US bike sales spike during pandemic, California bill would legalize jaywalking, and thick thighs really do save lives

Looks like NPR has discovered the bike boom.

According to the public radio network, bike sales shot up 65% last year as the pandemic encouraged more people to get outside, and find safer ways to get to work, while ebikes sales jumped a whopping 145%.

Both figures would undoubtedly be higher if the unexpected boom hadn’t emptied many shops of bikes to sell — and even higher if factories could have kept up with the demand, as the pandemic affected all aspects of the supply chain.

The question is whether all those new bike buyers will keep riding once the country opens back up.

Or if bad roads, unwelcoming drivers and a lack of decent bike infrastructure will drive them back inside and into their cars.

Photo by Michael Gaida from Pixabay.

………

San Francisco Assemblymember Phil Ting wants to toss out the law against jaywalking.

Ting has proposed a bill that would make it legal to cross a street outside of a crosswalk or against a traffic light when safe to do so, saying the current law is arbitrarily enforced and disproportionately affects people of color.

The existing, largely misunderstood statue already allows people to cross mid-block in most areas, only applying on streets controlled by a traffic signal on both ends.

………

A new UCLA study shows thick thighs really do save lives, especially in women.

You can thank the higher muscle mass from bicycling for reducing your risk of death from cardiovascular disease, while higher body fat also serves to protect women, but not men.

As usual, you can read the story on Yahoo if the Bicycling site blocks you.

………

Go gravel grinding back to the Cold War with Gravel Bike California.

………

Give ’em a hand today. Because the streets you ride will depend on them tomorrow.

https://twitter.com/MarisaMangan/status/1375333572773507075

………

Maybe it’s just me.

But this new five and a half minute “conspiratorial” short film for Specialized’s Turbo Levo e-mountain bike kind of misses the mark.

In part because it feels like it might have made a much better three minute ad.

………

Help promote the country’s longest bikeway for a living.

………

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

No bias here. A British city councilor refuses to apologize for agreeing with an off-color tweet about cyclists “wanking off the Dutch.”

The Guardian questions whether “radical” plans to remake the streets will be shut down before the results are in, due to driver outrage and legal challenges, while a London site examines the “fire and fury” ignited by a popup protected bike lane in Kensington.

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

Nothing like nearly getting killed during a live Brazilian remote news broadcast. Fortunately, only her bike paid the price this time.

An idiot on a bike, almost dies twice – on Live TV LOL from IdiotsInCars

………

Local

The LACBC’s annual River Ride is being turned into a free virtual event this year. Which won’t help them raise funds, since the River Ride usually brings in a large portion of the nonprofit organization’s operating budget. So maybe send ’em a few bucks when you’re done.

Shia LaBeouf is one of us, riding his bike in Pasadena, while facing a lawsuit from his former girlfriend alleging “sexual battery, assault and infliction of emotional distress.”

 

State

Riverside County received a $3.74 million grant to add bike lanes and roundabouts on a mile-long stretch of County Line Road in Calimesa.

If you’re missing a bike in the Thousand Oaks area, check in with the local police, who recovered seven apparently hot bikes when they busted a couple on drug charges; two of the bikes have already been reunited with their owners.

Bakersfield police are looking for a bike thief who was caught on video lifting a Trek from a bus station.

A mountain biker was helicoptered out of a remote location near Orcutt Hills in Santa Barbara County after suffering a possible head injury in a fall.

Central California’s Moro Bay will finally get a new beachfront bike path, on land formerly claimed by Chevron.

San Francisco unveils a new protected bike lane and other safety improvements on Second Street in the South of Market district, otherwise known as SoMa. Although as usual, the “protection” consists of just green paint and flimsy plastic bendy posts.

 

National

The physics of how to pump your bike.

The Wall Street Journal calls gravel bikes the SUVs of the bike world. Which sounds interesting, even if most of the piece is hidden behind their infamous paywall.

Fascinating story from MIT on the history of ‘bents, which date back to at least 1896.

