CA bill could effectively ban bikeshare and e-scooters, ride for Black and Indigenous mental health, and hot bikes on LetGo

An op-ed in the LA Daily News op-ed questions why the California legislature is targeting dockless bikeshare and e-scooters.

The piece, written by Santa Monica Spoke director Cynthia Rose; Circulate San Diego ED Colin Parent, Finish the Ride and Streets Are For Everyone ED amian Kevitt, and Streets For All founder Michael Schneider, says that regardless of its intent, AB 1286 would “create new rules so onerous that micromobility operators may no longer be able to operate in California.”

Which doesn’t sound like the intended outcome.

Or the right one.

This bill doesn’t just impact newer micromobility like electric bikes and scooters, but extends to traditional, city-sponsored bike share programs as well, including the long running Bay Wheels system in the Bay Area and Metro Bike Share in Los Angeles. As our state grapples with so many pressing issues, including the economic and climate crisis, why is the legislature threatening our most sustainable and lowest cost transportation options?

First and foremost, this bill prohibits micromobility operators from using waivers of liability – the same waivers everyone signs when renting a car or taking a yoga class. No other industry is subject to a waiver provision such as the one proposed by this bill. By gratuitously singling out micromobility operators, the legislature is opening the door to unnecessary litigation, and operators have made clear they will likely have to leave California if they are not able use these waivers. Our cities will be harmed in the process, as waivers shield cities from frivolous lawsuits as well. California law already holds operators accountable and responsible for faulty devices to rightfully protect consumers, so there is simply no need to pursue these changes.

It’s understandable that legislators would want to improve liability laws regulating micromobility.

But this is like using a cannon to kill a mouse in your living room.

Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail, and the legislature will give itself a timeout to work with advocates and company representatives, and consider more carefully just how to improve safety without forcing users back into their cars.

………

Former international pro basketball player Damen Bell-Holter, who was with the Boston Celtics just long enough to grab a sandwich, is hoping to have a greater impact by riding to raise funds and awareness for mental healthcare for Black and Indigenous men.

The founder of Break the (Bi)Cycle, Bell-Holter will be leading a 1,500-mile ride from Bellingham, Washington to San Diego, stopping to speak with various tribes along the way.

Bell-Holter said he’d seen similar campaigns, but the topic is one he’s long held close, speaking and raising awareness of across Alaska and elsewhere. There’s a large gap in the availability and effectiveness of mental health care for Black and Indigenous men, especially in Alaska, Bell-Holter said, resulting in intergenerational trauma that can lead to some of the highest rates of death by suicide and substance misuse in the country.

“I’ve been bouncing my head off the wall about this for a few years. There’s so much violence and abuse in Alaska. What does prevention look like,” Bell-Holter said. “There’s a lot of trauma that outside people don’t understand. Non-Native and non-Indigenous people don’t understand there’s a lot of intergenerational trauma that’s not visible from the outside.”

The goal is to raise $100,000, which will be split 20 ways, resulting in just $5,000 each for the various tribes and communities.

You can contribute through the group’s crowdfunding page. So far, they’ve raised just over $3,600 in seven weeks.

Maybe we can all share this one, and get some support for a worthy cause.

………

A bike theft victim calls attention to an online chop shop hawking hot bikes on LetGo. And the problem of stolen bikes being sold on the platform in general.

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This is what Share the Road really means.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

After an 18-year old Virginia man’s bike was hit by a pickup driver while riding with a group of other riders, he responded by breaking the driver’s mirror. And the driver responded by attacking him with a stick.

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

See above.

Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof rode to the rescue in his Swedish hometown, tackling a bike-riding purse snatcher who’d just robbed a 90-year old woman. Although the thief probably took a dive in hopes of drawing a penalty kick.

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Local

Streetsblog looks at the new left side, parking protected bike lanes on Grand Street in DTLA, which continues to get safer and more rideable, while most of Los Angeles languishes.

