Morning Links: LA traffic deaths going the wrong way, chaos on the streets of LA, and birth of a Long Beach bike lane

Looks like LA’s Vision Zero efforts could use a little more vision.

Or maybe a lot more effort.

According to Curbed, at least 240 people were killed in traffic collisions last year — 57 more than 2015, when Mayor Eric Garcetti called for a 20% reduction in traffic deaths by 2017.

So much for that.

An executive directive issued by the mayor at that time called for a 20 percent reduction in deaths by 2017, with an emphasis on preventing “pedestrian fatalities involving older adults and children.” Traffic deaths rose 38 percent in 2016 and have fallen just 5 percent since then.

The transportation department’s initial count, which does not yet include the final two days of the year, also indicates that 127 pedestrians were killed in crashes in 2018. That’s down slightly from the 135 pedestrian deaths recorded in 2017, but it’s the second-highest total in the last 15 years.

And nearly as many bike riders were killed in the City of Angels last year — 21 — as all the traffic deaths of any kind in San Francisco, where they actually take Vision Zero seriously.

The mayor’s office argues, contrary to the widespread perception that little or nothing has been done to implement Vision Zero, that the city has made over 1,000 safety improvements over the past three years.

Which works out to just 333 a year.

But even if we accept that total, 1,000 improvements in a city the size of Los Angeles makes a drop in the bucket look like a tidal wave.

And those improvements have represented a form of timid incrementalism. None have been the kind of bold, wholesale changes the city would need to meet that failed 2017 reduction of just 20%.

Let alone put the city on the road to actually eliminating traffic deaths by 2025.

Which ain’t gonna happen.

But still, it’s cute the city still pretends that zero traffic deaths by 2025 is possible, as if closing our eyes, crossing our fingers and wishing really hard will make it happen.

Actually ending traffic deaths will takes major changes to the streets to slow traffic, encourage active transportation and get people out of their cars.

Let alone the political courage to actually make it happen.

One other quick note on the piece.

I’m told new LACBC Executive Director Eli Akira Kaufman was quoted accurately in the piece, but misspoke.

Kaufman says building community support for road diets and other measures will take time, though he argues that making the city safer is about more than individual projects.

“Infrastructure doesn’t save lives; culture does,” he says, arguing that it’s important for people to consider the safety of others when moving around the city.

What he really meant to say, my sources tell me, was that infrastructure alone doesn’t save lives.

As the story notes, both Kaufman and the LACBC both remain firmly in the pro-infrastructure camp.

But he’s right.

If Vision Zero is ever going to have a significant impact in this city — let alone actually end traffic deaths — we have to change the culture that cars are king on the streets of Los Angeles.

And everyone else needs to get the hell out of the way.

Photo by Clifford Phillips.

………

A Canadian writer offers a somewhat happier perspective on LA traffic.

…Forget the “war on the car.” In Los Angeles, every conceivable form of transportation is competing against the other.

It’s chaotic. It’s messy. It’s beautiful. It’s brilliant. It is, in short, California.

Works for me.

………

Long Beach captures the birth of a bike lane.

Thanks to USC Cycling for the heads-up.

………

Local

Curbed offers what they term the ultimate guide to Dodgers Stadium, including advice to ditch the car and ride a bike.

Bicyclists confront the Pasadena city council, blaming the city manager for reconfiguring the long-time Rose Bowl loop and the injuries one rider suffered as a result.

Speaking of Pasadena, KCBS-2 lists the Rose City’s four best bike shops.

State

The 20th anniversary Sharon’s Ride rolls around San Diego’s Mission Bay this Sunday to raise funds for the Epilepsy Foundation.

An Indian Wells bicyclist is in critical condition after reportedly crashing into the rear of a stationary minivan; no word on how or why the crash happened. Thanks to John McBrearty for the tip.

Berkeley struggles to match its neighbor across the bay, as San Francisco moves forward with Vision Zero. Although San Francisco isn’t getting it exactly right, either.

Evidently, the local homeowner’s association isn’t a fan of the handmade bike jump track built by a 12-year old Danville boy.

A Sacramento pedestrian suffered major injuries in a crash with a rider on a motorized bicycle.

Los Angeles NIMBYs could take lessons from a Sacramento preservation group, which somehow opposes removing abandoned railroad tracks and a burned-out bridge to install a five mile bike path.

Vacaville police use Facebook to reunite a two-year old with her lost tricycle.

National

Outside looks at the best bike shops in the US. But can’t seem to find one in Southern California.

Peloton pinkie swears not to use any more songs without permission.

Your next tube could be lighter, stronger — and butyl.

An Oregon bill would make it clear that bike lanes continue through an intersection, whether or not it’s actually painted.

Seattle chooses parking over safety, rejecting long planned bike lanes on a dangerous street; a local TV station looks at the bitter politics of bike lanes and parking. That last story could run in just about any US city, including Los Angeles. Okay, especially Los Angeles.

A local radio station says despite being named America’s best bike city, Seattle will never be a bicycling city, because of too any hills and too much rain.

Spokane shows an uncommon degree of common sense, suspending the city’s bike helmet requirement for dockless bikeshare and e-scooter users, since few people walk around with helmets 24/7.

Utah legalizes lane filtering for motorcyclists, allowing riders to split lanes when traffic is stopped on roads with a speed limit of 45 mph or less. The story doesn’t mention whether that would extend to people on bicycles.

A Denver woman expands a popular bike and coffee shop into the space next door to open a tandem bike-themed bar.

A Colorado op-ed suggests when you’re the mayor, you can get away with hitting a bike rider after an illegal U-turn. Especially if the victim is homeless. Thanks to Frank Lehnerz for the link.

Now that’s more like it. An Iowa woman will spend the next five years behind bars for intentionally ramming her car into a woman riding a bicycle, then getting out of her car and repeatedly punching her; she accused the woman of sleeping with her baby daddy.

Scary story from Texas, where a woman nearly lost a finger when the chain came off her ebike, and engine engaged while she was trying to put it back on; fortunately, a Good Samaritan came to her aid.

Baltimore prepares to approve new rules for dockless e-scooters, after removing a provision that called for jail time for rule breakers.

A kindhearted stranger reached out to buy a new bike for a mobility-challenged Louisiana man after his was stolen. But what will he do with it now that police have recovered his original bike from a scrap yard?

International

A new Canadian study confirms what we’ve already seen — people who live close to high-quality bike and pedestrian infrastructure are more likely to get the recommended level of physical activity, and to be in better health.

Eddie Redmayne is one of us, riding through London’s Notting Hill neighborhood.

A British bicyclist is planning to ride 3,300 miles across the US to raise funds and awareness for the Diana Award, after bonding with Princes Harry and Andrew when he lost his own mother in a car crash at 17.

Unlike most cities, Paris actually does something about bike theft, installing a series of locked shelters throughout the city.

Competitive Cycling

Disturbing story from a British Paralympian who endured years of vulva pain and swelling from rubbing against poorly designed saddles when she rides.

An Argentine cyclist faces a four year ban for being just the latest to get busted for doping with EPO. Seriously, if the era of doping over, why do so many dopers keep getting caught?

Finally…

Even the Car Talk guys hated cars. Bikes hardly ever burst into flames, though ebike batteries are changing that.

And your next Colnago could run on batteries.

But hopefully, not burst into flames.

One comment

  1. …tandem bike-themed bar…

    Looks great! Road trip anyone?

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