LA pulls plug hours after approving Del Rey Slow Streets, San Diego shows how it’s done, and proof bikes mean business

My apologies if you got a premature draft of today’s post. Evidently, I somehow inadvertently posted this while I was still working on it.

Either that, or I’ve got a bad case of cyber gremlins. 

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In a dramatic reversal, Los Angeles approved plans to install the city’s first Slow Streets on several streets in the Del Rey neighborhood, which would have allowed people to get out to walk or bike while maintaining a safe social distance.

Then the city changed its mind, pulling the approval just hours before it was supposed to go into effect.

Never mind that any delay defeats the entire purpose of the program, which is intended to help people get out now for fresh air and exercise when they need it most to maintain their mental and physical health.

But even if it hadn’t been cancelled, this is exactly what’s wrong with Los Angeles.

One small area would have gotten desperately needed slow streets to allow for social distancing. But only because one neighborhood council asked for them, and one councilmember cared enough to — almost — get it done.

We need citywide leadership in a time of crisis, not 15 fiefdoms with widely varying commitments to safer streets.

As in, none at all in some cases.

Let’s hope LA city leaders get their figurative heads out of their collective asses, and start giving Angelenos safe places to get outside and move around, like the World Health Organization calls for.

Not in one small neighborhood, but in all of them.

And if it sounds like I’m pissed off, that’s only because I am.

Especially after Portland committed to 100 miles of slow streets.

Meanwhile, BIKAS — Bicycle Infrastructure Knowledge Activism and Safety — calls for an email campaign to demand quick-build safety improvements on LA’s Fourth Street during the Covid-19 pandemic.

And Streetsblog say LA’s new program to accelerate repaving during the coronavirus slowdown is ignoring the city’s previously approved Mobility Plan.

Photo by Athena from Pexels.

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San Diego continues to show LA how it’s done, closing part of four streets to motor vehicles to provide space to walk or bike while maintaining social distancing.

Meanwhile, San Diego County has reopened the SR-56 commuter bikeway between Solana Beach and Rancho Bernardo to pedestrians and bike riders.

As Robert Leone points out, it’s true that the pathway gets a lot of recreational use. But no one is stopping drivers to ask if their trips are necessary.

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Yet another study shows that bikes are good for business.

Researchers from Portland State University studied fourteen economic corridors in six cities with and without bike lanes.

And discovered that most businesses saw improvements in sales and employment as a result of bike lanes, with restaurants showing the greatest growth.

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PeopleForBikes is hosting a virtual Draft Meetup for San Diego-area bike riders this evening; you can RSVP here.

Thanks to Robert Leone for the heads-up.

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When you absolutely, positively have to pass the person on the bike, road dividers be damned.

Note: I missed the date on this before posting it. Not the date of the tweet, but the May 14, 2015 on the video itself. So either the bicyclist didn’t set the date properly, or I need to apologize for posting a five year old video. Thanks to Aurelio Jose Barrera for the catch.

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Phillip Young forwards a full-length film about the glory days of Detroit’s Wolverine Sports Club, dedicated, as their site says, to promoting cycling, speedskating and cross-country skiing at all levels.

And no, I haven’t had a chance to see it myself yet, so let us know what you think.

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

Police in the UK are looking for the motorcycle-riding schmuck who pushed a bicyclist off his bike for no apparent reason.

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

An Alabama man with an outstanding warrant for domestic abuse faces additional charges after leading police on a slow speed bike pursuit.

An “extremely intoxicated” Florida man faces multiple charges for attacking his former roommates while demanding to know where his bicycle was.

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Local

The LA County Sheriff’s Department says even though we’re all under safer at home orders, May is still Bicycle and Motorcycle Safety Month.

According to a new plan, LA County beaches could reopen on the 18th, but the beach bike path will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

Good idea. An LA Times op-ed calls for turning streets in front of restaurants into expanded seating areas, allowing them to reopen while maintaining social distancing.

The owners of Pure Cycles have sold the Burbank-based bikemaker to Florida bicycle distributor J&B Importers; however, founders Michael Fishman and Jordan Schau will continue to operate it as a standalone company.

Against all evidence, Pasadena somehow decides yellow “traffic calming’ signs will get drivers to take their foot off the gas pedal, while a Pasadena writer explains why red lights don’t prioritize people and still make you push a button to cross. Hint: Older red lights are hard to reprogram, and cars matter more than people in the Rose City.

Lime has pulled up stakes and ridden their scooters out of Santa Monica for the last time.

After Ocean Drive was flooded with people exercising when the beachfront Strand pathway was closed, Manhattan Beach residents call for banning bikes and skateboards, and restricting it to residents only. Which is only slightly illegal, since bikes are legally allowed on any street cars are allowed on. 

Coldplay’s Chris Martin is one of us, as he goes for a mountain bike ride through the ‘Bu, while Ryan Phillppe rides his mountain bike in LA.

