Archive for March 31, 2011

Yet another L.A. bikeway fail; CHP steps up to catch a hit-and-run driver

Los Angeles recently approved a widely praised bike plan; now the county is holding a series of workshops on their new plan.

And countless other cities around the greater L.A. area are currently somewhere in the development or approval process on plans of their own. Yet one thing that often seems to be forgotten is the need to maintain those bikeways once they’re built.

We’ve discussed it before, from Westwood’s long abandoned and barely ridable bike path, to bikeways blocked by everything from sand to trash cans.

Yesterday, Margaret Wehbi copied me on an email she sent to County Bikeway Coordinator Abu Yusuf, complaining about the condition of bike lanes on Imperial Highway just south of LAX.

In it, Webhi describes her typical ride, in which she pedals up the beachfront Marvin Braude bikeway from Manhattan Beach to Dockweiler, then heads east on the bike lane along Imperial Highway.

And that’s where the problem starts.

Aside from the same broken and pitted pavement faced by riders throughout the L.A. area, she reports that the lane has never been swept, resulting in lots of broken glass, as well as ice plant growing into the bike lane.

Then there’s this:

As you can see, sand has washed out from the embankment onto the bike lane, blocking it entirely and forcing riders out into often unforgiving traffic. According to Wehbi, it’s not a new problem; the photo she took in January would look the same as one taken today — and the same as it would have last year.

Yet it wouldn’t take much to fix the problem.

Just a few scoops from a front loader, and a passby from a street sweeper — making sure to move all the way to the right to get the full bike lane, rather than just cleaning the motor vehicle lanes and leaving cyclists on their own. Then doing it again on a semi-regular basis to keep it that way.

My experience working with Yusuf tells me he’s one of the good ones — an all-too-rare government official who genuinely cares and is committed to doing what he can to improve bicycling in the county. Even if he is sometimes hamstrung by limited budgets and government bureaucracy.

Unfortunately, though, the problem isn’t in his jurisdiction. As I was writing this, I received a response from Yusuf indicating that he had forwarded Webhi’s email to Tim Fremaux and Nate Baird at LADOT Bicycle Services.

Hopefully, they can track down whoever is responsible for not maintaining the bike path into its present condition.

And that’s a big part of the problem, because it’s often almost impossible to discover who is responsible for any given street in the jumbled mishmash of city and county jurisdictions that make up the greater L.A. area. Webhi reports being bounced from the City of El Segundo, to the City of Los Angeles, to L.A. County, and now back to the city in a so far vain attempt to get someone, anyone, to just fix it, already.

But it also serves as a reminder to all of us.

It doesn’t matter what’s in the bike plan, or how many bike paths, lanes and bike friendly streets end up being built, if we can’t ride the ones we’ve got.


I can’t say I’m always a fan of the California Highway Patrol’s investigation of bicycle collisions.

Too often, they’ve appeared to show a bias against cyclists, concluding that we’re at fault in most wrecks involving cyclists.

Even though many other authorities disagree with that conclusion.

Of course, who is at fault too often depends on who is investigating, and the quality of training they received.

However, Lois points us to a recent case in which the CHP appears to have gotten it right, and went out of their way to capture a hit-and-run driver.

A writer on the SoCal Trail Riders forum related the story of a recent hit-and-run in which he was rear-ended by a passing car on Live Oak Canyon Road near Cooks Corner. At first he thought the car clipped his bike beneath the seat. But once he got home and removed his bike shorts, he discovered the clear imprint of a car mirror on his ass.

And as it turned out, the mirror from a gold Nissan was left at the scene after the driver fled.

The CHP arrived, took the report and collected the mirror.

But rather than just file it away, as too often happens when a rider isn’t seriously injured, the CHP officer who took the report went back the next day to look for the driver. And just happened to spot a gold Infinity — made by Nissan — which was missing its right mirror.

Of course, the driver denied any knowledge of hitting a cyclist, claiming that he had been in a collision with an unidentified truck the previous day. But all the authorities have to do to make their case is to match the mirror to the car, and match the bruise on the rider’s butt to the mirror.

Case closed.

The cyclist reports that the officer will be forwarding details to the DA. And that he’s now a big fan of the CHP.


Just a few more quick notes:

A new organization claims to represent the Beleaguered British Driver, politely and automatically  — if involuntarily — enrolling all 30,000,000 of the nation’s drivers. And claims that politicians who support cycling are mentally ill, offering as proof the “fact” that riding a bike requires putting “oneself in the path of rather heavy fast moving machinery,” and asks “Would any sane and right minded person do that?”

The RACF has really commissioned an anti car anti driver report and that is because there is no level playing field. Cycling is done by a tiny minority RACF. Whereas everyone depends on the 30 million drivers of this country and the economy would collapse without them, no-one would miss cyclists at all. The push bike is a political menace simply because any politician who rides one is in a minority and as I have demonstrated, has to be mad.

Someone seems crazy alright. But something tells me it’s not the ones he’s complaining about.


The UCLA Bicycle Academy points out that the school may have been honored as a Bike Friendly University, but there’s still a lot of work to do. And invites you to join them tomorrow at their monthly lunchtime meeting.

And in light of yesterday’s post touching on the Mary Poppins Effect, Travelin’ Local’s Lisa Newton forwards a link to an older study showing a blonde wig could do more to keep you safe than a helmet.

It’s not what you wear, it’s how you ride

On her blog Let’s Go Ride a Bike, Dottie writes about the Mary Poppins Effect, saying she failed to experience it on her latest ride after wearing a pantsuit.

For those just catching up, the Mary Poppins Effect is the idea that motorists drive more carefully and politely around women riding in skirts.

Something I have never experienced, needless to say. Though I do have a blue jersey that I’ve learned not to wear without a vest, since it seems to act as a cloak of invisibility to the drivers around me.

If it’s any consolation to Dottie, though, I nearly got run over a few times on Tuesday, and I’m sure it had nothing to do with my attire. More likely, it was due to drivers who weren’t paying attention, or exercising the care required of someone operating such a dangerous vehicle.

Take the blue Mercedes than nearly hit me in Brentwood.

I was riding on a side street, and found myself passing a large panel truck that blocked the view of anything that might be on its other side. As usual in such situations, I moved a little further out into the lane to give myself more room to maneuver in case something unexpected happened.

And sure enough, just as I came around the front of the truck, I glanced to the right and saw a car lurching out at me from a hidden driveway. Fortunately, the extra distance I had added gave me time to swerve out of the way, and gave the driver time to jam on his brakes to avoid me.

I shook it off and just kept riding, grateful that a little extra caution gave me the safety cushion I needed.

So I was surprised when the same car passed me a few minutes later, with the driver pointing his finger at me and shaking his head.

Clearly, he blamed me for what had just happened. Though how I could be responsible for his failure to exit his driveway cautiously when he had no view of oncoming traffic is beyond me.

In fact, the only fault I could have possible born in the situation was simply exercising my right to be on the street. But I’ve long ago learned that doing everything right doesn’t keep those who don’t from assessing blame.

