning credentials in Sarah Kate Levy and Nithya Raman.

Even though, like our current president, Ryu apparently likes to take credit for work done by the previous office holder.

He is also responsible for blocking a desperately needed, shovel-ready road diet and bike lanes on 6th Street between Fairfax and La Brea, despite the support of the local neighborhood council, because it would have inconvenienced drivers who use the narrow street as a bypass for busy Wilshire Blvd.

Both Levy and Raman have been endorsed by Bike the Vote LA. And either would be a better choice in next month’s election.

However, the Times did at least endorse Loraine Lundquist in CD12.

………

If you have any questions about your vote in the March 3rd election, Bike the Vote LA will help answer them tonight.

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Yes, placing trash cans in a bike lane is illegal under state law. But good luck trying to find someone to enforce it.

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Let’s hope LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, the new world climate mayor, understands French.

Then again, you don’t need to read it to get this one from the current Paris mayor and previous climate mayor.

https://twitter.com/Anne_Hidalgo/status/1225776654213144577

………

Like Volvo’s misguided glow-in-the-dark spray paint, Ford thinks we’ll all be better off with happy face emojis and turn signals on our jackets. Instead of, say, building safer trucks and SUVs that aren’t designed to kill on impact.

https://twitter.com/FordEu/status/1225364514289352704

………

How about a little music for your next ride?

And yes, the lyrics seem to sum it up pretty well. Just don’t wear earbuds in both ears.

………

Looks like someone is fed up with cops parking in bike lanes.

Although, while I appreciate the anger, the wording on that one seems to go a little too.

Thanks to Erik Griswold and W Corylus for the heads-up.

………

As Horace Greeley might have said, “go left, young man.”

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A new video suggests maybe Los Angeles doesn’t suck for cycling, after all.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

Police in the UK are looking for a driver who intentionally knocked a teenage boy off his bike. Note to Southern Daily Echo: The car didn’t “nudge” the victim’s tire, the driver did using his car as a weapon.

Sometimes, though, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

After leading a Washington deputy on a slow speed chase when he refused to pull over for a traffic stop, a Minnesota man threw his bicycle at the officer, took a fighting stance, and said he was baddest man in the world and was going to beat the cop up, then threatened to burn the cop’s home down and kill him after the deputy tased him. But other than that, he seems like a perfect ambassador for the sport, right?

………

Local

The San Francisco bike rider who was convicted for killing a pedestrian in a crosswalk while allegedly racing through the streets trying to claim a Strava KOM is now running attack ads against George Gascón, the DA who charged him, as Gascón runs for the same post in Los Angeles. Which seems like a damn good reason to vote for Gascón, if you ask me.

LAist examines the push to reform the deadly 85th Percentile Law and lower speed limits to safer levels in the City of Angels. Although maybe the City of Angeles could just stop making so many of them.

CicLAvia points out some of the high points on historic Central Avenue through South Central, Florence-Firestone and Watts, site of the next CicLAvia on February 23rd. Meanwhile, an op-ed in the Times discusses the importance of the area once known as the Eastside to the black community. Which explains how the East Side Riders got their name, even though they’re nowhere near East LA.

Classy move by Duarte, which renamed a bike and pedestrian path in the city for the San Gabriel Valley’s first African American council member and mayor, and his wife.

Tonight’s Malibu City Council meeting will include discussion of proposed bike and pedestrian paths to improve safety on Civic Center Way, along with the possibility of adding a traffic lane.

 

State

Baby steps. The first state bill in response to a recent study criticizing the outdated and deadly 85th Percentile Law would merely extend the time between required traffic surveys, while creating a statewide traffic safety program to monitor pedestrian and bicycle crashes. Meanwhile, speed surveys have finally been completed on all LA streets, allowing full speed enforcement for the first time in several years.

Evidently, Cleveland isn’t the only place where rivers catch on fire; Riverside firefighters were mopping up the remains of a 64-acre blaze that ignited on the Santa Ana River bottom, forcing the closure of the bike path that parallels the river.

The thoroughly discredited concept of bike licenses and registration once again rears its ugly head in San Francisco, thanks to a candidate for city supervisor. Most people who call for it are really far less interested in licensing than they are in just getting bikes off the streets.

It only took one day for bike ridership to boom on San Francisco’s newly carfree Market Street.

A Bay Area bike rider describes how he gladly broke the law by riding an ebike on a trail through the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

A trio of Marin mountain bikers face prosecution for building an illegal trail though an open space reserve, allegedly causing $72,000 in damage.

