Morning Links: Hands-free cellphones are as dangerous as handheld phones, and bike news from East LA County

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In news that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone — but which would probably shock most people, if they actually put their phones down long enough to pay attention — Australian researchers conclude hands-free cellphones are just as dangerous as handheld phones.

Researchers in Queensland tested driver reactions using a traffic simulator, and found that any cellphone use — hands-free or otherwise — increased reaction times by 40 per cent, or one full second.

Which doesn’t sound like much, until you consider that it adds an additional 33 feet of stopping distance to a car going just 25 mph. As if anyone drives 25 miles per hour anymore.

The study also found that less experienced drivers were likely to be twice as impaired by mobile phone conversations.

So make that 66 feet, instead.

Then multiply by the speeds drivers actually travel.

However, researchers did not study the dangers posed by texting, which distracts drivers both mentally and visually, while also taking one or both hands off the wheel.

The obvious conclusion is that any cellphone use while driving is dangerous, to the people in the vehicle as well as anyone around them.

Which is frightening considering the proliferation of cellphones in our society, and the willingness of drivers to ignore current laws limiting their use. And terrifying in an age when WiFi and hands-free connectivity are being built into many motor vehicles.

Something that makes no more sense than installing a bar in every dashboard.

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It’s been far too long since we’ve checked in with Michael Wagner at CLR Effect, who sends word of recent happenings in East LA County.

Hello Ted, it has been a little while since I have seen you out on the eastern edge of the county, and I wanted to update you, and the readers of BikinginLA, with some recent news.

Though it has been pretty quiet lately in my own hometown (Claremont), next door LaVerne has been busy with the approval process for their Active Transportation Plan; a couple weeks ago it moved through committee, and next week will go before the City Council.

This past weekend local club, SC Velo donated a bike repair station, which was installed and dedicated at Oak Mesa Park before a great turn out of cyclists.

Both these events are helping the city shed their reputation of being less-than-friendly to bikes, and have riders in the greater Pomona Valley area pretty excited. Cheers, appreciate all you do to keep us informed.

I hope to make a few improvements to this site in the near future that will make it easier for me, and everyone else, to keep up Michael’s excellent site, and many of the other great blogs that have slipped through the cracks here lately.

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‘Tis the season.

Long Beach’s Velo Allegro bike club teams with the YMCA to give over 130 bicycles to 3rd graders from low income families. Thanks to Anthony for the heads-up.

A pair of San Diego Chargers host a Holiday Bike Build, donating 52 bicycles to children of service members stationed at the San Diego naval base.

For the past 20 years, inmates at Folsom Prison have spent their days restoring bicycles to like-new condition to donate to children in El Dorado County; this year 200 bicycles will be distributed by high school kids in cooperation with the local Rotary Club.

The family of a former Colorado police officer who died while participating in an organized bike ride carry on his love of bikes by donating 29 bicycles to be given to local children.

Cincinnati Bengals players present nearly 300 bicycles to elementary school children.

A 71-year old New Haven CT man operates a one-man bike program, giving away 80 to 100 bicycles a year by going door to door asking for donations, as well as dipping into his own pocket.

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Great news, as Belgian cyclist Stig Broeckx has emerged from a six-month coma following a collision with a race moto, and begun saying simple words and recognizing family and fellow riders. But don’t get me started on whether race vehicles belong anywhere near the peloton.

Cycling News calls out five successes and five failures in pro cycling this year.

A French pro cyclist is the latest to say UCI is handling WorldTour reforms very badly.

A 30-year old Kiwi Olympic gold medal-winning rower is attempting to switch to cycling, riding in a pair of elite New Zealand races to determine what future he has in the sport.

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Local

An LA County sheriff’s deputy shot and wounded a bike rider who was allegedly armed with a handgun when the man got off his bike and ran after refusing to pull over for a traffic stop.

Richard Risemberg calls on Metro to place bikeshare docks in residential neighborhoods to encourage people to leave their cars at home, and says Santa Monica is doing it right. Speaking of which, SaMo begins installation of the area’s first bike counter. Or rather, the second.

Don ye now your gay apparel, as Bike SGV is hosting a Cycling Santas Bike Train this Saturday.

The LACBC is partnering with neighborhood chapter Bike Walk Glendale for the 6th annual Holiday Ride this Sunday.

Roughly 30 cyclists participated in Tuesday’s die-in to call for Bikes May Use Full Lane signs in Palos Verdes Estates. No word yet on whether anyone in the insular burg was actually paying attention.

 

State

A new Stanford study hopes to determine if the new generation of bicycle seats reduces the risk of sexual dysfunction.

A 70-year old San Francisco man suffered life-threatening injuries when he allegedly rode his bike through a red light and was struck by a driver existing a freeway. As always, the question is whether anyone other than the driver in question witnessed him go through the light.

Bike friendly Davis plans to develop two additional protected intersections, following the success of one that opened last year, which claims to be the first in the US.

Redding receives $8 million in grants to build sidewalks and buffered bike lanes along a major street.

 

National

Bicycling profiles an Anchorage AK native who founded two bike brands before he was 25.

Portland’s bike-powered coffee roaster failed because the single bike couldn’t turn out enough coffee to support the business, as well as support over 20 orphans in the Philippines.

A Wisconsin man facing charges of hit-and-run and reckless homicide in the death of a bike rider earlier this year now faces 12 additional charges for pawning landscaping equipment belonging to his employer.

The Reading PA paper endorses plans for a new $15 million indoor velodrome.

Buffalo NY is bucking the trend for more human spaces, slowly introducing cars back onto a failed pedestrian mall in an attempt to revitalize the downtown area.

An Op-Ed in the Savannah GA paper says protected bike lanes benefit everyone.

 

International

LA may or may not be the hit-and-run capital, but it’s clearly a worldwide problem as shown by this tragic wreck in Jamaica.

The rich get richer, as London’s mayor announces plans for two new curb-separated bicycle superhighways.

A British driver blames everyone but himself when a bike rider unexpectedly ended up on the hood of his car as he turned across a separated bike lane, saying the bikeway was nearly impossible to see and the bicyclist wasn’t wearing hi-viz. Evidently, looking both ways before making a turn is passé in the UK.

Edinburgh residents square off over plans for the city’s first cycle superhighway.

 

Finally…

Yes, you can carry a Christmas tree home on a bikeshare bike — even in Paris. Italy, where the graphene meets the road.

And they should know what happens when you leave a bicycle out in the elements, even in a Bike Tree.

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A special thanks to Dennis Eckhart and Joseph Rozier for this week’s first donations to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Writing and maintaining this site is a full-time job. Your support, and that of our sponsors, enables us to keep bringing the freshest bike news to you every day, from LA and around the world.

One comment

  1. keith says:

    Place bikeshare docks in residential neighborhoods…

    There is another one on 7th St. west of downtown which surprised me as I pedaled by during the last cyclavia. From the trash piled along the curb didn’t look like the bikes got much use.

    Does seem like a good idea to have them in neighborhoods. Perhaps somewhere in the Larchmont neighborhood could be considered.

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