This is the cost of traffic violence.
It was heartbreaking to learn that, on the World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Victims, five people were killed and over 40 injured when a driver plowed through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
It almost doesn’t matter why.
As I write this, there’s no word on whether this was a terrorist attack, some other intentional act of vengeance, or just another everyday traffic “oopsie.”
Because, even under the best of circumstance, with the best of intentions, people operating cars can turn deadly in an instant.
36,096 dead in 2019, the last year on record. An average of 99 people a day.
Every day, without end.
What happened in Waukesha was unusually horrific. And will undoubtedly become even more heartrending when we learn more about the victims, dead and alive.
So far, all we know for sure is that a Catholic priest was one of the victims, along with some Catholic school kids who were apparently watching the parade.
Both before and after the news broke, I scoured Google and Twitter for any remarks from any Los Angeles official, city or county, commemorating the World Day of Remembrance, without luck.
I can’t say no one said anything. But if they did, I couldn’t find it.
Which says as much as anything else about the sad state of LA streets, and LA government. As well as elected officials who promised change when they needed our votes, but turned their backs on the people of Los Angeles once they got into office.
Because traffic violence effects all of us.
Sadly, things like this will continue, here in Los Angeles and throughout the country. Whether it takes the form of mass casualty events like Waukesha yesterday or the San Monica farmer’s market nearly 20 years ago.
Let alone the the constant trickle of traffic deaths and injuries too ordinary to make the news.
And nothing will change until enough American’s finally say “enough!”, like the Dutch did 50 years ago.
Because clearly, this is one issue where our leaders don’t have the courage or political will to lead.
Which leaves it up to us.
That means you. And yes, me.
At least he gets it, anyway.
Let's mark a turning point in our nation's focus on preventable crisis of traffic crashes. Let's prioritize safe streets, speeds & vehicles. And invest in walking, biking & transit. We agree @SecretaryPete that this demands urgent action & we're ready #ZeroTrafficDeaths #WDoR2021 pic.twitter.com/eaMdaBAr3k
— Vision Zero Network (@Visionzeronet) November 21, 2021
Culver City opened the Move Culver City project on Saturday, with quick build bus and bike lanes on three streets in the downtown area.
What @CulverCityGov has done in just 60 days is so inspiring – a true complete street! This is one block from the City of LA. We’re out of excuses as to why these things just can’t happen in LA.
— Streets For All (@streetsforall) November 20, 2021
Culver City is on the move! 🚲 🚌 🚗
Today's #MOVECulverCity launch shows that cities can offer a transit experience that is safe, pleasurable, and green for all kinds of commuters 🍃 @CulverCityGov @ib2_real @AlexFischCC pic.twitter.com/TmpzE9QLqJ
— Sydney Kamlager (@sydneykamlager) November 20, 2021
As to why things like this don’t happen in Los Angeles, our risk-averse department of transportation would first have to study the proposed project for months, and continue to water it down until they’re sure they’re not taking any chances and won’t run the risk of offending anyone.
Then the city would hold a series of meetings where the usual assortment of NIMBY homeowners and angry drivers would scream about how it would inconvenience them a little, after which our elected officials would promise to change everything they screamed about.
Then the plan would make its way into the circular file, while the city makes a few minor safety improvements, and declare the problem solved.
But other than that, there’s no reason why it can’t happen here.
Thanks to Keith Johnson for the video tweet.
When is a bike lane not a bike lane?
When I saw this Instagram post over the weekend, I assumed the parrot was just examining the damage.
This is, by far, my favorite photo of the weekend.
— Riot the Corgi (@RiotDogChicago) November 21, 2021
And the guy on the bike doesn’t have to be slow; those little buggers are fast.
This one is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
A parade of small children chanting “bikes bike bikes bikes” just passed my apartment and I have to say, I strongly agree with their message pic.twitter.com/g24db5wNea
— Beth Rankin (@byBethRankin) November 18, 2021
Steve Martin is one of us. Or was, anyway.
— Megan Lynch (@may_gun) November 21, 2021
This Harley ebike video made me laugh more than I did the rest of the day. Or maybe the entire weekend.
Seriously, this might just be the best 8 minutes and 39 seconds of your day.
The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.
Sentencing was delayed in the case of the Las Vegas minivan driver whose passenger fell to his death after leaning out the window to push a woman off her bicycle, killing her as well, because someone in the detention center forgot to bring him to the courtroom to be sentenced.
But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.
The man dubbed LA’s “Western Bandit” was convicted on two counts of murder, as well as shooting at several other people, in a bike-born crime spree; the DA said every pedal stoke on the way to commit his crimes counted as premeditation.
A bike-riding burglar was busted by LA County sheriff’s deputies while riding away after he was allegedly caught on security cam breaking into a La Canada Flintridge home on Friday.
A Ventura man has pled guilty to being the man on a bicycle who sexually assaulted a woman walking on a bike path, as well as flashing a woman who was walking with her grandson while riding his bike (scroll down).
