Morning Links: Hit-and-run is worse than you think, bad pedestrian advice, and call to support CA Complete Streets bill

Today’s common theme is hit-and-run in the City of Fallen Angels.

Curbed considers the problem of drivers who flee crashes in Los Angeles, noting that less than one percent of drivers who flee the scene of an injury crash are ever convicted of a felony.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman offers a hard-hitting photo essay examining the human toll of hit-and-runs, concluding like this —

Our streets are full of too many memorials.

Whether they be traffic-related or gun-related or manifest in the sheer number of folks living on the street, there’s too much evidence of how little we care for our fellow Angelenos, particularly those on the margins.

Too much evidence of how little we are willing to expend to make their lives even just the tiniest bit less fraught.

Both of those come the same day news broke of yet another bike rider was left to die alone in the streets, a 50-something man run down as he was crossing the street after collecting cans in South LA.

By all appearances, just another one of those Angelenos living on the margins that Sulaiman referred to.

But the simple fact is, we’re dying out here — rich and poor, bike riders, pedestrians and, yes, even drivers. And no one is doing a goddam thing about it.

Yes, our elected leaders talk about it, and make endless promises to do something.

But talk is cheap.

Speaking strictly for myself, I’m sick and tired of waiting for the day when our elected officials care enough to actually do something to keep drivers from fleeing the scenes, instead of futilely trying to track them down after the fact.

Let alone the day when our city leaders finally take our hard-won bike plan off the shelf and build the fucking thing.

And don’t even get me started on the city’s ludicrous lack of action on Vision Zero, as that promised 20% drop in traffic deaths the first year has turned into a continually rising curve.

As someone else pointed out, there’s no need to flee a crash that never happened in the first place.

I don’t have the answers. Lord knows, I wish I did.

I’ve offered my own suggestions to bring an end to hit-and-runs once and for all, which have been presented to state legislators. And forgotten in less time than it took to explain.

But someone has to come up with an answer, maybe more than one.

Now.

Because the problem is only getting worse.

And I don’t want your loved ones, or mine, to be the next ones left to die alone on the streets.

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Seriously, the Culver City PD’s hearts may be in the right place, but their advice to pedestrians seriously sucks.

Simply put, no one is going to walk blocks out of their way for a crosswalk if there isn’t one where they need to cross.

Nor should you have to dress up like a clown during the day, or light yourself up at night just to attract the attention of drivers who probably won’t see you anyway because their noses are illegally buried in their phones.

While people should pay attention crossing the streets — or just walking on the sidewalk, for that matter — no one has shown that distracted walking is a significant cause of traffic deaths and injuries, here or anywhere else.

And I’d much rather see someone walking after getting drunk or stoned than getting behind the wheel. Or in or on any other personal transportation device.

And yes, that includes a bicycle. Although even that is far better than driving.

Maybe next time they can try a little harder, and not just reprint AAA’s seriously windshield-biased talking points.

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Semi-frequent contributor Mike Wilkinson asked me to urge you to contact your state legislator to support SB 127, the Complete Streets Bill that would require Caltrans to consider the needs of all road users whenever they rework a state-owned or managed roadway.

But since he already did, I’ll let Mike do it.

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BBC presenter and bike rider Jeremy Vine sends a video message to his local council, politely pointing out the need for safer streets.

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A new video from Patagonia traces how mountain biking saved the California gold rush town on Downieville.

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

No bias here. An Oklahoma country DJ says yes, bicyclists have a right to the road, unless they get in his way or slow him down, in which case he reserves the right to throw ball bearings at them, or crash into a group ride because he somehow thinks several humans on bikes will cause less damage to his pickup than hitting an animal.

A Maryland man was the victim of a drive-by dooring, as the passengers in a passing car intentionally doored him as he rode his bike, then got out and beat him as he lay on the ground. All just to steal a pack of cigarettes.

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Local

The LA Times considers LA’s new Rainbow Halo project, which will place colored disks at the site of traffic fatalities to cast a rainbow on the sidewalk below, as part of the city’s Vision Zero program. So we can’t get road diets or safe bike lanes, but we’ll try to stop drivers from killing people with rainbows. Maybe they couldn’t find any unicorns, so they’re hoping to attract leprechauns.

Sadly, West Hollywood’s WeHo Pedals has gone to that great bikeshare in the sky.

