The racist history of LA’s 10 Freeway, the real cost of traffic violence, and no, bicycles aren’t the new cars

It’s Cinco de Mayo, when Americans celebrate by pretending to be Mexican by acting like drunken gabachos. 

And too often, getting behind the wheel afterwards. 

It’s also one of the few days when I refuse to ride or walk extended distances. Or even get in a car if I can avoid it. 

Which is a long-winded way of saying be careful if you’re going to ride today, and assume every driver on the road has been drinking. 

Because you probably won’t be too far off. 

Photo by Sabel Blanco from Pexels.

………

NPR offers a heartbreaking and infuriating story about the racist history of LA’s 10 Freeway, and the prosperous, tight knit Black neighborhood that was destroyed to build it.

Unfortunately, I can’t embed the audio. But take a few minutes to listen to it, or at least read the transcript.

Because it makes painfully clear just how much we’ve sacrificed on the altar of the automobile.

And it’s a story that was repeated in virtually every major city in the US, where it’s almost always communities of color that pay the price.

………

This is the cost of traffic violence.

A Minneapolis woman wrote a heartbreaking Twitter thread about the death of her husband when he was struck by a driver while riding his bike home from work.

Then there’s this.

And it’s not just her. Virtually anyone who’s lost someone like that will recognize themselves in her words.

So take a moment to click on that top tweet, and read the whole thread.

Then do whatever you can to to make sure it never happens to anyone else.

………

On a related note, Streetsblog explains what traffic violence means.

And why that’s the right term for it.

Meanwhile, in a powerful piece for The Atlantic, an Atlanta writer says despite what we may believe, we can’t control what happens on the road. And uses his personal experiences behind the wheel to explain why we should all be more afraid of driving.

If you can read it without catch in your throat and a tear in your eye, you’re a stronger person than I am.

………

A fashion, beauty and culture site asks if bicycles are the new cars, examining the sustainable reasons some people are making the switch.

Short answer, no.

Longer answer, unlike motor vehicles, bicycles cause no harm to the environment and our cities, and pose little risk to the people around them. So maybe we’d all be better off if cars aspired to be more like bicycles.

………

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

No bias here. A grand jury is targeting an award-winning Monterey bike path project, calling it a “bike path to nowhere,” even though it was completed completed below budget and local businesses and residents were kept informed by a thorough public process.

………

Local

Metro celebrates Bike Month by offering a month of Metro Bike bikeshare for just a buck, and a chance to win a year of Metro Bike.

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition is kicking off Bike Month with a month-long series of virtual rides.

The owner of West Hollywood’s Bikes and Hikes LA / Bike Shop LA complained to the sheriffs department after someone walked off with a new BMX bike without paying for it.

 

State

Streets For All asks for your support for AB 53, which would weaken the deadly 85th Percentile Law by allowing cities to lower speed limits on streets with high injury and fatality rates, and ensure they won’t have to raise speed limits in order to enforce them.

Chula Vista officially opened the new Sweetwater Bicycle Path and Promenade on Tuesday.

Chino police have scheduled a bike and pedestrian safety crackdown for next Monday. The usual protocol applies, so ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits, so you’re not the one who gets ticketed.

San Luis Obispo is starting work on a $2.5 million, 1.7-mile neighborhood greenway — aka bike boulevard — connecting Cal Poly SLU with Downtown.

A Turlock man faces charges of hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter for fleeing the scene after running down a 50-year old bike-riding man, who died after he was removed from life support; the coward behind the wheel was captured after crashing his truck trying to escape from witnesses who tried to stop him.

A 36-year old man was sentenced to 15 years to life after pleading guilty to murder for the drunk driving crash that killed a Modesto police officer riding his bicycle, while driving at four times the legal alcohol limit; he had a previous DUI conviction from 2014 that legally justified the murder charge.

 

National

Schwinn is sponsoring an LGBTQ+ advocate on a 363-mile bikepacking trip to promote the need for inclusivity in the outdoor industry.

Conde Nast Traveler recommends the best bike saddle bags for your next expedition.

No wonder he moved there. My bike tourist brother’s new western Colorado hometown is marking its mountain biking roots with a new housing development featuring street names like Singletrack, Yeti and Pivot.

That’s more like it. A newly signed Colorado law puts people and safety first on the state’s main streets.

An allegedly drunk 24-year old Texas woman and the bar that helped her get that way face a $20 million lawsuit for the death of a mother of two, who was killed when the driver jumped a curb and slammed into the victim’s bicycle. Sadiy, lawsuits like that are prohibited under California law, which states that a bar or host can’t be held responsible for the actions of people who got drunk there.

Tragic news from Moline, Illinois where a cop is on administrative leave after killing a 13-year old boy riding a bike while responding to a call in his squad car; no word on whether he was using lights and sirens at the time of the crash.

Police in Buffalo NY are looking for a 73-year old man who disappeared on a bike ride.

Baltimore attorney Barry Glazer successfully bid the equivalent of over $61,000 for Princess Diana’s “shame” bike so he could display it to call attention to “the British Royal Family’s basic racist roots” and colonial past. It was dubbed the “shame” bike after the royal household informed her it was not a suitable form of transport for a future member of the Royal Family. Which should have tipped her off right then to run like hell while she still could.

A Maryland man marked the pandemic by fixing donated bicycles, then giving them away for free at a local park to anyone who needs one.

Miami police busted a killer driver who fled the scene in his Maserati after fatally rear-ending a man on a bicycle.

 

International

Taking a page from the Bike League, Canada’s non-profit Share the Road Cycling Coalition and the Canadian Automobile Association are teaming to name the country’s Bicycle Friendly Communities.

This, too, is the cost of traffic violence. A viola soloist who played with the Paris National Opera for 36 years was killed when he was struck by a driver while riding his bike. At least we can assume there was a driver, since the story doesn’t mention one. Or a car, for that matter.

Finnish police have uncovered a thriving black market trade in secondhand bicycles.

 

Competitive Cycling

Dutch cyclist Tom Dumoulin’s Jumbo-Visma team is unsure whether he will ever return to the sport, after walking away last year due to stress and not being sure whether he even wanted to keep riding.

Bicycling profiles Josie Fouts, who started racing on a whim despite being born with just one hand. And now is aiming for the Paralympics. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

Forget fantasy football, Cycling Tips invites you to participate in a Giro fantasy competition.

 

Finally…

Throwing it at a parked car during an excuse is not one of the approved used for a bicycle. Nothing like being banned by the Duke of Devonshire.

And apparently, Trevor Noah knows nuts when he sees it.

 

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

And get vaccinated, already.

4 comments

  1. Jeff says:

    It’s AB 43…. The link directs you to the correct site, but the link reads incorrectly.

  2. On that Trevor Noah video I’ve seen actual bike paths on the street that had less room and 50 MPH speed limits for vehicles not in the bike lane, so not as dangerous as you make it out to be.

  3. Ralph Durham says:

    I try to stay off the streets during the evening of my birthday, St. Patrick’s Day, for the same reasons….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: