Morning Links: Caltrans may remove dangerous Topanga Cyn reflectors; Vision Zero becomes official LA policy

Maybe there really is a new attitude at Caltrans.

A few years ago, if the state transportation agency installed something that increased the risk for cyclists on any given roadway, chances are, it would fall on deaf ears no matter how much we complained.

But this time may be different.

Anthony emailed on Monday to warn about newly installed reflectors on one of the area’s most popular riding routes.

At some point in the last couple of weeks, Caltrans installed raised reflectors on the both shoulder lines of Topanga Canyon Boulevard (SR-27) between the PCH and the town of Topanga. This was apparently part of a “safety enhancement project” for the steep, twisty section of road between the town and the coast—but, of course, the only safety being enhanced seems to be that of drivers!

The raised reflectors protrude about an inch above the road surface, and create quite a jolt if you ride over them—especially if you ride over them unexpectedly. This could cause crashes for unsuspecting cyclists.

More pressing: Upon riding the section of road today in both directions, because of the dense placement of the reflectors (every 4-5 feet) I found myself unable to easily move back and forth between the traffic lane and the shoulder—something that I’d come to take for granted on TCB, as it allows for overtaking car traffic to pass safely. I ended up occupying the traffic lane exclusively, which lead to a number of angry motorists passing me unsafely.

I’m guessing that Caltrans didn’t even think about the fact that TCB is heavily used by cyclists. It’d be great to figure out a way to get them to replace the raised reflectors or remove them!

And this on a road where drivers already complain about cyclists taking the lane to anyone who’ll listen.

But almost before I could respond, he forwarded an email exchange with a representative from Caltrans,* who gave the following response when asked if the reflectors could be removed or replaced with something a little safer.

According to our operations and construction engineers, the raised pavement markers will likely be removed very soon.

After further questioning, the Caltrans rep explained a little more.

The installation wasn’t made by mistake.  Occasionally, Caltrans engineering standards have flexibility for users, in this case cyclists.

However, when I commented about the reflectors on Twitter yesterday, Caltrans District 7 was quick to respond that they may be removed, but nothing had been promised.

So let’s keep our fingers crossed that this one goes away soon.

*It’s the policy of this site not to name people included in email threads without their express permission, which was not requested in this case.

………

As expected, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed a new Vision Zero directive to reduce traffic deaths in the city by 20% in just two years, and eliminate traffic fatalities entirely by 2025.

What wasn’t expected is that it appears to have real teeth, requiring city agencies to work across departmental lines to study and fix streets where fatalities and injury collisions occur — something we’ve been calling for here since this site was founded over seven years ago.

The city’s Vision Zero website is already online.

And you can now add LA to the yes category.

………

Last week we featured an email from a rider who had passed out from heatstroke after running out of water on the San Gabriel River trail at the height of the recent heat wave.

Now Sam Kurutz forwards a photo of a sign thanking the person who came to her rescue.

Thanks to Sam Kurutz for the photo

Thanks to Sam Kurutz for the photo

Let that be a reminder to always carry enough water when you ride, especially with the temperatures predicted for the end of this week. And always check the forecast before you set out to avoid any surprises.

Thanks to Sam Kurutz for the photo.

………

Peter Sagan gets his first grand tour stage win of the year by capturing the third stage of the Vuelta in a mass sprint.

USA Pro Challenge champ Kristin Armstrong is letting the world know women’s cycling is the next big thing, although this could possibly be the last year for the race. Personally, I’d like to see the Pro Challenge merge with the Amgen Tour of California to create a truly epic two week race.

VeloNews looks at the best American rider not on a WorldTour team.

………

Local

Bikeshare may be coming to LA sooner than we thought, as WeHo’s planned network could have hubs at The Grove and Hollywood and Highland. Speaking of Vision Zero, better get bike lanes on Hollywood Blvd fast, before tourists try to navigate that dangerous street on two wheels.

Meanwhile, Global Green USA looks at the newly installed Santa Monica Breeze bikeshare system. Appropriate source, given the hue of the bikes.

