Morning Links: Yours truly gets profiled, Danny Gamboa & Ghost Bikes LA, and LA bike crashes dropping

That’s what happens when you get mad during an interview.

You get labeled as a pissed off bicyclist.

That’s how I was described, accurately enough, in this profile by Jennifer Velez for the LA Taco website.

As I was being interviewed, I felt my anger rising as I described the efforts of Councilmembers Gil Cedillo, Curren Price and Paul Koretz to block much needed bike lanes in their districts. Along with Mayor Eric Garcetti’s failure to back his own Vision Zero and Great Streets initiatives.

So I quickly apologized, calmed down and went on with the interview.

Then I later mentioned that I started this site because I was angry about the sorry state of bicycling infrastructure in the City of Angels. Even if I didn’t know it was called infrastructure back then.

Which only confirmed my pissed off status.

Anyway, it’s worth a read if you want to know who I am and why I do what I do.

If not, then read on.

………

It’s not every day I get mentioned in two separate news stories, but I unexpectedly found myself playing a small supporting role in the LA Weekly’s nice piece on Danny Gamboa, the co-founder Ghost Bikes L.A.

And yes, it’s definitely worth a read, as Gamboa has gone from installing ghost bikes to fighting for safer streets so they won’t be needed any more.

I can personally vouch for him as one of the true heroes of Southern California bike advocacy.

………

Bike statistician Ed Ryder has been examining the CHP’s SWITRS bike crash data for California and Southern California, which we’ll be taking a look at as the week goes on.

But here’s an interesting chart to get us started, showing a surprising decline in injury bike crashes in Los Angeles County after peaking in 2012; stats for last December are only partial figures, but still suggest a decline from the previous year.

The question is whether the streets are getting safer, or if fewer people are willing to risk riding on them.

………

Long Beach police shot a man they originally attempted to pull over for unnamed bicycle traffic violations after he tried to flee, then allegedly fought with an officer and attempted to grab his gun.

………

Local

West Hollywood will host a meeting tonight to discuss plans to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians on deadly Fountain Ave, although a road diet requested by some residents appears to be off the table.

Patton Oswalt is one of us, as he bikes along the LA River with his kids to the Spoke Bicycle Café.

Long Beach business people are worried that the May 13th start of the Amgen Tour of California will destroy their business on Mother’s Day. Seriously, if you can’t figure out a way to make money off an event that draws an additional 10,000 or so race fans — male and female — to your street, maybe the event isn’t the problem.

 

State

Homeless people living along the Santa Ana River Trail wonder where they’ll go as Orange County finishes clearing out the massive homeless encampment. Unfortunately, there’s not enough housing and supportive services to take them in, which means the problem, for them and the community, will just move somewhere else.

A San Diego bike rider suffered a compound leg fracture when he was hit by an alleged red light-running driver.

Coronado’s mass infrastructure insanity clearly hasn’t improved, as a handful of residents come out to rail against a proposed median that would improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians, including fears that transients would sit on it. This is the same community that blocked proposed bike lanes that residents complained induced dizziness and was like tattooing their daughters.

Victorville approves plans for a 4-mile class 1 bike path, as well as 7.1 miles of bike lanes.

Sad news from Bakersfield, where a bike rider was killed in a crash after allegedly running a red light in Oildale.

A Santa Cruz-area driver shows his deep concern for the safety of bicyclists by complaining about two bike riders drifting in and out of a bike lane, forcing drivers to swerve into oncoming traffic to pass them, and saying there should be a law against riding two abreast. Never mind that riding two or more abreast is perfectly legal under most circumstance, as well as “drifting” in and out of a bike lane for any number of reasons. Or that it’s also perfectly legal for drivers to slow down and wait until it’s safe to pass bike riders. In fact, it’s required, whether or not they’re in a bike lane.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 83-year old Bay Area man has ridden up 3,849-foot Mt. Diablo for 500 weeks in a row.

A mufti-clad pseudo Petaluma bike cop pulled over a motorist and demanded personal information and cash for on the spot to pay the fine for the alleged offense. A real bike cop will have a uniform and badge, and will never ask for payment on the spot. Unless he’s asking for a bribe, which is a different matter entirely.

More sad news, this time from Sacramento, where a man was killed riding across a highway to get to a bike path.

 

National

A former mountain biker turned distance runner recommends micro-dosing with dope to reduce pain and improve performance. Which is now more or less legal in California, as long as you don’t tell the feds.