Then there was the woman on Ocean in Santa Monica who right hooked me, cutting over to make her turn without checking to see if there was anyone else there.

So I quickly turned along with her, making an unplanned right to avoid smashing into the side of her car.

I was tempted to say something. But when I looked in her car, I saw two young women pouring over maps and searching out landmarks while they drove, and it quickly became clear that they were a couple of tourists, and would just say they never saw me.

And anything I might add after that would be wasted breath.

Here’s the thing, though.

It would be easy to look at close calls like that as confirmation of the common perception that cycling is just too dangerous.

But the truth is, in both cases, it only took a modicum of caution on my part to keep me safe. Because I was prepared for something unexpected, I was able to respond to both instances — and a handful of others that took place before I got home — making them nothing more than minor irritations on an otherwise pleasant ride.

In fact, none were enough to stir my anger for more than a few passing moments. And as Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious points out, those were just a handful of negative incidents, compared to the tens of thousands of interactions with motorists in which nothing bad happened.

Whether cycling is safe or dangerous doesn’t depend on what you wear, or whether drivers are distracted, or the position of the sun and moon in your astrological charts.

It all depends on the cyclist, and the skills you bring to your ride.

If you ride carelessly or obliviously to the risks, or take chances that push the limits of safety, then yes, bicycling can be a very dangerous activity. And you can easily fall victim to the first texting, arguing, sight-seeing distracted driver who comes along.

But if you ride carefully and defensively, chances are, you’ll avoid the dangers. And enjoy a safe, healthy and happy ride — and years of safe riding to come.

Yes, that does mean stopping for red lights, signaling and observing the right-of way.

It’s true that some things can’t be avoided. But you can say that about anything in life whether you’re riding a bike, driving your car or sitting on your couch.

As proof, I can only offer my own experience.

In 30-some odd years of riding, the only time I’ve felt the painful bite of a car was when I forgot the cardinal rule of never flipping off the driver behind you. And in response, the woman behind me gladly plowed her car into the back of my bike.

Yes, I have had a lot of close calls over the years.

But a little care, a little caution — and a little discretion with words and gestures — is usually all it takes to stay safe.


The League of American Bicyclists offers stats comparing Federal spending for bikes compared with bike-related sales data on a district level; not surprisingly, retail revenue matches or exceeds Federal investment in almost every case.


The Northridge South Neighborhood Council unanimously votes to support completion of the Reseda Blvd bike lanes — the same lanes that nearly were written off for peak hour traffic lanes in a blindside attack two years ago. The Times chooses one of Mikey Wally’s typical exceptional bike photos as their Southern California Moment of the Day. LADOT Bike Blog points out several important upcoming meetings and bike events; Bikeside urges all to join them at the BPIT meeting April 5th. LACBC says the citywide Safe Routes to School plan needs your help on Friday. Travelin’ Local offers stats showing that L.A. bike collisions are on the rise. Burbank’s Magnolia Avenue shopping district plans a bike themed evening this Saturday. Santa Monica Spoke reminds you about this weekend’s Sunday Funday ride; I’ll be there myself, so come join the fun. Highway 1 in Big Sur is sort of reopen for bike and pedestrian traffic following a recent landslide. San Francisco’s Market Street gets its first green bike boxes. The makers of Clif Bars have opened Vino Velo Napa Valley, a bike-themed wine tasting room; cabernet and pinot Clif Bars are sure to follow.

Lovely Bicycle is giving away a free Superba bike to a woman in need; maybe even you? Commute by Bike calls the Brompton the Sex Pistols of folding bikes; Long Beach’s biking expats seem to like theirs. Crate and Barrel’s CB2 stores now sell Dutch Bikes. Bicycling asks if Livestrong can live on without Lance. Tim Blumenthal of Bikes Belong and People for Bikes shares 12 trends that will help biking grow in the coming years. A writer calls on bike-friendly Boulder CO to maintain a ban on mountain bikes in one area. The Purdue chapter of my old fraternity is staging a 72-hour bike-a-thon to raise funds for a member suffering from cancer. New York finally fights back against misinformation about the city’s bike lanes. Zeke designs his own bike cap; you can order yours for $20.

Next year could see an 18,000 mile around the world bike race. A UK man faces manslaughter charges in the death of a former 100-mile time trial champion. A Brit engineering apprentice will be coming to L.A. in May to compete with 1,600 other students thanks to a bike helmet she developed to help cyclists make their presence and intentions known. The UK proposes longer trailers on trucks in order to kill more cyclists cut carbon emissions. The organizer of the Tour de France is staging an amateur version of the famed Paris – Roubaix race next month. Not only is a 91-year old New Zealand man one of the world’s oldest active two-wheel riders, he also has a sponsor.

Finally, cyclists don’t need traffic calming devices, we are traffic calming devices.

Universal says no to bikes, Bob Mionske points the finger, Mark Elliot intelligently refutes John Cassidy

City Watch looks at Universal’s refusal to allow an extension of the L.A. River Bike Path and river revitalization efforts through Universal City.

As far as I’m concerned, until that changes, their plans for expansion should be dead in the water.

In fact, until they become friendlier to bikes and their riders — on and off their property — they shouldn’t get the time of day from the city of L.A. And every cyclist in L.A. should oppose their plans.


Bob Mionske says the official explanation for the NYPD’s over-the-top vendetta against cyclists pegs the BS meter, and points the finger squarely at NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly.

Meanwhile, New York streets may be safer than ever, but the battle rages on. The Century Road Club Association offers a form letter to fight back against New York police targeting Central Park cyclists.

And Mark Elliot of Better Bike Beverly Hills offers a very intelligent, highly detailed refutation of anti-bike New Yorker columnist John Cassidy; it’s a long read, but definitely worth the time.


In the third part of her excellent bikenomics series, Elly Blue says that investing in bicycle infrastructure leads directly to increased physical activity, which leads to lower healthcare costs and reduced mortality. And the more people who are riding, the safer everyone becomes.


The L.A. Business Journal says if you drive, bike or motorcycle on the streets of L.A., you probably have broken teeth or a swollen tongue from all the potholes on the street, noting that just 3% of city streets are in good condition. Why does L.A. make it so hard just to park your bike and spend a little money? A Santa Monica writer say drivers aren’t as courteous and alert as they should be, so give cyclists a little extra room. The Long Beach Post looks at the funeral and memorial services for bike advocate Mark Bixby, who “lived an extraordinary life.” KABC-7 offers advice on getting back on your bike; although I’d think advising riders to use lights after dark would be more effective than recommending reflective tape. A really crappy press release announces events around the Dana Point Grand Prix of Cycling on May 1st. A new bridge will close a gap in a popular bike path around San Diego’s Mission Bay. The Soldier Ride helps give a wounded vet hope. In typical fashion, San Mateo County releases a bike plan full of gaps and disconnected bikeways.

