Morning Links: LA raises speed limits, Vision Zero holds course, and LA River Bike Path reopens in Long Beach

One quick note. Come back after 11:00 this morning for a guest post from Derrick Paul about the planned Vision Zero lane reduction and complete street project on Temple Street. 

And why it hasn’t happened.

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Los Angeles will be raising speed limits on nearly 100 miles of streets to comply with California’s deadly 85th Percentile Law, which allows drivers to set speed limits by applying their foot to the gas pedal.

Meanwhile, speed limits will decrease somewhat on a little more than 52 miles of streets.

The tradeoff is that police will now be able to use radar to enforce speeds, which they had been banned from doing on nearly 80% of LA streets.

Under the terms of the law, police can’t use radar to enforce the speed limit if a street hasn’t had a speed survey within the last seven years.

Once the survey is conducted, the speed limit must be set at the speed driven by the 15th fastest motorist driving unimpeded in non-rush hour traffic, although the city does have the option to round down slightly.

So in order to make our streets safer, we have to make them faster and more dangerous.

Or just repeal a stupid, outdated and deadly law.

Correction: In my haste last night, I mistakenly wrote that the 85th Percentile Law was based on the average speed of 85% of motorists, ignoring my gut feeling that I was wrong, but too tired to stop and look it up.

And I was right. That I was wrong, that is. 

The following email from Casey Kerrigan clarifies this complicated law better than any other explanation I’ve seen. 

When doing the speed survey the speed limit is based on the 85 percentile not on the average speed of 85% of the cars surveyed.  Note that speed surveys are conduced under the optimal conditions to speed, ie during the day, at a non rush hour time and only the speed of free flowing cars are measures. Free flowing are cars with no traffic ahead of them for at least 5 seconds on a straightaway and unmarked cars are used to house the speed measurement equipment.
This is from the Caltrans guidelines for how to set speed limits which you can find here.
This paragraph is taken from the Caltrans guidelines linked above on page 36.

3.2.6 Calculating 85th Percentile Speed

If 100 vehicle speeds are plotted, the 85th percentile speed is determined by looking at the speed of the 15th vehicle down from the top speed. Fifteen percent of the vehicles are travelling faster than this speed, and eighty five percent are travelling at or below this speed. If less than 100 vehicles are counted, the 85th percentile speed must be determined by calculating 85 percent of the number of vehicles counted and determining the vehicles’ 85th percentile speed. For example if 70 vehicles were counted, 0.85 x 70 = 59.5. The speed of vehicle 60 represents the 85th percentile. Examples are shown in Appendix A on the Speed Zone Survey Sheet examples.

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Speaking of which, Vision Zero Los Angeles has released their 2018 Action Plan & Progress Report.

The city plans to remain on course with the program, despite a sharp jump in pedestrian deaths, and badly missing Mayor Eric Garcetti’s goal of a 20% reduction in traffic fatalities in 2017.

Of course, that was overly ambitious, since the program is just now gaining its footing and getting its first real funding.

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The LA River Bike Path has reopened in Long Beach, where it had been closed for construction work, now that a large construction crane has been removed.

However, work vehicles and flaggers will remain on the path, and riders may be required to slow down or walk their bikes through the construction zone.

Thanks to Long Beach Mobility and Healthy Living Programs Officers Michelle Mowery for the heads-up.

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Rent-a-cops driving on a Chicago bike path lose it when a bike rider complains that they don’t belong on the path. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the link.

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Local

The victim’s missing head was finally found in an LA multi-modal murder.

A UCLA letter writer says scofflaw Bird scooter users are no worse than bike riders, who he can’t recall ever having seen “obey the traffic laws to the letter.” Unlike pedestrians and motorists, who evidently always obey the letter of the law in his eyes.

CiclaValley imagines what a re-imagined, bike-friendly Ventura Blvd could be.

The Pasadena Star News looks at the proposal to reconfigure Orange Grove Blvd into a complete street that welcomes everyone.

