Morning Links: LA Times Op-Ed objects to O’Farrell tweet and compares traffic safety denying drivers to the NRA

Evidently, I may have started something.

A few weeks ago, I responded to Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell’s tweet about gun control by suggesting he focus on street safety instead, which he could actually do something about.

Especially since he had just announced he was killing plans for the long-planned Temple Street road diet.

I was surprised when O’Farrell responded.

And shocked when that response turned out to be “Nice try.”

And I wasn’t the only one, as dozens of people responded with varying degrees of disappointment and outrage at the cavalier attitude reflected in O’Farrell’s dismissive two-word answer.

Now Michael MacDonald, who you may be more familiar with as topomodesto, has written a hard-hitting Op-Ed for the LA Times, inspired by that exchange.

When it comes to standing up to the gun lobby, Los Angeles’ leaders are rightly all-in. Our city has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, and a recent bill by L.A. City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell would boycott companies that do business with the National Rifle Association. As the United States coalesces around the courageous teenage survivors of gun violence in Parkland, Chicago and Ferguson to challenge the NRA’s political clout, L.A.’s elected officials are uniting our city in solidarity.

When it comes to fighting traffic violence, however, these same leaders can’t seem to find the same political moxie.

He goes on to compare the actions of the small group of traffic safety deniers, which seem to have too many on the city council cowed in fear, with the actions of the NRA.

In both gun-violence and traffic-violence policy, the battleground is science and data. The NRA and its supporters oppose any efforts to study gun violence in a way that would inform policy making, blocking federal funding for gun violence research for over 20 years.

L.A.’s anti-traffic-safety lobby, meanwhile, vocally questions the accuracy of data collected on traffic injuries and deaths. One federally classified “proven safety countermeasure” in particular has become a target for their obfuscation: the street safety reconfigurations known as “road diets.”…

And yet — invoking a distinctly Trump-like paranoia and embrace of alternative facts — anti-safety activists routinely contend that these national studies are wrong: that road diets make streets more dangerous and are part of a nefarious plot of social engineering “meant to force citizens of L.A. into public transit under the guise of safety,” as one Playa del Rey resident declared on Twitter.

It’s well worth taking a few minutes to read, because MacDonald couldn’t have done a better job of identifying the problem. Or the solution.

And because Mitch O’Farrell is just the latest in what’s becoming a long list of LA councilmembers putting angry drivers ahead of human lives and livability.

You can find a more legible version of that tweet exchange at LA Streetsblog.

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Toronto removes speed signs intended slow drivers down after getting complaints that they slow drivers down.

Proof that Los Angeles isn’t the only city that tosses both logic and Vision Zero out the window when drivers object.

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Local

Now you, too, can become an LAPD bike cop.

Turmoil on the Westchester Neighborhood Council, as six members quit in a dispute over whether to boot two other members, including an opponent of the Playa del Rey road diets who hasn’t bothered to attend a meeting in the last six months.

You still have time to weigh in with your thoughts on how LA County should remake Rosemead Blvd into a complete street.

 

State

San Diego’s mayor drops plans for nine miles of curb-protected bike lanes, which would have caused years of delay and more than doubled the cost compared to using plastic bollards and parking-protected lanes.

Life is cheap in Bakersfield, where a wealthy vintner from a prominent family was sentenced to just 90 days in jail for killing a bike-riding mother of five while driving at over twice the legal alcohol limit. Prosecutors blamed the victim for having drugs in her system, and not wearing bright clothing or riding in a crosswalk — neither of which are required for bicyclists. Thanks to Jefferey Fylling for the heads-up.

 

National

Somehow we missed this one earlier this year, as an Oregon man is the only person in the state with a disabled parking permit for a bicycle. Thanks to Eric Rogers for the link.

Outside asks what’s going on with Niner, which was recently acquired in bankruptcy by the owner of Huffy; the mountain bikes will continue to be made in my hometown, at least for now.

A Colorado legal expert examines the question of just how far to the right you should ride. Most of which applies here in California, although we still have the outdated requirement to ride as far to the right as practicable, rather than Colorado’s more progressive statute.

It takes a major lowlife to steal the bicycles residents of a San Antonio TX rehab center use to get to work; fortunately, kindhearted locals helped replace them.

A new study from the University of Arkansas confirms what you’ve already been told dozens of times — you need to drink before you’re thirsty when you ride.

This is why people keep dying on our streets: Illinois police arrest a drunk driver who passed out at a gas station with an open bottle of Crown Royal after trying to fill her car with kerosene; she has six previous DUIs in six states, and was driving without a license. Some people will never stop driving until we start taking cars from drunk and stoned drivers, instead of just their licenses. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the heads-up.

A Massachusetts Op-Ed says a cyclist killed in a collision with a truck was a safe and careful rider, and wouldn’t have swerved in front of a massive truck without signaling, despite what the local victim-blaming DA claims.

Toyota teams with New York’s Priority Bicycles to build what they call the world’s safest bicycle by incorporating safety sensors and other features found on a Camry.

As usual, a plan to improve safety on a Philadelphia bike lane brings out people who say it doesn’t go far enough, and others who think it goes too far.

This is the cost of traffic violence: Pro wrestling Hall of Famer “Luscious” Johnny Valiant was killed in a collision with a truck driver while crossing a Pennsylvania street.

The bike-riding woman who gained worldwide fame for flipping off President Trump’s motorcade explains why she’s suing after getting fired for doing it.

A Charleston SC newspaper wonders why it’s so hard to get a bike lane on the bridge across the Ashley River, a debate that’s gone on since at least 1933.

A local newspaper remembers the black bike shop owner who prospered in a small Alabama town in the first half of the last century, despite being the son of former slaves.

 

International

A group of Calgary students have developed a bizarre new triangular bike gearing system to keep your drive chain from freezing and corroding during winter riding.

Bicyclists in Quebec argue that a proposed dramatic increase in fines for bicycling violations will simply keep people from riding.

A London website wonders why there are so few black and Asian bike riders in the city.

Even in the Netherlands, kids need more practice riding their bikes to avoid being clumsy, unsafe cyclists.

Italian bike riders are fighting to reclaim their space on the street in a country with almost no infrastructure for bicycles.

Horrifying news from Majorca, Spain, as a Porsche driver plowed into a group of nine cyclists, critically injuring one rider; the driver failed a roadside drug test.

The Evening Standard says the booming growth of Chinese dockless bikeshare is emblematic of the rapidly changing Chinese economy.

 

Competitive Cycling

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay says you can have Tiger Woods and the Masters; he’ll be watching Paris-Roubaix this weekend, aka the Hell of the North.

Cycling Tips relates the sad tale of two-time Paris-Roubaix champ Charles Crupelandt, which reads like a Greek tragedy.

The LA Times profiles next month’s Amgen Tour of California, which starts in Long Beach May 13th — for the men, that is; the women have to settle for three stages in Central California.

Eleven things not to do on your first crit.

 

Finally…

Who needs a bike cam when you can just have your drone follow you everywhere? It may look like a bike, but you probably wouldn’t want to ride it.

And introducing five-time Tour de France champ Bernard Renault, the greatest cyclist you’ve never heard of.

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A special thanks to John H and an anonymous donor for their generous contributions to the unofficial BikinginLA dead computer replacement campaign

 

2 comments

  1. Joe Linton says:

    I should have mentioned you in the SBLA article… thanks for engaging CM O’Farrell on this

  2. Frank says:

    Hey at least your city council members reply. Mine is about damn useless.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/LorieZapf/status/982360727296987138?s=20

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