A team of HIV-positive riders will compete in this year’s Race Across America (RAAM). Former framebuilder Dave Moulton looks at proper leisure riding position, while a bike shop worker says maybe most roadies are riding with the wrong handlebars — or maybe the wrong bike. Steve Vance says cargo bikes are American cycling’s newest sub-subculture. Bicycling asks how you would vote on the charges alleged against Lance Armstrong if you were on the jury. Presenting the 10 most popular bike commuting cities; and no, L.A. ain’t on the list. Tucson’s second successful Cyclovia pleases everyone from 6 months to 70. After 80 years, the Empire State Building finally adds a bike storage facility. If you’re visiting New York, you need to know what transit systems you can take your bike on and when. DC’s M-street needs a road diet. Maryland moves to make negligent drivers who kill subject to misdemeanor manslaughter. A new bike safety video from LAB and the NHTSA is a little simplistic, but hits the right notes.

The UK’s Transport Minister finds £836,000 laying around for bike projects. Britain’s traffic jams decrease as gas prices rise and drivers switch to bikes and walking. London Cyclist offers a rave review of the Strida folding bike; yes, you can find one in L.A. A detailed look at the conflict between the desire for Dutch-style infrastructure and what’s actually achievable. Oxfordshire road deaths increase 20% after speed cameras are shut off. Fabian Cancellara looks like the favorite for Sunday’s Tour of Flanders. A recent Aussie study shows that tensions between cyclists and drivers result from impatience, fear and fright, levels of expectations and differing levels of awareness. A South African cyclist gets punched by a Dr. Thompson wannabe. Japan’s 9.0 earthquake shifted transportation paradigms in favor of cycling. Not every woman wants a pink bike.

Finally, a great read from the UK on why cyclists don’t own the road, we just rent it. And the European Union wants gas-powered cars gone from Euro cities by 2050, while the Brits want nothing to do with it; the UK’s Transport Minister says it’s no more likely than rectangular bananas. But before you write it off as just another pipe dream, remember a lot can happen in 39 years; in 1972 we were still listening to 8-tracks, the personal computer hadn’t been invented yet and phones were still wired into walls.

Your slightly delayed weekend linkapalooza

I didn’t have time to add the usual links to Friday’s listing of upcoming bike events; somehow, paying work seemed to take priority. So settle in for your weekend bike reading list.

And yes, this will be on the test.

While you’re at it, you might want to download the podcast for Saturday’s Bike Talk, featuring interviews with Alexis Lantz of the LACBC and L.A. BAC Vice Chair Glenn Bailey, as well as your humble host.


Now that’s class — LAPD officers buy helmets for underage Critical Mass riders out of their own pockets. Bicycle Kitchen reminds us it’s just two weeks until CicLAvia #2. L.A.’s Safe Routes to School plan heads for City Council approval April 1st; let’s hope that’s not an April Fool’s joke. L.A. Times reviews bikes for people turned off by $4 a gallon gas, and looks at Cameron Rath and the Fmly’s rolling two-wheeled impromptu concerts; thanks to Kent Strumpell for the second link. Walk Eagle Rock offers a great photo set of bicycling in Eagle Rock. The Claremont Cyclist offers some great photos of Stage 1 and Stage 2 of this weekend’s San Dimas Stage Race; Stage 3 rolls on Sunday. Long Beach bike advocate Mark Bixby is remembered as a rare breed; authorities say the plane wobbled and rolled before it hit the ground. San Diego’s Soldier’s Ride raises over $31,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project to help injured vets. The San Diego Custom Bicycle Show takes place April 8th through 10th in, uh, San Diego; thanks to Cyclelicious for the heads-up. A legendary South Bay-area cyclist and bike shop owner awaits a new heart in Stanford Hospital.

Free Wednesday webinar on how women can change the world through cycling. If you want your employees to bike to work, build them a bike shed. Kill a few minutes — or hours — with Rate My Velo. Dave Moulton says UCI’s Pat McQuaid is here to stay. Arizona cyclists and equestrians work together to share the trail; maybe there’s a lesson there for L.A. and Malibu. There may still be time to make it to Tucson for their second ciclovia. A Denver cyclist hitches a ride with Lance. A cyclist offers endorsements for bike-friendly candidates back in my hometown. For the next three weeks, Yellowstone is open to two wheeled tourists, but look out for bears. Mia Burke discusses Portland’s bike success with a group of Bozeman bikers. A new documentary follows NY biking fashion photographer Bill Cunningham, who’s had 27 bikes stolen in his 50-year career. While New York continues to crack down on cyclists, cyclists continue to die on Gotham streets. An NYC restaurant blames bike lanes for putting them out of business, or maybe it was the Gulf oil spill, or possibly  the rent increase. New York liberals aren’t fighting the bike lanes, they’re fighting the process. Right.

Bike Radar names California-based EcoVelo their website of the week. Advice on how to just get out and ride. London Cyclist asks if you’ve ever been a knight on the bike path. A Scot schmuck cyclist repeatedly punches a motorist after she pulls over, thinking she may have hit him. Accusations against Alberto Contador go beyond clenbuterol as plasticizers in his test samples suggest blood doping; a final ruling isn’t expected until after the Tour de France starts. Team Type 1 is forced to withdraw before the final stage of Italy’s Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali after brazen thieves steal their bikes and equipment. An Aussie cyclist is hospitalized after skidding on thousands of dead water beetles. Three cyclists will be riding the full length of Japan to raise funds for earthquake victims.

Finally, a London writer says Fair Weather Cyclists drive her crazy; obviously, just slowing down and driving carefully around bike riders isn’t an option. And a rider asks if inexperienced cyclists are learning by the wrong example; I’ve often thought the same thing. And like him, I approach red lights as a chance for a short breather — and a chance to get in a little speed work when the light changes.

A long, long list of upcoming events

Bike Talk airs Saturday from 10 am to noon; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK; looks like I may make an appearance this week, time TBD.

The three-day San Dimas Stage Race continues this weekend, following a 3.8 mile time trial Friday, a road race on Saturday and six-cornered criterium on Sunday.

LACBC affiliate Culver City Bicycle Coalition hosts their monthly Family Ride this Sunday, March 27th; riders meet at Town Plaza near the Culver Hotel at 10 am. with the ride starting at 10:30 or 11.

Also Sunday, March 27th, the Santa Monica Museum of Art will host Cycle Chic Sundays, with a half-day bike tour including SMMoA’s current exhibitions, studio visits with artist Blue McRight and architect Warren Wagner of W3 Architects, as well as a rest stop at the Frank Gehry-designed Edgemar Center; $10, or free for SMMoA members. Contact for more information.

POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE On Monday, March 28, the City Council of Culver City will consider a motion to amend the city’s recently adopted Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan to replace planned bike lanes on Washington Blvd with sharrows and allow the council to override the approved bikeway designations based on economic and safety considerations. The hearing will take place starting at 7 pm in the Council Chambers of Culver City City Hall, 9770 Culver Blvd.