 

State

Seven proposed U.S. Bicycle Routes could soon be coming to, and through, California.

Encinitas-based cruiser bike-maker Electra Bicycle Company turns 25.

Cycling Without Age comes to Merced.

A pair of dueling Op-Eds in the Sacramento Bee say a bill to allow mountain bikes in wilderness areas would be good for the backcountry, while another calls it a Trojan horse that would put wheels over wilderness.

 

National

Bike Snob says enough with the helmet shaming, already.

Streetsblog says American cities aren’t making much progress on Vision Zero, except for New York and San Francisco. Although for some reason, they aren’t tracking Los Angeles on their chart.

A Seattle-area man had his bike stolen after he was hit on the head with a pipe. No word on whether he was wearing a helmet, which might have helped. Or not.

Washington is the latest state to approve an ebike classification bill based on the one pioneered in California.

Great idea, as a Washington bike school teams with a woodworking school to teach everything from wrenching to wood frame and wheel building.

Evidently, LA drivers aren’t the only ones who complain about removing traffic lanes from massive streets. Tempe AZ will restripe a roadway to remove bollards protecting a bike lane and add back a third traffic lane in response to motorist complaints.

You’ve got to be kidding. Just days after the Utah house approved an Idaho stop law, a bill that would allow drivers to also treat red lights as stop signs passed a legislative committee. After all, what difference could there possibly be between someone on a 15-pound bike and someone wrapped in two tons of high-speed glass and steel? I mean, other than the bodies the latter would likely leave behind?

Plans for a new bridge on I-10 in Mobile, Alabama will be required to include options for bicycle and pedestrian pathways.

 

International

Cycling Tips offers advice on how to use music to get the best out of your rides. They probably don’t mean singing Hank Williams out loud while you ride, as someone who looks a lot like me may or may not have done on occasion.

Toronto rejects a staff recommendation to remove lanes from a major street, and keep it six lanes and dangerous instead.

Caught on video: British police use bike cam video to prosecute a 50 mph punishment pass, resulting in the equivalent of a $365 fine. A much better punishment would be to make the driver stand in the roadway while someone else does it to him.

The Irish government will introduce a safe passing law mandating that drivers pass bicyclists with the rough equivalent of three feet on roads with a speed limit below 31 mph, and five feet above that.

Eat and bike your way across Italy with Top Chef contestants.

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war bikes is all too real, as Aussie bicyclists find thumbtacks spread across at least four popular riding routes. Far from a harmless prank, something like that can cause serious injuries — or worse — if a flat causes a rider to fall. And should be prosecuted as such.

The government of Queensland, Australia, has introduced a presumed liability bill, which would presume that the operator of the more dangerous vehicle has a greater responsibility to avoid crashes, and would be considered at fault in a collision; the head of the local auto club calls it a divisive bill that pits motorists against cyclists. Actually, motorists have done that themselves for decades.

 

Finally…

Your WiFi depends on a Hollywood bombshell who escaped Nazis and an unhappy marriage on a bicycle. It’s golf balls over bikes on the beach.

And can a serial burglar really be a bad guy if he rides a bike and leaves the homes neat and tidy?

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Thanks to View-Speed for their generous contribution to help keep BikinginLA coming your way every day. Click here if you’d like to donate to help support this site

 

One comment

  1. j says:

    It must be nice to use a river trail to conveniently access a light rail station. Some cyclists may be able to do this – for instance you could ride the LA river trail to 27th in LB and easily get to the Willow station. I used to use the Santa Ana river trail to get to an otherwise inaccessible Anaheim station. Now I have to ride ride twice as long to get to a different station on streets that force me to be a vehicular cyclist for 5 miles. It’s so nice that bicycle advocates were completely silent about the criminalization of night time use of the Santa Ana river bike path. Apparently cycling is only something you do on the weekends during the day, right? As the only person who contacted various agencies about this it was pretty easy to dismiss me as some crank. I mean who rides a bike past 6pm right? Fucking weirdo.

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