LA Times columnist takes on dangerous drivers and politicians, and transportation bills advance in the state legislature

Trust the Los Angeles Times’ Steve Lopez to take on LA’s dangerous drivers, and the streets that encourage that behavior.

He says that Angelenos — or at least his readers — have had it with speeding drivers in the wake of last week’s crash that killed five people, as well as an unborn baby just two weeks from full term.

They want more enforcement, stiffer penalties for offenders and better street design, and they want to know why — even as we move toward electric vehicles to save the planet — the auto industry produces gas-guzzling behemoths that easily go twice the highest speed limits, and why the media culture celebrates velocity.

While he addresses safety concerns throughout the city, what especially stands out is a group of Angelino Heights residents who are fighting to stop filming for the latest movie in the Fast & Furious franchise, over fears it will encourage still more dangerously aggressive drivers to seek out the neighborhood.

“We will not stand for them filming here,” says a letter that was emailed to City Hall, arguing that the moviemakers “do nothing to dissuade their macho fans from endangering people’s lives on public streets in Los Angeles…”

“I am sick and tired of these knucklehead street racers speeding and doing doughnuts in our neighborhood,” said Echo Park resident Alan Lee, who lives near a market featured in one of the “Fast & Furious” movies. The market draws speeders and stunt drivers, Lee said, and he saw one lose control and plow into a neighbor’s car.

Michele McKinnon said tenants in her Echo Park apartment building complain of stunt driving and the smell of burned rubber, a familiar scent on weekend evenings. The “Fast & Furious” franchise has made billions glorifying “deadly street racing,” McKinnon said in an email to city officials, promising to disrupt filming “all day and night” in honor of those who have lost their lives to reckless driving.

Speed Racer wannabe see, Speed Racer wanna be do.

Lopez also isn’t afraid to take state legislators to task for failing to earn their pay.

Some legislators have tried to do something, but several bills to control speeding have failed. And I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that whereas national Republican lawmakers have failed to support sensible gun control proposals despite the ongoing firearm carnage, the Democrats who dominate the California Legislature have been missing in action when it comes to cracking down on drivers who use vehicles as weapons.

Amen, brother.

Still, there’s good news on the legislative front, as we’ll see in the next section.

Artwork by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay.

………

It was a good day from transportation bills in the state legislature yesterday.

First up, Assembly Member Laura Friedman’s bill to tie state transpiration projects to California’s Climate Action Plan passed out of committee.

Streets For All notes that several transportation bills passed out of the Appropriations Committee, where good bills too often go to die.

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GCN examines five descent positions so dangerous their were banned.

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

A dermatologist and self-annointed expert on urbanism honors the founder of City Watch after Ken Draper’s death, yet devolves into complaining about “bike nazis” while adding “you know who you are.”

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

A San Francisco man will avoid anti-Asian hate crime charges after he was arrested for jumping off his bike and attacking former San Francisco commissioner-at-large Greg Chew.

A 44-year-old New York man was critically injured by a hit-and-run bike rider, who was part of a larger group of bicyclists riding through Manhattan.

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Local

LA Times readers weigh in on whether kids should be riding ebikes, after the parents of a Pacific Palisades girl files suit against Rad Power Bikes for her death.

Anne Heche was reportedly high on coke at the time of her fiery crash into a Mar Vista home; the actress suffered a catastrophic brain injury, and isn’t expected to survive.

StreetsLA has partnered with CAKE electric motorcycles to inspect 1,100 miles of bike lanes in the city.

 

State 

The San Diego community mourns Christine Hawk Embree, the mother killed riding her ebike in Carlsbad on Sunday.

East San Jose has received a $10 million grant to improve safety around Senter Road, including new street lights, bike lanes and other protective measures.

A San Francisco music club threatens that they’ll have to close if a new bike lane running in front of the venue goes in, apparently thinking their survival depends on a handful of free parking spaces, rather than happy customers.

 

National

The Biden administration released the first round of funding for federal RAISE grants — Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity — which were formerly known as BUILD grants, which were themselves formerly known as TIGER grants, releasing roughly $2.2 billion to fund 166 initiatives in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

California Representative Mike Thompson has sent a letter to the USPS urging the Postal Service to use more ebikes.

Mother Jones talks with author Jessie Singer, who says when drivers kill — not cars, thank you — it’s not an accident.

A group of volunteers is building a 5,000-mile mountain bike trail stretching from Washington state to Baja California.

Strong Towns Program Director Rachel Quednau discusses opening an ebike shop with her husband.

Bicycling considers all the best bike locks — or at least the best bike locks you can get on Amazon. Meanwhile, ZDNet says you need two locks to secure your ebike, recommending a pair of Kryptonite’s.

Check the bikeability of your next neighborhood on Zillow before you move.

Police in Vail, Colorado busted a suspected serial bike thief.

A writer for Lonely Planet explains how he rode 468 miles across Iowa for RAGBRAI with 18,000 close friends.

Chicago is installing a trio of speed cameras to calm dangerous intersections near where two bike riders were recently killed. Yet they bizarrely remain illegal here in California, where speeding evidently isn’t a problem.

An Ohio grand jury indicted a driver who fled on foot after crashing into a family riding their bicycles, killing a three-year old girl.

New York is backsliding on open streets, as residents lost 63 miles of open streets over the past year.

A Florida state attorney — the equivalent of a DA — has rescinded a policy put in place by her predecessor to address the problem of police stops that disproportionately targeted Black people, aka Biking While Black.

