Morning Links: Cars killing progress on CA climate goals, Flax debunks call for helmet laws, and what a bike thief looks like

As things stand now, California is likely to miss its climate goals.

By a century.

That’s according to a report from MIT Technology Review, which says that despite significant reductions in the energy sector, the state is making little or no progress in other areas.

They point the finger at rising auto emissions, as car ownership climbs while transit use declines.

Transportation emissions, the state’s largest source, have steadily risen since 2013, as the improving economy put more cars on the road and planes in the sky. Emissions from waste dumped into landfills have also been ticking up since the recovery took hold. Meanwhile, highly potent greenhouse gases from the aerosols, foams, and solvents used in refrigeration and air conditioning are rising sharply…

At the same time, overall car ownership rates are rising, public-transit use is falling, and consumers are still shifting toward gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs. And the 92% of vehicles sold last year that weren’t EVs will, on average, still be on the roads more than a decade from now.

Accelerating the shift to cleaner vehicles is likely to require far stricter policies, far more generous subsidies, cheaper EVs, and a massive build-out of charging infrastructure. And even California’s efforts to boost the average fuel efficiency of cars sold in the state have been complicated by the Trump administration’s legal challenges.

And while San Francisco and San Diego have been making progress in building out bicycle networks to entice people out of their cars, it’s ground to a near halt in the state’s largest city.

Yes Los Angeles, we’re talking about you.

Maybe one day, the so-called progressives, environmentalists and other assorted climate activists at city hall will stop talking about the problem, and actually do something.

But sadly, that day is not today.

………

Bike scribe Peter Flax is up to his old tricks.

If you can call insightful writing and consistently hitting the nail on the head a trick.

Writing for Bicycling, Flax examines the extremely flawed recommendations from NTBS — the National Transportation Safety Board, which usually concerns itself with plane and train crashes — to reduce the climbing rate of bicycle deaths.

Starting, and nearly ending, with bike helmets and high viz.

And yet the top-line proposals from the NTSB largely shifted responsibility to solve this deadly crisis onto cyclists themselves. Two of the three key recommendations focused on the need for riders to wear helmets and be more conspicuous. (The third was about improving road design, which is awesome because poor cycling infrastructure is an actual cause of cycling fatalities.)

He goes on to sum up exactly what the agency failed to address that’s actually killing people on bicycles, in one brilliant paragraph.

Now let’s talk about all the important stuff that the NTSB report passed over to focus on helmets and high vis and scold renegade riders. Like the problem of distracted driving—where four in 10 motorists admit using social media (and one in 10 say they watch YouTube videos) on their phone when they’re on the road. Or the nation’s pernicious problem with speed limit violations, a widely tolerated illegal behavior that is a known killer. They could urge the auto industry and tech sectors to work together to solve these entirely fixable problems. They could ask out loud how or why many states still don’t have 3-foot safe-passing laws or regulations banning handheld phone use, and how or why these laws are rarely enforced in those that do. They could demand that American trucks and passenger cars match the far superior standards set in Europe and Japan to keep vulnerable road users safe—why don’t our garbage and box trucks have side guards to protect pedestrians and cyclists from the wheels, for instance? They could address an epidemic of fatal hit-and-run crashes and the shifting complexion of impaired driving and America’s love affair with 5,000-pound SUVs. Rather than scold naughty cyclists, agency researchers could have examined the carnage caused by negligent and reckless motorists—and offered commentary on what to do about it.

It’s today’s must read.

So go ahead and click the link. We’ll wait.

Meanwhile, here’s the full two hours and forty-eight minutes of the woefully misguided NTSB meeting.

Thanks to Mike Cane for forwarding the video.

Photo of the ghost bike for the still unidentified Hollywood hit-and-run victim by Healthy Activest via Instagram.

………

This is what it looks like when someone steals a bike from a San Marcos CA garage.

Hopefully, that video shows enough of his face to bring the jerk to justice.

Meanwhile, after a Georgia woman chased down the thief stealing her bike and demanded it back, the bighearted victim is offering to give him a bike to help him get a fresh start.

………

This is what a passenger-side dooring looks like. Toronto bike riders are justifiably outraged.

………

We’ve mentioned Malaysia’s basikal lajaks several times in the past two years, ever since eight riders of the modified bikes were killed when a driver plowed into them.

This response to my tweet shows exactly what the bikes are, and how they’re ridden.

A website calls them a menace to society, but the nation’s sports minister says the riders can be redeemed and represent the county in international competitions with the proper training.

Thanks to kirin for the heads-up.

………

The Los Angeles Handmade Bicycle Show takes place tomorrow…somewhere.

Maybe LA bikewear maker Swrve knows, since they plan to be there.

………

Sometimes it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

A New York man faces two counts of reckless endangerment for killing a 67-year old woman when he ran a red-light on his bicycle, and slammed into her as she walked in a crosswalk with the light; he faces charges from the same DA who routinely lets drivers off the hook. This is wrong in so many ways. So just…don’t.

