Carlsbad GOP candidate gets proposed ebike bill all wrong, sexist anti-bike bias, and the high cost of traffic violence

No bias here.

A Republican candidate for the California Assembly from Carlsbad takes aim at a proposal to provide a tax rebate for part of the purchase price on a new ebike.

The proposal, AB 117, is supported by current Assembley Member Tasha Boerner Horvath, whom she hopes to unseat.

At a price-point anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000, they are a noteworthy investment, but should the government be subsidizing these purchases without accountability? Absolutely not. Yet Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath wants to spend unlimited amounts of money to do just that.

Maybe someone should tell her about the massive rebates the state already gives to people who buy electric cars.

But rudeness, rather than money, seems to be her chief objection.

Worse, many of us have witnessed near collisions between e-bikes or e-scooters and vehicles. Personally, I have been almost struck while crossing the street in a crosswalk, and many people have observed near-catastrophes on a daily basis.

So, from her point of view, we should make it harder to buy ebikes, because someone almost struck her while riding one.

Because apparently, no one on a regular bicycle — or a scooter, skateboard, roller skates or running shoes — would ever do such a dastardly deed.

And she’s evidently never experienced the way rude, aggressive and/or inattentive drivers treat people in crosswalks, either.

But the most frightening part, from her bizarre perspective, is that the bill would provide up to $10 million in state tax rebates. Never mind that California currently has an $85 billion — yes billion, with a b — tax surplus.

Which, by my English major math calculations, works out to less than 0.012% of that surplus.

Now the state government wants to fund incentives for purchasing electric bicycles — atop significant out-of-control spending already happening at the state level.

Think I’m kidding? One of Boerner Horvath’s latest bills — Assembly Bill 177 — states that the purpose of her newest taxpayer-funded program is to “fund…incentives for purchasing electric bicycles” under the guise of an “air quality improvement program.”

But wait, there’s more!

Despite Horvath’s empty virtue signaling to the environmentalists, the government should not be incentivizing us to purchase electric bicycles when they are already affordable and available. That’s the job of Lime, Bird, and other companies in the San Diego region. Plus, those companies are held accountable by the cities in which they operate — not by nameless bureaucrats in Sacramento.

Maybe $1,500 to $4,000 — or a lot more, actually — is affordable to her. But it’s a major stretch for many of the constituents she hopes to represent.

And she apparently has no idea what Lime, Bird and other e-scooter providers actually do.

Or what bikeshare is, for that matter.

Then she trots out the usual bike hater screeds.

This legislation is a disaster in the making. Beyond the notion that this isn’t the role of government, there are no safety precautions, no spending limits, and no licensing requirements. Above all, there is no accountability to determine the efficacy of the program or its reduction in air pollution.

So, she wants to license ebike riders. Or maybe all bike riders.

Never mind that California already regulates ebikes into three distinct classes, with increasing levels of safety restrictions and requirements.

And did we mention that $10 million spending limit?

As for reducing air pollution, she’s got a point. Everyone knows the paltry electricity consumed by a little ebike, and its burrito eating rider, would create far more emissions than your average massive gas-guzzling SUV.

Right?

Let’s hope that, contrary to her wishes, AB 117 does see the light of day.

And the very confused and uninformed 

Ebike photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels.

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Then again, they’re blaming ebikes in New York, too.

On the other hand, Cycling Savvy discusses ebike etiquette so you won’t be one of those few ebike-riding jerks justifiably complains about.

As opposed to the overwhelming majority who aren’t.

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You owe it to yourself to take a few minutes to read this hard-hitting op-ed from a New Zealand environmental sociologist and bike rider.

When white men start using a bike, I often think they experience a sort of status shock. They see what marginalisation feels like: the dehumanisation, the fear, the threat of violence. If you ride a bike and you belong to another group who already lives with this threat, there is a familiarity to it all…

Being a cyclist often reminds me of being a woman. If someone hurts me it’s my fault because I didn’t wear the right thing, I didn’t defer to them and “know my place”, and I didn’t just smile and put up with their abuse. Power imbalances foster bullying.

So, avoid them if you can, the dehumanising stereotypes. All the comparisons to vermin this past fortnight on conservative radio and social media – cockroaches, rats, lice, etc –  have been way out of line. Even the fixation with lycra. It’s something male sports cyclists usually wear. The obsession with men wearing tight revealing clothing in public so often veers into an obviously homophobic place. Just don’t.

Seriously, read the whole thing.

Because it probably matters more than you think.

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This is the cost of traffic violence.

Bystanders had to lift a pickup off an 11-year old boy, after an alleged drunk driver ran the kid down while he was riding in a crosswalk, then continued on dragging the boy underneath his truck for a “considerable distance,” leaving him with life-threatening injuries.

One of the top dog handlers missed out on this year’s Westminster Dog Show after his van was rear-ended in Laramie, Wyoming while driving ten canine competitors cross-country to the show; he ended up in the hospital, but fortunately, the dogs were uninjured. Which goes to show how much safer cars could be if everyone inside just rode in the human equivalent of a dog crate.

Speaking of Wyoming — Wyoming, Delaware in this case — a 74-year old man was killed in a collision when he was run down by a driver while mowing his lawn when a driver lost control of her SUV, pinning him underneath.  Naturally, no charges have been filed yet, because it was just an oopsie.

