Blaming micromobility victims in New York, accusations of bias in Texas coal-roll crash, and School Streets kicks off in LA

Before we start, I hope you’ll join me in welcoming noted San Diego bike lawyer Richard Duquette as our newest sponsor. 

I’ve known Duquette for some time, after connecting over some particularly egregious bike cases from San Diego and Orange Counties, as well as Riverside and Imperial Counties. Along with the advice he’s shared on topics from staying safe on the road, to how to find a good lawyer if you don’t.

I’m happy to have him join our roster of Los Angeles-area sponsors, all of whom I have personally vetted, to provide access to effective legal counsel throughout the SoCal region.

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The New York Times clutches its pearls over the rise in micromobility, noting that ridership surged 130 percent to 88.5 million in 2019, from just 38.5 million the year before.

But instead of celebrating the relative safety and convenience of e-scooters and other electric mobility devices, they choose to focus on people acting like, well, people.

Along with the human cost.

Still, the e-mobility boom has brought significant safety challenges to New York’s already congested streets. At least 17 people have been killed while riding electric mobility vehicles this year, according to city officials. Revel, which operates an electric moped share program in the city, voluntarily shut it down for a month last year after three riders were killed.

E-mobility crashes have also killed three pedestrians this year, including the actress Lisa Banes, who was knocked down by a hit-and-run scooter rider on the Upper West Side.

Many pedestrians and cyclists complain about e-bike and e-scooter riders who speed, ride on sidewalks and run red lights and go the wrong way on streets.

Although if they think e-scooters pose a risk to pedestrians, just wait until they hear about cars.

But let’s be honest.

It doesn’t take a lot of observation to realize that people do stupid things, whether they are driving cars, riding bikes, walking or piloting scooters.

And while all of those can pose a risk to others, it’s the people in cars who do the most damage.

Yes, reckless riding on a scooter is stupid, and dangerous — to the rider and those around them.

But it’s far from the biggest danger on the streets.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog responded by accusing the paper of victim blaming and trying to push people back into cars.

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No surprise here.

The law firm representing six bicyclists injured by a coal-rolling teenager in Waller County, Texas while training for a triathlon says the entire investigation of the crash has been “riddled with anti-bike bias.”

Then again, that was obvious the moment police allowed the 16-year old driver to go home with his parents instead of pressing charges.

Or even issuing a damn ticket.

Meanwhile, the local DA made it clear he doesn’t want to take the heat.

“This case was not handled appropriately by the investigating agency. PERIOD,” Mathis wrote in a Facebook post. “Despite being encouraged by the Texas Department of Public Safety to treat the scene as a crime scene and to contact the D.A.‘s Office for advice on how to proceed, the investigating agency chose not to do so.”

Then there’s this, providing the first public clue as to why the kid appears to have been handled with kid gloves.

The attorneys say the 16-year-old was “coal rolling” the cyclists shortly before plowing into them, and said the teen’s connections to Waller County officials were the reason he was allowed to leave the scene after being questioned.

On Monday, Mathis acknowledged these connections, but added that investigators have yet to “see evidence of a city official directing the officer on the scene as to how to handle this particular situation.”

Although chances are, in a small county like that, no one had to tell the cops on the scene who the kid was.

Especially after mom and dad showed up.

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Now that’s more like it.

Los Angeles is closing a section of Westmoreland Ave to cars as part of the School Streets pilot program.

https://twitter.com/_KennyUong_/status/1447703817630322689

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Everyone knows there’s no point in reinventing the wheel.

Which may be why automakers keep insisting on reinventing the bicycle, instead.

https://twitter.com/dorfman_baruch/status/1447790128882200576

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

No bias here. A Virginia letter writer complains that the area needs more more roads for cars, not bike lanes. But he can’t seem to decide if bike riders are lawbreaking, uninsured and unlicensed scofflaws, or children pedaling on toys around their own neighborhoods.

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

An Oregon man faces an attempted murder charge for stabbing a car passenger in an apparent road rage incident, which began when he started throwing rocks at the victim’s car.

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Local

Coffee, pastries, gravel, ocean views, bbq and beer. What’s not to like?

Spectrum News 1 checks in on Sunday’s return of CicLAvia to DTLA.

Pasadena now has an extra $462,900 to spend on DUI checkpoints, distracted driving enforcement, and bike and pedestrian safety operations, courtesy of a state grant. What, they couldn’t round up and make in an even $463,000 for some reason? Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up. 

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey is one of us, taking his roadie for a ride through the ‘Bu on Sunday.

