Slow Streets promised in LA bike plan but never built, tracking US bike deaths, and Pasadena offers free bike work

I had an interview yesterday about the sorry state of bicycling in Los Angeles.

And in the course of our discussion, it belatedly dawned on me that if LA had actually built out the 2010 Bike Plan that was unanimously approved by the city council, we wouldn’t need to beg the city for Slow Streets for social distancing

Because the Neighborhood Bikeway Network we were promised as part of the plan — one of three bike networks that would support everything from local family rides to crosstown commuting — would already give us exactly that, in every neighborhood in the city. 

Rich, poor and otherwise.

Just one more reason to demand that the city recommit to the Mobility Plan 2035 that they already committed to.

After all, we only have 15 years left to build out the transportation paradise they promised by 2035.

Unless maybe they had their fingers crossed.

Or it was all “aspirational.”

Photo by David Mark from Pixabay.

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It looks like Outside is entering my world.

Yesterday, the magazine announced a new program to track every bicycling fatality in the US this year, saying you can’t stop something if you don’t see it happening.

Which is exactly why I started reporting on SoCal bicycling deaths a decade ago, to shine a light under the deadly rock city and state officials were hiding them under.

The magazine leads off with a hard-hitting infographic on bike deaths, including the frightening stat that California accounts for 18% of bicycling fatalities, tied with Florida.

As the nation’s most populous state, California has an explanation, but no effing excuse. Especially when state and local leaders talk about Vision Zero without doing a damn thing to actually save the lives of people, on bikes or on foot.

That’s followed by a trio of stories expounding on the subject.

First, former Bicycling editor Joe Lindsey examines how the bigass SUVs Americans love are killing us. Literally.

That’s followed by advice on what to do if you’re hit by a driver, and how to navigate the legal and medical minefields that follow. Although the headline continues the sloppy journalistic practice of putting the blame on the vehicle, rather than the person driving it.

And finally, a writer pens a missive to the hit-and-run driver who left him in the street to die.

They’re not easy reads.

But it’s vital to read them if we’re ever going to change the deadly culture on our streets.

I wish them luck.

Tracking bicycling deaths is very hard, depressing work. Something the Bike League learned the hard way when they tried documenting every bicyclist killed on American roadways several years ago.

And quit after one year.

But maybe, just maybe, it will go a little easier this time, as Covid-19 continues to keep many drivers, and their killing machines, of the roads.

We can hope.

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Pasadena is partnering with ActiveSGV to provide free basic bike repairs and self-guided neighborhood tours.

Meanwhile, the advocacy group wants your support for ebikes in National Parks.

https://twitter.com/ActiveSGV/status/1257380723780091906

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Enduro World Series pro Jesse Melamed explains how to break down a mountain bike trail.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton rebuts the silly argument that Angelenos don’t need Slow Streets because we have more sidewalks than any other US city. We also have more streets; that doesn’t mean those sidewalks are adequate even under normal circumstances.

Forty some odd years later, Dennis Quaid is still one of us, as the Breaking Away star goes for a Westside LA bike ride with his fiancé; Road.cc patiently explains just what the Daily Mail got wrong in writing about it.

Jason Statham is one of us, too.

Hoodline lists the top four affordable bike shops in Long Beach — or rather, their computer does. And the best in Santa Ana, too.

 

State

WTF? San Diego has approved a plan for Slow Streets promoted by bike advocates — and opposed by local business groups, who for some strange reason didn’t want people to exercise while social distancing in front of their closed shops.

I’ve long been a fan of Richmond’s Rich City Rides bike co-op, as well as founder Najari Smith; California Streetsblog looks at how the group is caring for the local community during the coronavirus crisis.

 

National

Maybe the software is getting better. After repeated reports that self-driving cars had trouble spotting people on bicycles, a Tesla driver says a new upgrade helped spot a bike rider who was hidden from view.

An urbanist website says Seattle’s densest neighborhoods need open streets, too.

The goalie for the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche is one of us; Philipp Grubauer is using his downtime to ride “about 100 miles” a day.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole an adaptive bicycle from a Minnesota special needs kid.

No bias here. A Connecticut man was killed when he crashed his bicycle into a stopped garbage truck. But no one mentions the likelihood that the truck may have stopped short as he followed it, like they often do.

Anne Hathaway is one of us, going for a ride with her husband along the beach near their Connecticut home.

A writer for New York Streetsblog says the city’s open streets need to lead to permanent changes limiting motor vehicle use.

Baltimore did what LA can’t, or won’t, opening several miles of streets for bike riders and pedestrians to practice social distancing.

It only took the injuries of two teenage bike riders to spur Maryland officials to install a buffered bike lane on the same road. Maybe someday we can actually get bike lanes installed before someone gets hit.

A New Orleans letter writer complains about scofflaw bike riders, and wonders how they’d react if he drove the same way. Apparently forgetting that he’s behind the wheel of a big dangerous machine, and they’re not.

 

International

Bikes are leading the way out of the lockdown in cities around the world.; even tourism websites are starting to notice.

Cycling Weekly examines how the bicycling industry is fighting the coronavirus.

FloBikes offers their picks for the year’s best bikes in several different categories.

No bias here, either. An Edinburgh columnist says bike riders need to start obeying the law in exchange for new pop-up bike lanes. Because no one ever builds a new roadway before drivers promise to stop speeding and put their phones away, or make pedestrians pinkie swear before installing a crosswalk.

Bicycling belatedly catches up with the French plan to give people the equivalent of up to $54.50 for bike repairs to encourage bike commuting after the country reopens; the 20 million euro plan will also pay for bicycling education and increased road space to make bikes “the little queen of de-confinement.”

If this photo doesn’t make you want to ride your bike through the mountains of Islamabad, nothing will.

 

Competitive Cycling

Maybe you missed this year’s edition of the Redlands Classic, which took place virtually on the wonderful world of Zwift.

 

Finally…

Seriously, don’t use a flare gun as a bike theft security alarm. Your next lock could track your bike through 100 countries if it gets stolen; then again, if the lock worked, it wouldn’t have to.

And apparently, the new AmazonBasics bike lock is as bad as you might think.

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

One comment

  1. Daniel Fishbein says:

    California does not have an excess number of bicycle deaths when you take into account that they twice the number of bicyclists per/100,000 people. This also refutes safety in numbers

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