Young siblings victims of traffic violence in Sylmar crash, LA traffic violence spikes, and modest bike gains in Beverly Hills

Sadly, traffic violence continues to climb on Los Angeles streets.

The latest news comes as a young brother and sister were run down as they shared a bike in LA’s Sylmar neighborhood.

At last report, the 12-year old boy and his 8-year old sister were both hospitalized in stable condition with serious injuries.

The driver remained at the scene, and as usual, was not charged.

There is something seriously wrong when children can’t ride safely on what should be a quiet neighborhood street.

Just another example of the unhealthy hegemony of cars in the City of Angels.

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In news that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, traffic injuries and fatalities spiked on Los Angeles streets in the first two months of the year, after climbing last year.

The jump comes nearly seven years after Mayor Eric Garcetti sat at a massive desk plopped down in a Boyle Heights street to sign a proclamation declaring Vision Zero in Los Angeles.

And just three years from the date he promised to end LA traffic deaths once and for all.

Maybe someone should have warned him that it would require actually taking bold action and making the tough decisions to tame traffic and reduce motor vehicle use.

Oh wait, we did.

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It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from Mark Elliot of Better Bike Beverly Hills, who almost single-handedly led a shockingly successful fight to transform the former Biking Black Hole into something far friendlier to people on two wheels. Although there’s still a long way to go. .

Here he offers an update on what he terms modest wins in the city.

Despite the evident disinterest among our City Council majority (3-2) for multimodal mobility, the city has nevertheless notched a couple of modest wins for safer streets in Beverly Hills.

New leadership at the Transportation Division marks a new era. Mobility planning in Beverly Hills effectively cleared two kidney stones with the retirements of Aaron Kunz and Susan Healey Keene last year. Subsequently the mobility function was moved to Public Works from Community Development. Each change represented a big step forward. Daren Grilley and Jessie Holzer now are in charge of the transportation division and each understands the importance of safe streets. They walk the walk too, so to speak, as they both ride.

New commissioners have revitalized the Traffic & Parking Commission. For too long this commission sat idly by as crash injuries increased year-after-year. Commissioners for too long didn’t even ask why traffic enforcement in Beverly Hills took a ten-year holiday. But starting a few years ago, new appointments to the commission changed the dynamic. Now we have a safety-minded commission and a new chair: Sharon Ignarro. She really walks the walk. But hold on, we are hardly out of the woods yet: one of our councilmembers seems intent on defanging this commission. We beat-back that effort last month.

Elliot also calls on the biking and walking communities to support bike-friendly Mayor Robert Wunderlich and Councilmember John Mirisch in their campaigns for re-election to the Beverly Hills City Council.

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Hats off to the Laguna Woods bike rider who joined a couple of elderly men to confront a woman walking through the area wearing a Nazi armband, which is home to a number of Jewish retirees.

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One of our most frequent contributors, Megan Lynch will be a panelist discussing bicycling and accessibility at next month’s CalBike Summit.

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

Before you try to intimidate a woman riding a bicycle by revving your engine and honking your horn during a close pass, maybe make sure she’s not a plainclothes cop, first.

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

A British bike rider was threatened with arrest for attempting to jump a closed rail crossing barrier with his bike before finally be turned away, while another greeted cops with a “vigorous hand gesture.”

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Local

Caltrans is looking for your input on the agency’s draft Active Transportation Plan for Los Angeles and Ventura counties by April 5th.

LA Times readers aren’t fans of Governor Newsom’s plan to give rich and poor drivers alike a $400 gas tax rebate, even if they drive an e-car, while screwing anyone who doesn’t own a car. Meanwhile, the plan is criticized for undermining the governors own climate goals. But what’s a little climate emergency when there’s an election to be won by handing out piles of cash to people who don’t need it?

 

State 

Carlsbad imposes a draconian crackdown on ebikes and e-scooters, banning them from “public sidewalks, drainage ditches, culverts, channels, athletic courts or gyms,” as well as requiring riders to walk their bikes within 50 feet of a pedestrian on any trail less than five-feet wide; the city blames bike riders for 70% of all bike collisions, which defies logic.

A San Jose bike rider was lucky to avoid becoming collateral damage in a collision between two drivers, in one of the closest close calls you’re likely to see.

The Bay Area web series Comedians on Bicycles marked their season finale with a slow-motion bicycle race and a donut-eating contest.

A Marin paper says it makes sense to earmark $2.5 million to build bike and pedestrian paths along the SMART commuter rail corridors.

A Chico man learns the hard way thy shall not steal thy neighbor’s bike.

 

National

Rolling Stone gets on the ebike bandwagon, telling readers to fight high gas prices by ditching their cars and getting an ebike.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole the wheel out from under Portland’s Unipiper unicycle-riding flame-throwing bagpiper.

