Morning Links: May Bike Month, LimeBike ebikes in SaMo, Aviation road diet fight, and LACBC ED leaving

It’s Bike Month Eve in LA.

Both the LACBC and Bike SGV offer their own calendars of activities in the one month of the year dedicated to bicycling.

As always, the highlight of the month is Bike to Work Day, which takes place on May 17th, with Bike Night at Union Station the following night.

The international Ride of Silence rolls on May 16th to honor fallen bicyclists, including a ride through the San Fernando Valley.

My favorite event, the annual Blessing of the Bicycles will take place at Good Samaritan Hospital near DTLA on May 15th.

And you can ride the Metro Bike bike share for just one dollar for the month of May when you sign up using the code BIKEMONTH2018; after the first one, it will cost $20 for each additional month.

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Just in time for Bike Month, LimeBike has started dockless ebike service in Santa Monica.

According to a press release from the company, the bikes will cost $1 to unlock using your smartphone, and 15¢ per minute of riding.

Let’s hope they manage to avoid the problems that have developed in some other cities with abandoned or illegally parked bikes.

Because this could be a huge step forward for personal mobility in the LA area if they can avoid the usual bikelash.

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Plans for a lane reduction and bike lanes to improve safety on Aviation Blvd face an uphill battle after opponents turned out at a meeting in Hermosa Beach to discuss the project.

As seems to happen in any public discussion of bicycles, at least one person insisted “When bikes start paying the registration fees that fund our streets, then they can start sharing our lanes.”

Which demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of both who the streets are for and how local streets are paid for.

So let’s be very clear. Neither gas taxes or registration fees pay for more than a small portion of the building and maintenance of local streets; the overwhelming portion comes from local taxes, which we all pay.

Although that may change to some degree with the state’s recent gas tax increase — if it survives an attempt to have it repealed this fall.

And our streets have never been the property of fee-paying motorists; streets are for the movement of people and goods, some of whom will be on foot, some on bikes, some using transit, and some in motor vehicles. Usually alone.

Funny how so many LA drivers seem to feel they have a God-given right to the road.

And aren’t willing to concede a single inch of it to anyone else.

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The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is back in the market for a new Executive Director.

According to an email announcement from the organization, Executive Director Erik Jansen, who replaced former ED Tamika Butler less than a year ago, will be leaving at the end of May.

Erik is leaving the organization after two years of working with LACBC, first as its Development Director, then as its Deputy Executive Director of Advancement, and finally as its Executive Director. A father of two, Erik will be moving with his family to Australia, where his wife accepted a position as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney…

As LACBC enters its 20th year and begins a strategic planning process to outline the next five years, staff remains committed, more than ever, to making streets safer for those biking and walking in Los Angeles County. It is an exciting time for the organization, and the team is looking for an Executive Director to lead the team, LACBC members, and bicycle advocates across the county, to create safer streets in Los Angeles County. If you have an amazing candidate in mind, please send us an email.

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Get a whole body workout by using walking canes when you ride.

No, really.

Unless you’d rather play indoor fixie soccer.

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Local

A Forbes writer says there are holes in Elon Musk’s plans to colonize underground Los Angeles with high speed transportation tunnels, with a professor reasonably noting that most people would rather walk or bike above ground.

The Talking Headways podcast chats with LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds, while the New York Times looks at her efforts to bring Play Streets to the City of Angels.

Metro has released a first-of-its-kind First/Last Mile Plan for the neighborhoods surrounding the Blue Line, calling for “better sidewalks, more and safer crosswalks, more lighting for pedestrians, better and safer bike lanes and facilities.”

Speaking of Metro, comments are now being accepted on the transportation agency’s Vision 2028 strategic plan.

 

State

The next time some NIMBY tries to tell you handicapped people can’t ride bikes, tell them about Jenn Ramsey, who’s ridden the eight-day, 575-mile California Coast Classic a dozen times, even though her crippling arthritis prevents her from standing for more than 30 minutes.

An Op-Ed from San Luis Obispo, where NIMBYs have risen up to fight a proposed bikeway, insists that bike riders aren’t the enemy.

A writer for the SF Gate calls out what he calls Car Blindness, the double standard in which people easily see the relatively minor problems caused by bikes, scooters and pedestrians, but can’t see the major problems caused by motor vehicles.

Redding officials consider closing a roadway entirely to allow for a safe crossing for a new bike and pedestrian trail. Meanwhile, Los Angeles officials won’t even remove a single traffic lane to improve safety for everyone.

 

National

Good piece from Slate, saying no one teaches ebike buyers how to ride them, which is a problem when some bikes can go up to 30 mph; Bicycling offers tips on how to do it safely.