The County of Los Angeles begins a series of 11 workshops for the new 2011 draft Bicycle Master Plan on Tuesday, March 28th from 6 to 7:30 pm at Topanga Elementary School, 141 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd, in Topanga. Additional workshops will be held March 29th, March 30th, March 31, April 4th, April 5th, April 6th, April 11th, April 12th, April 13th and April 14th; click here for locations and times.

L.A.’s Department of City Planning will hold a hearing on expanding requirements for bicycle parking on Wednesday, March 30th at 1 pm in Room 1010 of L.A. City Hall, 200 North Spring Street.

There should be an app for that. Metro invites anyone with a good idea to develop useful mobile apps or web mash-ups utilizing their transit data, with a goal of enhancing riders ability to use transit and encouraging more people to go Metro — and you could win up to $2,000 for your efforts. Learn more on Thursday, March 31st from 6 to 7:30 pm at Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza Downtown.

Also on Thursday, March 31, REI Santa Monica hosts a talk by Dominic Gill, who travelled the full length of North and South America on a tandem, inviting strangers to hop on the empty seat; he’ll also discuss his upcoming TV show, based on his travels across the U.S. with 10 riders of various disabilities. The talk takes place from 7 – 8:30 pm at 402 Santa Monica Blvd in Santa Monica.

The Santa Clarita Century is scheduled to roll on Saturday, April 2nd with rides ranging from a family ride to a full century, and a free expo and entertainment throughout the day. All rides begin and end at the Valencia Town Center, 24201 Valencia Blvd.

If you’re looking for something a little more relaxed, visit the free Magical Magnolia Bicycle Tour on Saturday, April 2nd from 3 to 7 pm in the Magnolia Park neighborhood in Burbank; be sure to visit Porto’s Bakery for a great Medianoche or Cubano sandwich and Cuban pastries.

The fourth installment of the LACBC’s popular series of Sunday Funday rides takes place on Sunday, April 3rd, with the Crosstown Traffic Sunday Funday Ride led by board member Greg Laemmle. The 28-mile ride will assemble at 9:30 am the Westwood Recreation Center1350 South Sepulveda Blvd, and explore routes from the Westside to Downtown, with a stop for some of L.A.’s best coffee and tamales.

Cal State Long Beach will be honored for their recent selection as Silver Level Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists on Thursday, April 7th in the Pyramid Annex on campus; contact Elissa Thomas at 562/985-4091 for more information.

Saturday, April 9th, the Outpost for Contemporary Art hosts T-Shirt Revival Night at Outpost HQ, 1268 N. Ave 50, from 7 to 10 pm. Bring a favorite old T-shirt or other item that needs reviving, and artist Kelly Thompson will silk-screen a sharrow design on it for just $6, or two for $10. Or pick up a spoke card with the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights on the back, designed in conjunction with David Matsu, at Outpost HQ or the Bike Oven.

Get a head start on CicLAvia on Sunday, April 10th with the 2011 edition of Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer, a 10 stage race up some of the city’s steepest hills. Competitors will assemble at 7:45 am at the intersection of Sunset and Griffith Park Blvds.

For the non-racing crowd, warm up for CicLAvia with the City of Angels Fun Ride on Sunday, April 10 at the L.A. Police Academy in Elysian Park, with a 37.8 mile advanced ride starting at 7:30 and a 31 mile recreational ride at 7:45 am. Rides are scheduled to end by noon, with lunch and raffle finished by 1:30 pm, and will raise funds for a new blood drive truck for the UCLA Hospitals/Mattel children’s Hospital Blood and Platelet Center.

The next CicLAvia will take place on Sunday April 10th from 10 am to 3 pm, with two more to follow on July 10th and October 9th. If you missed the first one, don’t make the same mistake again; word is that Lance will be there.

Keep the post-CicLAvia good bike feelings going on Thursday, April 14th with Bike Night at the Hammer Museum, starting at 7 pm at 10899 Wilshire Blvd in Westwood. Free admission, free food, drinks and screenings of the 1986 BMX classic Rad.

Celebrate tax day with the second annual Streetsblog fundraiser at Eco-Village on Friday, April 15th from 6 to 10 pm at 117 Bimini Place; suggested donation is $20, but L.A. Streetsblog editor Damien Newton no one will be turned away.

The Culver City Bicycle Coalition hosts a special Family Ride on Saturday, April 16th to tour the bicycle and pedestrian improvements planned for the Safe Routes to School grant recently awarded to Linwood Howe Elementary School; riders meet at Town Plaza near the Culver Hotel at 10 am. with the ride starting at 10:30 or 11.

Glendale’s Safe & Healthy Streets program will host Bicycling Skills 123 for children ages 8 – 12 on Saturday, April 30th from 10 am to noon at Hoover High School; $30 registration fee.

The Antelope Valley Conservancy sponsors the 16th Annual Antelope Valley Ride on Saturday, May 7th with rides of 20, 30 and 60 miles; check-in begins at 7 am at George Lane Park, 5520 West Avenue L-8 in Quartz Hill.

The annual Long Beach Bicycle Festival takes place on Friday, May 13th and Saturday, May 14th in Downtown Long Beach. The festivities include the Tour of Long Beach on Saturday, May 14th with rides of 4, 31 and 61 miles to benefit Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach.

L.A.’s 17th annual Bike Week takes place May 16th through the 20th, with an emphasis on bike safety education, and events throughout the city. This year’s Blessing of the Bicycles will take place as part of Bike Week from 8 to 9:30 am on May 17th at Downtown’s Good Samaritan Hospital, 616 S. Witmer Street. And Metro is looking for Bike Buddies to guide inexperienced cyclists on Bike to Work Day.

The San Diego Century ride takes place on Saturday, May 21st with rides of 37, 66 or 103 miles, starting in Encinitas, along with free admission to an expo featuring sports, local cuisine and live music.

L.A.’s favorite fundraiser ride rolls on June with the 11th Annual River Rideadvance registration is open now. Volunteers are needed now and on the day of the ride, email for more info and to sign up.

And mark your calendar for the 2011 L.A. edition of the Tour de Fat on October 9th; unfortunately, Yom Kippur also falls on that date this year, so cyclists of the Jewish Persuasion will have to choose between atoning and having something else to atone for.

The law of unintended biking consequences — cities ignore bike safety at your peril

Just days after four-foot wide speed cushions were installed on a Palos Verdes Estates street, a 65-year old cyclist went down hard.

So hard, in fact, that he was still unconscious a week later. Yet local authorities say they can’t “conclude without a doubt” that the cushions were at fault.

Maybe not.

But it’s highly likely that a jury would — and no doubt, eventually will — conclude otherwise.

And that’s the problem. When what seems like commonsense roadway solutions are applied without consulting the cycling community — or at least, traffic engineers who actually ride themselves — it’s not just your safety that’s at risk.

It’s your tax dollars, as well.

Because the inevitable lawsuits that follow are either paid out of your tax dollars, or through a government insurance policy that’s paid with your tax dollars. And one that can often increase, sometimes dramatically, following a successful lawsuit alleging negligence.

