91-year old actor killed on Venice Blvd, LA Times endorses Ryu in CD4, trash cans in bike lanes, and bike videos

Is this really the Los Angeles traffic safety deniers want?

According to the LA Times, 91-year old actor Orson Bean was killed crossing dangerous Venice Blvd near the Pacific Resident Theatre Friday night when he was struck by first one, then another, driver.

The longtime television star was crossing to the theater, where his wife was volunteering as an usher.

“Many of us do this, including the audience,” (theater publicist Judith) Borne said. “The crosswalk is out of the way. Many people … just cross” the lanes.

And there’s the problem.

The street is designed to maximize traffic flow, with pedestrians expected to walk at least a full block in either direction to use a crosswalk to cross the wide, four-lane street.

Except people usually won’t do that.

Most people tend to take the most direct and convenient route. Which in Bean’s case, meant crossing without a crosswalk.

And no, that’s not jaywalking.

Under California law, every intersection has a crosswalk, whether or not it’s marked on the pavement.

Which is often what it means when the police say, as they did in this case, that someone was crossing outside a marked crosswalk.

However, it’s also perfectly legal to cross in the middle of the block, as long as it’s not controlled by a traffic signal on both ends; in this case, the only traffic signal is on Oakwood Ave on the east end of the block.

What’s missing from the street are the safe, convenient crosswalks, and narrowed streets at intersections to slow speeds and reduce crossing distances, that advocates have long been calling for.

And which are exactly the sort of safety improvements that groups like Keep LA Moving and Restore Venice Blvd have been fighting, in an attempt to prioritize the convenience of drivers over the lives and safety of human beings.

If something like this had been in place on every block, rather than just some parallel painted lines where they pose the least inconvenience to drivers, Orson Bean might have lived to see his 92nd birthday.

And if that’s not a tragic waste, I don’t know what is.

Bean deserved better. So do the rest of us.

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The LA Times endorsed incumbent David Ryu for re-election in my council district, despite the presence of two candidates with better safety and planning credentials in Sarah Kate Levy and Nithya Raman.

Even though, like our current president, Ryu apparently likes to take credit for work done by the previous office holder.

He is also responsible for blocking a desperately needed, shovel-ready road diet and bike lanes on 6th Street between Fairfax and La Brea, despite the support of the local neighborhood council, because it would have inconvenienced drivers who use the narrow street as a bypass for busy Wilshire Blvd.

Both Levy and Raman have been endorsed by Bike the Vote LA. And either would be a better choice in next month’s election.

However, the Times did at least endorse Loraine Lundquist in CD12.

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If you have any questions about your vote in the March 3rd election, Bike the Vote LA will help answer them tonight.

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Yes, placing trash cans in a bike lane is illegal under state law. But good luck trying to find someone to enforce it.

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Let’s hope LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, the new world climate mayor, understands French.

Then again, you don’t need to read it to get this one from the current Paris mayor and previous climate mayor.

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Like Volvo’s misguided glow-in-the-dark spray paint, Ford thinks we’ll all be better off with happy face emojis and turn signals on our jackets. Instead of, say, building safer trucks and SUVs that aren’t designed to kill on impact.

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How about a little music for your next ride?

And yes, the lyrics seem to sum it up pretty well. Just don’t wear earbuds in both ears.

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Looks like someone is fed up with cops parking in bike lanes.

Although, while I appreciate the anger, the wording on that one seems to go a little too.

Thanks to Erik Griswold and W Corylus for the heads-up.

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As Horace Greeley might have said, “go left, young man.”

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A new video suggests maybe Los Angeles doesn’t suck for cycling, after all.

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

Police in the UK are looking for a driver who intentionally knocked a teenage boy off his bike. Note to Southern Daily Echo: The car didn’t “nudge” the victim’s tire, the driver did using his car as a weapon.

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

After leading a Washington deputy on a slow speed chase when he refused to pull over for a traffic stop, a Minnesota man threw his bicycle at the officer, took a fighting stance, and said he was baddest man in the world and was going to beat the cop up, then threatened to burn the cop’s home down and kill him after the deputy tased him. But other than that, he seems like a perfect ambassador for the sport, right?

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Local

The San Francisco bike rider who was convicted for killing a pedestrian in a crosswalk while allegedly racing through the streets trying to claim a Strava KOM is now running attack ads against George Gascón, the DA who charged him, as Gascón runs for the same post in Los Angeles. Which seems like a damn good reason to vote for Gascón, if you ask me.

LAist examines the push to reform the deadly 85th Percentile Law and lower speed limits to safer levels in the City of Angels. Although maybe the City of Angeles could just stop making so many of them.

CicLAvia points out some of the high points on historic Central Avenue through South Central, Florence-Firestone and Watts, site of the next CicLAvia on February 23rd. Meanwhile, an op-ed in the Times discusses the importance of the area once known as the Eastside to the black community. Which explains how the East Side Riders got their name, even though they’re nowhere near East LA.

Classy move by Duarte, which renamed a bike and pedestrian path in the city for the San Gabriel Valley’s first African American council member and mayor, and his wife.