Prodigal Son actress Bellamy Young is one of us now, after she had two weeks to learn how to ride a racing bike for a part on Criminal Minds. And had to film the scene with a chipped a tooth from grinding her teeth out of fear of falling off.

 

State

Once again, the CHP accuses a bike rider of a SWSS,* insisting the victim swerved in front of a Fresno County driver and suffered “moderate to major” injuries. *For the uninitiated, SWSS refers to a single witness suicide swerve, which is a bike meme referring to the fact that bike riders usually get blamed for riding in front of drivers in the absence of independent witnesses, when it’s often the driver who doesn’t hold his or her lane.

Palo Alto transportation planners say we need to plan for more bicycling and walking after the pandemic, expecting both to be in greater demand.

Great idea. A UC Berkeley grad student is analyzing San Francisco blocked bike reports to determine where protected bike lanes should be installed.

A Stockton man was busted for violating his probation by towing a rifle hidden in a guitar case on his bike trailer.

 

National

Gear Patrol complains that Canyon’s new roadie ebike isn’t available in the US; service isn’t available here for the bike’s Fazua motor. They kinda like Rapha’s new lightweight summer jersey, too.

Pink Bike rates riding glasses. My personal recommendation remains giving San Diego’s Sport RX a call, and let them fix you up with prescription bike glasses, including progressive lenses.

A local website asks whether Denver has what it takes to be a great bike city.

Burglars stole over $35,000 worth of bicycles from a Colorado bike shop.

Chicago finally gets around to repainting faded bike lanes, six months too late to save the life of a bike-riding woman.

Michigan bike shops reopened Tuesday after the governor lifted the state’s strict coronavirus lockdown.

A kindhearted Niagara Falls nurse bought a 12-year old boy a new bike after reading about his stolen bike on Facebook.

A Brooklyn thief faces charges for punching a man in the face to steal his bicycle, then attacking him with it.

A writer for Forbes says ebikes are cooler than you think, praising a chunky looking 30 mph bike from a Boston startup. Even though the article says it’s suited for bike lanes, its speed makes it illegal to ride in one in many states, including California. And you’ll need a helmet and a driver’s license.

DC bike riders stage a rolling protest with a musical soundtrack to highlight inequality exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

A North Carolina high school principal is honoring her school’s graduating seniors by riding her bike around the campus ten times every day this week.

Take a virtual bike ride through the streets of Atlanta, without the inconvenience of actually going there.

Atlanta is getting serious about Vision Zero, cutting speed limits on most city streets to 25 mph.

 

International

Road.cc recounts ten brilliant inventions that changed the bicycle forever, including, yes, pedals.

Cyclist has advice on how to buy a gravel bike.

Regina, Saskatchewan city leaders overwhelmingly defeated a proposal to require bike helmets for all riders, instead opting for an education program to make them less needed.

An Ontario man set a new world record by riding 626 miles in 24 hours on his Zwift stationary bike.

The BBC questions whether we’re witnessing the death of the car, as cities around the world hope to keep many motor vehicles off the road long after the lockdowns end. Except in Los Angeles, of course, where city leaders seem committed to doing nothing.

Apparently, Los Angeles drivers aren’t the only ones taking advantage of empty streets by gluing their feet to the gas pedal. London has seen an eight fold increase in speeding compared to this time last year.

No bias here. A London writer describes bicyclists as irritating little wasps that you can’t run down without fear of maiming one, yet gives riding a try anyway, on an ebike the size of a small motorcycle. However, most of the article is hidden behind the damn paywall.

It’s two years behind bars for a pair of bike thieves who targeted workers at a Nottingham, England medical center.

The British tabloids clearly have celebrity chef and reality TV star Gordon Ramsey in their sights, accusing him of running a red light and nearly causing a crash on his latest ride from his Welsh home.

A Belgian bike path across a huge pond creates the illusion of riding through water.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 79-year old Dutch man chased down a bike thief on his ebike — with a passenger on the back.

 

Competitive Cycling

Despite being rescheduled for August, the Tour de France is once again in jeopardy after the French prime minister extends a ban on sporting events through September. Am I the only one who says just pull the plug on 2020 and try again next year?

The Vuelta has nixed its planned Dutch start, and will cut back to just 18 stages this year. Assuming the race happens at all, of course.

The cancellation of the pro tour has put a crimp in anti-doping labs and testing. Not that anyone would take advantage of that, of course.

VeloNews talks with women’s cyclist Kasia Niewiadoma and recently retired cycling scion Taylor Phinney, who got stuck in Girona, Spain while on a bikepacking trip after the pro tours were cancelled.

Kiwi cyclist Ella Harris is spending her lockdown time baking bread and working on her degree in food marketing.

 

Finally…

Seriously, don’t ride your bike past a store and spit on the window — let alone five times. Yes, you’ll probably want a seat on your bike for long distance rides.

And watch out for gators on the bike path.

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

One comment

  1. Ben Jones says:

    re. the Tour de France 2020. I agree with you – let’s write off the whole of 2020 and come back fighting in 2021!

    Best,
    Ben

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