In the Palos Verdes Estates case, Richard Schlickman, described as an experienced cyclist, skidded nearly 80 feet after losing control when he either hit one of the newly installed speed control devices on the 500 block of Via del Monte, or swerved to avoid them.

According the Daily Breeze, an unidentified cyclist who witnessed the incident said the speed cushions were the cause of Schlickman’s wreck.

“I saw him fall and slide down on the asphalt. It definitely occurred at that first speed bump there,” said the cyclist, who did not want to give his name. “I really think those speed bumps are dangerous. You’re going to see more accidents.”

The Daily Breeze goes on say the police believe his speed may have been a factor.

The police report said Schlickman’s wreck was caused by the cyclist’s speeding between 25 and 28 mph, above the 15 mph limit posted near the new speed humps, said Robinson of the Palos Verdes Estates Police Department.

However, the photo that accompanies the story clearly shows the 15 mph speed limit sign has a yellow background, rather then the standard white, indicating it’s an advisory, rather than mandatory, limit. Which is something you’d think the local police would understand.

In addition, the sign is located directly next to the speed cushions, providing inadequate warning for cyclists. While most drivers could brake quickly enough to slow down to the recommended 15 mph speed, a cyclist travelling downhill at 25 mph would have a much more difficult time slowing that quickly without losing control. And even then, 15 mph could be too fast for many cyclists to safely traverse the multiple-inch high humps.

So without advance warning of the speed cushions, what would merely be a minor annoyance to most drivers could be a deathtrap to bike riders.

According to the article, the cushions were installed with the best of intentions, as local residents were concerned about speeding drivers, as well as cyclists; in fact, 91% of residents approved the installation.

Maybe the other 9% were bike riders, who could have predicted the inevitable outcome. Had the city consulted with cyclists before installing a device designed strictly for motor vehicles, they most likely would have been forewarned about the obvious dangers.

Instead, an experienced cyclist is suffering from a serious brain injury. And when the inevitable lawsuit is filed, the attorneys will have no problem pointing the finger at those responsible.

Of course, one of the primary factors involved in assessing liability in a case like this is proving that the party responsible knew, or had reason to know, of the danger.

In this case, Palos Verdes Estates clearly failed to do their due diligence in assessing the danger to cyclists prior to installing the speed cushions.

In other cases, such as the dangers posed by potholes and other road hazards, liability often comes down to whether the government agencies concerned were aware of the problem prior to the injury.

Take the rutted moonscape left behind by the so-called Hudson River on heavily biked 4th Street. Bicycle Fixation’s Rick Risemberg has filed numerous requests with the city to have it fixed, which meets the requirement for ensuring they are aware of the problem. And there have already been injuries — plural — to cyclists as a result of those dangerous conditions.

Which means the next cyclist injured there should have no problem proving his or her case. I’ll be happy to testify to the risky maneuvers required to avoid the danger spots, which can easily take down a rider or force them into the path of oncoming cars.

And something tells me I won’t be the only one.

The same thing goes for eastbound Ohio Ave west of Sepulveda Blvd, the West L.A. Bikeway through Westwood Park, and Wilshire Blvd between Westwood and Beverly Hills. All of which I’ve reported myself at one time or another.

And none of which have seen the slightest effort to repair.

Then there’s the intersection of Ohio and Manning Avenues, where frequent running water washes out the asphalt, leaving deep pits in the roadway.

It’s been patched — usually badly — at least a dozen times in the 18 years I’ve lived in this neighborhood. Yet as far as I’ve seen, no effort has been made to identify and repair the root problem to keep the potholes from reappearing a few weeks later.

Which suggestss that the city is well aware of the problem, but chooses not to fix it. And that means you’ll be the one who pays if someone gets hurt as a result.

Whether you’re the one who’s injured.

Or stuck with the tab afterwards.

On a related note, the LACBC has launched the Good Roads Campaign to catalog road hazards and report them to L.A. Bureau of Street Services. They may want to start with the one above, even if it is just a little outside the city limits.

Best wishes to Richard Schlickman for a full and speedy recovery. And a belated thanks to Jim Lyle for the heads-up on the Daily Breeze articles.

Update: Jim Lyle notes in the comments that there are now large warnings of the speed humps painted on the pavement; hopefully, that will be enough to keep riders safe.


I meant to include this link in the recent report on the New York bikelash, as Steve Vance of Stephen Can Plan writes that he’s keeping track of Brooklyn’s bike lane drama as well, because the same fight could soon come to Chicago.

Meanwhile, a Lower Manhattan newspaper goes against the tabloid bikelash to support bike lanes, public plazas and pop-up cafes. Bicycling offers a recap of the New York bikelash, as well as a look at Brooklyn’s upcoming Red Hook Crit. And after 10 cyclists were ticketed for violating a 15 mph speed limit in Central Park, NY officials fall over themselves to disavow it; maybe they’re just making it up as they go along.


The planned CC City Council discussion of a motion to weaken Culver City’s newly adopted bike plan — replacing bike lanes on Washington Blvd with sharrows and allowing the City Council to override the plan — has been postponed while council aides study the proposal.

And LACBC affiliate Culver City Bicycle Coalition hosts their monthly Family Ride this Sunday, March 27th, along with a special ride on Saturday, April 16th to look at improvements for the recent Safe Routes to School grant.


The LACBC memorializes Mark Bixby, and joins calls for naming the new replacement for the Gerald Desmond bridge — or at least the bike lanes on it — in his honor. And the survivor of that plane crash, cyclist and commercial real estate CEO Mike Jensen, is expected to make a full recovery.

Meanwhile, the annual Long Beach Bicycle Festival that Bixby founded will take place on Friday, May 13th and Saturday, May 14th in Downtown Long Beach. The festivities include the Tour of Long Beach on Saturday, May 14th, with rides of 4, 31 and 61 miles to benefit Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach.


KCET offers a great history of bicycling in Los Angeles. Architects consider a bike-friendly L.A. Council President Eric Garcetti launches a program offering up to $2,500 for neighborhood improvement projects within his district. LADOT Bike Blog looks at chicanes, my favorite traffic calming method to ride. The LookOut News profiles LACBC affiliate Santa Monica Spoke. Santa Monica is looking for artists to design and build functional bike racks. REI Santa Monica hosts a talk by Dominic Gill, who’s travelled the US on a tandem, inviting strangers to hop on the empty seat; 7 – 8:30 pm Thursday, March 31st at 402 Santa Monica Blvd in Santa Monica. Hearings are announced for L.A.’s proposed new bike ordinance; Writing for Flying Pigeon, Rick Risemberg says the bike parking plan is half-a step-forward. Two former USC students turn college poverty into a booming L.A. based bike business. The conflict between equestrians and mountain bikers that threatened to derail L.A.’s bike plan spreads to Malibu.

