Morning Links: AP e-scooter panic, LA is (not) famous for road diets, and Cedillo thinks people in CD1 don’t need scooters

Let’s start with this insightful look at the panicked Associated Press story we mentioned last week about the dangers of e-scooters, from someone who prefers to remain anonymous.

Here’s an excerpt from the AP story.

Andrew Hardy was crossing the street on an electric scooter in downtown Los Angeles when a car struck him at 50 miles per hour and flung him 15 feet in the air before he smacked his head on the pavement and fell unconscious.

And here’s what our anonymous commenter had to say in response.

The car was going 50 in DTLA, an area where it’s really hard and really illegal to drive 50 mph, and that is the last mention of an obviously speeding car. Instead, it gave 5 paragraphs to helmet use. It outlines the dangers of sidewalk riding (which are valid), but gives no space for discussion of weak infrastructure or vehicle speed that make people feel unsafe riding on the streets. It closes with a quote on how “companies are just dumping in scooters in cities” from Drew Howerton, a 19-year old who visited Austin last October and may not have the most informed view of municipal scooter regulation.

So, to sum it up, scooters are the problem, cars are never the problem and the reporter didn’t interview any subject matter experts. War on cars? Only in your dreams.

Since it is AP, this lazy reporting made its way into nearly every local media outlet in the country.

………

In today’s laugh out loud moment, a Detroit paper says more road diets and bike lanes are coming to the metro area, with supporters saying it calms traffic and opponents trotting out the old war on cars canard.

And one commenter opposes the road diets by insisting “This isn’t LA…”

Never mind that road diets haven’t exactly been welcomed with open arms here, either.

………

The LA City Council Transportation Committee will meet Wednesday afternoon, squeezing in discussion, amid all the micro-restrictions on truck parking and idling, of actually maybe doing something to close the Northvale Gap on the Expo Bike Path, along with banning dockless bikeshare and scooters in Gil Cedillo’s Council District 1.

Because evidently, only people in wealthier districts deserve inexpensive, convenient transportation options.

“Let them drive cars” seems to be Cedillo’s equivalent of “Let them eat cake.”

Meanwhile, Metro will host a series of meetings this week in the San Fernando Valley to consider what streets transit riders will use to get to the coming light rail line on Van Nuys Blvd — with the knowledge that more people are likely to arrive by bike or on foot than in cars.

The first meeting will take place tonight in San Fernando, followed by Van Nuys on Wednesday and Panorama City on Saturday.

………

Tern is giving away a trip for two to to Los Angeles for the August Meet the Hollywoods CicLAvia.

Sorry Angelenos, you’re already here.

………

Now here’s a bicycle tour to add to my own bike bucket list — a 550-mile ride to visit all six Belgian Trappist breweries.

Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the heads-up.

………

The war on bikes may be a myth, but the war on bikes is all too real.

Anti-bike terrorists strike again, stringing a wire across a UK mountain bike trail at neck height — something that could be fatal if it caught an unsuspecting rider by surprise.

A British bike rider was lucky to stay on his bike and escape injury when he was the victim of an attack with a paintball fired by a slingshot from a passing car.

When I started writing about the war on bikes, stories like this came along maybe once or twice every few weeks; now they’re a daily occurrence. And like today, often more than one.

………

Local

City officials have finally broken ground on the long-planned, 400-foot orange Taylor Yard Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge connecting Cypress Park and Elysian Valley across the L.A. River; the $20.6 million bridge has been in the works for three decades. And probably would have cost a lot less if they’d moved forward with it then.

A Venice writer tries all the e-scooters, and says most are awful. But Wheels wins, with Bird first runner-up.

CiclaValley takes a bike tour of LA landmarks. And yet, he rides right past my apartment and doesn’t bother to say hi.

A Duarte bike rider was shot in the elbow Saturday evening when a car pulled up next to him; he refused to cooperate with investigators.

 

State

California Streetsblog says it’s time to buy your tickets for the biennial California Bike Summit hosted by Calbike, which just happens to be in Los Angeles this time. I attended the first one, which was also in LA. And it was definitely worth it.

Kellen Winslow II has been convicted of rape, indecent exposure and lewd conduct in a series of San Diego assaults, while jurors remain deadlocked on eight other counts; the former NFL star was caught in part because Strava placed his bicycle near the site of one of the attacks

Santa Barbara police will be conducting yet another bike and pedestrian safety operation today. As always, ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limit line if you find yourself riding there.

Quartz says Lyft’s lawsuit against San Francisco shows they don’t care about reducing the number of cars on the road, despite talk from the company’s leadership.

