LA bike crashes plummet during pandemic while deaths don’t, and fight for safe streets on your neighborhood council

Yes, collisions involving bike riders really are down in Los Angeles.

According to a Crosstown analysis of LAPD crash data, the lighter traffic resulting from the coronavirus lockdown led to a nearly 71% drop during the 11-week period starting March 15th.

That’s just four days before the shutdown orders in Los Angeles and California.

Surprisingly, despite the return of motor vehicle traffic and the recent jump in SoCal bicycling fatalities, bicycle crashes remained significantly below last year as of the middle of last month.

More surprising is that LADOT is actually moving forward with bike projects outside the Downtown area.

It seems LADOT is paying attention. Despite facing a shortfall of nearly $31 million due to the coronavirus pandemic, the department has expedited multiple bike lanes and safety projects since the “Safer at Home” order was issued on March 19. According to Colin Sweeney, LADOT’s public information director, there have been nearly 28 miles of bike lanes installed or upgraded, and an additional 5.5 lane miles are under construction in the city…

In addition to Downtown, Sweeney said LADOT also implemented more than 12 miles of new bike lanes to Avalon Boulevard in South Los Angeles since May.

“In South Los Angeles, the Manchester-Broadway, Our Way project has just begun construction and will add new parking-protected bike lanes from Manchester to Century on Broadway,” he said.

So maybe there’s hope, after all.

At least if you live or ride in those areas, because there are large swaths of LA where the city doesn’t appear to be doing anything.

Thanks to Ethan Ward for the heads-up.

Illustration by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay.

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On a related subject, the dramatic drop in SoCal bicycling deaths in March, April and May during the coronavirus shutdown, followed by a big jump in June and July as people started back to work, is a reminder that bikes aren’t dangerous.

Cars — and the people in them — are.

And streets are safer with fewer cars on them.

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Maybe the most effective way to counter LA’s legendary NIMBYs and fight for safer streets is on the neighborhood level.

And the best way to do that is by serving on your local neighborhood council, with openings available right now throughout the LA area.

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Maybe with more bike riders on LA’s neighborhood councils, we might see less of this crap.

https://twitter.com/EntitledCycling/status/1290348082681401344

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Ted Faber says Culver City’s efforts to provide social distancing for diners is good for people on bicycles, too.

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GCN examines whether you’re better off riding solo or as part of a group.

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Most mountain bikers have enough sense to stay the hell away from forest fires.

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

Police in Orange, California are looking for a man riding a bike who sexually assaulted three women on the Santiago Creek bike path.

British authorities are looking for a mountain bike-riding man who attempted to solicit a sex act from a woman, before performing a lewd act in front of her.

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Local

Pasadena police will conduct a bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement operation this Friday. The usual protocol applies — be sure to ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits. Or just avoid riding in the Rose City until Saturday.

Sierra Madre and Arcadia are moving forward with bike lanes as part of an actual bicycle network in the San Gabriel Valley.

 

State

Costs Mesa is asking local residents, bike riders and pedestrians to reimagine what busy 19th Street can be. Although the latter two are often residents, too.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 96-year old Santa Maria man is rapidly approaching 100,000 lifetime miles on his bike, despite not taking up riding until he a relative spring chicken of 67.

A new study confirms the effectiveness of Oakland’s low-cost, quick-build protected intersections.

 

National

Streetsblog says the Covid-19 pandemic could take 14 million cars off American roads, and keep them off — but only if we move quickly to provide valid alternatives to driving.

The founding president of the American Planning Association says planners must actively confront structural racism embedded in the design of our cities.

Bike Portland asks what the city plans to do with a thousand high-mileage analog bikes from the city’s bikeshare program, which is replacing them with ebikes.

Waterloo, Wisconsin-based Trek is gearing up to meet the booming demand for bicycles, after initially preparing for the bike industry to implode as a result of Covid-19. Although one of the best ways to bankrupt any business is by chasing boom and bust cycles.

A new Chicago group is getting more Black people out on bikes while supporting Black-owned businesses.

An Indiana hit-and-run driver was sentenced to a whopping 48 years behind bars for killing a local a local coach and teacher who was riding his bike; the sentence included an additional 20 years for being an habitual offender. Even I think that might be just a tad extreme; the judge could have ordered the sentences to run concurrently, rather than consecutively.

Heartbreaking news from Massachusetts, where a 94-year old man faces a homicide charge for running down a 67-year old bike rider. Yet another example of allowing an older driver to remain behind the wheel until it’s too late.

There’s a special place in hell for the woman who drove off after running down a couple nine and twelve year old boys riding their bikes on a Long Island service road; the 31-year old driver was busted ten hours later, which could have given her plenty of time to sober up if she was under the influence.

Good point. A New York writer wants to know why the mayor is cracking down on Revel after the Vespa-style scooter-share service suffered two deaths, but not motor vehicles, which cause far more.

 

International

Road.cc gets it, recommending the best road bikes under the equivalent of $650. And yes, there are good bikes in that range these days. Although whether you’ll be able to find any at your local bike shop after the coronavirus bike boom is another matter.

Speaking of Road.cc, the bike site Investigates an “innovative new risk-management philosophy” that says it’s time to drop the “us vs them” attitude, and build a road system that accommodates people’s errors.

Cycling Weekly explains what you should look for in a commuting bike.

Treehugger offers tips on what you’ll need to bike with small kids, while The Guardian covers the same topic.

North American bike riders need more than just white lines on the street to stay safe.

A pair of British Columbia bicyclists are lucky to be alive after they were struck by a load of lumber a truck driver carelessly left overhanging his pickup bed.

One in five British residents say they’d consider riding a bike as part of their commute, but fears of bike theft and dangerous streets hold them back; meanwhile, only ten percent of Brits think the country takes road safety seriously.

An English ambulance driver, who should know better, tells a bicyclist to get off the road and ride on a parallel cycle track, even though the rider is traveling at up to 30 mph. Maybe he’s just trying to boost his business if there are any slow bike riders or pedestrians on the path.

An English blues musician was killed when he crashed his bike into a bollard that was placed on a bike and pedestrian bridge after an elderly couple drove onto it by mistake — and even though another bike rider had already been injured in the same spot.

Nice story from the UK, where an 83-year old man is looking for the racing cyclist who crashed into him, ripping off his lip, which had to be reattached — not to hold him responsible, but to thank him for staying with him and holding his hand all the way to the hospital.

A British woman says the country’s new bike-focused anti-obesity campaign will fail because it ignores the complex causes of obesity, insisting she’s neither lazy or lacking self-discipline.

German grocery chain Aldi is selling a full-featured folding bike for the equivalent of just under $400; no word on whether this offer is only available in the UK, or if they’ll ship to the US, though. Although if I had an extra four hundred bucks lying around, I’d find out.

 

Competitive Cycling

The next pro cycling star may be Remco Evenepoel, as defending Tour de France champ Egan Bernal says he’s astounded by the 20-year old Belgian rider’s “massive” talent.

After winning the Strade Bianche, Belgian cyclist Wout van Aert held onto his jersey and the winning bike for a planned museum after he retires.

USA Cycling pulled the plug on this year’s Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Finally…

Who needs a washing machine when you can ride a bike? We may have to deal with distracted LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about careless sheep violating the right-of-way.

And don’t hang your face mask from your car mirror.

Or anything else, for that matter.

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

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