How to have a bike lane that requires removing parking, without removing parking. Rancho Santa Fe gets its first bike shop. Long Beach’s biking expats encounter just a little mud on their way to Ventura. San Francisco’s successful Sunday Streets — their ciclavia — offered space for a four-person bike and a three-wheeled piano. The Amgen Tour of California prepares for winter weather on the tour’s opening stages; speaking of which, Tahoe-area artists are invited to create art out of bicycles for an installation in conjunction with the tour. There’s a special place in hell for anyone who’d steal the bike from underneath a man with cerebral palsy; fortunately, there are still caring people in the world to make it right. Marin County improves bike detection at 31 traffic signals. Visalia business owners oppose bike lanes after apparently concluding that cyclists don’t spend money, even though Texas cyclists say biking is good for the local economy.

The feds are looking for feedback on a proposed rule to improve vehicle rear visibility and reduce back-up collisions. How to booby trap your bike to deter thieves. Tucson hosts their second ciclavia this Sunday; Tucson Bike Lawyer says it’s in his neighborhood. If you’re going to assault a cyclist on his way into work, it’s probably better to make sure he’s not an off-duty cop; Digital Dame asks if the driver is a Christopher Thompson protégé. Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer talks bikes. A Vancouver WA city council member displays typical ignorance of roadway economics, opposing a road diet and bike lanes “because bicycles don’t pay gas tax or license fees.” Six bikes worth $40,000 were stolen from Austin custom bike builder KirkLee Bicycles, including one featured in Bicycling Magazine’s Dream Road Bike of the Year competition. Cambridge MA installs free bike repair stations for cyclists.

As London’s large trucks continue to take their murderous toll, a new augmented reality campaign tries to do something about it. The UK cuts gas taxes for motorists, and at the same time, threatens to eliminate a program to encourage bike commuting. Now that’s what I call a fat tired bike. UCI appeals Spain’s decision to clear Alberto Contador on doping charges; 11 major teams consider breaking away from UCI to form their own super league. Riding the 2012 Olympic mountain bike course. Rookie racing phenom Taylor Phinney of BMC Racing withdraws from his first WorldTour race due to continued knee problems. Japanese cyclist Kazunari Watanabe competes despite the destruction of the home he grew up in. A group of seven Estonian cyclists were kidnapped while riding in eastern Lebanon. A Japanese father who escaped the tsunami by bike looks for his family, who were stuck in traffic when the waves hit.

Finally, TreeHugger offers 12 ways to carry a dog on a bike — almost guaranteed to make you smile. And after the recent item suggesting a freeway-riding cyclist may have caused a collision on the 110 Freeway, reader Christelle reminds us of this classic Crimanimalz video.

One last note — frequent bike blogger and friend Will Campbell rode out today’s 6.8 earthquake while on vacation in Thailand; only a native Angeleno would take something like that in stride.

Surviving 1,100 miles through Alaska’s winter wilderness on two wheels

My brother is the (slightly) less hairy one.

Long time readers may know that my brother Eric is a veteran of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, finishing the 1,100 mile race through the Alaskan wilderness three times.

Not bad for a man who’s probably the only Ph.d certified particle physicist to compete in, let alone finish, the race.

A fourth time ended in frostbite, a broken leg and a wrenched shoulder, with a long, lonely wait for rescue in sub-zero temperatures. But it didn’t stop him or his team from running it again the following year.

Unfortunately, despite having his best team ever, financial pressures from the current economy have kept him out of the race the last few years.

So if anyone who wants to sponsor a dog team in next year’s race, or is looking for a great speaker with tales of adventure in the Great White North, just let me know.

Then again, if anyone wants to sponsor a humble bike blogger/bike advocate, I’m all ears.

Despite riding throughout this great country, from the swamps of Louisiana through the Rocky Mountain high country and the mean streets of L.A., it never would have occurred to me to follow my brother’s sled tracks from the ceremonial start in Anchorage to the finish line Nome. Especially not in the dead of winter.

And now that is has, I think I pass, thank you.

However, there are others who don’t let little things like snow and ice, sub-zero temperatures or hurricane-force winds stop them from going out for a fast paced mid-winter’s ride.

And you thought your off-season riding routine was tough.

The Alaska Dispatch offers a great recap of this year’s Iditarod Trail Invitational bike race, in which winner Jay Petervary set a course record despite surviving a blowhole — a wind-driven maelstrom of freezing white-out conditions. And yet still only beats second place finisher Aidan Harding, who ran the course blowhole free, by just three hours.

More impressive, his wife finished third and now holds course records for both the northern and southern sections of the trail.

Talk about a family bike ride. Maybe next year they’ll try it on a tandem.

It’s definitely worth reading if you’re interested in the wild side of cycling, and want to vicariously participate in one of the world’s most extreme bike races from the comfort of your computer.

And if it inspires you to go out and try it yourself next year, send me a postcard.


Here’s a first in the great New York bikelash.

NYPD officers void tickets and apologize in person to cyclists after writing riders up for speeding in Central Park. Of course, the problem with the tickets wasn’t the barely posted 15 mph limit for bikes in the park — despite a 25 mph limit for motor vehicles, which probably invalidates the lower limit.

Instead, the tickets were voided due to a technical issue, because the tickets sent alleged violators to traffic court instead of criminal court.

One citation remains in force for now, for a cyclist cited for doing 28 mph in that 25 mph zone.

Meanwhile, New York Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson says bike lanes are a choice, not a metaphor, while census figures show that bike commuting in New York doubled in the last 20 years, but still lags behind other cities. And the Claremont Cyclist offers his take on some of the sillier comments fueling the bikelash.

Thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up on the ticketing stories.


A CHP report on a traffic collision on the 110 Freeway just south of Manchester Ave suggests that it may have been caused by a bicycle riding on the freeway — in the traffic lanes, no less. L.A. political site Street-Hassle looks at the politics of the Wilbur Ave road diet, astutely suggesting that it would take just one video of an out-of-control cyclist to fire up the opposition. Mikey Wally offers his typically beautiful photos of Sunday’s Wolfpack Hustle L.A. Marathon Crash Race. Bikeside reports on last week’s LAPD Bike Task Force meeting. The Santa Monica Museum of Art is hosting an art-focused Cycle Chic Sunday. Altadena could get a bike boulevard under the new county bike plan. Cal State Long Beach will be honored for its newly achieved bike-friendly status on April 7th. Streetsblog looks at Long Beach’s current effort to update and improve its bike plan. A 61-year old Glendora cyclist will attempt his second cross-country ride to raise funds to fight MS. The Claremont Cyclist calls attention to this weekend’s San Dimas Stage Race.Ventura passes a new bike master plan, though council members warn it may be unaffordable. After a car hits a Chico cyclist, they both leave the scene until police find them together half a mile away in the same car.