 

International

F1 great Lewis Hamilton expands on his recent statement that he finds driving outside of the track very stressful. Thanks to Ralph Durham for the heads-up.

Cycling Weekly examines whether expensive sunglasses perform any better than the cheap ones.

Um, no. A British bike delivery startup prohibits its workers from wearing bike helmets, fearing helmet use will somehow make them more aggressive.

A bike rider in the UK complains the the country’s legal system “is not fit for purpose,” recounting his struggle for justice after he was hit by a driver 18 months earlier.

Police in Graz, Austria are cracking down on drunk bicyclists, after residents respond to drunk driving laws by taking to their bikes. I still say that’s counterproductive; I’d much rather see a drunk on a bike than in a car, where they could do far more harm.

 

Competitive Cycling

Marianne Vos has made it three for three in the Tour of Scandinavia, notching stage wins in the first three stages to build a modest 22 second lead going into today’s stage.

Twenty-six-year old Flanders pro Laurens De Plus tells drivers to think twice or wait five seconds after he was knocked off his bike in a collision on a training ride.

Maybe the era of doping isn’t really over, after all, as weekend crit warrior Jackson ‘Huntley’ Nash received a lifetime ban for multiple anti-doping violations, while 23-year-old Italian pro Michele Gazzoli got a one-year ban for using a prohibited stimulant.

 

Finally…

A Portland bike rider explains how to make your next move by bike. Yes, you can get a new sofa home by bike.

And now we know what inspired Far from the Madding Crowd.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Woman killed walking bike across street in National City Wednesday; 3rd bike rider killed in San Diego County this week

The bad news just keeps on coming.

Multiple sources are reporting that a woman was killed walking her bike across the street in National City Wednesday morning, the third bike rider killed in San Diego County just this week.

The victim, identified only as a local transient, was apparently crossing Highland Avenue near 18th Street mid-block when she was struck by a 22-year old driver around 6:15 am.

She died at the scene, despite the efforts of paramedics.

The 22-year old driver remained at the scene following the crash, and cooperated with investigators.

This is at least the 57th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh that I’m aware of in San Diego County.

My deepest prayers and sympathy for the victim and all his loved ones.

73-year old man riding in Escondido bike lane fatally rear-ended by 69-year old driver

Another day, another person in Southern California killed while riding a bicycle.

This time in Escondido.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, a 73-year old man was killed when he was rear-ended while riding in a bike lane on Broadway.

The crash took place on southbound Broadway approaching El Norte Parkway around 10:25 Thursday morning.

The victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified, died at the scene after being knocked onto the sidewalk.

There’s no word on whether the 69-year-old woman behind the wheel swerved into the bike lane, or if the victim left the bike lane for some reason. However, police don’t believe drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash.

The driver was hospitalized for non-life threatening medical care, though it was unclear if she was injured in the crash or was treated for some sort of health condition.

Anyone with information is urged to call Escondido Police Officer Pete McCollough at 760/839-4930.

This is at least the 56th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth that I’m aware of in San Diego County.

My deepest prayers and sympathy for the victim and all his loved ones.

Healthy Streets LA ballot measure qualifies for ballot, moves to city council; and Paris moves to be 100% bikeable

Correction: I got a couple things wrong in the following piece.

First off, the Healthy Streets LA initiative has qualified for the 2024 ballot, not this fall as I originally wrote.

Second, my sloppy wording implied that the city council had the option of changing the wording on the initiative, but they don’t. They have the option of adopting the initiative as written, or adopting their own ordinance based on the initiative. 

I’ve made both corrections below. 

It’s on.

The Healthy Streets LA ballot measure has been approved for the 2024 election.

According to Streetsblog, the LA City Clerk’s office ruled that the coalition behind the proposal, headed by transportation PAC Streets For All, has collected enough qualified signatures to go to a vote of the people.

Or as an alternative, the city council could skip the whole hassle of campaigning for the next two years, and adopt the measure outright, which is what Streets For All is pushing for.

The measure would simply require that the city implement the already approved mobility plan whenever streets in the plan get resurfaced, whether repaved or coated with a slurry seal.

The council can adopt the plan outright, adopt their own alternative version based on the plan, or vote to place it on the ballot.

Some people, including longtime leading pedestrian advocate Jessica Meaney, have called for the city to adopt the alternative version including a plan for implementation with a focus on equity.

The problem with that is that it could be amended or revoked by a simple vote of the city council at any time, for any reason. So if the next Gil Cedillo or Paul Koretz decided they didn’t want bike lanes in their district, they could easily have them removed.

Adopting the proposal outright would give it the force of law, and would require a vote of the people in order to modify it. And nothing prevents the city council from approving both the Healthy Streets LA proposal, as well as the council’s version, with a focus on equity in the resurfacing schedule, to govern how it will be rolled out.

Which would be the best of all possible worlds, and what Streets For All is recommending.

Meanwhile, the LA Times looked at the ballot measure, and the willingness of city officials and the public to make real changes to the streets to increase safety and livability.

In the city where the car is king, activists are pushing to claim strips of the biggest boulevards for bicyclists and walkers.

Their fight has played out at Griffith Park, where streets were recently closed after a cyclist was killed. It spilled out along the steps of City Hall where advocates staged a die-in. And now, it could make its way to the ballot box in a vote that will test traffic-weary Angelenos’ willingness to put themselves on a so-called road diet to make streets safer and the air cleaner.

But what jumps out from the story is a comment from a board member from NIMBY advocacy group Fix The City.

