Sometimes it seems the truth doesn’t even matter anymore.
At least, not when it gets in the way of a bias against bicycles and those who ride them.
Stick with me here, because this is going to be a recurring theme today.
We’ll start with what was apparently a semi-tongue-in-cheek article in last week’s LA Weekly.
In it, writer Dennis Romero — who famously proclaimed impending disaster before the first CicLAvia and seldom seems to miss an opportunity to unleash his snark on those of us on two wheels — offers five suggestions for solving the city’s traffic problems, from penalizing drivers who stop the flow of traffic to mandatory loss of license for any driver over 65.
Never mind that drivers aged 65 to 74 have the lowest rate of fatal collisions of any age group.
Then there’s his number one traffic solution — Take back the bike lanes.
….taking an entire car lane and giving it to bike riders, as has been done in some parts of town, is useless. It means double the number of cars in one lane and, often, an unused bike lane that neither protects riders from cars nor particularly entices the cyclist. Take a ride down 7th Street, which used to have four lanes and now has two, and you’ll see both mad traffic and an empty bike lane next to you…
That reference to “mad traffic — whatever that means — took me by surprise. Because 7th Street, post road diet, has morphed into one of the calmest, sanest and safest streets I ride on a regular basis.
It wasn’t always so.
Before the road diet went in about a year-and-a-half back — or before it was right-sized, to use the current, more PC planning term — 7th felt more like the wild west, as impatient drivers took to the lightly utilized street to zoom past more heavily congested routes such as Wilshire Blvd and 6th Street, just one and two blocks north, respectively.
And many of those drivers seemed less than disposed to share those lanes with the cyclists who rode them specifically because they were quieter, if not always safer, than those other streets.
Post downsizing, it has become one of the most popular riding routes between Downtown and the Westside. Despite the city’s failure to repave or patch the badly broken asphalt where the bike lanes went in, leading to an at-times bone-jarring ride, especially after dark when the potholes and cracked pavement are harder to see.
Let alone avoid.
I frequently use it myself, at all times of the day or night, as I ride in or out of DTLA for various meetings.
And despite what Mr. Romero suggests, I have yet to see anything close to traffic congestion on the repainted street.
Or angry — or crazy — drivers, for that matter.
Or any other form of the word mad, as it could be applied to traffic on the street.
But don’t take my word for it.
Consider this helmet cam video from last Thursday, recorded as I rode to an interview during what passes for the lunch rush on 7th.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing exciting about it.
In fact, it may be the most boring video I’ve ever posted online. Nothing of any consequence happens.
There’s no right hooks. No left crosses. No near doorings. No impatient drivers honking for me to move out of their way.
Although I did catch a motorist driving in the bike lane about a minute-and-three-quarters in, something I missed until I looked at the footage later that night.
And more to the point, no traffic congestion or angry drivers. No back-ups. No needlessly impeded traffic.
And no, it wasn’t any different when I rode back home at rush hour. Except I saw a lot more bike riders using the bike lanes in both directions.
Where Romero encounters that “mad traffic” that would justify yanking out the bike lanes and restoring automotive hegemony over the street is beyond me.
But I can say without the slightest doubt, it’s not on 7th Street.
Speaking of bike lanes, I was shocked to see new bike lanes on Wilshire Blvd — yes, Wilshire — in the Westwood area.
Evidently, the lanes went in after the roadway was recently repaved from Beverly Glen Blvd east to Comstock Ave, finally fixing one of the worst stretches of roadway in the City of Angeles, unaffectionately known by local cyclists as The Gauntlet.
It may go further west, but I was unable to see beyond the crest of the hill before making my turn at Beverly Glen. But I’m told the bike lanes will eventually reach west to Selby.
Of course, the bike lanes are only going in because the Condo Canyon millionaires’ row in the Westwood area was carved out of the planned Bus Rapid Transit Project, where bikes would have shared a lane with buses, allowing the hoi polloi to mingle with the overprivileged, at least on the streets.
But I’ll gladly take the bike lanes, and the finally, and unexpectedly, smooth pavement.
Now then, back to today’s theme.
In one of the most egregiously misguided pieces in recent memory, a writer in the UK takes issue with a new paved shared-use pathway in the Warwickshire countryside, decrying what sounds like an ideal pathway as a “grim cycle route” has become the domain of the “Lycra Brigade.”
Thankfully, most of the comments question her judgment. If not her sanity.
Thanks to DD Syrdal for the link.
Then there’s this one.