Bicycling says sharrows don’t actually suck if used correctly, and lists 25 milestones most new cyclists can’t wait to reach. Many of which countless new and old bicyclists have never done, nor wanted to. Myself included.

El Paso, Texas and Mexico’s Ciudad Juárez are in discussions for North America’s first international bikeshare system crossing the Rio Grande.

A Dallas paper questions whether leaving dockless bikeshare bikes on the sidewalk is more than an inconvenience to handicapped people, possibly violating the American’s with Disabilities Act. Good question. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

A Missouri couple are facing manslaughter charges after their dogs fatally mauled an 83-year old neighbor as he was riding his bicycle.

A Minnesota paper looks at ghost bikes in the Twin Cities, which are technically illegal in the state.

St. Paul MN takes a pass on a dockless bikeshare system being installed by its twin city.

Detroit is unveiling a new indoor velodrome with an inflatable roof today; just one of three in the US, including the VELO Sports Center at the StubHub Center in Carson.

Winter fat bike riding is increasing in popularity in Maine.

Nice piece in the New York Times, as a documentary filmmaker describes how getting back on her bicycle saved her life as she went through a separation, then a divorce.

Proof bike riders are tough. A New Orleans man rode several blocks for help before collapsing after he was shot several times.

 

International

Here’s what happens when city officials don’t back down on bike lanes, as opposition to Vancouver bike lanes has died away, and bikeways are no longer seen as a campaign issue.

Toronto’s Globe and Mail says we can’t assume streets are for cars if we want pedestrians to be safe.

The BBC asks what’s keeping women off bicycles, then points the finger at sexist and rude comments from drivers and male cyclists.

What’s more impressive? That a London management consultant quit his job to fish plastic out of the Thames, or that he built his own DIY floating bike to do it?

UK endurance cyclist Lee Fancourt passed away last week, apparently of natural causes, at just 40-years old; he held the record for the fastest crossing of Europe, traveling 4,300 miles in less than 22 days.

A British man uncovers a 199-year old hobby horse in an abandoned barn; the forerunner of the bicycle was one of just 320 built in 1819, and just one of 12 know to survive.

Former Oasis lead singer Liam Gallagher is one of us, too. Although it looks like he could raise his seat a tad.

Life is cheap in Northern Ireland, where a judge said he saw no point in sending a killer driver to jail.

Caught on video: A Dutch bike rider struggles against an intense headwind during last week’s storm. Been there, done that; I’ve actually been pushed backwards by a strong wind, as well as knocked off my bike by a sudden gust.

Alas, poor Yorick! Take a bike tour along the “Danish Riviera” to Hamlet’s castle.

City Lab looks at the long transformation of Paris into a more livable city, cutting driving mode share 45% since 1990, as traffic fatalities have fallen 40%. And if formerly traffic-choked Paris can do it...

Dubai continues to build cycle tracks, with 323 miles planned by 2021.

Caught on video too: An Australian cyclist captures a horrifying first person perspective as he gets stabbed by a road raging driver, after complaining a dangerous pass. Fortunately, he was not seriously injured.

Singapore hasn’t been spared by the scourge of abandoned — and sometimes submerged — dockless bikeshare bikes.

A Scottish writer goes bicycling through the cars and cows and hens and fumes of Kathmandu, feeling like a medieval soldier hacking his way through enemy ranks.

 

Competitive Cycling

South African cyclist Daryl Impey won Australia’s Tour Down Under; he was tied with Richie Porte after Saturday’s penultimate stage, but was declared the leader after a tie-breaking countback of stage placings, and managed to stay out of trouble on Sunday’s final stage.

Women competing in the Tour Down Under got prize money parity with the men after the South Australian state government pitched in an additional $90,000; Australia’s Amanda Spratt took the general classification as well as Queen of the Mountain.

Pressure is increasing on Team Sky to suspend Chris Froome over his failed doping test for overuse of an asthma drug. Meanwhile, researchers say it’s time to scrap the Therapeutic Use Exemptions that were employed by Froome and Team Sky, for the short and long-term health of the cyclists.

 

Finally…

Who hasn’t dreamed of one day owning a fat-tired, handlebar-equipped, gyroscopic e-unicycle? Don’t wear a mask when you ride, or you may frighten schoolgirls and start a police investigation.

And more proof bike riders are tough. A 12-year old Aussie boy broke his back in eight places riding his bike off a cliff into a lake, then rode home after being dragged back to shore.

 

3 comments

  1. scott rose says:

    Hang in there. You make a difference. A big one.

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