“If you take away vehicle lanes, you are creating congestion,” said Mike Eveloff, a board member of the nonprofit Fix The City. The group successfully sued Los Angeles over its mobility plan, mandating that an extensive outreach plan accompany new projects for 10 years. “This will result in even more lawsuits against the city. There are no costs disclosed. This represents a ‘hidden’ tax.”

Eveloff said he once loved to cycle but not anymore. “The infrastructure is incompatible with cars, bikes and pedestrians sharing the same space.”

He clearly doesn’t recognize the irony of that statement.

Because that same lack of safe infrastructure keeps many people from riding their bikes or walking to the market. And the fixes the Fix The City group opposes are exactly what would allow him to ride a bike once again.

Who knows, he might even like it.

………

This is what Los Angeles could be doing.

Paris has invested the equivalent of 154 million dollars to transform itself from a typically auto-centric, car-choked city to one where both residents and visitors can choose to get anywhere in the city on two wheels.

Now Paris is planning to drill down to the neighborhood level over the next five years, to make 100 percent of city safe and convenient to travel by bicycle.

The city is increasing its investment to $258 million to build 621 miles of bike lanes and 186 miles of cycle tracks, along with 30,000 bike racks, with 1,000 spaces reserved for cargo bikes, and 40,000 new secure bicycle parking spaces.

They’re also planning for 8,400 ebike charging stations.

This is the sort of wholesale transportation changes we were promised with the adoption of LA’s mobility plan, before we were all told it was merely “aspirational.”

And forgettable, evidently.

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Robert Downey Jr. is one of us, as he makes a sepia toned call for more bike lanes.

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A Vancouver visual effects artist created short videos placing local bicyclists in the Upside Down and the middle of a Star Wars battle.

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

The widow of a man murdered by a bike-riding man while their family was on vacation in Myrtle Beach SC is demanding the death penalty or life in prison for his killer; the victim was shot eight times after agreeing to give the down-and-out stranger a ride

………

Local

AAA calls on people to drive safely and avoid distraction as kids return to school. Never mind that they should drive that way all the time, whether or not school is in session.

The LAPD reports things are finally quieting down on LA’s new $577 million 6th Street Viaduct, while the city public works committee considers a proposal to periodically close the bridge to cars to allow greater bike and pedestrian access.

Santa Clarita residents are invited to a public meeting on Wednesday, August 24th to learn more about the Bouquet Canyon Bike Trail project.

 

State 

Streetsblog calls on California to ban parking minimums, noting that AB 2097 would prohibit parking mandates in areas near public transit.

Assembly Bill 371 could threaten bikeshare systems throughout the state by requiring providers to obtain insurance to cover the cost of injuries or deaths caused by negligent users.

Steve Martin is one of us, riding his ebike into town when he spends summers in Santa Barbara with his wife.

Sad news from Bakersfield, where a bike-riding man was killed in a collision just after midnight Wednesday.

Gizmodo calls Silicon Valley’s push into transportation a miserable failure, marked by a lot of disruption but not much innovation, while a Canadian technology writer accuses tech firms of planning for transportation that benefits the few, not the many.

San Francisco has received a $23 million federal grant to improve the plastic-protected bike lanes on a seven-block section of Howard Street, including concrete buffers, curb-protected intersections and new bike traffic signals.

No surprise here, as the parents of a 19-year old UC Davis student killed by a university garbage truck driver as she rode her bike to class have filed a wrongful death suit against the university.

A New Jersey website offers tips on how to keep your bike from getting stolen.

A new study suggests the Richmond-San Rafael bridge is dramatically underused, with an average of just 136 weekday crossings.

Call it a different kind of tall bike, as Road Bike Action examines 6’7″ former NBA great Reggie Miller’s new Moots gravel bike.

People For Bikes examines plans for the Lost Sierra Route, a new 600-mile bike trail connecting 15 mountain towns in Northern California.

 

National

Treehugger asks if we’re seeing the beginning of an e-bikelash.

Speaking of Silicon Valley tech firms, Ralph Nader urged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, aka NHTSA, to recall Tesla’s full self-driving technology, calling it “one of the most dangerous and irresponsible actions by a car company in decades.”

CityLab calls for installing speed governors on all cars to keep drivers from dangerously exceeding the speed limit; modern versions use geolocation to match the posted speed limit on a given roadway.

A Seattle website suggests riding your bike around the scenic islands of Puget Sound.

Utah has seen a spike in fatal bike crashes, already topping any other year for the past decade.

A Durango, Colorado letter writer reminds readers that without an ebike, he wouldn’t be able to ride at all.

A Massachusetts city councilor is calling for the removal of a bike lane, even though it has reduced crashes a whopping 77%.

 

International

Toronto’s mayor met with the city’s largest bike advocacy group protesting a crackdown on bike riders in the city’s High Park; an Ontario website calls the crackdown a colossal waste of time and money, since only 15 pedestrians were hit by bike riders over an eight-year period, with no fatalities, while drivers killed 212 pedestrians over the same time.

A London bike company is offering commuters free bikes to use when tube workers are on strike.

Five British bicyclists completed a 1,100-mile trip across the country, raising the equivalent of nearly $100,000 to install “life-changing” gardens at every spinal injury center in the UK.

Horrible story from India’s Uttar Pradesh state, where a woman and her son beat a young man on a bicycle to death, using a bat to knock him and his bike into an open sewer.

A New Zealand website recommends the world’s best and most beautiful bike routes.

