Morning Links: Driving on the Ballona Creek bike path, shaming a helmet shamer, and cute dog on a bike

Let’s start the day with a few observations from Chris Buonomo from his weekend ride.

On Saturday morning while rolling southbound down the Ballona Creek bike path, we rounded one of the few sharp turns (the one north of Duquesne) only to encounter a silver Mercedes driver inching south on the path. When he realized there were bikes behind him, he waved us through the narrow gap between his door and the fence. I asked him why he was driving on a clearly marked bike path, and he said, “the GPS told me to go on here” and laughed it off. We told him to go to the next ramp so he could exit, and we made sure to alert all the bikes traveling in the opposite direction. I hope nobody was hurt out there.

But then we reached the Manhattan Beach Pier and their bike-hostile signage which sign shows a cyclist in a supertuck and a big red X. Pedestrians always always always have the right of way, but that sign sets up anyone who rides responsibly for failure. Roll through at 5 mph and risk getting a ticket. Do you think it’s necessary for the guy in the picture to walk his bike? Perhaps if the city didn’t offer abundant parking 3 feet from the pier and opened up that space a little more, bikes and peds could easily coexist.

The upshot is this: Cars go wherever they want with impunity. Cars dictate how much space is allocated to non-car. Yet the onus is always on bike riders not to get the drivers angry, look out for everyone else and not get themselves injured (or worse).

Will elected officials ever chip away at this systemic double standard?

Seems like double standards are what politicians do best these days.

Especially when it comes to cars and the people in them.

………

Some people just don’t get it.

It’s funny how so many people seem to think bike helmets are magic devices that make their wearers impervious to injury from two-ton vehicles whose drivers are typically exceeding the speed limit.

Take this columnist for the Chicago Tribune.

Please.

Rex Huppke, armed with exactly zero scientific studies, and apparently averse to even a modicum of research prior to ranting in print, beyond calling an ER doc at the local hospital, transforms into older, get-off-my-lawn troll for mass helmet shaming.

No, really.

I’ve seen a lot of stupid in my day, most of it coming from politicians, but peddling around with nothing to protect your noggin? That’s high-level stupidity. What exactly makes you think your skull is dent-resistant?

You think you’re invincible? Guess what, diddlepants? You’re nothin’ but meat stuffed into a skin suit, and if a car or curb or tree or pothole decides it wants to play natural selection, guess who’s gonna lose?

DID YOU GUESS?!? THE ANSWER IS: THE MORON WHO ISN’T A WEARING A HELMET!

With all due apologies to the doctor on the other end of his phone, bike helmets were never intended to protect against a crash with a compact car, let alone today’s massive wall-fronted SUVs.

Instead, they’re designed to cushion the impact to your head from a relatively slow speed fall off your bike. And if you don’t spring for the more expensive MIPS or WaveCel models, do absolutely nothing to protect against traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs.

They also do nothing to protect any other part of the body. Which should be self-evident, but evidently isn’t.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a firm believer in wearing a bike helmet, and never ride without mine.

But I also recognize their limitations. And don’t count on it to keep me safe.

A bike helmet should never be the first — or only — means of protecting yourself. It should always be seen as the last line of defense, when all else fails.

So if you actually give a damn about bike safety, skip the helmet shaming, learn to ride defensively, and fight for protected bike lanes and safer streets.

Then decide for yourself whether to wear a helmet.

Or as someone else put it,

If finger wagging and shaming actually worked, America would be the safest country in the world.

………

Seriously, there’s nothing cuter than a dog on a bicycle.

………

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

Enough said.

Gotta give the guy on the bike some respect for staying on his bike and maintaining a placid demeanor through all that.

………

Local

Good news on the political front, as Loraine Lundquist isn’t taking no for an answer, and running for a full term as councilmember for CD12, after losing a close race to John Lee in the special election.

Blame the geofence if your e-scooter suddenly craps out on you.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 80-something letter writer in the LA Times says he still rides his bike for minor errands, as well as taking other steps to reduce his carbon footprint.

A USC student was hit by a driver while riding her bike on University Ave Tuesday morning, joining four other Trojans hit by motorists while riding their bikes so far this month.

Robin Wright is one of us, riding the streets of LA with her husband on industrial strength fat tire ebikes as their dog trots alongside.

 

State

Calbike lists 187 streets and highways it says would be affected by the new Complete Streets bill currently awaiting Governor Newsom’s signature, including Santa Monica Blvd, Glendale Fwy and Angeles Crest Hwy in the Los Angeles area.

Apparently unfamiliar with the concept of induced demand, Costa Mesa officials present strictly car-centric proposed designs for Newport Blvd through the city, with nary a thought towards the needs of anyone not in a motor vehicle.

A San Diego advocacy group presented their vision for a Vision Zero in four East County cities.

Outside asks if the removal of Uber’s Jump bikes from San Diego and Atlanta marks the death knell for dockless e-bikeshare. Or it could just be the result of greater popularity for e-scooters. And in San Diego’s case, overregulation.

