Morning Links: Angry drivers and bikelash in Playa del Mar, sinkhole on Angeles Crest, and Bike Life in DTLA

A little bikelash and road diet rage were to be expected.

This is LA, after all.

Which is why it should come as no surprise that drivers are angry they can no longer speed on deadly Vista del Mar, or use the beachfront street as a virtual highway on their cut-through commutes from South Bay cities.

Streetsblog examines Monday’s angry backlash over the changes designed to slow speeds and improve bike and pedestrian safety in Playa del Rey — including one bighearted person who shouted that people killed crossing the deadly street had it coming.

Just in case you wondered what kind of person would oppose desperately needed traffic safety improvements.

After all, who really cares about saving the lives of a few total strangers if it means your commute gets a few minutes longer? Although one person says traffic on his Vista del Mar commute is actually lighter than usual.

Once again, there are dueling petitions both opposing and supporting the changes. And once again, the nays are winning in a landslide.

Meanwhile, The Argonaut considers the resistance of some drivers to the road diet and bike lanes just completed on Venice Blvd in Mar Vista, where over 48 bicyclists and pedestrians have been injured since 2011.

Including one truly bizarre statement that it took someone 45 minutes to drive the half mile from Beethoven to Centinela. Which would only seem possible if s/he stopped for coffee and donuts along the way. And had to wait while they made them.

Because really, why wait a few weeks to see if the changes will actually work when you can just demand they rip ‘em out before the paint is even dry?

And yet people wonder why it’s so hard to change anything in LA.

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If you were planning to ride Angeles Crest this weekend, start making other plans. Caltrans reports the highway is closed until further notice between Grassy Hollow and SR-39 due to a sinkhole in the roadway. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

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Since you can’t ride Angeles Crest, head over to Grand Park this Saturday for a one-hour beer and taco-free gathering of the LA bicycling community.

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Once again, a cyclist competing in an open course time trial has been killed in a collision with a motor vehicle; this time the victim was a 69-year old man in the UK.

More bad news, as a French cyclist was killed in a car crash, and another injured, shortly after taking first and third in a criterium last Thursday; both riders were veterans of the popular Red Hook Crit series.

The New York Times looks at the rise of Columbian cyclists, saying some compete for their county, and some in spite of it.

The Des Moines Register profiles a competitor in next week’s RAAM, saying don’t call her Wonder Woman.

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Local

LA Times columnist Robin Abcarian celebrates how a chain reaction hit-and-run crash brought an unlikely group of Angelenos together. And a bike rider walked away thanks to the falling skills he learned riding a skateboard.

Helen’s Cycles will host their monthly mountain bike ride this Saturday.

Also on Saturday, learn how to advocate for Complete Streets at The Tripping Point, a free conference sponsored by Investing in Place, AARP California, Los Angeles Aging Advocacy Coalition, Los Angeles Walks, Pacoima Beautiful and Tree People.

 

State

Anticipating an increase in funding, the California Active Transportation Program is looking for shovel-ready bike and pedestrian projects. Like LA’s North Figueroa and Lankershim Blvd road diets, and the bike lanes on Westwood Blvd, for instance. Oh, wait.

Newport Beach police will be focusing on bike and pedestrian safety enforcement this month, with extra officers on duty June 14th and 26th. You know the drill; ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits so you’re not the one who gets ticketed.

Riverside will host the Santa Ana River Trail Bike Ride & Festival this Sunday.

The Pleasanton city council votes unanimously to adopt a new bicycle and pedestrian master plan.

San Mateo plans to double the size of its bikeshare program, the only one in the Bay Area not part of Ford’s 7,000 bike system.

 

National

NACTO is sponsoring a year-long initiative to identify problems that “slow the implementation of transformative transportation projects in cities across the country.” I can save them the trouble: blame NIMBYs who value parking spaces and faster commutes over lives and livability.

Streetsblog says algorithms to improve dangerous intersections are great, but we already know what needs to be done to improve safety.

A new study shows even regular coffee drinkers can get a performance boost from caffeine.

Not surprisingly, Oregon bike retailers are trying to stop plans for a tax on bicycles over $500.

An online travel service ranks Denver the tenth most bike-friendly city for tourists. Not surprisingly, Minneapolis ranks number one; more surprising is Los Angeles getting a nod on the Most Improved list.

Texas finally gets around to banning texting while driving, six years after then governor and now US Energy Secretary Rick Perry vetoed it.

Kindhearted Arkansas cops take the time to help a kid fix his bike.

Life is cheap in Illinois, where a driver charged with reckless homicide in the death of a 16-year old bike rider walks with nothing but probation following a plea deal. Seriously, whoever agreed to this should be ashamed.

After a Chicago boy’s bike was stolen while he was at work, his friends mowed lawns, did chores and donated their allowances to buy him a new one.

Michigan Live offers a complete wrap-up of their extensive coverage of the one-year anniversary of the drug-fueled Kalamazoo massacre.

Indiana police are looking for a road-raging bike rider, though they won’t say what happened or why.

Baltimore’s mayor pledges to look into charges from some residents that bike lanes would make some streets too narrow for fire equipment. Even though parking spaces already do.

 

International

Cycling Weekly offers 15 reasons why you should ride your bike this summer. Or maybe ten, they’re not really sure.

A London advocacy group calls on the city to modify safety barriers that have been placed in bike lanes on three of the city’s bridges.

A Scottish newspaper says the silence was deafening during a minute of quiet to protest the death of a young woman on her bike.

A new Dublin study shows enormous health benefits to bicycling, while noting that the risk to male riders between 20 to 29 increases with every mile, and may outweigh the benefits for some.

Coke is turning to e-cargo bikes to make deliveries. In the Netherlands, naturally.

A cyclist on a French river cruise takes a bicycling tour of the historic city of Rouen, where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431.

An Aussie judge calls a driver a moronic bogan — the rough equivalent of trailer trash in the US — after the man pled guilty to beating and demanding an apology from the bike rider he’d just crashed into. But still let him off with just a fine.

 

Finally…

Training bike cops for the coming zombie apocalypse. If you really want to encourage bike commuting, free donuts and bacon should do the trick.

And nothing like a phalanx of school kids on unicycles unexpectedly rolling past your window.

2 comments

  1. CiclaValley says:

    Funny. I did that section of the Angeles Crest Highway the day before!

  2. David says:

    The drivers are picking on cyclists because they live in areas that are under constant development and expansion population growth, doubling up of rooms, more cars parked, causing more congestion for motorist trying to get through.

    In West LA alone there are literally 100’s of new apartments under construction. When they fill, that will increase vehicular traffic on the main arteries.

    The best way to commute is by bike. When I bike to work–I pass lines of cars.

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