As the great prophet Howard Beale once said, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
And I’m willing to march on City Hall by myself if that’s what it takes.
I’ve spent the last several weeks trying, and failing, to get support from LA advocacy groups for a plan for bike riders and pedestrians to storm city hall on Bike to Work Day this month to demand safer streets.
While I understand their need for campaigns and strategic planning, too many people are dying right now. And too many city councilmembers are backing away from the promises we were made.
So if this isn’t the right time for action, when is?
As I struggled with my own anger over the recent rash of bicycling fatalities and fatal hit-and-runs, I kept coming back to the questions of if not me, then who? And if not now, when?
Do we wait until someone else dies? Or twenty more people?
Do we wait until the next road diet is cancelled by councilmembers caving to angry drivers and traffic safety deniers?
And when is the right time to demand demand safer streets? As the Chinese proverb famously says, the best time would have been 20 years ago.
The second best time is now.
It’s my intention to give the mayor and every member of the council a copy of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing, and see if they get the message. If we can raise just $400 in the next week to cover the costs, I’ll do it.
Besides, we only need another $375, thanks to a donation from Douglas M to get things started.
But either way, I’m going to be there on May 18th, even if that means standing alone before the city council.
Because something needs to be done now.
I hope you’ll join me. And help spread the word, so we can get as many people as possible to show up that day.
And I hope you’ll consider making a contribution to help send a message to the council that it’s time to show a little courage and do the right thing.
Update: I’ve been reminded that the LA City Council doesn’t meet on Thursdays, so doing this on Bike to Work Day won’t work.
The question is whether it’s better do storm city hall on Tuesday, May 15th after the Blessing of the Bicycles, Wednesday the 16th before the Ride of Silence, or Friday the 18th before Bike Night at Union Station.
So what works better for you? Let me know in the comments below.
Update 2: It looks like Friday, May 18th works for more people. So that’s the day we’re storming City Hall.
In a verdict that shouldn’t surprise anyone, the driver responsible for the Kalamazoo massacre has been convicted on five counts of second degree murder for killing five bike riders in a drug-driven 2016 crash, and injuring another four.
Charles Pickett Jr. was also convicted of five counts of causing death while driving under the influence, after allegedly popping a handful of pain pills before getting behind the wheel. In addition, he had meth in his system as well as alcohol at the time of the crash.
Pickett now faces a possible life sentence when he’s sentenced next month.
A well-deserved one.
Thanks to Adam Ginsberg for the heads-up.
This is the cost of traffic violence.
In a heartbreaking story, a writer looks at the devastating effects of a Texas hit-and-run.
Boston magazine offers an in-depth examination of the events leading up to the death of a brilliant surgeon when she was right hooked by a truck driver while riding to work. And the police investigation that went out of its way to blame the victim.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined with other mayors around the world to issue a Commitment to Green and Healthy Streets, envisioning “a future where walking, cycling, and shared transport are how the majority of citizens move around our cities.” However, as Streetsblog points out, it takes more than lip service to be a climate mayor. It will be very hard for LA to live up to that commitment as long as city councilmembers are free to cancel safety and Complete Streets projects to appease angry drivers.
Streetsblog examines the dangers faced by many bike riders on the streets that go well beyond traffic safety. Like the 14-year old bike rider gunned down in a quiet Azusa neighborhood yesterday.
The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) will relaunch their Go Human campaign throughout their six-county region for Bike Month.
Celebrate Bike Month with ten bike trails within ten miles of Morro Bay.
NACTO presents a nationwide study of bikeshare in the US; while docked bikes outnumber dockless bikes 56% to 44%, only 4% of the actual trips are taken by dockless bikeshare. Something that’s likely to change as dockless bikeshare matures in this country.
In an absolutely brilliant move — sarcasm intended — Vista Outdoor responds to the recent boycott by bike retailers over the AR-15 rifles made by one of their subsidiaries by deciding to stop selling guns. And get those darn bike people off their backs by getting rid of their bicycling equipment divisions, as well.
You can now control your LED-lighted Lumos bike helmet with your Apple watch, assuming you have either one. Or buy them both at your friendly neighborhood Apple Store if you don’t.
NPR looks at the LaneSpotter app, which allows users to flag problems with bikeways in real time, like a WAZE for bike riders.
Building bamboo bikes in Oahu.
A Portland nonprofit intends to collect 1,000 bicycles in a single day to refurbish and donate to kids in need.
A Washington sheriff’s deputy says police have to actually observe a traffic violation, such as a violation of the three-foot passing law, in order to write a ticket. Unfortunately, the law is no different here in California.
A Seattle website says the ebike craze has become a verifiable movement in the city.
A Spokane WA bike commuter compares bicyclists to the NRA, and says some bike riders in the city are just jerks. Bicyclists are human, some humans are jerks. Therefore, some bicyclists will inevitably be jerks. Just like some drivers and pedestrians.
Forget protein bars. Austin TX bike riders get free tacos for breakfast on Bike to Work Day.
Houston residents are calling for changes after two people are killed in the same spot while riding bikes in the last two years; a crowdfunding campaign raised $15,000 to send the latest victim’s body back to India.
Evanston IL city aldermen reject a call to remove a parking-protected bike lane, after a female alderman — alderperson? — calls them “an absolute disaster at rush hour.”
Speaking of Evanston, a local man discovers how it feels when his bike has a starring role in a police chase.
New York council members call on the mayor to stop the city’s ridiculous ebike ban, and talk with the food delivery riders who use them to develop new rules.
Cycling Industry News considers why the bike industry has such a hard time catching counterfeiters. Which is why you should always buy from a reputable source; any deal that seems too good to be true probably is.
An Ottawa TV station says people are taking to bicycles and ebikes to fight rising gas prices.
Cambridge, England council candidates consider calls to ban parents from driving their kids to school. Unlike the US, where schools attempt to ban kids from biking or walking to class.
One more to add to your bike bucket list — Spain’s sun-soaked Mallorca island.
Tel Aviv, Israel opens the first velodrome in the Middle East.
Around 50 Brisbane, Australia bicyclists stage a die-in to call for better bike safety, tying up traffic during the morning rush hour. While the technique can be effective, we don’t win any friends by inconveniencing people just trying to get to work.
And the Foos are some of us, too.
Most of them, anyway.