 

Competitive Cycling

Veteran World Cup mountain biker Lea Davison has walked away from the Life Time Grand Prix gravel racing series, concluding she loves mountain biking, gravel not so much; she also cited a lack of safety and fairness.

 

Finally…

Now you, too, can sculpt a giant pink cow for a Florida bike path. Or hold your own in a drag race pitting a DIY ebike against a Ford Mustang.

And if you’re going to get drunk and fall off your bike, try not to do it in front of someone’s doorbell cam.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

42-year old man killed riding ebike against traffic in Huntington Beach, 70-year old driver arrested for DUI

Once again, Southern California’s killer highway has claimed a life.

But this time, the victim was at least partly at fault for riding salmon — even though he was struck by an allegedly stoned driver.

According to the Daily Pilot, 42-year old Huntington Beach resident Timothy John Briley was killed when he was struck by a driver while riding an ebike against traffic in Huntington Beach Tuesday evening.

Briley was reportedly riding north in the southbound lanes on Pacific Coast Highway, just north of Admiralty Drive, around 6 pm when he was struck head-on by an SUV driven by 70-year old Barbara Front of Huntington Beach.

He was taken to a local hospital, where he died 40 minutes later.

Front remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators; she was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence at 7:40 pm.

There are no bike lanes or other bike infrastructure on PCH north of Admiralty, and no word on whether Briley was riding in the parking lane or traffic lanes.

There’s also no word on why he was riding against traffic, although some people mistakenly believe they’re safer facing oncoming traffic. However, the reality is just the opposite.

Anyone with information is urged to call Huntington Beach traffic investigator Jeremy Rounds at 714/536-5670.

This is at least the 55th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 11th that I’m aware of in Orange County.

My deepest prayers and sympathy for Timothy John Briley and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Bill Sellin for the heads-up. 

13 previous car crashes for nurse who killed six people in Windsor Hills, and women and retirees fastest ebike adopters

Talk about keeping a dangerous driver on the road until it’s too late.

According to the Los Angeles Times, 37-year old, Texas-based traveling nurse Nicole Lorraine Linton was involved in 13 prior crashes before she killed six people and injured eight others after allegedly blowing through a red light at up to 90 mph on Thursday.

Yes, you read that right.

Thirteen previous crashes, including a 2020 crash that totaled both vehicles. And yet she was somehow allowed to keep driving, despite demonstrating a clear inability to do so safely.

Either that, or she was plagued by some of the worst luck in the history of driving.

Linton was formally charged with six counts of murder — one for each victim — along with five counts of vehicular homicide. The unborn child of the pregnant woman killed in the crash accounts for the discrepancy; the death of the eight-and-a-half month unborn baby is eligible for a murder charge, but not vehicular homicide.

LA County DA George Gascón concluded her prior crash record indicated she was aware of the risks of driving in a dangerous manner, making her eligible for the murder charges.

Linton faces up to life behind bars upon conviction. She’s currently being held without bail after the previous $9 million bond was revoked.

Thanks to How The West Was Saved for the heads-up.

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Meanwhile, the news is not good for Anne Heche.

The actress, who was seriously burned crashing her car into a Mar Vista home at high speed on Friday, is reportedly in extremely critical condition after slipping into a coma.

Police investigators are trying to determine if drugs or alcohol played a role in the fiery crash.

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I once made the mistake of telling a bikemaker I didn’t see a market for ebikes, because I assumed everyone would want the exercise and health benefits of a standard bike.

Turns out I was wrong about that, too, since studies show ebikes offer the same health benefits as any other bike.

So this is a snapshot of just who is taking up ebikes.

You know, the market I somehow couldn’t picture.

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Let’s take a few moments to consider what’s possible when you register your bike with Bike Index.

You can get a free, lifetime registration in just minutes.

So if anything happens to your bike, you’ll have all the information you need to add your bike to Bike Index’ nationwide database of stolen bikes. And increase your chances of getting it back, wherever its found.

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Streets For All is hosting their latest virtual happy hour this evening.

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Who needs an ebike bike when you can build your very own DIY jet-powered bicycle?

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

No bias here. A new San Francisco group demanding the reopening of JFK Drive through Golden Gate Park to cars has issued their full set of demands, including parking on every street, no parking-protected bike lanes, and no bike lanes replacing parking.

A road-raging Dayton, Ohio man faces charges for intentionally running down, then running over, a man riding a bicycle, before getting out with another man and looking at the victim; the attack was apparently in retaliation for the rider throwing a small flashlight at the driver’s car, after someone in the car threw a water bottle at the victim.

A Florida driver is accused of circling back and jumping a curb to intentionally run down a pair of bike riders, then getting out and shooting one of them in the leg

British police interviewed a man accused of “furiously” pushing a man against a wall and throwing his bicycle out into the street, for the crime of riding his bike on the sidewalk.

An Irish road and cyclocross racer is back to riding just two weeks after he suffered four broken ribs and two broken vertebrae, as well as a partially collapsed lung, when someone sabotaged a mountain bike trail with a rope strung across the path; Seán Nolan warns that its only a matter of time before someone gets killed.

But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

A Nebraska man was busted after fleeing from police on his bike when the cops recognized his as having outstanding warrants; he was also carrying meth and drug paraphernalia in his backpack.

A Tulsa, Oklahoma man learns the hard way that if you’re going to stab a man and ride off on his bicycle, make sure it doesn’t have a flat tire first.

