Happy LA Bike Month, Los Angeles Vision Zero fail, and Damian Kevitt calls for support for school zone speed cam bill

My apologies for Friday’s unexcused absence. 

Just another of the many and varied joys of diabetes, a cruel disease that can take you from feeling okay to passing out in a matter of minutes, for no apparent reason.

And yet another reminder to get yourself checked if you’re at risk, and do whatever it takes to avoid getting it. Because you don’t want this shit. 

Seriously. 

Today’s photo of irresistible cuteness by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

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Happy Bike Month, Los Angeles.

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Despite — or maybe because of — an up to 70% drop in traffic fatalities, roadway deaths declined just 3% in Los Angeles last year, thanks at least in part to a dramatic jump in speeding as empty streets encouraged drivers to use a heavy right foot.

This is how LAist explained it.

Based on preliminary data reported by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, 238 people died in collisions last year, compared to 246 in 2019 — a decrease of about 3%.

That slight dip pales in comparison to how sharply car travel fell in greater L.A. and beyond in the early months of the pandemic. Schools closed, many workers stopped commuting to their offices, and local and state stay-at-home orders drastically limited the places and activities we could drive to in our cars.

In mid-to-late March 2020, daily vehicle traffic fell as much as 70%. Last April saw traffic volumes decrease by 30% to 50% compared to the start of the year. Daily driving has been increasing since that historic plummet, but still remain below typical levels, according to city traffic data.

And despite a drop last year, bike and pedestrian deaths are still up over the five years since LA adopted Vision Zero in 2015.

Which isn’t the way it’s supposed to work.

The basic philosophy behind Vision Zero is that humans will make mistakes on the road and crashes will happen, but by redesigning streets to reduce speeding and better protect vulnerable road users, those crashes don’t have to cause severe injuries and deaths. But as the data has shown in recent years, L.A.’s current approach is not working…

While fewer people were killed and seriously injured in crashes overall last year, not all L.A. communities experienced less traffic violence. According to preliminary data compiled by LADOT:

  • The number of pedestrians killed by drivers fell about 12% overall, but increased in some neighborhoods
  • Slightly fewer cyclists were killed last year (15, compared to 19 in 2019)
  • The number of motorcyclists killed in crashes jumped about 45%
  • Motor vehicle occupant deaths were nearly unchanged

Pandemic or not, it’s clear that LADOT’s piecemeal approach to reducing traffic deaths isn’t working.

And it isn’t Vision Zero, by any definition.

The basic philosophy behind Vision Zero is that humans will make mistakes on the road and crashes will happen, but by redesigning streets to reduce speeding and better protect vulnerable road users, those crashes don’t have to cause severe injuries and deaths. But as the data has shown in recent years, L.A.’s current approach is not working.

It’s long past time Los Angeles stopped talking about Vision Zero, and got off its collective ass and did something about it.

Because I’m every bit as tired of writing about fallen bicyclists as you are reading about it. And don’t get me started on all the other people needlessly killed on our streets.

For any doubters out there, yes, ending traffic deaths is possible. If — and only if — we have the political will to make it happen.

Speaking of LAist, just like their parent public radio station KPCC, they survive on public donations.

So open that wallet if you can spare a few bucks

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SAFE founder and Executive Director Damian Kevitt, who lost a leg — and nearly his life — to a hit-and-run driver who was never caught, makes a heartfelt plea to fight for SB 733, which would allow automated speed cams in school zones.

Sadly, California is one of the only nine states that expressly forbids speed safety cameras in school zones. This tool has been available since 1987 and is unquestionably effective. Data in cities across the country, such as New York, Seattle, and Chicago, show that speed safety cameras reduce traffic injuries and fatalities and change driver behavior. More importantly, there are already thousands of schools across the country that currently use speed safety cameras to protect kids, teachers, and parents.

The common sense bill, which would only impact people breaking the law and endangering innocent kids and adults, has been severely watered down by Senate Transportation Committee Chair Lena Gonzalez, a Democrat misrepresenting Long Beach, at least in this case.

As currently written after it was butchered in committee, the law would only allow a pilot project in four schools out of more that 20,000 in the state.

As Kevitt writes,

This is an insult to victims of traffic violence and the coalition of support, especially given the immediate problem and widespread, documented effective use of speed safety cameras across the country.

One of the harder things I have had to do is tell victims of traffic violence — who were emotionally prepared to testify in committee — that this lifesaving bill wouldn’t make it through committee due to political forces that are hard to explain. Why would police unions work to fill a bill that so obviously would help save lives? It is heartbreaking.