Downtown News says LADOT’s DASH buses will soon be getting bike racks.

 

State

Even on a San Diego freeway, they find a way to blame a bike for a crash.

Police say a 72-year old Fresno driver was drunk when he fled the scene after allegedly killing a bike rider.

West Berkley residents tip police to the location of a bike thief who had fled earlier after police had tried to make an arrest.

Anonymous artists install cute little swing sets on San Francisco bike racks, but promise you can still lock your bike to them.

Support is growing in San Francisco for a Bike Yield Law, aka an Idaho Stop Law, which would allow people on bikes to treat stop signs as yields, although riders would still be required to observe the right-of-way.

Some schmuck has stolen the recumbent bike an elderly Modesto couple used for shopping and doctor visits; the bike was their only form of transportation.

The Marin paper says a new local bike park is a promise kept by county commissioners. And evidently, a place to get a few bumps and bruises.

 

National

The Feds say it’s time for state and local DOT’s to stop using them as an excuse for crappy infrastructure.

Bike Radar’s Angry Asian says the vocal warnings that are common courtesy among cyclists aren’t always understood or appreciated by non-riders, so use a bike bell. My take is just the opposite: A bell can only tell you a bike is present, or that an angel just got its wings. But a human voice can tell other path users where you are, where you’re going, suggest what they should do — politely or otherwise — and say please and thank you. Let’s see a damn bell do that.

A Seattle cyclist used his bike to block traffic and stood over an injured bike rider to protect her after she was hit by a car.

A 20-year old Colorado driver faces a long list of charges after killing a cyclist when he passed two vehicles on the wrong side of a double yellow line, around a blind curve, and with an open container of alcohol in his car. There’s a gofundme site to raise money for the victim’s family.

A writer in my hometown says we need to include all types of bike riders in the cycling community, even moms herding kids on bikes.

Un-effing-believable. An Austin DUI driver walks free after ending the productive life of a former firefighter. The driver was on Ambien when he plowed into the victim’s bike as he rode on the shoulder, but that information was kept from the jury due to an improper police search. Thanks to Steve Katz for the heads-up.

The fastest bike mechanic in Texas won’t be riding anytime soon after he’s the victim of a hit-and-run.

An Ohio hit-and-run driver appeared highly intoxicated when he was arrested after running down a cyclist from behind; he lied twice about who was behind wheel, and claimed he thought the car hit a deer. And to top it off, he was driving on a suspended license.

The Motor City will soon become the latest bikeshare city.

Un-effing-believable too. Vermont police investigators never examined the car a DUI driver — who just happens to be married to a cop — was operating when she killed a bike-riding dentist; they missed parts of his bike shoes still embedded inside the hood.

New York’s mayor wants bikeshare on Staten Island, stat. Meanwhile, the days for former Mayor Bloomberg and ex-DOT Director Janet Sadik-Khan are clearly over, as the city’s DOT is now leaving gaps in bike networks rather than confront local community boards.

That’s more like it. A distracted Maryland driver got five years for killing a bike-riding father while she was texting.

 

International

Some vehicular cyclists are complaining about Calgary’s new system of cycle tracks. Proving there are all sorts of cyclists, and one solution seldom works for everyone.

People constantly say you can’t ride to work in a suit — even fashion magazines that should know better. But the family of a Northern Irish bike advocate is going to ride around the county wearing suits in honor of their father, who always wore one when he rode to work.

The anti-bike Roads Minister in Australia’s New South Wales has set out to dismantle Sydney’s system of protected bike lanes, over the objections of the mayor.

Bangladesh authorities file charges against 10 men who tortured and murdered a 13-year old boy for allegedly stealing a bike — which his family denies — then posted the video online.

 

Finally…

Now that’s what I call a fat tire e-bike. When you’re riding with an illegal drug 40 times more potent than heroin, don’t run a stop sign. Or get hit by a car.

And caught on video: The long predicted apocalypse has begun with a uniquely Down Under twist, as an Aussie bicyclist rides through a field of zombie kangaroos.

 

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