Morning Links: Phil Gaimon pens his own obituary, balance bike parking, and Bike the Vote endorsements

Take a few moments, right now, and read this hard-hitting piece from Phil Gaimon, who narrowly avoided being turned into road kill by a salmon driver speeding around a curve on the wrong side of the road.

Just like the squirrel he passed several minutes later after he composed himself.

Of course, the squirrel did dart into traffic and he’ll get no mention in the local paper, but if I’d shared his fate I expect that would be the headline for me. I’ve made peace with the fact that this probably is how I’ll die someday and I’m choosing to still do it, but I’d like to set the record straight here. When I die on my bicycle, I didn’t do anything erratic and I didn’t make a mistake. I’m an expert at bike riding, I did it for a living among the best in the world for years, and in my retirement I ride cautiously because I had enough broken bones when it was my job. When I die it’s because of some asshole not paying attention, speeding, texting, or both, on roads where there’s no infrastructure or room for error, and most likely there won’t be much of a punishment. I’m dead, so at least they can get the story right.

I’ve long thought the same thing as Phil Gaimon describes.

Odds are, when I finally meet my maker — which hopefully will be a very long time from now — it will happen on a bike.

Not because bicycling is dangerous, but because I’ve spent far more time on my bike than I have doing anything else. And plan to continue as long as I’m able to remain upright and turn a pedal.

But now that I live it Hollywood, it seems even more likely, thanks to streets filled with aggressive and distracted drivers. Along with a near total lack of bike lanes, protected or otherwise.

And no, sharrows don’t count.

Like Gaimon, I fully expect to be blamed if that ever happens.

And like Gaimon, it won’t be true.

That’s why I use a bike cam when I ride, so I’ll have proof I didn’t run a red light or stop sign, or suddenly suicide swerve out in front of traffic.

It’s cold comfort.

But to will have to do until Los Angeles finally gets serious about Vision Zero.

And finally commits to building the bike plan its already committed to.

………

On a happier note, this tweet gave me the biggest smile I’ve had in weeks.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the heads-up.

………

Get ready to bike the vote this November, as Calbike offers its endorsements in the coming election.

Interesting to note that all but one of the legislative candidates they endorse supports using clean transportation financial incentives for bike purchases.

Which translates to giving rebate to encourage people to buy bicycles, ebikes or otherwise. And actually use them to replace car trips.

Meanwhile, Bike the Vote LA has released their own voter guide for the LA area. Nice to see my own Assembly Member made the list.

………

Local

A new study ranks the 20 most congested cities in the US; for a change, Los Angeles wasn’t at the top of the list. In fact, LA ranked seventh, behind Chicago and ahead of Seattle.

It’s a busy bike weekend in DTLA this week, with CicLAvia rolling on Sunday, and the Bike! Bike! conference Thursday through Sunday at Los Angeles State Historic Park; Bike! Bike! is intended to bring bike owners, bicycle shops and bike groups together to “workshop new ideas and methods to advocate for urban bicyclists.”

Community stakeholders conducted a “slow jam” on Temple Street, where limited safety improvements are underway after Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Mitch O’Farrell combined to kill a desperately needed road diet on the dangerous street. Although the improvements might help people on foot, it’s not a Complete Street unless it safely accommodates people on two wheels, as well.

Streetsblog visits the new purple curb extensions on the Pico Blvd Great Streets project. But how great can it really be without bike lanes?

CiclaValley races his wife from Westwood to the San Fernando Valley, pitting bike against car. You can guess who won.

Santa Clarita City Councilmember Cameron Smyth explains why you should ride in the city, and explains how Santa Clarita’s Heads-Up traffic safety campaign applies to people on bicycles.

 

State

Unsafe routes to schools. A mother and her eight-year old son were lucky to escape with minor injuries when a turning driver struck their tandem bike while they were riding to school. Police said the driver couldn’t see because he had the sun in his eyes, which makes it okay, right?

The Ventura County Star says it’s time to stop the madness, and do what you can to clean the air by car-pooling, taking the bus, walking or riding a bike.

San Francisco’s new mayor called on the city to speed up Vision Zero safety improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians. It would be nice if LA’s mayor would say the same thing. But don’t hold your breath.

