Pity the poor oppressed drivers, killer Texas driver blind in one eye & can’t see out of the other, and ’tis the season

It’s the final week of the 7th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive! Just five more days to support SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy. 

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Today’s must read comes from The Guardian.

Columnist Catherine Bennett writes in sympathy to all the poor, oppressed drivers forced to share the road with the rest of us.

Reports from the frontline of the war on motorists have made distressing reading for some vehicle owners. With low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) surviving both physical and media assault, improved protections for pedestrians and cyclists in a revised Highway Code will weaken still further, they discover, a right to road domination long understood to be, if not divinely ordained, something even better: unassailable.

She goes on to discuss an unfortunate driver who was sentenced to a whole 18 months behind bars and a three-year driving ban for chasing, and ultimately running over a man on a bicycle, recording the entire intentional attack on his dash cam accompanied by his screaming wife.

And leaving his victim “fortunate to survive injuries including a fractured pelvis, torn genitals, six broken ribs and a punctured liver.”

She concludes this way.

Teachable moment: if you want to behave recklessly and dangerously on a road without incarceration, inconvenience, or even incurring a large fine, it’s advisable to do it inside a car. As for almost killing a stranger in a moment of madness: that too, as demonstrated by Mr Moult, is best done, for the avoidance of more stringent penalties, from a seatbelted position inside, for preference, one of the car industry’s more environmentally objectionable models.

Seriously, read it.

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This is why people keep dying on our streets.

The 66-year old Texas driver who slammed into a group of cross-country bicyclists, killing a Massachusetts man and injuring two others — including a Santa Rosa woman —  explained the crash by telling police he’s blind in one eye and can’t see very well out of the other one.

So why the hell was he still allowed to drive?

Someone, somewhere, should have noticed his vision problems and got him off the streets before he killed someone.

Not after.

Just one more example of the convenience of drivers being given priority over the safety of everyone else.

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‘Tis the season.

Orange County’s Bicycle Santas are back after last year’s forced hiatus, donating 80 bicycles to FaCT (Families And Communities Together, Orange County).

Around 200 Portland kids can expect new bikes, thanks to a group collecting bicycles and tricycles for children in need under five years old.

A Boulder, Colorado program has provided anywhere from 300 to 500 refurbished bikes for local kids each year for the past 15 years, as well as 50 ebikes for essential workers this year, funded by a state grant.

A massive bike donation program in Syracuse NY celebrated its 25th year by giving away 2,000 bicycles to people in need.

Donations are still being sought for a Virginia Beach VA foundation, where organizers hope to distribute 300 bikes to kids this Christmas.

Fayetteville, North Carolina’s famed Bicycle Man charity is giving away around 1,000 new and refurbished bicycles, after delaying last year’s giveaway due to the pandemic. The longtime community activist started by repairing bikes in his garage; his wife took over following his death eight years ago.

A church in Columbia, South Carolina is continuing their tradition of refurbishing around a hundred bicycles a year to give to local kids.

Louisiana’s Terrbone Parish hosted a bike and toy giveaway, with 300 bicycles given to children in need, including families still suffering from 2009’s Hurricane Ida.

A Cajun Country car club donated three custom-built adaptive bikes to special needs kids in Louisiana.

Nearly one hundred kids got new bicycles in a Daytona Beach park.

Today’s list also includes one of our own sponsors, San Diego bike lawyer Richard L. Duquette, who is now among latest sponsors of the Bikes 4 Kids Project.

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

As usual, there’s no shortage of anti-bike letter writers, who put their bias on full display in response to Michael’s Schneider’s recent op-ed calling on officials to drop their opposition to bike lanes; one writer said people on bicycles are usually very fit and very brave, and so there’s no point wasting our streets on a tiny niche. Cleary, he hasn’t met many of us.

You’ve got to be kidding. An Irish man walked with a suspended sentence after threatening a female bike cop, promising the court he’s a changed man and will never, ever do it again — even though seven of his 72 previous convictions were for threatening behavior. Yes, 72.

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

Authorities in Florida are on the lookout for a man who fled on a cruiser bike after robbing a convenience store with a sawed-off shotgun.

A bike-riding man in Osaka, Japan is under investigation for an apparent arson fire that killed 24 people at a mental health clinic where he was a patient.

