City Watch writer gets Healthy Streets LA all wrong, NACTO says change unfair bike laws, and CNN calls bike boom bust

Talk about not getting it.

A writer for City Watch complains that bike lanes won’t fight climate change in Southern California.

He apparently bases his entire argument on a misreading of a recent article in the LA Times about the Healthy Streets LA ballot initiative, although he seems to have missed the name of the proposal in his reading.

He also missed the part where it said the ballot initiative would require building out the Mobility Plan 2035 — including bus only lanes — instead assuming that it’s all about bike lanes and pedestrian improvements.

The initiatives backer, software entrepreneur Michael Schneider leads the organization “Streets for All.” Schneider seems impatient with the the City of Los Angeles’ execution of the city’s current plans on mobility and bicycles, and City Council President Nury Martinez’s own counterproposal for bicycles and pedestrians.

The Times only mentions bike lanes in the initiative with no mention of bus only lanes. Schneider calls his initiative a “nuclear option.” Playing with weapons is never to be taken lightly, particularly nuclear ones, and his initiative will not lead the city, and the region, in the fight to reduce carbon gases needed to mitigate the climate emergency we now live in. The initiative seems more for the bicycle riders for ride for recreation, and does not take into account transportation for getting to work, shopping, eating, entertainment and other activities of urban dwellers…

If vehicle lanes are to be removed and replaced when the roads are repaved, as in the initiative, the replacements must be bus only lanes, not bicycle lanes, or both.

Oddly, that’s exactly what the initiative calls for. Which he would know if he had actually looked into it, rather than firing off a knee-jerk reaction to a single news article.

He goes on to make a case for why bike lanes aren’t practical to combat climate change in Southern California — including that he is now a “Medicare approved senior citizen,” as if his particular status extends to the entire populace at large. Or that there aren’t other older people who ride on a daily basis.

Then there’s this.

Reasons for riding a bicycle. It would seem riding a bicycle in Los Angeles is mainly recreational. From the United States Census Bureau: “Los Angeles had 1.0 percent of commuters bike to work, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today in a new brief focused on biking and walking to work. Nationally, 0.6 percent of workers commute by bike.” LINK.

Bike advocates have argued for years that the Census Bureau’s figure is a dramatic undercount that misses people who use multi-modal commutes and part-time bike commuters, as well as many immigrants and homeless people who use bicycles as their sole form of transportation.

It also doesn’t count people who ride their bikes to school or shopping, or any other utilitarian uses that doesn’t involve riding to work five days a week.

And of course, he has to trot out the tired bromide that this is not Amsterdam, failing to recognize that Amsterdam was every bit as auto-centric as Los Angeles just a few short decades ago.

Not to mention arguing that it’s too hot to ride a bike in Los Angeles, and no one wants to get sweaty on the way to work. Even though LA has one of the nation’s most temperate climates much of the year, making it far more ideal for bike riding than many other cities with higher riderships, Amsterdam included.

And forgetting that it’s possible to ride without breaking a sweat, especially on an ebike, or to freshen up once you get to work.

Although give him credit for noting that automotive exhaust isn’t healthy for people on bicycles. Even though that’s a better argument for demanding non-polluting cars than discouraging bike use.

Despite his assertions, no one is arguing that bikes should take precedent over transit systems.

That’s not what the mobility plan calls for, and not what the Healthy Streets LA ballot measure is about.

It doesn’t help anyone to go off half-cocked, and misrepresent what this ballot measure is about, and what it does, without taking the simple step of clicking on the damn link find out what it really is.

………

They get it.

NACTO calls for changing laws and improving infrastructure that unfairly criminalize people on bicycles.

The group argues that red light and stop sign laws, and equipment laws like bike bell or helmet requirements, are too often used to target people of color, including in New York and Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, they argue that ticketing bicyclists for sidewalk riding or riding salmon is more an indication of inadequate infrastructure than bad bike behavior.

………

On the other hand, CNN doesn’t get it.

The cable network reports that the bicycling boom has gone bust, as indoor cycling firms like Peloton and Soul Cycle are facing layoffs, while bike shops are burdened with too much inventory.

Yet bicycling rates remain at near-historic highs in many cities, which suggests bike sales may have slowed simply because a) some bike shops may have over-ordered during the recent inventory shortages, b) many people already have the bikes they need.

Although whether they have all the bikes the want is another matter.