Police in Chicago are looking for a bike-riding man who has targeted elderly women in a string of strong-arm robberies, stealing their jewelry before riding off.

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Local

Dozens of bicyclists and other activists turned out at City Hall on Monday to protest a new ordinance banning outdoor bike chop shops, fearing the law could be used to target low-income people and people of color, rather than cracking down on bike thefts.

Streetsblog reports Venice Blvd will be getting another 4.3 miles of parking protected bike lanes connecting to the .8-mile Mar Vista Great Street project, for a total of 5.1 miles of protected bike lanes.

The LA River Greenway is getting a new Canoga Park entry pavilion designed by acclaimed architect Frank Geary, even though the river is nothing more than an open air concrete culvert at that point. Geary has also proposed hiding lower sections of the concrete channel under elevated parks, rather than returning the channel to a more natural state.

Walk Bike Glendale offers action alerts on proposed makeovers of North Brand Blvd and La Crescenta Ave, as well as plans for a feeder ride to the Meet the Hollywoods CicLAvia on August 21st.

 

State 

Sen. Scott Wiener’s SB 922 passed the state Assembly with almost unanimous support; the bill expedited bike, pedestrian, light rail, and rapid bus projects by exempting them from the California Environmental Quality Act, aka CEQA. It now goes back to the Senate for a final vote before going to the governor’s desk for a signature.

Encinitas-based bikemaker Electra continues to stick close to its roots, keeping its focus on cruiser bikes on the eve of its 30th birthday.

San Diego’s newly revised Climate Action Plan doubles down on efforts to get people out of their cars, including a shift to more Class IV protected bike lanes.

Santa Barbara’s Parks and Recreation Commission approved the removal of 34 trees to build a bike path on the city’s Modoc Road, which will require moving the roadway 12 feet so the path won’t go through sensitive wildlife habitat near Arroyo Burro Creek; the project is less controversial than another one along Modoc Road in Santa Barbara County, which will require removing 40 to 61 trees.

Streetsblog calls on San Francisco officials to fix a street grate in Golden Gate Park that could grab a narrow bike tire and bring down the rider. And did. Call it Golden Gate Grate-gate. 

Oakland wants to use a $1 million state grant to buy 500 ebikes to open an ebike library for low-income neighborhoods.

After hundreds of bike-riding teens swarmed the lower deck of the San Francisco Bay Bridge Saturday afternoon, they’re accused of burglarizing businesses and throwing things at people in Oakland.

A man was sentenced to a well-deserved 17 years behind bars for trying to rape a woman on a Davis bike path.

 

National

Streetsblog offers advice on how to access federal funding from the new Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) program, offering a cool $1 billion a year for the next five years for “meaningful, community-led Vision Zero projects.”

Even with federal incentives of up to $7,500, electric cars remain outside the reach of many Americans. Yet the new climate bill fails to mention far more affordable bicycles, let alone ebikes.

The Verge says the ebike tax credit is only mostly dead, as supporters plot the next steps to revive it.

Add this one to your bike bucket list. Take a cog railway train to the summit of Colorado’s 14,115-foot Pikes Peak, then bike 13 miles and 5,000 feet back down.

A 49-year old Durango, Colorado fire fighter was killed when his bike was rear-ended by a driver; his death came just two weeks after a 60-year old member of the same department died of a heart condition while riding bikes with his son.

A 68-year old Sierra City, California man was killed when he was rear-ended by a semi driver and knocked into a ditch while riding in Kansas.

Great idea. While Houston is in the midst of a years-long commitment to build 1,800 miles of high-comfort bike lanes, the city is reserving 10% of the funding for smaller “strategic” projects suggested by members of the bicycling community.

Police arrested a 26-year old man for yelling and chucking rocks at people using a Madison, Wisconsin bike path.

A Detroit website says more pedestrians are getting killed as trucks and SUVs keep getting bigger, with some models now exceeding the size of a WWII tank.

The woman accused of killing two men participating in a Michigan Make-A-Wish fundraising ride while driving under the influence is due back in court for a prelim next week; the crash left nine kids without their fathers.

The bighearted employees of a Maine company pitched in to buy a new bicycle for a 19-year old coworker, after the bike he used to ride to work was stolen.

Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale is one of us, after he suffered a broken wrist falling off his bike to end his season; a Texas website offers an incomplete list of other major league bike incidents, although they include motorcycles as well as bicycles.

New York saw a 33 percent jump in weekday bicycling trips during the deepest, darkest days of the pandemic in 2020. Meanwhile, the latest official figures for Los Angeles show a 22 percent increase — in 2019, before the pandemic and subsequent bike boom.

New Yorkers want more, and more secure, bike parking. Then again, doesn’t everyone?

DC has a new bicycle awareness specialty license plate, even if it does misspell “taxation.”

New Orleans police arrested a 16-year old boy, accusing him of stealing a bicycle from an off-duty cop in a French Quarter strong-arm robbery.

 

International

A Suffolk, England woman is credited with helping save a man’s life after he rode his bike into a river; now she’s raising funds to support the medical charity that helped his rehabilitation.

British police failed to arrest a single bike thief in 87% of neighborhoods with at least one bike theft. And usually a lot more.

A German company has introduced what they call the world’s smartest bike helmet, including a full face air bag, 360° surround safety system, LED lights and a breathable, 3D-knitted liner.

NPR says many Sri Lankans have switched to bicycles due to the country’s economic crisis.

