Bonin calls for opening streets for social distancing, what to look for in a bike, and free NACTO healthy streets webinar

It’s no surprise that Mike Bonin gets it.

The Westside councilmember became the first — and so far, only — Los Angeles councilmember to call for taking advantage of the city’s newly traffic-free streets to provide more space for people to walk, bike and run while maintaining social distancing.

Responding to an increasing number of requests from residents — especially seniors, families with children, and people with disabilities — Bonin, who serves as Chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee, wrote a letter to LADOT general manager Seleta Reynolds, asking her to consider proposals and make recommendations to temporarily repurpose space on some city streets to give Angelenos more opportunities to get outside while still honoring social distancing protocols and remaining in their neighborhoods.

“During the past month, we have all experienced the ways in which our neighborhood infrastructure does not support new patterns of local essential travel, and does not provide sufficient space for local recreation,” Bonin wrote to Reynolds. “Our sidewalks are too narrow, our streets continue to be unsafe for biking, and some motorists are taking advantage of congestion-free streets to speed recklessly even as more people are moving around on foot and bike…”

“As the father of a 6-year-old, I know firsthand that being able to spend time outside is a matter of physical and emotional well-being – for children and adults. We have the opportunity right now to make our streets more family-friendly,” Bonin added.

We’ll see if anyone else on the council or in the mayor’s office joins him. Particularly since city hall is distracted by the ongoing corruption allegations, which appear to be coming to a head in the near future.

You can read Bonin’s full letter here.

Meanwhile, a writer for Bicycling calls on more cities to follow Oakland’s lead in closing 74-miles of streets to most cars.

New York advocates are calling for more safe routes through Central Park as healthcare workers take to their bikes.

Germany is busy redrawing road markings to make more space for social distancing people.

And New Zealand became the first country to fund popup bike lanes and wider sidewalks on a nationwide basis during the coronavirus lockdown.

On the other hand, DC residents are joining the Department of DIY and doing it for themselves.

GIF from Streets for All showing what’s possible here in Los Angeles, right here and right now.

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Speaking of which, David Drexler sends word that even without closing traffic lanes, Santa Monica’s San Vicente Blvd, usually home to speeding distracted drivers and double-parked FedEx vans, was so packed with socially distancing bicyclists, runners, walkers and other assorted people that it looked like a mini-CicLAvia.

And what few drivers there were had to avoid them, for a change.

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Seems like it was only yesterday we quoted heavily from Peter Flax’s article about the struggle of small local bike shops to survive in the age of Covid-19.

Oh wait, it was.

Today he’s back, talking with some of the world’s leading experts, from the legendary Ernesto Colnago to America’s only remaining Tour de France winner, about what to look for in a great bicycle.

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Thanks to Kent Strumpell for forwarding news of tomorrow’s free NACTO webinar on how to build safe and healthy streets in a time of social distancing, with nationally recognized epidemiologist Dr. Keshia Pollack Porter and former NYDOT director Janette Sadik-Khan, now with Bloomberg Associates.

It will also be live-streamed on the NACTO Facebook and YouTube pages if you can’t set up a Zoom account. Or don’t want to.

It’s not like we’ve all got anything better to do these days.

Right?

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

A Davis man faces charges after he was busted while biking for allegedly stealing a completed Covid-19 test sample. No, really.

And it takes a real schmuck to steal from a food bank.

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Local

KCET remembers longtime LA civil rights and environmental justice advocate — and bicyclist — Robert García, who passed away earlier this month at age 67.

Beverly Hills is joining cities across the US in taking advantage of the quieter streets by speeding work on the former Purple Line subway, while Los Angeles fixes potholes.

Rapper and actor Ice-T used to be one of us, sort of. After his own bicycle was stolen while growing up in Los Angeles, he stole bike parts to build his own Frankenbikes.

 

State

San Francisco police bust a hit-and-run driver who left a bike rider lying injured in the streets on Saturday.

An Oakland news blogger watches a Bay Area bike rider’s hour long video showing a ride through the city’s nearly carfree streets, but can only see the blown stop signs and traffic signals. Worst part is, he — or maybe she — has got a point.

Sad news from Napa County, where a 67-year old man was killed when he somehow fell off his bike into a 15-foot deep culvert.

 

National

Specialized is giving away 500 bicycles to key essential workers in the US on a first come, first served basis.

Bicycling looks at the best gravel bikes you can buy right now, ranging from under a grand to well over ten times that amount. And talks with some of the nation’s best bike photographers.

The coronavirus means fewer cars on the streets of Portland, and the city wants to keep it that way.

A two-time cancer survivor passes through Arizona on the penultimate leg of his eight-year bike ride around the US to call attention to the disease.

A Holland MI writer calls on everyone to be more aware on the streets, while citing a study showing scofflaw bicyclists are at fault for just 6.5% of bike collisions. Unfortunately, he doesn’t cite the study, which we’d all like to see.

A suspected stoned driver faces a half dozen charges for the hit-and-run crash that severely injured a 29-year old Indiana bike rider. Thanks to Melissa for the heads-up.

After beating breast cancer, a Virginia Beach VA woman took up bike racing and quickly rose to become a newly minted Cat 2 racer. Even if she can’t race during the shutdown.

Heartbreaking news from Georgia, where a 14-year old girl was chased down on her bike and stabbed to death, allegedly by a teenage boy as part of an MS-13 gang initiation.

Tiger King’s Carole Baskin says she’s had to give up her daily Florida bike rides due to harassment and threats from fans of the Netflix docuseries, who accuse her of killing her former husband, even though the local sheriff says she’s not a suspect.

 

International

Santiago, Chile is making its bikeshare system free for healthcare workers. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Sign up for free online bike webinars to pass the time under house arrest, uh, social distancing, including Canadian yoga for bicyclists.

Urbanist and former Vancouver city planner Brent Toderian offers tips on how to make cities more livable during the pandemic lockdown. And hopefully keep them that way.

A pair of UK expats try to weather the storm of Covid-19, five years after moving to the Spanish coast to open a bike touring company.

British world heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua flouts the country’s lockdown rules to go for a 30-mile bike ride with friends.

Bicycling rates have jumped across Scotland, including two and three times previous rates in some locations.

A bighearted Philippine boy gives up the money he’d been saving for a new bike to help frontline workers fighting the coronavirus.

Australia’s Smart Company asks if Covid-19 means the end of bikeshare.

 

Competitive Cycling

Now you can own the scuffed-up bike that was handmade for the legendary Gino Bartali, which he rode to a second-place finish in the 1947 Tour de France — assuming you have nearly a hundred grand to invest. Put it somewhere safe, because you could end up being a holy relic if the Catholic Church finally gets around to making him a saint. Or beatifies him, anyway.

Turkey pulls the plug on all bike races through next month.

An Indian newspaper predicts a financial meltdown in pro cycling if the Tour de France is cancelled. Although for now, it looks like it’s merely being rescheduled.

 

Finally…

No one says you can’t do your household chores while you ride your bike. Nothing like building a bike lane on a bridge, while banning bikes from the roads leading to it.

And Dear Abbey says get her a bike, already.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

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