Today’s post, in which pent-up sarcasm breaks forth over our own month and the fight over bike lanes

By now, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the kind waves and smiles from the people you pass on the streets.

Not to mention the extra space drivers give you as they pass, and the care they take driving around you. Along with the spoken thanks for riding your bike, reducing the traffic congestion they have to contend with as they make their work to work or school.

Then there’s the way people are speaking up in meetings, requesting — no, demanding — bike lanes in their neighborhoods. And merchants requesting that a traffic lane or parking be removed from in front of their businesses, because they know more customers would spend more money, more often if they only felt safer on the streets.

That’s because it’s Bike Month.

And that changes everything.

Right?

Meanwhile, advocacy group People for Bikes joins with Volkswagen to celebrate with a new PSA calling for peace on our streets and urging cyclists and motorists to roll together.

Can’t speak for anyone else, but while I share the sentiment, this spot doesn’t really work for me.

………

Maybe we should be shocked! shocked! to learn that some San Pedro residents are up in arms over the recent installation of bike lanes.

Yawn.

Yes, while some appreciate the traffic calming and safer cycling the lanes afford, others cry out in fear of automotive Armageddon, as if the loss of a single lane will prevent them from ever getting home again.

Driver, please.

But the reaction has been largely one-sided. The problem, opponents say, is that no one seemed to realize the new lanes would take away traffic lanes.

“The neighbors are furious,” said David Rivera, a member of the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council’s issues committee. “Coming out of those shopping centers, you’re going to have to be real careful.”

Wait.

Shouldn’t drivers be careful exiting shopping centers anyway — let alone anywhere else?

Sounds like the road diets may be doing exactly what they were intended to do.

At the same time, the battle over bike lanes in North East L.A. spreads to — or more precisely, is centered in — the business community; maybe someone can tell me why opposition from a handful of business people outweighs the overwhelming support that has repeatedly been voiced in community meetings.

And tonight the proposed bike lanes on North Figueroa will be discussed at yet another Neighborhood Council meeting, where a small minority of bike lane opponents will undoubtedly attempt to pretend they represent the the wider community.

Richard Risemberg says battles like that are suppressing demand for bicycling, while Flying Pigeon smartly dedicates this weekend’s Brewery Ride to winning over some of those reluctant business owners.

If it sounds like I’ve grown weary of the seemingly endless battles over a simple stripe of paint, I have.

As NYDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn famously said while speaking here in L.A., it’s just paint. If it doesn’t work, paint over it.

Yet those opposed to bike lanes, let alone bikes, fight any attempt to accommodate riders on our streets as if we were irrevocably yanking out all access for motor vehicles. And turning over every inch of every road to the hordes of scofflaws they insist don’t exist, yet somehow blame for all the dangers on our streets.

The only rational approach would be for those opposed to let the bike lanes go in. Then study the results, and if the lanes successful, enjoy the benefits.

If not, then they can raise hell and get them removed, just as speeding pass-through drivers did on Wilbur Ave in the Valley.

Meanwhile, less contentious bike lanes go in on Figueroa from Wilshire to Cesar Chavez. And I captured a photo of the new bike lanes on Wilshire Blvd through the Condo Corridor.

Thanks to Margaret Wehbi for the San Pedro link.

SAMSUNG

Wilshire Blvd looking east from Beverly Glen

………

The League of American Bicyclists announces their ranking of bike-friendly states — or unfriendly, as the case may be. California ranks 19th; with our bike-friendly weather and terrain, it takes some major screw-ups to rank that low.

………

Cycling in the South Bay offers a hard-hitting, and very disturbing, look at racism in bike racing, including accusations that L.A.’s own former National Crit champ is being unfairly singled out.

This policy of ignoring great black cyclists and turning a blind eye to the development of cycling in the black community isn’t limited to ignoring old heroes. The best black bike racer in cycling today, Rahsaan Bahati, former national champion and perennial force in big national crits, continues to be singled out by USA Cycling because he’s black.

Two years ago Bahati was deliberately crashed out at the Dana Point Grand Prix. The video is breathtaking. After the accident, Bahati slammed his sunglasses to the ground in anger, for which he was fined and suspended. [Update: Readers noted that Bahati actually threw his glasses at the oncoming pack, and later took responsibility for his fine and suspension.]

The rider who crashed him out received no penalty at all, even though the whole thing was on video and is one of the most brazen examples of evil and malicious bike riding you have ever seen. Check the video here if you don’t believe me. Seconds 39-42 are unbelievable, but not as unbelievable as the fact that the rider who got punished was Bahati.

