San Diego bike rider gravely injured, waking the two-wheeled giant of LA politics, and biking to school in the rain

It’s the last ten days of the 7th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive

Thanks to Michael W and Dan W — no relation — for their generous donations to help keep SoCal’s best bike news and advocacy coming your way every day. 

I often ask you to support other people and causes throughout the year. But this is the only time all year I actively ask for your financial support for this site. 

So take a moment now to give now via PayPal, or with Zelle to ted @ bikinginla.com.

Any amount, no matter how large or small, is truly and deeply appreciated.

It’s okay, we’ll wait. 

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Bad news from San Diego.

A 51-year old man suffered life-threatening injuries when a driver rear-ended his bicycle, after he allegedly left a bike lane and veered into traffic, although it’s possible he may have been trying to make a left turn.

The crash occurred around 5 pm Monday in the 5900 block of University Ave in the Redwood Village neighborhood.

Sadly, police said the victim is not expected to survive.

Let’s hope they’re wrong.

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As Streetsblog’s Joe Linton makes clear, Southern California “rarely misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity when it comes to bike lanes.”

Including bike lanes already been approved by Metro, Los Angeles and/or Caltrans, but never installed.

Even when the cost is nothing more than a few cans of paint.

Recently, there has been a frustratingly continuous drumbeat of planned bikeways being left off of large-scale southern California construction projects.

There are a host of reasons for the omissions. Numerous agencies are involved, though it’s mostly Metro, Caltrans, and L.A. City Public Works Department bureaus. The effect is the same: missed opportunities for interconnected facilities that would move the southland closer to becoming a safe and convenient place to get around by bike.

He goes on to cite a long list of recent projects where previously approved bike lanes were either downgraded or omitted entirely.

From the infamous Northvale Gap in the E Line — nee Expo — bike path, to the upcoming Van Nuys Blvd light rail project, which was supposed to include nine-miles of bike lanes along the rail route, but will now preserve that road space for cars.

And that doesn’t include countless other bike lanes that government officials have already committed to, but which have been unceremoniously shelved, often with little or no fanfare.

Here’s Linton again.

What is exasperating is that agencies already have approved bike plans – often the result of a great deal of advocacy pressure from cyclists. L.A. City adopted its Mobility Plan in 2015. Metro approved its Complete Streets Policy in 2014 (and received national recognition for it.) That policy builds on Metro’s 2014 First/Last Mile Strategic Plan. Even Caltrans recently released its own Statewide Complete Streets Policy.

Bike riders press to get bikeway facilities included during project planning processes, often to be told that there just isn’t space or funding or staffing or something-or-other for bikeways. Then, even when agencies (often reluctantly) approve bikeways as part of larger plans, they are dropped in full or in part during construction – as if bicycling is just not a valid way to get around, and as if the safety of bicyclists just isn’t quite worth following through on.

The bottom line, though, is that crap like this only happens because we let them get away with it.

As I’ve stressed before, the bicycling community is the sleeping giant of Los Angeles politics.

Don’t believe me?

In the 2010 bike plan that was unanimously approved by the city council, the city estimated that 434,161 Angelenos ride their bikes at least once a month.

From the 2010 Los Angeles bike plan

That’s more than the entire 407,147 votes cast in the last mayoral election, which put Eric Garcetti back in office for his final term.

Never mind the estimated 786,918 people who ride every summer, or the 1,356,754 who ride sometimes. Let alone the overwhelming majority of people in Los Angeles who say they’d like to ride a bike more, if they only felt safer on the streets.

So let’s wake that sleeping Giant.

We have the perfect opportunity to be heard, and to make a real difference in this city with the upcoming 2022 elections — the first time since 2013 we will be electing someone other than the disappointing, and soon to be disappearing, Garcetti. Not to mention half of the city council, including a number of open and contested seats.

It’s up to us to make enough noise that we can’t be ignored.

And then hold their feet to the fire once they get elected.

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As George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”

Which applies perfectly to all those drivers who insist you can’t ride a bike in the rain. Let alone drop off your kids at school.

And to which Streets For All founder Michael Schneider responds with actions, not words.

Okay, so he explains with words, too.

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There’s a bike path in there somewhere. Let’s see how long it takes the county to clear it this time.

