LA promised bike lanes but gave us sharrows, CA Assembly approves stop as yield, and popular bike rider shot and killed

Update: We saw a big jump in donations yesterday after I asked you to give to a crowdfunding campaign for 31-year old Adriana “Fishy” Rodriguez, who left five young children behind when she was killed by a driver while riding her bike in Lincoln Heights last month.

And you responded.

Donations jumped within minutes of my initial tweet, and kept growing throughout the day, rising from just $1,375 to a much healthier $3,116.

Now let’s keep it going.

If you haven’t given yet, take a few minutes to donate to the GoFundMe account established for Rodriguez before she died.

Because those kids will now have to spend the rest of their lives without their mother. So let’s try to get them off to the best start we can.

Photo of sharrows on LA’s Riverside/Zoo Bridge by Photo by Joe Linton of Streetsblog LA; see story below. 

………

Once again, city officials promised a bike lane.

And gave us sharrows.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton writes that, like the undelivered bike lanes on the North Spring Street Bridge, the Riverside/Zoo Bridge in Griffith Park was scheduled to get bike lanes during a recent widening project.

Instead, drivers got the sort of plush, wide lanes that encourage speeding.

And we got sharrows — placing bike riders directly in the path of those speeding drivers.

The city’s environmental documentation (called a Mitigated Negative Declaration – MND) as approved by City Council for this project states that the project scope included two new five-foot shoulders. The MND states that “The proposed project would add shoulders to the bridge for the bicyclists” as well as a bike undercrossing (more on that below.)

Though the city’s MND does not call them “bike lanes,” the city’s rendering shows bike lane markings in newly-striped shoulders.

Linton goes on to include an apt description of those little arrow-shaped chevrons that do little to nothing on the road, other than aid in wayfinding and positioning, while helping drivers improve their aim.

At us.

For folks not familiar with the term, sharrows are shared lane markings, called “the dregs of bike infrastructure” because they don’t actually allocate space to cyclists, nor have they been shown to make streets safer.

He also makes the case, as I have many times, that parks are for people, not cars. And that the bridge has more than enough bicycle traffic to justify painted, if not protected, bike lanes.

The bridge is located inside Griffith Park. Does L.A. really need big wide lanes for drivers to speed through its parks? No. Inside parks, the city should encourage more park-compatible quieter modes, like bicycling. Similarly, in pursuing river revitalization, the city states that the river corridor will prioritize walking, bicycling, and transit…

The city’s MND acknowledges that the bridge sees plenty of cyclists. It notes a 2013 bicycle count that found that approximately 375 bicyclists crossed the bridge on weekdays, with 43 crossing during the morning peak hour and 34 during the evening peak hour. The same count found higher numbers on weekends: approximately 610 cyclists per day on Saturday, and 796 cyclists on a Sunday, where the hourly peak was 158 cyclists. That peak is more than two cyclists per minute, on a bridge not designed for cyclists (no bike lanes and two freeway ramps).

He goes on to make some very viable and practical suggestions on how to give us the bike lanes we were promised, while improving safety for everyone on the roadways.

It’s more than worth taking a few minutes to give the piece a read.

It’s also worth taking a few minutes to contact new CD4 Councilmember Nithya Raman to ask her to do what her predecessors didn’t, whether by email or phone.

Instead of letting the city settle for the least they can do.

Again.

………

It’s on to the state senate after the California Assembly approved a modified Idaho Stop Law, allowing bike riders to treat stop signs as yields.

It’s not the first time a bill like this has been introduced in the legislature. But to the best of my knowledge, it’s the first time one has gotten out of committee, let alone survived a floor vote.

Maybe we’re making progress, after all.

………

Heartbreaking news, as a popular South Carolina bicyclist was shot and killed while riding near a park, just blocks from his home.

Forty-four-year old David “Whit” Oliver was on the phone with the 911 operator when shots were heard in the background, and the phone went silent.

But he knew his attacker, giving the operator the name of the man who killed him just before he was shot.

Police were able to quickly find his killer, 62-year old Jeffrey Mark Murray, but not before he was involved in another shooting minutes later.

Murray was shot and killed by police officers after getting out of his car with a gun.

A friend of Oliver’s wrote that Murray was known for harassing bicyclists “and anyone else that the man came across while walking in our neighborhood.”

The South Carolina bicycling community was in mourning as news of Oliver’s death spread; former pro cyclist George Hincapie was among those tweeting a link to the crowdfunding campaign to benefit Oliver’s wife and young son.

As of this writing, it’s raised over $21,000 of the $50,000 goal in just 24 hours.

………

Looks like America’s most popular open streets event could be back soon, as the pandemic continues to loosen it’s deadly grip on the City of Angels.

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

A Saskatchewan man calls for a little empathy from drivers, after his wife took a bad fall while being harassed by a honking, tailgating driver; needless to say, the driver saw her fall, but just kept on going.

A bike-riding former Welsh cop suffered elbow, hip and knee injuries when a driver intentionally swerved into him, after threatening to kill him; when the local police hesitated to take up the case, he started the investigation himself.

………

Local

They get it. Capital and Main says political gridlock is the reason Los Angeles hasn’t solved its transit gridlock, as planners argue that a combination of “rail, bus rapid transit (BRT) and electric bikes and scooters would transport Angelenos around the county more easily” — and more safely — than cars do.

 

State

A Voice of San Diego op-ed argues that it will take more than just bike lanes to get more people to bike to work, saying ebike rebates and incentives would be money well-spent to get people riding in the hilly city.

The Christian Science Monitor profiles Richmond’s Najari Smith, founder of Rich City Rides, who uses the bicycle co-op as a tool to uplift his entire community. Which is why he is one of my personal bike heroes and one of the people I admire most.

 

National

The Verge talks with Transportation Secretary Pete about the future of transportation and infrastructure in the US. And that future includes micromobility and active transportation, as well as eliminating traffic deaths.

More proof that bikes are good for the environment, as a new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in conjunction with Trek confirms that replacing car trips with biking or walking is one of the most effective ways of improve human health and mitigate climate change.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 75-year old Maine chocolate maker is taking a few weeks off for a 3,000-mile fundraising ride up the East Coast; the retired, award-winning architect is hoping to raise $30,000 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Traffic deaths in Boston rose last year as empty streets encouraged more speeding drivers, though bicycling and pedestrian declined. Although even one death is still one too many.

A Huntsville, Alabama man has biked over 2,000 miles to ride every street in town.

 

International

Bike Radar offers advice on how to ride faster.

A pair of Canadian teens learn first hand what it’s like to unexpectedly ride their bikes through a den of rattlesnakes.

British bike riders may soon be allowed to ride up to 30 miles from home as the country begins to loosen the latest pandemic lockdown restrictions.

The international pandemic bike boom may be bypassing Aussie bike clubs, as some Victoria clubs are struggling to attract members despite the increasing numbers of bike riders.

 

Competitive Cycling

Dutch cyclist Taco Van Der Hoorn won the third stage of the Giro in a surprising victory in his first Grand Tour, the last survivor of an eight-man breakaway that led the peloton by six-and-a-half minutes before declining to a slim four-second margin at the finish.

An 18-year old Belmont, California man is planning to put off college at UC Santa Cruz for awhile in hopes of succeeding as a pro cyclist — assuming Covid-19 allows developmental racing to resume this year.

 

Finally…

What would it look like if road space for cars and bikes were reversed? How about a game of Bike Tag, you’re it?

And who needs an ebike when you’ve got a propeller on your back?

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

And get vaccinated, already.

One comment

  1. Ralph says:

    Well you will always have the wind at your back with that last rig….

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