Improve mobility and open space access during Covid-19 shutdown, CA crashes down by half, and bike shops are essential

Los Angeles leaders are focused on fighting the coronavirus.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t provide safer transportation and exercise options for LA residents during the shutdown.

That’s the case nonprofit group Streets for All has been making with city councilmembers and the mayor’s office in recent days.

Here’s what they have to say.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on Los Angeles; tens of thousands are out of work, hundreds of thousands are working from home, and millions have been ordered to only leave their homes if absolutely necessary.

Because of these changes, our road space far exceeds the required amount for vehicle traffic. At the same time, for their own physical and mental health, many Angelenos need to get to/from work if they are an essential employee, need to go to the market or a doctor’s office, or perhaps just need to go for a run, bike ride, or go play with their kids. It isn’t possible to do this and maintain 6’ of space on our current transit, sidewalk, and bike lane infrastructure.

Proposals to enhance mobility and open space access in Los Angeles during COVID-19:
  1. Pilot a temporary emergency safe streets network to slow down speeding cars and give residents a safe 6’ distanced option for active transportation while reinforcing connections to grocery stores, hospitals, LAUSD food centers, delivery services, parks, and other essential resources. View our potential network.

  2. Create an accelerated path for street closure requests to increase local access to open space, especially in neighborhoods with limited park access. Potentially using the framework studied with Play Streets. These could be hard closures block by block, or maintaining local access for parking.

    Specifically we suggest:

    • Waiving fees and insurance requirements

    • Giving Neighborhood Councils the same request exception as council offices

    • Increasing application turnaround to 10 days

    • Allowing option for LADOT to install barricades

There’s more, as they make a solid case for why it should be done. And done now.

Check it out, and get involved.

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No surprise here, as California traffic collisions — not accidents, please — have been cut in half as the entire state shuts down for the coronavirus, thanks to a 60% drop in traffic volume.

However, there’s no word on the severity of those crashes, as the lighter traffic has meant higher average speeds on the roadways.

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New Mexico finally came to its senses and joined most other states in allowing bike shops to reopen as essential businesses, in response to outrage from the local bicycling community.

But only under extremely limited circumstances.

Under the new orders, customers can’t enter the bicycle shops, retail sales are banned, payments are to be made by credit card or debit card remotely; customers must leave and pick up bicycles outside the store; and the bikes have to be disinfected before being brought inside. Staff must also wear protective equipment and the stores have to be routinely disinfected.

But despite the restrictions, it’s not the strictest regulations in the country, according to Bicycle Retailer.

In Michigan retailers are allowed to service bikes only if the bikes are used by workers to get to a job that is considered essential.

Meanwhile, bike shops got the nod as an essential business in Nebraska. And in Louisiana, too.

Hopefully with less draconian restrictions.

And advocacy groups from the US to Russia and Japan call for bike shops to be recognized as essential businesses during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Thanks to Bike Santa Fe’s Brian Kreimendahl for the New Mexico heads-up.

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Bike Index reports they’ve helped recover over 7,000 stolen bikes worth nearly $10 million.

Which seems like a pretty good reminder to register your bike for free right now, before you need it.

Thanks to Brandi D’Amore for the tip.

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Here’s your chance to work in SoCal transportation social justice.

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This should get your heart going if you can’t get out for a ride.

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

An apparent road raging driver faces an attempted second-degree murder charge for getting out of his car and shooting several times at a group of bike riders; fortunately, he seems to be a bad shot.

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

Texas police bust a man who rode away on his bicycle after a fatal stabbing.

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Local

SoCal Cycling mourns the death of cyclist Randy Houston, who died peacefully on March 17th; no cause of death was given.

A cargo bike-riding street vendor in South LA was attacked in a shameful strong arm robbery; the attack was caught on low-res video.

It looks like the popular Rose Bowl Loop is only sort of closed right now.

A Santa Clarita man was busted for assault with a deadly bicycle rim after he was allegedly caught burglarizing a garage.

Reese Witherspoon is one of us, and so is her seven-year old son.

 

State

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition says right now, while we’re all sheltering in place, is the perfect time to convince non-riding friends to give bicycling a try. Thanks to Robert Leone for the link.

San Francisco’s MTA head it’s time to build cities for buses, bikes and feet, not cars.

Yes, you can still walk or ride your bike in the Bay Area even after coronavirus restrictions are tightened, though you’re asked to consider if your trip is really essential.

A Roseville man describes touring the state by bike, including four trips to Yosemite and an epic Sonora Pass bonk that ended in the ER.

 

National

In case you missed it last month, Jeff Vaughn reminds us that bicycling is the best way to get around during the pandemic.

An automotive website says now is the time to take advantage of the empty streets to get into bicycling.

NPR says double your distance from others to protect yourself from coronavirus while safely exercising outside.

VeloNews picks the year’s best mountain bike gear, and offers a look at some of the best bikes from their virtual North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

Streetsblog points out that no one forced scooter companies to pull them off the streets because of Covid-19.

After getting laid-off from his job as a sous chef, a Tacoma WA man channels his anger into a new business riding his bike around town and shouting messages to people sheltering inside their homes.

A Washington man builds a Victorian era safety bike for a new period drama airing on HBO. Which is as good a reason as any to tune in once the show airs.

A very sad Aspen CO girl writes a letter to the local paper asking for her stolen bicycle back.

A local magazine recommends six bike paths to try out on your next trip to Austin, Texas.

The president of an Illinois advocacy group says it’s time to get back on your bike and shift the perception of bicycling from a sport to transportation.

A Minnesota man gets his bike back six years after it was stolen, after a bike shop owner with a long memory finds it in a pawn shop when it was advertised on Craigslist.

Inspired by Stephen Colbert fixing a flat on his bike, a Cleveland columnist gets his bike tuned and starts riding again to save what’s left of his sanity.

New York state eliminates an entire criminal class by finally getting around to legalizing ebikes.

Great idea. A new DC program matches people who have an extra bicycle or two lying around with essential workers who need one for safe transportation.

Fox Racing’s enduro/ebike helmet scored the highest in the latest bike helmet ratings from Virginia Tech.

 

International

Road.cc readers explain how their bicycling habits have changed due to the pandemic.

British Columbia’s Whistler ski area is still on track to open a bike park this May despite the coronavirus crisis, though the situation remains fluid.

Where to get the best online bike deals if you live in the UK. Hint: Email or call your favorite local bike shop before you buy anything online. They need the business, and will appreciate it more.

A British triathlete defends his nine hour, 201-mile bike ride in violation of the country’s coronavirus lockdown.

A 78-year old former Irish amateur cycling champ calls himself an unrepentant sinner for defying the country’s restrictions and getting out on his bike, insisting he never touches anyone when he’s riding.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bicycling says Covid-19 will deal a serious blow to pro cycling, as teams fold and the sport may never be the same. Pro cycling never recovered from the doping scandals, and many teams have for been circling the drain for years now; this will only speed the process.

 

Finally…

Surprisingly, it turns out a $550 stolen bike is worth around…$550. Which means that a $50 Craigslist Gary Fisher bike is worth…more, evidently.

And get out the crayons to pass the time until we can all ride again.

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Thanks to Matthew R for his very generous donation to help keep SoCal’s best bike news coming your way every day. Contributions of any amount are always appreciated, especially in times like this.

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Be safe, and stay healthy.

 

One comment

  1. NYS legalizes e-bikes 19 years after Federal laws and regulations were enacted making them legal in all 50 states. G. W. Bush signed the law in July 2001.

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