Contraflow bike lanes get the Feds official stamp of approval. Driver’s heads just aren’t in the game yet. Loving the Bike looks at the car-light lifestyle. Grist’s Sarah Goodyear says there is no war on cars, except when it comes to scoring political points. Neighborhood greenways are like bike boulevards on steroids; link courtesy of the always excellent Tucson Velo. A Seattle stage actor is killed in a cycling accident. The new Quiznos Pro Challenge won’t be riding through the Colorado National Monument, home of the famed Tour of the Moon course, after all. A Chicago writer says he wants to believe that drivers are afraid of hurting cyclists, and that fear is what makes them angry; Dave Moulton thinks he may have a point. Biking is up 33% in the Twin Cities. Five simple rules for safer bike deliveries. A competitive cyclist in Philadelphia is run down by a speeding hit-and-run driver; he survives thanks to a helmet and landing on a grassy median. Bad advice from the Maryland DMV causes right hook collisions, which police fall over themselves to blame on the cyclist. A Baltimore bicyclist offers a cyclists’ manifesto. South Carolina works to become safer for cyclists. A classic SWSS, as an unmarked patrol car driven by an off-duty Tampa police officer hits an 85-year old cyclist, who just happened to swerve out of the bike lane in front of the car. The owner of the New York Jets is injured in a Florida biking collision.

Innovative designs to prevent residential bike theft. A bill is introduced in Parliament to criminalize dangerous cycling that causes death or injury, despite the countless drivers who walk away with a slap on the wrist after running down a cyclist or pedestrian. Former Arsenal goalie Bob Wilson plans to bike to every Premier League stadium in the UK to raise money for charity. Seville, Spain offers a roadmap to bike-friendliness. An Aussie U-19 cyclist struggles to come back after colliding with a light pole in a racing accident.

Finally, it’s not unusual to see people carry their surfboards by bike around here, but Will Campbell finds someone who took the concept of long board to the extreme. And a visit to New Jersey’s dreaded bike-eating tree.

Long Beach cyclist killed in early Friday collision; 19th bike traffic victim this year

Long Beach authorities released word today that a cyclist was killed in the early morning hours last Friday.

According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, 56-year old Leonardo Antonio Florez died when his bike was rear-ended by a 2009 Ford van at 3:16 am Friday on East Carson Street, just west of Los Coyotes Diagonal.

The Huntington Park driver, who has not been publicly identified, reportedly stopped and dialed 911 while attempting to help Florez.

The Post-Telegram reports that Florez’ bike did not have lights. They also suggest that the delay in announcing the death was due to the hospital’s failure to notify police that the victim had died, even though he passed away the same day.

By my count, this marks the 19th cyclist killed in Southern California traffic collisions since the first of the year; another bicyclist died in an apparent gang shooting.

Florez is also the second cyclist killed in a Long Beach traffic collision in the last two months, while a third rider was killed when he was hit by a Blue Line train in January.

The driver remains free and has not been charged. Anyone with information is asked to contact LBPD Accident Investigations Detective Dave Lauro at 562/570-7355.

Why the New York bikelash matters to L.A. cyclists

New York cyclists are up in arms over a lengthy New York Magazine article tracing the history of the bikelash — the tabloid-flamed controversy over the city’s rapid transformation into a more livable, walkable and ridable Gotham.

While opponents use anecdotal evidence to criticize the bike lanes — indeed, the entire concept of allowing bikes on the streets and/or sidewalks of the city — the data clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of the bikeway system.

In fact, New York Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson recently  backed the bike lane argument with a solid set of statistics, including one demonstrating that once separated bike lanes are installed, injuries for all road users decline 40% to 50%.

Unfortunately, facts aren’t enough to win over those who think bikes are the biggest threat this side of al Qaeda. And no, I’m not exaggerating.

Consider this quote from the article — from a former bike shop owner, no less — who clearly needs to increase his meds:

“You know about the cars. You know about that potential danger when you’re crossing the street. You know you might end up a bag of blood and guts and bones. But that is a finite realm of danger,” says Jack Brown, who used to own a bike shop in the East Village. “When it comes to cyclists, that danger is infinite. Cyclists can be anywhere, at any time: on the sidewalk, riding the wrong way down the street. And you have no peace … The anarchy that has been allowed to prevail is astonishing. According to butterfly theory, according to chaos theory, I am sure that the level of emotional and psychological damage wrought by the bicycle far exceeds the damage done by cars.” And then Brown goes there: “It is homegrown terrorism. The cumulative effect is equivalent to what happened on 9/11.”

Not only does he equate the simple act of riding a bike to flying a jet into the World Trade Center, he claims that the harm done by the relative handful of bicycle incidents far exceed the emotional and psychological damage done by the 40,000 +/- deaths caused by cars on American streets each year — let alone the countless crippling and life-changing injuries resulting from car collisions each year.

Talk about blaming the victim.

As someone who has lost both a relative and a childhood friend to drunk drivers, I can assure you that he is quite mistaken as to which one inflicts lasting emotional harm.

As for psychological damage, I’d point the finger at whatever he’s been smoking.

As proof of the danger posed by cyclists, opponents inevitably trot out the case of Stuart Gruskin, who died as a result of a collision with a wrong-way bike deliveryman.

Needless and tragic as that case was, it was just a single death two years ago. And not caused by a speeding spandex-clad cyclist, or even the city’s notoriously anarchic bike messengers, but by a food delivery rider taking an ill-advised shortcut. And a victim who failed to look both ways when crossing a one-way street.

That compares with a long, long list of New Yorkers killed by motor vehicles last year alone.

It’s enough to make bike lane opponent Louis Hainline, founder of the ironically named — some say Orwellian — Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes, seem relatively rational.

Although it never hurts to have a reminder not to take it all so seriously.

So why does a dispute on the opposite coast matter to riders here in L.A.?

Simply this.

We’ve just finished the battle to get a widely praised bike plan adopted. But right now, those bike lanes, sharrows and bike-friendly streets exist as nothing more than lines on a map.

And if you think New Yorkers are mad, wait until you see the blowback here in the City of Fallen Angeles when we try to take a single inch of road capacity away from drivers to create even a shadow of a complete street.

Because Wilbur Avenue is just the beginning.

Along those lines, cyclists are urged to come out to support completion of the bike lanes on Reseda Blvd, as the final half mile between Roscoe and Parthenia comes up for review by the Northridge South Neighborhood Council.

This one may prove controversial, as it will require the removal of parking on one side of the road for a one-block stretch between Chase and Napa Streets.

And the only thing L.A. drivers love more than an open lane to speed in is a place to park their gas-guzzling SUVs when they’re done. Most local businesses are yet to be convinced that bike riders spend money, too.

The meeting takes place at 7 pm this Thursday, March 24, in the Northridge Middle School Library, 17960 Chase Street.

So make your voices heard.

Because we already have more than enough disconnected bikelanes in L.A. And we need to head-off the L.A. bikelash before it begins.


