Morning Links: Goodbye and thank you to Michelle Mowery, and improvements and closures on LA River bike path

Bittersweet news from LADOT, as longtime bicycle and active transportation coordinator Michelle Mowery announced today that she is leaving for a position with the mayor’s office, focusing on the LA River Bike Path.

On  Monday, October 24th, I will be beginning a new assignment with Mayor Garcetti’s LA Riverworks Team to focus on the Los Angeles River Bicycle Path.  While I am excited about working full-time on the River; it will be very, very difficult to leave my home at LADOT.  I will miss working with all of you on projects that have, and continue, to make bicycling more accessible in the City of Los Angeles.

The last 22 years with the City have been the most exciting and fulfilling of my 39 years in public service.  I can’t tell you all how wonderful it has been to see cycling established a real means of transportation in Los Angeles.  I will miss many of you as I shift my focus in the City but expect to continue to see you in my efforts on behalf of the River.  It has been my greatest pleasure to serve the City as a transportation professional on two wheels.

Thank you all for your cooperation and support over the years.

When I first got involved in bike advocacy efforts in Los Angeles, I found myself loosely allied with a group of advocates who blamed Mowery for the city’s decades of failure to do anything to protect the safety of bicyclists, and who made it their not-so-secret goal to have her fired.

I resisted those efforts, to the point that I found myself ostracized and attacked because I questioned whether she was really to blame.

And openly wondered what she could do with the actual backing of the city, instead of the old school, auto-centric senior LADOT engineers, who have since retired or otherwise moved on, squashing her every effort.

I think the last several years have more than answered those questions.

Since bicycling first received the attention and backing of the mayor’s office during the Villaraigosa administration, Los Angeles has installed hundreds of miles of bike lanes, including the city’s first parking and curb protected bike lanes, as well as an actual bike network in Downtown LA.

Under her tenure, Los Angeles was named a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists for the first time in 2012. And made Bicycling Magazine’s biannual list of the country’s best cities for cycling, currently checking in at a lofty 24.

Which is not to say we don’t still have a long way to go. It only takes a few hours riding the mean streets of Los Angeles to realize just how inadequate LA’s bicycling infrastructure is for a car-centric city this size.

But it made huge leaps under Mowery’s guidance, once she was finally allowed to do her job.

We owe her a big round of thanks for sticking in there and doing the best she could when the job was impossible, and she was the focal point for every cyclist angry over everything that didn’t get done.

And showing us all what this city could be once she was given the chance.

………

The LA Weekly takes a surprisingly even-handed look at the call for banning bikes on the LA River Bike Path through Elysian Valley, in the wake of an elderly woman who was seriously injured in a crash with a bike rider.

Not to mention they have the good taste to quote yours truly.

The story notes that that someone placed an illegal, DIY sign at the entrance to the path reading “Bike Path Closed,” which was largely and justifiably ignored.

Meanwhile, LA Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell says the city will be making safety improvements to the path to notify riders to slow down or dismount in areas with a high level of pedestrians.

As well as increasing police presence on the path. Which is something bike riders, as well as pedestrians, have long called for.

Although the call to dismount is highly questionable. Especially since people somehow seem to manage sharing the path on the far more crowded beachfront bike path.

And it should be noted, as we mentioned here yesterday, that the rider stopped and cooperated with police following the crash.

Although none of it may really matter now, since the bike path is once again being closed for the winter, for reasons that have yet to be explained.

………

The LACBC’s Zachary Rynew, aka Mr. CiclaValley in his off-duty hours, sends word about the organization’s new team kit, which is available for preorder right now.

LACBC’s 2017 Kit is now for sale by preorder for a limited time until October 30th. To support the local cycling community, LACBC collaborated with L.A.-based collective superdomestik on design and California-based manufacturer Voler on production.

Go to LACBC’s Facebook Page to find out how you can win gear and go to the team store to purchase from the 2017 collection.

lacbcfsprosq

………

USA Cycling announces the Pro Road Tour racing schedule for next year. The tour comes to California just twice, in April and May, for the Dana Point Gran Prix and the Redlands Bicycle Classic.

