Times op-ed says LA can’t keep pushing bikes and buses aside, and 330-mile NorCal rail trail threatened by coal plans

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He gets it.

In a hard-hitting LA Times op-ed, Streets For All founder Michael Schneider says Los Angeles can no longer afford to push buses and bicycles to the side.

Or worse, actively block implementation of safe bus and bike lanes.

Paul Koretz kills a bike lane on Melrose and fights a bus lane on Wilshire. Gil Cedillo and Mitch O’Farrell work together to kill a bike lane on Temple. Paul Krekorian kills a bike lane on Lankershim. David Ryu kills a bike lane on 6th Street. John Lee fought a bus lane on Nordhoff. All of these real events over the last few years have something in common: members of the Los Angeles City Council actively ignoring the city’s Mobility Plan 2035, part of the general plan passed by the council in 2016.

He goes on to explain that there’s no way to get drivers out of their cars without more efficient transit and bikeways.

And that there is no way to prioritize alternative modes of transport without sacrificing some driver convenience and space on the street.

Then there’s this.

Another issue in Los Angeles is that we tend to build bike lanes in small segments based on the city’s repaving schedule. The problem here is that just like car lanes, bike (and bus) lanes really work well only as a network. Imagine if the 101 almost connected to the 405, and the 405 almost connected to the 10, and in the gaps, drivers faced a dirt road with potholes. How many cars would drive on those roads? Yet we ask the same of people on bikes today. Unless someone can get to where they need to go and feel safe for the entire journey, many won’t bother. That requires a network of protected bike lanes that connect to other protected bike lanes, criss-crossing the city.

Not surprisingly, he hits the nail on the head when it comes to the solutions.

We need all candidates running for mayor and City Council in 2022 to be leaders on this issue. The mayor especially must lead by action, not just talk, as it is today. Individual council members should not be allowed to block road changes prescribed in the Mobility Plan. We need citywide implementation, across district lines; the average Angeleno has no idea where one district ends and one begins, and those boundaries should not determine where a bike or bus lane mysteriously stops or starts.

We have elected far too many hypocrites and spineless “leaders” with their finger to the wind, bending whichever way people scream the loudest.

That needs to change.

Now.

We have to elect genuine leaders committed to their principles, who know what needs to be done and have the political courage to do it.

Because this city may not survive otherwise.

At least not in any form we’d want to live in.

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Gravel Bike California is sounding the alarm about plans to use an abandoned railway to ship coal to California’s North Coast, where it would be loaded onto ships and transported overseas.

Not only would the plan be like setting a torch to the growing climate emergency, it would expose everyone living along the rail line to the dangers of highly carcinogenic coal dust.

And it would mean the death of plans to convert the defunct North Coast rail line into the Great Redwood Trail, taking riders through ancient redwood forests and along roaring rivers.

You can sign a petition to oppose the plans here.

Because there’s no benefit to anyone to shipping coal through the redwoods.

Except for the people whose pockets it would line.

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Throw in some donuts, and we’ll all show up.

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Take a Welsh mountain biking break if you’ve got 24 minutes to spare.

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‘Tis the season.

All 55 third graders at a Lakewood, California elementary school got new bikes for the holidays, after initially being told just two students would win one.

A Good Samaritan bought a new bike for a popular Milwaukee pizza shop employee after his was stolen, giving it to the police to pass along anonymously.

A Newport RI bike club donated 100 rebuilt bicycles to students at a local elementary school.

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

A Montreal bike rider was the victim of a pepper spray attack by a road raging motorcyclist, who thought the victim should have been riding in the nonexistent bike lane.

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

Police in Miami are looking for a shooting suspect who fled on a red BMX bike. No, the one in Oklahoma.

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Local

Los Angeles will break with longstanding tradition, and take advantage of a new state law to actually lower speed limits on some streets next year.

This is who we share the road with. A 21-year old USC student was killed by a pair of street racing drivers as he walked in a crosswalk near campus; surprisingly, both drivers stopped following the crash.

 

State

This is who we share the road with, part two. Once again, an elderly driver has been kept on the road until it’s too late, as an 87-year old Desert Hot Springs man faces vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run charges for crashing his Caddy into the back of a school bus, then plowing into a group of kids as he tried to flee, killing a nine-year old girl and injuring three other children. Whoever kept renewing his license should face charges, too.

No surprise here, as a Salinas paper says whether you’re safe on a bicycle depends on where you are. In other words, just like anywhere else.

With just over two weeks left in the year, San Jose traffic deaths are approaching record levels, despite the city’s Vision Zero program.

 

National

Yes, you can bring your Christmas tree home by bicycle.

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske writes about the need for bright lights on your bike, both to stay safe and and limit liability in a collision. I suggest going even further by riding with multiple bright lights day or night to increase your visibility. And note to Mionske: Isn’t time to stop using that outdated and inaccurate term “accident?” A crash isn’t an oopsie. 

Cycling Tips offers four great bicycling photos from the previous two centuries and the stories behind them. Like a stunt cyclist upside down on a loop-the-loop, and riding down a steep flight of stairs on a Penny Farthing.

A Washington writer says bike riders should just go around people who walk in the bike lane when there’s no sidewalk, because “running into a pedestrian is fundamentally unsafe.” Well, yeah. He’s got a point. 

Heartbreaking story from a Flagstaff AZ writer, who struggles to process her emotions in the wake of witnessing a woman killed, and several others injured, when a tow truck driver blew a red light and plowed into them during the city’s May Bike Party.

The couple responsible for putting up ghost bikes in Houston are looking for volunteers to help replace stolen bikes. Seriously, there’s a special place in hell for anyone who’d steal a ghost bike.

It defies logic, but apparently, it’s possible to hit and kill a 12-year old bike-riding Texas girl with your pickup without doing anything wrong.

New York bike riders are demanding a downtown civic group replace their sleek-looking bike racks, which they say only a thief could love.

Yesterday we linked to video of a nine-year old DC boy run down on his bike by a hit-and-run driver as he was riding home from school with his mother; today he’s speaking out to call for safer streets. My kind of kid.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana is finally recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community. And only 40 years too late for me, after risking my life to ride there. And don’t get me started on beer-chucking LSU frat boys. 

 

International

Yanko Design looks at the year’s best new bicycle innovations, including airless bike tires, zip-on bike tire treads, and a compact air pump — for car tires.

The Guardian’s Peter Walker digs into a pair of rapidly spreading London myths — that the city is the most congested in the world, and the reason is bike lanes. Neither one of which he says is true.

It only took four hours to fully crowdfund new bike lights from Northern Ireland’s See.Sense, promising 575 lumens from the front light, and 350 in the rear, which brightens as you slow down. And if you hurry, a set will set you back as little as $118.

UK authorities are urged to close a loophole in traffic law that allows killer motorists to keep driving if taking their license away would cause an extreme hardship. Imagine the hardship it causes the people they kill.

A 26-year old British man is riding over 5,100 miles from Bristol, England to Beijing, despite being diagnosed with cancer.

If you’re an Aussie football star, maybe don’t get drunk and attempt bike stunts. And fail.

 

Competitive Cycling

New Zealand could struggle to compete internationally in the future, with the short-sighted closure of four of the country’s cycling development centers.

 

Finally…

Apparently, you need a better excuse than simply not remembering that you stole a bike. You could have been the proud owner of a $7,500 handmade El Polo Loco lowrider bike if you’d just moved a little faster.

And who says self-driving tech is just for the people on four wheels?

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

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