 

National

Harley Davidson’s new $30,000 electric motorcycle could face unexpected competition from more modest ebikes.

Finally, someone gets around to the really important stuff, as the Chicago Tribune examines what to look for in a dog bike trailer and offers their picks.

The VP of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy says America will need bicycling and walking included to pass a major transportation bill.

Tragic news, as the president of the Utah-based Children’s Miracle Network of hospitals was killed in a bicycling crash; unfortunately, there’s no word on where or how the crash occurred.

A British tabloid gets it right, saying the breathtaking views of Colorado’s Crested Butte is best seen from the seat of a mountain bike.

A kindhearted Colorado man is using his spare time to turn “junk into jewels’ by refurbishing bicycles to give to homeless people.

An Iowa woman wants to know why her husband was killed in a violent fall when the experienced bicyclist was wearing a helmet and riding uphill. And why police discount evidence that he may have been clipped by a passing driver.

Actress Selma Blair bought a $2,000 mobility bike for a Massachusetts stroke victim when the woman couldn’t afford to get it herself.

An Alabama man lay dying in a ditch for over an hour after his bike was struck by a hit-and-run driver who didn’t call 911. And neither did a state legislator or the local police chief, who both knew about the crash but didn’t bother to call for medical help.

The Montgomery, Alabama Bicycle Club will host a bike ride from Selma-to-Montgomery later this month, following in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King on his historic march.

Nothing to worry about in this Orlando, Florida neighborhood, where an eleven-year old neighborhood watch captain patrols the streets by bicycle.

Newly released bodycam video shows a Florida cop tasing a teenage bike rider for the crime of popping wheelies last year; the cop was censured for his actions.

 

International

They’re some of us, too. The Spanish language edition of GQ looks at the bikes preferred by Barack Obama, Brad Pitt, Jude Law, Justin Timberlake and Matt Damon; the first two were also Oscar winners last night.

In a case of life sort of imitating art, an unidentified Reddit user says she stopped speaking to her fiancé when he bought her a Peloton bike, after pleading with him not to get her one.

A Kiwi woman is bicycling 1,250 miles across the length of Mexico, accompanied by a man riding from Alaska to Argentina.

A British Columbia lawyer warns that a switch to no-fault insurance in the province could harm bike riders involved in crashes.

Saskatoon, Canada considers axing a must-use requirement for bike lanes, allowing bicyclists to ride in traffic lanes and make left turns, almost like real people.

An Englishman offers advice on how to ride a unicycle 21,000 miles around the world in three years, which is exactly how he did it. Step one: Don’t fall off.

It takes a real schmuck to steal a Scottish doctor’s bicycle as she was making a house call to visit an elderly patient.

Who says bike riders aren’t tough? A 72-year old British man got back on his bike and rode nine miles home after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver — despite suffering four broken ribs, a fractured hip and a head injury.

A Tunisian woman rode her bike to the Saudi Arabian holy city of Mecca, becoming the first woman to make the pilgrimage by bike; she was allowed into the city, even though she wasn’t accompanied by a male guardian on the 53-day journey, as required by Saudi law.

The former chief-of-staff for Guyana’s defense forces was arrested for a crash that killed a well-known bicyclist; the retired rear admiral failed a roadside Breathalyzer test.

 

Competitive Cycling

Riders in the Netherlands pick an appropriate time to hold the Dutch Headwind Cycling Championships, with no drop bars allowed, as Winter Storm Ciara pummels Europe.

VeloNews discusses why American bike racing needed the late, great Amgen Tour of California; the race is on the sort of one-year hiatus from which most bike races and other events never seem to return.

 

Finally…

If you insist on riding inside, skip the two-grand Peloton and build your own DIY version. Your next Lyft driver could be a 15-time Grammy winner.

And if dinosaurs had just worn helmets and hi-viz, they might still be here today.

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Thanks to Domus Press for a very generous and unexpected donation to help keep this site coming your way every day. Donations are always welcome, in any amount and for any reason. 

 

Move along, nothing to see here. Or diabetes sucks.

My apologies.

The good news is, my recent bout with high sugar is finally getting back under control after my doctor put me on a new medication.

The bad news, I’m still shaking after a sudden blood sugar crash knocked me out for a few hours last night.

Which serves as the latest in a series of periodic reminders that diabetes sucks. If you’re at risk, get tested. And do whatever it takes to avoid it, or at least get it under control.

Seriously, the only good thing about diabetes is that cookies and candy are lifesaving medication.

Get out and ride this weekend. And stay safe out there.

We’ll see you back here next week to catch up on anything we missed.

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