………

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

A Redditor discovers the hard way that it’s not really funny to tell a coworker “You should have come by car” after she was hit by one while riding her bike to work.

No bias here. After a 70-year old Massachusetts man was killed in a dooring, the local press blames him for crashing into the open car door. Just to be clear, dooring is almost always the driver’s or passenger’s fault, because the law requires that a car door can only be opened when it’s safe to do so.

A London, Ontario bike rider was left with a broken collarbone and road rash when a pickup driver intentionally swerved into him and another rider, after deliberately buzzing the group behind them.

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

The NYPD is looking for three drivers and a bike rider responsible for a weekend hit-and-run rampage that killed one pedestrian and injured five other people, including a 44-year old man who suffered a critical head injury when he was struck by a man on a bicycle, who fled the scene. Just a reminder that bicyclists have the same obligation to stop following a crash that drivers do.

………

Local

Long Beach is investing over half a billion dollars in infrastructure improvements over the next five years, including complete rebuilds to improve traffic flow and safety for pedestrians and cyclists on major corridors like Studebaker Road, Artesia Blvd and Anaheim Street.

A man was repeatedly stabbed on Long Beach’s beachfront bike path in an apparent robbery attempt Sunday night; fortunately, his injuries aren’t considered life-threatening.

 

State 

Streetsblog California considers new models in bicycling advocacy, and how new groups can work with established organizations to improve safety and equity.

Thirty-six-year old Kenneth Alexander Heimlich went on trial for a violent rampage in Fullerton and Buena Park, including pushing a man with a bicycle into traffic and repeatedly stomping on his head, for no apparent reason.

A San Francisco op-ed complains about the city police department’s ineffectiveness in combating traffic violence, saying they’re failing to enforce the five most dangerous driving violations, particularly on the city’s High-Injury Network.

The Bay Area’s Bike East Bay is working with the city to build a series of popup protected bike lanes, spending just $20,000 for plastic bollards, tape, and other temporary street markings.

 

National

Best Reviews looks at the best Abus bike locks available on Amazon.

Gear Junkie says ABS anti-lock braking may be one of the next vital ebike features to make riding safer and more fun.

Heartbreaking story from Seattle, where a woman urges drivers to slow down after her husband was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike.

Minnesota advocacy group Streets MN offers the second part of their Tips for Utilitarian Cycling, including advice on riding in heat and rain.

Louisville KY bicyclists are pushing for protective barriers on bike lanes to improve safety from inattentive drivers.

A 45-year old Cleveland man pled not guilty to multiple charges for slamming his car into a family riding their bikes, killing a three year old girl and injuring her father and ten-year old sister, before fleeing the crash on foot.

More heartbreaking news, this time from Pennsylvania, where an off-duty Montgomery County cop was killed when he allegedly swerved his bicycle into the path of an oncoming driver. Norristown Police Cpl. Brian R. Kozera had overcome a rare form of Hodgkin’s lymphoma to compete in six Ironman triathlons, and was scheduled to compete in Kona in October. Thanks to Mike Bike for the heads-up.

 

International

A Manchester, England walking and biking advocacy group is complaining about an epidemic of drivers parking in bike lanes. Which seems to be a universal problem; if they have bike lanes on Uranus, someone is probably parking in them.

Kindhearted British police give a ten-year old Ukrainian refugee boy a new bike. Which naturally brought out all the hateful trolls on Facebook.

A Norwegian study suggests e-scooter riders are significantly more reckless than bike riders, and four times more likely to ride drunk. Then again, I’d have to be drunk to ride one. But that’s just me.

 

Competitive Cycling

Great news, as the Ineos Grenadiers cycling team confirmed that Tour de France and Giro d’Italia winner Egan Bernal will return to racing today with the five-stage Tour of Denmark, just eight months after his near-fatal crash on a training ride in his native Columbia.

Primož Roglič has been declared fit and ready to ride as he goes for a fourth consecutive Vuelta title, after abandoning the Tour de France with a dislocated shoulder and back injury.

Thirty-one-year old Dutch pro Tom Dumoulin calls it a career “with immediate effect.”

A Richmond VA newspaper talks with hometown hero Emma Langley, who won the US women’s road national championship in June.

NPR looks at gravel bike racing, with the sport’s focus on diversity and inclusion amid its soaring popularity.

 

Finally…

Nice wood-print illustration of a tandem bike. What good is a Commonwealth Games medal if you can’t use it to score free beer?

And who needs a limo to get married in style?

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

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