Worrying about what we don’t know, Los Angeles earns modest rank in bike city ratings, and LA bans bike chop shops

This is what keeps me up at night.

As bad as things are on our streets, I worry about the crashes we don’t hear about, wondering how many bike riders are seriously injured, or worse, without ever making the news.

And just how many more victims there are that we may never know about.

That this fatal crash from March, which only now made the news in the foreign press.

According to a Belizean website, 49-year old Sgt. Brian Martinez, a native of the country living in Los Angeles, was killed while training for a Holy Saturday bicycling classic; a lawyer’s website puts the location of the crash in Carson.

The story only came to light when his mother donated bike gear belonging to the 20-year US Army vet to the country’s cycling federation.

I’ll try to write about it later today.

This isn’t the only case like this, though. I’ve heard of at least three other bicycling fatalities that I haven’t been able to document already this year.

Like the woman who was injured when a driver in a street takeover slammed into her bike; a recent news story mentioned her death in passing, but didn’t give any information. And without her name or date of birth, it’s almost impossible to verify her death with the coroner’s nearly useless website.

So I continue to dread stories like this, where we find out about it long after the fact. And worry even more about the ones we may never hear about.

While wondering if our roads are even more dangerous than we think.

Photo by Ted McDonald from Pixabay.

………

People For Bikes unveiled their latest ranking of North American cities, bikeable and otherwise, topped by Provincetown, Massachusetts; Davis, California; and Fayette, Missouri.

Los Angeles scored a modest 31 city rating, placing it 313th out of 1105 cities.

Which sounds about right for a city that has failed to build out it’s bike plan, let alone fund Vision Zero or the transportation segment of mayor’s Green New Deal.

Non-Angelenos can look up your city here.

………

As expected, Los Angeles has banned bike chop shops, at least in theory, after the city council voted for an ordinance to prohibit working on bicycles on public property.

According to KNBC-4,

The ordinance is modeled after one already in effect in Long Beach to prohibit the assembly, disassembly, sale, offer of sale, distribution of bicycles and bicycle parts on public property or within the public right-of- way.

It includes a provision allowing people to repair their own bikes to make them ready to ride, although people have questioned whether that provision offers strong enough protections for everyday riders.

The new law is designed to target the open air bicycle chop shops that have sprouted up around the city, usually in conjunction with homeless camps.

Police have complained that there’s little they could do to target them, since most stolen bikes are never reported to the police, and the value of the bikes seldom reach the $950 threshold for felony theft. Even if they happen to catch them before the bikes are dismantled and sold for parts.

This law gives police a tool to go after them, although it also offers a high potential for abuse.

Whether it actually ends up reducing bike theft, or just leads to harassment of people living on the streets remains to be seen.

………

Must be nice.

Qualified Contra Costa County residents can get rebates up to $500 on a new ebike.

………

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

The Colorado driver accused of intentionally running down a pair of bike riders remains at large, three days after fleeing the scene and abandoning his truck, leaving one woman with life-threatening injuries.

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

English police are looking for a hit-and-run bike rider who “rammed into” another man riding his bike, sending the victim over his handlebars.

………

Local

West Hollywood dockless e-scooter provider Wheels has sold itself to New York-based micromobility firm Helbiz for an undisclosed sum.

Construction work has begun on Pasadena’s Union Street Cycle Track Project, a 1.5 mile, two-way curb-protected bike lane on Union Street from Hill Ave to Arroyo Parkway.

The owners of Velo Pasadena hosted a fundraising ride last weekend, raising over $10,000 to support a pair of Armenian Paralympic cyclists competing in July’s European Youth Summer Olympic Festival in Slovakia.

Santa Clarita is looking for volunteers to help maintain tracks at the city’s Trek Bike Park.

LA Taco goes biking for street food in Long Beach.

 

State 

Calbike shares an open letter from a coalition of 20 bike advocacy organizations opposing AB 371, which could kill bikeshare and e-scooters in California by requiring providers to carry liability insurance for all their devices and users.

A pair of Idaho women were seriously injured riding rented ebikes on a Balboa Island nature trail, with neither one having any idea what happened; a crowdfunding page to help pay their medical bills has raised more than double the modest $2,000 goal.

 

National

No surprise here. American drivers crashed into buildings an average of 100 times per day, every day. Most of which seem to happen right here in the LA area.

Best Reviews considers the top options for indoor bike storage, while Cycling News rates the best bike trailers to bring your kids with you on your rides.

An editor for Bicycling rides his first gravel grinder, and leaves hungry for more. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss says Hollywood once again got bicycling wrong, in its first foray into celluloid gravel biking.

That’s more like it. A new camper van from a Portland company comes complete with its own bicycle repair shop and room for six bicycles.

Low-end ebike prices continue to fall, with Washington-based bikemaker Gen3 discounting their existing stock to $899.

A Chicago alderman wants to add signage and step up towing of drivers stopped in bike lanesOr just let bike riders submit photos of drivers blocking bike lanes, and mail out fines. Big fines.

This is why people continue to die on our streets. The taxi that crashed into a bike rider before careening into a group of pedestrians on a New York sidewalk, sending six people to the hospital, had 18 moving violations in just the last 18 months, although it’s unknown if the same driver was behind the wheel for all of them.

Once again, authorities are struggling to identify a fallen bicyclist, this time in Harrisburg PA, where a woman was killed when she was cut off by a driver making a U-turn, while riding without identification. Seriously, never ride without some form of ID, even if that means writing your effing name and contact info on your ass with a Sharpie.

Once again, Florida is the deadliest state for bicyclists in the US, topping California despite having roughly half the population.

 

International

Unbelievable. Canadian mounties blame the victim in a right hook collision, ruling that a bike rider’s speed was the cause of a crash with a water truck, not the fact that the truck driver turned across the multi-use path he was riding on.

Toronto police are cracking down on bike riders ignoring the speed limit in a city park, although they’re just issuing warnings for now.

Brussels bikeshare service Billy Bikes has gone belly up, blaming the pandemic for a slowdown that forced it into receivership. Which means you, too, could be the proud owner of a turnkey European bikeshare system.

Your next German ebike could be made entirely from recyclable plastic, right down to the one-piece wheels.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling Weekly looks forward to this week’s US road cycling nationals in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Dutch national road champ Amy Pieters continues her painfully slow recovery from a near-fatal traumatic brain injury while training with the Dutch national team just before Christmas; Pieters can now communicate nonverbally, but is still unable to move her right arm and leg.

Irish cyclist Stephen Clancy is out to show he can still compete, riding for the all-diabetic Team Novo Nordisk ten years after being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

A new documentary is in the works about 1890s Black cycling legend Major Taylor, assuming the director can raise $1 million to fund the film; so far, he’s just $989,440 short.

 

Finally…

Your new Colnago could match your shoes, if you happen to wear Tod’s and have an extra 18 grand lying around. And that feeling when you pat yourself on the back for blocking an annual bike ride.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

One comment

  1. Ralph Durham says:

    My parents house was in a car collision many years ago. A thief turned into our cul-de-sac with police behind him. Realizing he was cornered he almost stopped the car and got out running. He went over a neighbors fence and got away. The car idling in drive went between the two trees and into a decorative block barrier and stopped before hitting the house proper. Could have been worse.

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