London paper holds ugly mirror to LA bicycling; bike rider brutally attacked with baseball bat; and chef has bike, will cook

London’s Guardian takes a look at bicycling in the City of Angels.

And it ain’t pretty.

With year-round perfect riding weather and a topography that allows both bike commuters to enjoy pedaling without too much strain and experienced riders to explore the nearby mountains and hills, Los Angeles in many ways is a cyclists’ paradise.

But the city’s cycling reputation is tempered by the fact that it is one of the most vexing, difficult and downright dangerous cities in the United States to ride a bike in.

The story goes on to describe LA’s crappy roads, lack of safe bikeways, and drivers who can’t seem to take their foot off the gas or put their phones down — despite city officials nearly dislocating their shoulders patting themselves on the back.

In 2018, Bicycling Magazine gave LA the ignominious title of “worst bike city in America” because of the hazards posed to cyclists by distracted drivers, the terrible shape of most streets, and the seeming willingness of local officials to pay out millions of dollars in lawsuits rather than address the infrastructure needs that could make LA a safer place to bike…

The poor shape of streets in Los Angeles has forced the city to dole out millions of dollars in the last decade to cyclists severely injured by the shoddy road conditions.

In 2017, the city paid $7.5m to a man left quadriplegic after he crashed on a stretch of road where the pavement had buckled because of tree roots. That same year it gave $6.5m to a cyclist who suffered a traumatic brain injury after hitting a massive pothole on his bike, and another $4.5m to the family of a rider killed after he hit a 2in ridge in the pavement.

Phil Gaimon, former pro, author and YouTube star Phil Gaimon sums it all up.

“The weather here is so perfect that you really don’t need a car to shelter like you do in other parts of the country,” said Phil Gaimon, a former professional cyclist turned author and YouTube star. “But LA is also the shittiest city in the most beautiful part of the world.”

It’s not how we want to see ourselves, or how we want others to see us.

But it’s too often true, in far too many ways.

It doesn’t have to be.

But until we can help our elected leaders find the political courage to stand up to LA’s driver industrial complex — or replace them with officials who will — we will continue to put up ghost bikes.

And dream about what might have been.

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Horrifying attack in New York, where a bike-riding man was beaten senseless by a man with a baseball bat, who struck him repeatedly until the victim fell to the sidewalk unconscious and bleeding, then kept striking him as bystanders attempted to intervene.

Police arrested the 46-year old attacker after witnesses pointed him out standing in the crowd.

At last report, the victim still hadn’t regained consciousness, and no reason was given for the vicious attack.

The video depicts a brutal assault on a helpless victim, so make sure that’s something you really want to see before you click Play.

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Who needs a food truck when you’ve got your own bicycle kitchen?

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

A British delivery rider says he’s been struck by drivers over 20 times during the pandemic, and physically attacked four times.

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

Boise police are looking for a mountain bike-riding bank robbery suspect who rode off with an unspecified amount of cash after telling the teller he had a gun. No word on whether he made an Idaho Stop as he made his getaway.

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Local

LA bike diversity expert Tamika Butler turns up in an unexpected place, writing for Red Bull about elite mountain bikers Eliot Jackson and Katie Holden and their new Grow Cycling Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to inclusive community building and career development, and tearing down the barriers to entry for marginalized communities.

 

State

San Diego bicyclists can now get turn-by-turn bike directions on your iPhone.

Congratulations to UC Riverside on being designated as a Bicycle Friendly University.

Santa Barbara is offering a free demo of various kinds of ebikes in an effort to encourage more people to get out of their cars.

Bay Area residents now have the option of trading their older, smog belching cars for a new ebike. Last I checked, the ebike option was still unavailable in the LA area.

The rich get richer. UC Davis has completed a new and much improved bike path leading to the bike-friendly campus. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Good idea. The Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition is offering weekly in-person bicycling lessons for just $5 a session.

San Mateo police urge drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians to kill ’em with kindness. Instead of just, you know, killing ’em.

 

National

Forbes examines how one of the top low-end bike makers is struggling to keep up with booming demand at Walmart, Target and other mass-market retailers.

Heartbreaking news from Arizona, where a careless driver ran down a couple in their 70s as they rode in a bike lane, killing the woman and injuring her companion. Thanks to Phillip Young for the link.

Kings County, Washington, home to Seattle, will re-examine its mandatory bike helmet law, after reports indicated that the seldom-enforced law was used disproportionately to target homeless people who can’t afford to buy one.

After a year of riding her bike to campus, a Texas nursing student got the free use of a new Nissan for one year. Although that may not necessarily be an improvement.

A Chicago bike advocate was critically injured when she was right hooked by a driver illegally turning from far left lane; the fleeing vehicle was caught on security cam, but turned out to have been carjacked just days before.

A Pennsylvania man faces up to 12 years behind bars after he admitted to running a pair of stop signs before fatally slamming into a bike rider, while driving without a license.

NASCAR champ Bobby LaBonte is one of us, as he moves his annual fundraising ride to North Carolina, with a Roubaix-style finish circling the race track.

The executive director of a New Orleans advocacy group predicts this will be a breakout year for bicycling in the Big Easy, where 80% of residents support quickly building a “completely connected network of safe, dedicated bike lanes and trails throughout the city,” while 73% support protected bike lanes.

 

International

No, the best way to stay safe on a bike isn’t to wear a helmet; it’s to ride safely and defensively so you don’t need one.

We can hope. The chairman of Giant Bicycle’s Spanish and Portuguese subsidiary predicts cars will disappear in the coming years, while bicycles will keep being pedaled around the world.

Punjabi police busted a hit-and-run driver who slammed into a bike rider from behind, then drove over six miles with the man’s body on the roof of his car, only getting out to dump it when the man’s arm fell across the car’s window.

A lack of safe infrastructure could derail Mumbai’s plans to promote bicycling as a commuter option, and become India’s bicycling capital.

Bikes are booming in Nairobi despite a near-total lack of bike infrastructure, where a nine-mile ride to work is described as “harrowing.”

Maybe there’s justice after all. A Malaysian court has overruled a local magistrate, reinstating the case against a 26-year old woman who rammed 30 teenage bike riders with her car, killing eight and injuring eight more; the ruling came four years to the day after the horrific crash.

A New Zealand study concludes that e-scooters aren’t as safe as bicycles, and their users are much more likely to end up in hospital emergency rooms with a high level of alcohol in their blood.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling News reminisces about five late and lamented North American bike races that bit the dust in the last decade, at least temporarily, including our own dearly departed Tour of California.

Bicycling looks forward to eleven “can’t miss” bike races in the coming year, starting with Belgium’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad later this month. And yes, you can read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

LA’s pioneering, diversity-based L39ION of Los Angeles cycling team will field a women’s Continental team for the upcoming racing season, in addition to the previously announced men’s squad.

Hats off to British Giro winner Tao Geoghegan Hart, who took a knee in support of racial equity — and put his money where his heart is by sponsoring an under-23 rider with his former Hagens Berman Axeons team to promote racial diversity in professional cycling.

 

Finally…

Turn your old bike wheel into an otherworldly pan flute. Your next ebike could be a sub-19 pound roadie with the battery hidden in a faux water bottle, for the low, low price of just $14,449.

And the award for best use of a cargo bike goes to…

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

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