 

National

No surprise here. Months after Seattle cancelled plan for a road diet and bike lanes on a dangerous street, complaints are piling up about unsafe driving and dangerous conditions for people on bicycles. It’s almost as if maybe there might have been a reason for the road diet in the first place.

Kansas officials say that with riders from the Trans American Bike Race passing through the state, it’s a reminder for people to drive safely around bike riders, after two Trans Am competitors were killed by Kansas motorists in the past two years.

A Dallas newspaper offers advice to the city’s newly elected mayor. And fixing sidewalks and building bike lanes top the list.

This is why people keep dying on our streets. A little girl in Fargo ND suffered non-life threatening injuries when a driver left-crossed the bike her mother was riding, and crashed into the bike trailer she was riding in, claiming he somehow didn’t see them. So the person behind the wheel drove off with a crappy $20 ticket for failing to yield.

A Milwaukee newspaper offers advice on how to keep your bike safe, including registering it for free with Bike Index.

Must have been an autonomous car. A Wisconsin TV station somehow manages to write 250 words about a hit-and-run that seriously injured a woman riding a bike, without ever mentioning the possibility, however remote, that the car may have had a driver.

Bike riders aren’t even protected on separated bike paths, as a Chicago driver was injured when his car flew off the roadway and onto the bike path along the city’s Lake Shore Drive. Fortunately, he appears to have missed anyone on the popular pathway.

The off-duty New York firefighter who deliberately attempted to run over the bike rider he nearly hit while running a red light has finally been arrested by the NYPD on charges of reckless endangerment and driving without a license. Although he should have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, which is what the crime really calls for, at a bare minimum.

A New York physician says the best way to prevent injuries is for kids to wear a helmet and obey the rules of the road when they ride a bike or scooter. Although giving them safer places to ride couldn’t hurt.

Brooklyn safety advocates say traffic violence has become an epidemic in the south part of the borough — as the next story illustrates.

A 22-year old Brooklyn driver faces charges for killing an ebike rider while allegedly speeding and driving under the influence — with her four-year old son in the back seat. The victim was a hard-working Bangladeshi refugee who had been granted political asylum in the US.

A 14-year old New Jersey girl was lucky to escape with a few scrapes when her bike was struck by a driver who was being pursued by police; police are still looking for him after he escaped following the crash.

A conservative Maryland podcast says “transit activists are just like cycling activists in their casual relationship with the truth and their meltdowns when somebody dare says ‘no.'” Something tells me those transit and bike advocates may have a better relationship to the truth than the people behind the podcast care to confess.

 

International

A Kiwi writer bikes Bolivia’s Death Road. Seriously, if the road had any other name, hardly anyone would bother, regardless of how scenic or challenging it might be.

Canadian Cycling Magazine provides warning signs that you may love your bike more than your partner. I may not love my bike more that my wife, but we have been together a lot longer.

Good question. A Vancouver city planner and urbanist asks if only experienced bicyclists feel safe in a painted bike lane, is it really a bike lane at all? Then again, as someone who lives in Hollywood, I’d settle for any bike lanes right now — good, bad or otherwise.

A Saskatchewan letter writer says separating bikes and motor vehicles is safer for everyone, because many drivers don’t follow the rules, either.

London author Jools Walker talks biking while black, and how her book is getting more women on bikes.

A British op-ed writer says it may seem radical, but calm down and try talking to teenagers like human beings for a change. And just leave the kids on ride-outs alone, already.

Life is cheap in Australia, where a truck driver walked without a single day behind bars for killing a bike rider because… wait for it… the sun was in his eyes, he was busy adjusting his visor, and he didn’t hear the ruble strips on the side of the road.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bicycling examines how a former ultrarunner with limited bike racing experience and no cycling coach managed to win the world’s premier gravel race.

A new partnership has been established between The Cyclist’s Alliance and the HeadSmart Sports Concussion Programme to study the problem of concussions in the women’s pro cycling peloton.

Victories by Los Angeles-based cyclist Justin Williams in two of the stages of the Tulsa Tough cycling race has put his new Legion of Los Angeles team on the national map; the team is dedicated to “increasing diversity (and) encouraging inclusion” in elite cycling.

 

Finally…

No one likes when drivers park in bike lanes, but don’t whack their cars with your scooter. Apparently Kylie Jenner and friend are a few days late for the World Near-Naked Bike Ride — though someone should tell them bikes work better with just one person per seat.

And it says something when even one of LA’s most bike-friendly city councilmembers doesn’t feel safe riding on the street with his kids.

 

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