Writing for the London Guardian, the Executive Director of Scotland’s Daily Mail says that encouraging his fellow countrymen and women to bike will only result in more heart attacks, while making offices smell like “a badger’s arse.”
Though just how he has become intimately acquainted with the unique aroma of a badger’s butt is a question I am reluctant to ask.
For the benefit of motorists like those above, a Canadian writer offers six ways to kill a cyclist.
Although he forgets one of the simplest and most effective — just frighten riders off the road until they eventually die of inactivity in front of the TV or behind the wheel of their surprisingly not-actually safer SUV.
A British study shows that maybe that driver really didn’t see you, as over a fifth of all motorists seem blind to cyclists; thanks to Matt Ruscigno for the heads-up.
Speaking of Matt, Patrick Pascal shared a great photo of Sunday’s view from the top of Fargo Street, as the competitors in L.A.’s 8th Annual Feel My Legs, I’m A Racer stage hill climb race organized by Mr. Ruscigno struggle up the near impossible and virtually impassable climb.
Hopefully, we’ll soon find out who won.
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has his right shoulder replaced after a serious fall from his bicycle. Odd; I would have assumed he’d lean to the left. Thanks to David Huntsman and Patrick Pascal for the tip.
And finally, maybe there is something to that study, as a Mulholland motorcyclist plows a pair of bike riders.
I’m told the rider somehow fixated on the cyclists directly in front of him, and was unable to avoid what he was staring at.
Reports are the rider seem to be okay; one walked away while the other was taken to a hospital to get checked out. No word on whether the motorcyclist was injured, ticketed or charged.
My sincere thanks to everyone who submitted a link to this video via email, comments on here or Twitter. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten another story from so many sources.
That motorcycle bike crash is awful! How is it that the person happened to be filming at that precise time?
My question exactly.
This video was taken at hairpin or “Deadman’s” turn on a section of Mulholland called the “Rock Store Climb” by cyclists and “The Snake” by motorcyclists. Photographers are there every weekend to capture the parade of cars, motorcycles and cyclists on this particular turn since it approaches 270°. Things happen at this point because drivers aren’t use to negotiating a turn like this. The moto was out of position on the outside of the curve which brought him into the cyclists rear wheel, although he should have been able and is legally obligated, to avoid the collision. Let’s hope charges are brought by the DA.
That part of Mullholland is known for the speedsters and show offs, and people show up to take photos and videos of the stunts. YouTube description even says the guy who shot video says he’s been going to that location for four years.
Thanks for the clarification. I admit, I was questioning the legitimacy of the video due to the too perfect placement of the camera; good — and bad — to know it was for real.
I thought it was awfully nice of the motorcycle rider to stay underneath the second bike rider so he didn’t get as banged up as the first one did. Who wants to bet this gets put up on the Dumbest Stuff On Wheels web site?
!!! WAIT a minute here…!!! WHERE ARE THE POLICE INVESTIGATORS??? HOW was the camera in position to shoot this…??? The motorcycle CLEARLY steers into the riders!!! His feet were down off the pedals preparing for the collision… THIS IS A FELONY ASSAULT CHARGE AT THE MINIMUM !!! and more… Obviously PREMEDITATED…!!! THE DRIVER SHOULD BE IN JAIL !!!
AND. he’s wearing BODY ARMOR… on a HOT DAY !!! TAKE HIM TO JAIL FOR ATTEMPTED MURDER !!! THIS IS A HATE CRIME.
Wow what a contrasting pair of video’s especially when I watched the first coldwith baited breakt past four minutes lol…. and all I have offer is sentimental shock over a childhood brand I paid big bucks for in buck at the cops behest- nothing like moscow though for dollar bikes… been going through them by price, many years of a buck’s worth and a series of buyers as well. often trek’s fail to get the buck! specialised’s etc… all in decent shape- dozens of them over years selling for a buck each- who need cardboard in potatoe land- everyone’s too busy on there couch I guess…
Also on the technology front Target has brought in the new technology in ‘film’… not just sandisk- which is currently three times as expensive as simlar brand in stock there that does ninety million bits per second- allow for quick transfer from helmets etc. not just awesome quality onto a MICRO! sd card (about a buck a day for a month gets one) .. so although the fish eye lens most of us will reflexively buy on a crappy purpose built with sixty dollar chest straps camera as an ‘option’ can’t compete with larger markets- that chesty etc. can connect to any camera,so there under two hundred fuji that does ten frames per second in sweet sixteen megapixels or six frames per second in 1080 is still needed on more of our dashes. The day we can be shocked at ‘real’ or betterthen real for those o f us,many, me, jodi lol, who don’t wear correction when ‘driving’ should at least be over. You video was clear- and maybe not at full as I watched commpared to what you took or what’s uploaded I’m not connected that fast right now but my point is the price of old bikes suggest’s that they can’t be retrofitted to have four or more camera’s running all the time- like a luxury car selling for squat right now for a blinking air bag light or something. Buy used- and spend your savings on a couple 64 even gig cards (in stock at the same retailer!) and something to put them in… with cell phones I just bought a GPS, my first, NEW, from a drug store, for half the marked clearance price! (thought it would setme back five bucks in full!) And despite the fierce performance c ompetition on new camera’s people are not buying used at all- for a couple hundred bucks you can have your own street view rig, and see what you can’t otherwise, have eyes to see who’s smelling your but etc.