A Canadian woman complains that the drunken hit-and-run driver who fatally rear-ended her 27-year old son as he rode his bicycle could be out of prison in just one and a half years, despite a BAC over twice the legal limit after an admitted 13 drinks that day prior to getting behind the wheel — leaving a hole in her family that can never be filled.

In another form of violence due to motor vehicles, the grave of Robert Meacham, who rose from slavery to Florida state senator and helped establish the state’s public school system, is likely buried unmarked and unremembered under a Tampa parking lot, along with the bodies of hundreds of other Black people.

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Sarah Silverman is one of us now.

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GCN dives into the endless debate over roadies versus gravel bikes (gravelies?).

They also consider whether Shimano’s integrated shifters and brake levers were the greatest bike innovation of all time.

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

A road raging woman from an undisclosed location got out of her car to demand a young bike-riding woman give her “everything” in compensation for an invisible scratch to her apparently very expensive car.

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Local

Streets For All wants you to call on the city council’s Transportation Committee to support walking, bicycling, and micromobility and maximizing traffic signal priority for the Expo Line, as part of the LA’s Green New Deal, which could finally be getting long overdue traction.

A year ago, LA Times readers were asked to envision life post-pandemic, but only one lonely response addressed how nice life was with fewer cars on the streets. The simple fact is, if we go back to life as normal pre-pandemic, with cars maintaining hegemony over our streets, we will have failed. And looking outside, it appears we already have.

 

State

Two armed Orange County men were busted after blocking the path of a pair of Garden Grove bike riders with their car, robbing the woman of her bike, pack and cellphone while her male companion bravely rode away; police seized six guns from their home, was well as gun parts.

Family-owned Hesperia bike shop Hi-Desert Bikes is shuttering in August after 30 years in business, sending its owner into an unplanned early retirement.

 

National

If you still long for the little red wagon of your youth, Radio Flyer is riding to the rescue with a pair of fat tire ebikes.

Streetsblog marks Pride Week by examining how the design and planning needs of LGBTQ+ can make public spaces more inclusive.

Livestrong recommends this years best bike locks, starting at just $14.99.

An Anchorage paper says bicycling is a great way to visit different Alaskan towns, while finishing your ride with a local brew.

The Las Vegas bicycling community joined family members in remembering the five bike riders killed by a meth-fueled truck driver, six months after the fatal crash.

The popular bike repair website written by the late Sheldon Brown could be in jeopardy, as the Boston bike shop where he worked, which maintains the site, is shutting down.

More on the custom handmade bicycle President Biden got on the cheap for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson from Philadelphia’s Bilenky Cycle Works at a steep presidential discount, and in record time. And no, he didn’t get a Wikipedia printout in returnThanks to k_david for the link.

Kindhearted members of a West Virginia police community group bought a new bicycle for a young boy, after the Spider-man bike he got for Christmas was stolen off his porch.

Kindhearted New Orleans cops dug into their own pockets to buy a new bike for a nine-year old boy, after his was stolen when he was pushed off it by a group of older boys.

A Florida artist makes a statement for inclusion in bicycling with a 215-foot Ocala mural depicting bike riders of all ages, genders, nationalities and abilities.

 

International

Vancouver bike riders shed their clothes for the city’s first post-pandemic edition of the World Naked Bike Ride. And in New Orleans, tooAt least, we can hope it’s post-pandemic, despite rising overseas variants and a high level of unvaxxed people in the US and Canada.

They kinda get it. An editorial in Toronto’s Globe & Mail unexpectedly emerged from behind the paper’s paywall, asking — and attempting to answer — what if cities were designed for the safety of people, instead of the convenience of cars. Although cities could go way beyond Vision Zero, and consider designing them for the convenience of people, as well. 

An Oxford, England writer complains that the way the media reports on crashes involving bike riders, including use of the word accident, just fuels the conflict between bicyclists and motorists.

A heartbroken English mother called on parents to pay more attention to their bike-riding children, after her 12-year old son was killed by a driver the first time he rode his bike on the streets, while being watched by her estranged husband.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for forwarding this survey gathering responses from disabled bike riders in the UK; if you live or ride in the UK with a disability, or care for someone who does, they want to hear from you.

Advocates in Lagos, Nigeria are calling for more robust provisions. policies and affordability for non-motorized transportation, including walking and bicycling.

Bike riders in Jakarta are calling for a bicycle revolution in Indonesia’s capital city, as the governor calls for building 310 miles of bike lanes, as well as a $56,000 monument to bicycling in the city’s main thoroughfare.

An Aussie writer says riding a bicycle is sweet freedom, even if it might kill her. And it lets her eat more of her wife’s cakes.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bike racing returned to Tulsa, Oklahoma for the first time since the pandemic reared its ugly head, only to face near total domination from our hometown L39ion of Los Angles, which took all three men’s podium spots and the top two women’s spots at the Tulsa Arts District Crit. And swept the top spot on all three individual race titles and omniums on Sunday.

Congratulations to Colorado’s Riley Amos, who became the first American man to win a U23 World Cup mountain bike race.

Cycling Weekly writes that new unions for both men’s and women’s pro cyclists could be about to change the shape of top level bike racing.

 

Finally…

Your next bikepacking campsite could be a portable treehouse trailer towed behind your bike. And probably not the best idea to ride a children’s bike along the crowded train platform you’re supposed to be guarding.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

And get vaccinated, already.

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