Morning Links: Jeff Jones Memorial Sunday, the cost of traffic violence, and biking through a 6-year old’s eyes

Before we move on to today’s news, I received word yesterday that a memorial service will be held this Sunday for Jeff Jones.

The popular photographer was killed in collision while riding his bike on Griffith Park Blvd last month.

Exactly the kind of residential street so many people insist we should ride on. And one that was supposed to get new bike lanes under the LA bike plan passed nearly a decade ago.

See larger version of memorial flyer below.

………

Sigh.

Another brilliantly heartbreaking piece from Peter Flaxabout a young New York bike messenger who lived to ride.

And the effect their — as the victim preferred to be called — death had on the people left behind.

It’s definitely a must read piece.

One that also reflects the marginalization too many people experience when they decide to get on a bike.

Even in New York, which has done far more than most major cities to tame its streets.

There remains a public perception that most cyclists are entitled hobbyists, but even normally privileged individuals who get on a bike can experience what it feels like to exist in the margins of society, where one’s right to exist without threats is frequently challenged by systematic animosity, flawed infrastructure, and inadequate legal protections. And for someone like Robyn Hightman—who had struggled to find stability in their daily life and who rode a bike as their primary mode of transportation and employment—that marginalization was exponentially more intense. Robyn had endeavored to find a safe place through riding and was denied in the most extreme way possible.

As I did the reporting for this story—talking to more than 30 people who knew Robyn well—one unexpected theme emerged: Every single person who rides a bike told me about getting hit.

And it’s far worse here in Los Angeles, where little has been done in recent years to make our streets safer and more inviting for anyone who chooses not to drive.

We all deserve better.

………

This is the cost of traffic violence.

Rising country singer Kylie Rae Harris was killed in a collision while making her way to her next gig in a tiny Texas town; she was just 30 years old. For someone I’d never heard of before yesterday, she was pretty damn good.

A Milwaukee mother teaching her teenage son to drive was shot to death by a road raging driver because of a fender bender with the killer’s van — after he had cut her son off by making a left turn from the wrong lane.

………

Take a couple minutes to see an urban bike ride through the eyes of a six-year old.

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Local

Los Angeles officially opened a new half-mile segment of the Los Angeles River Greenway, better known as the LA River bike path, in Studio City yesterday; eventually the pathway should extend the entire length of the LA River.

A two-block section of Glendale’s Artsakh Avenue is scheduled to get a $7.3 million pedestrian-friendly makeover. Now if LA would just do the same with Hollywood Blvd at Highland, which is begging to be a pedestrian plaza.

CiclaValley conquers Topanga State Park on the Send It Sunday gravel ride. Although it should be noted that the park was unarmed, and refused to fight back.

Hermosa Beach’s bicycle traffic school allows bike riders to attend bicycle education classes in lieu of paying a traffic ticket, just like the people in cars have been doing for decades.

A man was critically injured while apparently trying to cross dangerous Los Coyotes Diagonal in Long Beach on his bicycle; for a change, the driver stuck around. If LCD isn’t the deadliest street in the city, it’s pretty damn close.

 

State

Governor Newsom signs a bill that will allow bike riders to go straight through marked left or right turn lanes, rather than having to “thread the needle” between turn lanes and high-traffic through lanes.

The New York Times visits San Diego, and can’t see the ocean for the scooters.

A 22-year old San Diego woman suffered life-threatening injuries when she allegedly made a left turn on her bike in front of a driver traveling in the same direction.

A domestic violence suspect accused of trying to escape police by riding his bicycle into a Martinez Home Depot armed with a sawed-off shotgun has pled not guilty to felony counts of assault with a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a short-barreled shotgun.

A local paper calls on car-centric Petaluma to do a lot more to encourage bicycling to fight climate change.

 

National

Former Chicago and DC DOT director Gabe Klein examines the stats, and says cities should focus on Vision Zero and traffic safety to fight crime affecting every resident on a personal level.

Bicycling offers advice on how to get your confidence back after crashing your bike. My approach has always been to get back on my bike, and ride the same route I crashed on to drive that fear out of my head.

Kindhearted Portland police and 911 dispatchers buy a 12-year old girl a new bike to ride to school after the one her grandmother had saved up for was stolen.

The Sierra Club magazine goes riding on what they call the “American Serengeti” in Montana, where ranches have been combined and fences torn down to form the American Prairie Reserve at the edge of the Great Plains.

A retired marine living in Milwaukee says bicycling saved his life, losing 141 pounds after his doctor warned he could be dead in ten years.

A New York condo and co-op site says a building’s failure to securely maintain a bike room is just a lawsuit waiting to happen, regardless of any warning signs.

Curbed NY says, despite Mayor De Blasio’s musings, more regulations aimed at bicyclists won’t make New York’s streets any safer.

A DC protected bike lane is on hold because the sergeant-at-arms for the US Senate doesn’t want to give up 37 street parking spaces, even though there are roughly 12,000 more surrounding the capital building.

A writer for City Lab takes one of DC’s new 30 mph dockless electric mopeds out for a spin. And likes it.

In an apparent effort to increase traffic congestion on a new Maryland bridge, a letter writer says bicyclists and pedestrians should pay their fair share and be subject to the same tolls drivers are. Because Lord knows you wouldn’t want to encourage people to walk or bike across the bridge instead of getting back in their cars and making traffic worse for everyone. Besides, if bike riders and pedestrians were charged our fair share, they’d have to pay us to cross. 

Life is cheap in Florida, where a driver walks with loving caress on the wrist for killing a nine-year old boy riding his bike, after the judge gives her a lousy $1,000 fine and suspends her license for a whole six months. It’s hard to call that justice when it was her carelessness that sentenced an innocent little kid to death.

 

International

Streetsblog looks at people of color expressing themselves through bikes, art and music, from Philly to Chile.

A recent British Columbia design school graduate won a bronze award at an international conference by placing barcodes on a bike jacket to keep bicyclists from getting run over by autonomous cars. Which, however well intended, is just another way of making humans subservient to motor vehicles, autonomous or otherwise.

Someone in Hamilton, Ontario could be getting their bicycle back, after police bust a man on a failure to appear warrant, and discover the bike he was riding had been stolen four years earlier. Which is why you need to register your bike now, and report it to the police if it ever gets stolen.

A Montreal city councilmember wants to require all bike riders younger than 18 to wear helmets.

A 78-year old Australian man was forced to lie on the side of the road for over 90 minutes after he fell on his bike and broke his hip, while people passing by ignored his cries for help.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews catches up with lifelong bike racer and industry veteran Andrew Bernstein, who was nearly killed by a hit-and-run driver in Boulder CO in July.

 

Finally…

Who says you can’t ride on water? Probably not the most effective move to try to escape police by setting a kid’s bicycle on fire.

And it takes a special kind of person to say offensive things about people on bicycles, then get offended when they take offense.

 

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