Free Juneteenth bikeshare, unconfirmed bike death in Downey, and not-so-safe self-driving cars in your future

Never have heroes unless you can accept that they’re just as screwed up as the rest of us. 

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They didn’t waste any time observing Juneteenth this week.

Just a day after Joe Biden signed a rare bipartisan bill making the day Texas slaves belatedly learned they had been freed two years earlier a national holiday, federal government offices will close today, since the 19th falls on a Saturday.

Metro was prepared, however.

LA County’s transportation authority was ready with a map of Black-Owned Businesses within walking distance of Metro stations. Along with free half-hour Metro Bike rides to help you ride there to commemorate the holiday.

Meanwhile, Pride Month is still going strong, and you can use that free bike ride as a down payment on a self-guided ride through Silver Lake and Los Feliz to visit LGBTQ+ landmarks.

Highlights include the original home of the groundbreaking gay magazine The Advocate, and the Black Cat Tavern, home to what may have been the nation’s first gay rights protest, two years before Stonewall.

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Let’s hope this one is wrong.

A Redditor drove by a possible fatal bike crash in Downey on Wednesday. However, I haven’t been able to find confirmation of the death at this time.

I drove by on Firestone and Downey Avenue today and saw a crushed pink bicycle next to a white Jeep. Also looked like they had someone on a gurney covered in a white sheet. I’m wondering what exactly happened? I walk on Firestone often to go to the gym and it really shook me to my core. Especially the pink bike. How scary and extremely sad.

Thanks to Joe Linton for the heads-up.

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You may not want to walk your bike in the coming autonomous future.

Or bend over, for that matter.

Correction: A series of comments from Eban points out that these warnings come from the current Toyota owner’s manual. So despite what the tweet says, it doesn’t refer to future autonomous vehicles, but rather, current automotive safety systems. 

However, as near as I can tell, the only practical difference that makes is that you might get run down by car that can’t detect you and its inattentive and/or distracted driver now, as opposed to getting run down by the car alone at some point in the future. 

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If you build it, they will come.

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Today’s musical interlude comes courtesy of Denver-based three-piece band The Yawpers, whose lead singer is preparing to ride cross-country from New York to Los Angeles, into the wind, to raise money for the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund.

He raised $17,000 for Sweet Relief with a 700-mile ride from Denver to Tulsa last year. And caught Covid in the process.

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We posted this Danish bike helmet PSA last week. But people keep sending it to me, and it’s more that worth sharing again.

Thanks to Tim Rutt and Martin Rose for the link.

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

It takes a major schmuck to punch a teenage English boy in the head after crashing into his bicycle, then get back in his car and just drive away.

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

A Chicago man was surrounded and attacked by a group of bikeshare riders, who pulled him off his bike and kicked him when he was down to steal his bicycle in a strong-arm robbery; police arrested one suspect, but the rest got away.

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Local

LAist wants to know how the pandemic affected your personal experience on the streets, as bicycling and walking were up 22% last year, but too many people who couldn’t work from home fell through the cracks. A 22% jump is nice, but ridership doubled in a number of cities that implemented popup bike lanes during the pandemic. And many of those were made permanent after proving their worth.

Voice of America says the pandemic inspired Kellie Hart’s passion for bicycling, which the founder of RideWitUs-LA is passing on to others.

UFC fighter Connor McGregor is one of us, boldly taking the lane in LA traffic on an underdressed ten-mile ride to the boxing gym.

 

State

Caltrans is looking for feedback from people who’ve used the bike and pedestrian path on the Bay Area’s Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

Hats off to the Mammoth Lakes Police Department, who mostly get it right with their Rules of the Road for bicyclists, thankfully not starting with the usual recommendation to wear a helmet. The only place they miss the mark is on the many exceptions to the requirement to ride to the right, which few cops don’t seem to get. Before anyone comments, yes, I always wear a helmet when I ride. But they’re not magic hats that somehow ward off Mack trucks. Or keep you safe if they don’t. Your best protection is to avoid the need for one in the first place. 

 

National

Four people discuss what anti-Asian racism looks like in the wonderful world of bicycling. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

A nine-year old boy and his father are halfway through a coast-to-coast bike ride to visit the Statue of Liberty, two years after they had to abandon their first attempt when the son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

A writer for Bicycling says the real problem with “wheelie kids” is that too many people see Black and Brown kids on bikes as a threat. Although to be fair, the weaving in and out of traffic, popping wheelies and playing chicken with oncoming drivers typical of Bike Life rides could have something to do with it. Once again, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

Bike Portland talks with the founder of the city’s annual Black Liberation Ride.

