Morning Links: LeBron James talks bikes, LAPD targets pedestrians, and a Glendale stop sign hit-and-run notice

The LeBron LA bike watch goes on.

The good news is, the Wall Street Journal’s self-described bicycle dork Jason Gay talks bikes with new LA Laker LeBron James.

The bad news is, it may be hidden behind their paywall, but at least here’s some of it if you can’t access the full story.

Either way, it sounds like LeBron is looking forward to joining us.

James said he’s fired up about the cycling in his new home base of Los Angeles, where he will be joining the Lakers this season. (This was in the news, you can look it up.) L.A. sometimes gets a bad rap as a cycling city, but there’s a lot of good riding in town, and tons of high-level cyclists.

“I’ve seen a few bike paths around Los Angeles,” James said. “I know Santa Monica has a great bike path down there on the beach…I’m looking forward to that.”

Would he consider riding to home games at Staples Center? “Oh my goodness,” James said. “That would be a hump. I would be able to avoid the highway traffic, though.”

So keep your eyes peeled for someone who looks a lot like LeBron James riding on the beachfront bike path.

Because it just might be.

And the offer still stands to put together a ride with kids from his new hometown in the City of Angels to see him safely through that hump to work.

………

Good question.

An Op-Ed in the LA Times asks why the LAPD is targeting pedestrians instead of drivers, when cars are running over people right and left.

Almost as upsetting as the statistics is the Los Angeles Police Department’s response. If you’re a walker rather than a driver, you know this is true: LAPD officers target pedestrians for tickets but rarely react when motorists violate traffic laws right in front of them. This selective enforcement seems so blatant that I suspect it’s by design. The LAPD is intentionally putting the responsibility for street safety on pedestrians, even though motorists control the cars that kill.

Writer Scott Schultz goes on to explain that he requested data from the LAPD on the number of jaywalking tickets their officers issued, as well as tickets to drivers for failing to yield.

It took two years to get the data, and just five divisions responded — Central, Hollenbeck, Hollywood, Van Nuys and Northeast. Of 68,072 total citations, 55,392 went to pedestrians. In other words, 81% of tickets issued for crosswalk infractions went to pedestrians.

Central Division, which includes downtown, Chinatown and skid row, was particularly aggressive toward pedestrians. Of their 43,326 combined citations, only 11.25% (4,876) were issued to drivers. During the six years covered by the data, there were more jaywalking tickets issued in just the Central Division than there were failure-to-yield tickets in the five divisions combined. Meanwhile, 20 pedestrians were killed by cars in the Central Division in 2017 alone.

You don’t have to spend much time walking or riding a bicycle in Los Angeles to realize, as LeBron James undoubtedly will, that too many drivers feel entitled to do whatever they want, without fear of getting stopped by police.

Even when the violation happens right in front of them.

Vision Zero is about improving streets and infrastructure so human mistakes don’t become fatal, not increasing enforcement.

But until the former happens — which seems pretty unlikely these days — we’ll need to count on the police to protect us by doing the latter.

Which clearly isn’t happening right now.

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Bikingly forwards news of a Glendale hit-and-run involving a bicyclist, with the notice posted on old school social media.

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Who says you can’t go for a ride with your dogs, even on a folding bike? David Drexler captured this photo on on the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach on Sunday.

David Drexler

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Local

The LA Bicycle Advisory Committee meets tonight in Hollywood; you can read the agenda here. The BAC is the only official voice for bicyclists in the city, even if most of the city’s councilmembers never meet with, let alone listen to, the district representatives they appointed.

 

State

The bicyclist killed in a Pleasant Hill hit-and-run while riding on his lunch break last week was the son of a former member of the Irish legislature; his oldest brother was killed in a traffic collision four decades earlier.

A San Mateo letter writer says the way to build more housing without increasing traffic is to require builders to fund dedicated bike lanes as part of the project.

A Chico newspaper says Caltrans needs to come up with a strategy to protect bicyclists and pedestrians on a pair of proposed roundabouts, saying both groups usually get the short end of the roundabout stick.

 

National

Bicycling looks at how a former football lineman lost 105 pounds in a year by riding a bike.

Outside says gravel biking is changing bicycling for the better.

Business owners in a Pittsburgh shopping district are angry over the potential loss of a few parking spaces, even though more people may come by bus or bike.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation says New York’s success with Vision Zero provides a road map for other cities on how to reduce pedestrian deaths.

The Baltimore city council has repealed a part of the fire code mandating minimum street widths, which had blocked the development of bike lanes.

This is who we share the roads with. A Delaware truck driver allegedly blared his horn at a bicyclist for hugging the white line, then nearly ran him off the road before getting out and beating him with a wire cable. The authorities showed how seriously they don’t take violence against bicyclists by releasing him on a paltry $3,000 unsecured bond.

New York has become a bicycling city, with over 450,000 bike trips each day, compared to 170,000 in 2005. Which could be LA’s future if our elected leaders would just overcome their innate fear of NIMBY voters.

The New York Post breathlessly complains that dockless bikeshare bikes are clogging sidewalks since their recent arrival in the city. Because it’s just so hard to pick up a bike and move it if it’s in the way.

Streetblog considers the victim-blaming response in a Louisiana parish to the bicycling crash that killed a Baton Rouge city councilman.

 

International

Writing for Bike Biz, Laura Laker looks at why there are so few women bike mechanics, and what the industry can do about it.

The war on cars is a myth, but the war on bikes goes on, as someone has been sprinkling thumb tacks on Edmonton, Canada’s downtown bicycling network.

Toronto could have a decidedly bike friendly mayor, because the city’s former chief planner has decided to run for office.

Children living in the borough surrounding London’s first Mini Holland street design emphasizing walking and bicycling can expect to live six weeks longer than children in more auto-centric neighborhoods.

London’s first walking and cycling commissioner says the city can be made safe for both.

A UK letter writer can’t seem to grasp the concept of contra flow bike lanes. And somehow thinks the equivalent of $5,177 is too much to spend to fix a bikeway.

Caught on video: A British driver just barely brakes in time when a kid suddenly darts across the roadway on his bike.

A Brit driver is outraged when he films bicyclists riding side-by-side on a quiet, narrow street, where there wouldn’t be room to pass safely even if they weren’t. And as the paper notes, it’s perfectly legal to ride abreast in the UK, though it might be polite to move over.

As usual, an Irish county decides to put up warning signs for bicyclists on a dangerous roadway, but only after its too late for an American tourist.

Tajikistan is worried that the terrorist attack that resulted in the death of four bike tourists, including Americans, will have an adverse affect on tourism. No shit.

At least one country is getting serious about traffic violence, as Bangladesh introduces the death penalty for traffic fatalities, in response to student-led protests demanding better road safety. Thanks to Larry Kawalec for the heads-up.

LA may be the hit-and-run capital of the world, but it looks like South Africa is trying to catch up, as a bike advocacy group warns bicyclists that early morning hit-and-runs are becoming a common problem.

Japan Today says the county’s road system needs to be redesigned to make it safer for bicyclists.

 

Competitive Cycling

Evidently, a Glasgow minister is no fan of bike racing, complaining about closing the streets for the European Championships on Sunday and calling it a “minority pursuit” that local fans are clearly not interested inIf he thinks cycling fans are in the minority, wait until he finds out how many people actually go to church every Sunday.

Team Sky’s Egan Bernal will be off his bike for at least three weeks after undergoing facial surgery and suffering a “small” brain bleed. Meanwhile, Movistar’s Mikel Landa may miss the Vuelta after suffering a fractured vertebrae in the same crash.

Former Tour de France champ Jan Ulrich, who still has his yellow jersey despite getting caught up in a doping scandal, was detained by Spanish police after allegedly breaking into his neighbor’s home and threatening him.

 

Finally…

Don’t yell insults at a gay man armed with glitter. Nothing like a little bike race performance art.

And forget riding across Wisconsin, what they really need is a little rice.

3 comments

  1. Eban says:

    “Because it’s just so hard to pick up a bike and move it if it’s in the way.”

    ???

    Yes. This is true for some people – like a neighbor who is wheelchair bound and couldn’t get back to her car because someone had dropped a dockless bike on the sidewalk in her way (thank goodness someone stopped to move it for her).

    • bikinginla says:

      That was intended to be sarcastic, because so many people complain instead of just picking the bike and moving it. But as you point out, there are some people for whom that can be a problem.

  2. Ralph says:

    Now personally I agree that the bail set for the alleged road rager was set too low. However bail was never meant to be a punishment. The use is to insure that the defendant will show up in court. Too often is is used to keep people in jail before guilt is determined. This can have life changing consequences for people who turn out to be innocent.

    Plus the system seems to be preying on bail to cover costs, see New Orleans, and imprisoning people of color especially. To me teh real outcome should be judged by the punishment at the end of the trial for the guilty party. This sounds like assault with a deadly weapon and could be 5-10 years.

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