Congratulations to the Human Powered Vehicle Team from Cal Poly SLO, who set a new collegiate land speed record of 63.68 mph.

Chico cops bust a man for riding off from a bike shop at 4:30 am with a newly purloined bicycle; police credit a witness for helping them track down the thief.

 

National

Bicycling says style matters, and you want to look good when you’re getting dropped. And they want you to drool over the vintage ’80s bikes in It: Chapter Two.

Drivers in Pittsburgh — no, the one in Missouri — get some shiny new sharrows as a reminder to share the road with people on bicycles.

I want to be like her, too. An 80-year old Minnesota woman just rode 800 miles traveling to Wyoming and back. And has ridden 25,000 miles since she turned 60.

A woman who uses her bike as her primary means of transportation will be walking for awhile, after it was stolen from a badly installed bike rack at a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Association train station. To which the transit agency responded, that’s not our problem.

Once again, a bicyclist has been critically injured in the battle for space in New York’s Central Park, as a 60-year old woman went over her handlebars trying to avoid a pedestrian. And yes, she was wearing a helmet. And no, it didn’t save her.

Speaking of helmets, New York Council Speaker Dave Carlin politely shut down a reporter from an anti-bike TV Gotham station who insisted bike riders are dangerous and suggested bike helmets should be mandatory.

Once again, New York shows Los Angeles how it’s done, presenting a plan that would add 50 miles of protected bike lanes every year, along with another 30 miles of bus lanes. That compares somewhat favorably with LA’s complete and total lack of commitment for either one.

Streetsblog wants to know when will New York accept that bikeshare has become a vital form of transit, and finally begin subsiding it.

DHL is dropping their standard delivery trucks in favor of cube-like delivery bikes, after losing a wheel to qualify as bicycles under New York law.

A DC father says he’s not taking his kid to school in his cargo bike anymore, thanks to a “perfect storm of road rage, reckless driving, terrible street design, and total lack of any kind of recourse” after being chased down the street for several blocks by a horn-honking dump truck driver.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a three-wheeled bike from a Georgia Tech student, who’s suffered from mobility issues since he was hit by a car when he was five years old; kindhearted campus cops are trying to get him a new one. And remember him the next time someone says handicapped people can’t ride bikes.

 

International

Thought provoking piece from Forbes‘ Carlton Reid, who says Apple’s coming Tag chip could help you find your stolen bike and keep autonomous cars from running over your ass — as long as you can afford a new iPhone and subscription service. And could lead to the dystopian Big Brother future the company promised to smash.

Not surprisingly, London police catch a little blowback when their bike cops tweet that half of their tickets go to scofflaw bicyclists.

A London sociologist says as bicycling becomes more popular and more people compete for road space, the city must take steps to make riders feel safer on the streets.

A new British ebike folds in less than ten seconds.

Italian bikemaker Bianchi recognizes that an road ebike doesn’t have to look like one. Or feel like one, for that matter.

Students in Mombasa, Kenya have to ride across dangerous roads with no bike lanes just to get to class.

Malaysian teenagers freak out drivers by doing the full superman pose on custom chopped bicycles while riding on a major highway.

 

Competitive Cycling

Very disturbing news for long time bike racing fans, as 70-year old Michael Aisner, former race director of the legendary Coors Classic, has been arrested for secretly recording men showering after renting out his Boulder CO home.

So that’s what pro cyclists keep in their jersey pockets. Spanish cyclist Jesus Ezquerra finished the final stage of the Vuelta with one more fiancé than he had at the beginning of the stage.

https://twitter.com/Eurosport_UK/status/1173279110380081152?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1173279110380081152&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fthebiglead.com%2F2019%2F09%2F17%2Fla-vuelta-proposal-cycling-jesus-ezquerra%2F

 

Finally…

Who needs Amazon when you’ve got your own private library in a cargo bike castle full of books? Presenting the love child of an ebike and a scooter, or maybe a scooter with pedals.

Or something

And if you’ve already been busted with your significant other for biking while extremely drunk, you might as well just schtup in the back of the patrol car.

 

3 comments

  1. Eric W says:

    Chris Buonomo’s story and pic from the Ballona Creek path.

    Chris is much, much more mild than I would have been. I would have blocked the car, and CALLED THE POICE! That simply a level of incompetent driving that is so dangerous that I won’t stand for it. Everything on the path – bikes , pets, dogs… everything is endangered by driving a vehicle there. That driver needs to be in jail, not making lame excuses. How did they get a car there? Please, file a complaint with the Culver City police with the plate number and a description. THAT IS A CRIME! It’s not just some day to day piece of bad driving. Turn them in!

  2. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, sharrows are the abstinence-only sex-ed of bicycle infrastructure. They don’t actually do any good, but they make people feel good and spend money.

  3. Ralph says:

    Nice that cities can enforce geofencing for scooters but allow drivers of dangerous vehicles to speed to their hearts content. Time to grapefruit cars. Cars with gps know the speed limits. I’ve seen it posted on.my dash board in various rental cars. Cars need to be programmed to obey the limit.

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