Morning Links: Bikeshare success stories, turning the other cheek and Metro Active Transpo workshops

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Today’s common theme is the bikeshare boom.

Just three weeks after its official launch, Santa Monica’s Breeze bikeshare already has over 2,100 members who’ve traveled a total of nearly 18,000 miles.

After two and a half years, there hasn’t been a single fatality while using New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare system. Although stolen bikes with bad paint jobs are another matter.

And a new study shows bikeshare really does help get people out of their cars, while taking pressure off over-crowded transit systems.

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Great story from South Dakota.

A couple of 10 and 14-year old kids vandalized a South Dakota car dealership recently, causing $25,000 in damage.

But instead of prosecuting the boys, the owner talked to their parents. And once he learned how impoverished the families were, he dropped the charges, and dipped into his own pocket to find a better home for the older boy’s family, as well as buying him a bus pass and a bicycle to get to school.

The kid responded buy volunteering to help out at the dealership after school and on weekends on his own accord, without being asked.

If there’s a better example of how to make a difference in a child’s life, I don’t know what it is.

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Metro is hosting a series of workshops to develop their Active Transportation Strategic Plan, starting tonight in West Hollywood. Thanks to LADOT Bike Program for the heads-up.

Metro workshops

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Local

A writer for the Times says driverless cars have the potential reduce the need for curbside parking spaces, freeing up space for bike lanes and wider sidewalks. As it stands, 14% of LA County land is devoted to parking, although some drivers don’t seem to think that’s enough.

Richard Risemberg writes that civic leaders may or may not be out to get us through their not-so-benign neglect of already deficient bike lanes.

CiclaValley invites you to join pro cyclist Phil Gaimon, the LACBC and Councilmember David Ryu’s office in cleaning up a stretch of Mulholland between Cahuenga and Runyon Canyon on the 12th. Maybe you can talk to Ryu’s people about the need for safe bicycling routes in his K-Town/Hollywood district.

Somehow, West Hollywood sneaks in at number 10 on People for Bike’s list of America’s best city’s for everyday biking. No offense to one of my favorite cities, but to the best of my knowledge, this is the first time WeHo has been rated for anything related to bicycling, let alone on a national stage.

Pasadena’s updated transit system will have bike racks on the front of their new natural gas buses.

Temple City chose the most complete and safest makeover of Las Tunas Drive in a non-binding straw vote, although the real decision will come in January.

 

State

California scores a 14.5% boost in transportation funds under the new federal transportation bill, including funding for bike and pedestrians projects which some members of the GOP tried to kill.

Three San Diego-area cyclists were injured when an apparently drunk or stoned driver plowed into them from behind while they were riding in a Carlsbad bike lane Wednesday morning. Nothing like being wasted behind the wheel barely after breakfast.

While some call for building walls, a Tijuana businessman is pushing for a transnational bike lane between the US and Mexico.

Chico police are getting in the Grinchly spirit by handing out $78 tickets to anyone who rides a bike on the sidewalk. Before ticketing people for riding on the sidewalk, they should make sure the street is safe for cycling, first.

 

National

US bicycling fatalities declined 2.3% last year, outpacing a miniscule .1% drop in overall traffic fatalities.

Grist offers advice on how to be seen at night.

Grand Junction CO reverses field and votes to host the start of next year’s USA Pro Challenge after all.

A Texas soldier uses cycling to help her fellow soldiers recover from injuries suffered in battle.

Blame for a ban on protected bike lanes on state roads in Chicago rests with the deputy chief of staff for the former governor, apparently for political reasons. Isn’t it always, though?

An Indiana newspaper remembers native son Major Taylor, America’s first African-American cycling champ and the fastest rider of his time.

A Bloomington IN traffic study shows sidewalks are among the most dangerous places to ride a bike.

New York’s city council will consider a number of bike-related bills, including one to create a possibly needless bike safety committee, and another that would consider bikes abandoned and subject to removal after just 36 hours. Which means riders could risk seizure unless they move their bikes every day and a half.

A Staten Island website doesn’t get it, saying New York’s Vision Zero is just an excuse for ticketing motorists, while claiming that driving an extra five to ten miles over the speed limit won’t hurt anyone. Unless, of course, they happen to hit someone at that speed.

Heartbreaking story about a former North Carolina football player who slipped into mental illness, chemical dependency and homelessness before ending his life riding his bike the wrong way into oncoming traffic on a busy highway. Thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up.

 

International

While bicycling has boomed in Western countries in recent years, ridership has dropped 50% worldwide in the past three decades.

Here’s an update on those two Polish brothers pedaling their way down the full length of the Amazon. No, not next to the Amazon, on the Amazon.

Evidently, Canadian bike paths welcome riders of all types, human or otherwise.

Caught on video: A verbal dispute turns violent as a Brit van driver gets out of his cab to take on a bike rider in a two round non-title bout.

Caught on video 2: After a British cyclist is dangerously buzzed by a passing bus, the company says he had plenty of room. You might want to turn down the volume to avoid offending your kids or coworkers with the perfectly understandable, but nonetheless NSFW language.

Talk about trading up. A UK bike thief rides off on a $6,000 mountain bike after putting the equivalent of a $75 deposit on a children’s bike.

A Scottish letter writer opposes irrational calls to reign in cyclists, pointing out that drivers have killed over 45,000 people in the UK so far this century, while bike riders have been responsible for less than ten deaths. Although that’s still ten too many.

There once were some bike thieves in Limerick. No, really, Irish police busted a gang exporting hot bikes to Europe.

A South African writer says maybe the country’s president could improve his image if he rode a bike like the Dutch queen instead of riding in a motorized cavalcade.

A Kiwi writer calls on his fellow New Zealanders to get on their bikes after it’s named the most regressive country at the Paris climate talks.

Singapore police have given out over 50,000 free U-locks over the past four years to fight bike theft.

 

Finally…

If it doesn’t have pedals or wheels, it may fly, but it’s not a bicycle. If you’re going to plow into a group of pedestrians while riding under the influence, make sure one of them isn’t a cop.

And thanks to Los Angeles BAC member David Wolfberg for forwarding a steampunk ‘bent rider’s dream come true.

 

3 comments

  1. B2H says:

    “Chico police are getting in the Grinchly spirit by handing out $78 tickets to anyone who rides a bike on the sidewalk” To bad there wasn’t a cop yesterday when I was waiting for the light https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Padm05-xHVM

  2. Ralph says:

    14% of land area devoted to storage of motor vehicles. That is just crazy. Unfortunately a lot of that won’t be really useful if changed. The self driving car may change things more radically than the author suggests. It is true that we could gain more right of way share for bikes and pedestrians. We could make huge gains by just tightening up the road lanes. Have to start with the state guidelines. There is no reason to have 14 foot wide arterial lanes. 11 or 12 feet will cover what is needed even for trucks and busses.

    Here is Meunchen the lanes are narrow and they still have large trucks on the road, parking, green strips with trees, separated bike lanes and wide sidewalks on arterial streets. It’s not Amsterdam but… Just cutting down the lanes will reduce speeds.

    As for the self driving cars this could reduce the link between a driver and their vehicle. A lot of the auto love is the driving and control. Remove that and people may more readily shift from ownership of 2 cars to a car share system for day to day and owning one car for trips. Auto driving car share cars reduce the need to get to a pick up station.

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