Morning Links: The real reasons bike riders keep dying, $100k OCTA bike safety grant, and Oaxaca Day of the Dead race

Last week, Peter Flax explained why the NTSB — the National Transportation Safety Board — was wrong about their call for mandatory bike helmets to cut the rising rate of bicycling fatalities.

This week he’s back to spell out the real reasons people are dying on our streets.

And it ain’t a lack of helmets.

He starts by recounting the last decade’s decline in bicycling deaths.

Then this.

The situation seemed great—until it wasn’t great. Right around 2011, things started arcing in the wrong direction. In 2010, a total of 618 cyclists were killed—hardly miraculous, but the lowest toll in at least 40 years. Then every year after that, the number of casualties has gotten progressively worse. The newly released 2018 statistics mean that the fatality rate for riders has risen 37 percent in just nine years—and NHTSA data indicate that the death rate for urban and female cyclists has soared even more.

So while the NTSB analysis focused primarily on encouraging or mandating greater helmet use, as well as things cyclists, road designers, and carmakers should do so riders are more conspicuous to motorists, those factors don’t really explain why a serious, sustained uptick of deaths began in 2011. It’s not like helmet use had a major decline, or cities ripped out quality protected bike lanes, or high-viz apparel or auto headlights got worse. These factors, especially related to road design, might have an impact on fatalities going forward, but they don’t explain why more cyclists have been dying in the past decade.

It’s a must read for anyone who wants to understand what the real problems are, and why we keep dying.

And do something about it.

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Orange County’s OCTA announces a grant to improve bicycle safety and education.

The Orange County Transportation Authority has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety for a year-long community program dedicated to pedestrian and bicycle safety classes and distribution of safety equipment for people walking and biking.

The aim of the program is to increase safety and reduce traffic-related injuries and fatalities. OCTA will use the funding as part of the agency’s ongoing commitment to deliver transportation solutions, including for active transportation – biking, walking and skating.

“OCTA appreciates the strong partnership we have formed with the state’s Office of Traffic Safety to work toward enhancing safety on our streets,” said OCTA Chairman Tim Shaw, also a City Council member in La Habra. “OTS has provided grant funding for the past three years to develop programs improving conditions for walking and biking, and ongoing grant funding will help us with one of our primary goals of reinforcing safety throughout Orange County.

Activities to be funded by this year’s grant include:

  • Pedestrian and bicycle safety classes
  • Distribution of bicycle lights and helmets
  • Distribution of reflectors for pedestrians

The need for increased safety training is clear. Bicycle and pedestrian-related collisions have been on the rise for the past decade.

“No matter which way you get around, you play a part in roadway safety,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “These grant programs are intended to educate residents on ways they can make themselves and those around them safe when they walk or bike.”

The pedestrian and bicycle safety program and distribution of safety materials will occur throughout 2020. Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For more information on bicycle programs and safety in Orange County, and to stay updated on where classes are being scheduled, visit octa.net/bike.

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The LACBC is looking for volunteers to help give out free bike lights to riders who don’t have them in Koreatown next week.

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Tune into Bike Talk at 6 pm tonight to hear, and maybe chat with, Juli Briskman, the Virginia woman who lost her job after flipping off Trump’s motorcade.

And responded by running for office — and winning.

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

A 13-year old New York boy credits an Emergency 911 app on his phone with scaring off a group of older boys on bikes who tried to rob him.

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Local

A 35-year old Fontana man was arrested for a Pasadena hit-and-run that left a juvenile bike rider hospitalized with critical injuries; he was booked on suspicion of hit-and-run and DUI resulting in serious injury or death. Let’s all say a pray or offer best wishes that the kid makes a full and fast recovery.

People for Bikes invites you to join the weekly Ride and Pint mountain bike ride rolling out of Pedlar’s Fork in Calabasas every Thursday. You can find it, and other great rides, through their Ride Spot app.

The future of Santa Monica’s Breeze bikeshare is in doubt as it faces stiff competition from dockless bikeshares; the city will have to fork over $225,000 in subsidies just to keep it operating for the next year. West Hollywood has already pulled the plug on its money-losing sister operation.

 

State

Seven Orange County communities will host the first Meet on the Beach festival, offering a carfree open streets experience along 1.5 miles of Beach Blvd to reimagine what the street could be. Thanks to the Orange County Bicycle Coalition for the heads up.

Temecula is opening a new pump track bike park this Tuesday.

A new 32-page manual put together by a pair of San Francisco advocacy groups explains how to build protected bike lanes that work for everyone, including pedestrians and disabled people.

The long-promised bike and pedestrian lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge connecting Contra Costa and Marin counties will open tomorrow, despite continued efforts in some quarters to convert it to a yet another lane for motor vehicles. Because everyone knows just one more traffic lane will solve all our traffic problems forever.

 

National

EcoWatch makes the case for why your next car will be a bike.

Joe Biden attempts to boost his run for president with a new infrastructure plan that’s heavy on high-speed rail, transit and bicycling.

An Oregon Republican proves conservatives can support bicycling, too, as he announces his run for Congress.

Be careful carrying that bike. A 74-year old Detroit man was found dead after he fell down the stair while trying to carry his mountain bike up them.

He gets it. An op-ed in the New York Daily News calls for eliminating free parking to pay for free transit.

Britain’s Beryl bikeshare brand makes a beachhead in New York’s Staten Island, booting Lime and Jump; meanwhile, Lyft is pulling the plug on their e-scooter operations in six smaller market cities.

After a Virginia boy’s new bike was stolen, his bighearted neighbors pitched in to buy him a new one. Stories like this remind us that there’s still a lot of good in this world, despite how it may seem these days.

Florida’s Jack the Bike Man says he needs a miracle to keep giving thousands of refurbished bikes to kids in need, after the building housing the nonprofit was sold and the new owner jacked his rent up over $100 grand a year.

 

International

Cars could be killing us even without touching us. A new study has linked pollution from motor vehicles to brain cancer for the first time.

Bicycle Retailer reminds us that Trump’s trade war with China is still going strong, and the bikes are losing.

Your next bike helmet could be a custom-made, 3D printed number with individual hexagon-shaped crumple zones that the company says is safer than MIPS or WaveCel — if you have an extra $390 on hand.

A writer for Gear Patrol offers lessons learned from Trek’s mountain bike camp at the Whistler resort in British Columbia.

A pair of British doctors set a new Guinness record for circumnavigating the globe on a tandem bike, covering 18,000 miles in 218 days and 22 hours, breaking the previous men’s record by nine days.

He gets it. An Irish letter writer reminds the anti-bike crowd that roads are a public service that we all pay for.

A European bikemaker came up with a smart, if somewhat creepy and invasive, sales promotion, scanning Paris license plates to determine how much CO2 each car puts out, and using that figure to offer the owner a discount on a new bicycle.

Tom Vanderbilt explains how he went from riding solo to taking his family along, thanks to a trip to Italy.

Now that’s more like it. A stoned, speeding Australian driver will spend the next 11 years behind bars and be prohibited from driving for two decades after walking away from the crash that killed a Dutch woman riding a bike.

 

Competitive Cycling

Britain’s Cyclist magazine recalls the Motorola team that rose from the ashes of America’s late, great 7-11 team after the convenience chain declared bankruptcy — including the tragic death of Italy’s Fabio Casartelli in the 1995 Tour de France.

The UAE Team Emirates cycling team is considering legal action against Croatian pro Kristijan Đurasek following his four-year ban for doping. But cycling officials keep telling us the era of doping is over, right?

 

Finally…

Now you, too, can get your very own ebike branded by your favorite soccer team — as long as your favorite team is Paris Saint-Germain. When your round-the-world bike trip gets interrupted by a water-logged passport, just fly home and get a new one.

And nothing like a little Dia de los Muertos mountain bike racing in the middle of Oaxaca.

 

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