Proving it can be done, Seattle is taking steps to remake a major state highway that cuts through the city, with a $50 million plan to revive the corridor dying from cut-through traffic, and make the seven lane roadway welcoming to people on riding bikes and on foot. Maybe Malibu can take note before LA’s killer highway claims another innocent victim.

An Arizona woman is suing Costco and Phantom bikes for an illegal design using the right brake to stop the front wheel on their ebikes, allegedly losing an eye and suffering other injuries when the brake setup caused her to go over her handlebars.

An Idaho cop says no, you don’t have to yield to bike riders in a crosswalk, but it beats the hell out of hitting them.

Nice way to bury the lede. A Hudson Valley newspaper reports a 69-year old man was charged with wearing earbuds while riding a bike, and failing to signal his turn. Neither of which would have likely come to the attention of the police if he hadn’t been hit by a driver, first.

The New York press is quick to paint bike riders as outrageous scofflaws endangering pedestrians, but it’s just as likely the rider will suffer serious injuries in any collision with someone on foot. The latest case in point is a Harlem ebike rider who was gravely injured when he struck someone crossing the street and flew over his handlebars.

In a major safety improvement, the new protected bike lane on New York’s Brooklyn Bridge has slowed motor vehicle traffic 28%, reducing average speeds just below 20 mph. Although chances are, the drivers using the bridge won’t see that as a win.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette demands an apology from the city police department for the fatal tasing of a Black man who took a bike for a test ride around the block without permission; the victim died after officers tased him multiple times in a matter of minutes.

The Washington Post talks with the Australia native who gained social media acclaim as the Bike Man who singlehandedly slowed a DC truckers convoy protest.

No bias here. Wackadoodle rightwing Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene told a crowd that ”Pete Buttigieg can take his electric vehicles and his bicycle, and he and his husband can stay out of our girls bathrooms. Yup.” Not that they were planning to take their electric cars and bicycles into one.

 

International

Brompton is recalling their new ebike foldies because the mudguard can get caught in the tire.

Travel and Leisure examines the intersection of bike tours and Michelin-starred food.

Treehugger says anecdotal evidence shows high gas prices are leading to booming ebike sales.

Canadian Cycling Magazine celebrates the Oscars with their picks for the best and worst bicycling movies. Although nothing matches the action of an open-handed Will Smith slap delivered to the face of a stunned Chris Rock.

London is facing a bikelash from Conservative councilmembers, who have taken steps to remove popup bike lanes and pedestrianized areas before they had a chance to change transportation behavior; the city’s transportation agency has responded by cutting funding to their districts.

British Olympic cycling hero Sir Chris Hoy says he’s experienced fewer close passes since the county’s new Highway Code went into effect. Although we saw the same thing in California when the three-foot passing law went into effect, but it didn’t last.

Dutch ebike maker Cowboy continues to bring in $81 million in new funding, despite record pandemic and supply chain-related losses.

Great idea. An Indian petrochemical company gave each of its 142 employees an identical new bicycle, and is encouraging them to bike to work at least once a week.

Abu Dhabi says ditch the passenger and wear a helmet if you’re riding a bike, ebike or e-scooter in an emirates bike lane.

 

Competitive Cycling

We may have glimpsed the future of pro cycling, as 21-year old Eritrean cyclist Biniam Girmay just missed the podium with a fifth place finish in the E3 Saxo Bank Classic, in his first full year on the pro tour — then followed it up with first place in Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem, a significant breakthrough for Black African riders. Meanwhile, Wout van Aert came in first in the E3.

It says something when the great Marianne Vos says she just wasn’t fast enough to catch 24-year old Italian Elisa Balsamo in the women’s Gent-Wevelgem.

Twenty-three-year old Sergio Higuita captured the Volta a Catalunya after climbing into the lead on Saturday, fending off multiple attacks on Sunday’s final stage.

British pro Lizzy Banks is finally back in the peloton, after losing most of last season to a traumatic brain injury and a major bout with Covid.

Great news from Colombia, where former Tour de France and defending Giro winner Egan Bernal is back on a bike, just two months after a nearly fatal training crash when he slammed into the back of a poorly parked bus.

Kazakhstan pro Alexey Lutsenko will be sidelined for the foreseeable future after breaking his shoulder and collar bone while training in Tenerife.

We’re less than one week away from the world’s biggest little bike race, as men’s and women’s teams were announced for Indiana University’s famed Little 500, made famous in Breaking Away.

 

Finally…

Your next e-cargo bike could fold and glow in the dark. It doesn’t pay to play doctor if you ain’t one.

And don’t ride naked through the woods sporting wood of your own.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

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