 

State

California Congressman Jimmy Panetta says it’s disappointing that the proposed federal ebike tax credit was cut in half in a House committee, but it’s still a start. Disappointing doesn’t begin to describe it, especially when e-car buyers get ten times the $750 tax credit they’re planning to offer ebike buyers. 

An eight-year old Santa Maria girl was hospitalized after a truck driver crashed into her bicycle with enough force to break it in half; no word on her condition.

The New York Times’ California Today newsletter looks at San Francisco’s Clement Street commercial district as a local example of the 15-minute city, where everything you need on a daily basis is just 15 minutes away, without setting foot in a car.

 

National

Specialized is recalling all of their Tarmac SL7 road bikes due to the risk of steerer tube failure. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

A writer for Outside finds joy again on her ebike, after getting a life-changing medical diagnosis.

When you’re tired of fixing flats, just build your own airless bike tires.

Portland should have a new 475-foot bike and pedestrian bridge over I-84 next summer, named for the city’s bike-friendly Congressman Earl Blumenauer. It’s an odd choice for a name since he isn’t dead or retired, which is usually the primary requirement to get something named after you.

A member of Colorado’s Pyramid Lake Paiute tribe wants you to acknowledge the land you’re riding on, and the ancestors who were there first. Once again, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you. 

Topeka, Kansas is doing the right thing, giving away over 700 decommissioned bikes from the city’s former bikeshare program, rather than tossing them on the scrapheap, as too often happens.

Evidently, bike thieves have a heart in New Hampshire, where a woman got her stolen bike back after she posted a note asking for its return.

Tragic news from New York, where an ebike rider was killed by a wrong way driver while riding in a bike lane that had recently been downgraded from a protected lane, because drivers couldn’t resist driving over all the little car-tickler plastic bendie posts.

Hundreds of New Orleans residents Ride for their Lives to demand better safety for people on bicycles.

A Florida Good Samaritan replaced a disabled woman’s stolen adaptive trike for her birthday.

 

International

The New York Times memorializes Iohan Gueorguiev, famed as the Bike Wanderer for his six-year bikepacking quest traveling from the Arctic to Patagonia, which he documented on his YouTube channel; Gueorguiev committed suicide in August while riding out the pandemic at a friend’s home in British Columbia.

Riders on high-end bikes are being targeted in London’s Richmond Park, with at least three bike-jackings in the last six days, including pro cyclist Alexandar Richardson, who was relieved of his $13,600 bicycle.

Scotland is introducing a new campaign to promote hostels and bike tourism, inspired by the discovery of an 85-year old diary from a then 17-year old girl who toured the Highlands by bike with her two sisters.

A British man got a well-deserved year behind bars for pushing another man off his ebike after claiming it was really his, and making off with it while the victim lay unconscious in the street. Although a year seems a little light, considering he already had a 62-count rap sheet over the past 15 years.

Forbes promotes five new hosted European bike tours, starting at $3,199 for an ebike tour from Croatia to Montenegro. Or spend over five grand, and see where Slovenian cyclists Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič got their start.

French police are investigating the murder of a Spanish bikepacker, who was found in the roadway with several facial injuries, close to a popular cross-country bicycling route just south of Lyon on a trip that had started in the Netherlands.

He gets it. Volkswagen’s CEO says “Biking is fun, healthy and good for the environment” and a vital part of the urban mobility mix.

Good news from Afghanistan, where 38 people associated with the country’s women’s cycling team have reached asylum in Switzerland, with help from international cycling’s governing body.

Japan belatedly decides that sensor-operated automatic braking systems on cars should avoid killing bike riders, too. But gives carmakers three years to keep doing it.

Malaysian prosecutors aren’t giving up, filing yet another appeal to a higher court after charges were dismissed against a woman for killing eight teenage kids riding modified basikal lajak bicycles.

 

Competitive Cycling

Prior to this year, only three cyclists had ever won Il Lombardia and the Tour de France in the same season — Fausto Coppi, Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault. Now you can make that four, after 23-year old Tadej Pogačar accomplished the rare feat last weekend.

Hats off to 22-year old triathlete Chris Nikic, who became the first athlete with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman competition.

Colorado authorities belatedly identified the mountain biker who died during this year’s Leadville Trail 100, reporting he was killed by blunt force trauma to his chest, supporting the theory that he crashed at high speed.

 

Finally…

A business writer says it’s always the right time to get on your bike and think — or dictate your column while on a 426-mile fundraising ride. That feeling when you overstate the amount of your bike and pedestrian grant by a mere ten times.

And apparently, bicyclists don’t pay road tax. Or boat tax, either.

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

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