 

State

Congratulations, Los Angeles. According to a new study, LA doesn’t suck as much to drive in as Oakland or San Francisco, coming in at a surprising 93rd among the top 100 American cities for ease of driving; our state mates to the north checked in at 99th and 97th, respectively.

 

National

As usual, Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss gets it, insisting people on bikes and on foot are natural allies in the battle for safer streets, even if cars have driven us apart.

Bicycling looks at the new rules that will allow ebike riders on many national park and BLM trails; Fast Company says not everyone is convinced that’s a good idea.

They get it, too. Seattle votes to include protected bike lanes on any paving project costing over $1 million, and build 3,000 bike parking racks by the end of next year.

A Colorado bike shop owner explains the effects Trump’s tariffs are likely to have on his business after he’s forced to raise retail prices to cover them.

There are worse ways to mark your 66th birthday than riding a 66-year old Bottecchia ten speed down Route 66 through Oklahoma. Except for the part where he drives part way before getting out and riding for awhile. Although anyone who would abase himself by riding in a car when he has a sweet piece of Italian steel like that really doesn’t deserve it anyway.

Cooler heads prevailed in Schenectady NY, as the city council voted down a proposal to seize bicycles belonging to teenagers accused of “reckless” trick riding, concluding it was “a little extreme” and could haunt the kids later.

Sounds like fun. Buffalo NY will mark the 100th anniversary of the Great Steel Strike with a bike ride touring the sites made famous in 1919 by the men who led America’s largest labor strike, and the violent response they were met with in return.

Talk about keeping a dangerous driver on the roads. A 41-year old New York ex-con faces a murder charge for intentionally killing a bike-riding bandit with his SUV, after the victim had tried to break into cars and threatened a couple with a screwdriver. The victim had an extensive rap sheet with 38 previous arrests, which his killer easily topped with a whopping 42 priors. Clearly, New York doesn’t have a three strikes law, or both of these guys could have been safely behind bars already.

New York advocates says the problem isn’t that protected bike lanes take up too much space, it’s that the city’s vehicles are too damn big.

A Louisiana man faces a murder charge for shooting a suspected bike thief in the head as he was riding off on the shooter’s bike, then simply leaving him there and walking away.

 

International

An Ottawa columnist says bicyclists and drivers both need to develop more empathy for one another, adding that bike riders need to be more predictable when they ride, while motorists need to be more understanding.

New Atlas says Czech automaker Škoda is rolling out a new pedal-less throttle-controlled 28 mph ebike concept that looks pretty, but you probably wouldn’t want to ride it.

Writing for Cycling Tips, an anonymous Iranian bicyclist explains what it’s like to defy the country’s fatwa against women riding bikes.

Apparently, it’s not just an American problem. Even authorities in ostensibly polite Japan are looking for solutions to the rising rate of road rage incidents. My apologies, I lost track of who brought this to my attention today. But thank you anyway.

Thailand’s roads remain among the deadliest in the world, especially for the poor; only war-afflicted Libya is worse.

A Malaysian newspaper says e-scooters aren’t helping the environment after all, as a German study shows they replace more environmentally friendly bicycle trips.

 

Competitive Cycling

A former lower-rung pro cyclist recalls all the dietary myths that were passed down like revelations from the gods among racing teams.

 

Finally…

When you really, really don’t like seeing naked people on bicycles — and bikeshare seats, in particular. Into each life a little rain must fall, but apparently, a little Cat 5 storm is just too much for a charity ride.

And a tip of the Stetson to that Okie DJ we mentioned earlier, who somehow thought this cool pre-war bike safety video was a slam against modern bike riders.

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Thanks to Matthew Robertson for his generous monthly donation to help support this site, and keep SoCal’s best bike news and advocacy coming your way every day. 

Any donation is always welcome, in any amount, and for any reason.

 

One comment

  1. David Erickson says:

    The OutsideOnline article by the Bike Snob is excellent as usual. He is absolutely correct that the vehicular cycling mentality is largely responsible for many of our current problems. As the Twitter post that you referenced says (and I have often said it also), the “hit” part of “hit-and-run” is a bigger problem than the “run” part. And one of the reasons we have so many “hits” is because half of the bicycling community has been adamant that everyone pretend that a 200 pound bicycle going 12 MPH is the same as a 2-ton SUV going 60 MPH. They aren’t just indifferent to bicycle infrastructure and laws that make things safer for bicyclists, they often are actively opposed to that infrastructure.

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