………

Local

Streetsblog talks with Michael Schneider, the founder of Streets for All, LA’s first, and only, political action group, aka PAC, dedicated to changing city hall to change the city’s streets; the group is meeting in Hollywood next Saturday to discuss pedestrianizing Hollywood Blvd.

KCBS-2 reports nearly a third of the Metro Bike bikeshare bikes get stolen or stripped for parts.

A USC op-ed says students should be discouraged from driving to campus. Or looking at it another way, the school should do more to encourage students to bike or walk to class.

Beverly Hills received a $90,000 traffic enforcement grant from the state, which will allow them to do bike and pedestrian safety crackdowns, among other things. Even if their police department doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being bike and pedestrian friendly.

 

State

The California Transportation Commission is holding a workshop in Sacramento this Tuesday to kickoff discussion of the 2021 Active Transportation Program. Thanks to Robert Leone for the tip.

Call it a good time for a good cause. San Diego’s annual 20-mile Bike for Boobs bike ride and dinner takes place tomorrow to raise funds for a local charity to help women experiencing financial difficulties due to breast cancer.

The Coachella Valley Bicycle Coalition held a ghost bike memorial for Raymundo “Ray-Ray” Jaime; sadly, the 30-year old hit-and-run victim left behind his wife and four-year old daughter, who will now grow up without a father.

Thousands Oaks has opened an expansion to the city’s bike park.

Santa Cruz has identified the bike rider who died after riding off a cliff as the owner of a Salinas bike shop.

This is who we share the roads with. Just hours after a Modesto man got out of jail on a DUI conviction for driving while stoned, he got drunk and drove again, killing a bike rider while driving with a BAC nearly two and a half times the legal limit; his trial was delayed five years when he was institutionalized for mental illness.

Lyft is returning their bikeshare ebikes to the streets of San Francisco; hopefully they won’t burst into flames this time. However, you won’t see them in London anytime soon.

 

National

An Omaha bike rider says bicyclists should have to pay the same fees drivers do and have to have a license to ride just like drivers do, saying he knows other cities require that. No, they don’t. I’m not aware of any city in the US that tests and licenses people on bicycles. Never mind that bike riders already pay more than our share.

Chicago bicyclists respond to the death of a woman killed by a dump truck driver by protesting along the bike lane she was riding in.

Now that’s more like it. Instead of warning bike riders when cars get too close, researchers at the University of Minnesota designed a system to warn drivers when they get too close to someone on a bike. Seriously, take my money, already.

A Minnesota advocate refutes common objections to riding a bicycle, calling it carbon-free transportation using the original two-stroke engine. 

An Indiana cycling club shows that yes, it is possible for a riding club to get involved in advocacy and help teach people how to drive around bicyclists. Just in case any LA-area clubs want to give it a shot. Thanks to Melissa for the link. 

Bicycle Retailer dives into the history of Ross Bicycles, calling it the Schwinn of New York.

Kindhearted New Jersey residents passed the hat to buy a new bike for a teenage boy after his was stolen.

New York’s non-helmet wearing mayor and failed presidential candidate is seriously considering making everyone else wear one.

Al Pacino is one of us; he worked as a bike messenger to support his sick mother before finding success on stage, then film. And yes, he still rides.

DC approves plans for a two-way, curb-protected bike lane even though it’s opposed by a neighborhood commission. And even though it means removing parking spaces.

As we noted before, New Orleans Saints backup QB Teddy Bridgewater is one of us. Even if he has to tweet for someone to drive his broken bike to the shop, because he refuses to get to his games any other way. Thanks to BikeLosFeliz for the link.

 

International

The co-founder of Lumos Helmet discusses how they’re creating what they consider the next generation of bike helmets to help bicyclists feel safer.

Once again, the Mounties got their man, busting an 18-year old man for being a bike-riding serial butt slapper.

Twenty-five Montreal bike riders will be allowed to ride a bike path across an otherwise closed bridge to try out various snow clearing methods, as long as they wear a special vest and sign a waiver.

London’s Daily Mail suggests giving your child a bike for Christmas, saying you never forget your first bike. Good advice, even if it is an ad for a British retailer.

A British military vet who lost three limbs in Afghanistan was lucky to survive when he had a blowout on his handcycle and slammed into a truck at 25 mph, shattering what’s left of his right leg.

A Belgian city has managed to cut car motor vehicle traffic by 12% at rush hour, and 40% on key bicycling routes — resulting in a 25% jump in bicycling rates.

Here’s one for my own bike bucket list — a beer hall bike tour along Germany’s Danube River.

 

Finally…

Your next Harley Davidson could have pedals. Forget the family SUV, your new kid hauler could have three wheels with child seats up front.

And UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup gets animated.

No, literally.

 

3 comments

  1. Eric W says:

    The last Los Angeles Handmade Bicycle Show was at 1821 Daly St.,Los Angeles, California 90031, Daly St runs between Main St and Mission hard against the 5 freeway, Just NE of Downtown LA. It was a bunch of bike related small shops in an alley tucked against the freeway just South of Main. Easy bike from Union Station. Maybe this one is there too? Maybe not!

    It was on a Sunday, and it was good. This ones on a Saturday, which means I have this work thing preventing my attendance. Boo!

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