LA Time’s Lopez calls for legalizing speed cams, Bike Index helps return stolen bike 500 miles away, and LA NC talks ebikes

He gets it, all right.

Last week we quoted LA Times columnist Steve Lopez as he called out the death cult of speeding drivers enabled by the relatively empty, over-engineered streets of pandemic-era Los Angeles.

In the first month of the pandemic last spring, the California Highway Patrol reported that although traffic volume was down 35%, the number of citations for driving in excess of 100 miles an hour had increased by 87% over the same period a year earlier. Between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, 4,851 more CHP citations were issued for speeding at 100 miles an hour or more, a 93% increase over the same period a year earlier.

This weekend, he pointed towards one major solution, with a full-throated endorsement of automated speed cams.

On Sunday, when I wrote about the perils of drivers thinking that light traffic during the pandemic is a license to try out for NASCAR, readers shared their own horror stories about speeding drivers and offered their own solutions. One was automated speed enforcement, which I’d already been looking into.

The way it works is that, if you’re driving over the speed limit in a monitored area, a sensor will read your speed and license plate, and you’ll get a citation in the mail.

The problem, as we’ve noted here before, is that they’re illegal here in the late, great golden state.

Currently, the technology is prohibited in California, but 140 communities in the country have used it with impressive results.

“Washington, D.C., saw a 70% reduction in speeding,” said Seleta Reynolds, general manager of L.A.’s Department of Transportation. “New York saw huge reductions in severe and fatal crashes. That technology is going to save people’s lives for years to come.”

As Lopez notes, that’s thanks in part to pressure from police unions, who have blocked previous attempts to legalize speed cams out of fear it will cost cops jobs, rather than simply freeing more officers to focus on more important things.

There are currently two bills before the state legislature to rectify the situation.

Assembly Bill 550 would legalize speed cams on streets previously recognized as dangerous, as well as in work zones, while Senate Bill 735 would limit the cams to school zones.

Both would require giving hotfooted drivers advance notice through signs indicating they’re entering a speed enforcement zone.

Which is kind of like warning robbers the cops have the place staked out, so they can avoid getting caught.

We need them everywhere drivers speed, rather than just limited locations. And as anyone who’s spent much time on SoCal streets knows, drivers speed everywhere.

But it’s a start.

Let’s hope both pass, or they get merged into a single bill for passage.

And let’s keep on top of it, and keep pressure on our representatives to make sure they do.

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This is a perfect example of why you should register your bike.

Even though the thieves took this bike far from the LA area, Bike Index’ free national stolen bike database helped lead to its safe return.

Or you could just count on faith to get your stolen bike back.

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The Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council is talking ebikes this Thursday.

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The case of the missing bike lane.

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Soon you, too, will be able to wear the new volcano-inspired colors of the L39ION of Los Angeles cycling team, which will be available from Rapha.

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

No bias here. A conservative commentator wants bike riders banned from the streets because someone on a bike complained about people blocking bike lanes, albeit in a rude and obnoxious manner. Seriously, we’ve all had to deal with people blocking bike lanes, but try to make the same point without being a total jerk about it.

And maybe Matt Walsh could try not being a jerk about it, too.

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Local

Chris Pratt is one of us, going for a ride in LA with his eight-year old son as Katherine Schwarzenegger follows with their infant daughter.

 

State

Beaumont proposes working together with the cities of Banning and Calimesa, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and Riverside County to develop multimodal transportation projects along the I-10 corridor, including bicycle routes.

A 22-year old woman suffered moderate injuries — whatever that means — when a driver failed to see her riding salmon at an Hesperia intersection.

No bias here. Britain’s Daily Mail accuses Prince Harry of racing through LA traffic on his “expensive” ebike. Even though he was riding near his Montecito home, about 84 miles away.

A Bakersfield bike path will be closed for improvements for one day a week from tomorrow.

In a tragic irony, a Berkeley bike and pedestrian advocate suffered major injuries when she was struck by a driver while riding with her son on a street where walkers and bike riders are supposed to have priority — and just hours after meeting with city transportation officials on how to improve traffic safety.

