Morning Links: LACBC calls for action on safe streets, bad day for San Diego bike riders, and anti-bike victim blaming bile

My apologies for Friday’s unexcused absence. 

I was knocked on my ass by another bout with dangerously low blood sugar. Except this time, I couldn’t get back up. 

It took four hours, three fig bars and two cookies to get my blood sugar back up to a minimal safe level. 

Yes, it’s true. 

Your sweets are my life-saving medicine. 

And as anyone with diabetes knows, the toll something like that takes on your body lasts for hours afterwards. 

Which is all a long-winded way to say diabetes sucks. 

So get tested if you’re at risk or have a family history of the disease. Then do everything you can to get your blood sugar back under control, and keep it there. 

Because you don’t want this.

Trust me. 

Now let’s get on with today’s news. Because we have a lot to catch up on. 

Photo by Dan Fador from Pixabay

………

We’ve waited a long time for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, aka LACBC, to step up and take any real action on our streets.

Including during my five-plus years on the board, when I fought a losing rearguard action to encourage them to stop working only behind the scenes, and take good fight to the streets.

It looks like that time is finally here.

They even make it easy for you by including the email addresses for the mayor and city council.

  • mayor.helpdesk@lacity.org
  • councilmember.cedillo@lacity.org
  • councilmember.Krekorian@lacity.org
  • councilmember.blumenfield@lacity.org
  • david.ryu@lacity.org
  • paul.koretz@lacity.org
  • councilmember.martinez@lacity.org
  • councilmember.rodriguez@lacity.org
  • councilmember.harris-dawson@lacity.org
  • councilmember.price@lacity.org
  • councilmember.wesson@lacity.org
  • councilmember.bonin@lacity.org
  • councilmember.Smith@lacity.org
  • councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org
  • councilmember.huizar@lacity.org
  • councilmember.buscaino@lacity.org

Let’s all take a few minutes and email the councilmember for your district. And remember, as the LACBC notes above, to include your address to prove you’re a real, honest to God constituent.

If you don’t live in Los Angeles, contact the councilmembers for any districts where you work or ride, and make it clear you want to be able to bike safely in the City of Angels.

I haven’t had a chance to write my email yet. But I’ll do my best to get it done today.

So I hope you’ll join the LACBC — and yes, me — in demanding safer streets for bike riders, and everyone else, throughout Los Angeles.

And maybe if we all respond, this won’t be the last time the LACBC tries something like this.

If you want to share your email on here, just let me know.

………

Speaking of the LACBC, here’s your chance to tell them to form an associated 501(c)4, so they can engage in direct political action without risking their tax-exempt status.

SoCal’s largest bike advocacy group, the LACBC wants your comments on what direction they should take at a Community Input Forum on Saturday, July 27th, as they regroup to confront the challenges of bicycling in Los Angeles.

You already know what I think.

If not, read these last two sections again.

………

Saturday was a very bad day in San Diego.

In what was initially a very confusing story, a 60-year old man suffered a life-threatening head injury when he allegedly descended too fast on a steep hill in the city’s Park West neighborhood around 3 pm, made an “unsafe” move to the right and somehow clipped a car mirror.

It made more sense when the Union-Tribune clarified that he clipped the mirror of a parked car; he was thrown several feet onto the pavement as a result.

Just three hours later, someone described only as a teenager was riding on Claremont Blvd in Kearney Mesa when he or she was struck by an SUV turning onto the northbound I-805 onramp; the driver claimed he didn’t see the victim until it was too late.

Which should be seen as a confession, but usually serves only as a Get Out of Jail Free card to absolve drivers of any responsibility.

The driver remained at the scene, while his passenger jumped out to perform CPR on the victim.

Naturally, the CHP investigators blamed the victim, saying he or she wasn’t riding in the crosswalk. Even though bike riders aren’t expected or required to use a crosswalk.

And even though bicyclists still get ticketed for riding in a crosswalk, which is legal in California following a recent change in the law.

It’s not the first crash at that intersection, either.

Early reports indicated the victim had died, but other sources revised their stories to say it was unclear whether or not the victim was still alive.

Sadly, it seems like prayers and good thoughts are called for in both cases.

Chances are, we’ll hear more about one or both cases in the next few days.

Thanks to JMK for the reminder about the deadly intersection.

………

No bias here.

An anti-bike op-ed from an anti-bike writer in the generally anti-bike New York Post says it’s your own damn fault if you get killed.

The two things that might have prevented this horror — training and adherence to rules — are tellingly absent from the protesting cyclists’ list of demands.Not to put too fine a point on it, cyclists are frequently their own worst enemy, and their presence has made everyone less safe.

Of course, automobiles are more dangerous than bikes, but adding cyclists to the mix, many of whom refuse to obey traffic laws, has compounded that hazard.

Never mind that in many, if not most, of the New York’s recent bicycling fatalities the victim didn’t do a damn thing wrong.

