CDC Bike Safety stats miss mark, Move Culver City adjusts lane markings, and Desmond Tutu was one of us

Thanks to everyone who helped make the 7th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive such a big success, with new records for both the number of donations and the total amount — topping last year’s record-setting total by over $1,200!

So please join me in thanking William C, Lois R, Carol K, David D, Julie C, Erik G, Bryan H, Audrey K and Jennifer P for their generous donations to help keep SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every day.

And let me give a special thanks for the comments so many people made along with their donations, which touched me more than I can begin to say. 

So to everyone who contributed, please accept my undying gratitude. Or at least until next year’s holiday season, when we’ll do it all again. 

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File this one under the heading of you’ve got to be kidding.

The CDC’s Bicycle Safety page helpfully suggests the main risk factors for bike crashes.

Never mind that children and adults over 50 are among the largest bike-riding age groups. Or that the well-documented gender gap means three times as many men as women ride bikes.

Let’s not forget that more people ride bikes in urban areas, simply because there are more people there.

And does it really tell us anything that either the driver or bike rider had been drinking in 37% of bicycling fatalities, without breaking out whether the bike riders or drivers had been drinking, and whether they were actually under the influence or just had a trace amount of alcohol in their blood?

All of which makes this set of risk factors just this side of useless.

And just to be clear, the information on alcohol consumption comes from the 2015 Traffic Safety Fact Sheet Bicyclists & Other Cyclists, which shows that 22% of bike riders killed were legally drunk, compared to 12% of drivers; another 4% in each group had some amount of alcohol in their blood, without being legally drunk.

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Culver City is responding to complaints about the new Move Culver City bike and bus lanes by making adjustments to the lane designs.

Which is exactly how it’s supposed to work.

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Newport Beach’s century-old Balboa Island Ferry will be bikes and pedestrians only for the next month, with cars forced to take the long way around to avoid electrical work near the ferry terminal.

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Turns out even the late, great Bishop Desmond Tutu was one of us.

And yes, I looked it up. He really did say this.

https://twitter.com/_dmoser/status/1475186686816628759

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Literary great Henry Miller was one of us, too.

https://twitter.com/CoolBikeArt1/status/1474968213221883908

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So was 1930s Western matinee hero Buck Jones, featured here in a Schwinn brochure produced in the final year of his life.

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Who needs headphones when you ride a bike?

Which seems like an opportunity to remind everyone that it’s illegal under California law to ride a bike with earbuds in, or headphones over, each ear.

Even though someone on a bike would have to have their headphones cranked up pretty damn high before they’d hear as badly as someone in a car with the windows up and the music system on.

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Apparently, I wasn’t the only one struck by the number of bicycles in this year’s Rose Parade.

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

A San Diego grandmother is conducting her own search for the road-raging driver who ran down her 22-year old ebike-riding grandson, making a U-turn to chase down him down in what appears to be an intentional attack. The question is, why was she able to locate security video that the police didn’t?

Life is cheap in the UK, where a 49-year old woman got a lousy fine — the equivalent of just $1,100 — for pushing a 15-year old boy off his bike for the crime of riding on the sidewalk, then bragging about it on Facebook, saying he “wouldn’t be so lucky” the next time.

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

A British doctor is now afraid to walk alone after she was run down from behind by a hit-and-run bike rider descending at high speed; she now wonders if the crash was deliberate.

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Local

LA County sheriff’s deputies blame culture and training for aggressively policing bike riders — usually Latino — in unincorporated areas, despite finding illegal materials in less than 10% of their searches. And don’t forget, you are under no obligation to consent to a search of you or your bike.

Get two-thirds off the cost of a one-year Metro Bike Hub membership through the end of this month.

London’s Daily Mail oddly gets all hot and bothered over Harrison Ford riding the streets of Los Angeles swathed in spandex.

 

State

Electrek visits the sprawling new production facilities for Newport Beach’s Electric Bike Company, which sounds more like a kids show on PBS.

Encinitas will host a carfree Cyclovia for four hours this Sunday.

There’s no lower form of human scum than anyone who would steal an adaptive bike from an 18-year old disabled San Diego woman.

San Diego Trek locations are collecting used bicycles for the next month, hoping to net more than 1,000 bicycles for a bike giveaway in collaboration with the San Diego chapter of Free Bikes 4 Kidz and the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition.

A Highland newspaper complains about a $6.4 million demand from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to offset the environmental effects of a planned Class 1 bike path through the Upper Santa Ana River Wash, which is nearly 50% more than the cost of building the actual pathway.

This is who we share the road with. A two-time DUI loser now faces a murder charge for causing a chain-reaction Palm Springs crash that took the life of a 36-year old former Marine from Chula Vista; 41-year old driver Andrew Watson Hibbard had previous DUI arrests in Oregon and Palm Springs. Just one more example of keeping a dangerous driver on the road until it’s too late. Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up. 

Salinas cops and firefighters are competing for the affections of their favorite fan, a teenage boy who rides his bike to follow them around the city; they pitched in together to buy him a new bike after someone stole his.

An Oakland bike thief faces up to 40 years behind bars after he was convicted of fatally shooting a man who was trying to get his bike back as the thief was making off with it.

Sad news from Rancho Cordova, where a bike rider was killed in a collision just trying to cross a roadway Saturday evening.

 

National

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss says with used car prices going through the roof, there may never be a better time to go carfree. And unlike his other recent columns, this one isn’t hidden behind a paywall.

Fast Company examines how cities across the US are making the temporary changes they’ve made to the streets during the pandemic permanent.

The US Public Interest Group warns about unfixable bikes that are only made to last a matter of months.

The Motley Fool says it’s time for Apple to spend some of its cash, and buy indoor cycling provider Peloton.

