LA Times tells state to speed up slowing drivers down, Streets For All goes all in on ads, and 5 riders run down Down Under

I seem to be apologizing a lot this week.

Sorry for the downtime on this site yesterday morning, and thank you to everyone who notified me about the 502 error; unfortunately, I wasn’t able to access the backside of this site, either.

It turned out to be a large scale glitch that took down a number of sites across the internet. But everything’s back to normal now.

Hopefully, it will stay that way.

And let me apologize to everyone who sent me links the past few days. I’ve lost track of most of them, and I’m way too tired to track them all down now.

So allow me to just offer a general and generic thank you to everyone who contributed something for your help, which I genuinely appreciate.

………

They get it.

In recent years, the LA Times editorial board has taken strong stands in favor of safer streets and alternative transportation.

Yesterday was no exception, as the paper complained about the state slow-walking efforts to slow motor vehicle traffic. And called on California to finally get rid of the deadly 85th percentile state speed limit law, calling it “outdated, absurd and downright dangerous.”

The problem stems from a decades-old state law that essentially requires cities to set speed limits based on how fast people are already driving on that stretch of road, regardless of whether that speed is safe or whether the street has a history of wrecks. It was adopted more than 60 years agoto prevent cities from setting speed traps, or arbitrarily low speed limits aimed at sticking drivers with pricey tickets…

The more common and unintended consequence of the 85th percentile rule is what’s known as speed creep. Higher speed limits encourage motorists to drive faster, which in turn prompts higher speed limits. That’s what happened on Zelzah Avenue in L.A.

It’s not surprising, then, that the task force has recommended giving cities more flexibility to set lower speed limits, particularly on streets with lots of injury crashes or an abundance of pedestrians and cyclists. Research shows that speed limits do affect drivers’ behavior, and even modest reductions in speed can save lives. A pedestrian or cyclist hit by a vehicle traveling 35 miles per hour has a 68% chance of survival. A person hit by vehicle traveling at 40 mph — just 5 mph faster — has only a 35% chance of survival.

They conclude this way.

None of these steps will be easy; Californians have fiercely resisted safety-promoting reforms that might slow their commutes. But at the very least, lawmakers should get rid of a system that forces cities to give in to speeders before cracking down on them.

Amen, brothers and sisters.

………

Here’s something that’s been missing from Los Angeles for far too long.

LA nonprofit Streets For All has produced YouTube ads supporting safe streets candidates in the upcoming March 3rd election.

The short ads endorse CD4’s Sarah Kate Levy and Loraine Lundquist in CD12, while taking well-deserved shots at incumbents David Ryu and John Lee.

While there’s an argument to be made against independent groups getting involved in local political races, until campaign finance laws are reformed to remove outside influence and expenditures, it’s vital to get our side out there, too.

And yes, I’ll be casting my vote for Sarah Kate Levy during the early voting period next week.

Meanwhile, Bike the Vote LA lists their endorsements in the coming election, including Levy and Lundquist, as well as Calbike’s endorsements for the state legislature.

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Horrible news from Australia, where five bicyclists have been injured, two critically, when they were run down from behind by a hit-and-run driver while riding in a clearly marked bike lane.

A 28-year old man has been arrested for the crime after police discovered his blood-splattered SUV.

He faces numerous charges, including multiple counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing grievous bodily harm; dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and adversely affected by an intoxicating substance; and failing to remain at the scene and render assistance.

The question is whether he was just too drunk and/or stoned to control his damn vehicle, or if this was a deliberate attempt to run down as many riders as he could.

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A meeting will be held in NoHo this afternoon to discuss the ill-advised widening of Magnolia Blvd, which contradicts LA’s Vision Zero and climate action plans, and all that is holy.

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A UK website questions whether police have given up on bike thefts, saying many riders are putting off buying expensive bikes for fear of having them stolen.

Case in point, a bike thief uses an axle grinder to slice through a lock, stealing a bike on a crowded street in broad daylight.

Then threatens a bystander with it when he objects.

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The source of those nonstandard, and likely legally unenforceable, Dismount Bikes signs in the construction zones on Wilshire Blvd has been revealed.

In case you want to order some of your own. Maybe someone could convert them to Drivers Dismount, instead.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on. And on. 

A road raging Miami-area driver was caught on video brake checking a bike-riding couple and trying to run them off the road, screaming that they aren’t allowed on the street; naturally, the local police don’t seem to care.

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

A Washington burglar was busted just five minutes after raiding a restaurant freezer while making his getaway by bike. Although it does make you wonder if maybe he was just hungry.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton says just eight days into the mayor’s “Decade of Action” on climate change, the closure of the Jefferson Blvd bike lanes has left the city’s bike infrastructure worse off than it was last week.

Pasadena News Now allows the four candidates for the city’s mayor to make their case; all but one ignore transportation, except to complain about traffic. The fourth, Major Williams, gets points for wanting to get cars off the street — but what the hell are “motorized walkway paths?”

 

State

Bicycling says NBA Hall of Famer — and UCLA legend — Bill Walton is a huge cyclist, riding the streets of San Diego when he’s not broadcasting basketball games or engaged in multi-day tours.

