Morning Links: Inclusivity on the streets, the phantom threat of teenage ride-outs, and the war on bikes keeps going on

Today’s common theme is inclusivity on our streets.

Like the Harvard researcher who says cities should build “networks of wide, stenciled, red-painted, surface-lighted, barrier-protected, bicycle-exclusive cycle tracks” on main streets in “lower-income ethnic-minority neighborhoods” to help residents get to work quickly, safely and affordably, rather than focusing on wealthy, white residents.

Meanwhile, a Pittsburgh paper writes about the need to make the city’s streets “anything from an empowering outlet to a necessary refuge” for women, as well as those who “identify as women, queer, transgender, non-binary or anything outside of our typical notions of gender and sexuality.”

And no bias here. The NYPD kicked a group of 11 bike riders enjoying a Memorial Day picnic out of a park for not having a permit — even though the parks department doesn’t issue permits for holidays, and they’re only needed for groups of 20 or more. Never mind that it was the same group that was racially profiled…uh, targeted for not having bells on their bikes last month.

………

Eben Weiss, aka Bike Snob, writes that the phantom threat of teenage-led bike outs doesn’t exist, except in the world of panicked, ratings motivated news reports.

It’s no surprise that rideouts rankle the tight-of-sphincter; Homo sapiens probably started feeling contempt for anybody younger than them as soon as our life expectancy hit 30. And yes, being teenagers, rideout participants also do things a mature adult might consider “stupid.” In fact, I’m willing to bet some of them are even listening to that rap music and smoking the pot.

Even so, there’s not a shred of evidence that what has become an international phenomenon has resulted in an alarming rate of injury to either the public or to the riders themselves, and the likelihood that one of them might knock you down unintentionally—let alone target you for an attack—is so tiny as to be laughable.

Although he might want to decide whether to call them bike-outs, ride-outs or rideouts.

I stumbled on the first of what I assume will be many LA ride-outs on Memorial Day, as well walked past a group of young bike riders gathered in a park near The Grove.

Around 45 minutes later, they came rolling through the upscale mall, whooping  and popping wheelies, 30 or so teenage boys, mostly on fixies, as shoppers jumped out of their way.

As much as I admired their spirit, and the sheer rebellion in their affront to an icon of LA commercialism, putting that many pedestrians at risk was questionable, at the very least.

Although in my imagination, I like to assume it was done out of righteous indignation after one of the riders was kicked out of the Grove with his bike.

But next time, maybe keep the ride-outs to the street outside, where the only people they’ll annoy are safely wrapped in a few tons of steel and glass.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps going on.

And on.

A Welsh man was lucky to escape serious injury when he crashed into a wire someone had strung across a bike path at chest level, knocking him off his bike and cracking his helmet.

An Australian grandfather describes how he survived by playing dead after a man standing behind a car shot him twice in the head while he was riding his bike on a dirt trail two years ago, for no apparent reason; his would-be killer still hasn’t been found.

………

Local

LAist checks in with LA’s great e-scooter experiment after the first official six weeks, noting that the Los Angeles Fire Department has responded to just 74 scooter-related incidents so far this year, although sadly, there’s been one death.

Yes, your bicycle is currency on LA’s Skid Row.

Pasadena police celebrated Bike Month with a bicycle and pedestrian enforcement detail last Fridays, ticketing 85 drivers for violations that endanger people on foot or two wheels; just five people on bikes were busted, along with 17 pedestrians. Which refutes all those people who insist that people on bikes always break the law.

The Venice Electric Light Parade is still going strong after three years, with hundreds of lighted bikes rolling on the bike path every Sunday at sunset to promote bike safety.

Santa Monica police impounded 32 Wheels e-scooters being used on the beachfront bike path; the scooters are allowed in neighboring Venice, but not in Santa Monica. And warned users of over 150 other e-scooters that they’re not allowed on the bike path.

A Santa Monica letter writer says the leading pedestrian intervals and bike traffic lights at Colorado and Ocean Avenues are going to get someone killed. Never mind that they were installed to improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians.

 

State

California’s League of Cities expresses concern over a proposed law to establish state standards for e-scooters, saying it could mark the end of affordable bikeshare and scooter programs.

The Orange County Transportation Authority, aka OCTA, marked Bike Month with a three-mile bike rally in Orange on Thursday, making up for a rainout the previous week.

A nine-year old San Diego boy will have to walk to school now, after a thief was caught on video stealing his BMX bike.

A Berkeley bike rider says the city’s bike boulevards are nothing more than fiction, while complaining that drivers hit us, yell at us, even kill some of us. And then want to talk about their feelings.

San Francisco Uber drivers are told it’s up to them whether to endanger bike riders by illegally picking up and dropping off passengers in bike lanes.

 

National

It’s the 35th anniversary of the Remember the Removal bike ride, which follows the route of the shameful Trail of Tears.

Bicycling offers up an entirely subjective list of the greatest bikes ever made — if you can get past the nausea-inducing rapid fire photo montage at the top of the page. And if you can get past the fact that it doesn’t include a single bike from the last century, which I can’t.

Bike Portland asks where your kids should ride in relation to you for the greatest comfort and safety.

This is who we share the roads with. A Spokane WA man was driving with a suspended license, and didn’t have the interlock system installed on his car required for a previous DUI, when he fled the scene after running a stop sign and seriously injured a bike-riding boy.

Talk about getting it wrong. A deputy director with Utah’s Department of Transportation, who has apparently never heard of induced demand, says they need wider roads to avoid gridlock like California — which enjoys wide roads along with hellish traffic congestion.

A California artist is riding her bike across Nebraska as part of a “performative work” to follow defunct railroad tracks across the US and explore the gaps in existing rail trails.

Inc. examines how Wisconsin-based Trek grew to $1 billion in sales with a renewed focus on quality and service.

Speaking of Bicycling, they say New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare has gotten more butts on saddles than any other bike. Including a ride-by shooter.

A successful pilot project means bike riders could be allowed to use leading pedestrian intervals at nearly 3,500 additional New York City intersections.

 

International

A Calgary columnist says the Idaho Stop Law doesn’t have to be a hot potato, and the more he thinks about it, the more it makes sense.

The Irish hitman who allegedly killed a reputed mob leader in a bike-by shooting died on his front lawn in a hail of gunfire. Although his killers arrived in a car.

Bike riding continues to surge in Copenhagen, climbing to a 49% mode share, as the city considers further restrictions on car use.

No surprise here. That video we linked to yesterday showing an Australian driver brake check a group of bicyclists has sparked outrage among bike riders, while online commentators continue to blame the people on two wheels.

 

Competitive Cycling

Former race leader Primoz Roglic cracks on a rainy stage of the Giro, raising questions of whether the Slovenian cyclist can make the podium, let alone win.

An artistically inclined former Grand Tour stage winner thinks the modern domestique is undervalued.

 

Finally…

Maybe you can’t walk on water, but you can ride an ebike on it. Of course you want to see video of Phil Gaimon’s Cookie Corner on the Mt. Baldy stage of the AToC.

And even a tornado knows better than to mess with the Wright Brothers bike shop.

3 comments

  1. larry says:

    regarding the kids riding through the mall, at least they didn’t drive a car though the mall like in the Blues Brothers movie.

  2. Andrew says:

    R.E. The Santa Monica bike traffic light

    I feel like that’s a perfect example of why drivers need to be tested more often than once when they were 16 to ensure that they know the rules of the road.

    It’s also telling that the letter writer’s anger is directed not at motorists who are the ones at fault, but instead at those who are trying to improve the safety for pedestrians and people on bikes.

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