Morning Links: Motion to unprotect Yucca Street, more on the Great Helmet Debate, and Elizabeth Warren gets it

It’s hard to fight for safer streets when we have to keep fighting to protect what little we already have.

Case in point:

motion before the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council would remove a key traffic diverter from LA’s first — and shamefully, only — bicycle boulevard, on Yucca Street in Hollywood.

Also known as bicycle friendly street in LA bike plan parlance.

The motion would remove the diverter on Yucca Street at Las Palmas Ave that allows bicycle traffic to pass through while diverting motor vehicle traffic off the street, to create a low-stress environment for people on bicycles.

Something that’s desperately needed in high-stress Hollywood, which is virtually devoid of bicycling infrastructure.

Unless you consider sharrows more than just something to help drivers improve their aim.

The Yucca Street motion will be heard at the council’s 6 pm board meeting this Wednesday at the Will and Ariel Durant Branch Library on Sunset Blvd just west of La Brea.

………

More on the seemingly endless Great Bike Helmet Debate.

A writer for Bicycling argues that mandatory helmet laws actually make riders less safe.

And Treehugger’s Lloyd Alter says he got it wrong, and Peter Flax got it right regarding the NTSB’s call for mandatory bike helmet laws, instead fixing the problems that are really killing bike riders.

………

One presidential candidate gets it, anyway.

Elizabeth Warren marks World Remembrance Day for traffic victims with a call to end traffic violence. Thanks to Ms. Fast for the link.

Meanwhile, the transportation minister for Trinidad and Tobago marked World Remembrance Day by saying bike riders will be given more space on the roads in one of the island nation’s most developed areas; that follows the deaths of two bicyclists killed on a club ride last year. Thanks to Stormin’ Norman for the tip.

That compares to Los Angeles, where city officials said nothing to mark the day.

Let alone actually do something about it.

………

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

Police in the UK are looking for the victim of a drive-by BB gun attack after witnesses saw him knocked off his bike and into a ditch by the shooting; the jackass behind the wheel also spooked the horses being ridden by a group of kids.

Now that’s a close pass. A group of British bike riders were lucky to avoid getting run down by a driver in a massive truck speeding down on a narrow country road, who missed them by mere inches as he blew by in the opposite direction.

………

Local

LAist says yes, you can take your bike on Metro buses and trains. Even if the space reserved for bikes on trains is usually full of people without them.

Long Beach gets a $275,000 grant to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety through workshops on the importance of reflective armbands, bike lights, reflectors and helmets. If they really want to improve safety, skip the workshops and stand on any corner to pass out lights, and arm and ankle bands.

 

State

Calbike has a new policy director, promoting former Senior Policy Advocate Linda Khamoushian from inside the organization.

The Orange County Register takes a brief look at yesterday’s Meet on the Beach carfree festival through seven Orange County communities.

San Diego bike riders beware. The city’s police department will be cracking down on traffic violations that put bike riders and pedestrians at risk today, regardless of who commits them. So stop for stop signs, signal your turns and lane changes, and otherwise ride to the letter of the law until you pass the city limit lines.

More bad news from San Diego, where yet another bike rider has suffered life-threatening injuries when he was struck by a pickup driver while ghost riding another bicycle; neither bike had lights.

To complete today’s San Diego trifecta, a lawsuit filed against the city by a bike rider paralyzed in a meth-fueled crash with a wrong way driver on Fiesta Island is finally going to court after five years.

I want to be like them when I grow up. A group of Santa Barbara friends ranging in age from 83 to 91 are still riding together after nearly 60 years.

San Jose residents are complaining about a bicycle chop shop in a homeless camp along the Guadalupe River Trail. You can find countless others just like it down here in Southern California.

A San Jose site takes a deep dive into why the city’s quest for safer streets has failed, resulting in worsening rates for bicycling and pedestrian injuries. Thanks to Robert Leone for the heads-up.

The long-awaited protected bike and pedestrian lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge across the San Francisco Bay finally opened, drawing “hordes” of bike riders that opponents said wouldn’t show up.

 

National

A new study confirms what many of us have suspected — that subtle shifts in how news stories about crashes are reported can affect how readers assess the blame, and what should be done about it.

Who says you need a car to pick up a little extra cash?

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss says if you actually look at the numbers, e-scooters aren’t very scary at all.