Tonight’s Malibu City Council meeting will include discussion of proposed bike and pedestrian paths to improve safety on Civic Center Way, along with the possibility of adding a traffic lane.

 

State

Baby steps. The first state bill in response to a recent study criticizing the outdated and deadly 85th Percentile Law would merely extend the time between required traffic surveys, while creating a statewide traffic safety program to monitor pedestrian and bicycle crashes. Meanwhile, speed surveys have finally been completed on all LA streets, allowing full speed enforcement for the first time in several years.

Evidently, Cleveland isn’t the only place where rivers catch on fire; Riverside firefighters were mopping up the remains of a 64-acre blaze that ignited on the Santa Ana River bottom, forcing the closure of the bike path that parallels the river.

The thoroughly discredited concept of bike licenses and registration once again rears its ugly head in San Francisco, thanks to a candidate for city supervisor. Most people who call for it are really far less interested in licensing than they are in just getting bikes off the streets.

It only took one day for bike ridership to boom on San Francisco’s newly carfree Market Street.

A Bay Area bike rider describes how he gladly broke the law by riding an ebike on a trail through the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

A trio of Marin mountain bikers face prosecution for building an illegal trail though an open space reserve, allegedly causing $72,000 in damage.

 

National

Harley Davidson’s new $30,000 electric motorcycle could face unexpected competition from more modest ebikes.

Finally, someone gets around to the really important stuff, as the Chicago Tribune examines what to look for in a dog bike trailer and offers their picks.

The VP of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy says America will need bicycling and walking included to pass a major transportation bill.

Tragic news, as the president of the Utah-based Children’s Miracle Network of hospitals was killed in a bicycling crash; unfortunately, there’s no word on where or how the crash occurred.

A British tabloid gets it right, saying the breathtaking views of Colorado’s Crested Butte is best seen from the seat of a mountain bike.

A kindhearted Colorado man is using his spare time to turn “junk into jewels’ by refurbishing bicycles to give to homeless people.

An Iowa woman wants to know why her husband was killed in a violent fall when the experienced bicyclist was wearing a helmet and riding uphill. And why police discount evidence that he may have been clipped by a passing driver.

Actress Selma Blair bought a $2,000 mobility bike for a Massachusetts stroke victim when the woman couldn’t afford to get it herself.

An Alabama man lay dying in a ditch for over an hour after his bike was struck by a hit-and-run driver who didn’t call 911. And neither did a state legislator or the local police chief, who both knew about the crash but didn’t bother to call for medical help.

The Montgomery, Alabama Bicycle Club will host a bike ride from Selma-to-Montgomery later this month, following in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King on his historic march.

Nothing to worry about in this Orlando, Florida neighborhood, where an eleven-year old neighborhood watch captain patrols the streets by bicycle.

Newly released bodycam video shows a Florida cop tasing a teenage bike rider for the crime of popping wheelies last year; the cop was censured for his actions.

 

International

They’re some of us, too. The Spanish language edition of GQ looks at the bikes preferred by Barack Obama, Brad Pitt, Jude Law, Justin Timberlake and Matt Damon; the first two were also Oscar winners last night.

In a case of life sort of imitating art, an unidentified Reddit user says she stopped speaking to her fiancé when he bought her a Peloton bike, after pleading with him not to get her one.

A Kiwi woman is bicycling 1,250 miles across the length of Mexico, accompanied by a man riding from Alaska to Argentina.

A British Columbia lawyer warns that a switch to no-fault insurance in the province could harm bike riders involved in crashes.

Saskatoon, Canada considers axing a must-use requirement for bike lanes, allowing bicyclists to ride in traffic lanes and make left turns, almost like real people.

An Englishman offers advice on how to ride a unicycle 21,000 miles around the world in three years, which is exactly how he did it. Step one: Don’t fall off.

It takes a real schmuck to steal a Scottish doctor’s bicycle as she was making a house call to visit an elderly patient.

Who says bike riders aren’t tough? A 72-year old British man got back on his bike and rode nine miles home after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver — despite suffering four broken ribs, a fractured hip and a head injury.

A Tunisian woman rode her bike to the Saudi Arabian holy city of Mecca, becoming the first woman to make the pilgrimage by bike; she was allowed into the city, even though she wasn’t accompanied by a male guardian on the 53-day journey, as required by Saudi law.

The former chief-of-staff for Guyana’s defense forces was arrested for a crash that killed a well-known bicyclist; the retired rear admiral failed a roadside Breathalyzer test.

 

Competitive Cycling

Riders in the Netherlands pick an appropriate time to hold the Dutch Headwind Cycling Championships, with no drop bars allowed, as Winter Storm Ciara pummels Europe.

VeloNews discusses why American bike racing needed the late, great Amgen Tour of California; the race is on the sort of one-year hiatus from which most bike races and other events never seem to return.

 

Finally…

If you insist on riding inside, skip the two-grand Peloton and build your own DIY version. Your next Lyft driver could be a 15-time Grammy winner.

And if dinosaurs had just worn helmets and hi-viz, they might still be here today.

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Thanks to Domus Press for a very generous and unexpected donation to help keep this site coming your way every day. Donations are always welcome, in any amount and for any reason. 

 

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