 

National

Transportation Secretary Pete says Biden’s transportation plan represents a once in a century opportunity to remake how Americans get around, where cars and highways are no longer king. I like this guy more every time he speaks.

The EPA says the days of pickup drivers enveloping you in a cloud of dark smoke are over, as they sue the Cayman Islands maker of a conversion kit allowing drivers to roll coal. Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

A new study concludes that, in the absence of congestion pricing, privately-owned self-driving cars will be a disaster for downtown areas, as many owners choose to keep them circulating rather than pay for parking.

Electrek says the proposed 30% tax rebate on the purchase of a new ebike sponsored by Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Jimmy Panetta has a good chance of passing in the current Congressional term.

Inside Hook considers the psychology behind why drivers hate people on bicycles.

Family members say the fatal police shooting of a 17-year old Arizona boy wasn’t justified, after bodycam video showed he had thrown a gun away as he ran from his bike, and never turned to face the cop before he was shot — all for what started as a simple traffic stop for weaving between lanes on his bicycle.

Bicycling’s Joe Lindsey says no, former NBA star Shawn Bradley wasn’t paralyzed in a Utah bicycle accident, as much of the press termed it; he was injured in a collision when he was run down by a driver. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

A reporter from Illinois is riding his bike west to Los Angeles along the famous Route 66, aka the Mother Road, to collect stories about life in the Age of Covid.

Good question. A Daytona Beach FL paper asks how many people have to be killed walking or riding a bike before the state finally says enough?

Florida sheriff’s deputies arrest the 22-year old hit-and-run driver who ran down the sheriff of Volusia County as he was riding his bike — and while she was busy shopping on Amazon. Meanwhile, the sheriff thanked the truck driver who stopped to help him after the crash.

 

International

Road.cc recommends six of the best bike locks, with prices starting at under $40.

Gear Patrol lusts after three ebikes you can only get in Europe, for now.

Parking in a bike lane in Mérida, Yucatán will now cost you the equivalent of up to $77.

The CBC says the great pandemic bike boom has created a demand, combined with supply chain disruptions, that will take the Canadian bike industry years to catch up.

Toronto police are giving fewer tickets to people on bicycles, even though more people are riding bikes.

The owner of a burger bar in Bath, England claims a new bike lane will batter his business. Because evidently, only people who drive eat hamburgers. And if drivers aren’t willing to walk a little further to do business with his shop, maybe he should try making a better burger.

Bike riders in an English county turn thumbs down on a proposed $12.5 million bicycle bridge, saying the money could be better used to improve bike infrastructure on the streets.

New projections show that, not only will ebikes start outselling cars in Europe, it will probably happen sooner than you think.

Cuban expats living in Belgium are organizing a bike ride for this coming weekend to protest the ongoing US blockade of the island.

A Manilla website tells the horrible story behind the city’s first ghost bike, installed to honor a bicyclist who was shot to death by a driver in a road rage incident following a too-close pass; his killer is now serving life behind bars. A reminder that you never know who has a gun and a short fuse. Especially here in the US. 

 

Competitive Cycling

Italian pro Elisa Longo Borghini won the women’s Trofeo Alfredo Binda race, taking everyone else by surprise with an attack with a little more than 15 miles to go; Marianne Vos won the sprint for a distant second.

Belgian cyclist Jasper Stuyven claimed the biggest win of his career by edging Caleb Ewan and defending champ Wout van Aert in the the Milan-San Remo classic, the longest single-day race on the modern cycling calendar. And it was a good day for Trek-Segafredo, with both Steven and Longo Borghini riding for the team.

Former world champ and TdF, Giro and Vuelta points winner Mark Cavendish says he has nothing left to prove, after making what he termed an amateur mistake on the cobbles of Nokere Koerse.

 

Finally…

Seriously, 18 inches does not a bike lane make.  Now you, too, can own the bike Bradley Wiggins rode to victory in the 2012 Tour de France, for the low, low price of $10,400.

Unless you’d rather own the very bike Lance rode for the Motorola team in the ’90s.

Syringe and IV bag not included.

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

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