But clearly, he doesn’t let that give him a moment’s pause.

When Mayor Mike Bloomberg began wedging bike lanes into our already crammed streets, it wasn’t to meet a demand — it was to create one. To promote cycling, he and then-DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, a bike enthusiast, threw caution to the wind and encouraged cyclists to hit the streets without so much as a helmet law, which might have deterred ridership, especially among the affluent, arrogant, scofflaw cyclists who want to use the city as their own personal racetrack.

Of course, only affluent people ride bikes.

Even though bike commuters are more likely to come from low income households, for reasons that should be obvious to anyone saddled with monthly car payments — let alone gas, insurance, maintenance and taxes.

And as well all know, anyone who rides a bike arrogantly insists on not getting killed by some random jerk. Like say, the writer of that piece, for instance.

It was a recipe for disaster, and the disproportionately influential, ceaselessly kvetching bicycle-advocacy groups capitalized on every heart-rending fatality to further their agenda.

Nobody elected the advocacy outfit Transportation Alternatives to speak for New Yorkers. It isn’t a safety organization, a cadre of seasoned city planners or even some impartial arbiter seeking what’s best for everyone; it’s a bunch of mainly upscale cyclists trying to make the city more navigable for themselves.

Actually, they did.

TransAlt is one of the nation’s largest and most effective alternative transportation and traffic advocacy groups, composed of thousands of average, everyday New Yorkers who elected the group to speak for them.

Then there’s this BS.

It’s not at all unusual to see them texting or riding hands-free as they careen through traffic. Close calls have become a daily occurrence, especially for the elderly and disabled, whose reflexes aren’t ideal for evading speeding cyclists.

Case in point, two months ago, 67-year-old Donna Sturm died after being mowed down by a cyclist who ran a red light in Midtown. If bicyclists can ride fast enough to kill, they ride too fast to enjoy exemption from the training, certification, insurance and identifiable licensing required for the use of every other vehicle on our streets.

Just wait until someone tells him about cars, whose drivers have killed far more New Yorkers than the single person killed by a jackass bike rider this year.

Not to mention that simply bumping into someone while walking can cause a fatal fall — as can tripping over your own shoelaces.

Which by his reasoning means that every person who steps out of their home or apartment must be trained, licensed, insured and certified.

Good luck with that.

We’ll leave the discussion on this final outpouring of faux journalistic bile.

Bike lanes haven’t made anyone any safer, but they have inarguably taken traffic congestion from bad to intolerable. The narrowing of our city’s critical arteries to accommodate a tiny minority whose vehicles are rendered impractical all winter and on rainy days seems to have been irrationally prioritized with regard to triage.

Maybe he should do just a little research before guessing like that. And missing by a mile.

But then, what would you expect from someone who pops up periodically with his anti-bike, but seems to be a ghost otherwise?

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

………

A Bay Area bike rider was pleasantly surprised when another bicyclist returned his lost money clip, completely intact, just an hour after tweeting that it was missing.

………

Driverless cars may not be coming anytime soon.

But a new company plans to introduce fully automated delivery pods in the near future.

And plans to take your hard-won space on the street to do it, knocking us from second class citizens to ranking somewhere behind a bunch of robots.

………

This is who we share the roads with.

An Arizona man faces charges for swerving into a bike lane and killing a bike rider, while under the influence of a veritable pharmacopeia of legal and illegal drugs.

Taylor acknowledged taking methadone — a drug used to treat addiction — earlier that day, but he initially denied any other drug use. After failing several impairment tests, he was arrested at about 9 p.m., according to the report.

Taylor later tested positive for opiates, methamphetamine, amphetamine and methadone, the police report said. He told officers he had used meth and heroin earlier in the week before taking methadone the same day as the collision.

Police also found heroin and paraphernalia in his possession, according to the police report.

 

Let’s hope he can manage to get clean in whatever deep, dark hole they throw him in.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the worldwide war on bikes just keeps going on, as someone has been sabotaging popular British bike paths by placing medieval-style booby traps across the trails.

………

Local

Mariah Banks pled not guilty in the hit-and-run death of Frederick “Woon” Frazier in South LA last year, despite reportedly confessing when she turned herself into the police weeks after the crash.

Metro wants you to help rank their priorities for Our Next LA.

An ebike magazine goes e-mountain biking with recently retired former LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, who helped get the department back on bicycles.

Burbank is studying how to improve safety for people riding bicycles as part the city’s Complete Streets plan, while the mayor calls for “quick and dirty” solutions.

 

State

Speaking of San Diego, the city has made the first installment in the promise by city leaders to remake the downtown area to be safer and more inviting for people on bikes, with parking protected bike lanes, bollards and green intersections appearing on three streets.

A group of bicyclists are riding across the US to raise money for families in need, starting at the site of the Poway synagogue shooting.

A Santa Maria paper says people in cars may be safer, but bike riders and pedestrians, not so much.