Today picks the best bike helmets for men, women and children. And manages to keep the price tag down to a Benjamin or less.

There’s something terribly wrong when a former NBA star ends up paralyzed while riding his bike, and no one is held accountable. Then again, it would be just as wrong if it happened to anyone else, too.

The bighearted owners of a Kansas miniature golf and go cart park raised $2,500 to replace the bicycle a deaf employee relied on for transportation, after his bike was stolen while he was at work.

Life is cheap in Illinois, where a killer driver got a lousy $250 fine for failing to slow down because he somehow couldn’t see two teens riding their bikes directly in front of him, slamming into one boy and sideswiping his brother. Maybe the problem is a prosecutor who thinks killing one kid and injuring the other is only worth a 25 buck fine; at least the judge disagreed.

A Montauk NY woman faces 8 to 25 years behind bars for the drunken, high speed crash that took the life of a bike rider; she was doing twice the speed limit at the time of the crash, and registered twice the legal BAC hours afterwards. Not to mention the baggies of coke cops found on the floor of her pickup.

 

International

Surprisingly, the inflatable, crash-activated airbag from Hövding outperformed more traditional bike helmets in an independent safety test.

Canada commits to spending $400 million on bike lanes, trails and pedestrian bridges over the next five years, although that’s just over 2.5% of the county’s $14.9 billion transportation fund. That works out to the equivalent of $318 million in US dollars.

Canada’s capitol city throws in the towel on its bikeshare system, choosing e-scooters as the favored microtransit option going forward.

Once again, bike riders are heroes, as a pair of men riding their bikes along a UK canal towpath rescued a woman who had attempted to kill herself by jumping into the water.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole the bike given to a British boy after he learned to ride again despite losing a leg to cancer; a family friend has raised the equivalent of $2,200 to replace it. The bike, that is, not his leg. Although that would be even better.

A coalition of 33 Scottish organizations have called on the police to create a system to submit dash and bike cam video to make it quicker and easier to report and prosecute traffic crimes. In most, if not all, US states — including California — the problem is it’s currently illegal to use video evidence for traffic infractions and many misdemeanors, which must be directly observed by police officers. Something that has to change to hold drivers accountable and keep up with the rapidly expanding technology.

He gets it. A Cork, Ireland columnist admits that while he doesn’t ride, “cycling benefits the entire city, not just its particular practitioners, in all sorts of ways.” And urges the city to find ways to overcome its hilly terrain to encourage more of it.

In a less desirable effect of the bike boom, serious bicycling injuries jumped 4% in Switzerland last year.

Pink Bike says the pandemic and subsequent bike boom have made it clear the bicycle supply chain is susceptible to bottlenecks. Like maybe a giant cargo ship blocking the Suez Canal, for instance.

New Zealand bike riders form their own people protected bike lane to protest the local. government’s lack of action.

 

Finally…

Who knew you could have gotten an eight-year jump on the latest ebike designs? The next time you ring your bell crashing your bike, a simple spit test could determine how hard.

And I get tired of saying it. So let’s let Streets For All have the last word on LA’s failing bike plan

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

2 comments

  1. Richard Fox says:

    Regarding the bike boom, sales of my book enCYCLEpedia Southern California – The Best Easy Scenic Bike Rides were up around 300% since April (when Amazon resumed shipping books after holding them back as a non-essential item) compared to previous years, and it sold out in February, before I could come up with the next (3rd) Edition, now due out in May.

  2. Richard Fox says:

    The article about the new preserve and bike trail between Morro Bay and Cayucos is pretty exciting. I’ve been reporting about a proposed bike trail leading north out of Morro Bay for many years and it looks like it’s closer to becoming a reality. PCH along there is a high speed road with a shoulder for biking but an off road path along the ocean will be safe and beautiful, connecting to the existing bike paths and routes in Morro Bay and allowing more choices for a Bike n Brunch in slightly less touristy Cayucos. Can’t wait! https://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/article250182055.html

%d bloggers like this: