Metro bus layover blocks San Fernando Valley bike lane, three easy steps to safer streets, and biking through the pandemic

What good is a bike lane when it doubles as a layover space for Metro buses?

That’s the question Steven Hallett asked in an email to CD12 Councilmember John Lee.

With more and more bicycles on the road, clear, safe, unobstructed bicycle lanes are vital. While there are several I would like to point out, I will address only one at this time. Just east of Porter Ranch Dr on Rinaldi St in Porter Ranch There is a bus layover zone that blocks the bike lane. It is just around a curve and is blocked by bushes, so when I am on my on a bike, I cannot see it until I get very close forcing me to either use the traffic lane or stop and wait for the traffic lane to clear. To be clear, I am not talking about a bus stop (pick-up / drop off), but a layover where one, two, and sometimes three buses are parked for an extended periods of time waiting for their run to start. On top of that, the bike lane where the buses park is very damaged —sunken and very cracked (bus stops usually have a concrete pad, this lay over zone does not!). I have been on the MTA web site to try and find out what “Rule 2.15” is that allows (illegally!) buses to park in the bike lane with no success. I certainly couldn’t park my truck there just because I wanted to! I have also emailed various departments at the MTA with no response what-so-ever, not even a polite response. I am including pictures showing the blocked bike lane, the No Parking Anytime (NO PARKING ANYTIME) sign, and the MTA sign with the reference to ‘Rule 2.15.  It is your responsibility to make our community safe!

We’ll see if he gets a response from Lee, who isn’t exactly known for his concern for anyone who doesn’t get around by car.

Especially since he hasn’t gotten anywhere with Metro.

Never mind that Lee’s got his hands full after being deeply implicated in the bribery scandal that took down his predecessor, Mitch Englander.

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Robert Leone forwards a trio of reasonable and easy steps from the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition on how to make streets safer for people on bikes and on foot.

Too bad LA’s city leaders aren’t on their mailing list.

Publicize a reduced speed advisory to 15 mph for residential streets to keep everyone walking and biking safe. More people are walking and biking in their neighborhoods to get exercise and travel to essential services nearby. With less car traffic, people are speeding down roads, endangering those walking and biking. A reduced speed advisory publicized by the city and local police would help raise awareness and lead to fewer crashes and injuries among people and less burden on the healthcare system.

  • An additional step would be to adjust signal timing to slow vehicle speeds and ensure safety

More space for the increased number of people walking and biking. Our biking and walking networks are insufficient to meet the needs of people getting exercise outdoors and traveling while maintaining six feet of social distance. We recommend identifying streets where bikeways and sidewalks could be expanded, creating quick build or pilot bikeways and sidewalks on streets that have excess vehicle lanes. SVBC is ready to help identify streets and rally volunteers to install signs and barricades to make it work. (Oakland announced April 10 that they would be closing 74 miles/10% of streets to carssee plan).

Switch the pedestrian phase of traffic signals to be automatic and ensurethat bicycles are captured at traffic signals. Adjusting pedestrian signals so pushing a button is no longer needed to cross the street limits the amount of surfaces a person must touch, helping curb the spread of COVID-19. This is simpler for some cities than others depending on how their traffic signal system operates (either a central operating space or having to go out to individual signals). Thank you to San José and Redwood City for already doing this!

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Calbike offers resources to help get you through the coronavirus crisis, including FAQs on riding through the pandemic, tips for new or returning bike riders, and Bike Match programs throughout the state.

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

Angry English villagers stop just short of getting out the pitchforks and torches, ripping the sheets off someone’s bed to demand that bicyclists stop “panting” in their village and just stay away. They’re assuming that it’s the people on bikes who may be infected with the virus, when it’s just as likely the people on two wheels risk of catching it from the villagers. Thanks to Robert Leone for the heads-up.

A proposal to allow New Zealand bike riders to use the sidewalk at speeds less than 10 mph is somehow deemed an attack on pedestrians.