But we will pick ourselves up and gain strength. The voices of traffic violence will not be silenced. Safety advocates will not accept that denial of the science. Equity groups will demand accountability. And, in the end, we will save lives.

He urges you, and all of us, to call or email Gonzalez’s office to express your outrage, and demand this life-saving tool to protect innocent lives.

Here’s that link again for her contact information, and sample scripts you can follow.

I’m planning to do it later today. I hope you’ll join me

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I’ve been remiss in not mentioning the LACBC’s virtual LA Rivers Challenge, which replaces their popular LA River Ride, as the world still struggles to shake off the pandemic.

Join us the entire month of June for a virtual challenge in place of the LA River Ride. 2020 was supposed to mark 20 years of River Ride, but we had to put our beloved event on hold due to the pandemic. We’re making up for it in 2021 by inviting you to 30 days of riding, walking and running the historic waterways of Los Angeles!

The LA Rivers challenge is all about doing the mileage goal that is best for you. Select the goal that excites you, tests your abilities, or that you can do with your family. There is a distance for everyone to ride, walk or run.

Opening March 15th, registration is just $40, but follow up on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for exclusive discounts. You also have the opportunity to support healthy, sustainable and equitable streets by choosing to fundraise for LACBC while meeting your mileage goals. You can earn great prizes at key fundraising milestones and will qualify for The 2021 LA Rivers Challenge Drawing to win one of our grand prizes TBA! Whatever your contribution, you will be supporting the work of LACBC, as we try to make Los Angeles a safer and more inclusive place to ride, walk and run.

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This is who we share the road with, part one.

Part two.

Part three.

It’s no surprise that we can’t manage to do anything about man shootings, when we still can’t even do anything about stopping people from using their car as a multi-ton weapon of mass destruction.

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While we’re on the subject, there’s good news from Maryland, where bike cam video was used to convict a driver for an aggressive punishment pass.

We need to change the law here in California, where police are currently prohibited from ticketing drivers or charging them with misdemeanors unless they actually witness the infraction.

And no, witnessing it on video doesn’t count, for some strange reason.

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GCN offers advice on how to find good riding routes when you’re new to the area.

And GCN considers one of bicycling’s most vital questions, and one of the last remaining forms of legal doping.

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I’m all in.

Seriously, we could use this right here in Los Angeles.

And right now.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the heads-up.

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A sharp-eyed Megan Lynch spotted LAFD bike paramedics on the red carpet of last week’s Academy Awards.

And thanks to Vyki Englert for spotting the LAFD logo on their panniers.

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Nothing sexier than someone on a bike.

Okay, maybe the right someone.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes is all too real.

Someone sabotaged a beginners bike trail in Scotland with obstacles including tree branches, and fence posts with rusted razor wire, which could seriously injure an unsuspecting rider. Or worse.

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

A murder suspect accused of killing his wife has ridden his bike over 3,000 miles around Denver, despite being on house arrest — and posted it to Strava.

A British man was lucky to walk with a suspended sentence after he was busted with the equivalent of over $2,700 worth of amphetamines when police stopped him as he rode his bicycle with a bloody face; no word on how his face got that way.

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Local

State Assemblymember Richard Bloom announces his candidacy for County Supervisor, basing his run in part on a 20-year record of advocating for a transit, bike and pedestrian-friendly Westside.

That’s more like it. Pasadena is considering four north-south corridors for bicycle boulevards.

A teenage mountain biker was airlifted from the Santa Monica Mountains after suffering painful wrist and shoulder injuries on Sunday.

A young boy celebrated his eleventh birthday Saturday with a 111-mile ride along the beach bike path from Santa Monica to Palos Verdes and back until he completed a century plus an 11-mile victory lap. When I was eleven, I was happy to ride around the block by myself.

Clearly, Long Beach isn’t afraid of road diets, proposing a lane reduction and bike path for a 1.4-mile section of Spring Street. Unlike a certain megalopolis to the north.

 

State

A 38-year old man in El Cajon suffered serious lower body injuries when he was struck by a driver moments after getting off his bicycle.

San Diego’s SANDAG has received a $12 million grant to complete a seven-mile segment of the Inland Rail Trail from San Marcos to Vista.

Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom take their eight-month old daughter for a ride through Santa Barbara on their massive ebikes.

Apparently, San Jose leaders aren’t afraid of road diets either, or LA’s seemingly inevitable angry driver backlash to them.