An Anchorage AK police officer faces charges for allegedly punching a bike rider and kicking him in the nuts in what began as a traffic stop for not having lights on his bike, after the man had sworn at and flipped off a line of police cars; the cop snatched the phone the victim was recording him with, but it continued to record audio of the assault.

A Seattle-area driver fled the scene of a crash at speeds of up to 60 mph after running down a man on a bicycle, dragging his bike under the car for nearly a mile, then covering the car with blankets to hide the damage; when investigators examined the car, they found it peppered with rice from the groceries the victim was carrying.

This is why I like Phil Gaimon. The LA-based former pro is using his new-found celebrity to support No Kid Hungry, stopping in Houston to talk cycling, charity and cookies as part of a nationwide fundraising tour for the group.

An Oklahoma man faces charges for using his car as a weapon to run down a bike rider following a drug deal gone bad.

Chicago bike riders respond to recent deaths by saying the city is falling behind in protecting bicyclists by failing to build more protected lanes and requiring side guards on trucks, along with keeping people and businesses from parking in bike lanes.

A New York State man has been sentenced to 28 months to seven years behind bars for killing a bike rider while driving drunk, then driving home, changing cars and coming back to the scene; he drove to the sheriff’s office to turn himself in after seeing the victim’s body lying in the street.

North Carolina’s Department of Transportation is complaining that local officials and residents don’t want their quiet country roads turned into virtual superhighways. Go figure.

Ben Affleck is one of us, riding his muddy bike through the streets of New Orleans.

I want to be like him when I grow up, too. A Florida pastor celebrates his birthday by riding his age with an 82-mile journey.

A Florida bike rider rolls through a stop sign on a bike path, and into the path of a driver who doesn’t bother to stop — neither before, or for very long after hitting him. And throws his hands up in frustration when he realizes going to get hit. The video captures the full crash, so be sure you really want to see that before clicking the link.

 

International

A Vancouver man is the latest bicyclist to ride every street in his own city.

She gets it. A Toronto op-ed writer says if we want people to give up their cars, we have to fix our streets first. Meanwhile, a writer for City Lab says it will take more than an app to get people out of their cars.

And we thought LA had bad streets. Over 250 people on bicycles have been injured or killed by potholes in the UK.

A English man broke a 133-year old record by riding a Penny Farthing 874 miles from one end of Britain to the other, breaking the old record by 13 hours. Of course, one reason the record stood so long is because it was set on a Penny Farthing.

A British police conduct board has concluded that officers aren’t responsible for the death of a 75-year old man pushing his bicycle up a hill, who was killed by a driver trying to escape the cops at speeds up to 80 mph.

An Irish senator accepted a challenge to get out on a bike himself after tweeting a complaint about bike riders last week, and concludes that maybe he should have seen the conditions bicyclists actually face on the streets before complaining.

They get it, too. Germany is planning to expand bicycling infrastructure and dedicate more road space to bike riders to protect them and fight climate change.

Bicycles are making a comeback in Calcutta, aka Kolkata, after being banned from 174 major streets until just 17 years ago.

A drunken hit-and-run driver talks about the emotional weight she carries after killing a 15-year old New Zealand boy riding his bike last year, and how hard she was slapped on the wrist by being confined to her home for a whole 11 months. Although it probably doesn’t compare to the emotional burden the kid’s parents will carry for the rest of their lives.

A trio of Kiwi brothers are making names for themselves throughout New Zealand for their mountain biking skills — even if the oldest is just 12-years old.

 

Competitive Cycling

Evidently, the pros feel the same way we do. Four months after Italian cyclist Alessandro de Marchi was seriously injured when he crashed out of the Tour de France, he was livid after a dangerously close pass on a training ride nearly put him back in the emergency room; naturally, the driver told him to go to hell when he complained.

America’s only remaining Tour de France winner looks over the crop of rising young American cyclists, and concludes there may be hope for us yet.

Every superhero has an origin story. British cyclist Katie Archibald relates how hanging out with the fixie crowd led to track racing in Edinburgh — and eventually an Olympic gold medal. A reminder that you never know where riding a bike could take you. Or the kids just starting out.

 

Finally…

Nothing like a romantic bike ride after getting dissed by Taylor Swift fans. Before stealing London’s longest bike, you might want to consider whether you can actually sell it.

And if you want to advertise bikes by showing a kid riding one on a beachfront pathway, maybe make sure bikes are even allowed there first.

 

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