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Local

Great move from South LA’s East Side Riders Bike Club, who gave back to the local community by serving hundreds of free pancake breakfasts in Watts this week.

Isla Fisher is one of us, taking a bike ride through her Los Angeles neighborhood wearing a helmet and mask.

Chris Pine is one of us, too, as he took a bike ride through the streets of LA with English actress Annabelle Wallis.

 

State

A pair of pro cyclists have set up a unique contact-free food drive in Encinitas to benefit Feeding San Diego.

Bicyclists in San Diego’s North County are struggling to balance the right to ride while respecting state and local health restrictions.

 

National

City Lab suggests cities should stop charging fees to e-scooter companies and start subsidizing them to ensure their survival after the coronavirus crisis.

Apple introduces a handlebar mount for your iPhone.

Bike Santa Fe’s Brian Kreimendahl forwards news about the arrest of a killer hit-and-run driver, who says she thought she’d just hit a traffic cone instead of the bike rider she left dying on the side of the road. And swears she only had one drink that night. Sure. Let’s got with that.

A Colorado bike rider says stop bending the rules to ride in groups or drive to distant trailheads, and maybe do your riding inside, like she is.

A Massachusetts driver faces multiple charges including vehicular homicide for running down an entire bike-riding family while texting last month, killing the father and critically injuring the mother and adult son.

A Brooklyn urban planner says don’t overthink it because closing streets to allow exercising while social distancing is easy.

Sad news from New York, where Covid-19 has taken the life of a 55-year old man known as the best bike mechanic in Queens, just one of the 13,000 New Yorkers killed by the virus to date.

Like here in Los Angeles, New York drivers are putting the pedal to the metal on the city’s newly empty streets, with speeding tickets up 100%.

 

International

Road.cc says you can actually get a decent road bike for less that the equivalent of $375.

Cycling Tips uses Strava data to rank the 20 fastest road bikes.

Evidently, you can’t drive away from justice. After a Toronto woman repeatedly flipped off a person for filming her blocking a bike lane, she drove off before police could give her a ticket. But it will be coming in the mail, anyway.

The CBC considers just how safe it is to run or ride a bike these days.

Once again, a bike rider is a hero, as a former English Marine leaped off his bike and into action to save the life of a van driver who went off the road after losing consciousness.

Bicycling talks with the British women who beat the Covid-19 pandemic by days to set an around the world tandem record.

A writer for Bike Radar says his new Surly fixie is keeping him sane during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown. Something most people who ride bikes can probably relate to.

An Edinburgh bike shop is donating free bikes, helmets, locks and lights to key workers for six months during the coronavirus pandemic, while a new map shows locations with similar programs throughout the UK.

Inspecting bikes in 1960s Britain.

Ebike prices continue to drop, with Dutch brand Van Moof introducing their latest model for under $2,000 — roughly half the price of its current bike.

Dutch pro cyclist Dylan Groenewegen is using his time under the lockdown to deliver groceries to homebound people in Netherlands by bike while wearing his full team kit. Thanks to Stormin’ Norman for the link.

German bike shops are scheduled to rise from their enforced coronavirus slumber next week.

An Indian man is riding his bike throughout the city of Hyderabad to call attention to the need for masks and social distancing.

Palestinian women are using bicycles to bring crafts, toys and books to children shut inside by the Covid-19 lockdown.

Nice guy. The head of an Aussie civil rights organization says being told to only walk counterclockwise around a lake for social distancing is an attack on freedom. And he’s just sorry the bike rider who killed his dog in a crash didn’t die, too.

 

Competitive Cycling

A public health expert says allowing the rescheduled Tour de France to go off as planned this July is a recipe for disaster, especially if fans are allowed to attend the race.

 

Finally…

Nothing like slipping out for a casual bike ride, and ending up with a fashion review. When you’re trying to escape from the cops on you bike, watch out for the old sign post through the spokes trick.

And call it an inflatable pool noodle to make drivers maintain a little social distancing.

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

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