You know you’ve got a serious safety problem when two disabled people are killed crossing the same San Jose intersection in a single month.

Why pro cyclists like to train in Sonoma County. Surprisingly, it’s not the wine. Or maybe not just the wine. 

A Redding man calls it a life-changing moment when he wins a new ebike.

 

National

Cycling News considers the best ebikes for under two grand.

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss offers advice on how to not get your bike stolen.

A British website highlights “four epic cycling adventures that showcase the incredible landscapes of the USA,” starting with a ride down the Left Coast from Seattle to San Diego. My brother did that one just a couple years ago — along with riding to the Northwest from Western Colorado, and back again to Colorado from San Diego.

The American Southwest experienced a bigger bike boom than anywhere else in the world, including Europe and the rest of the US.

It takes a real schmuck to steal $20,000 worth of bicycles from a Dallas Boy Scout camp.

A Texas man is suing a sporting goods store after a bike fell off an upper display rack and landed on his head. Which is not funny at all, except that it is.

A Minnesota town is repurposing an old abandoned bridge over the Mississippi as a bike and pedestrian bridge, 40 years after it was closed to cars.

Celebrate Bike Month with a visit to Ohio’s Bicycle Museum of America, where over 800 bikes are on display, dating back to an an 1816 draisienne invented by Karl Drais that they credit as the first true bicycle. Although not everyone agrees. You can read that second link on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you, which it probably will unless you’re a subscriber.

New York mayoral hopeful Eric Adams pledges to build another 300 miles of protected bike lanes in the city during his first four years, if he’s elected, an annual rate nearly three times the 28 miles installed last year. Let’s get the candidates for mayor in next year’s LA election to make a similar pledge. And hold them to it.

A crowdfunding page raised $75,000 for a New York delivery worker who was killed when driver went into the bike lane to pass another car, hit the scooter the victim was riding, then went on to hit two parked cars and slam into an outdoor restaurant.

Two men with the same name are fighting back against a cease and desist order from the City of New York to remove their unpermitted dockless ebikes from the streets.

New York police stopped a salmon cyclist, and discovered they had nabbed a hate crime suspect responsible for a rash of anti-Jewish vandalism.

A Florida driver faces charges for intentionally driving off the road to run over a man she knew who was riding a bicycle.

 

International

Your next Subaru could be a single-speed mountain bike. If you live in Canada, that is.

This is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. A deadly Montreal underpass where a woman was killed riding her bike seven years ago now has a bike path with a concrete barrier to protect riders from passing drivers. And the ghost bike that was installed in her honor was removed Sunday to be transferred to a museum, where it will highlight the dangers on the streets.

Former Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams is one of us, as she goes for a London bike ride in a see-through top while filming a new six-part bio-series based on a memoir from Sex Pistols bassist Steve Jones. Sorry guys, they blurred that part out.

A Scottish bicyclist was forced to abandon his attempt to set a new record for the greatest distant ridden in a single week, after suffering a knee injury on the fourth day.

Those e-cargo bike front wheel skids may soon be a thing of the past, as Italian brake maker BluBrake introduces the world’s first ABS, aka anti-lock braking system, designed for electric cargo bikes. Thanks to Thomas Riebs for the tip.

She gets it. Germany’s first professor of bicycle traffic management says cars should give up space to make room for people on bicycles.

Ebike and electric scooter riders will now have to pass a theory test before they’re allowed to ride in Singapore, starting next month.

She gets it. The widow of a Kiwi bicyclist says a single mistake shouldn’t cost someone their life, while opposing jail for the truck driver who killed him.

 

Competitive Cycling

According to Cycling News, 21-year old Belgian cyclist Remco Evenepoel stands suspended between stardom and superstardom since breaking his pelvis at Il Lombardia last August.

Cycling News also examines the omertà in women’s pro cycling, where virtually no one is talking about the shameful poverty wages — or no wages at all — paid to riders below the WorldTour level.

Cyclist talks to pro cyclists about their less-than-favorable reaction to UCI’s new safety rules.

The popular Over the Hump mountain bike race series will make a comeback at Irvine Lake on July 20th.

 

Finally…

That feeling when your ebike has a sidecar. That feeling when the bike lane is blocked by a city bus, whose driver is busy having sex onboard.

And if you’re riding your bike after dark while carrying two bags of meth, put a damn light on it, already.

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Thanks to Matthew R for his monthly donation to help keep this site coming your way every day; your support is always welcome and appreciated, no matter how large or small. 

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

And get vaccinated, already.

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