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Local

The Los Angeles Times asks if drivers are angrier these days, and goes on to answer their own question — an average of 42 people a month were shot or wounded in road rage shootings in the past year, double the previous average. And one person was shot or injured every 18 hours in the US this year.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton examines the new MOVE Culver City project, and concludes Downtown Culver City just got more walkable, bikeable and transit-friendly.

Electrek says if you’re still waiting for a new ebike, it’s probably stuck on a ship off Long Beach.

 

State

Streetsblog California looks at what’s in the new federal infrastructure bill for the state.

A Chula Vista bike rider was lucky to escape with minor injuries when he was rear-ended by a driver following some “miscommunication,” because the bike lane was clogged with storm debris.

Family members remember Ricardo Serrano, the 15-year old boy killed by an alleged drunk driver while riding his bicycle in Victorville less than a mile from his school earlier this month.

 

National

Nice tradition in one Billings, Montana neighborhood, where residents still light luminarias every Christmas Eve in memory of a 12-year old boy who was killed  by a driver while riding his bicycle in 1962.

A 22-year old Mad City, Wisconsin man operates a one-person bicycle recovery program within the police department.

One person is dead, and seven injured, after nine ebike batteries blew up while being recharged in New York overnight, sparking a massive fire; two teens were forced to shinny four stories down an exterior pipe to escape the blaze.

A Steetsblog op-ed observes that bike booms come and go, so the New York’s new mayor has to seize the moment to make transformative change.

A stoned Long Island utility worker faces 3.5 to 10 years behind bars for killing a man riding a bicycle while high on meth, amphetamines and fentanyl; he slammed into five separate vehicles after running a red light, fled that crash before hitting the victim, fled again and ultimately attacked another driver after slamming head-on into the man’s truck.

A certified cycling instructor in Jersey City NJ says there’s currently a de facto ban on bicycling for transportation in the city.

She gets it. A DC columnist says a five-year old girl recently killed by a driver while riding in a crosswalk with her father deserved better, and should leave behind a legacy of safer streets.

A Norfolk, Virginia man has filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against the local police for excessive use of force, after a cop tackled him off his bike for the crime of riding without a headlight, breaking his leg in three places; needless to say, an internal investigation concluded the cop didn’t do anything wrong.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana continues to make progress on accommodating people on bicycles, with plans in the works for a bike path that would wind through five parishes, the Louisiana equivalent of a county. And it only took four decades after I left.

Miami bike riders complain that new widely spaced rubber armadillos placed on a causeway to protect them from drivers have just replaced one danger with another one.

 

International

Road.cc examines the science behind flashing versus steady bike lights. So why does it have to be one or the other? I ride with a solid beam illuminating the roadway, and a flashing light to get drivers’ attention. 

Meanwhile, Road.cc’s off-road edition considers whether titanium is the ultimate frame material off-road bikes.

Buzzfeed considers 18 places around the world where cars are banned, and “no one seems to miss them.”

Life is cheap in Canada’s Prince Edward Island, where a parole board told a woman who was sentenced to five years behind bars after killing a man riding a bicycle and fleeing the scene while driving drunk last year can go home during the day.

London’s Independent considers the huge change a bicycle can make in a refugee’s life, and how you can contribute. Even if you have to read the story on Yahoo.

According to a recent survey, even though bicycling is up 30% in Scotland, 61% of bike riders say a lack of safe riding routes keeps them off their bikes.

It may be a long way to Tipperary, as the song says, but you may not find anywhere to park your bike in the Irish city once you get there.

A 70-year old blind Japanese woman has authored a picture book based on her own experience riding a bike for the first time at age 60.

A New Zealand woman can credit her two-year old rescue dog with saving her life following a bike crash, climbing up an embankment to get help after she had ridden off the edge.

 

Competitive Cycling

Now you, too, can own the bike Wout Van Aert rode to victory on Mount Ventoux in this year’s Tour de France; bidding currently stands at nearly $15,000.

USA Cycling announced a new national crit series with a $100,000 purse, although it currently features just six of the previous ten races.

 

Finally…

Learn how to ride a bike in real life, in the metaverse. That feeling when you go on to become a famous actress, even if your first stunt double was a bike-riding boy in a padded bra.

And yes, he gets it.

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

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