The Wall Street Journal considers the next generation of bike helmets, which may be hidden behind their damn paywall.

There is something terribly wrong with any society where anyone feels the need to give advice on how to properly survive getting hit by a car. Never mind that most cars actually have drivers, which the article fails to mention. Thanks to Steven Messer and J. Patrick Lynch for the heads-up.

Strava’s CEO explains why the app keeps gaining a million users every 40 days, and where he wants to go from here.

Lawrence, Kansas, population 93,000, could soon have more bike boulevards than Los Angeles.

A Houston Op-Ed says the city doesn’t have to be deadly for cyclists. Then again, neither does any other city, even though most of them are.

The pedaling priests of Peoria have finished their 275-mile ride across their Illinois diocese to call attention to religious vocations. I might have considered the priesthood if they’d told me you get to ride bikes all day.

After a reader complains to a Michigan paper, saying someone needs to teach bicyclists the rules of the road, a columnist responds “Whoever does the training, I’m hoping they do a better job than they did with the car and pickup drivers.”

There’s a special place in hell for the hit-and-run driver who left an Indiana man dying in the street — and may have stolen his bike, wallet and mobil phone.

After Columbus OH opened a new two-way cycle track, bike collisions nearly tripled; authorities blamed a jump in ridership, combined with a break-in period for people to get used to the new lanes.

A Virginia couple is planning to bike across the US with their three young kids riding a tandem and a three-person bike.

Nice story about a Charlottesville SC cop who started a new community bike program after fixing kids bikes, then returning to ride with them every week.

 

International

If you build it, they will come. Bicycling rates jump in Victoria, British Columbia, after the opening of a new, safer bridge with bike lanes in each direction.

Heartbreaking news from Canada’s northern Manitoba province, where three boys were killed by a suspected drunk driver while walking and riding their bikes with a group of friends.

The Guardian says smart exercise will keep you young longer.

A writer for the Financial Times says London cyclists are abominable, and she knows because she’s one of them — and she’ll continue to break the law until streets are made with bikes in mind.

An English letter writer says she doesn’t ride a bike in her home town, but would like to if she felt safer. Surveys consistently show that roughly two-thirds of the people in the US feel the same way — including here in Los Angeles.

A British father and son planned to ride Penny Farthings 50 miles in top hats and tails yesterday to raise funds for the Aston Villa soccer team’s charity foundation.

This is who we share the roads with. A man in the UK learns the hard way that if you’re going to put your Tesla on autopilot, at least stay in the driver’s seat.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a truck driver walks on charges of killing a bicyclist, despite attempting — and failing — to overtake the rider on a blind curve.

The Telegraph says the best way to see the Netherlands is by boat and bicycle.

No bias here. An Aussie paper says “bike riders are still dicing with death.” Even though the article is really about dangerous drivers.

 

Competitive Cycling

New British pro discusses how his dream of making a WorldTour team nearly hit the rocks.

Yahoo previews Friday’s Jerusalem start of the Giro d’Italia. Tainted pro Chris Froome clearly intends to allow his alleged doing case to overshadow the Giro.

Organizers are confident that the Cascade Cycling Classic stage race will be back next year, despite its cancellation for 2018. Which is what bike event organizers usually say just before you never hear from them again.

 

Finally…

When spending $15,000 for bespoke bike is a relative bargain. If you’re going to drive in the bike lane while drunk and with a suspended license, at least stay closer to the speed limit.

And you haven’t got bike skills until you can flip pancakes while riding.

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Thanks to Stephen K for his generous donation to help support this site. I am constantly blown away by the kindness and generosity of our supporters. 

 

4 comments

  1. A. Bauer says:

    Hey, there was a bicyclist killed over here in the City of Orange a couple of days ago (April,26). The OC Register mentioned it butt provided very few details!

  2. Casey K says:

    To be fair the stretch of road in Redding that might be closed, hopefully will be closed, is short, maybe 2/10 of a mile on a section that passes no houses or businesses. The plan is supported by the neighbors since it will stop cut through drivers who use that road to get to or from downtown. Of course there is push back from drivers who do use the road as a short cut and some drivers in general who think roads belong to cars only and argue that only drug users and the homeless will benefit from the new trail that will be built to connect our incredible River Trail with our downtown in Redding.

  3. Ralph says:

    We have been thinking of bike and barge tours. They offer the chance to unpack once for the duration rather than every day with just a bike. They can also be range extenders. Although in Holland we found that you don’t need much to go distances fairly unsupported. One down side is that this one seemed to be tied to the ship’s meal plan. We liked the adventure of finding little places on our own along the way.

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