LA may not be worst bike city in US after all, bicyclist killed in FL endurance race, and LAPD says they’re not coming

This is just bizarre.

A chart started circulating on Saturday, apparently showing just how bad we have it here in Los Angeles.

Along with just how good Santa Monica does.

The chart, produced by San Diego’s Tower Electric Bikes, allegedly based on stats from PeopleForBike’s City Ratings, ranks SaMo as the best bike city in the US.

And Los Angeles, not surprising, as the worst.

But while that often feels right, something just didn’t add up.

To start, the stats for Los Angeles on this chart aren’t remotely accurate.

Yes, riding a bike in Los Angeles sucks. But we average around 15 bicycling deaths per year in the City of Los Angeles. Not over 6,200 bicycling fatalities per year, which is what the figure they cite adds up to for a city of nearly four million. 

And the other stats don’t align with the source material from PeopleForBikes.

PeopleForBikes puts Los Angeles relatively near the top of their ratings with a 3.0 rating for 2020, compared to a rating of 3.5 — out of a possible 5.0 — for the top ranked cities of San Luis Obispo and Madison, Wisconsin.  

Which would undoubtedly come as a surprise to bike riders in SLO, if not Mad City.

With literally hundreds of cities rated below Los Angeles, there is no way those stats support ranking LA as the worst city bike in the US.

Even if it feels like it sometimes.

In addition, the PeopleForBikes City Ratings bizarrely rank bike-friendly Santa Monica far behind Los Angeles with a 1.9 rating. Not, as the chart claims, first in the country.

And Long Beach, which is generally regarded as the most bike-friendly city in LA County, rates even lower at a very sad — and highly inaccurate — 1.6.

It’s possible that the undated chart may have been circulating for awhile; I recall seeing something similar, if not the same, awhile back. But the stats don’t align with the City Ratings for Los Angeles for 2018 or 2019, either.

So I have no idea where Tower got their stats. But they’re not from the PeopleForBikes page, unless something got badly scrambled somewhere along the way.

And not even close to right.

Photo by Josh Kur from Pexels.

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Tragic news from Florida, where a driver “veered to the right” and slammed into three people riding in a bike lane at 2:30 am, killing one man and seriously injuring two women.

At least one of the victims was participating in the 72-hour Sea to Sea endurance race.

No word on whether the driver will face charges.

But anyone who knocks down three people riding bikes — let alone kills someone — certainly should.

But given that it happened in bike-unfriendly Florida, probably won’t.

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Don’t expect the LAPD to respond the next time you’re in a collision if no one gets badly hurt.

But you can at least report it online now.

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Yes, the former Mayor Pete, now Secretary Pete, is one of us.

………

Somehow, I suspect the chances that Los Angeles would ever shut down a busy road and turn it over to bikes for more than a day are somewhere south of none.

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Another success story.

Bike Index offers free, transferable lifetime registration, as well as your best chance of getting your bike back if anything happens to it. And it’s now used by the LAPD register bicycles and trace recovered bikes.

So what are you waiting for, already?

………

Let’s see your bike club try this.

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Forget the now-banned super tuck.

Try descending backwards on one wheel.

………

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

A South Carolina man was shot by someone in a passing car as he rode his bicycle in broad daylight, for no apparent reason.

A Birmingham, England bike rider was pushed in a lake when a young man jumped up off a park bench and shoved him for no apparent reason.

A British man punched a 16-year old boy gathered outside a store with his friends, knocking off his bike, again, for no apparent reason — then tried to punch another man who came to the boy’s aid.

………

Local

Congratulations, Angelenos, apparently LA is sexy and San Francisco’s not.

Streets For All offers their endorsements for the upcoming LA Neighborhood Council Elections for Mid City West, P.I.C.O., Greater Wilshire, East Hollywood, Hollywood Hills West, and Wilshire Center-Koreatown.

Speaking of Streets For All, the bike PAC is hosting a virtual happy hour with Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin on the 10th.

A letter writer says skip the elevated parks over the Los Angeles River, and spend the money on “greening the L.A. River banks with linear parks and making the bike path safe and welcoming.”

Santa Monica is testing out the nation’s first zero-emissions delivery zone in a one-square mile downtown district, with deliveries made by everything from electric trucks to batter-powered robots and cargo bikes.

Bikeshare is back in Long Beach, with all racks full for the first time since the program was temporarily shut down last year over Covid fears.

 

State

Carlsbad’s Veterans Memorial Park will center on a family-oriented bike park, complete with a pump track and trails ranging from beginner to expert.