The pandemic is fueling a sports bicycling boom in China, a country more noted for utilitarian and proletarian bikes; meanwhile, the country’s surviving bikeshare companies are raising their prices in an effort to finally turn a profit. Thanks to Steven Hallett for the link.

 

Competitive Cycling

Indianapolis Monthly takes readers to school, explaining what a crit is.

A new documentary captures Pittsburgh’s Frigid Bitch alleycat bike race.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you find driving stressful when you’re not going 186 mph. Try not to back your motorbike into a pit.

And this is who we share the road with.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

35-year old woman riding ebike dies after collision with SUV driver in Carlsbad; her 16-month old daughter unhurt

Because of last night’s breaking news, there will be no Morning Links today.

We’ll be back tomorrow to catch up on anything we missed. 

………

Three crashes. Three deaths. Three counties. Two hit-and-runs.

All in less than 20 hours.

A horrible weekend for the bicycling community finally concluded with the last of three innocent victims, who died simply because they rode their bicycles on Southern California streets.

Multiple sources are reporting that a young mother died after she was struck by the driver of a massive SUV in Carlsbad Sunday evening.

The 35-year old woman, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was riding an ebike with her 16-month old daughter when they were struck by the driver of a Toyota 4-Runner around 5:45 pm, near Basswood Ave and Valley Street.

She was taken to a nearby hospital with serious injuries, and died the next afternoon. Her child appeared to be unhurt, but was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

At least the driver stuck around this time, unlike the other two crashes.

The 42-year old woman reportedly cooperated with police investigators, who don’t believe drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash.

Unfortunately, there’s no word on how the crash may have occurred. A street view doesn’t offer any help, showing a pair of two-lane residential streets, controlled with a four-way stop.

Anyone with information is urged to call Carlsbad Police Corporal Matt Bowen at 442/339-2282.

This is at least the 54th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth that I’m aware of in San Diego County.

My deepest prayers and sympathy for the victim and all her loved ones.

Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up. 

53-year old La Habra man riding bike killed in Sunday hit-and-run; teenaged boy and father arrested next day

Three crashes. Three deaths. Three counties. Two hit-and-runs.

All in less than 20 hours.

A horrible weekend for the bicycling community continued with the second of three innocent victims, who died just because they rode their bicycles on Southern California streets.

According to the La Habra police department, a male bicyclist was found lying in the roadway in the 500 block of West La Habra Boulevard around 4:43 pm Sunday.

The victim, identified only as a 53-year old La Habra resident, was taken to a local hospital in critical condition.

He died sometime later.

Police described the suspect vehicle as an extended cab Chevrolet Silverado pickup, white with stock rims and a construction rack in the truck bed, with damage to the center grill, hood and driver’s side headlight.

A father and his teenaged son were arrested Monday afternoon after public tips led police to the truck on 300 block of East Second Ave in La Habra.

The 17-year old La Habra boy was booked on charges of felony hit-and-run and possession of a stolen vehicle, while his father, 35-year old La Habra resident Mario Popsuc, was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle, and aiding and abetting in the collision.

Anyone with information is urged to call La Habra police at 562/383-4305.

This is at least the 53rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the tenth that I’m aware of in Orange County.

Eighteen of those deaths have been hit-and-runs.

My deepest prayers and sympathy for the victim and all his loved ones.

59-year old man killed riding bike in Adelanto hit-and-run; driver remains missing after abandoning her SUV

Three crashes. Three deaths. Three counties. Two hit-and-runs.

All in less than 20 hours.

In a horrible weekend for the bicycling community, three innocent people were killed just because they were riding bicycles on Southern California streets.

The first came in Adelanto Saturday night, when a bike-riding man was killed in a hit-and run around 10:21 pm.

According to the Victorville News Group, 59-year old Adelanto resident Marty Sparling was crossing US Highway 395 at Cactus Road when he was struck by the driver of a 2008 Lincoln Navigator.

He was taken to a local hospital, where he died.

Police identified the vehicle through a license plate found at the scene, naming 38-year old Erika Romero-Aguilar of Adelanto as the driver. Her Navigator was later found abandoned nine miles away at the Pilot Truck Stop on Highway 395 in Hesperia.

Romero-Aguilar’s whereabouts remain unknown at this time.

Anyone with information is urged to call Deputy L. Torres at the Victor Valley Sheriff’s Station, 760/552-6800.

This is at least the 52nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh that I’m aware of in San Bernardino County.

Seventeen of those deaths have been hit-and-runs.

My deepest prayers and sympathy for Marty Sparling and all his loved ones.

More high-speed carnage on dangerous LA streets, Streets For All tallies LA traffic violence, and Rivendell reparations fail

This is the cost of traffic violence, as the carnage continues on Los Angeles streets.

Just one day after a driver traveling at an estimated 80 to 100 miles per hour ran a red light and plowed into cars crossing the busy intersection of La Brea and Slauson, killing six innocent people, a well-known actress apparently copied the act.

Except Anne Heche plowed into a home in a fiery Mar Vista crash.

According to TMZ, Heche had apparently crashed into a pair of apartment building garages in the area, doing relatively minor damage to each, and may have been fleeing paparazzi and people trying to halt her as she sped up Walgrove Ave.

Security video shows her traveling at an extreme rate of speed.

Any bike rider or pedestrian unfortunate enough to be in her way would have been killed instantly.

Instead, she apparently lost control and slammed into a home less than a block from an elementary school, narrowly missing the homeowner inside.

The home and its contents were a total loss.

