Morning Links: AP gives a little on crash not accident, and headphones don’t cause distracted riding

The AP finally gives a little on calling crashes accidents.

The latest edition of the press network’s new stylebook will advise reporters not to use the term when “negligence is claimed or proven,” since it could be interpreted as exonerating the person responsible.

Now we just have get them to flip that, and tell reporters and editors to never call a crash an accident unless it’s proven that no one’s at fault.

But it’s a start.

………

Britain’s equivalent of AAA is the latest to blame distracted walkers and cyclists for collisions, calling them smombies, or smartphone zombies.

Yet like so many others, they also throw headphone-wearing bike riders into the distracted riding mix. Even though headphones only affect hearing, rather than focus.

Here in California, it’s legal to wear headphones or earpieces in one ear, illegal to use them in both.

But blaming them for distracting riders is like saying drivers are distracted when they have their windows rolled up and the radio on. It may keep them from hearing the fire truck blaring its siren next to them, but it doesn’t significantly distract their focus from the road.

Just as riders don’t suddenly lose their ability to concentrate on the road ahead of them when they plug the second earpiece in.

It may not be legal. And it may not always be smart.

But it’s time to stop the ridiculous narrative that equates it to distracted driving.

………

The LA Weekly looks at the man who is using the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to fund his personal LA anti-growth campaign, while an OpEd in the Times says increasing density is more effective in fighting global warming than raising fuel economy standards.

Meanwhile, chapter four of former NYDOT Commissioner Sam Schwartz’ new book Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and the Fall of Cars offers the best explanation I’ve seen of why density makes sense.

And why’s it’s necessary for healthy cities, and to make walking and bicycling viable options for most people.

………

Local

The LACBC’s Eric Bruins says Metro wants to know how you’d slice the proposed $120 billion for transportation funding in LA County. Let’s start by not wasting it on widening any more freeways.

CiclaValley offers much-needed advice on taking your bike on the subway. Or any other Metro train, for that matter.

The Long Beach Grand Prix course is all yours for a whopping 75 minutes around noon today, as long as you’re biking, walking, skating or using some other form of non-motorized transport.

 

State

A Santa Cruz man is building an oversized mountain bike for taller people.

Sad news from Central California, as a 92-year old bike rider died in a collision with a 91-year old driver.

Northern California’s Caltrain is adding an additional bike car to their trains, increasing bike capacity from 48 to 72.

Tiburon residents worry that a new bike and pedestrian plan designed to improve accessibility could encourage more bike traffic. Which is kind of the point, isn’t it?

A Vacaville man faces a hit-and-run charge for a violent collision with a cyclist last August. Once again proving the inadequacy of current laws, as he faces a max of just four years for a needless wreck caused by overly aggressive driving that left a rider in a coma for two and a half weeks.

 

National

Bicycling offers advice on how to deal with a little — or a lot — of rain, and how to keep your knees from hurting when you ride.

Who says bikeshare bikes are slow? A Hawaiian man riding one beats an experienced triathlete runner in a four mile uphill time trial. By four minutes, no less.

A Portland university is working to develop standards for safe intersections.

Caught on video: A Seattle bike rider narrowly avoids a collision with an SUV by turning hard to the left, though his momentum nearly throw him under the vehicle.

Caught on video 2: An Indianapolis bike cop challenges a couple of kids to a race.

New York cyclists can get a little divine protection at the annual Blessing of the Bicycles at the end of this month; LA’s very ecumenical Blessing of the Bicycles will take place at Good Samaritan Hospital on May 17th. Thanks to Tim Rutt for the heads-up.

A Charlotte NC newspaper wisely warns drivers to expect bicyclists to do the unexpected and give them room on the road.

South Carolina officials close off a lane on a busy bridge for two months as a test to see if they can make room for a bike and pedestrian lane.

Police in St. Petersburg FL are cracking down on bicyclists and pedestrians to improve traffic safety. Probably because it’s easier than attempting to tame the people in the big, dangerous machines.

A Florida paper says it’s time for the state legislature to actually do something about bills to protect cyclists and pedestrians; one would require drivers to allow a bike rider to clear an intersection before turning.

 

International

Vancouver joins the Vision Zero club.

London bike couriers fight for a minimum wage, holidays and sick pay.

It’s been a rough few days for dogs in the UK, as one pup barely survives a collision with a bike rider, while another was repeatedly kicked following an argument between its owner and a man on a bike. Seriously, no matter how pissed off you are at the owner, don’t take it out on the dog. Or anyone else, for that matter.

A business in the UK warns that cyclists who ride under the influence are ten times more likely to be injured than sober riders — then makes a blatant pitch for their roadside breathalyzer.

A South African man goes from stealing bikes to running his own bikeshare company. Let’s just hope he bought the bikes he’s using now.

 

Finally…

Okay, so maybe you shouldn’t blow your tax return on a new bike. Don’t try to lowball a bike seller, or you could end up at a brothel.

And try solving a Rubik’s Cube while riding on one wheel. Then do 116 more.

 

One comment

  1. That SC test is a worst-case scenario, closing off a lane for vulnerable users with no such users present because it’s “too dangerous” elsewhere to get to the protected facility.

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