The view from the Downtown hub
Just a few quick thoughts on Sunday’s CicLAvia.
After all, there’s been more than enough written on the subject to make a review by yours truly truly irrelevant.
But let me offer my congratulations to the folks at CicLAvia for pulling off the most successful event yet.
Maybe it was the extended 9 am to 4 pm hours, allowing people to travel the route more leisurely.
It could have been using both sides of a wide boulevard, unlike the recent CicLAvia to the Sea, allowing more space to move. And the limited traffic crossings certainly didn’t hurt, making it possible for even the slowest riders to cover the entire route in an hour or so of actual pedaling.
Meanwhile, the shorter distance encouraged more walking, making this the first one where I’ve seen a significant amount of pedestrians along the entire route.
Evidently, bikes are good for business
It might have been the iconic theme for an iconic boulevard. Along with the many entertainment and educational options along the route; the woman singing traditional Korean songs in not so traditional Koreatown was a highlight for me.
Call it Gangnam-style from a handful of centuries back.
Then there was the food of every possible description, dispensed from everything from trucks and restaurants to church groups and kids hawking cookies and lemonade.
It could have been the abundance of portapotties, reducing bladder pressure and putting everyone in better mood.
Or maybe it was all of the above, in what felt like the best planned and organized CicLAvia yet. Clearly, organizers have looked at what didn’t work in previous events and made some changes for the better.
I’ll believe a car-free Wilshire when I see unicorns
One minor criticism is that participants universally ignored signs suggesting slower people should keep to the right, resulting in conflict zones throughout the full length of Wilshire. Which may have been why I saw three riders fall, resulting, thankfully, in relatively minor injuries.
The worst was a woman who lay in the street grabbing her collarbone, causing me to ride a few blocks back to an aid station get medical help.
The others suffered scrapes and road rash, and declined medical help.
Note to everyone: If you have the option for free medical help in an event like this, take advantage of it. Prompt first aid can prevent worse problems later, and the need for avoid more expensive medical attention if further injuries become apparent the next day, as often happens.
A friend writes that she witnessed a bike-bourn hit-and-run, in which a couple on a tandem rode off after knocking down another rider. Witnesses were unable to stop the bike before it disappeared into the crowd, leaving the victim sprawled bloody on the street.
Me taking a picture from Downtown hub; photo by Maraget Wehbi
Then there’s the schmuck — and I use the term advisedly — who apparently was unwilling to make his way to one of the four crossing points, and gunned his late model Toyota through the barricades at Windsor Ave and across the CicLAvia route, where he hit a cyclist before fleeing the scene.
Fortunately, the rider wasn’t seriously hurt, though badly shaken. (Update: The rider has three fracture vertebrae as well as a mangled bike; having suffered the same injury a few decades back, he likely faces a long road to recovery and a lifetime of back pain.)
Unfortunately, the limited description means the driver will probably get away with it.
But on the off chance they find him, I hope they take away his license. And shove it so far up his ass he’ll need to see a proctologist to buy his next six pack of beer.
Congratulations to Wolfpack Hustle on pulling off what I’m told was a very successful and popular first-ever Civic Center Criterium on Sunday.
California’s latest attempt at passing a three-foot passing law is now before the Senate Standing Committee on Transportation and Housing after overwhelmingly passing the state Assembly, just shy of a veto-proof two-thirds majority.
The bill’s sponsor, Inglewood Assemblymember Steven Bradford, has been very smart in answering the unreasonable objections Governor Jerry Brown gave in vetoing the last two attempts to pass a three-foot law.
There should be no rational reason for Brown to veto the law this time around. Although as we’ve seen, rationality isn’t exactly his strong point when it comes to bikes.
There are some strong supporters of bicycling on this committee, including West Valley Sen. Fran Pavley. But it couldn’t hurt to contact committee members to voice your support.
As we’ve seen with the previous attempts to pass this law, nothing is guaranteed in California politics.