Heche herself somehow survived, despite suffering critical burns; as in the Windsor Hills crash, she was reportedly too badly injured and treated with too many medications to conduct a valid test for drug or alcohol use.

Although a sharp-eyed person points out what appears to be an open pint of alcohol next to the gear shift in one of the TMZ photos.

Heche reportedly faces a long and painful recovery from her injuries.

We’re only lucky that she didn’t take anyone else with her.

And once again, the crash points out the abject failure of LA’s chronically underfunded — and under-cared about — Vision Zero program, as well as the failure of the city to carry through with the transportation reforms promised in the mobility plan, in the seven years since either was approved.

Simply put, speeds like those in either crash should not be possible on surface streets. And the city should make every effort to ensure things like this can’t happen.

Let alone don’t.

Clearly, though, not everyone agrees. Take this comment in response to Friday’s post about the Windsor Hills crash.

Please.

Wow, this is one of the worst articles on this subject ever written. The ideas are without merit and the ignorance is almost frightening. I’d recommend not quitting your day job.

Never mind that this is my day job. But that, too, is who we share the road with.

Photo by Artyom Kulakov from Pexels.

………

There’s no question that LA Times columnist Steve Lopez gets it, as he examines the horrifying carnage on our streets.

“People have their necks broken, they burn to death and suffer unrecoverable injuries. The onus for care drops into the laps of firefighters and paramedics … and even those guys, with all their equipment and training, can’t do anything,” (UCLA ER physician Dr. Mark) Morocco said…

It’s terrifyingly common in Los Angeles, and getting behind the wheel, or going for a walk or a bike ride, is a game of roulette.

Meanwhile, letter writers to the Times say the crash shows the city is desperate for safer streets.

………

Important Twitter thread from Streets For All examining the full cost of traffic violence throughout Los Angeles, and in each individual council district, since Vision Zero and the mobility plan were adopted in 2015.

The charts also include the amount of mobility plan implementation, miles of bus and bike lanes, and how many people in the district signed the Healthy Streets LA petition to require implementation of the mobility plan when streets are resurfaced, which the organization accurately describes as massive citywide support.

You can find a downloadable pdf of the full report for each council district here.

Take a moment to check out your own district, then look at some of the others, like the 55 bike riders and pedestrians killed in Mitch O’Farrell’s CD13 in Hollywood, the 82 killed in Curren Price’s CD9, or the horrifying 105 dead in Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s CD8 in South LA.

Never mind that just one traffic death is one too many.

………

Great piece from Outside, about custom bikemaker Rivendell Bicycle Works’ well intentioned, but ultimately doomed, effort to offer a 45% discount to Black customers as a form of reparations for the long history of racism in a the bike industry.

“The American bicycle industry has been racist, often overtly racist, since 1878,” the company wrote in the release. “Rivendell has been obliviously—not ‘obviously’—racist most of the time since 1994. We say this not to scold the industry, not to be publicly humble, not to scold other bicycle businesses, and not to be uncharacteristically on trend. It’s just true.”

Rivendell’s nine staff members were on board to launch the Black Reparations Pricing, or BRP. The company would not increase prices on other frames and would dedicate 10 percent of its inventory to BRP for customers who identified as Black. “We’re committed to it, and will not cave at the first heat,” said the company statement. “As for how it’ll affect business, we’ll just see. If we go broke because those who use the flag or God as an invisibility cloak for their white nationalism stop patronizing us we’ll…move on…”

The inequality started in the first bike boom of the 1890s, when cycling lessons and clubs were only available to white people, and bikes were priced out of reach for all but the most elite. The exclusion continued through the next century in ways that had a chilling effect on who rides and where—like a 1971 law in Washington, DC, that required costly bike licenses, which stopped many impoverished Black people from riding as commuters, or a 1987 bike ban in Midtown Manhattan, through which Wall Street executives sought to bar mostly Black and brown bike messengers from their lobbies and avenues, even while those same executives flocked to the mountain bike trails around their summer cabins upstate. A recent Los Angeles Times investigation reviewed 44,000 bike stops by police and found that they disproportionately targeted poorer communities with large nonwhite populations.

Unfortunately, the backlash was swift and severe.

Once Rivendell’s program hit the national media, Petersen began to receive threats by phone and email. Worried about his safety, he installed video cameras around the store. The company’s phones rang repeatedly with calls from alt-right podcasters, and their Yelp, Google, and social media sites were flooded with negative comments and one-star reviews. “Quit the political commentary BS & focus on bikes,” wrote one commenter on Instagram. “Those people, the majority of them, had never bought anything from us. They probably don’t even ride bikes,” says Will Keating, Rivendell’s general manager. “It’s like they just saw something that infuriated them on the internet and had to take the next step.” The program was shut down on the advice of Rivendell’s lawyers. “The whole thing—it was a grand plan that fizzled out,” says Petersen. “We were afraid for our physical well-being. It was really ugly around here. We were all miserable.”

“From a strictly legal perspective, we’ve been handcuffed,” Petersen wrote in a blog announcing the end of the reparations program.

It’s a good piece, and well worth taking a few minutes to read the whole thing.

Because it clearly demonstrates the difficulty in trying to do the right thing, in a country so sharply divided along political and racial lines.

And it raises questions of how much more we could and should be doing to right historical wrongs that continue to manifest in the present.

………

A rally will take place at Los Angeles City Hall this morning to protest the new ordinance criminalizing open air bike chop shops.

………

Turns out that one of the most common aggressive maneuvers practiced by California drivers is against the law.

