Morning Links: A little LADOT bike lane slight-of-hand, more Rowena fallout, and how bicycling makes lives better

Maybe they can be forgiven for missing their own goal.

But fudging the facts is another matter.

Writing on Twitter, BikeLA points out that LADOT fell far short of their self-stated goal of installing 40 miles of bike lanes last year, instead crediting themselves with just 22.2 miles.

Understandable, perhaps, since the department had been void of leadership for most of the year before Seleta Reynolds took over as GM late last year.

Except that 22.2 miles comes only after changing the way bike lanes have traditionally been measured, here in LA and throughout the country. Instead of measuring centerline miles — including both sides of the road as a single mile — they’re now measuring lane-miles, or crediting themselves with one mile for each side of the road.

Which means those 22.2 miles really account for just 11.1 miles of roadway.

As someone wrote to me in an email pointing out the change,

I noticed this via Twitter, so you may have seen as well, but did you see LADOT’s accounting of bike infrastructure for fiscal year 2014-2015?

Besides the fact that LADOT did not reach the 40 miles of bike lanes goal per year set by the bike plan, it seemed really misleading that they simply double-counted all of their upgrades by shifting from centerline miles to directional miles. Thus 11.1 miles become 22.2 miles. My understanding is that this is irregular for cities to use (for example, Long Beach uses centerline accounting). Using the new metric, the 17 mile long LA River bike path from Vernon to Long Beach just doubled to be 34 miles long.

Seemed really shady to me, and hadn’t seen anyone call it out beyond Twitter.

If the city is going to rely on a little accounting slight-of-hand, the same rule needs to apply to their goal of 40 miles of new bike lanes a year for five years.

So make that 80 miles of bike lanes they owe us each year, not 40. And 400 miles total for the five-year period

So they still fell 57.8 miles short last year.

Let’s hope they can make it up now that Reynolds is on board.

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The Times Steve Lopez, who has written favorably about bicycling in the past, and has been known to ride a bike himself, misses the mark with Wednesday’s column about the Rowena road diet. He looks at the non-controversy from a windshield perspective, without digging into rationale behind road diets and the benefits they bring. Beyond driving impatient motorists over the edge, that is.

LAist highlights the hero of Monday’s Rowena road diet town hall meeting, a precocious 11-year old kid.

Meanwhile, Flying Pigeon points out if drivers don’t want to deal with the road diet, there’s a giant freeway free of bikes and pedestrians just a block and a half away. Although describing WAZE as methadone for road hogs is absolutely brilliant.

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The Brits are looking for a few podiums at the worlds starting this weekend. And pro cyclists tell People for Bikes how bicycling makes their lives better.

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Local

If drivers are doing 70 mph on Sunset Blvd, the solution isn’t installing a beacon to warn them about a red light.

The Bike Talk podcast talks Vision Zero with Deborah Murphy, Malcolm Harris, Caroline Kewer, Brian Murray and Damien Kevitt.

The LADOT Bike Blog explains how Vision Zero will reduce the cost of traffic collisions we all have to bear; according to the site, the nearly 29,000 traffic-related injuries and deaths that occurred in Los Angeles in 2013 cost the city approximately $3.681 billion, or $367.36 per resident. The piece could use a little proofing, though; near the beginning it says roughly 200 people are severely injured or killed in traffic collisions in LA each year, while later it lists 1,591 in 2013 alone. Must have been a bad year.

A pair of cyclists want to share a beer with you to celebrate their return home from a 4,300 mile bike ride from New York to Long Beach on Friday.

 

State

Lost in the flurry of legislation passed in the state legislature’s final days last week was a bill clarifying the rules for e-bike riders; it now awaits Governor Brown’s signature. And based on past experience, God only knows what the hell he might do.

San Diego’s Vision Zero plan has been endorsed by the city council’s Infrastructure Committee.

San Jose residents refuse to sacrifice 26 free, on-street parking spots to make room for bike lanes.

 

National

A new report offers lessons in making bikeshare more equitable.

The owner of sock company Save Our Soles doubles down on the great Interbike sockgate blunder, without apologizing for the inappropriately sexist footwear. The best way to destroy your own business is to put your foot in your mouth while wearing your own socks.

The rich get richer. Already the nation’s fittest state, Colorado’s governor plans to invest $100 million over the next four years to make it the best state for bicycling. Your move, Gov. Brown.

A Colorado driver claims he couldn’t see the 4-year old boy riding a bike with his father that he hit while making a left turn because of landscaping on the median. So why turn if you can’t see where the heck you’re going? And why would any city let landscaping grow high enough to block the vision of turning drivers?

Nothing says bike racks have to be boring staples sticking out of the ground; Norman OK turns theirs into public art.

No irony here. Three British men cycling across the US installing ghost bikes and calling for an end to bicycling and running collisions were rear-ended by a pickup while riding through Missouri. Fortunately, they don’t seem to have been seriously injured; two have already been released from the hospital.

Caught on video: A University of Illinois cop reacts quickly and runs out into the street to stop a kid from riding in front of a bus. Despite the breathless headline, though, he doesn’t appear to risk his life; there isn’t any traffic other than the bus, which is on the other side of the street and never comes close to him. Unless the streets are so dangerous that just exiting your vehicle risks life and limb.

An Indiana writer explains why your hands get numb when you ride, and what to do about it.

New York police wrote 77,000 tickets for blocking bike lanes in the last fiscal year, even though they’re often the problem. Then again, they don’t seem to care about people driving on cycle tracks, either.

Richmond VA cyclists get a luxuriously wide buffered bike lane across a bridge, though getting on and off can still be a problem.

A North Carolina cyclist returns from riding the 750-mile Paris-Brest-Paris, and gets hit by a car twice in the same week. On the same road, no less.

Heartbreaking news from Charlotte NC, as a 73-year old man was killed riding his bike to the laundromat just months after ending years of homelessness following his service in the Gulf War; his bike was collateral damage in a collision between two vehicles.

 

International

A Taiwanese cyclist riding around the world made it over 3,100 miles before his bike was stolen in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Now that’s a great kid. After an 8-year old Ontario, Canada girl won a new bike, she gave it to another student because she already had one, saying she loved her bike and thought someone else would want one. She also recently donated her hair for cancer patients.

London’s bikeshare system is sampling the Blaze Laserlight that casts a laser image of a bike on the road ahead of the rider. Is it too much to ask for a laser light that measures out the three foot passing distance?

Nitrogen Dioxide kills 23,500 people in the UK every year, which means better bicycling infrastructure and increased ridership could save the lives of people who never set foot on pedal.

A British town wants to get rid of “arrogant and fast” bike riders who ignore traffic regulations and pose a threat to people walking.

A Brit letter writer says advanced stop lines for cyclists at intersections would be useless because most cyclists don’t stop anyway.

After a Scottish student goes on an extended 3 am Facebook rant when her bike was stolen, dozens of kindhearted people offer to replace it for her.

A Zambian bike rider killed a pedestrian while making a sharp left turn. Seriously, ride carefully around pedestrians, they’re the only ones more vulnerable on the streets than we are.

 

Finally…

Bad enough to be injured in a bicycling collision, let alone impaled in the groin by your handlebars. Motorists may complain about scofflaw cyclists, but scofflaw motorists, that’s just the way it is.

And maybe what drivers need are protected car lanes to make them feel safer.

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Still more thanks are in order, this time to Moore Rhys for his generous donation to support this site.

 

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