He’s one of us, too. A 66-year old Spanish-speaking farm worker from the Central Valley rode his bike over an hour and took his place in a long line of cars to get his Covid-19 vaccination, after having a mild case of the virus last year.

Sad news from Fresno, where a 38-year old man was killed by a truck driver while riding his bike at 3 am.

It takes a major schmuck to steal a shipping container full of donated bicycles from a Novato nonprofit that planned to send them to Africa to literally change lives.

Ebikes are booming in Sonoma County, with sales driven by older riders looking for a little boost.

 

National

Now that’s more like it. A bipartisan bill introduced in the US Senate would provide $500 million every year to connect biking and walking and biking infrastructure into active transportation networks, allowing people to travel within a community, as well as between communities, without a car.

Your next ebike could be a $7,500 Jeep.

A beginner’s guide to shifting gears, whatever kind of shifter you have.

A lesson in DIY frame repair, as a writer for Jalopnik shows how to braze a broken Schwinn steel mountain bike frame back together.

Anyone want to move to Missoula, Montana to run a mountain bike advocacy group?

Who needs warm weather when you can ride a fat bike in the snow?

Now that’s more like it. DC’s Vision Zero law has real teeth, mandating that protected bike lanes have to be included on any street when road work is done, if it calls for one in the bike plan. If we had something like that here in LA, we might actually be making progress on both the dust-covered bike plan, and the city’s long-forgotten Vision Zero.

A DC website calls for moving a vital crosstown bike lane away from the White House to avoid frequent closures in Lafayette Park.

 

International

Help suck smog out of the air while you ride your bike.

A British Columbia court says if your ebike looks and rides like a motorcycle or motor scooter, it’s not a ped-assist bike and you need a license and registration to ride it.

After the leader of Toronto’s New Democratic Party party had his bike stolen, he said he hoped whoever took it enjoys the smooth ride and creates their own memories with it.

Manchester United soccer player Roy Keene is one of us, taking to his bike while urging drivers to run him over if they ever see him in Lycra. English soccer great Michael Owen is one of us too, even if he took a dive after forgetting to unclip from his pedal.

https://twitter.com/themichaelowen/status/1365233490686480386?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1365233490686480386%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Froad.cc%2Fcontent%2Fnews%2Fcycling-live-blog-26-february-281217

Great idea. Devon, England is attempting to keep drivers in line by passing out free helmet cams to bike riders so they can report drivers who break the law. Maybe if we passed them out to bicyclists — and pedestrians — we might finally tame the mean streets of Los Angeles.

English author and commentator Will Self complains that pedestrians stood around like zombies in a George Romero film after his third bike collision, when a hit-and-run driver left him lying in the street.

Richard Harrington is one of us. The Welsh actor, who’s appeared in The Crown, Poldark, Death in Paradise, and a number of other series, took a job as a bicycle delivery rider after screen roles dried up for seven months due to the pandemic.

A Belfast priest thanks everyone who rushed to his aid when he passed out after apparently becoming dehydrated and overheated riding his bike.

A British bike rider was killed while allegedly riding with his head down and at twice the legal alcohol limit; he was accused of running red lights before crashing into the side of a car in the equivalent of a US left cross crash.

A UK advocacy group took the unusual step of urging people not to ride their bikes after a York bridge was closed for flood work without providing a safe alternative.

Heidelberg, Germany is trying to give cars the boot, building bicycle superhighways and carfree neighborhoods to make motor vehicles unwelcome.

Hats off to a goodhearted 12-year old New Zealand girl, who rushed to help a bike rider who was injured by a hit-and-run driver, and stayed with him until paramedics arrived.

Nothing like breaking your collarbone, then getting back on your bike under brutal conditions under the Australian summer sun to finish a race, just to win a beer — while dressed like Captain America, of course.

 

Competitive Cycling

Longtime cycling announcer Phil Liggett says Lance could have won even without doping, and still have at least some of his once record-setting seven yellow jerseys.

An Iowa newspaper remembers a Black cycling champ from the 1890s — not the legendary Major Taylor, but 15-year old Leo Welker, who overcame a five minute handicap to easily win a 14-mile race. But was blacklisted by the League of American Wheelmen six years later, which banned Black cyclists, including Welker and Taylor, from competing in sanctioned races.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you have to swerve your bike to avoid a giant sex toy. Riding to war on a spring-wheeled single speed.

And thankfully, I wear spandex.

Wait. What do you mean it’s the same thing?

………

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

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