Since they didn’t do so great before.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the heads-up.

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Here’s your chance to ask for bike lanes in Larchmont.

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Good to hear from our old friend Opus the Poet, even if the news he shared wasn’t.

There was a YouTube creator hit on an e-bike in a hit and run.
Suspect vehicle was a black SUV of unknown make, model, and year. Victim’s insulin pump was destroyed in the wreck, to give an idea of how violent the wreck was.

It starts around the one minute mark. Unfortunately, while Hartford lives in California, she doesn’t say where the crash happened.

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

San Francisco Streetsblog’s Roger Rudick discovers that some Sprouts security guards didn’t get the memo when it comes to letting shoppers into the store with a bicycle. Adding insult to injury, one even told him to get a car.

A British Columbia man got 21 months behind bars for deliberately running down a bike-riding neighbor he’d been quarreling with, leaving the other man with serious injuries.

A British petition to force bike riders to use bike lanes and wear numbered bibs has drawn 10,000 signatures, which will require a government response.

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

A man in Mad City, Wisconsin fled on his bicycle after attacking another man with a baseball bat following an argument in a convenience store. Although there’s no explanation for why he had a baseball bat with him on his bike in the first place.

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Local

Spectrum News 1 offers five things you need to know about illegal street racing and takeovers, like the tidbit that street racing collisions have tripled in Los Angeles this year — including the death of a USC student killed by street racers this past weekend.

 

State

A San Clemente mountain biker was the victim of an off-road hit-and-run when he was knocked down on a trail by a man riding an electric motorcycle, who fled the scene.

The founder of Bike Index says OfferUp refuses to do anything to curb scammers, after a man ran off with a San Marcos man’s bike in response to an OfferUp ad, after handing him a bag supposedly full of cash to buy it.

 

National

A new report from the Coalition for a Prosperous America says the US must build back bike manufacturing in this country if we want the pandemic-induced bike boom to continue; over 97% of bikes sold in the US come from outside the country, with over 86% coming from China alone. Just like virtually every other American industry these days. Thanks again to Keith Johnson. 

A green business site calls ebikes the “uncelebrated heroes” of last-mile delivery.

Seattle attorneys are filing suit against the city and a local railroad over injuries to several bike riders resulting from a 1.4-mile gap in the Burke-Gilman Trail, as local business owners and trucking companies fight plans to close it. Maybe if we did that here, we might not have such a problem with all those disappearing bike lanes.

Seattle’s Rad Power Bikes announced plans to raise prices across the board on all their ebikes in response to the ongoing supply chain issues.

The woman who killed a prominent San Antonio surgeon in a drunken crash as he was riding his bike has been sentenced to a well-deserved 15 years behind bars.

A Massachusetts man who raised over $70,000 for cancer research, as well as raising funds for an Israeli charity for people with disabilities, now needs help with his own disability after September crash while riding his bike left him a paraplegic; a crowdfunding page has raised over $103,000 of the $250,000 goal.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 80-year old Florida man has ridden 3,500 miles on his bike this year.

 

International

Momentum reports cities around the world are sacrificing parking spaces to make room for people on the streets. Including people on two wheels. Unlike a certain SoCal megalopolis we could name.

A new combo bike cam promises a 80 lumen tail light, combined with a camera capable of recording 9.5 hours of 1080p video and audio; it’ll set you back $182 on Kickstarter right now.

No bias here. Politico says Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has lost the love of Parisians in her efforts to transform the city into a “green cyclist’s utopia.” Even though she was just re-elected last year after already setting much of the changes in motion.

A German court is set rule on whether an alleged bike-riding Russian hit man killed a former Chechen commander in a Berlin park on orders from Moscow.

Over 3,000 people have signed a petition calling on Lisbon, Portugal to keep a bike lane until another safe alternative can be found, while more than 1,000 turned out for a demonstration demanding it stay in place.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews offers a series of photos from the 2021 Cyclocross National Championships in Chicago, as a where a first lap breakaway led to six riders spending the rest of the race chasing eventual winner Eric Brunner.

 

Finally…

Who knew Best Buy sells ebikes — or that we’re a day late and $500 short. That feeling when you’ve spent your career torturing bikes and the people who make them.

And maybe consider adding an air horn or two for extra safety and entertainment on your bike.

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

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