An unhoused Black man complains about the original headline of a recent LA Times column about a man reclaiming his stolen bikes from a bike chop shop in a Mar Vista homeless camp, accusing them of doxing the homeless encampment.
A West Covina man was found shot to death along the LA River bike path Friday morning; no word on whether he was riding a bike, or was there for some other reason.
An estimated 600 people were expected to turn out for the first Oxnard Peace Ride on Saturday to promote bicycle safety and awareness of gun violence.
Palo Alto’s long-gestating bike and pedestrian bridge over Highway 101 isn’t mythical anymore.
A Bay Area bike rider was caught on video weaving unsafely in the fast lanes on the Bay Bridge; a bike lane extends across the eastern span, while bikes are banned from the rest.
WaPo looks at the US Bicycle Route System, which has expanded by nearly 3,000 miles in the West and Midwest.
Your next ebike could come complete with a built-in laptop stand. Unfortunately, it’s not designed so you can work while you ride, or I could write this while cruising under the moon.
A Maui councilmember says it’s time to rein in the popular bike tours that race down the island’s Haleakala volcano, while a letter writer calls the tours a disaster waiting to happen.
A Seattle woman got 28 months behind bars for operating a sophisticated embezzlement scheme that bilked over $150,000 from the unnamed high-end mountain bike company where she worked as an accountant and bookkeeper.
A former prosecutor said Nevada state troopers missed obvious signs truck driver Jordan Barson was high on meth at the time of the crash that killed five bicyclists outside Las Vegas.
A Colorado bike mechanic is raising the alarm about planned obsolescence in the bike industry, as more manufacturers are making low-end, unfixable and disposable bicycles designed to only last a few years.
San Antonio’s bikeshare system is going all in on ebikes.
Massachusetts bike riders mark the World Day of Remembrance by calling on the legislature to pass bicycle safety bills, including a bill to require side guards and other safety devices on large trucks.
Connecticut Magazine looks at the history 50-year history of Cannondale, which began business in 1971 hawking a bike trailer called The Bugger.
Durham, North Carolina is fighting traffic congestion and climate change by offering people who work downtown the free use of an ebike, along with a helmet and free maintenance. Thanks again to Keith Johnson for the heads-up.
Despite earlier reports that a Palm Beach, Florida boy had apparently died falling off his bike, the death of the 14-year old victim has now been ruled a homicide; he disappeared after going out for a bike ride last week.
A writer for Cycling Tips recommends ten products that inspired him to say “Take my money, please!”
Clearly, traffic violence isn’t just the US, as a hit-and-run driver knocked four English teenagers off their bikes; fortunately, no one was seriously hurt.
Good luck fixing the bicycle shortage anytime soon, as a British bikemaker calls the current supply chain issues plaguing his company an “absolute clusterfuck.”
The Irish Times complains about the lack of oversight and quantifiable costs for the country’s bike to work program, which allows employers to provide workers with a tax-free bike and accessories to be repaid through salary deductions, and unfairly benefits most the high-income workers who need it the least.
A 72-year old Limerick, Ireland man “miraculously” got his 40-year old vintage stolen bike back through the power of social media. My original 1981 Trek is exactly that old, and covered in dust until I have the money to restore it. But I’d hardly call it vintage yet.
The rich get richer, as bike riders in The Hague now have a new, museum-like bike parking garage with space for 8,000 bicycles, directly across from a busy railway station.
A former “passionate” Indian bicyclist says he’s given up riding since a longtime friend ended up in the ICU after he was hit by a speeding driver while riding his bike; now he only recommends offroad mountain biking and using a trainer indoors.
NIMBYs keep telling us that bike lanes hinder handicapped people. But a Wellington, New Zealand bike network would benefit a bike-riding mother with multiple sclerosis, who discovered she can bike easier than she can walk, and tows her service dog in a trailer behind her.
Mark Cavendish had to abandon the Six Days of Ghent after a hard fall, withdrawing in fourth place on the final day. Kenny De Ketele and Robbe Ghys ended taking the overall classification. Meanwhile Cavendish says he knew he had it in him to get back on top this year, after his own team thought he was washed up.
A local website offers photos from Saturday’s El Tour de Tucson.
We’re lucky to have this great facility here in Los Angeles. Well, Carson anyway.
— LA Velodrome Racing / LAVRA (@LAVeloRacing) November 21, 2021
And wait for the guy on the bike, who wisely beats a hasty retreat facing a barrage of snowballs.
Snowball fight from 124 years ago (1897) in Lyon, France that has been colorized and speed adjusted.. pic.twitter.com/WWDA28xGbs
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) November 18, 2021
A special thanks to frequent contributor Robert L for his generous donation to kick off this year’s 7th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive four days early! So save your nickels and dimes, because the corgi’s getting ready for her closeup, and we’ll be begging for them to keep her in kibble later this week.
Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.