LA bike crashes drop 90% in September, and Glendale’s Laura Friedman heads state Assembly Transportation Committee

It’s Day 18 of the 6th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Thanks to Robert R and John M for their generous donations to help bring you all the best bike news and advocacy, from around the corner and around the world. 

So don’t wait. Take a few moments to give to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive right now!

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Call it a Chrismakah miracle.

Crosstown reports that LA had just ten percent of the usual number of bicycle collisions in September, dropping from 185 last year to just 18 this year — even though bike use jumped 52% after the pandemic shutdown earlier this year.

And through November, bike-involved crashes are down 70% compared to last year, from 1,655 in 2019 to 496 this year.

That’s reflected in a corresponding drop in bicycling fatalities, with 16 deaths in LA County this year, according to my stats, compared to 34 for all of 2019.

I can’t explain it, because traffic in the city is back to pre-pandemic levels. And it’s not like there’s been a sudden jump in bike lanes or Complete Streets, temporary or otherwise.

I’m stumped.

So how do you explain the unexplained decrease?

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Maybe there’s hope for California after all.

According to Streetsblog California, Burbank/Glendale Assembly Member Laura Friedman has been given the reins of the state assembly’s Transportation Committee.

The former Glendale city councilmember has long been a supporter of safer streets and reducing the use of private motor vehicles, while encouraging biking, walking and transit use.

And she has tried, so far unsuccessfully, to reform California’s deadly 85th Percentile Law, which allows drivers to set speed limits with their right foot.

Here’s how Streetsblog put it.

As a freshman Assemblymember, during the fierce and sometimes off-topic arguments about S.B. 1, Friedman spoke up against an argument that all money raised from gas taxes should go for road expansion to solve congestion. “We know that adding capacity does not decrease congestion,” she said. “Getting people out of their cars decreases congestion…”

Friedman also worked to find a way to allow cities to lower speed limits, a job that turned out to be much more complex than it should be. She succeeded in creating a Zero Fatalities Task Force to discuss the topic. The Task Force issued a report last year that recommended what Friedman had been saying: that the state should change the way it sets speed limits.

Now that she’s chairing the committee, maybe — just maybe — we’ll start to see a little more progress here in the late, great golden state.

We can hope.

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Here’s your chance to work in the wonderful world of bicycles.

A San Francisco ice cream company is looking for sales people to blast tunes and peddle their frozen treats from e-cargo bikes.

The Marin County Bicycle Coalition is looking for a full-time policy and planning director.

Unless maybe you’d rather move to Yellowstone adjacent Jackson Hole, Wyoming to head Mountain Bike the Tetons.

And if you’ve ever been to the Tetons, then yes, you would.

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Former presidential candidate and Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg is one of us.

And no, I don’t get it either, even though I like the guy.

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Time for your Tuesday mountain bike break.

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

A Singapore woman is looking for the hit-and-run bike rider who nearly slammed into her as she rode her bike with her husband on a park bike path, causing her to lose control and knock herself cold.

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Local

UCLA law professor emeritus Paul Bergman is one of us, frequently making the nearly 30-mile commute from his Pasadena home to campus by bicycle; he’ll be leading a free Zoom class to explain what really happens in a courtroom.

If you’ve got any extra cash lying around after donating to our holiday fund drive, Streetsblog is doing a little end-of-year fundraising, too.

 

State

This is who we share the road with. Residents along Oakland’s 8th Street are demanding traffic calming measures to stop drivers from slamming into their houses.

Burlingame has adopted a shiny new bike and pedestrian plan. Although as we’ve learned in LA, a bike plan doesn’t mean a thing if it never gets built.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A 41-year old Morgan Hill man was killed when he was hit by not one, but two hit-and-run drivers while trying to cross the street. Thanks to Robert Leone for the link.

A San Francisco cop is accused of injuring two people riding bikes after running a red light. Thanks to Dr. Metro BlueLine for the heads-up.

Ebikes could soon be allowed on fire roads on Marin County’s popular Mt. Tam.

 

National

Bicycling wants to teach you how to bomb down descents like a pro. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the Bicycling site blocks you out.

Body building legend and former six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates is one of us, after dislocating his shoulder hitting an oil slick while biking with his wife. 

Um, okay. A Forth Worth man faces murder charges for chasing down a bike rider he accused of stealing a shotgun from his car — the car he stole, that is — then driving off laughing after fatally shooting the other man.

Ocean City, Maryland wants to build a beachfront bike path to get bicyclists off the dangerous coast highway. Although experience shows a beach path is likely to quickly become crowded with pedestrians and slower riders, forcing faster and more experienced bike riders back onto the highway.

 

International

A pair of Canadian researchers say expanding bike lane networks during Covid-19 can lead to more inclusive cities.

It looks like London’s bikeshare system isn’t going anywhere, after all.

A sports site profiles British bicyclist Mike Hall, who set a new record by riding around the world in just 91 days — an average of 200 miles a day.

Here’s one more for your bike bucket list — biking along Russia’s scenic Volga River. Yes, that Volga River.

Israel’s Supreme Court rules that ped-assist ebikes are not motor vehicles, as long as they aren’t strictly throttle controlled.

The New York Times says bikes are booming in Manilla, too.

 

Competitive Cycling

Italy’s anti-doping investigators cracked down hard on former pro Riccardo Riccò, hitting the admitted doper with a lifetime cycling ban long after he retired to open an ice cream shop — and while he was already serving a 12-year ban. Does that mean he can’t peddle ice cream from his cargo bike anymore?

Cyclist imagines what today’s racing bikes would be like if there were no UCI rules.

The Guardian looks back at the 125-year old Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic bike race.

 

Finally…

Why settle for a bike path when you can have an outdoor art gallery, too? That feeling when Google’s street view apparently decides your bike seat is obscene.

And that feeling when your bike ride gets an ostrich escort.

[Cape Point National Park][RSA] Credits go to Daniel’s ass from CyclistsWithCameras

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

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