Santa Barbara sheriff’s investigators are asking anyone with information or video regarding the allegedly drunken hit-and-run that took the lives of Mary Jane Becerra Corral and Adolfo Corral on a Goleta bike path to contact them; their accused killer, Eric Mauricio Ramirez-Aguilar, remains in custody on $1 million bond.

San Francisco’s mayor proposes congestion pricing and charging for metered parking on nights and weekends to reduce traffic in the congested downtown area.

An architecture and design site talks with the urban planner behind San Francisco’s newly carfree Market Street. Meanwhile, a San Jose columnist says closing streets there would have major benefits.

 

National

Seventy-seven-year old Harrison Ford is one of us. And wants you to know he doesn’t ride an ebike.

Peloton wants to swap your Flywheel in-home cycling bike for a “like new” Peloton, after the former lost a patent infringement suit to the latter. You might want to think twice about an Echelon stationary bike, too.

A Golden, Colorado bike thief made off from a bike shop with an $8,000 bicycle after leaving a stolen ID and credit card as security to take it on a test ride, and never came back.

After kids bike was stolen, a Colorado cop followed tracks in the snow to find it, along with another stolen kids bike, as well as the homeless addict who admitted taking them.

A Buffalo, Wyoming website tells the convoluted tale of why there were bike tire tracks in the snow one recent morning, after a rancher remembered he left his pickup in town following a late night visit to a “parts store.”

Nice piece from VeloNews, as a Marine lieutenant colonel describes how he started bicycling to recover after he was shot by a sniper in Afghanistan, and fell in love with the Dirty Kanza gravel race.

A Texas county commissioner pledged $7.4 million to build 3,000 acres of greenspace along Houston’s bayous, along with 150 miles of connected hiking and bicycling trails.

Cincinnati is moving forward with plans to create an additional 176 miles of bike lanes.

New York’s ped-assist bikeshare ebikes are back, after a redesign to prevent the brakes from locking and tossing riders over the handlebars.

New York City met its goal of 20 miles of protected bike lanes last year, and commits to 30 miles this year. That compares to LA’s firm commitment to maybe build a mile or two if it doesn’t, you know, inconvenience anyone.

Former New York DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan says car crashes are an epidemic, but one we can solve. But autonomous cars aren’t the answer.

This is who we share the road with. A West Virginia woman admits to distracted driving after killing a man riding a bike, saying she never saw the victim until she heard the thud because she was too busy looking at her phone.

An 88-year old DC crossing guard is a hero, holding his ground against a speeding driver and sacrificing his own life to save two children. Thanks to Orange House for the heads-up.

Kindhearted Virginia firefighters started a crowdfunding page for a man with Down syndrome after the custom three-wheeled bike he relies on for transportation was stolen; the site has raised over $1,600 in two days.

The Department of DIY strikes in the Big Easy, as a carnival krewe posts their own handmade signs urging drivers to watch out for bike riders during the upcoming Mardi Gras season.

Over 500 people are expected to turn out for a 51-mile bike ride commemorating the 55th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March of 1965.

 

International

A new report says e-scooters are just as safe as bicycles, and drivers are the real problem. But better regulation is necessary.

Cycling News considers the counterintuitive benefits of slapping wider tires on your skinny tire bike.

Now you, too, can own your very own badly named online bicycle accessory site.

A group of bicyclists ride 285 miles across Nicaragua in three days.

A proposal to require licenses and insurance for bicyclists in British Columbia is met with decidedly mixed reviews.

Despite the overwhelming success of London’s bicycling superhighways, merchants in the city’s Holland Park district fear it will cost them business — once again mistaking passing cars for paying customers.

This is who we share the roads with, too. A 75-year old London rabbi offered to help a woman park her Jag, and somehow confused the brake and gas pedals, crashing into two pedestrians before plowing into a pharmacy. Yes, the news is two years old; British privacy rules prevent releasing details on cases like this before they go to trial.

A man in the UK was driving at twice the legal alcohol limit when he hit a traffic island. So naturally, he blamed a bike rider for the crash.

British rock group Glass Animals makes a comeback 18 months after drummer Joe Seaward suffered a serious head injury when he was hit by a truck driver while riding his bike in Dublin.

A South African “adventure enthusiast, businesswoman and entrepreneur” describes how taking up bicycling twelve years ago has opened up her world.

Now that’s a beautiful bike. A Japanese student designed and built a handcrafted bespoke bike, melding traditional kitsuregoshi woodwork with a modern bicycle.

A Christian group has kicked off a campaign to provide 2,500 bicycles to pastors in Asia at a cost of $110 apiece.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews talks with American cycling legend Davis Phinney.

🎶 Hello muddah, hello faddah, busted for burglary, in Granada. 🎶 Former TdF stage winner Juan Miguel Mercado was arrested on suspicion of leading a violent burglary gang in Granada, Spain. Scroll way down, or read the original story en español. And anyone too young to get the musical reference can catch up here

 

Finally…

When you’re skipping school to ride your bike and carrying a little weed and a gun in your pants, make sure you have something in there to keep it in place. Your next ride could be on car tires.

And when you’re bunny hopping a canal, don’t miss.

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