That last item said “most of Los Angeles,” because of two new protected bike lanes on Broadway and Avalon Blvd in South LA, which is the other area currently seeing safety improvements in the city.

A Pasadena website offers more information on last weekend’s Black Lives Matter ride, which visited the sites of five violent police encounters in the Rose City.

 

State

A Huntington Beach real estate agent and rock drummer remembers his halcyon days as former Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rogers bike buddy.

Newport Beach Police will be focusing on bike and pedestrian safety enforcement next month. So ride to the letter of the law when you’re in the city. And maybe even put a foot down if you see a patrol car. 

Imperial Beach has approved construction of a new 6.4-mile bike path connecting the international border with San Diego County’s Bayshore Bikeway.

The Bay Area Bike to Work Day will be changed to Bike to Wherever Days, after being moved from the usual May date to September 24th. That compares to Los Angeles County, where this year’s Bike to Work Day has apparently been postponed to when hell freezes over.

 

National

Bicycling suggests six “crazy easy” ways to welcome rookie riders into the wonderful world of bicycling; as usual, you can read the article on Yahoo if the magazine’s paywall shuts you out.

A men’s website suggests hitting the road on one of the “seven best bicycles available now.” As usual, the list isn’t remotely accurate or comprehensive; on the other hand, any list that includes a fixie, a foldie and Schwinn’s reborn Krate bike can’t be all bad.

ZDNet offers advice for the ebike curious.

Apple’s new iOS14 is finally making Apple Maps useful for people on bicycles, allowing you to select the fastest route, or one using busy or less busy roads.

A brick building in St. Louis collapsed unexpectedly over the weekend, likely destroying many of the 700 children’s bikes stored there as part of a program to give kids a free bike after completing a bike safety course.

Once again, a dangerous driver managed to stay on the road until it was too late. A Chicago man was arrested for continuing to drive with his license suspended due to DUI, after killing an 83-year old man riding a bike, claiming he just didn’t see the man riding in front of him before stomping on the gas pedal. Unfortunately, he’ll likely walk away with a slap on the wrist, while his innocent victim paid with his life.

A DC woman was lucky to get her stolen bike back after she spotted the thief riding it and was able to wave down a passing patrol car; it helped that she had a photo of the bike and the serial number on her cellphone. Hint, hint.

Georgia bike riders turned out for a short 2.23 mile ride in memory of Ahmaud Arbery, six months after he was gunned down by a trio of self-appointed vigilantes.

 

International

A new study suggests that looking at happy pictures before your ride will result in less suffering during it. And unhappy pictures will have the opposite effect.

The UK’s Spectator magazine recommends 14 bicycling routes around the world they say rival the Tour de France. Which might be remotely accurate if the Tour de France was just a leisurely one-day ride around a local landmark.

London bike riders offer tips on riding a bike in the city, almost all of which apply virtually anywhere.

An Edinburgh woman calls for redesigning a floating bus stop, saying she was furious after she and her son were nearly hit by a bike rider “who came out of nowhere” as she stepped across a cycle track to get to her bus. She’s got a point. But no one ever comes out of nowhere. And nearly getting hit isn’t exactly news, especially after apparently failing to look both ways.

Berlin’s new bike lanes have failed to improve safety, as fatalities rise and advocates call for greater regulations on large trucks. Meanwhile, the city’s Green Party wants to charge SUV owners more to park their behemoth vehicles. Yes, please.

A Malaysian man is waiting for borders to reopen so he can get back on the road, two years after riding away from his law career to bike around the world.

 

Competitive Cycling

The union representing professional cyclists rejected criticism over unsafe conditions at this year’s races, after several riders questioned what good the group was if it couldn’t do something about it.

 

Finally…

If you can’t cut the lock on the bike you’re trying to steal, just take the bike rack with you. Evidently, Sgt. Preston of the Yukon would trade his dog team for an ebike these days.

And seriously, don’t ride if you have Covid-19.

Or think you might have.

Period.

……

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

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