You may or may not agree with what he has to say. Personally, I sincerely hope he’s overreacting, but fear he isn’t.

But you owe it to yourself to read it.

Then again, maybe it’s nit just a problem with pro cycling. Streetsblog suggests biking or walking while brown could be the city’s latest crime wave.

………

Paddy Cahill and Phillip de Roos, the founders of the Dutch in Dublin blog, have started a new blog called Cycling With. They plan to release a monthly interview with someone on a bike, with a goal of showing how normal and social city cycling actually is.

Their most recent video features a ride through Amsterdam with the city’s former mayor, Job Cohen.

………

A recent arrival from Portland is looking for collaborators to form a bike orchestra.

No, you won’t ride to performances.

You’ll actually play your bike.

………

Bicycling is becoming normal in L.A. Caltrans invites you to their new bike-themed exhibit (pdf) at their Downtown headquarters during bike month; thanks to Cyclelicious for the heads-up. LADOT offers notes from the most recent BPIT meeting. Los Angeles is asking for money to extend the L.A. River bike path into the Sepulveda Basin. The next CicLAvia will feature the art and architecture of Wilshire Blvd. A fatal car collision in South L.A. involved eight cars and a bike rider; no word yet on the cyclist’s condition. A salmon cyclist gets a ticket in Highland Park. A week after CicLAvia, residents demand repairs to Venice Blvd. As reported last week, the city is offering a $50,000 reward for the hit-and-run death of teenage cyclist David Granados. Just four months after barely surviving a head-on collision, a Santa Clarita bike advocate and amputee is selected to ride down the California coast in the Million Dollar Challenge. Congratulations to Caltech on being named a bronze-level Bike Friendly University. South Pasadena gets $400,000 to spend on bicycling. The Plain Wrap Ride rolls in Pomona on the 18th. Thanks to Road.cc, who reported on the Mulholland motorcycle crash that took out two cyclists and incorporated my story into theirs.

Two new bike bills in the state legislature; one smells like a poison pill to kill the 710 Freeway extension. There will be a Ride of Silence in Rancho Cucamonga on the 15th; I hear there are also last minute plans to hold one in Downtown L.A. A Redding bike rider was shot by a police officer last month after he allegedly tried to punch the cop. A Thousand Oaks letter writer says a proposed road diet is beyond stupid and a death sentence for everyone on the road. A protected bike lane in San Francisco is being held up by a paint shop. Turns out a drivers license really is a license to kill.

Don’t just watch Cookie Monster, ride him. What your bike looks like completely disassembled or if you somehow blew it up; Cookie Monster parts optional. Raisins are as effective as sports gels and jelly beans, but you knew that, right? An Oregon psychiatrist, who could probably use one himself, gets 30 days for sabotaging local mountain bike trails. A Washington state trooper recognizes the bike he just sold in the car of the guy who stole it afterwards. After a Seattle cyclist is killed at a dangerous intersection, the city’s mayor asks for ways to improve safety there; does anyone remember Los Angeles ever responding to a traffic fatality by demanding solutions? Anyone? In response to that death, readers of West Seattle Blog offer some of the most polite comments I’ve ever seen on a bike story. A South Dakota cyclist says a pickup driver used his truck to push him into a busy intersection. A paper in the Twin Cities says ditch the spandex for new bike commuter attire. After a sheriff’s deputy in my hometown cites a cyclist for not moving to the right — a law that was repealed four years ago — he Jerry Browns the rider in an apparent attempt to drive the point home, or perhaps, the rider off the road. Chicago residents are up in arms over plans to remove parking for a protected bikeway.

Rachel McAdams rides a bike, or two, in Toronto. You can smooth out that bumpy ride by putting slick tires on your mountain bike. British bike justice, as a rider receives a bigger fine for punching a driver than most drivers get for killing a cyclist. UK cyclist is killed in a gang drive-over, as opposed to a drive-by. The defense fund for journalist Paul Kimmage in his defamation fight against UCI appears to have been drained without anyone’s knowledge. A Spanish judge orders doping evidence from Operacion Puerto destroyed; the rest of the world smells a seemingly obvious cover-up. Can African cyclists achieve the same success the continent’s runners have? Maybe not, if Cycling in the South Bay is right.

Finally, how to use your bike for self protection. LAist offers a photo of what may be the most ironic blocked bike lane ever.

And Brent Kuhn forwards a wanted poster he spotted he spotted riding home on the L.A. River bike path; actually, it’s not unusual for riders and pedestrians to lose their heads there.

Headless man poster

One comment

  1. D. D. Syrdal says:

    RE: the headless man sighting – feh, most people never use their heads anyway.

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