Here’s another one for your bike bucket list. A 30-mile ride around Oregon’s Crater Lake, at 7,000 feet above sea level with 4,200 feet of elevation gain.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 80-year old New Mexico man continues to ride his titanium bikes every other day, and has biked through France, the UK, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Scotland, Lichtenstein, Spain and New Zealand since he took up bicycling in his early 50s.

A bike pump ordered from Amazon gets the credit for saving a young family from the extreme fires outside Boulder, Colorado last week, after the Amazon driver gave them a lift to safety after trying to deliver their order.

Kansas woman was convicted of second-degree murder for downing several drinks, then running down a 16-year old girl riding a bicycle and leaving her to die in the street.

She gets it. Writing for The Atlantic, Cleveland-based planner Angie Schmitt says big cars are killing us, and the government can’t keep letting the auto industry treat people walking or on bikes as collateral damage.

Businesses in the Kentucky-Indiana area are collecting bicycles for victims of the recent Kentucky tornadoes.

An editorial from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the public deserves to know why a 51-year old Black man was killed by police, who tased him repeatedly for the crime of riding a discarded bicycle around the block; nine officers have been disciplined for his death, though what that means is still unclear.

Newly sworn-in New York Mayor Eric Adams is one of us, too, riding a Citi Bike bikeshare to his second day at work on Sunday. Thanks again to Victor Bale for the link.

Outgoing New York Mayor Bill de Blasio leaves office with the highest traffic fatality rates of his tenure, despite eight years of the city’s Vision Zero program, which showed promise in its first few years.

Newly released bodycam footage shows a Virginia cop tackling a Black bike rider for the crime of riding without a headlight.

When a Louisiana donut shop employee’s bicycle seat was stolen, kindhearted customers pitched in to buy him a used car. But did anyone bother to ask if he’d rather just have a new bike seat?

This is who we share the road with, too. Florida police arrested a hit-and-run driver who jumped a curb and plowed into a group of little kids on the sidewalk, killing two children and injuring four others. There’s not a pit in hell deep enough for someone who could just drive away after that.

 

International

Cycling Weekly gazes into its crystal ball to predict the top road bike trends of 2022.

An Anchorage, Alaska bike wrench is riding 1,560 miles solo through Baja California to raise funds to fight ALS; he already has $20,000 in pledges, and hopes to raise over $50,000.

A Toronto woman describes how avoiding public transportation during the pandemic turned her into a four season bike rider.

A London college professor explains why you can’t blame bike lanes for an increase in traffic congestion. In London, or anywhere else.

London’s transportation department is under pressure to remove a dangerous pass that sets off a road rage altercation from a new ad urging everyone on the road to try seeing things from the other guy’s perspective. Except there shouldn’t be another side to using a car to threaten the safety of someone on a bike or on foot.

After a local English official criticized new segregated bike lanes, saying drivers now feel hemmed in, an active transportation group does a little expert-level trolling by offering their sympathy for anyone who feels “rather claustrophobic” in their “one ton sofa-carrying steel boxes.”

A Scottish program to help low-income residents buy new ebikes fell flat, after no one took them up on the offer in the first three months, despite 290 people expressing interest.

He gets it. In an op-ed for The Guardian, a writer for Cycling Weekly asks how Britain can ever become a great bicycling nation when people on bicycles are subject to driver abuse, intimidation and terrible infrastructure. Then again, you could say the same thing about any city in the US, Los Angeles included. Or you could, if any of them actually wanted to be one.

Life is cheap in the UK, where relatives and advocates are calling for reforms after a driver got less than six years behind bars for the drunken, distracted hit-and-run that took the life of a 15-year old boy riding his bike.

Road.cc looks back fondly at the ten best British bike brands from the ’70s and ’80s. Any one of which I would have been happy to find in my Christmas stocking.

A game-changing UK traffic cam has captured 15,000 drivers using their cellphones behind the wheel. Which is exactly what we need here. Although drivers would complain about how unfair it is to get caught breaking the law.

A reminder that a driver doesn’t actually have to hit you to cause serious damage, as an Irish bike rider broke his collarbone when he was blown off his bike by the slip stream from a passing truck; needless to say, the driver didn’t bother to stop.

Add this one to your bike bucket list. Because this new cliffhanging Kiwi bikeway is what rail-to-trail conversions are all about.

 

Competitive Cycling

Dutch national road champion Amy Pieters remains in a medically induced coma after suffering a serious head injury in a fall while training in Spain; there’s no way to tell if she’s suffered any lasting damage until she wakes up.

No surprise here, as the ever expanding world of Covid-19 is already forcing restrictions on the year’s first pro bike races in February.

Pez Cycling News reviews a new book about the legendary 7-Eleven cycling team from a former editor of VeloNews.

Former pro and current Worst Retirement Ever rider Phil Gaimon is teaming with a trio of off-road cyclists, a ‘cross and track rider, and a 12-year old kid to form the multidisciplinary Jukebox Cycling team, but doesn’t expect it to change anything but whose banner he rides under.

Last week’s devastating pre-New Year’s fires outside Boulder, Colorado destroyed entire neighborhoods in Louisville and Superior — including the home of Tom and Alie Hopper, who both work for the EF Pro Cycling professional cycling team. A crowdfunding page to help them rebuild has raised over $102,000, more than doubling the $50,000 goal.

Two-time Mexican national champion and former EF Pro Cycling rider Luis Villalobos was banned for four years for doping. But the era of doping is over, right?

 

Finally…

If you’re going to ride your bike with a sword in your backpack, try not to fall off and stab yourself with it. Your next bike seat could have had a wedge to fit up your butt crack; thankfully it didn’t catch on.

And it looks like someone had a very good Christmas.

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

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