I would appreciate it if anyone hasa link to the raw footage showing more of what went down around that collision that would be great. Among otherh things it shows how this gas engine user believed he was safe far too close to us. THE POINT OF separation is to expect the unexpected. He is certainly guilty of attempting to pass or whatever far too close regardless of the turn. Have many of us had this happen a lot? DO they use the gutter/bike lane to pass- should he be on the left edge of the car lane period? The lane other the nthe right lane if no bike lane? (3 over)
Given the interest some expert should speak up here! As power assistance comes to fiber frames I’m open to requiring all bikes to use a different lane to pass. Only car supporters would be against that as if the right lane speed shouldn’t be within our reach especially if assisted- I mean if we are going fast enough to pass someone else we should get out of the bike lane far enough to not fail to not overtake anyone there. This turn just emphasizes the point- mechanical failures, a bee in our eye causing us to twist the accelerator, mean we are all like a gun, andshould be more careful where we point… make sure nobody is within range should they brake suddenly or as here there going slower then us, so much slower then for some reason we don’t consider slowing down as we pass them believing wrongly we can even turn left while doing so…. that dude was in our lane long before most of us think he endangered us…..
yikes! sorry I meanT super slow montion allowing 60FPS and was dishonest to such an extent as to leave off that zero- because it’s interlaced…but who cares! so where the first huge HDTV’s! (not just all (99.99999%) ‘TV’s…)
Ok so I watched the video again and to my shagrin have to add that the bikes where ON the white line and the motored one was TO THERE RIGHT when he collided… who’s “christsaking- I mean was it the fully helmeted who dared qwell a feared riot with bad ass me not so bad tones?
“a rare case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. ” is just why we have the word “cliche” as the user probably is not that stupid and if they avoided using them would not seem as if they are here- but I’m daring to tack on further because google makes us work far to ohard ot see the comments,and one intentionally or not satirical zealot chimed in within my reach into that pit of thousands already to argue concern about getting a ticket for speeding caused this to occur and it was those filming who should stop filming so they don’t have to get distracted fearing getting caught speeding: I.N.K.
mikegigabyte 57 minutes ago
the main problem here is all the cameras, if it startles the motorcycle driver because he thinks its a radar gun he could of been focused on the camera man, happened to me in the past
they should not allow photographers in that area I bet alot of accidents will be avoided, some from people showing off some just from getting distracted
in reply to Bradley Skidmore”
So we disagree with him perhaps and c ould learn much for sure- speeding as a right is the status quo- municipalities are lobbyed succefullly all o voer the world to take down there camera’s, and we die, kids die, without having to buy a ticket to a closed track even, or agree there not going to sue. I say sue the voter’s who failed to show up to stop such laws from stoping our village from enforcing finally our laws. The speedign ticket is not a tax. IF you can’t get a public defender because your wheels are too rich or your rocks alone show it’s no deterent then your license if not your liberty the first time you speed knowingly ot whatever extent makes sense is necessary. I lived with a asshole- maybe the guy in this video, on the beach, and he would leave in a huff drunk on his bike and do some speed ashphualt wise to which my not calling the cops is regretted even more now- I felt guilty then for not caring enough about his life, but now understand he could of caused a ten or howver many car etc. crash. What caused this accident is the notion we can disregard speed limits. Remember there was a time when enforcing them was nontrivial. Sue everyone convicted of speeding as a class contributing to the cavalarity- seriously. When someone pays the fine they are just settling with the state- not with the class of vulnerable road users being slaughtered. Sue them all. Class action warfare will save lives. We have the tools- it’s not just hollywood who should be using them to get paid.
I road Wilshire today after reading about a possible lane from Selby. No sign yet, but I did ride the small segment east of Beverly Glen. That one leaves a tough choice of transitioning to the sidewalk once you’re east of Comstock.