Oakland promises its new equitable bike plan will be accessible to everyone, regardless of identity.

 

National

The new Complete Streets Act introduced in both houses of Congress would require states to set aside 5% of federal highway funds for streets that serve all road users.

It’s getting rough in the Great Plains, as a Kansas cop rear-ended a fleeing bike rider while driving on the sidewalk. And an Oklahoma cop tasered an apparently intoxicated bike rider who refused to stop, even though the victim didn’t pose a direct treat to to the officer or anyone else.

Someone please tell this Illinois TV station that sharrows are not bike lanes.

Pittsburgh bike riders are leaving their bikes on buses. Or someone’s, anyway.

A Pennsylvania doctor thanks the four strangers who saved his life when he was struck with a sudden heart attack while riding his bike.

Speaking for NIMBY’s everywhere, a Boston writer says don’t mess with our street, promising to fight plans for a road diet and bike lanes, in an apparent effort to keep it dangerous.

No shit. New York’s police commissioner agrees that the NYPD’s longstanding policy of ticketing bicyclists following a fatal bike crash is just a tad insensitive. You think?

The New York Times wants to know what the hell happened to a city that was supposed to be getting better for bike riders, while Bicycling says it’s shocking just how badly New York is failing people who ride bicycles.

NYC councilmembers want to ensure the city’s expanding bikeshare program serves low-income residents, too.

Does it really surprise anyone that cars — or more precisely, the people operating them — are more dangerous than guns on the streets of the Big Apple?

A homeless man in Louisiana learned the hard way not to stick around the parking lot begging for money after you walk out of Walmart with a stolen bike.

An op-ed in the local paper says people should warned explicitly that riding a bicycle just about anywhere in the Charleston SC area is inherently unsafe, while the paper hopes the third time is the charm to get approval for a bike and pedestrian bridge.

 

International

The good, the bad, and the ugliest bikeways around the world.

A Canadian driver swerved to avoid a crash as a group of Gran Fondo cyclists cut into his lane at the last second to avoid a fall in the peloton.

A Toronto newspaper politely explains the point of ebikes, calling them the great equalizer, while a writer in the city tries bikeshare for the first time, and decides it should be expanded.

A climate change protester shut down a British airfield for 20 minutes to protest a military air show as he road his bike on the runway, pursued by firefighters and service members.

A UK YouTube star became the first person in the country to be killed in an e-scooter crash.

Adding insult to injury, an English thief not only stole a teenage boy’s bike, he flipped the victim off while riding away with it.

Maltese bicyclists complain about dangerously substandard bike lanes. Especially the section that dead-ends into a brick wall. Oh, and the green paint is slippery, too.

An Indian ex-con hated life on the outside, and the abuse he suffered from his wife and kids, so much that he stole a bicycle to get back to his friends behind bars.

 

Competitive Cycling

Defending champion Annemiek van Vleuten won her second Giro Rosa in a row, only finishing out of the top seven twice in the ten-stage race.

In your spoiler-free Tour de France update, the difficult terrain on Saturday’s 8th stage shook up the standings.

Le Tour went gravel grinding last week, forcing French pro Romain Bardet well off the pace.

Amazing photo catches defending TdF champ Geraint Thomas in midair as he crashes, landing on teammate Gianni Moscon while snapping Moscon’s bike in two and sending him to the hospital.

Then there were three. Tejay van Garderen dropped out of the Tour de France after breaking his hand in a fall, leaving just three American cyclists in the raceVeloNews considers why such crashes are inevitable.

The newly reformatted Colorado Classic announced the course for the August race, as it transforms into a strictly women’s stage race.

Horrible news from the world of track cycling, where a 17-year old Italian cyclist was in intensive care after he was impaled when a piece of the track splintered and punctured his lung at the European U-23 and Junior Track Championships.

 

Finally…

Bike riders hardly ever crash into outdoor cafes, and when they do, the result is usually a little spilled coffee and avocado toast. Before you sell a bike on Letgo, make sure it’s really yours.

And this is who we share the roads with, too.

Note the bike tally on his door.

 

3 comments

  1. Alan Coovert says:

    I live in South Austin, Tx and I was riding my bike today minding my own business. A motorist gives me a punishment pass, yelling something at me. The motorist catches the next light so I catch up and see that its a woman. I said, “Excuse me?” The woman face is contorted in anger and she’s yelling at me “Get on the fuckin’ sidewalk!:” I meant to say that sidewalks are for pedestrians but instead I said “you’re a fuckin’ asshole!” That really pissed her off. She drove away yelling more expletives. I waited and then took the next right off that street. I wish I would have just ignored her but I didn’t.

    • larry says:

      yours was the correct reply

    • bikinginla says:

      It’s really hard to control that anger in a situation like that. I’ve been there too many times myself. But your second move was the smart one — just get yourself out of that situation as quickly as possible.

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