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On a happier note, it looks like Charlize Theron is one of us.

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Of course Marge Simpson is one of us.

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

A Pennsylvania man faces charges for getting out of his pickup to beat and strangle a man riding a bicycle, after crashing into the victim and knocking him into a pole.

Sometimes you turn to the cops for help after a road rage attack, only to discover it was a cop who did it; meanwhile, another Toronto cop crashed into a bike rider in a bike lane, later claiming the sun was in his eyes.

Police in the UK initially refused to take action after a woman deliberately drove her Range Rover into a bike rider, who called their response “victim-blaming twaddle.”

No bias here. A London writer proclaims the war on cars is a war on women. Which it wouldn’t be, even if it was real.

But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

Great Britain’s transport minister is proposing a bill to reign in a “selfish minority of bike riders” by creating a bicycling equivalent to the country’s death by dangerous driving law, with a penalty up to life in prison.

A man on a bicycle is blamed for stealing a New Zealand statue of Ernest Rutherford, known as the father of nuclear physics, by rocking the statue back and forth for half an hour until it snapped off its base.

………

Local

The LA Times reports on the parents of a 12-year old Pacific Palisades girl who are suing Rad Power Bikes alleging a defective design caused their daughter’s death.

The LACBC is giving donated bikes away to people in need through its Bike Match program.

 

State 

Streetsblog reports on a recent webinar explaining how to fight for bike lanes where you live.

Seriously? A Coronado newspaper says ebikes may be the future, but questions whether they’re a hazard on the island’s roadways.

Camarillo letter writers say the city needs to make itself bike-friendly now, not five years from now when a new bike path is scheduled to open.

A pair of 14-year old Camarillo boys were injured, one seriously, when they were run down on their bikes by a 68-year old driver at the Camarillo outlet mall.

The LA Times says the best SoCal bike trail is the Ojai Valley Trail, describing it as an “incredibly scenic path (running) 15 miles from the Ventura shoreline to the charming town of Ojai.”

Kindhearted cops in Arroyo Grande got a new bike for a 15-year old boy after the one he rode to his summer job was stolen.

A 23-year old man was arrested for robbing a Palo Alto bike shop near Stanford University, after the shop’s workers refused to buy an ebike he’d brought in.

A rideout took over the eastbound lanes of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge on Saturday, as the CHP did their best to herd them onto a bike path.

A San Francisco bike hater belatedly becomes the Bike Guy after rediscovering riding in middle age.

 

National

A new study explains why most people never forget how to ride a bike, no matter how long it has been.

Bikeshare can play a role in helping older Americans age in place.

US Weekly considers the best ebikes for women of any height.

Still more traffic violence in New Mexico, where an alleged drunk driver without a valid license barreled through a Gallup parade celebrating Native American culture, injuring at least 15 people, including two cops who tried to stop him.

He gets it. A columnist for the Minnesota Post explains why driving is bad for America, saying other than extending our ability to move at high speed, it comes at the cost of almost every other kind of action.

More mass carnage, as five Minnesota bike riders were injured when they were run down from behind by a driver, who plowed into the group of seven bike-riding kids led by one adult; fortunately, none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

Sad news from Ohio, where an Ohio State University student died of a “heart-related medical issue” just two miles from the end of a 102-mile fundraising ride.

Good news from Nashville, where Gospel singer Amy Grant is reportedly improving every day, after she was knocked unconscious for over ten minutes in a fall off her bicycle.

A New York ebike rider was the victim of a strong-arm robbery when he was punched in the head by a stranger who stole his bike in Central Park Saturday afternoon.

New York Magazine reports on their picks for the best bike helmets, while the New York Times picks the best handlebar bags.

The Washington Post examines the inevitable ebike bikelash, saying everyone loves ebikes, except for some who share the road, or the bike lane, or the sidewalk, with them.

Over 100 South Florida kids rode their bikes to call for an end to gun violence.

Life is cheap in Florida, where a man walked without a single day behind bars — or even being charged with a crime — for killing a bike-riding man when he somehow veered off the road last year.

 

International

We Love Cycling offers tips on how to go the beach with your bike.

A Calgary, Alberta man is back to gravel racing, ‘cross and mountain biking, using an adaptive bike he built himself, 20 years after he broke his back snowboarding.

An Ottawa, Canada organization is giving mom’s a taste of freedom by teaching women to ride a bike

Life is cheap in the UK, where a speeding, stoned and distracted driver gets less than two years for killing a newly married man riding a bicycle.

After he was pulled off his bicycle and beaten by men shouting anti-gay slurs, an Amsterdam man is angered by the lack of resource to mount a police response.

A writer learns the hard way not to joke about unhinged bicyclists in Amsterdam, especially if you weren’t born in the Netherlands.

Ukraine’s elderly bicyclists defy the military violence surrounding them, refusing to flee or give in to the chaos.

 

Competitive Cycling

Shades of a two-wheeled Eddie the Eagle. A 48-year old man representing Ghana in the Commonwealth Games finished 47th out of 54 competitors in the time trial, which was won by Australia’s Rohan Dennis; Chris Symonds keeps in shape by riding a hybrid bike to his job as a doorkeeper at Britain’s Houses of Parliament, where he keeps his bike safe by parking it at the House of Lords. Thanks to Jon for the heads-up.

 

Finally…

That feeling when your bike tire turns invisible. Or when the road symbols suggest it’s a bike lane for dogs.

And maybe it’s just me, but it looks like he could use a larger frame.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

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