Morning Links: Killer SUVs blamed for rise in traffic deaths, and road raging Brit driver blames victim for crash

So much for the myth of the texting pedestrian.

The Detroit Free Press says it’s not people walking while distracted that’s responsible for the 46% jump in pedestrian fatalities in recent years.

Or even the huge increase in distracted driving.

It’s the popularity of SUVs.

Or more precisely, the design of the popular vehicles, which have higher, flatter grills than cars that knock people forward and down to the pavement, rather than onto the hood of a car.

And making it more likely that the victim will be run over by the driver who hit them, or other vehicles on the road.

To make matters worse, federal safety regulators have known about the danger for years, but buried the news while people continued to die.

The same undoubtedly holds true for collisions with people on bicycles, which could help explain the rise in bike deaths, as well.

………

Or it could be due to people like this.

After a British driver hits a bike rider with his wing mirror, he and his passenger get out to scream at the victim, blaming him for hitting their van.

Which would be pretty much impossible, since the driver was passing him and clearly failed to give a safe passing distance.

Although I suppose it is possible that the victim might have suddenly started riding in reverse, and swerved out of his lane to hit the van. Though you’d think that might have show up on the video.

But still.

No driver would lie about something like that.

Right?

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton questions how Metro’s Bus and Bike Only Lanes can be improved, especially on Sunset Blvd leading to Dodger Stadium, where Michael MacDonald was ordered out of the lane by an LAPD officer despite signs saying bikes are permitted.

CiclaValley goes riding in the new South Figueroa bike lane, and finds parked cabs and other cars.

The LA Lakers signed a pretty good bike rider to a four year contract. Someone should tell LeBron he needs to start reading BikinginLA now that he’s one of us.

This is what the lower LA River could look like if and when restoration efforts are completed.

They get it. A South Pasadena paper explains what sharrows are, and notes that bike riders have the same rights on any street, with or without those funny markings on the street.

 

State

No shit. The first-ever joint meeting between the California Air Resources Board and the California Transportation Commission ends with an agreement that people in the state have to drive less. But not, unfortunately, on how to make that happen.

Bicyclists say a stalled bike lane on San Francisco’s Embarcadero could have prevented a collision that left a pedicab driver critically injured.

A father falls in with his young daughter to ride with NFL star Marshawn Lynch and his cousin Josh Johnson as they bring the joy of riding bikes to over a thousand kids in Oakland, with professional BMX riders acting as ride marshals.

 

National

Bloomberg says e-scooters are changing the landscape of urban transport.

Las Vegas has earned a Silver level Bicycle Friendly Community status, in part because of road diets that have created space for bike lanes. Yet oddly, you don’t hear of Vegas residents rising up to fight them, right wing shock jocks railing against them, or city councilmembers cancelling them in fear of angry drivers.

A local writer discusses the joys of riding a bicycle around Las Cruces, New Mexico. All of which apply virtually anywhere, including here in Los Angeles.

The brother of a hit-and-run driver who killed a Texas bike rider was busted for aiding in the coverup afterwards, even though police have been unable to find the driver or his car. Thanks to Stephen Katz for the heads-up.

Yes, Black Girls Do Bike, even in Milwaukee.

A bike rider was injured in a collision with a garbage truck in New York’s Central Park, even though cars were banned from it two days earlier.

Challenged by city leaders to show why it needs a minimum width requirement for streets that has been blocking protected bike lanes, Baltimore’s fire department responds by making a video with one of their largest trucks showing it doesn’t fit in the lane. Not that it would ever actually be sent to a narrow street like that, according to a city councilmember.

Tragic news from Baton Rouge LA, where a city councilmember and long-time community advocate was killed when he and his riding partner were run down from behind by a 21-year old SUV driver, who was arrested on several charges, including negligent homicide; the other rider was hospitalized in serious condition. Bicyclists gathered last night for a ride of silence to honor the victim.

A Georgia driver ran down a pair of bicyclists from behind, injuring a mother and killing her 18-year old daughter.

 

International

Road.cc considers the whys and wheres of buying a bespoke bicycle.

Great idea. A network of six hundred bike owners have banded together to fight bike theft in Edmonton, Canada.

Sounding like bike riders in Los Angeles — and most other places — bicyclists in Winnipeg complain about gaps and odd designs in the city’s bike network; 75% of city residents say separated bike lanes are a good thing.

Toronto has seen a 1,500% increase in bicycling in the city’s urban core after bike lanes were installed in 2013, jumping from a few hundred to over 6,000 a day.

Good question. An Oxford, England columnist wants to know why bicyclists are always seen as the bad guys.

You’ve got to be kidding. A road raging Scottish driver was fined the equivalent of less than $1,000 for deliberately forcing a bike rider off the road after he was stuck behind a group of riders; he also lost his driver’s license for two years.

Cute piece from a writer in the UK, who wants to know why bicyclists aren’t accepted as normal people, as he wakes up “at the crack of dawn to slide into (his) tight-fitting lycra mankini.”

Over half of British drivers are unaware of the country’s safe passing distance. The government has announced the equivalent of $1.32 million to crack down on unsafe passing, though the Guardian says the country needs to significantly boost funding to reap the benefits of the current bike boom.

Nice gesture. America’s only remaining Tour de France winner joins with two Holocaust survivors and a few hundred other people to bike 55 miles from Auschwitz-Birkenau to a Jewish cultural center in Poland.

A Philippine writer goes bicycling and beer drinking in Berlin.

A Moroccan man is making his Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca by bicycle, traveling over 18,000 miles and through every city in Morocco to promote peace.

Seventy Saudi bicyclists will join the 500-mile Global Biking Initiative, riding from Gutenberg, Sweden to Hamburg, Germany to raise funds for charity.

 

Competitive Cycling

The Guardian talks with Fabian Cancellara, who says he wants to inspire people to get on their bikes.

Four time Tour de France winner Chris Froome has been disinvited from this year’s race, though a final decision won’t be known until later this week. Which may not matter, since he was just cleared of doping charges, despite a failed drug test.

Former women’s road cyclist Allison Tetrick tells the story of how she rebounded from a serious traumatic brain injury to winning this year’s Dirty Kanza 200-mile gravel race.

 

Finally…

The grudge race of the century — or maybe just the week — ends with a drop and a cookie. When you need an all-terrain vehicle to tow your surfboard, but still want to ride a bike.

And she’s still bringing home cycling medals at age 77.

One comment

  1. JOHN MCBREARTY says:

    Almost ashamed to be Scottish after seeing the behavior of the occupants of the van involved in hitting the cyclist. The company is JBEMS, an electrical contractor in Dalkeith, near Edinburgh, in Scotland. I sent them an email expressing my outrage at the behavior of their employees and I encourage everyone reading this to do so. Email address is: [email protected] I wouldn’t let those guys change a lightbulb for me.

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