After learning that the rate of cellphone violations are down in California, a writer from the Press-Enterprise conducts his own survey and finds 7.7% of drivers he observed at a Temecula intersection were texting or using handheld phones — slightly higher than state stats.
More interesting, however, was his secondary observation that two-thirds of the drivers failed to stop for the stop signs.
Based accusations from motorists, I would have sworn only bike riders do that.
Pot, meet kettle.
Speaking of anti-bike bias, so much for the L.A. Newspaper Group’s self-proclaimed Summer of Cycling being a good thing, as the owners of the Daily News, Daily Breeze, Press Telegram, et al, once again trot out the tired cliché of licensing cyclists and requiring insurance for bike riders.
As usually happens when the press chums for angry drivers, the results will inevitably skew towards requiring licensing for bike riders, if only because there are far more motorists than there are bicyclists. Never mind that this question reads like a classic push poll designed to draw a negative response.
So once again, for their benefit and that of anyone else unclear on the concept, like most bicyclists, I have a drivers license, which means we’ve already passed the same test as anyone else on the road — and probably have a better knowledge of traffic law than most, since we too frequently have to defend our right just to be on the road.
And despite what the papers suggest, my automotive insurance covers me for liability when I ride, as well as covering medical expenses resulting from a collision with an uninsured motorist or a solo fall.
Just like pretty much every American bike rider over the age of 16.
So get over it, already.
And before they claim to cover the subject, they need to reach out to the people and groups who are fighting for the rights of cyclists every day.
Not the angry drivers who don’t have a clue about the rights of cyclists, or how to ride a bike safely on the streets of Southern California.
Congratulations to our friends at LA Streetsblog, winners of two L.A. Press Club awards Sunday night.
Former LADOT Bike Blogger and current Calbike board member Chris Kidd updates his comprehensive listing of state sidewalk riding laws, including percentages of where it’s legal in each county.
Looks like we’re all invited to the official inauguration ceremony for our new mayor this Sunday evening. LADOT ranks the 50 most dangerous intersections for pedestrians; something tells me they’re not much safer for anyone else. Beverly Hills begins work on the city’s first bike lanes; needless to say, they’re only being installed on a trial basis. A writer raises questions about plans to improve bicycling on Redondo Beach’s Harbor Drive. A SoCal cyclist sets a new national one-hour record at the Home Depot Center Velodrome in Carson. A Valencia woman faces charges for a hit-and-run that seriously injured a cyclist. San Diego prosecutors decide on misdemeanor charges for the driver responsible for killing cyclist Charles Gilbreth — despite recklessly passing a bus — and blame fallen cyclist David Ortiz, at least in part, for his own death.
Bikes Belong looks to reinvent itself. A smart new Maine bill redefines traffic to include bikes, bans right hooks and removes the restriction to ride to the right. NYPD is — finally — starting to take traffic fatalities seriously; thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up. A New York columnist offers his take on the city’s new bike share program; Gothamist says that all you got? A Virginia cyclist is hit by a stray bullet when a man can’t manage to load his gun without firing it. A Texas woman leaps off her bike at the last second to avoid getting run over by a cement truck. New Orleans gets bike lanes on iconic Esplanade Ave. One hundred nineteen years ago yesterday, a Jewish mother of three successfully set out from Boston to bike around the world.
A bike-hating Toronto writer changes his tune after just two hours on two wheels. A Winnipeg writer offers a tongue-in-cheek look at six ways a cyclist with a death wish can become a hood ornament; decent advice, but somehow, not so funny. Bikes now make up as much as a quarter of London’s rush hour traffic. Tips for the bike curious. Even in the Netherlands, childhood bike riding is down as more parents drive their kids to school. A look back at 150 years of bicycling in Copenhagen. Evidently, you need nine lives to ride a bike.
Finally, I don’t even know what to say here, as a Swiss man sexually assaults a bicycle after puncturing both tires; presumably so it couldn’t get away, I guess. And if you’re carrying a sunglass case full of meth on your bike at 1 am, put a damn light on it, already.
The bike, that is, not the meth.