 

National

A new AAA study shows 80% of drivers overestimate the technical capabilities of their car’s safety devices, especially the ability to detect bicyclists and pedestrians. Maybe because every other car commercial shows them doing exactly that.

Uber has announced a $10 million fund to advocate for congestion pricing and charging stations for dockless ebikes near transit stations.

Bicycling offers 30 bike hacks every bicyclist should know. As long as you’re willing to put up with their annoying click-through format that only shows one item at a time.

Seattle bike commuting is down to its lowest level since 2007; just 2.8% of city residents rode to work last year, down from 3.5% the year before.

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on. An Iowa woman faces a 1st degree murder charge for stalking a man who accused her of stealing, and using her car as a weapon to intentionally run him down as he rode his bike in a parking lot, while driving under the influence.

Michigan’s new three-foot passing law goes into effect today.

A road raging Ohio lawyer lost his license to practice for a year — make that six months — after he brake checked a bike rider, and stomped the cellphone of a physician who stopped to record the incident. He also skipped out on the court hearing for the misdemeanor he ended up charged with, leading to his later arrest and conviction.

Seriously? It will now cost DC drivers who park in a bike lane three times as it does to door a bike rider under the city’s new Vision Zero laws; meanwhile, a bicyclist who hits a pedestrian crossing the street will be fined $150, but just $100 for hitting someone walking on a sidewalk.

A DC council member says the city has to do more to protect bike and scooter riders, including building protected bike lanes. Meanwhile, an advocacy site says it’s been just two days since a driver killed someone biking, walking or scooting in DC.

A Tampa FL columnist says a proposed transportation sale tax, which would reserve 12% of funds for bike and pedestrian projects, is a good start to change the city’s ranking as the nation’s most dangerous place for bike riders.

 

International

This is the cost of traffic violence. A promising young Canadian ballet student was killed in a collision on Sunday.

No bias here. A deputy mayor on Canada’s Prince Edward Island says requiring bike riders to attach a license plate to their bike or helmets would make the city friendlier to bicyclists. No, really.

A writer for London’s Evening Standard says bicycling must be made safer after decades of half-hearted attempts.

Members of an Oxford, England men’s choir will ride 100 miles to Wales to remember their roots as descendants of Welsh residents who moved to Oxford during the Great Depression.

This is who we share the roads with. A British motorcyclist records a road raging minicab driver running over his parked bike after he got off to confront the man. But the motorcycle rider was no angel, either, kicking and hitting the car after threatening to break the driver’s skull.

An American Vietnam vet with an Ivy League education gave up his life in this county to live as a hermit in Ireland, using his bicycle to get around.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cyclist examines the superstitions and rituals of the pro peloton, and concludes they might give riders a mental edge.

An 18-year old Belgian cyclist insists he’s not the next Eddy Merckx, as he prepares to make the leap from the junior ranks to the WorldTour next year.

Canada’s “starry girl cyclist” of the 1930’s is being inducted into the country’s Cycling Hall of Fame, after a riding career spent leaving fellow riders and stereotypes in her wake.

After years of misfortune, Australian time trial specialist Rohan Dennis claimed the world champ’s rainbow jersey in the event.

 

Finally…

Before you complain online about a bike riding mom and her child, make sure you’re right.

And when a cop right hooks a bike rider, it’s just a “momentary lapse in attention.”

Right.

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Join the Militant Angeleno and BikinginLA for the first-ever Militant Angeleno’s Epic CicLAvia Tour at the Celebrate LA! LA Phil 100 CicLAvia this Sunday!

Just RSVP to [email protected] We want to guarantee a relatively small group to make sure we can keep the group together, and everyone can hear.

One comment

  1. Sergio says:

    Phil Gaimon… Glad he’s ok. My buddy had a similar experience going up GMR about 8 weeks ago… except, he was on the right shoulder while going slow and climbing, and coming down the opposite direction were speeding motorcycles… one of them swerving all the way to where my buddy was and causing him to crash and brake his hip and femur… and of course they didn’t stop. And my buddy was airlifted to the hospital and still recovering…

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