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Local

CD1 city council candidate Josef Bray-Ali writes about how to get the people who ride for fun to join forces with people who ride for transportation, and make the city more bike-friendly without additional funding.

Police are looking for a bike-riding gunman who shot and killed a man in San Fernando Thursday night.

The Santa Monica College student newspaper looks at last weekend’s CicLAvia in the Heart of Los Angeles.

Metro is sponsoring a free Bicycle 101 class at the El Monte bike Hub.

 

State

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a four-wheel, surrey-style bike from a school for autistic children in San Diego.

Authorities are looking for the heartless coward who hit a young child in Victorville as he was riding his bike and left him lying in the street; the boy may have suffered serious head trauma in the hit-and-run collision.

The new bikeway over half of the San Francisco Bay is finally expected to open this Sunday.

Chico approves a free citywide bike registration system, while a 93-year old Chico man remains in critical condition eleven days after he was hit by SUV while driving his bike.

 

National

CityLab urges you to ride with a boombox on your bike instead of headphones, so you can annoy more people with your excellent taste in music. However, it may take some practice to develop the retro skills required ride your bike with a massive boombox perched on one shoulder, ‘70s style.

Eyewear maker Bollé introduces a mountain bike helmet with features that actually make sense for a change, including a detachable visor, slots to store your glasses and space for an embedded tail light.

Anti-bike terrorists have struck again, sabotaging a Colorado mountain bike trail with spike-embedded boards buried in the dirt. If you question the use of that term, consider what would happen to a rider who suffers a blowout while zipping down a trail.

The Michigan senate responds to the Kalamazoo massacre by passing bill requiring a five-foot passing distance, and another requiring three hours of bike and motorcycle safety training in all driver’s ed courses.

New York bike messengers form a union to fight for better treatment from Uber and other delivery firms.

A Philadelphia cyclist correctly resists police efforts to make him stop recording an arrest and to hand over his phone as evidence. You have a 1st Amendment right to record anything that occurs in a public place, and police have no right to stop you as long as you don’t interfere with their actions. And they can’t seize your phone without probable cause, or delete any of the contents. Which does not mean they won’t try.

 

International

A new report from the United Nations Environment Program calls for countries around the world to spend at least twenty percent of their transportation budget for safe bike lanes and sidewalks, noting that people on foot and two wheels, with or without motors, make up nearly half of the 1.3 million people killed in crashes worldwide each year.

A London hospital spent the equivalent of $12,000 to fight a protected bike lane in an apparent attempt to drum up business; 315 bike riders were killed or injured on the roads approaching the hospital over the last ten years, including some directly in front of their entrance.

A British man has been jailed for 28 months following a racist attack on a bike rider; he was one of three men who swerved at the victim in their car, doored him and forced him off his bike, then violently attacked him while screaming racial epithets.

Winston Churchill’s grandson is one of us.

A six-year old Irish boy with Duchenne muscular dystrophy is able to ride a bike for the first time thanks to a new medication. Nice to finally see some hope for this cruel disease.

Caught on video: A British railway worker saves an apparently drunk bicyclist at the last minute after he had fallen on the tracks. Or maybe not.

The brother of a fallen cyclist begs a Dublin county council to reconsider its decision not to include safe routes to schools in their draft development plan.

Security camera footage shows thieves casually bicycling on their way to rob Kim Kardashian in Paris, then back again with her $10 million jewelry in tow.

Caught on video: An Aussie cyclist loses a piece of his ear when a Magpie swoops down and attacks without warning.

Justice and common sense prevailed in Australia, where a drugged-out driver will spend at least three years in jail for killing a bike rider, despite attempting to use her newborn baby as a Get Out of Jail Free card.

 

Finally…

Your next U-lock could raise a real stink. Does this bike really look like a Lamborghini to you?

And anyone can ride a bike the usual way. But how many can do it facing backwards?

 

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