Seattle’s King County Board of Health is reconsidering the county’s mandatory bike helmet law, after statistics show that it has been primarily used to target people of color for riding their bikes without one.

Phoenix drivers can’t seem to figure out the city’s first and only two-way bike lane, resulting in several crashes of possibly impaired drivers in the first ten days.

An autistic Phoenix-area man was happy to get his stolen bike back after it was recovered, even as kindhearted community members were working to get him a new one.

The local country station considers the best bike trails in my hometown. None of which even existed when I lived there.

Colorado-based bicycle reseller The Pro’s Closet will donate bikes to The Cycle Effect, a nonprofit dedicated to giving Latinas and girls from low-income families on mountain bikes.

Gun violence continues to harm people on bikes. A Chicago man is in critical condition with bullet wounds to his head and body after getting caught in a crossfire as he was riding his bike. Just more collateral damage in America’s gun wars.

A retired Connecticut bike cop offers reasonable advice on how to stay safe riding your bike. Although the newspaper’s editor should go to journalist jail for trotting out the tired “safety is a two-way street” cliche.

Chicago ultracyclist Phil Fox is attempting to set a world record with a 920-mile ride around Lake Michigan this weekend; he hopes to finish in 72 hours or less, which works out to over 300 miles a day. Fox is riding to raise funds to fight MS, already bringing in nearly $18,000 of his $20,000 goal.

Construction starts today on a road diet on New York’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge, as the city prepares to convert a traffic lane into a two-way protected bike lane. Although the planned eight foot wide bikeway sounds pretty damn narrow for two way traffic.

 

International

Cycling Weekly takes you inside an ebike motor.

PC Magazine oddly reviews the $2,200 pc-free VanMoof X3 ebike, while bizarrely knocking the Dutch commuter bike for lacking off-road capabilities in an otherwise positive review.

No surprise here. A paper from an Alberta, Canada university suggests giving more road space to bicycles could encourage more people to leave their cars at home.

Britain’s leading bike retailer says the acute shortage of bikes and parts caused by the pandemic bike boom is likely to continue well into the future, with bike sales up over 54% and ebike sales nearly double over the previous year.

The leading bike shop chain in France is reporting a 50% increase in ebike sales last year compared to the year before.

 

Competitive Cycling

Lawson Craddock will represent the US at the Tokyo Olympics after winning the US national time trial championships; sadly, though, Tejay Van Garderen will hang up his cleats after finishing third in his final race.

Longtime American pro Brent Bookwalter is calling it a career, hanging up his cleats following this week’s USA Cycling Pro Road Championships after 16 years in the pro peloton.

Now that’s a real bicyclist. Hours after winning the Belgian national time trial title, Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider Yves Lampaert hopped on his pannier-laden townie to ride back home.

Cycling News looks at the most controversial Tour de France snubs of the last seven decades.

VeloNews looks at the “lionesses of L39ion,” after Skylar Schneider and Kendall Ryan finished 1st and 2nd in last weekend’s Tulsa Tough while riding for Cory and Justin Williams’ L39ion of Los Angeles cycling team.

The date is set for a long overdue return of women’s cycling to the Tour de France, with the Tour de France Femmes set to roll July 22nd of next year; they promise not to go easy on them.

https://twitter.com/LeTourFemmes/status/1405540740973817859

 

Finally…

Now we have to deal with pizza robots in the bike lane. Get the shaft with this $1,800 e-foldie.

And if you want a long, successful career as a Hollywood writer and director, start by riding a bike to the library.

And everywhere else.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

8 comments

  1. Eban says:

    Would you please elaborate on this:

    “and not-so-safe self-driving cars in your future”…?

    and

    “You may not want to walk your bike in the coming autonomous future.

    Or bend over, for that matter.”?

    • bikinginla says:

      The answers are all in the chart right below that statement. As the tweet says, the information comes from Toyota, with a long list of things their autonomous vehicles, i.e. self-driving cars, may not be able to detect, including people “pushing a stroller, wheelchair or bicycle,” or someone “bending forward or squatting.”