Santa Monica Spoke says yes, please to a proposed Michigan Ave Bike Boulevard. LACBC reports on their successful Bike Valet program. Men’s Journal says rides with Jake Gyllenhaal on the streets of L.A., and Ewan McGregor bikes with a cute dog. Glendale offers a children’s bike skills class April 30th. Those new separated bike lanes — the ones that Long Beach columnist Doug Krikorian complained about not seeing a single cyclist on — don’t officially open until April 2nd. A look at Mark Bixby’s final victory as a bike advocate.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says it won’t be easy to get biking or transportation projects funded by a cost-cutting Congress. Advocacy Advance grants are available for state and local biking organizations. NPR points out that it’s often cheaper to tear down outdated freeways than to fix them. Three years, one family, from Alaska to Chile. Portlanders are good, but not great, about using bike lights. Illinois cycling advocates consider legislation to force the state to track dooring incidents. Taking New York’s bike crackdown to ridiculous levels, cyclists are ticketed for violating an evidently fictional 15 mph speed limit. The Wall Street Journal looks at the growing popularity of hand-cranked bikes; thanks to George Wolfberg for the link. Partisan politics and negative perceptions of cyclists take down Virginia’s proposed three-foot passing law. Video tips for riding in the rain, which may come in handy for the rest of the week.

A one year suspended license and community service for driving dangerously and killing an 89-year old cyclist. Italian cycling needs to stop living in the past. Dutch cyclists are being terrorized by little kids in golf carts. A 10-point plan to make bike racing more exciting.

Finally, a London writer says the Mary Poppins Effect only works when riding an upright bike, without a helmet and while wearing a skirt.

Probably counts me out.

A fitting tribute to Mark Bixby, and biking’s (not so) obvious appeal to fiscal conservatives

More on the death of Long Beach bike activist Mark Bixby and four others in a fiery Long Beach plan crash last week.

Long Beach bike lane opponent Doug Krikorian recalls friendly disputes with Bixby, while Charlie Gandy remembers bike advocate Mark Bixby’s work on the city’s iconic Penny Farthing sculpture. And LACBC co-founder Ron Milam remembers his single meeting with Bixby.

His family asks that donations be made in lieu of food or flowers, while a public Mark Bixby Celebration of Life is planned for 10 am on Friday, Mark 25th.

Personally, I think it would be fitting to name the new replacement for the Gerald Desmond bridge in Bixby’s honor, since he fought so hard — and so successfully — to get separated bike lanes on it.

Meanwhile, the lone survivor of the plane crash continues to make progress, as Mike Jensen recovers from 2nd degree burns on his back and legs.


Writing for Commute by Bike, conservative bike advocate Tom Bowden points out that every dollar spent on properly designed bike infrastructure can ultimately defund $10 in automotive infrastructure.

And he nails it when he writes —

As long as we keep on putting so much emphasis on helmets as the most important safety issue, we perpetuate the myth that cycling is inherently dangerous. Cycling is not inherently dangerous, cars are inherently dangerous to cyclists, pedestrians and motorists. But all this helmet focus does is place the responsibility for safety on cyclists, rather than on the root cause of the problem, which is unsafe driving.

As Bowden points out, when you look at it rationally, biking isn’t a liberal or conservative issue.

Bicycling offers a common sense solution to many of the problems we face, from over-crowded streets to high gas prices. And rather than the wasteful spending some conservatives would suggest, spending on cycling and bike projects can provide benefits that far outweigh their nominal costs.

As Portland’s mayor points out, Portland’s entire biking infrastructure cost as much to build as just a single mile of freeway construction. Let alone what it costs to put a car pool lane on the 405 through Sepulveda Pass.

There was a time when I called myself a conservative, until the political winds shifted far right of where I stood. But even in these Tea Party times, it makes far more economic sense to invest less money to move more people more efficiently — without reliance on expensive foreign oil.

Which should make support for cycling and for bicycling infrastructure a no-brainer.

Wherever you stand on the political spectrum.


KPCC reports on the proposed bike anti-harassment law. Gary reports that Santa Monica’s proposed Michigan Avenue Bike Boulevard could move a step closer to reality at Tuesday’s SaMo City Council meeting. And he argues that if the city wants people to buy local, bike racks matter, while Rick Risemberg looks at efforts to get bike parking around L.A. Next time you’re riding up Nichols Canyon, keep an eye open for Hatfield’s chef and co-owner Quinn Hatfield. A visit to Pete’s Lemonade Stand to talk bikes and sample a Breezer folding bike. Ride through Camp Pendleton to support wounded service members this Saturday. Streetsblog interviews LACBC and CicLAvia board member Stephen Villavaso about San Francisco’s Sunday Streets. Streetsblog’s Damien Newton and Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious report on the past weekend’s Transportation Camp.

Where’s the disconnect in getting more people of color on their bikes? Tucson delays efforts to cut back on bike parking. After riding 1,100 miles to win the Iditarod Trail Invitational in record time, Jay Petervary sets his sights on RAAM. Denver gets its first coffee bar by bakfiets. A biking blue-blood inventor and entrepreneur in Cleveland. The Columbus Dispatch offers a rare balanced and accurate accounting of how to share the road. A video tribute to winter cyclists in Minneapolis. Keeping up the pressure to get Vermonters out of their cars and out in the open air. Evidently, some New Yorkers like their bike lanes, regardless of what the wives of some U.S. Senators may think. Unlike other transit systems attempts to limit bikes, Washington DC’s Metro wants to quadruple the number of bike commuters on their trains; a writer reminds the Washington Post that it’s really not that hard. Just four counties in Florida account for 7.5% of all the cycling deaths in the U.S. The Lovely Bicycle asks why we’re surprised by the anti-bike backlash.

After a local paper argues that Toronto’s famously anti-bike mayor may not be so bad after all, a writer says yeah, right. The Brazilian banking equivalent of the Good Doctor who drove through a recent Critical Mass ride will be charged with attempted murder.

The New York Times looks at London’s Boris Bikes. Five tips on how to get your bike stolen. Cyclists are accused of hijacking public process. A UK MP proposes a bill targeting cyclists who kill or injure pedestrians, even though only 3 such deaths have been recorded in the last 10 years. More Welsh cyclists are getting ticketed for riding on the sidewalk; bike advocates say it just shows more infrastructure is needed. Servicing Dutch F-16s by bike. More springtime cyclists does not always mean more cyclists. HTC-Highroad cyclist Matt Goss tops the UCI rankings after his dramatic victory in the Milan – San Remo classic on Saturday. Speaking of UCI, at least some pro teams are threatening to leave in dispute over race radios. North American cities offer evidence for Aussie’s that more infrastructure spending results in rising riding rates. A recent comment points our attention to Bishop’s Path Racers of Christchurch NZ, dedicated to restoring classic, and building custom, path (track) bikes; those bikes on their site are damn pretty. Japanese cyclists send bikes to quake-hit Tohoku. Fuel shortages and a lack of visitors mean bikes are back in a formerly popular Japanese tourist town. On vacation in Thailand, Will Campbell offers proof of Bangkok bikeways, even if they do have 90 degree turns. Ten more places to ride your bike before you die.

Finally, Bike Radar asks if dangerous cyclists put us all at risk. And a rider who crashed the marathon course with Wolfpack Hustle on Sunday gets a little help from a few of the 300 riders who came out in the pouring rain.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in Sunday’s L.A. Marathon — and especially to those who accomplished the nearly superhuman feat of finishing despite the record downpour.

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