  2. Eban says:

    From a 2021 Toyota Owner’s manual (link in next comment – if the link does not show up, ask “Akismet” where it is):

    4-5. Using the driving support systems

    ● Some pedestrians such as the following may not be detected by the radar sensor and front camera, preventing the system from operating properly:

    • Pedestrians shorter than approximately 3.2 ft. (1 m) or taller than approximately 6.5 ft. (2 m)

    • Pedestrians wearing oversized clothing (a rain coat, long skirt, etc.), making their silhouette obscure

    • Pedestrians who are carrying large baggage, holding an umbrella, etc., hiding part of their body

    • Pedestrians who are bending forward or squatting

    • Pedestrians who are pushing a stroller, wheelchair, bicycle or other vehicle

    • Groups of pedestrians which are close together

    • Pedestrians who are wearing white and look extremely bright

    • Pedestrians in the dark, such as at night or while in a tunnel

    • Pedestrians whose clothing appears to be nearly the same color or brightness as their surroundings

    • Pedestrians near walls, fences, guardrails, or large objects

  3. Eban says:

    Where the heck is my first reply? Why did my second reply show up and not my first (and third) replies? What is wrong? Did you censor it because it was contrary to your “reporting”?

    • bikinginla says:

      No, I haven’t censored anyone. The only reasons someone gets censored on here is a) spam, b) inappropriate obscenity, c) personal attacks or rudeness towards another person. I encourage people to comment when they disagree, both because they may be right, and because that’s how we can all learn.

      I see two comments from you, aside from this one — one from 10:01 am on the 18th, and another from 12:54 pm on the 21st. They also show up in exactly that order. So I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. If you posted a 4th comment that somehow disappeared, let me know.

      I also have no idea what you might have said that is “contrary to (my) ‘reporting.'” I responded to your original comment by directing your attention to the source for what I wrote. For some unexplained reason, you responded by quoting a section from the 2021 Toyota owner’s manual repeating exactly what was contained in the tweet that I had reposted and commented on. As near as I can tell, rather than contradicting anything I wrote, that merely confirms exactly what I had written. If I am somehow missing your point, please clarify your intent — and preferably, without disparaging my “reporting.”

      The section you quoted specifically says the radar sensor and front camera may not detect someone walking a bicycle or bending over, which is exactly what I said. The only error I can find is that the original tweet referred to this in reference to autonomous vehicles, while you point out that these flaws exist right now.

      So what, exactly, did I get wrong?

      • Eban says:

        Quite frankly, this is ridiculous. The comment I submitted before the excerpt from the Toyota manual never showed up – so the context for that excerpt is missing.

        This first missing comment had none of the issues, “a) spam, b) inappropriate obscenity, c) personal attacks or rudeness towards another person” you mention. It also had no link in it.

        This is not the first time this has happened here. Either there is something wrong with your software or it was censored.

        I will post the comment (that explains what you got “wrong”) again right after this one.

        • Eban says:

          These two quotes from you both refer to FUTURE vehicles from Toyota:

          “and not-so-safe self-driving cars in your future”…?

          and

          “You may not want to walk your bike in the coming autonomous future.

          Or bend over, for that matter.”.

          (Even your headline, “not-so-safe self-driving cars in your future” refers to the FUTURE.)

          Have you actually verified that the chart you refer to applies to Toyota’s FUTURE “self driving” or “autonomous” vehicles?

          The chart IS what Toyota says…about its CURRENT models. It matches information in manuals for current models – and NONE of the current models are “self driving” or “autonomous”.

          Where is the attestation that this will not change when (or before) Toyota does (if ever) start offering “self driving” or “autonomous” vehicles?

          (I agree that if Toyota ever sells “self driving” or “autonomous” vehicles without rectifying these deficiencies, it would be a disaster in the making for pedestrians…(Also, given my career as a computer programmer, I likely will never buy one.) I will give you the citation in a separate post, given the propensity for your software to vanish posts it mistakenly perceives as untoward…)

          • bikinginla says:

            I didn’t realize it was my responsibility to verify that what someone else had posted referred to current vehicles, rather than the autonomous vehicles she said it did. I supposed I could fact check every new story, tweet, video, and Facebook and Instagram repost on here, but that wouldn’t leave time for anything else.

            In order to get this site online every morning, I only have a few minutes to grasp what a news story or online comment is about, then offer my take on it before moving on to something else. If, as in this case, the other party is incorrect as to whether it refers to future self-driving cars, as opposed to current safety technology, there’s not a lot I can do about it. And frankly, I can’t see where it really makes any difference whether a car can’t detect me right now, or won’t be able to at some point in the near future. In either case, I could be dead before the car, and whoever is or isn’t behind the wheel, knows I’m there.

            But clearly, it matters to you, so all I can do is apologize. I would say I would try to do better, but that would just be a hollow promise since I’m already doing the best I can while working far beyond my capacity, at the cost of my health.

            As for any problems commenting, you’re not the first person to complain about that. Unfortunately, I have to keep the Askimet security settings tight enough to block the literal hundreds of spammers and haters who try to comment on here every day. So if a legitimate comment gets caught up in that, all I can do is apologize once again.

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